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By MOHAN LAL, Esq., 


Vol. I. 



London ; — Printed by Wilmam Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street. 









Since the creation of the world it has been the custom and 
rule of the devoted loyal servants of every ancient and 
modern Government, that either on receiving marks of 
distinction, or the honour of being presented to their lawful 
Sovereign, they submit some present showing their homage 
and attachment to the Throne. This usage of submissive 
devotion has not been limited to human beings, but it has 
been adopted ever by other species of God's creatures, and 
has met with the approbation of the greatest in the world. 
If we trace back as far as three thousand years, we find, 
from tradition as well as from historical anecdotes, one of 
the most striking instances in an insignificant creature of 
God, namely, a small ant having secured a grain of rice in 
its forceps, crept some distance, and having gained -an access 

a 2 


into the presence of the wise and great Solomon, laid it 
under his feet, who accepted the said present ! ! 

My fortunes have been bright, and I may say enviable, 
even in this land, by having the honour of being presented 
to your Majesty and to your Royal Highness, and also 
invited to your palace. The conversation which I had the 
good fortune to have with your Royal Highness, mingled 
with your detailed and minute knowledge of all the sad 
events of Afghanistan, did not only cause sensations "of 
surprise in me, but was a source of proud gratification as 
showing that the conduct and zeal of public servants abroad, 
whether English or foreigner, are justly noticed and appre- 
ciated by so dignified a personage as your Royal Highness. 
Taking all the preceding points into consideration, I am 
utterly at a loss how to show my heartfelt gratitude, and 
in what manner to lay my unfeigned homage and devoted 
attachment at the feet of your gracious Majesty and 
your Royal Highness but by dedicating this work — the 
unworthy endeavours of my feeble pen in a foreign lan- 

If the honour so to dedicate this book is conferred upon 
me, it will at once show to the subjects of your Majesty's 
Indian Empire, that your Majesty knows how to appreciate 
their fidelity and devotion, and will lead them to the lofty 
consideration and appreciation of their present English 
Sovereign in a more dignified manner than they or their 
predecessors had ever enjoyed. 


For my own humble part, I shall say no more ; but con- 
clude this dedication by adding that, while I live I shall 
consider myself the proudest and happiest servant by pro- 
moting the honour and interest of your mighty Government, 
and with heart shall ever pray, that as long as the oceans 
are filled with water, and the heavens decorated with sun 
and moon, the gracious shadow of your Majesty and his 
Royal Highness the Prince Albert may never be diminished 
from the heads of your British and Indian subjects, and 
both the kingdoms of England and India may never be 
deprived of the protection of your royal descendants. 

Mohan Lal, Kashmirian. 

{In the Service of the Honourable East India Company.) 

4, George Street, Manchester Square, 
London, 20th June, 1846. 

( vii ) 


The kind reception which my late publication, 
* Travels in the Panjab and Afghanistan,' has met 
with from the public, deserves my hearty thanks. 
The greater part of my Travels having been pub- 
lished some years ago, had in some measure lost the 
interest of novelty ; but the flattering mention made 
of them in the last edition of the valuable work of 
the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone,* a most 

* " Mohan Lai, a (Kashmirian) gentleman of Delhi, accom- 
panied Sir Alexander Burnes to Bokhara, and came back by 
Mashad and Hirat, has also published his travels. They appeared 
in English at Calcutta, and would have been invaluable if they 
had not been preceded by the works already mentioned. Even 
now they contain much new matter, and from the spirit of 
inquiry and observation as well as the command of a foreign 
language which they display, reflect high credit on the author 
and on the English Institution (now the College) at Delhi, where 
he received his education.*' — Elphinstone's Kahul^ 1838. 


talented and respected authority of this country, 
induced me to reprint them, with some additional 
information on the Commerce of the marts on the 

Neither in the preceding publication nor in this, 
do I for a moment pretend to boast of the value of 
its information, eloquence, or style. On the con- 
trary, I am fearfully conscious of abundant errors 
both in grammar, idiom, and, above all, of repe- 
titions; but when I tell the public that I am a 
stranger to the customs, manners, and in great' 
measure to the language of the English, and 
that I have written the MSS. and published these 
two volumes in a short space of time, without the 
assistance of a friend, as I had expected, I feel as- 
sured that I shall be excused on account of these 
great deficiencies. Whatever portion of the MSS. 
of these volumes (excepting about one hundred pages 
in the beginning) I was able to write every day, 
went to press immediately in the same way; and 
this will plainly account for errors and repetitions. 

Besides the great expense incurred by the pub- 
lishers in bringing, out my late Travels, and these vo- 
lumes, I beg to state, that about 300/. has been 


disbursed by me in employing a copyist, paper, and 
some of the portraits; a fact which will exonerate 
me from the imputation of having published them 
merely with the view of benefiting myself by their 

Whilst in Afghanistan I had prepared the ' Life 
of Dost Mohammed Khan,' both in English and Per- 
sian ; and the information on which the MS. was 
prepared was supplied to me by his own courtiers 
and relations : but unfortunately all the MSS. were 
plundered during the insurrection of Kabul, and de- 
livered to Mohammed Akbar Khan, who refused to 
give them back to me on any account. Afterwards 
it was out of my power to collect such satisfactory 
accounts as would place the circumstances of the 
Amir's life in a chronological series; and I there- 
fore fear that these volumes will on many occasions 
be open to censure for misplacing the occurrences 
and the subjects contained in them. 

The anecdotes inserted in the work, and especially 
in reference to the adventures and morals of the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, &c., were generally 
communicated to me by the people with whom he 
associated. Not knowing what would be agreeable 


to the "English mind," and anxious as I was to 
avoid anything unpleasant of every kind, particularly 
when the Dedication was approved of by Her Ma- 
jesty, and returned to me with only one correction, 
I wrote to the publishers and printers to erase 
such lines from the manuscripts as they might 
think not consistent with the rules of this country. 
To this, I am told, they kindly attended. 

The Dedication to Her Majesty, and, I may say, 
the whole of the work, is written after the Persian 
style. Purity of idiom and eloquence in composition, 
which are at the command of the natives of this 
civilized land, are not to be expected from a foreigner 
of a limited education, like myself The generosity 
of the impartial community at large will, on these 
considerations, forgive me for the blunders of every 
description which may disfigure the pages of these 
unworthy volumes. 

The observations which I have made on our policy 
in Afghanistan, the reasons of sending an expedition, 
its means of success, and the cause of the disas- 
ters, are entirely the repetition of what I had de- 
spatched to the Government of India, in 1842, and 
which received the favourable notice of the Earl of 


Ellenborough, then Governor-General of India. His 
Lordship writes to the Secret Committee at home in 
the following flattering manner.* 

" In the letter from the intelligent Mohan Lai, 
which forms one of the enclosures of this letter, your 
Honourable Committee will be put in possession of 
the manner in which the King Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk 
was, on the 5th April, treacherously murdered by 
a son of Navab Mohammed Zaman Khan. 

" Your Honourable Committee will peruse with 
deep interest the observations on the causes of the 
late insurrection at Kabul. 

" Your Honourable Committee will find amongst 
the enclosures No. 24, an interesting paper by Mohan 
Lai, on the causes of the Afghan insurrection, and 
on the events which succeeded the outbreak at 
Kabul in November last. 

(Signed) " Ellenborough." 

The opinions so favourably expressed by this high 

* * Parliamentary Blue Book of Afghanistan/ pages 262, 
264, 341, — I have left out many words, and omitted several 
other names, to make tliis extract as short as possible. 


and talented personage then holding the reins of the 
empire of India, will, I am sure, be a sufficient 
ground for me to request the public to throw a 
glance on the contents of these volumes, and to 
grant forgiveness for the errors. 

Mohan Lal, Kashmirian, 

SOth June, 1846. 

4, George Street, 
Manchester Square, London. 

( xiii ) 




Sons of Abdal — Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, late 
Captain Arthur ConoUy, and Sir Alexander Burnes — 
Predecessors of Dost Mohammed Khan — Origin of the 
Afghans — Sons of Eahimdad — Dost's Father becomes 
Chief — Promoted — Goes to punish the Momand Chief — 
Gets a title — Goes to fight the Osbeks — Places Zaman 
on the throne — Salary of Dost's father — Dost strikes coin 
so as to honour the name of his father — Envy of Vafadar 
Khan against Sarfraz Khan — Names of the Chiefs mur- 
dered with Sarfraz Khan — Folly of Vafadar Khan — 
Miracle of Dost's uncle ...... 1 


Brothers of Dost Mohammed Khan— Dost's early training- 
Shah Zaman — Dost becomes the confidential attendant of 
Fatah Khan— Defeat of Shah Shuja— Youth of Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan— He returns to Kabul— His sister married 
to Shah Shuja — Fatah Khan's treaty with Mukhtar and 
with Qaisar — Intrepidity of Dost — He and Fatah leave 
Qandhar — They rebel from Shah Shuja — Are compelled 
to return to Qandhar — Fatah Khan is confined, and Dost 
escapes — Dost besieges Qandhar— Fatah is released — 



Dost and Fatah join Kam Ran — Dost gains a victory — 
Fights with Shuja — Makes peace, and allies himself with 
Shuja — Dost and his brother desert the camp — Shuja 
gains a victory — Measures of Dost — His bravery — He 
defeats his enemy — Shah Mahmud becomes king, Fatah 
Khan Vazir, and Dost is dignified — Mirza Ali Khan — 
Mohammed Azim Khan — Dost is made Sardar — Expe- 
dition to Kashmir — Rebellion in Kabul — Suppressed — 
War with the Sikhs . . . . . .21 


Brothers envy Dost Mohammed Khan — He chastises the 
Kohistanis — Expedition against Hirat — Murder of the 
Vazir Fatah Khan — The Sardar takes up arms — Besieges 
the Bala Hisar — Takes Kabul, and makes Sultan Ali 
king, and himself minister — His intrigues — Murder of 
Shah Sultan Ali — Mohammed Azim Khan — The Sardar 
procures money from the Sindhians — He deserts*— Takes 
Ghazni — Fights with Azim Khan — Corresponds with 
Ranjit Singh — Sikh force at Peshavar — Dost's treachery 
towards Azim Khan — Death of Azim Khan . , 90 


Succession of Habib-ullah Khan — He is defeated by the 
Sardar — Peace is concluded between them — Habib- 
ullah's secret intentions — Flight of the Sardar — Sherdil . 
Khan and the Sardar join against Habib-ullah — Policy 
of Dost — He takes the Bala Hisar — Intrigues and rup- 
ture between Sherdil and Dost — Siege of the Bala Hisar 
— Peace between the brothers — Death of Sherdil Khan 
— The Sardar sole master of Kabul — Sayad Ahmad's war 
with the Sikhs — Rebellion at Tagav, and defeat of the 
Kabul force 130 




Haji Khan joins the Sardar — The Sardar punishes the 
rebels — Takes Bala Bagh and Jalalabad — Jealousy of 
the brothers — His escape from assassination — Marches 
against Shah Shuja — His letter to the British political 
agent at Lodianah— Sir Claude Wade's answer — The 
Sardar writes to Shah Shuja — Reaches Qandhar, and 
defeats Shah Shuja-ul-mulk — Correspondence discovered 
among the spoils — Ingratitude of the Qandhar chiefs 
towards Dost Mohammed Khan — The Sardar's interview 
with his dying brother — Flight and evil designs of the 
Peshavar chiefs — Haji Khan Kakar . . . .150 


Preparations for a new expedition against the Sikhs — 
Design of the Sardar to assume the Royal title — He is 
surnamed Amir-ul-momnin — His method of procuring 
money — Barbarity exercised towards a rich trader — New 
coinage — The Sikhs depute Dr. Harlan to Sultan Mo- 
hammed Khan — The Amir is incensed, and threatens 
Dr. Harlan — He encamps at Shekhan— Truce with the 
Sikhs — The Amir's treacherous designs — His violent 
altercation with Pir Mohammed Khan — His plans and 
counsellors — Ranjit Singh arrives, and sends an embassy 
to the Amir — Oath of friendship between the Amir and 
Sultan Mohammed Khan — The Amir seizes the Sikh 
envoys — Breaks up his camp — Sultan Mohammed takes 
the captive envoys with him — Rage of the Amir . .168 


Difficult situation of the Amir — Duplicity of the Qandhar 
chiefs — The Amir designs to seize some nobles — His 



plan betrayed by Akhundzadah — He arrests Abdullah 
Khan Achakzai — Releases him — Sisters of the Amir — 
Saddu Khan murdered by a Kohistani bribed by his wife 183 


The Amir fears the Hazarahs— History of Yazdan Bakhsh 
— Dost Mohammed's plan for seizing the Hazarah chief- 
Courage and devotion of his wife — Both are seized by 
the Amir — They negotiate for their release — The Mir 
escapes, and afterwards his wife — He consolidates his 
power — Haji Khan and Mir Yazdan Bakhsh — The Khan 
plans the ruin of the Hazarah Mir — His scheme to entrap 
him — Fails — He makes Haji Khan Governor of the 
Hazarahjat — Becomes suspicious of him — Haji Khan 
seizes Mir Yazdan Bakksh — Plunder of the Hazarahs — 
The Mir is strangled — The Sardar's relations with Persia 
— His education — He humbles his rival relatives, and 
increases his own power — Disgrace of Haji Khan — The 
Amir's administration of justice . . . .192 


The Wives of the Amir — Their jealousies — Cruel treat- 
ment of one of them by the Amir — An anecdote — A 
Kashmirian wife — Her escape from the Amir — Bitter 
enmity entertained towards the Amir by Sultan Mo- 
hammed Khan — Wives, Sons, and Daughters of the 
Amir — His policy of depressing his brothers and raising 
his sons to power — Expedition against the Sikhs — 
Mirza Abdul Sami Khan arrives at the camp — Victory 
of the Afghans — Honours bestowed on Akbar Khan — 
How to estimate the sons of the Amir — State of the 
Amir's dominions — Revenues — Encouragement of Com- 
merce—Character of the Amir — His military force . 214 




Connexion of the British with Afghanistan — Policy of 
Russia — Her alliance with Persia — The Afghans lean 
towards the British Government — Claims on Peshavar — 
Policy of Lord William Bentinck — Of Lord Auckland — 
Letter from the Amir to the Governor-General — Reply 
of the latter — Mission of Sir Alexander Burnes — The 
Amir demands the restoration of Peshavar— Sir Alex- 
ander's Reply — Dissatisfaction of Dost Mohammed Khan 
— His letter to the King of Persia — His plan of ba- 
lancing Russia, Persia, and England against each otlier . 243 


A Persian Envoy arrives at Qandhar — The Chiefs of that 
place make a treaty with him — Letter from the Shah of 
Persia to the Amir — Instructions of the Persian Envoy 
— Mr. Ellis's despatch to Lord Palmerston — Sir John 
Macneil at the Persian Court — The Shah marches against 
Hirat — Despatches of Sir John Macneil — Russian in- 
trigues — Various letters to the Chiefs of Qandhar — 
Their treaty with the Shah, under the guarantee of 
Russia — Negotiations of Sir A. Burnes at Kabul — The 
Russian Envoy, Capt. Vikovich — Diplomatic etiquette 
in Asiatic courts — Letters relating to Capt. Vikovich — 
His proceedings at Kabul — Progress of Russian influence 
there — The English mission retires — Various documents 265 


The British Mission leaves Kabul — Iniquitous counsels 
given to the Amir respecting it — He rejects them — The 
Amir attaches himself wholly to Russia — Departure of 
Captain Vikovich — Honours paid him — Aflairs of Sindh 

VOL. I. h 



— Opinions current in Hindustan relative to Russia — 
The Asiatics anticipate reverses for the British power 
in the East — Correspondence, and other Documents — 
Reasons for the advance of the Army of the Indus — 
Negotiations set on foot by the British Government . 334 


Reluctance of the Indian Government to interfere with 
Captain Vikovich — Proceedings of Count Simonich — Sir 
A. Burnes and Sir J. Macneil urge the necessity of 
vigorous measures — The north-western Frontier — Lord 
Wellesley's opinion — Policy of the British government — 
Shah Shuja — Correspondence, and extracts from various 
sources illustrative of British policy in Afghanistan — 
The British government resolve to restore Shah Shuja — 
Mission to Ranjit Singh— Tripartite Treaty — Prepara- 
tions — Declaration of the Governor- General — Letter to 

' the Shah of Persia 360 


Portrait of the Author .... to face Title-page. 

Portrait of the Queen . . , , to face the Dedication. 
Portrait of the Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone . to face Page 10 
Portrait of Akbar Khan . . • . . „ 153 

Portrait of the Amir Dost Mohammed EIhan . „ 169 

Portrait of Mirza Sami Khan .... „ 177 

Portrait of the Earl of Auckland ... „ 250 

Portrait of Sir Alexander Burnes ... „ 254 

Portrait of Sir John Macneil . . . . „ 279 

Portrait of the Maharajah Eanjit Singh . . „ 370 

Portrait of Mohammed Husain Khan ... „ 378 





Sons of Abdal — Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, late Cap- 
tain Arthur Conolly, and Sir Alexander Burnes— Predecessors 
of Dost Mohammed Khan — Origin of the Afghans — Sons of 
Rahimdad — Dost's Father becomes Chief — Promoted — Goes to 
punish the Momand Chief — Gets a title — Goes to fight the 
Osbeks — Places Zaman on the throne — Salary of Dost's father 
— Dost strikes coin so as to honour the name of his father — 
Envy of Vafadar Khan against Sarfraz Khan — Names of the 
Chiefs murdered with Sarfraz Khan— Folly of Vafadar Khan 
— Miracle of Dost's uncle. 

Abdal was the first and founder of the Abdali tribe. 

He left three sons, namely, Fofal, Barak, and Alako. 

If I were to mention the names and lineal descent 

/S^ of the offspring of Fofal and Alako, it would lengthen 

2 MR. elphinstone's work. 

this book too much. The very valuable account of 
the kingdom of Kabul, by the Honourable Mount- 
stuart Elphinstone, contains a correct and minute 
description of their descendants, as well as botanical, 
mineral, and animal information concerning that ter- 
ritory. In short, this interesting work has been a 
guide to many, and is as useful to travellers in Af- 
ghanistan as the mariner's compass is to voyagers on 
the seas. This honourable gentleman has made an 
everlasting impression on the minds of the people of 
Central Asia of his most amiable, kind, and noble 
disposition. It is a source of great pride to the tra- 
vellers of Europe or British India to hear his name 
even into the remotest parts of Afghanistan with 
respect and tone of affection from the lips of those 
who are in general unaware of the names of the dis- 
tinguished men of their own country. His generosity 
has gained for him the immortal name of " Hatim 
Tai,"* and his talents as a statesman the high appella- 
tion of "Socrates."! I can without any hesitation 
say that it was the name of " Ulfrishteen " (Elphin- 
stone) which was the passport for the " army of the 

* Famous for unlimited bounties in the old Persian histories. 
I Celebrated minister and adviser of Alexander the Great. 


Indus " to march through Afghanistan without any 
opposition. The valuable books of the late Captain 
Arthur ConoUy and of Sir Alexander Burnes give 
us descriptions which also add to our knowledge of 
this celebrated and far-extended tribe. My object 
is to write about the early life, rise, and government 
of Dost Mohammed Khan, mentioning the names of 
his immediate predecessors, the sons of Barak, and 
not the sons of Fofal and of Alako. 

Haji Jamal Khan, grandfather of Dost Moham- 
med Khan, was son of Usaf, son of Yaru, son of 
Mohammed, son of Omar Khan, son of Khizar 
Khan, son of Ismail, son of Nek, son of Daru, son 
of Saifal, son of Barak, the second son of Abdal. 
Tradition says that through successive generations 
Abdal descended from the Israelitish household ; but 
to speak the truth, the origin of the Afghans is so 
obscure, that no one, even among the oldest and 
most clever of the tribe, can give satisfactory inform- 
ation on this point. Some of the Afghans, recog- 
nising their descent from the children of Israel, feel 
ashamed of their being related by blood to the Jews, 
upon whom they look as infidels. Concerning the 
obscurity of the true descent of the Afghans, if curi- 



osity induces any one to desire to know more on that 
difficult subject, I can safely refer to and justly quote 
from the highly esteemed book by the Honourable 
Mountstuart Elphinstone. "After this cursory no- 
tice of the facts relating to the Afghans which are 
ascertained by authentic history, we may now exa- 
mine what they say of themselves. The account 
they give of their own origin is worthy of attention, 
and has already attracted the notice of an eminent 
Orientalist. They maintain that they are descended 
from Afghan, the son of Irmia, or Berkia, son of 
Saul, king of Israel, and all their histories of their 
nation begin with relating the transactions of the 
Jews from Abraham down to the captivity. Their 
narrative of those transactions appears to agree with 
that of the other Mohammedans ; and though inter- 
spersed with some wild fables, does not essentially 
differ from the Scripture. After the captivity (they 
allege that) part of the children of Afghan with- 
drew to the mountains of Ghore, and part to the 
neighbourhood of Mecca, in Arabia. 

"So far this account is destitute of probability. 
It is known that ten of the twelve tribes remained 
in the East after the return of their brethren to 


Judea, and the supposition that the Afghans are 
their descendants explains easily the disappearance 
of the one people and the appearance of the other. 
The rest of the story is confirmed by the fact that 
the Jews were very numerous in Arabia at the time 
of Mohammed, and the principal division of them 
bore the appellation of Khyber, which is still a dis- 
trict in Afghanistan, if not of an Afghan tribe. The 
theory is plausible, and may be true; but when 
closely examined, it will appear to rest on a vague 
tradition alone ; and even that tradition is clouded 
with many inconsistencies and contradictions. 

" The Afghan historians proceed to relate that the 
children of Israel, both in Ghore and in Arabia, 
preserved their knowledge of the unity of God and 
the purity of their religious belief, and that on the 
appearance of the last and greatest of the prophets 
(Mohammed) the Afghans of Ghore listened to the 
invitation of their Arabian brethren, the chief of 
whom was Khauled (or Caled), son of Waleed, so 
famous for his conquest of Syria, and marched to 
the aid of the true faith, under the command of 
Kyse, afterwards surnamed Abdoolresheed. The 
Arabian historians, on the contrary, bring the descent 


of Khauled from a well known tribe of their own 
nation, omit the name of Kyse on their list of the 
prophets, companions, or allies,* and are entirely 
silent on the subject of the Afghan succours. Even 
the Afghan historians, although they describe their 
countrymen as a numerous people during their Ara- 
bian campaign, and though it appears from a sarcasm 
attributed by those historians to the Prophet (who 
declared Pushtoo to be the language of hell), that 
they already spoke their national and peculiar tongue, 
yet do not scruple in another place to derive the 
whole nation from the loins of the very Kyse who 
commanded during the period of the above-men- 
tioned transactions. 

" If any other argument were required to disprove 
this part of the history, it is furnished by the Afghan 
historians themselves, who state that Saul was the 
forty-fifth in descent from Abraham, and Kyse the 
thirty-seventh from Saul. The first of these gene- 
alogies is utterly inconsistent with those of the Sa- 
cred Writings, and the second allows only thirty- 
seven generations for a period of sixteen hundred 

* Ansaur, " Assisters." 


years.* If to these facts we add that Saul had no 
son named either Irmia or Berkia, and that if the 
existence of his grandson Afghan be admitted, no 
trace of that patriarch's name remains among his 
descendants ; and if we consider the easy faith with 
which all rude nations receive accounts favourable 
to their own antiquity, I fear we must class the de- 
scent of the Afghans from the Jews with that of the 
Romans and the British from the Trojans, and that 
of the Irish from the Milesians or Bramins." f 

* This number is from the Taureekhee Sher Shaubee. The 
Taureekhee-Morussa give a much greater number, but then it 
introduces forty-five generations between Abraham and Jacob. 

f This subject is briefly discussed by Sir William Jones, in a 
note on a translation by Mr. Vansittart {Asiatic Researches, 
vol. ii., Art. 4). That elegant scholar is inclined to believe this 
supposed descent, which he strengthens by four reasons. His 
first argument is drawn from the resemblance of the name of 
Hazaureh to Arsareth, the country whither the Jews are said by 
Esdras to have retired ; but this reasoning, which was never very 
satisfactory, is destroyed by the fact that the Hazaurehs are a 
nation who have but recently occupied and given their name to 
a part of Afghanistan. The second argument is built on the 
traditions examined in the text, and on the assertion of the 
Persian historians, probably derived from those traditions, and 
at no time very deserving of faith. The third is founded on the 
Jewish names of the Afghans ; but those they probably have de- 
rived from the Arabs, like all other Mohammedan nations. 
Their ancient names have no resemblance to those of the Jews. 


It must be borne in mind that the Honourable 
Mountstuart Elphinstone's mission terminated at 

The last argument is founded on a supposed resemblance between 
the Pushtoo and Chaldaic languages, of which the reader will 
hereafter be enabled to judge. Many points of resemblance 
between the manners of the Afghans and those of the Jews might 
be adduced, but such a similarity is usual between nations in the 
same stage of society ; and if it were admitted as a proof of 
identity, the Tartars and the Arabs, the Germans and the Rus- 
sians, might be proved the same. 

It is also maintained by more than one European writer, that 
the Afghans are a Caucasian tribe, and particularly that they 
are descended from the Armenians. In the extent sometimes 
allowed to the name of Caucasus, the Afghans still inhabit that 
celebrated mountain ; but if it? be meant that they ever lived to 
the west of the Caspian Sea, the assertion appears to be unsup- 
ported by proof Their Armenian descent is utterly unknown 
to themselves, though constantly in the mouths of the Arme- 
nians ; and the story told by the latter people of the Afghans 
having become Mussulmans to avoid the long fasts prescribed by 
their own church, is too inconsistent with history to deserve a 
moment's consideration. I may add, that I have compared a 
short Armenian vocabulary with the Pushtoo, and could perceive 
no resemblance between the languages ; and I once read a good 
deal of a Pushtoo vocabulary to a well-informed Armenian, who, 
though he strenuously asserted the descent of the Afghans from 
his countrymen, yet owned that he could not discover a word 
common to their language and his own. I have not had the same 
advantage with the language of other Caucasian tribes, but I 
compared about two hundred and fifty Georgian words with the 
corresponding ones in Pushtoo, and nothing could be more dif- 
ferent ; and I know no ground for connecting the Afghans with 


Peshavar, and that he was never himself in Kabul. 
But the information given in his account of that 

the Western Caucasus, except the assertion of a German travel- 
ler, whose name I forget, that he saw Afghans there during the 
last century, which proves too much. 

Ferishta mentions that Kyse, the son of Haushem, and Huneef, 
the son of Kyse, were two of the earliest Arab commanders in 
Khorassaun (Briggs, Ferishta, vol. i., p. 3). He also states 
that Khauled, son of Abdoollah, being afraid to return to Arabia, 
settled in the hills of Solimaun, and gave his daughter to a 
converted Afghan chief (p. 5). It w,as probably from these 
facts that the names of Kyse and Khauled were suggested to the 
Afghan author, who first thought of ennobling his nation by 
connecting it with that of the Prophet. 

I may here notice, that none of the ancient Afghan names 
bear the slightest resemblance to those of the Arabs or the Jews. 
The progenitors of four great divisions of the nation were Ser- 
rabun, Ghoorghoosht, Betnee, and Kurleh or Kuranee. The 
tribes immediately sprung from these are Abdal, Ghilzie, 
Khukhye, Cauker, &c. &c., and it is not till more recent sub- 
divisions that we find Euzofzyes, Mahommedzyes, Solimaun 
Khail, and other Arabic and Hebrew derivatives. Professor 
Dorn, of Kharkov, who has translated a history of the Afghans, 
and has added many learned notes, discusses severally the theo- 
ries that have been maintained of the descent of the Afghans : 
first, from the Copts ; second, the Jews ; third, the Georgians ; 
fourth, the Toolks ; fifth, the Moguls ; sixth, the Armenians ; 
and mentions more cursorily the opinions that they are descended 
from the Indo-Scythians, Medians, Sogdians, Persians, and In- 
dians : on considering all which he comes to the rational con- 
clusion that they cannot be traced to any tribe or country 
beyond their present seats and the adjoining mountains. 1838. 


kingdom, as well as its immediate neighbourhood 
and more distant dominions, is so correct, and every- 
thing is described in such a manner, that all readers 
would at once think the honourable gentleman had 
himself been in the capital, had traversed the whole 
country, and examined all its wonders personally. 
Above all, his sojourn in Peshavar, while negotia- 
ting with the late Shah Shuja, his constant commu- 
nication, directly and indirectly, with the people of 
all ranks, and his civil and liberal manners towards 
every one, created a most wonderful and noble 
reversion of respect for the generosity, truth, and 
justice of the British nation in the hearts of the in- 
habitants of that part of Asia, and on this account 
all European travellers have been well treated, and 
many of the Afghan chiefs offered their homage to 
Lord Keane when advancing upon Cabul. This 
high-minded gentleman describes the Barakzais, the 
tribe of Dost Mohammed Khan, as follows : — "- The 
next clan to the Populzye, which it far exceeds in 
numbers, is the Baurekzyes. This great clan inha- 
bits the country south of Candahar, the valley of 
Urghessaun, the banks of the Helmud, and the dry 
plains which that river divides. Those near Can- 



dahar, and many of those in Urghessaun and on the 
Helmud, are led by the fertility of their soil to agri- 
culture, and the industry of others has even produced 
caureezes and cultivation in the midst of the desert, 
but the greater part of the tribe is composed of 
shepherds. They are a spirited and warlike clan, 
and as Fatah Khan is now their chief, they^iake a 
much more conspicuous figure than any other tribe 
among the Afghans. At present the grand vizier 
and almost all the great officers of state are Baurek- 
zyes, and they owe their elevation to the courage 
and attachment of their clan. 

" Their numbers are not less than thirty thousand 

Let us return to Haji Jamal Khan, son of Usaf 
In the reign of Ahmad Shah Durrani, Haji Jamal 
Khan, the grandfather of Dost Mohammed, became 
a noble of great influence ; and when Taimur Shah 
ascended the throne of Afghanistan, he died, and 
left four sons, namely: Rahimdad Khan, Payandah 
Khan, Harun Khan, and Bahadar Khan. His 
Majesty made the first of these chief of the Barak- 
zai tribe, in the room of his father Haji Jamal. 
But he possessed a mean disposition, which induced 


all the tribe to stand against him ; and they com- 
plained to the king that the chief, Eahimdad Khan, 
having a bad temper, does not invite his equals and 
followers to his table, and never dines in the com- 
pany of the nobles, but alone in the house. Such 
conduct is disgraceful to the name of their chief, 
and therefore they are not willing to render him 

His Majesty accepted the appeal of the tribe, dis- 
missed Eahimdad Khan from the chiefship, and 
appointed him keeper of the Government papers. 
He left eight sons, Abdul Khan, Abdulmajid, Abdul 
Kabir, Abdul Salem, Abdulhakim, Abdulhamid, 
Abdullah, and Abdul vahid Khan. 

On the dismissal or death of Eahimdad Khan, 
Taimur Shah nominated Payandah Khan, the father 
of Dost Mohammed, as chief of the Barakzai tribe. 
His civil and liberal conduct towards the people 
made him popular. His fidelity and attachment to 
the state rendered him the favourite of the king. 

Meanwhile Sardar Madad Khan set out to punish 
the obstinacy of Azad Khan, the governor of Kash- 
mir; and Payandah Khan, the father of Dost 
Mohammed, embraced this favourable opportunity 


of distinguishing himself, and accompanied the Sar- 
dar on his expedition. He fought bravely with the 
governor, who was routed and subjugated. When 
the Sardar returned from Kashmir to Kabul, and 
waited upon the king, he mentioned the services of 
Payandah Khan with the highest praise. Having 
had previously a good opinion of this individual, and 
hearing now of his brilliant achievements at Kash- 
mir, his Majesty ordered him to proceed to Shal 
and Quetta, and to collect the revenue of those dis- 
tricts. He performed this duty to the advantage of 
the state, and satisfaction of the populace. On this 
occasion every one spoke highly of the talents of 
Payandah Khan. 

These successive and good services of Payandah 
Khan wrought upon the heart of the king, who not 
only rewarded him by adding the Ghilzai division to 
his flag, but also allowed him to stand near the 
throne, and thus his promotion was advancing con- 

In the meantime Prince Abbas, son of Taimur 
Shah, rebelled against his father, and Arsalan Khan 
Momand became his adherent. His Majesty ordered 
Payandah Khan to quell this disturbance. He 

14 payandah's title. 

marched at the head of an army, and on reaching 
Lalpurah he rode his horse through the river without 
fear of being drowned. His followers imitated the 
heroic conduct of their leader, and found themselves 
on the other side of the river without any loss. 
Arsalan Khan, having no power of opposing him, 
was obliged to fly. Payandah Khan, after gaining 
the victory, returned to the presence of the Shah. 

The Shah, agreeably to the advice of Payandah 
Khan, went off for Peshavar; and he also accom- 
panied the royal camp. On reaching the city, 
Arsalan Khan was summoned to appear, and was 
put to death in the court. The rebellious son. 
Prince Abbas, threw himself on the mercy of his 
father, the Shah, and after obtaining pardon for his 
misdemeanour, came back to Kabul with the king. 
His Majesty was so much pleased with the valu- 
able services rendered by Payandah Khan that he 
honoured him with the title of Sarfraz (Lofty) 

After some time the peace of the western frontier 
of Kabul was disturbed by the Ozbek tribe. This 
disturbance frightened the king to such a degree 
that he had determined to quit the capital and 


escape to Herat. On hearing of such a cowardly 
purpose in his Majesty, the father of Dost Moham- 
med Khan, who was entitled Sarfraz Khan, with his 
usual resolution and fidelity, persuaded the Shah to 
remain on the throne, and himself marched towards 
Balkh. In the exercise of his sagacity and sound 
wisdom, he made peace with the Ozbek chiefj and 
returned to Kabul without having occasion to use 
his sword. The favour of the king increased daily 
towards him, but unfortunately his Majesty expired 
after a short interval. 

On the death of Taimur Shah some of the Dur- 
ranis were anxious to place Prince Abbas on the 
throne, and others wished that Mahmud should suc- 
ceed him. In short, every chief was puzzled to 
determine on whose head the crown should be 
placed. Sarfraz Khan, however, gave the sceptre 
of the realm into the hands of Prince Zaman, after- 
wards called Shah Zaman. His Majesty therefore 
loved him as dearly as his own life, and daily be- 
stowed upon him fresh marks of royal distinction. 

The continued services of Sarfraz Khan made 
Shah Zaman so much attached to him that in addi- 
tion to the command of the Barakzai tribe, and the 


division of the Ghilzais, his Majesty attached part 
of the Qizalbash force to his detachment, and ap- 
pointed for him an annual salary of about eighty 
thousand rupees. How pleasing it would have been 
if Sarfraz Khan had lived to see the diviiie favour 
shown in behalf of his son Dost Mohammed Khan, 
who ascended the throne of the late Kabul kings, 
and employed many people equal in rank with his 
father! Nay, also his old uncles, the brothers of 
Sarfraz Khan, as Jabbar Khan, Mohammed Zaman 
Khan, and Usman Khan, acknowledged their young 
nephew as their superior, and received from him a 
higher salary than Sarfraz Khan got from the old 
king of Kabul. 

As soon as Dost Mohammed Khan gained dis- 
tinction, and became chief of Kabul, he stamped the 
following verse on the coin, and this honoured and 
gave permanence to the name of his affectionate 
father : — 

" Simo tila be shams o qamar medahad naved." 
" Vaq te ravaj Sikhai Payandah Khan rasid." 

" Silver and gold give the happy tidings to sun and moon that 
the time has arrived for the currency of Payandah Khan's coin." 

It would certainly be wonderful if Sarfraz Khan 


could hear witk his own ears that his enterprising 
son Dost Mohammed had become as celebrated as 
one of the kings, and that the ambassadors of the 
British, the Russian, the Persian, and the Turkis- 
tan governments waited in his court. It happens 
seldom in this sad and changing world that parents 
are alive to derive pleasure from the prosperity of 
their promising sons ; and if they ever happen to be 
alive, still when the child has gained dignity, it is 
to be regretted that he seldom pleases them entirely 
by performing his filial duties according to their ex- 

When Yafadar Khan became the minister of Shah 
Zaman, he gained the highest favour of his Majesty 
by the use of his sweet words and intrigues in the 
court. Afterwards by his hypocrisy and false accu- 
sations he induced the king to treat all the nobles 
with contempt, and to look upon them with distrust ; 
and prevailed on his Majesty to make him prime 
minister of the kingdom. When he was sure that 
Shah Zaman had become disgusted with his deceit 
with regard to the chiefs, he represented to the king 
that Sarfraz Khan was intriguing with Shah Shuja, 


with the view to dethrone his Majesty, and make 
Shah Shuja sovereign of Afghanistan. He added 
the names of some other chiefs as his adherents in 
this act of disloyalty. Shah Zaman, who was after- 
wards blind of both eyes, seemed blind of sense at 
this time, for as soon as he heard the false accu- 
sations of Yafadar Khan, he sent for Sarfraz Khan 
and put him to death without making any investiga- 
tion into the facts or circumstances of the alleged 
treason. The envious conduct of Vafadar Khan did 
not cease upon accomplishing the murder of Dost 
Mohammed Khan's father, Sarfraz Khan. This 
was followed by that of other chiefs also, namely: 
of Mohammed Azim Khan Alakozai, of Qamruddin 
Khan, of Amin-ul-mulk babri, of Hazar Khan Ghil- 
zai, of Amir Arsalan Khan, of Jafar Khan Javan 
Sher, of Zaman Khan Eekabashi, &c., who all fell 
victims to the envy of Vafadar Khan. 

After the unjust massacre of the above named 
nobles, there remained not a talented and qualified 
man who could manage the affairs of the realm, and 
govern to the satisfaction of the people of all ranks. 
In short, the behaviour of the minister, Vafadar, was 


offensive to all. He oppressed the subjects, and he 
paid the forces in soap and red colours, instead of 
money; he made also many deductions in their pay, 
which at length caused every one to be thirsty for 
his blood, and at length this was shed most igno- 

When Sarfraz Khan was murdered, Harun Khan 
acted as governor of the district of Girashk for him. 
The latter died, and left two sons, namely, Shah 
Savar Khan and Amardin Khan. His brother, 
Bahadar Khan, was a man of much piety, and 
shunned all worldly affairs. He was day and night 
engaged in prayers. The ladies of the household of 
Sarfraz Khan mentioned that when he was in deep 
contemplation of the Almighty God, a heavy gold 
chain was generally coming out from his mouth and 
going into it again. He was said to be a stranger 
to the stratagems of the Afghans, and a lover of 
God. His son, Mohammed Rahim Khan, entitled 
Amin-ul-mulk, was also known to abhor the tyrannical 
habits of the Afghans, and by his amiable disposition 
had added honour to the good name of his father. 
He married a lady of Kashmir, whose virtues, love 

c 2 


of her husband, and good conduct in the days of ad- 
versity, are worthy of my notice. I will mention 
jthem more fully in the proper place, and especially 
concerning her being forced to marry Dost Moham- 
med Khan when she was a widow. 

( 21 ) 


Brothers of Dost Mohammed Khan—Dost's early training — 
Shah Zaman—Dost becomes the confidential agent of Fatah 
Khan — Defeat of Shah Shuja — Youth of Dost Mohammed 
Khan — He returns to Kabul — His sister married to Shah 
Shuja— Fatah Khan*s treaty with Mukhtar and with Qaisar — 
Intrepidity of Dost — He and Fatah leave Qandhar — They 
rebel from Shah Shuja — Are compelled to return to Qandhar — 
Fatah Khan is confined, and Dost escapes — Dost besieges 
Qandhar — Fatah is released — Dost and Fatah join Kam Ran — • 
Dost gains a victory — Fights with Shuja — Makes peace, and 
allies himself with Shuja — Dost and his brother desert the 
camp — Shuja gains a victory — Measures of Dost — His bravery 
— He defeats his enemy — Shah Mahmud becomes king, Fatah 
Khan vizir, and Dost is dignified — Mirza Ali Khan— Mo- 
hammed Azim Khan — Dost is made Sardar — Expedition to 
Kashmir — Rebellion in Kabul — Suppressed — War with the 

When the Sarfraz Khan was murdered he left twenty- 
one sons and several daughters. If I did not men- 
tion that they had different mothers, it might puzzle 
the reader to consider that so many children were 
born from one mother. The celebrated Yazir Fatah 
Khan, afterwards entitled Shah Dost by Mahmud 
Shah, was the eldest son of Sarfraz Khan. He, Tai- 


mur Quli Khan, and Mohammed Azim Khan were 
brothers from one mother, who belonged to the Nus- 
rat Khail clan. Then Navabs Asad Khan, Samad 
Khan, and Turrahbaz Khan were born from the 
Barakzai mother. The seventh son of the Sarfraz 
Khan was Ata Mohammed Khan, who was the real 
brother of Yar Mohammed Khan, of Sultan Mo- 
hammed Khan, of Said Mohammed Khan, and of 
Pir Mohammed Khan. Their mother was from the 
Alakozai family. Purdil Khan, who was the twelfth 
son of the Sarfraz Khan, was brother to Sherdil, to 
Kohindil, and to Mehardil Khan. These descended 
from their mother of the Idu Khail clan of the Hu- 
tak Ghilzai. The well known Navab Jabbar Khan 
is said to be the seventeenth son of the Sarfraz, and 
is the only one from his mother, of whom mention 
is made in the book of Mr. Vigne.* The reputation 

* "The Nawab Jubar Khan well deserves the name of the 
Feringis friend, was then about fifty-five years old, to judge from 
his appearance, standing about five feet nine, with a corpulent 
person, dark aquiline features, and somewhat of a Jewish look, 
having a very good tempered expression. His mother was a 
slave girl in the Zunana of Poyundu Khan ; his father gave her 
in marriage to a water-carrier, but still continued his attentions 
to her. By the custom of these countries a servant marrying a 
slave becomes also a slave. When the Nawab was born the 


of her character stands now high. Jumma Khan 
was born from an Afghan slave girl. Aslam Khan*s 
mother was also a slave of the tribe of Kafar Siah- 
posh. The hero of my tale, Dost Mohammed Khan, 
was the twentieth, and his younger brother, Amir 
Mohammed Khan, was the twenty-first son of the 
Sarfraz Khan ; their mother being from the Siah 
Mansur family, a branch of the Persian tribe, which 
was looked upon with disgrace and contempt, by the 
others, the Afghan wives of the Sarfraz Khan. 

I must safely say that the mother of Dost Mo- 
hammed was the favourite wife of Sarfraz Khan. 
She accompanied him in the various campaigns, and 
would not allow him to rise early and march long 
after sunrise. For this she was blessed by the 
troops and camp followers, who did not like to start 
earlier in cold. 

When the Sarfraz was no more, Fatah Khan, 
with the sons of his own uncles, namely, Abdul Sa- 

waterman took the child to Poyundu Khan, and told him that 
he knew more about the child than he himself did. For many 
years the Nawab was running about the Bala Hissar of Kabul, 
and was called the waterman's son. Mohamed Azim Khan took 
notice of him, owned him as his brother, and procured him an 
appointment as governor of Dhera Ghaze Khan." 


* f fl ce w 


a , 

§T3 § § * rt.S, 

i I 





-cj-d a ij 

o o'^s 



^ k> ^ 7:3 ^ 

rn-^T T 

SiAH SiAH Alako- Nusha Payanjjah Barak- Idu Kohis- Afghan 
Mansuh, Posh, zai. Khail, Khan zai. Khail. tani slave 

Persian. slave had eight slave girl, 

girl. wives : girl. 

^Baliadar Khan. 

. ^Harun Khan. 

Rahimdad n Haji Jamal, grandfather of Dost Mohammed Khan. 



I) Omar Khan, 
I) Khizar Khan. 
Daru Nika. 
o Saifal. 


Fofal ^ I ^Alako . 


Tradition says that the eighteenth descendant of Israel was Abdal. 


lam, Abdul Vahid, Mohammed Rahim Khan Amin- 
ul-mulk, and two other confidential men, made their 
escape through one of the bulwarks of the city of 
Qandhar to Girishk, and took up their abode in the 
fort named Sadat. After a short stay in that place, 
he went through Sistan to Persia, and joined Mah- 
mud Shah in Kirman, whither he had fled through 
fear of Zaman Shah. These were the days in which 
the descendants and family of Payandah Khan suf- 
fered most miserably. They were begging from 
morning till night for pieces of bread. Many were 
prisoners, and others had taken shelter in the mau- 
soleum of the late Ahmad Shah, with the view of 
gaining food which was daily distributed for charity's 
sake. No doubt my hero was included in the com- 
pany and shared their miseries. 

Abdul Majid Khan, son of the uncle of Dost 
Mohammed Khan, asserting his claim, after the Af- 
ghan custom, to inherit the widow of the nearest 
relation, forced the widowed mother of the latter to 
marry him. His brother Abdulamin Khan married 
the sister of Dost Mohammed Khan in the same 
forcible manner. While these unfortunate events 
were taking place in the family of the Sarfraz Khan, 


Dost Mahommed Khan, with his younger brother 
Amir Mohammed Khan, lived four years in one of 
the forts of Maruf, which belonged to the new hus- 
band of his mother, called Abdulmajid Khan. At 
this time he was from seven to eight years of 

Meanwhile Fatah Khan returned with Mahmud 
Shah from Persia, and encamped in the village of 
Amirbaldan, situated in the vicinity of Sistan. In 
this place he met with Mirakhor, who was one of 
the chiefs of Shah Zaman, and governor of Qandhar. 
The Mirakhor, without gaining any information of 
the strength of Fatah Khan's force, was overawed by 
the reputation of his rival's celebrated bravery, and 
was compelled to flee, leaving his tents and camp 
equipage in possession of Mahmud Shah. Now the 
stars of the descendants of the Sarfraz began to 

Fatah Khan, with Mahmud Shah, marched from 
Sistan and came to Girashk with pleasant spirits. 
Here he sent for his servant, named Mohammed, 
and gave his young brothers. Dost Mohammed and 
Amir Mohammed, into his charge, with injunctions 
to take very great care of them, and especially of 


the former. He also fixed a handsome income for 
the maintenance of his enterprising brother. 

After doing good offices for the improvement of 
Dost Mohammed Khan, Fatah Khan, and Shah, 
Mahmud marched against Qandhar and laid siege 
to the city. While the siege and skirmishes were 
going on, Yayha Khan Barakzai fled from the town 
and joined Fatah Khan. The latter, after forty-two 
days' blockading, made numerous ladders and took 
Qandhar by escalade. Immediately after this he 
confined the Prince Haidar in the palace along with 
Yar Mohammed Khan, &c. &c., the chiefs of Shah 
Zaman's party. Fatah Khan asked Mahmud Shah 
to put Abdulrahim Khan Sadozai and his father to 
death, and to publish that the deed was done by the 
Durrani chiefs. By fabricating this story, Fatah 
Khan was anxious to excite the suspicion of Shah 
Zaman against the Durranis, and to form an attach- 
ment to himself and to Shah Mahmud. Any one 
who was reported to have a little wealth became a 
prey to Fatah Khan's extortion. He, as well as 
Mahmud Shah, hoarded up a great deal of money 
by oppressing the merchants and cultivators, who 
provided them with all supplies for the war. When 


fully prepared, they moved from Qandhar with arms 
towards Kabul to meet Shah Zaman. 

At this time Dost Mohammed Khan had reached 
the twelfth year of his age. He obtained a situation 
under his brother Fatah, and attended upon him as 
"abdar," water-bearer, on every occasion. After 
some time he got an additional service, that of 
having the charge of preparing the smoking-pipe for 
Fatah Khan. 

When Shah Zaman had intelligence of the move- 
ment of Mahmud Shah and Fatah Khan in the 
direction of Kabul, he left all the heavy and royal 
baggage in charge of Shah Shuja, and marched him- 
self lightly equipped to oppose the enemy. On 
arriving at Mokar he inspected his army, and he 
found it consisted of nearly forty thousand foot and 
horsemen. Ahmad Khan Nurzai, who had one 
thousand horse under his command, was appointed 
to form the advance guard of the army. This com- 
mander made rapid intrigues with Fatah Khan, de- 
serted Shah Zaman, and offered his services to 
Mahmud Shah. When this news reached Shah 
Zaman, he thought that all his chiefs and forces had 
become disgusted with him through the ill behaviour 


of his minister, Yafadar Khan,* and, instead of 
fighting for him, they would probably seize and de- 
liver him up to the enemy. Already overcome by 
this fear, he was himself routed without a moment's 
opposition. On escaping from before Mahmud Shah's 
camp, his Majesty was informed that the inhabitants 
of Kabul had placed themselves on the road to this 
city, with the intention to plunder his Majesty. 
With this fearful view he took a different route to 
go down to Jalalabad, and thence to Peshavar. For 
the purpose of passing the night he stopped in the 
fort of Ashaq, who, having learned the deplorable 
flight and condition of the Shah, lost no time in re- 
ceiving the person of his Majesty, and by express 
conveyed a report of the same to Mahmud Shah and 
Fatah Khan. They immediately dispatched Navab 
Asad Khan with directions to bring Shah Zaman 

* Mohammed Osman Khan, the son of this unwise Vafadar 
Khan, was entitled Nazamuddaulah by the influence of the late 
Sir William Macnaghten and Sir Alexander Burnes, and was 
made minister of the late Shah Shuja in Kabul. This person 
imitated his father, and suggested such imprudent measures to 
the newly arrived functionary as caused disturbances, the loss of 
thousands of lives, honour, and also of Afghanistan. For par- 
ticulars of the character of Vafadar Khan, see Major Hugh's 
' Campaign in Afghanistan,' p. 378-9. 


and his minister both as -prisoners. He reached the 
fort of Ashaq, and brought the captives from thence 
to Jagdalak. Here he blinded Shah Zaman, and 
Yafadar Khan was put to death along with his 
brother in the Bala Hissar of Kabul. 

Much has been said and known about the cele- 
brated diamond of Kohi Nur (mountain of light), 
wherefore on this subject I add nothing more than 
that Shah Zaman, before he was taken captive, con- 
cealed it in the wall of the tower where he lived in 
the fort of Ashaq. He did not point out the place 
of its concealment to Shah Mahmud, but to his bro- 
ther. Shah Shuja. When the latter ascended the 
throne he took out the precious diamond, and when 
his evil stars predominated he was deprived of it by 
force by Ranjit Singh.* This Lion of the Panjab, 
Naunelal Singh (" Hotspur "), and poor Sher Singh, 
tied that diamond on their arms on happy occasions. 
When the latter was murdered, and anarchy took 
deep root in Lahaur, Kajah Hira Singh, the late 
minister of Maharajah Dalip Singh, got possession 
of the diamond, and sent it to his father's strong- 
hold in the Jammu Hills, where, no doubt, the 

* Died in 1839. 


present rajah, Golab Singh, has it in his possession. 
Rajah Hira Singh had also murdered Missar Beli 
Ram, the keeper of it, for fear of his saying that it 
has been received and sent by him to Golab Singh. 
Now if any inquiry be made with regard to this 
valuable gem, the Rajah will say he cannot find it, 
because it was in the charge of Beli Ram, who is 
now no more. 

When the reign of Shah Zaman was at an end, 
Fatah Khan placed Mahmud Shah on the throne of 
Kabul, and admitted Dost Mohammed Khan into 
all the secrets of each party. This promising young 
man was in attendance upon him at all times, and 
never went to sleep till Fatah was gone to his bed. 
He stood before him all the day with his hands 
closed, a token of respect among the Afghans. It 
was not an unusual occurrence, that when Fatah 
Khan was in his sleeping-room. Dost Mohammed 
Khan stood watching his safety. 

After some time had passed. Shah Shuja pre- 
pared an army to proceed against Mahmud Shah 
and Fatah Khan at Kabul, and to revenge the out- 
rage done by them to his brother Shah Zaman. On 
hearing this, Fatah Khan and Prince Kam Ran, sou 


of Mahmud Shah, quitted Kabul to check him. 
Near the village of Ishpan the armies fought with 
each other. In the beginning of the battle the war- 
riors of Fatah Khan became dispirited, but at length 
Shah Shuja was routed and overcome. Whatever 
royal property and treasures were left to him by the 
late kings fell into the hands of the followers of 
Fatah Khan, and many of them were very much 
enriched. Shah Shuja fled, and the Vazir Fatah 
Khan, flushed with success, went down to Peshavar 
for the purpose of collecting the revenue of that 
place. At this time Mahmud Shah had very little 
force in Kabul, which induced Abdulrahim Khan 
Ghilzai to make the Logar people his partizans, and 
to rebel against his Majesty. He set out for Kabul, 
and the king, being alarmed, released Mukhtar-ud- 
daulah, Ahmad Khan Nurzai, and Akram Khan 
Ghilzai from custody, and sent them to oppose the 
refractory chief. These chiefs collected about three 
thousand men, while the enemy was at the head of 
twenty thousand horse and foot. A hard fight 
ensued between the Ghilzai rebels and the Durranis 
of the king, who lost Taj Mohammed Khan, Ak- 
ram Khan Ghilzai, and Sher Mohammed Khan, who 


had much influence in the kingdom. Finally the 
Durranis were victorious : and the rebels, after losing 
numerous followers, retired to their native villages. 
The heads of the dead were cut off and brought by 
the Durranis into the presence of Mahmud Shah. 
He ordered them to be heaped up outside the palace, 
on the cliff known by the name of " Tapaikhaki- 

In the mean time Shahabuddin Tokhi, finding that 
the city of Qandhar was without troops, collected 
a large body of forces, and proceeded to take it. 
Abdul Majid Khan Barakzai, Saidal Khan Ala- 
kozai, and Salah Mohammed Khan Ghilzai, quitted 
the city to oppose the Tokhi chief on the road. The 
armies fought on " Puli Sangi," where two hundred 
Durranis and one thousand Ghilzaiswere killed. It 
was curious that the army of the king, fighting 
against rebels at two different places and far from 
each other, gained two victories in one day and at 
the same hour. 

The Yazir Fatah Khan, in the beginning of spring, 
appointed Abdul Vahid Khan as governor of Pe- 
shavar, and Khojah Mohammed Khan Fofalzai was 
left with him. Prince Kam Kan and the Vazir Fatah 



Khan returned to Kabul and dispatched Mukhtar- 
ud-daulah and Ahmad Khan Nurzai to strengthen 
the city of Qandhar. They were also directed by 
the above-mentioned chief to destroy all the Ghilzai 
forts which were situated on and in the vicinity of 
their march. They did the same, and after settling 
the disturbances of the southern kingdom, they came 
back to Kabul. 

While peace was thus being established on the 
southern side, a fresh rebellion broke out in the 
East. " Fatah Khan Babakarzai " took up his resi- 
dence in the house of the priests of " Ozbin," and 
besought them to take up his cause. They assembled 
a large body of plunderers, and with the aid of Jab- 
bar Khail and Ahmadzai tribe, which in all amounted 
to about forty thousand men, they came with the 
above-mentioned rebel, and made breastworks near 
"Munar Chakri" to fight with the king's forces. 
The Yazir Fatah Khan moved with an army to 
punish this refractory multitude, which, after a little 
fighting, was defeated and dispersed. The Yazir cut 
off nearly one hundred heads of the rebels and 
brought them into the city. After this he went to 
collect the revenues of the country of Bannu, and on 


his way back was surprised by the arrival of the 
news that Prince Qaisar of Herat, being unable to 
wage war with the prince Haji Firoz, had fled, and 
had sought refuge and aid from the king of Persia ; 
and that after passing some time in that country, he 
had marched to seize on the city of Qandhar. On 
this he immediately joined Prince Kam Ran at 
Qandhar, and marched to check the progress of 
Qaisar. They met and fought with each other at 
Kokran, in which place Akram Khan Ghilzai was 
killed on the part of Kam Kan, and Prince Qaisar 
was taken prisoner and carried to Kabul. 

While Fatah Khan was engaged in suppressing 
the aforesaid disorders in the kingdom, the enter- 
prising Dost Mohammed Khan was with him. His 
heroic conduct and persevering energy of mind were 
very pleasing in the eyes of the Yazir, and were 'the 
subject of jealousy of his older and younger brothers. 
His age at this time was fourteen years. As his 
intrepidity was the topic of the warrior's conversation, 
his beauty also rendered him a favourite with the 
people in those days. 

After that time the Yazir Fatah Khan, along with 
Dost Mohammed Khan, directed his course back to 



Kabul. This afforded a favourable opportunity for 
Shah Shuja at Peshavar, who, finding that the terri- 
tory of Qandhar was left without forces, proceeded 
through the Yazir's country to take it if possible. 
Akram Khan Barakzai, Mohammed Ali Khan, and 
Mir Akbar were then with his Majesty. No sooner 
had Fatah Khan and Dost Mohammed Khan heard 
of the movement of Shah Shuja towards Qandhar, 
than they set out to assist Prince Kam Kan against 
his Majesty. When they reached that place they 
confined Ghafur Khan Barakzai, Saidel Khan Ala- 
kozai, and Khojah Mohammed Khan Badozai, be- 
lieving that they were likely to go over to Shah, 
Shuja. This intelligence alarmed Mukhtar-ud- 
daulah, who thought that the daily increasing power 
of Fatah Khan would some day ruin him ; and to 
prevent this evil he excited the Mirvaiz, Khojah 
Khanji and Say ad Ashraf to take his part. 

The seditious Mirvaiz assembled the inhabitants 
(Sunnis) of Kabul, and on religious pretence excited 
their animosity against the Kuzilbashes (Shias). 
He added that Mahmud Shah and Fatah Khan, 
contrary to their own religion, are protectors of the 
Shias, the annihilation of which tribe is incumbent 


on the Sunnis* faith. As the greater part of the 
Qizilbash force was advancing with Fatah Khan 
and Dost Mohammed Khan towards Qandhar, the 
Mirvaiz, finding their part of the town weakened in 
its defence, he ordered the Kabul, Kohistan, and 
Ghilzai people to make a sudden attack on it ; and 
one of the divisions of the Qizilbash fort, occupied 
by the Khafis, was plundered, and Shah Mahmud 
besieged in Bala Hissar. At last his Majesty was 
taken prisoner, and Shah Shuja planted on the 

As soon as Fatah Khan was informed of his 
master's dethronement, he quitted Qandhar imme- 
diately with Dost Mohammed Khan, to fight with 
Shah Shuja in Kabul. About four miles from the 
city a battle took place between Shah Shuja and 
Fatah Khan, in which the latter was beaten, and 
compelled to join Prince Kam Ran at Qandhar. 
Shah Shuja being victorious returned to Kabul. 

As Navab Asad Khan, uncle of Dost, was a pri- 
soner in the Bala Hisar of Kabul, Mukhtar-ud- 
daulah supplicated his Majesty to release him, and 
allow him to be his guest. The Shah complied with 
his request, and Mukhtar-ud-daulah did every honour 


to Asad Khan. The Nawab being desirous to de- 
stroy all feelings of animosity between the Sadozai 
and Barakzai family, wished to make matrimonial 
connexions among them ; consequently the sister of 
Dost Mohammed Khan was married to Shah Shuja. 
After this his Majesty requested Navab Asad Khan, 
Gul Mohammed Khan, the brother of Mukhtar-ud- 
daulah and Dost Mohammed Khan, to go to the Vazir 
Fatah Khan at Qandhar, and after assuring him of 
every attention and respect on the part of the king 
to induce him to relinquish all designs of supporting 
Mahmud Shah, and to attach himself to Shah Shuja. 
The latter also made an oath to restore him to the 
rank and privileges of his late father the Sarfraz 
Khan, and to treat him with all due consideration. 
The aforesaid chiefs went down to Qandhar, and 
delivered the messages of the king to Fatah Khan, 
who was pleased with this unexpected condescension 
in Shah Shuja, and immediately marched for Ka- 
bul. Prince Kam Ean was broken-hearted at this 
unhappy turn of affairs, and was obliged to take 
refuge in Hirat. 

When the intelligence of Fatah Khan's departure 
from Qandhar reached Mukhtar-ud-daulah at Kabul, 

shuja's treachery. 39 

he went down to meet him at Ghazni, and conducted 
him to the presence of the king. Fatah Khan did 
not receive the favours of his Majesty as stipulated, 
nor was the Ghilzai division of the army placed 
under his charge. He was nearly two months in the 
house of Mukhtar-ud-daulah, who treated him with 
distinction and civility. In the meantime Akram 
Khan advised Shah Shuja to proceed to Peshavar, 
and there to put Fatah Khan and Mukhtar-ud-daulah 
into custody, and so to save himself from all fear of 
injury from them. One of the men who was aware 
of this secret went and said to Mukhtar-ud-daulah 
that Akram Khan and Shah Shuja had contrived to 
ruin them. Mukhtar-ud-daulah was lost in wonder at 
such ungrateful contrivances of Shuja, whom he had 
shortly before made king, after dethroning Mah- 
mud Shah. He said to himself, that if he were to 
rebel openly just now, to prevent the ill designs of 
his antagonist, it would bring a load of disgrace to 
his own long-earned reputation. He therefore ad- 
vanced seventy thousand rupees secretly to Fatah 
Khan, and told him to wait in Kabul on the excuse 
of procuring a marching equipage, while he himself 
would go with Shuja to Peshavar. He added also, 


that when Fatah Khan should receive the news of 
the Shah's arrival in Tezin, he should immediately 
commence proceedings as a foe to the king, and 
should cause the release of the chiefs, namely : Baqar 
Khan, Ibrahim Khan, Mirza Abul Qasim Khan, 
and Mardan Khan, and convey them to Shah Za- 
dah Qaisar at Qandhar. These chiefs were the 
friends of Shah Mahmud, and therefore had been 
put into confinement by Shah Shuja. While 
Mukhtar and Fatah Khan were planning these pro- 
ceedings against Shah Shuja, they entered into an . 
agreement with each other, that the friends and 
enemies of the one should be friends and enemies of 
the other, and both should join when an antagonist 
appeared against either of them. 

No sooner had Shah Shuja reached Tezin on his 
way to Jalalabad than he heard of the hostile views 
of Mukhtar and Fatah Khan. Immediately he 
issued orders that a strong cavalry force should 
return to Kabul, and bring the captive nobles of 
Shah Mahmud to his presence, along with the guard 
already with them. Before this cavalry had reached 
Kabul the brave Fatah Khan took all the chiefs out 
of custody, and conducted them to Qandhar, through 


Lahogard.* Shah Zadah Qaisar was ruling in 
Qandhar at that time, and Ahmad Khan Nurzai 
was his minister. Fatah Khan, after long marches, 
reached the " Edgah " gate of Qandhar at midnight, 
and bribed the guard to report his arrival secretly 
to Agha Idrak, then confidential eunuch of the 
Shah Zadah. When he heard this he instantly 
waited upon Qaisar, and mentioned the arrival of 
Fatah Khan, with this message, " If the Shah Zadah 
had any intention of becoming a king, this seemed a 
good opportunity, and he (Fatah Khan) would place 
him on the throne ; otherwise he should send him a 
quiet and plain answer." 

As soon as Qaisar received the overtures of Fatah 
Khan he came at midnight to meet him at the gate, 
without being noticed by any one. Fatah Khan 
said to the prince, that if his royal highness would 
deliver to him Ahmad Khan Nurzai, and take an 
oath that he would be gratefully attached to him for 
ever, he would either shed all his own blood on his 
behalf, or would make him king of Afghanistan. 
Otherwise he would go to Hirat, and offer the same 
assistance to Prince Kam Ran. 

* Commonly called Logar. 


Shah Zahah Qaisar accepted the good advice of 
Fatah Khan, and both wrote an agreement on a leaf 
of the Qoran, under their respective seals, binding 
themselves to each other with perpetual attachment. 
When this was settled, Fatah Khan conducted the 
prince to his palace in the city, and ordered his two 
thousand horsemen to dismount and proceed under 
the command of Dost Mohammed Khan, to sur- 
round the house, and seize the person of Ahmad 
Khan Nurzai, by taking the "Char Suq" road. 
The hero Dost Mohammed Khan succeeded in 
opening the door of Ahmad Khan's house, and 
seized him while in bed. After this he tied his 
hands and feet, and imprisoned him in the house of 
Shah Zadah Qaisar. 

In the morning the courtiers as well as the citi- 
zens did not see Ahmad Khan passing to " Darbar *' 
as usual, and were astonished to perceive that in his 
place Fatah Khan and Dost Mohammed Khan had 
attended the court of Shah Zadah ; and no one 
knew what had become of the unfortunate Ahmad 
Khan. This sudden change of the nobility created 
the utmost terror among the Afghan chiefs, and 
curiosity among the citizens. The latter proceeded 


to see the prisoner in the palace, to satisfy their 
curiosity ; and the former persuaded Qaisar to put 
Fatah Khan in confinement. On this his royal 
highness, being forgetful of his solemn oath, made 
an artifice to seize Fatah Khan, and with this view 
asked him to give him a private entertainment in 
the garden, where he secretly made arrangements 
with the chiefs to shackle him immediately. 

However, this fraud of the ungrateful Qaisar 
came to the knowledge of Fatah Khan, who begged 
Qaisar to allow him leisure of two days to prepare 
the articles of the entertainment, while he meant to 
manage his own defence. At this crisis he found 
no remedy but to appoint the brave Dost Moham- 
med Khan superintendent of the feast, and com- 
mandant of his personal guard. Consequently, he 
(Dost) decorated a most beautiful apartment to 
receive the prince, and being himself armed cap-a- 
pie, as well as at the head of five hundred good 
fighting soldiers, stood in the presence of his royal 
highness, and by his alert manners showed him 
that he was watching the safety of his brother the 

When the prince, as well as the Durrani nobility, 


observed that their designs of catching Fatah Khan 
were frustrated by the vigilance of Dost Mohammed 
Khan, they pretended that the object of the meeting 
was to obtain the rescue of Ahmad Khan Nurzai. 
For this they also offered a present of one lakh of 
rupees to the prince and to the Yazir, on the part of 
the captive. They also married his daughter to the 
prince that day. This arrangement caused his re- 
lease, and his reappointment to the situation of the 
lieutenant-governor of Qandhar. 

Meanwhile Fatah Khan, with Dost Mohammed, 
Ata Mohammed, and Khowajah Mohammed Khan, 
proceeded to attack Kabul. When he reached 
Kaleti Ghilzai he was deserted by Ata Mohammed 
Khan, and other Nurzai chiefs, who went back and 
joined Ahmad Khan at Qandhar. Fatah Khan, 
relying on the intrepidity of Dost Mohammed Khan, 
cared very little for the faithless conduct of the 
deserters, and with his heroic brother continued his 
march towards Kabul. When he arrived at the 
village named Top, the news of the movement of 
Shah Shuja from Peshavar, as well as his arrival at 
Qilai Qazi to oppose him, spread in the camp of the 
Barakzai chiefs. On this, about midnight, Faizullah 


Khan Fofalzai, along with five hundred horsemen, 
left Fatah and Dost, and joined Shah Shuja. 

This desertion caused great consternation in the 
camp of Fatah Khan, whom Dost wisely advised to 
retrace his steps to Candhar. Before they reached 
Kalat they were informed that Prince Kam Ran 
was in possession of Qandhar, and that Ahmad 
Khan, the lieutenant-governor, without firing a shot, 
had stolen his way to his native fort in the adjacent 
country. As soon as Fatah and Dost heard this 
they sent Shah Zadah Qaisar in charge of Khowa- 
jah Mohammed to Dehlah, and themselves with the 
rest of their brothers waited upon Prince Kam Kan 
at Qandhar. They passed about two months in 
great distress with him, and at last begged him to 
advance them some money to distribute among their 
followers. The prince, notwithstanding that he had 
a great deal of wealth, swore that he had none to 
give them. 

Fatah and Dost took immediate steps to intrigue 
with their former master. Prince Qaisar, against 
Prince Kam E-an, whom they, when every thing was 
in their own favour, turned out of the city; and 
they then invited the former to take his place. In 


these times of agitation Dost failed also in the 
respect which was due to the royal household, and 
omitted no opportunity to plunder and rob the 
royal ladies. After the Shah Zadah Qaisar, with 
the assistance of Fatah Khan and Dost Mohammed 
Khan, had seized the government of Qandhar, his 
royal highness dispatched Mohammed Ali Khan, 
and Mir Akbar, to Shah Shuja and Mukhtar-ud- 
daulah, and proposed that if he would allow him the 
possession of Qandhar, Shikarpur, and their depen- 
dencies, he would destroy Kam Ran, with Haji 
Firozuddin. He also suggested that if his Majesty 
suspected the attachment of his royal highness, and 
the fidelity of Fatah Khan and of Dost Mohammed 
Khan, he would immediately send their brother 
Mohammed Azim Khan as a hostage to the Shah. 

Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk did not accept the offers of 
Shah Zadah, but continued his march to Qandhar. 
When the royal camp was near a village called 
"Chishmah Shadi," Dost Mohammed and' Fatah 
Khan fled from the city to Frah, and the Shah 
Zadah, in company with Khowajah Mohammed 
Khan, proceeded to take shelter in " Dehlah." This 
intelligence disappointed his Majesty, who set out 


by express to get the Shah Zadah if possible. 
Mukhtar-ud-daulah secretly conveyed the news to 
the Shah Zadah, who quitted " Dehlah," to secure 
himself in some distant and out of the way place. 

On this Shah Shuja entered the city of Qandhar, 
and offered the most kind and honourable treatment 
to Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan, who imme- 
diately waited upon him. Four days afterwards Shah 
Zaman and Mukhtar-ud-daulah went and brought 
Shah Zadah Qaisar with Khowajah Mohammed 
Khan into the presence of his Majesty, who pardoned 
them for their past misdeeds and restored the go- 
vernment of Qandhar to them. Shah Shuja, in 
company with Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan, 
proceeded to Sindh, where he received the usual 
tribute from the Meers, and bent his course by the 
Derajat and Peshavar to Kabul. 

Meanwhile the Mir Alam Khan was deprived of 
the governorship of Derah Ghazi Khan, and Ata 
Mohammed Khan Nurzai was placed by Shah Shuja 
in that important situation. This alarmed Dost 
Mohammed and Fatah Khan to such an extent, that 
they found no safety for their persons but in flying 
towards Hirat. The Mir Alam also fled at the 


head of some good and brave cavalry, and gained 
employment under Shah Zadah Qaisar in Qandhar. 
In Hirat Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan did all 
in their power to induce Shah Zadah Haji Firoz to 
attack Qandhar and Kabul, but he did not comply 
with their request. He said he had not ambition to 
rule the kingdom of Afghanistan, and was well 
satisfied with the present possession of Hirat. 

The refusal of Shah Zadah Haji Firoz broke the 
hearts of Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan, and 
even compelled them to return to Shah Zadah Qai- 
sar at Qandhar. Here Khowajah Mohammed Khan 
Fofalzai, with the friendly assistance of the Mir 
Alam Khan Nurzai, began to insult Dost Moham- 
med and Fatah Khan with dispute about equality, 
and intrigued with Shah Zaman, who at this time 
was living with his son Shah Zadah Qaisar in Qand- 
har, to put them both in confinement. 

With this view Shah Zaman begged the confiden- 
tial servants of Shah Zadah Qaisar, who were the 
Mir Alam Khan Nurzai and Shah Navaz Khan 
Achakzai, to call upon Dost Mohammed and Fatah 
Khan, and state on the part of his Majesty that they 
should give him a grand entertainment. The quick- 


sighted Dost Mohammed Khan discovered the real 
object of the pretended familiarity and base affection 
of Shah Zaman, and both brothers apparently showed 
themselves highly honoured by such favour of Shah 
Zaman. They made preparations for three different 
entertainments ; one on their own part, the second 
from Navab Asad Khan, and the third from Moham- 
med Azim Khan. 

Upon the one hand Fatah Khan was preparing 
everything pompously to receive Shah Zaman in the 
beautiful garden of Maranjan, as if he were not 
aware of the conspiracy, and on the other, the active 
Dost Mohammed was secretly engaged in adding to 
the number of his body guard, and kept a piercing 
eye on all sides to secure the safety of his brother, 
Fatah Khan, and of himself, in case the conspirators 
should dare to injure them. His celerity and readi- 
ness to meet any blow showed Shah Zaman and 
Shah Zadah Qaisar the impossibility of making them 
the victims of the conspiracy, and therefore to re- 
move every suspicion from the minds of Dost Mo- 
hammed and Fatah Khan, the Shah conferred the 
dress of honour on them. Thus the watchfulness of 
the hero of my tale frustrated the designs of the 


conspirators, who in great despair made all possible 
schemes to gain their mean object during the day, 
but availed nothing. 

At last Shah Zaman and Shah Zadah Qaisar left 
the entertainment, and on returning to the palace 
gave orders that no chief should enter the court-yard 
accompanied by more than five attendants. During 
twenty days Fatah Khan managed to take about 
one hundred men with him, when he was waiting 
upon Shah Zadah, and thus secured his safety for 
such a period. At length, the Shah Zadah concealed 
some of his strong men in his garden, when he gave 
orders that his nobles should wait to pay their re- 
spects. This was done, and suddenly the Mir Alam 
Khan, the nephew of the Sardar Ahmad Khan, sur- 
named Saifuddaulah, lifted up Fatah Khan and 
threw him down on the ground, which broke two of 
his teeth, and immediately they made him a pri- 
soner. After this the friends of Fatah Khan, namely, 
Navab Asad Khan, Mirza Mohammed Raza, and 
Agha Mehndi, were similarly treated ; but the brave 
Dost Mohammed was fortunately aware of the im- 
pending danger, and lost no time, but called his fol- 
lowers, who amounted to about five hundred men. 


It was not in the power of Shah Zadah to catch 
Dost Mohammed Khan, when thus protected. 

It was impossible for a man like Dost Mohammed 
Khan to see his brother, Fatah Khan, suffering in 
custody without using his utmost energy to obtain 
the freedom of the dear captive. At the head of 
his followers he made a bold rush into the outer gate 
of the palace, but on reaching the door of the resi- 
dence of the Shah Zadah, where Fatah Khan was 
confined, he was disappointed to observe that it was 
shut, and not only strongly defended, but all the 
walls and towers filled with matchlock men. They 
all at once fired at him, and he, having no means to 
ascend the walls, relinquished the attack. However, 
he besieged the palace ; on which the Shah Zadah 
ordered Khowajah Mohammed Khan and the other 
chiefs to shut the gates of the city, and thus cut off 
the means of escape from Dost Mohammed Khan 
when thus reduced in the number of his adherents. 
One of the friends of Mohammed Azim Khan se- 
cretly sent this news to the Dost, and added also 
that the chiefs, with five hundred men each, had 
been ordered to take charge of the different gates 
and towers of the city against him. 

E 2 


On receiving this unpleasant intelligence, which 
might make to tremble almost the bravest leader, 
the hero Dost, with his usual perseverance and pre- 
sence of mind, assembled his brothers and the heads 
of his small handful of men, with whom he held a 
council of war. He stated, " that the captivity of 
his elder brother, Fatah Khan, is of course painful 
to every one of the present party, and most heart- 
rending it is to leave him lingering in the hands of 
the enemy ; but as the Shah Zadah has made every 
preparation either to destroy or to seize this small 
party, if his royal highness succeeds in either of his 
plans, we shall not only be sufferers, but shall also 
lose the hope of securing the liberty of Fatah Khan 
for ever. Consequently, we must draw our swords, 
and with energetic determination killing our oppo- 
sers on the road, force our way through the gates, 
and go down to Girishk." The party accepted this 
advice as the best, and gladly followed him who gave 
it so wisely. On approaching the gate. Dost Moham- 
med killed some men of the guard stationed to im- 
pede his progress ; and thus opening the gate made 
his escape to his stronghold in Girishk. On this. 
Shah Zaman advised his son, Shah Zadah Qaisar, to 


cut off the head of Fatah Khan in return for his 
being the instrument in blinding his Majesty and 
forcing him from the throne ; but the Shah Zadah 
lent more attentive ears to the advice of Mukhtar- 
ud-daulah and Mohammed Khan, than to that of his 
father, and thus saved the life of his prisoner. 

At this time a large caravan from Persia passed 
through Hirat for Qandhar, and had scarcely reached 
the vicinity of Girishk, when Dost Mohammed Khan 
with Mohammed Azim Khan placed himself in its 
way. When the store of booty was near and in his 
view, he galloped forward and deprived all the mer- 
chants of their goods and cash. He paid no atten- 
tion to the heart-rending shrieks and complaints of 
the traders ; and being in possession of about four 
lakhs of rupees, he raised troops, proceeded at the 
head of them, and laid siege to Qandhar. During 
nearly three months he surrounded the city so closely 
that all communication with the garrison was stopped, 
and the supplies of grain and ammunition were 
nearly consumed. While Dost Mohammed Khan 
was daily reducing the Shah Zadah to a dangerous 
perplexity by a regular and protracted siege, Mukh- 
tar-ud-daulah was also not less active in favour of 


Fatah Khan. Shah Zadah Qaisar had much regard 
for Mukhtar, who sent him a petition begging him 
to release Fatah Khan, " otherwise his brother, the 
brave Dost, will destroy the city of Qandhar, and 
I shall be able to secure no respect for the royal 
family when captured." He also asked Shah Shuja 
to write to Shah Zadah to the same effect. The 
Shah instructed the Shah Zadah that, on releasing 
Fatah Khan, he was to ask him to send Mohammed 
Azim Khan, with the Gholam Khanah (Persian 
troops), to remain as hostages with his Majesty, the 
Shah Zadah considering this a most lucky opportu- 
nity to please Shah Shuja by obeying his orders, 
and much more so to get rid of the Dost's siege, 
gave an immediate acquiescence to the request of 
his Majesty, and set Fatah Khan free, who also sent 
the demanded hostages to Shuja. 

After some time Shah Shuja dispatched Moham- 
med Azim and Ata Mohammed Khan on special 
service to Multan, and on their return from that 
quarter they passed through Deratjat and Peshavar 
on their way to Qandhar. As soon as they arrived 
at that place. Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan re- 
belled from Shah Shuja and Shah Zadah Qaisar, 


and declared themselves willing to support Shah 
Zadah Kam Ran against them. When his Majesty 
heard this sad news he immediately wrote to Shah 
Zadah Qaisar to proceed with four thousand horse- 
men and attack the rebels. Dost Mohammed and 
Fatah Khan, having been informed of the hostile 
steps of Qaisar, solicited Shah Zadah Haji Firoz of 
Hirat to lend them aid. To this his royal highness 
agreed, and dispatched Shah Zadah Milak Qaisar at 
the head of three thousand cavalry to their assist- 
ance. It was in the plain near the fort of Azim 
Khan where the allied forces under the Dost en- 
gaged with those of Shah Zadah Qaisar. After a 
fight, in which about two thousand men were killed 
and wounded on both sides, the hero of my tale, 
Dost Mohammed Khan, and his brother, Fatah 
Khan, were victorious, and the army of Shah Zadah 

When the intelligence of the defeat of Shah Za- 
dah reached the Imperial court of Shah Shuja, he 
proceeded quickly in person to defend the city of 
Qandhar. On this, Fatah Khan and the Mir Alam 
Khan made preparations to oppose the progress of 
his Majesty. Since there was no other person so 


qualified as Dost Mohammed Khan, both in con- 
ducting political affairs and in the energetic duties 
of a field-marshal, the whole party unanimously 
elected the lion of my subject to undertake that im- 
portant post. 

The field-marshal. Dost Mohammed, with his ac- 
customed alacrity and perseverance, led his troops 
to oppose Shah Shuja, whom he met near Qarah- 
bagh, or rather in Obeh. A battle ensued, and both 
parties fought desperately, when the Sardar Ahmad 
Khan Nurzai became the medium of a negotiation 
between the Shah and Dost Mohammed Khan. 
War was changed into peace, on which Dost Mo- 
hammed returned to Girishk, and Shah Shuja, after 
replacing Shah Zadah Qaisar in the government of 
Qandhar, moved back to Kabul with Mukhtar-ud- 

It was not long after the arrival of Shah Shuja in 
Kabul that his Majesty was surrounded with new 
difficulties, and thought to have recourse to the ser- 
vices of the brave Dost Mohammed and of Fatah 
Khan. The affairs of the capital took a most fright- 
ful aspect. The prime minister, Mukhtar-ud-daulah, 
in junction with the celebrated hypocrite, the Mir 


Vaiz, the priest of Kabul, rebelled against his royal 
master, with the view to recognise Shah Zadah Qai- 
sar, governor of Qandhar, as sovereign of Afghanis- 
tan. When this cheerless information reached the 
ears of his Majesty, he immediately sent a deputation 
consisting of the Durrani nobles of the realm, namely, 
the Sardar Madad Khan Is-haqzai, Ahmad Khan 
Nurzai, some members of the royal family, and holy 
descendant of the Prophet the Sadats, as well as 
other " Aq Saqal," silver-bearded people of respect- 
ability, to Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan in 

The deputation of the Shah, after engaging and 
pledging themselves for the personal safety and good 
treatment of Dost Mohammed and of Fatah Khan, 
conducted them to Qandhar. As soon as this report 
spread in the country, Mukhtar-ud-daulah and the 
Mir Vaiz, as well as their followers, relinquished all 
their rebellious designs for the time. Shah Shuja 
felt very anxious to secure the closer alliance of Dost 
Mohammed and of Fatah Khan, and therefore he 
himself met them in Qandhar. His Majesty gave 
them every assurance of his favour and attachment, 
and delivered to them a sealed engagement written 


on the holy leaf of the " Qoran," and at the same 
time conferred the title of "Sardar i Sardaran" 
(chief of chiefs) upon Fatah Khan: he also gave a 
most valuable dress of honour, along with a superior 
horse with gold trappings, to Dost, and one lakh of 
rupees for their expenses. 

After Shah Shuja had succeeded in obtaining the 
good will and services of Dost and Fatah Khan, he 
proceeded to raise tribute from the Meers of Sindh ; 
but the Sindhians made preparations to fight with 
the Shah. On this the nobles of the court, namely, 
Akram Khan, &c. &c., petitioned the Shah to make 
peace on getting five lakhs of rupees from them ; 
while the hero Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan, 
relying on their intrepidity and sagacity, begged the 
Shah not to lend an ear to the proposals of Akram, 
but to leave the whole affair to their arrangement. 
They also added that, without using arms and sacri- 
ficing lives, they would get from the Meers and fill 
the royal coffers with thirty lakhs of rupees. How- 
ever, Akram foolishly prevailed on his Majesty to 
follow his counsel ; and going secretly to the Meers 
at night, brought only five lakhs of rupees, and made 
an arrangement with them. 


This proceeding of Akram Khan, which was no- 
thing but a tissue of folly and crooked understand- 
ing, not only showed the weakness of the Shah's 
powers to the Sindhians and caused a loss of twenty- 
five lakhs of rupees to the royal treasury, but it also 
excited the extreme displeasure of Dost Mohammed 
and Fatah Khan. They deeply lamented the 
damage sustained by the ill counsel of Akram Khan, 
and became exceedingly wrathful, that the Shah, 
instead of paying attention to their advantageous 
advice, followed that of their inferior and fool. 

Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan were so much 
disgusted with the above-mentioned proceedings, that 
they left Haidarabad and came up to Shikarpur. 
Hither the Shah followed them and apologized to 
them. He swore that nothing of the kind should 
happen in future, and that all the affairs of his go- 
vernment, whether internal or external, should be 
adjusted by their guidance. As nature had culti- 
vated noble and independent notions in the head 
and heart of Dost, he therefore could not be 
estranged by ill usage of this kind, but was deter- 
mined to oblige and serve the Shah evidently and 
openly, and agreed to fight with Shah Zadah Qaisar, 


Mukhtar-ud-daulah, and Mir Yaiz, who had again 
assumed the character of enemies to the Shah. 

In the mean time the news of the movements of 
Shah Zadah Qaisar and Mukhtar-ud-daulah towards 
Peshavar was brought to Shah Shuja, who proceeded 
with Dost and Fatah Khan to Derah Ghazai Khan, 
with the intention to strike a blow on the party of 
Shah Zadah Qaisar at Peshavar. Before the march 
commenced, the watchful Dost Mohammed directed 
his and Fatah Khan's family to steal their way to 
Qandhar, and the Navab Asad Khan was appointed 
to take charge of them ; and he at the same time 
said that he would soon join them with Fatah Khan. 

It should be recollected here that Mukhtar-ud- 
daulah was always on friendly terms with Fatah 
Khan and with Dost. He now, being the chief 
instrument of recognising Shah Zadah Qaisar, against 
whom Shah Shuja was proceeding, wrote secretly to 
Dost and to Fatah, that if they still adhere to the 
bonds of friendship and their oath with him, they are 
to desert Shah Shuja immediately, and kindle the 
flame of insurrection in the dominion of his Majesty 
in Qandhar, which no doubt would agitate and ruin 
the measures of the Shah beyond remedy. While 


Shah Shuja was about six miles from Derah, Dost 
Mohammed and Fatah Khan deserted the royal 
camp and took their route towards Qandhar. The 
report of the desertion of Dost Mohammed and 
Fatah Khan thunderstruck Shuja, who, however, 
relying much more on the protection of God than on 
the assistance of the deserters, continued his march 
to Peshavar. 

It was near the village of Tahkal, in the suburbs 
of Peshavar, where the force of Shah Shuja fought 
with that of Shah Zadan Qaisar. After a severe 
conflict Mukhtar-ud-daulah fell in the field, and his 
brother Haji Mir Ahmad and Khowajah Mohammed 
Khan also followed him. The victory was on the 
side of Shah Shuja, who at once set out for Kabul 
* and put to death the fanatic ringleader the Mir Yaiz, 
priest of that city. As soon as his Majesty got rid 
of the said priest he started to punish Dost Mo- 
hammed and Fatah Khan at Qandhar, who had 
deserted him at Derah. 

When Dost Mohammed and Fatah were informed 
of the hostile movements of Shah Shuja, they raised 
a large army, and under the royal shadow of Shah 
Mahmud and of Shah Zadah Kam Kan, set out to 


oppose Shah Shuja. Dost Mohammed volunteered to 
be the head of the advanced guard, and was accom- 
panied by his step-brother Purdil Khan, and also by 
Nur Mohammed Khan, the brother of Khowajah 
Mohammed Khan, who was slain in the late battle 
of Tahkal, in Peshavar. The very moment he had 
reached Kalat i Ghilzai, Nur Mohammed Khan went 
over to Shah Shuja, and Ata Mohammed Khan 
Nurzai and Yahya Khan Bamzai, who were com- 
manders of large bodies of troops, fled towards Deh- 
lah and Murghab. 

At the time these sad desertions took place, and 
the leader of the advanced guard remained alone, 
Shuja would not have hesitated a moment to seize 
and destroy him (Dost Mohammed) by surprise, but 
he knew his brave heart and wise head, and therefore 
avoided a skirmish with him. It is said by the 
people that at this crisis Dost Mohammed was afraid 
of Shah Shuja, because he was deserted and alone, 
and the Shah was afraid of the talents and heroism 
of Dost, lest he might cause dissension among his 
followers. These fears, entertained on both sides, 
prevented an immediate contest, and afforded a 
favourable opportunity to Dost Mohammed Khan 


to retrace his steps and join his brother Fatah 

On the approach of Shuja's army, Mahmud Shah, 
being aided only by Fatah Khan and Dost Moham- 
med, found himself too weak to fight with Shah Shuja, 
and therefore in this low spirit he fled to Girishk. 

After some time Dost Mohammed and Fatah 
Khan left Girishk and went to Sabzvar, where they 
remained for three months. During their sojourn in 
this place they were informed that Shah Shuja had 
left Qandhar for Kabul, and appointed Shah Zadah 
Yunas, with Azam Khan Nasakhchibashi and the 
Mir Alam Khan, governor of the former city. 

Meanwhile Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan 
heard that two large caravans were to pass near 
Khashrod, one from Qandhar to Persia, and the other 
from the latter country to the former. On this they 
placed themselves on the road of the caravans, and 
the very moment they encountered with them every 
article fell into the possession of these noble highway- 
men. They gained plenty of money by this plunder 
from the merchants. Immediately after this they 
raised an army and prepared themselves to attack 


Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan met no oppo- 
sition on the line of their march to Qandhar, which 
place they fortunately took with little trouble. The 
governor of this place fled, and joined his master 
Shah Shuja in Derajat ; and Mir Alam Khan, the 
lieutenant-governor, being a relative of Pir Moham- 
med Khan Alakozai, threw himself on the protection 
of Shah Mahmud, who was again made nominal king 
by Dost and Fatah. After arranging the govern- 
ment affairs of Qandhar, Dost Mohammed and Fatah 
Khan proceeded to take Kabul, under favour of the 
name of Shah Mahmud. They succeeded in gaining 
possession of this capital, and sent Mohammed Azim 
Khan towards Peshavar to oppose Shah Shuja. 

While Mohammed Azim Khan was encamped at 
Balabagh to intercept the progress of Shah Shuja, 
Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan were strengthen- 
ing themselves and weakening their adversaries in 
Kabul. Among them was the Mir Alam Khafi, whom 
they confined and treated with barbarous cruelty. 
Shah Shuja, at the head of twenty-five thousand men, 
proceeded from Peshavar to Kabul. When the 
royal army reached Jalalabad, Mohammed Azim 
Khan, finding himself unable to oppose his Majesty, 


left the highway and took shelter in the different 
skirts of the Sufaid Koh. 

No sooner had the above-mentioned intelligence 
reached Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan than 
they marched down to Surkhab to bring Mahmud 
Shah with them. These three enterprising men had 
no more than three thousand soldiers, and knew the 
strength of the army they were going to fight with ; 
but Dost Mohammed's bravery, mingled with policy, 
was always depended upon, and generally productive 
of the results of victory. On their arrival in the 
vicinity of the Lukhi of Surkhab, they thought that 
if the Durrani chiefs should cause the release of the 
Mir Alam Khan, he would probably succeed in joining 
Shah Shuja, and desertions might take place among 
the followers on both sides. To prevent this antici- 
pated misfortune. Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan 
murdered the poor prisoner. 

Now Dost Mohammed and Fatah Khan held a 
council of war with their subordinate chiefs in the 
presence of Shah Mahmud, and stated that it was 
most contrary to the rules of policy and of war to 
appear in the open field with a small force of three 
thousand before a monarch or enemy of twenty-five 



thousand well mounted cavalry and well equipped 
infantry. The only thing they think now advisable 
to preserve warlike fame and gain honour is to avoid 
a general action, and then with determined spirit to 
attack the enemy by surprise. They also proposed that, 
until the enemy were perfectly routed, they should 
not divide themselves into small bodies, and com- 
mence to plunder their respective antagonists, as was 
usual with the Afghans, because this would cause 
great confusion among them, and probably the 
enemy would get the benefit of it. They also added 
that, though the enemy exceeded them in power and 
number of men, none of them ought to be dis- 
heartened and go over to him, believing that the 
victory would always attend his army, because such 
conduct would not only cause a disgraceful name for 
the man himself who should do so, but would also 
dishearten the rest of their followers. 

These counsels of Dost Mohammed Khan were 
applauded by Mahmud Shah, Fatah Khan, and the 
chiefs, on which they left everything of peace and 
war to his sound and wise management. He re- 
mained all day concealed in the bushes or " lukhi," 
and about evening he marched with all his forces. 

DOST Mohammed's victory. 67 

He made a long march under cover of the darkness 
of night, and about five in the morning he attacked 
the Sardar Madad Khan, Azam Khan, and Ghafur 
Khan, who commanded ten thousand foot and horse, 
and had been sent as an advanced brigade. Persons 
who were present in the field of battle told me that 
it was out of the power of any man's tongue to de- 
scribe the matchless alacrity, prowess, and steadiness 
of Dost Mohammed Khan in this grand battle. In 
one moment he was seen making a havoc in the 
lines of the enemy, and then, forcing his way back, 
he was observed to encourage his followers to fight ; 
and another time he was perceived to restore order 
among the undisciplined soldiers. Madad Khan and 
Azam Khan, commanding the opposite forces, now 
felt the narrowness of their situation, and at the same 
time were panic-struck to see that Dost Mohammed 
was causing great slaughter in their army, which was 
already much reduced in number and in power. 
At length Dost Mohammed Khan routed and dis- 
persed the enemy, who suffered exceedingly both in 
men and in baggage. 

When the report of the defeat of the strong royal 
force under Madad Khan, &c. &c., by a small body 



of troops under the personal command of Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan reached the camp of Shah Shuja, it 
not only incensed his Majesty, but alarmed him 
much, and made him proceed in person to check the 
progress of Dost Mohammed Khan. Shah Shuja 
had still fifteen thousand good soldiers under the 
command of the celebrated Akram Khan, who made 
the King believe that Shah Mahmud's forces were 
only three thousand men, and that they would not 
stand before him; and also that Dost Mohammed 
would soon lose the name of victorious, which he lately 
obtained in consequence of the ill management of Ma- 
dad Khan. It appears that Akram Khan was either 
jealous, or had foolish brains to suppose that he could 
beat an army headed by Dost Mohammed Khan, 
who was never once known to leave a field of battle 
without gaining the victory, except some foresighted 
policy had induced him to do so. However, Shah 
Shuja made all necessary arrangements for waging 
war with Mahmud Shah and Fatah Khan, evidently 
proud of the superiority of his army, yet in heart 
extremely fearful of the energies of Dost Mohammed 
Khan. I heard fi-om several credible people in 
Afghanistan that at this time of the war Shah Shuja 


said confidentially to his minister, that while Dost 
Mohammed is not captured, the victory is not to be 
expected ; and while he is alive the crown will not 
be on his (Shuja's) head.* The forces on both 
sides were arrayed in the field, those of Shah Shuja 
commanded by the Sardar Akram Khan, and those 
of Shah Mahmud were guided by the personal and 
heroic directions of Dost Mohammed Khan. A 
battle ensued, and after a severe conflict the Sardar 
Akram Khan was killed, with many hundreds of 
Shuja's army. Some say that the deceased was cut 
down by Dost himself; and others add that he had 
received a ball from some of his own followers. The 
fall of such a high nobleman in the field, with so 
many hundred followers, produced an alarming feel- 
ing in the forces of Shuja. His Majesty was also 
himself frightened, and at last compelled to flee. 
All the rest of his followers also dispersed. 

Shah Mahmud and Fatah Khan, happy in their 
success, and proud of the victory gained by their 
brave adherent Dost Mohammed Khan, returned to 
Kabul, and Mahmud was placed on the throne and 
acknowledged as King of Afghanistan. Fatah Khan, 
* This appears to be a wonderful and true prophecy. 


the elder brother of Dost Mohammed Khan, was 
appointed prime minister of the Shah, and he gave 
the charge of various important situations to his 
brothers. Since the qualifications for conducting 
war, unshaken courage and persevering generalship, 
as well as the talents for administering the affairs of 
the realm, prudent foresight and sound policy, were 
shining on the forehead of Dost Mohammed Khan, 
Mahmud Shah and the Vizir considered his presence 
with themselves of much value, and consequently he 
was selected as next person to the Vazir, but in reality 
he was first in everything. 

The Vazir desired Mohammed Azim Khan to go 
with Shah Zadah Kam Ran, and take Peshavar, 
and he (Azim) therefore sent Jabbar Khan, with 
his secretary, Mirza Ali Khan, to collect the re- 
venue of Derah Ghazi Khan. As the secretary 
possessed high talents for arranging the affairs of 
government, he was summoned by Mohammed 
Azim Khan, who desired him to take charge of 
every thing under him. Being a native of the 
civilized part of Persia, and a deep politician, his 
conduct and kind disposition obtained the praise of 
almost every man in the country. His credit and 


word were so much respected by the wealthy mer- 
chants that he was able to raise six lakhs of rupees in 
one day, which had never formerly been done by 
any one. He had full information of almost every 
thing in Afghanistan, and gained the highest favour 
of Mohammed Azim Khan, for whom he collected 
a great deal of wealth, and also caused every body 
to look upon him as the first noble in Afghanistan. 
This, however, excited great hatred against himself, 
especially that of Dost Mohammed and the rest of 
his brothers. They secretly said to the Yazir 
Fatah Khan that the intention of Mirza Ali Khan 
is to strengthen the power of his immediate master, 
Mohammed Azim Khan, to make you and every 
one of your brothers dependent upon him ; and that 
the time is not distant when we may all be reduced 
to bondage under him. On this the Yazir Fatah 
Khan sent for Mirza Ali Khan, and requested him 
to get three lakhs of rupees for him from his master, 
as he intended to go to Kashmir. The Mirza 
delivered the message to Mohammed Azim, but got 
no satisfactory reply. He told him the same again, 
and even went so far in his conversation with Mo- 
hammed Azim Khan as to say that if he would not 


give the demanded sum quickly to the Vazir, he 
would bring himself into much difficulty. He then 
agreed to pay the sum next day. 

Mirza Ali passed a very happy hour, thinking 
that his success in gaining the money from his 
master Mohammed Azim Khan would secure the 
good will of the Yazir Fatah Khan, and of Dost 
Mohammed Khan; but unluckily the Vizir had a 
wine party that night, and was a little intoxicated. 
Now the enemies of Mirza availed themselves of 
such a favourable opportunity of speaking against 
him to the Vazir ; and added, that the Mirza would 
shortly induce Mahommed Azim Khan to stand up 
in opposition to the Vazir, because he had hoarded 
up an immense sum of money, and gained the 
attachment of every man for his master: adding, 
that if he were immediately put to death, then 
Mohammed Azim Khan, having no ill adviser like 
him, would never dare to offend the Vazir. 

The Vazir was alarmed at this fabricated re- 
port of the enemies of Mirza Ali Khan, and as he 
was a little intoxicated he resolved at once to put an 
end to the life of the poor Mirza. Considering that 
no one could perpetrate the deed immediately but 


Dost Mohammed Khan, he therefore sent for him, 
and said privately to him, that without fearing 
Mohammed Azim Khan, he was to go quickly and 
kill Mirza Ali Khan his secretary. 

On receiving the orders of the Vazir, Dost Mo- 
hammed armed himself cap-a-pie, and taking six 
men with him went and remained waiting on the 
road between the house of Mohammed Azim Khan 
and the Mirza. It was about midnight when the 
Mirza passed by Dost Mohammed Khan, whom 
he saw, and said, "What has brought your high- 
ness here at this late hour? I hope all is good." 
He also added, that Dost Mohammed should freely 
command his services if he could be of any use to 
him. He replied to the Mirza, that he had got a 
secret communication for him, and would tell him if 
he moved aside from the servants. He stopped his 
horse, whereupon Dost Mohammed, holding the 
mane of his horse with his left hand, and taking his 
dagger in the right, asked the Mirza to bend his 
head to hear him. While Dost Mohammed pre- 
tended to tell him something of his own invention, 
and found that the Mirza was hearing him without 
any suspicion, he stabbed him between the shoulders, 


and throwing him off his horse cut him in many 
places. This was the commencement of the mur- 
ders which Dost Mahommed Khan afterwards fre- 
quently committed. 

When Mohammed Azim Khan was informed of 
the murder of his beloved and useful secretary, 
Mirza Ali Khan, by the hands of Dost Mohammed 
Khan, there were no bounds to his grief and anger 
against the perpetrator of this shocking deed. That 
very moment he ordered his followers to get ready 
for fight, and he came out of his house with them. 
Dost Mohammed immediately joined the Vazir, and 
told him that Mirza Ali was no more, and that his 
master was preparing to revenge himself upon him 
for the assassination. While he was speaking with 
the Vazir, information arrived that Mohammed 
Azim Khan was going to report to Mahmud Shah 
the unlawful conduct of the murderer, and beg him 
to co-operate in punishing the conspirators. 

On this the Vazir Fatah Khan sent Mohammed 
Rahim, Ata-uUah Khan, and Shah Ghazi Dilavar, 
with the holy Qoran in their hands, begging Mo- 
hammed Azim Khan to pardon him and Dost for 
the past, and added to him, that if the Vazir was 


destroyed the result would be nothing short of the 
downfall of the whole family, as the good and ill 
fortune of Mohammed Azim Khan were closely 
connected with those of the Yazir, Dost Mohammed, 
and the rest of the brothers. He (Mohammed 
Azim), for the sake of the respect due to the Qoran, 
went back to his house, without going and reporting 
the case to Mahmud Shah, and remained quiet, 
though vexed. 

After the lapse of three or four days the Vazir 
Fatah Khan, by the advice of the politic Dost 
Mohammed, went in person to apologise to Mo- 
hammed Azim Khan for the murder of his secretary 
Mirza Ali Khan ; Dost Mohammed also accom- 
panied him. They both pretended to express sorrow 
for the loss of his Mirza ; they consoled him, and 
apologised to him exceedingly. Afterwards they all 
proceeded together to the palace, and stated before 
Mahmud Shah, that they were all one-hearted bre- 
thren, and that the past accident was all forgotten. 

From time to time the Vazir Fatah Khan treated 
Dost Mohammed Khan with much consideration, 
and had a high opinion of his bravery, enterprising 
character, and experience, from which he had gained 


numerous advantages. He accordingly used his 
influence in the court, and at last succeeded in 
inducing Mahmud Shah to confer the title of Sardar, 
or chiefj upon Dost Mohammed Khan, and to give 
him much more influence in the affairs of govern- 
ment. Now the Sardar of my tale became the 
object of more jealousy among his brothers. Every 
one of them feared and suspected him ; and they, as 
well as the other chiefs, feeling alarmed, began to 
say among themselves, that it was not unlikely the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan would soon send 
them also to join Mirza Ali Khan. 

In short, the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan 
established his plans so firmly, and grew so much in 
power, that he never acted on the advice of any 
individual, but managed affairs by his own mature 
deliberation. This established the affection and 
confidence of the Vazir in him much more than 
before, and his influence increased more and more 
daily. The Sardar was always present in the night 
parties of the Vazir, and bore a golden cup per- 
manently in his hands. He filled it with water and 
sometimes with wine, as the Vazir requested, and 
gave it to him to drink. 


It is said that when the Vazir was a little tipsy at 
these wine parties, he generally gave a hint to the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan to enter his room 
(whence his beloved wife, named Bhagi, was wit- 
nessing the pleasures of the party) to prepare his 
bed. While the Sardar was engaged in performing 
this duty, his graceful, youthful, and comely person, 
had desperately won the love and heart of the 
above-mentioned lady. It was out of her power to 
keep her feelings secret any longer from the beloved 
object — the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, the 
pleasure of whose society she enjoyed till the Vazir, 
her noble husband, entered the apartment. It is 
not known whether the Vazir was aware of this fire 
of love between his wife and the Sardar, which was 
every day gaining strength. On many occasions the 
Vazir allowed him to remain in his private room to 
enjoy the advantages of his society and conversation. 
It must be remembered that neither Shah Mahmud 
nor his Vazir Fatah Khan could boast of their good 
morals. There was no limit to their most dissi- 
pated practices. Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was 
undoubtedly a beautiful lad, and therefore a real 
favourite of the Vazir, who allowed generally his 


beautiful brother to remain in his palace, and thus 
gain the royal favours and power. 

When the Vazir Fatah Khan received the re- 
quired sum from Mohammed Azim Khan, he made 
the necessary arrangements for undertaking an ex- 
pedition against the Governor of Kashmir, named Ata 
Mohammed Khan Bamzai, son of the late Mukhtar- 
ud-daulah. Before the army of the Vazir, under the 
immediate command of the sardar Dost Moham- 
med Khan, reached the suburbs of Kashmir, the 
said Governor sent overtures, and agreed to pay the 
tribute of three lakhs of rupees annually to the 
Kabul government; which promise was gladly 
accepted by the Yazir and the Sardar. Hence they 
sent their agents to receive the stipulated sum, and 
bent their course towards Multan. 

Immediately after their departure the agents of 
the Vazir Fatah Khan, and of the Sardar Dost 
Mahommed Khan, were driven out of Kashmir by 
Ata Mohammed Khan, the governor of that place ; 
and with all haste they joined their masters in the 
country of Multan. On their arrival they reported 
to the Vazir and to the Sardar that the said go- 
vernor had treated them with disgrace, and refused 


to pay the tribute. On this the Vazir and the 
Sardar retraced their steps by the Esakhail route, and 
purposed to weaken the power of the refractory 
governor by besieging and reducing the fort of 

In the mean time the unfortunate news came from 
Kabul that the Sayad Ashraf and Sayad Ata, the 
great fanatics, had placed Shah Zadah Abbas on the 
throne, and intended to excite their Sunni followers 
to attack the Persians. This not only frustrated all 
the plans of the Vazir Fatah Khan, and of the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, but created great 
confusion amid the Persian division of their army, 
— the foundation of their power. They came and 
stated to the Vazir and to the Sardar, that if they 
were not allowed immediately to return to Kabul 
for the purpose of protecting their fellow Persians 
against the intended attack of the Sunnis, their 
wives and children, now in Kabul, would be mas- 
sacred, or made slaves by the bigoted enemies of 
their creed. The generals assured the Persians of 
their protection, and begged them to stay one month 
longer in their camp, to reduce the turbulent Go- 
vernor of Kashmir ; but they were so uneasy about 


their families, that against the wish of their mas- 
ters they struck their tents and took the road to 

The departure of the Persian division of the army 
of the Vazir Fatah Khan and of the, Sardar Dost 
Mohammed Khan weakened their power so much, 
that they had no remedy but to cross the Atak and 
follow them to Peshavar. Here a council of war 
was held between the wise Sardar and the Yazir ; 
and it was resolved that the latter, with his nominal 
king Mahmud Shah, should remain in Peshavar, 
and that the former, along with Mohammed Azim 
Khan, and the head of the returning division of the 
Persians, should proceed to Kabul, whither the 
Vazir and Mahmud Shah should soon follow them. 
After speedy and double marches every day the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan and his Persian 
party reached Kabul ; and for ten days a hard fight 
continued between him and the rebels, headed by 
Shah Zadah, afterwards called Shah Abbas. In 
this battle the victory was won by the Sardar, and 
Shah Abbas was made prisoner. The principal fac- 
tious chiefs, as Sayad Ashraf, with his tumultuous 
friends of Kohistan, were ordered by the Sardar to 

THE SARDAR's reforms. 81 

be executed. The other fanatic rebel Sayad Ata was 
laid down on his breast on the ground, and then an 
elephant was made to trample on him, which crushed 
him to death. Such was the end of Sayad Ata, a 
descendant of the Prophet ! ! 

The Vazir Fatah Khan, and Mahmud Shah, on 
their return, found that every thing was quiet in 
Kabul, and that the wicked men had been anni- 
hilated by the Sardar Dost Mohammed and Mo- 
hammed Azim Khan. They all passed about one 
year in the arduous duty of restoring order, peace, 
and security, in the administration of the govern- 
ment. The reform and improvement in the revenue 
and mercantile matters introduced by the sagacious 
Sardar filled the empty chests of the government 
with money. The money coined in the temporary 
reign of the unfortunate Shah Abbas had much 
mixture of copper in it, and very little silver. To 
this the Sardar paid particular attention, and melt- 
ing the whole of the bad coin, ordered that purer 
silver should be obtained and be struck into new 
coin of proper value. 

No sooner had the affairs of the government im- 
proved, and the state treasury was a little filled, 


82 dost's bold speech. 

than the Yazir Fatah Khan and the Sardar Dost 
Mohammed Khan made preparations for an expedi- 
tion against Kashmir, but it is said that the Yazir 
was not so quick as usual, and appeared very slow 
in his preparations for an immediate departure. 
This was at once observed by the sharp eyes of the 
Sardar, who addressed the following speech to the 
Yazir in open " darbar " or court. " It appears to 
me that the victory gained last year, the annihila- 
tion of the seditious chiefs, the confinement of Shah 
Zadah Abbas, the repossession of Kabul, and the 
elevation of our King Shah Mahmud to the throne 
of his forefathers, by the use of the sword, and by 
the wisdom of the members of our family, have 
been a sufficient source of gratification to those who 
are attached to our fortunes and to his Majesty 
Shah Mahmud. Not only this, but the citizens, 
fearless of the attacks of the lawless followers of the 
late rebel Sayad Ashraf of Kohistan, sleep comfort- 
ably: reform and improvement have been success- 
fully introduced into the agitated affairs of govern- 
ment, may our King Shah Mahmud, and my noble 
brother the present Yazir, as well as the rest of 
chiefs, including myself, enjoy the fruit of our hard 


earned authority ; but I regret to say that the luxu- 
rious habits of the king, and of my noble brother 
the Vazir, and the carelessness of the other chiefs, 
bid fair to cause that the present condition of the 
country be not a lasting one ; and that the enjoy- 
ments of my superiors be not durable ; and in this 
respect the most blind and foolish policy appears to 
prevail. One cause for every one of the above-men- 
tioned individuals falling into luxurious indolence 
appears to be, that they forget the seditious conduct 
of Ata Mohammed Khan, governor of the rich 
valley of Kashmir, without the possession of which 
region no king of Afghanistan has been, or ever 
will be, able to maintain a large army and the royal 
dignity." The noble hearers, as well as the Vazir, 
made no opposition to the speech of the Sardar, but 
every one cried aloud the words " Bisyar Khub " 
(well done) with cheers. The Sardar added, " Not- 
withstanding the peace and pleasure which every 
one seems to enjoy, and that to imitate them there 
is an open field for me also, yet the rules of sound 
and foresighted diplomacy, which are always wander- 
ing in my heart and brain, have not allowed me to 
rest a moment, and I shall never be easy until some 



mature steps are taken to punish the hostile obsti- 
nacy of Ata Mohammed Khan, the governor of 
Kashmir, who turned the government agent, as well 
as that of my noble brother the Yazir, with disgrace 
out of the valley ; and refused to pay the stipulated 
sum of tribute. It is not possible to defray the 
general expenses of the movements of an army under 
my noble brother the Yazir, to check the restless 
spirit of the discontented chiefs, unless the country 
of Kashmir be ceded to us." This speech of the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan did not only cause 
the cheers of the assembly, but excited all the chiefs, 
and his noble brother the Yazir, to set out imme- 
diately for Kashmir. 

On this a great number of horses were distributed 
among the chiefs, and the state treasury was opened 
to pay the troops, who went off with the Yazir Fatah 
Khan and the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan for 
Kashmir. When they reached Atak, and were in 
the western part of the Panjab, they entered into an 
offensive and defensive alliance with the lion of this 
state, the late Maharajah Ranjit Singh. His Majesty 
the Maharajah assisted them with a large Sikh force 
to chastise the governor of Kashmir, named Ata 


Mohammed Khan. The governor was busy making 
the necessary preparations to defend himself. When 
all negotiations failed, both armies were ordered to 
get ready for fighting the next morning. The Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan led the Kabul army with 
steadiness and order, and suddenly engaged with the 
enemy. A great action took place between the two 
Afghan chiefs, and after a great loss of men on both 
sides, the lion of Kabul was successful, and Ata 
Mohammed Khan, the governor, with his brother 
Gholam Mohammed, were totally routed and made 

After the rich and celebrated valley of Kashmir 
came thus into the possession of the Yazir Fatah 
Khan and of the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, 
they dismissed the Sikh general to return with his 
army to the Maharajah, and gave him some friendly 
presents for his Highness. As some intrigues were 
in existence between the prisoners and the Sikh 
general, he therefore begged the Vazir and the Sardar 
to have them released, and allow them to proceed 
with him to Lahore. The Sardar thoroughly dis- 
approved, and gave his reasons for so doing. He 
also pointed out to the Vazir the harm which would 


undoubtedly follow if the prisoners were delivered 
over to the Sikh government; nevertheless the 
general succeeded in inducing the Vazir to allow 
Gholam Mohammed Khan to go with him, and to 
keep his brother, the late governor, still by him as 
a prisoner. This extremely annoyed the Sardar, 
who, in a tone of displeasure, said to his noble brother 
the Yazir, " Allow me to prophesy the calamity 
which the release of Gholam Mohammed Khan will 
bring upon our heads, and remorse to you for your 
unwise policy," &c. &c. 

The day was not far distant when the symptoms 
of the misfortunes which the Sardar Dost Mohammed 
Khan had predicted, began to appear, on the very 
arrival of Gholam Mohammed Khan in the court of 
Kanjit Singh. He insisted upon his third brother 
Jahandad Khan, the commandar of Atak, selling 
that fort to the Sikh government ; and his brother 
did so on receiving one lakh of rupees for it. - The 
occupation of that important fort by the Sikh gar- 
rison provided the Maharajah with the key of the 
conquest not only of Kashmir after a short time, but 
of many other Afghan places on the western bank of 
the Indus. Now the Vazir repented of his folly in 


liberating Gholam Mohammed Khan, and giving him 
to the Sikh chief, which he had done utterly against 
the advice of Dost Mohammed Khan. 

The Yazir Fatah Khan felt himself in a very com- 
plicated situation, and was lost in speculations how 
to repair his mistake, and put his affairs on a better 
footing. He appointed Mohammed Azim Khan 
governor of Kashmir, and himself, with the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan, quitted that valley for Atak. 
Here they resolved to attack the Sikh garrison. On 
this the Lion of Panjab dispatched an army of thirty 
thousand men, under the command of Divan Moh- 
kam Chand, Bhai Kam Singh, Dal Singh, and 
Ghaus Kham, with directions to destroy the Afghan 
force. This large army encamped on the bank 
Nilab branch of the Indus, and engaged in action 
with the Yazir and the Sardar. The latter was the 
hero of the field, and his exploits of that day were 
highly applauded by the Sikh generals. At last the 
Sikh army succeeded in depriving the Afghans of 
the place whence they were provided with water. 

It was about midday that the sun grew hotter, and 
the weather exceedingly warm, whilst both armies 
were annihilating their respective antagonists. The 


thirst, in consequence of the scarcity of water, was 
sadly felt in the army of the Vazir and of the Sardar, 
on which the former begged the latter hero to take 
command of the Qizilbash or Persian cavalry, and 
at once rush into the main column of the Sikh army. 
On this occasion the Sardar and his Qizilbash fought 
so desperately that the Sikh heroes gave them the 
title of gallants of the first class, and the ornamental 
title of celebrated and matchless champions (Rustam 
and Afra si ab*) of the old days. The Sardar rushed 
into the main line of the enemy, captured some of 
their guns, and forced them to leave their ground 
and retreat ; but unfortunately some of the Afghans, 
overpowered by thirst, made such a disorderly attack 
on the other division of the Sikh army, that they 
were repulsed with loss : and thus the Kabul army, 
under the Vazir and the Sardar, after gaining once 
victory and guns, was routed, and compelled to fall 
back upon Peshavar, and from thence they marched 
to Kabul. Here the news arrived that Shah Shuja, 
with the Shah Zadah Haidar, had collected a large 
force, and having fought with the Navab Jabbar 
Khan, the governor of Derah Ghazi Khan, were 
* Fabulous warriors of Shah Namah. 


defeated. Though this intelligence was acceptable 
to them, yet it excited the jealousy of the Navab's 
brothers, the Vazir and the Sardar, who proceeded to 
supplant him. On their arrival at Derah they said to 
the Navab that, with regard to the sum of three 
lakhs of rupees, the balance of the revenues of 
Derah, he was squandering all this to satisfy his 
vanity and idle pleasures ; and that, therefore, they 
must dismiss the Navab, having done which they 
returned with Mahniud Shah to Kabul. 

( 90 ) 


Brothers envy Dost Mohammed Khan — He chastises the Kohis- 
tanis — Expedition against Hirat — Murder of the Vazir Fatah 
Khan — The Sardar takes up arms — Besieges the Bala Hisar — 
Takes Kabul, and makes Sultan Ali king, and himself minister — 
His intrigues — Murder of Shah Sultan Ali — Mohammed Azim 
Khan — The Sardar procures money from the Sindhians — He 
deserts— Takes Ghazni — Fights with Azim Khan — Corre- 
sponds with Ranjit Singh — Sikh force at Peshavar — Dost's 
treachery towards Azim Khan — Death of Azim Khan. 

Although the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan re- 
ceived kindness and honour from his principal bro- 
thers, as the Yazir Fatah Khan, &c., yet being born 
from a mother of a different creed, and not of a high 
Afghan family, he was looked upon with contempt 
by the other brothers, who boasted that they were 
descended from pure and noble parents. On several 
occasions the jealousy of the brothers threw him into 
all the distresses of poverty. His dependants and 
horses have often passed nights and days without a 
piece of bread for the human being or a blade of 
grass for the horses. 


. In spite of this cheerless state of life, Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan never departed from the perseverance 
of his mind, combined as it was with all the external 
appearances of sincerity, and real internal hypocrisy. 
He was trying to gain ascendancy by all means pos- 
sible, and therefore in return for all the animosity of 
his jealous brothers his behaviour towards them was 
at all times civil and obliging. This sometimes 
made them exceedingly ashamed of their own con- 
duct, and at the same time astonished at his superior 
wisdom and management. His sweet words were 
supported by flattery, and he showed himself regard- 
less of that respect which his own age was entitled to 
receive from his younger brothers, who were pros- 
perous while himself was poor ; and by these means 
he had created and organised such sound schemes 
for his own success that none could dare to hope to 
annihilate him. I have heard with my own ears 
from the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, that he 
had gone without food for three or four days succes- 
sively, and several nights, after taking only a morsel 
of dry bread or a handful of half-fried grain — that 
in the mean time he had often laid himself down on 
the bare ground, making the stone his pillow ; and 


also, having no means to maintain servants, he had 
many times saddled his own horse. While his heart 
was wounded with these painful wants, his conversa- 
tion was always refreshed by a lively wit and a 
smiling countenance, leaving behind an impression 
of admiration on the hearts of the chiefs under his 

The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was exces- 
sively fond of drinking, and carried it to an extreme 
excess. It is said that he has emptied several dozens 
of bottles in one night, and did not cease from drink- 
ing until he was quite intoxicated, and could not 
drink a drop more. He has often become senseless 
with drinking, and has on that account kept himself 
confined in bed during many days. He has been 
often seen in a state of stupidity on horseback, and 
having no turban, but a skull-cap on his head. 

It has been stated by the early companions of the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, and confirmed by 
his own mouth, that he had and still has an extraor- 
dinary taste for music. When pleased with drinking 
wine, he has often sung ballads, and played upon the 
" Rabab," a kind of fiddle. His intimate friend and 
supporter was Gholam Khan Populzai; and both 


these persons were considered in Afghanistan the 
first players on the " Eabab." The fort of Nanchi 
was the favourite seat where Dost Mohammed Khan 
formed his pleasure parties, and these were generally 
composed of Gholam Khan Populzai, Mirza Abdul 
Sami, and Agha Mohammed. The former, being 
richer than the Sardar, assisted him frequently in 
pecuniary matters, and clothed and fed him on many 
occasions. Gradually he gained rather more influ- 
ence, yet was in the habit of drinking. 

It was on the evening of a beautiful day in the 
spring, that the eldest son of the Sardar Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, named Mohammed Afzal Khan, 
drank wine with his younger brother, Mohammed 
Akhbar Khan, and both of them met him drunk. 
He was incensed at their conduct, and determined 
to punish them. He seized and bruised them se- 
verely ; and at last taking them up to the roof, threw 
them down on stony ground, by which he had nearly 
endangered their existence. On this his favourite 
wife, the mother of Mohammed Akhbar Khan, who 
is wiser than the other wives of the Sardar, was in- 
formed of the dangerous state of her son. She went 
to her husband and stated that he himself is desirous 


of drinking, while he punishes the sons, and persuades 
them to the contrary ; and that this is not just, as 
the wise of former days have said that a son cannot 
well inherit the property unless he follows the ex- 
ample of his father, and that consequently they imi- 
tated him in drinking. Hearing these words from 
the lips of his favourite, the Sardar felt ashamed, 
and then swore not to drink wine any more. 

At the time Mahmud Shah returned from Derah- 
jat, the chiefs of Kohistan, especially the head men 
and priests of Istalif, made an open rebellion. The 
Yazir Fatah Khan formed an expedition against 
them, but was obliged to fall back unsuccessful, 
having spoiled their cultivation and gardens. This 
made the rebels suffer the risk of starvation, and 
they made a resolution and agreed with each other 
to revenge the loss by destroying the residence of 
the Yazir in Kabul, and ruining his garden by 
ploughing over the young plants with a plough drawn 
by asses, which they did immediately the Yazir 
quitted the capital to punish some other distant re- 
fractory chiefs. 

The Shah Mahmud and the Yazir Fatah Khan 
did all in their power to induce the Kohistanis to 


come into allegiance by bribes, titles, and rewards; 
but all this was useless : and when any threatening 
preparations were made against them they ascended 
the mountains. This disorderly state of things con- 
tinued for some time, when the Sardar Dost Moham- 
med Khan volunteered to undertake the government 
of Kohistan and to punish the ringleaders. The Shah 
and the Vazir gladly accepted the offer, and made him 
governor of that turbulent district. He left Kabul 
with his followers, and encamped at Nanchi the first 
day. Here he passed the night with his Qizilbash 
friends in drinking, singing, and dancing, and also 
committed some other idle acts unworthy of his dig- 
nity. Navab Asad Khan having heard of it, advised 
the Sardar not to do any base act of the kind here- 
after, as it will fix an everlasting stigma on his cha- 
racter. To this he replied, that though he was guilty 
of folly, yet the charge is not so bad as the mean and 
covetous oppression of the Navab himself The 
latter requested him to explain what he meant ; on 
which the Sardar reminded him that on a certain 
time he saw at the court of the Navab that a woman 
complained against her husband. He was summoned, 
and proved clearly that he had been always partial 


to his wife, and had never given her any reason for 
dissatisfaction. After a long investigation, the Na- 
vab discovered that the old husband being careless 
of the rules of society, disgusted his wife. Here the 
Sardar stated that the Navab Asad Khan decided 
that both were guilty, and therefore commanded 
them to pay three hundred rupees as a fine to him, 
besides suffering a long imprisonment. When this 
was asserted by the Sardar as a sample of the justice 
distributed by the Navab with regard to the wife and 
her husband, he caused the whole assembly to laugh 
at the farce of his adviser, the Navab, who thence- 
forward ceased to interfere with the Sardar. 

Next day, the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan 
entered the valley of Kohistan, where he succeeded 
in seizing numerous robbers, whom he immediately 
executed. Also by his sweet and hypocritical words, 
as well as by all possible sacred oaths, he induced 
the various rebel chiefs to wait upon him, and then 
lost no time in murdering them. On his arrival at 
Charkar, the Sardar took up his quarters in the fort 
of Faiz Khan. He induced Aslam Khan and Saqi 
Khan by a solemn agreement to join him in Charkar 
with other chiefs ; and they relied on his oaths and 


paid him their respects. In order to banish all sus- 
picion of his evil intentions towards them, he mar- 
ried the daughter of Baqa Khan, one of the chiefs, 
and thus, after gaining their confidence, put the 
father of the new bride to death. This assumed 
garb of sincerity was, however, merely a mask ; and 
while the chiefs were dining with him, the Sardar 
made a signal to cut off their heads. There was 
still one of his greatest foes alive, whom the Sardar 
wished to destroy, and while he was in existence the 
Sardar considered that the tranquillity would exist 
neither in Kohistan nor in Kabul, where the people 
of the Sunni sect always raise tumult by his aid. 
He sent deputation after deputation with solemn de- 
clarations written on the Qoran, and assured Khojah 
Khanji of his highest regard and respect towards 
him. He addressed him as a father, and stated that 
his intention was to give charge of the government 
of Kohistan to him, and himself go back to Kabul. 
All these flattermg but false oaths produced no effect 
upon the cautious Khojah. Hereupon the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan adopted a most novel mea- 
sure to get hold of him at the sacrifice of another 
man. Khojah Khanji, like other chiefs of Kohistan, 



had many enemies, and one of the strongest was 
with Dost Mohammed Khan. He put him to the 
sword, and thus boasted the sincerity of his good 
wish towards the Khojah, as proved by destroying 
his enemy. This vile deed was perpetrated at Ba- 
yan, where he begged the Khojah to honour him 
with his company, to settle past differences at the 
place of the murder of his antagonist. Induced at 
length, and blinded by his destiny, he came with a 
large number of followers. No one of course was 
better able than the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan 
to restore confidence by his sweet language, in the 
Khojah, whom he addressed on every occasion as his 
venerable father. In the evening the Sardar led his 
guest inside of the fort, on the pretence that he might 
survey the valuable property of his enemy, whom the 
Sardar just destroyed in order to ensnare the Khojah. 
As soon as he was within, the gates of the castle 
were shut in the face of his followers, and the Sardar 
praised the gun of the Khojah, and desired him to 
show it to him. . Immediately after this he ordered 
his Qizilbash companions to assassinate the Khojah, 
whom he at the same time called his father ! and his 
head was thrown over the walls amid the large retinue 


of this unfortunate victim. At this sad occurrence 
his followers determined to attack the fort, and fired 
for a considerable part of the night ; but in the morn- 
ing they all dispersed, leaving the Sardar Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan to enjoy the triumph of his wilful 
murders. This was not the end of his dexterity in 
such deeds, for he massacred in one day eight of 
the chiefs at Charkar, and Sayad Ashrat of Opiyan, 
men of great influence and reverence, shared the 
same fate. When he had no more blood to shed, he 
engaged himself in arranging matters for collecting 
the revenues and distributing justice. In two months 
he completed these affairs and returned to Kabul. 

While the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was em- 
ployed in Kohistan, he was accompanied by Jai 
Singh, a Sikh chieftain, with whom he had become 
acquainted, when the latter was on a mission to Pe- 
shavar. Shah Mahmud and the Yazir Fatah Khan 
finding that the affairs in Kohistan were all satisfac- 
torily settled by the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, 
they appointed a governor in Kabul, and themselves 
started for Peshavar. Hence they dispatched the 
Navab Asad Khan to Sardar Mohammed Azim 
Khan in Kashmir, demanding the sum of twenty 



lakhs of rupees, the arrears of the revenue of that 
valley. He delayed the payment of the sum, by 
which he hastened the departure of the army of the 
Shah to Kashmir. Mohammed Azim Khan, having 
heard of the hostile movements of his brothers under 
his Majesty, assembled all the chiefs with their forces, 
strengthened the fort of Muzaffarabad with a strong 
garrison, and afterwards encamped on the road be- 
tween the two hills to check the progress of his 
enemy. The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was 
called upon to lead the attacking army. He found 
that the road was narrow, and closely occupied by 
Azim Khan, and that an attempt to force through 
would cause a great slaughter of his men. On ma- 
ture deliberation he commands his followers to dis- 
mount from their horses and follow him to fight on 
foot in ascending the hills, and thus compel Azim 
Khan to fall back on Kashmir. The Sardar forced 
the garrison of Muzaffarabad to surrender, on which 
the enemy strongly occupied all the heights of the 
mountains which closely commanded the route of the 
Sardar 's force. Here the Shah and the Vazir, as 
well as Dost Mohammed Khan, found themselves 
placed in a difficult position, and without any pro- 


spect of gaining a victory. Nevertheless the perfidy 
of the latter did more good to their cause than the 
swords of his party. He wrote letters to some of the 
chiefs in the camp of Azim Khan, stating that he 
had received all their letters, and laid them under 
the feet of Shah and of the Vazir. He added that 
these have appreciated their good will, and believe 
that they will fulfil their promised resolution by im- 
prisoning and bringing the disloyal chief (Azim) into 
the presence of his Majesty early next day, while all 
in the camp are engaged in attending to their morn- 
ing prayers. The cunning Sardar directed the 
bearer of the letters to pass by such a road and com- 
pany on guard, so that he might be detected, and his 
letters and himself taken to Mohammed Khan. It 
was done accordingly, and caused in him the utmost 
alarm. He began to suspect that all his retinue were 
bribed, and that he would no doubt be delivered as 
a prisoner to the Sardar. In the mean time he con- 
tinued his talk of fighting to the last, and yet on the 
other hand he secretly opened a negotiation with his 
foes. While this was going on, the winter and snow 
caused a great loss on both sides, and a treaty of 
peace was concluded on condition of receiving pro- 


visions for two weeks, and a sum of thirteen lakhs of 
rupees. Azim Khan came in person to the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan, and there having tied a 
sword to his neck and the Holy Qoran on his head,* 
he accompanied the Sardar thence to the royal camp. 
The Vazir Fatah Khan, with the consent of his royal 
master, pardoned Azim Khan, embraced and kissed 
him as his brother. Such was the fruitful result of 
the Sardar 's perfidious letters ! 

The army of Mahmud Shah returned to Kabul, 
and after passing the few months of the winter there, 
intended to go to Qandhar. The intelligence of the 
Sikhs having been attacked by Mohammed Azim 
Khan in Kashmir, and of their having been routed 
by him with great loss, inspired a joyful and fresh 
enthusiasm in the Vazir Fatah Khan and the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan, and they prepared an expe- 
dition for defending Hirat against the Persians. On 
reaching Qandhar they received information that 
their nephew Abdul Vahid Khan, at the head of the 
Hirat army, had been defeated by the Persian prince 
Hasan Ali Mirza at Ghoryan, and probably taken 

* A vsign of confessing to be guilty., and imploring pardon. 


This news alarmed the Vazir Fatah Khan, who, 
leaving Mahmud Shah at Qandhar, set out with great 
haste to stop the Persians before they might come 
upon Hirat, and the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan 
of course was with him. Mahmud Shah was not 
well disposed towards Haji Firozuddin, the prince 
and ruler of Hirat, in consequence of his not assist- 
ing him when routed by Shah Shuja, and thus gave 
secret encouragement to the Vazir for the purpose of 
punishing the Shah Zadah Firoz, who was his own 
brother. All the Afghans and other chiefs of Kho- 
rasan became attached to them by the liberality of 
the Vazir and the flattering tongue of the Sardar. 
A battle ensued; it was fought bravely, and the 
Vazir was slightly wounded by the Persian army or 
by his own adherents ; but of this the certainty is not 
known. This wound, however, caused the Vazir to 
abandon the field of action, where Dost Mohammed 
Khan had distinguished himself to an amazing de- 

Shah Zadah Haji Firozuddin treated the Vazir 
Fatah Khan with marked distinction, and com- 
manded all his chiefs to pay their respects every 
morning to the Vazir before they come to his Eoyal 


Highness ; but this generous feeling of the Shah 
Zadah made no favourable impression upon his guest. 
He directed the active Dost Mohammed Khan to 
enter the city of Hirat, under the pretence of being 
invited, and to place his Kohistan followers in small 
parties for the night, in the different houses of rela- 
tions and friends. The Yazir added, that when the 
chiefs of the Haji should come to see him next day 
out of the city, he should make them prisoners, and 
Dost Mohammed Khan was to shut the gates of the 
city, and take possession of the palace " Arg " with 
the prince. He entered the city, as was arranged, 
with his retinue, and after the sun rose and the Shah 
Zadah's courtiers had gone out to Fatah Khan, as 
usual, the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan massacred 
the palace-guard and seized the person of the Shah 
Zadah Firoz. Afterwards he commenced to plunder 
and to gain possession of all the^ jewels, gold, and 
treasure of the captive prince, and even went so 
far as to despoil the inmates of the household ; and 
committed an unparalleled deed by taking off the 
jewelled band which fastened the trowsers of the 
wife of the Prince Malik Qasim, the son of the 
captive, and treated her rudely in other ways. The 


pillaged lady was the sister of Kam Ran, to whom 
she sent her profaned robe; and the Shah Zadah, 
or her brother, resolved and swore to revenge the 
injury. Fatah Khan was informed of the immense 
booty which the Sardar had taken, and also his im- 
proper conduct towards the royal lady ; and the Vazir 
planned to take the plundered property from the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, and to chastise him 
for his deeds in the Palace. The Sardar having 
heard of this made his way through the mountains to 
join his brother Mohammed Azim Khan, the go- 
vernor of Kashmir. He was there put under re- 
straint by the direction of the Vazir, who was pre- 
paring again to wage war with the Persians. 

The Shah Zadah Kam Ean reached Hirat, inter- 
nally determined to have revenge, and yet exter- 
nally he appeared very civil to the Vazir Fatah 
Khan. He advised him to procrastinate his second 
expedition against the Persians, and that it would be 
better to give rest to his army. In the mean time 
he laid a plot for the ruin of the Vazir ; and many 
other Durrani chiefs, who had been reduced to 
subordination by the Vazir, and were jealous of his 
increasing power, joined him in planning the destruc- 


tion of the Vazir. He was seized by Kam Ean at 
the consent of his father Mahmud Shah, and blinded 
by Ata Mohammed Khan Bamzai. His brothers 
contrived their escape from Hirat, excepting Purdil 
Khan, who was also released on the condition of his 
continuing loyal and obedient to the prince. No 
tragedy of modern days can be compared with that 
barbarous one that ended the life of the Vazir. He 
was conducted blind, and pinioned, into the presence 
of Mahmud Shah, whom he had elevated to the 
throne. The Shah asked him to write to his rebel- 
lious brothers to submit, to which he replied with 
fortitude, that he was a poor blind prisoner, and had 
no influence over his brothers. Mahmud Shah was 
incensed at his obstinacy, and ordered him to be put to 
the sword, and the Vazir was cruelly and deliberately 
butchered by the courtiers, cutting him limb from 
limb, and joint from joint, as was reported, after his 
nose, ears, fingers, and lips, had been chopped off. 
His fortitude was so extraordinary that he neither 
showed a sign of the pain he suffered, nor asked the 
perpetrators to diminish their cruelties, and his head 
was at last sliced from his lacerated body. Such was 
the shocking result of the misconduct of his brother 


the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan towards the 
royal female in Hirat. However, the end of the 
Vazir Fatah Khan was the end of the Sadozai realm, 
and an omen for the accession of the new dynasty of 
the Barakzais, or his brothers in Afghanistan. 

Mohammed Azim Khan wrote from Kashmir to 
Shah Shuja, and assured him of the united aid of his 
brothers, as well as of the Sardar Dost Mohammed 
Khan, against Shah Mahmud, who had ordered his 
brother the Vazir to be murdered. Shuja was joined 
by Nawab Mohammed Zaman Khan, and after de- 
feating Samandar Khan, he took possession of Derah 
Ghazi Khan. The Sardar received the sum of three 
lakhs of rupees from his brother Azim Khan in 
Kashmir, and assembled a moderate force to join his 
brothers Yar, Sultan, and Pir Mohammed Khan in 
Peshavar, and these elevated and acknowledged the 
Prince Ayub, king of Afghanistan. The Sardar 
also made secret engagements with the Prince Sultan 
Ali, and secured his consent to make him sovereign 
if necessary. Mahmud Shah was frightened to deatib 
by the threatening news that the Barakzai had re- 
solved to supplant him in the throne. In the mean 
time Ranjit Singh caused an alarm towards Atak, 


which forced the brothers of the Yazir to leave 
Peshavar and take shelter in Lalpurah. Hence the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan sent a few beautiful 
horses, with some other presents, to the Lion of 
Panjab ; and as soon as he returned towards his 
capital, the Sardar, with his brothers Yar Mohammed 
Khan, &c., came through the Khaibar upon Peshavar, 
and compelled Jahandad Khan, the Bamzai, to flee 
to the country of the Yusafzais. 

On this Ata Mohammed Khan, the Bamzai, rela- 
tion of Jahandad Khan, induced Mahmud Shah and 
Kam Ran to send Prince Jahangir, the son of the 
latter, with him, and to subdue all the Barakzai 
rebels, as he called Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, 
the brother of the murdered Yazir. He succeeded 
in his proposals to the king, and came to Kabul with 
the prince. Immediately the Sardar wrote an oifFen- 
sive and defensive treaty on the margin of the Holy 
Qoran, and in an important article thereof he and 
his brothers bound themselves by a solemn oath to 
divide the kingdom for ever between themselves and 
Ata Mohammed Khan, if he agreed to lend no 
assistance whatever either to Shah Shuja, to Kam 
Pan, or to any other Sadozai. The Sardar dis- 


patched this treaty in charge of a confidential ad- 
herent, and Ata Mohammed Khan, knowing that 
neither Shah Shuja nor Mahmud Shah, with Kam 
Ran, could shine in the presence of the brighter 
talents of the Sardar, he accepted the offers made in 
the treaty. He sent a secret letter to the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan with a verbal token to make 
it more sincere, and which was in these words : 
"When the late Yazir Fatah Khan left you with 
Prince Kam Ean a long time ago in Qandhar, the 
friendship between us (Dost and Ata Mohammed) 
was strengthened by a solemn oath." If this was 
true, the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was to 
march for Kabul with easiness of mind, and at 
Khovajah Rivash he will meet and confer with the 
Sardar himself. At the arrival of such a flatter- 
ing communication from Ata Mohammed Khan 
Bamzai, the Sardar made arrangements to leave 
Ayub Shah at Peshavar, and taking with him Shah 
Zadah Sultan Ali and Ismail, he set out for Kabul. 
The Sardar was well aware that the former Shah 
Zadah was the master of three or four lakhs of 
rupees, and he therefore renewed his promise and 
oaths of putting the crown of Kabul on his head, and 


gave hopes of the same nature secretly to the latter 
Shah Zadah. 

After uninterrupted and rapid marches the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan reached Butkhak with the 
Shah Zadahs, — and the Prince Jahangir ordered 
Ata Mohammed Khan, the Bamzai (who had already- 
entered into intrigues with the Sardar), and Baqar 
Khan, to meet the Sardar with arms, and to shut 
themselves within the citadel of the Bala Hisar in 
Kabul, with a considerable store of provisions, with 
the view to be besieged by the enemy to resist till 
relieved by Mahmud Shah and Kam Ean his father. 
Ata Mohammed Khan pitched his tent near the 
village of Bibi Mahru,* and the Sardar Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, with Navab Samad Yar and Pir 
Mohammed Khan, moved and encamped at Khova- 
jah Bivash, as previously appointed, and about ten 
o'clock at night Hafizji, the son of Mir Vaiz, and 
MuUa Hidayat UUah, effected a clandestine inter- 
view between the Sardar and Ata Mohammed, the 
head of the Jahangir's army. The treaty which had 
been formerly contracted through their respective 

* Where the British troops under Brigadier Shelton were 
defeated at the outbreak in Kabul in 1841. 


deputations, was now solemnly renewed personally. 
This treaty was resealed by the Sardar, Yar Mo- 
hammed, and by Navab Samad Khan, to Ata Mo- 
hammed Khan, who was to desert Jahangir, and 
allow the Sardar to attack the Bala Hisar. Ata 
Mohammed Khan desired that Pir Mohammed Khan 
should add his name and seal to this agreement, 
being one of the brothers of the same family as the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan. As the object of 
the Sardar was to destroy Ata Mohammed Khan, 
after he had obtained his end, he therefore thought 
proper not to include Pir Mohammed Khan in the 
treaty, for the purpose of employing him against his 
meditated future enemy, with whom he was now 
contracting terms of friendship. With this view the 
Sardar stated repeatedly to Ata Mohammed Khan 
that Pir Mohammed Khan was young and not fit to 
be trusted with such important secrets, and that there 
was no need of his appearing to be a party in the 
treaty ; but that he will, no doubt, follow the example 
of his brothers respecting the articles of the agree- 
ment. Ata Mohammed Khan outwardly harangued 
his followers, that if they relax in their exertions in 


promoting the cause of their royal masters, Shah 
Mahmud, Shah Zadah Kam Ean, or Shah Zadah 
Jahangir, and fail to punish the Barakzai rebels 
(Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, &c.), the wrath of 
the Almighty God will fall upon them and curse them 
if they betray his cause. He continued his treacher- 
ous harangues for a few days, while secretly he ex- 
changed a great many oaths of perpetual friendship 
with the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, and was 
thus betraying his own sovereign. It was agreed 
that they were to have a second interview with each 
other in the " Burj i Vazir," and ratify the agree- 
ments with much more satisfactory and solemn swear- 
ings and ceremonies. Ata Mohammed came ac- 
cordingly, and as soon as he entered the door of the 
" Burj i Vazir " the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan 
induced his brother Pir Mohammed (whom he had 
purposely kept out of the treaty), to throw down 
his newly and solemnly made friend, Ata Mohammed 
Khan, on the ground, and to pluck out his eyes ; and 
he accordingly perpetrated this foul deed. The de- 
privation of sight drove away all ambitious thoughts 
from the head of the blind chief, who, while governor 


of Kashmir, had inflicted similar injuries on numerous 
persons, and had also taken a prominent part in 
blinding the late Fatah Khan. 

The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, relieved from 
a powerful enemy, or an intriguing friend, resolved 
to besiege the Bala Hisar. Shah Zadah Jahangir 
was treacherously advised by some of his adherents 
(with whom Dost Mohammed Khan was intriguing) 
to evacuate the lower citadel, and to close himself, 
with his retinue, in the upper one ; and the empty 
part of the Bala Hisar was instantly possessed by 
the enemy. A battle ensued, and Dost Mohammed 
Khan formed a mine and blew up part of the gate of 
the other citadel. Shah Zadah Jahangir then found 
himself in a dangerous situation, and being accom- 
panied by his confidential friends, he stole his escape 
towards Ghazni. 

Now, after such an extraordinary display of talent 
and perseverance of mind, after such intrigues and 
murders, and this surprising run of good luck, the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan found himself master 
of Kabul ; — but the peace of his mind was subverted 
by the arrival of the intelligence that Shah Mah- 
mud and Shah Zadah Kam Ran were in progress 


from Qandhar to fight against him ; and at the same 
time that Mohammed Azim Khan had left Kashmir 
with the view that he, being the eldest of the brothers, 
should not leave Dost Mohammed to become master 
of the capital of Afghanistan. He, nevertheless, 
being elated with his victory, and at the same time 
fearful of his enemies on the south, and of his jealous 
brothers on the east, he proclaimed Shah Zadah Sultan 
Ali as king of Kabul, and made himself his minis- 
ter. This intelligence more stirred up the jealousy 
of Mohammed Azim Khan and of the other brothers. 
They invited Shah Shuja to join with them for their 
common advantage, but some difference occurred and 
caused a battle between the Shah and his inviters, in 
which the latter were victorious, and the former was 
put to flight. They dared not, however, to move upon 
Kabul without being under the nominal authority 
and shadow of the Sadozai Prince ; and they there- 
fore sought, found, and proclaimed Shah Zadah 
Ayub as king. The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, 
under his own appointed king, Shah Zadah Sultan 
Ali, now left Kabul to meet Shah Mahmud and 
Shah Zadah Kam Ran. He soon discovered that it 
was impossible to gain a victory against such a 


powerful army of the Shah, which was composed of 
all the principal Durrani chiefs ; and he therefore 
thought it advisable to have recourse to his usual 
intrigues and stratagems. He accordingly forged 
seals and letters, as if they were from some of the 
high chiefs, which formed the army of the Shah 
Mahmud, and which stated their discontent in serv- 
ing the Mahmud, and a desire to enter into the 
employment of the Shah Zadah Sultan Ali, — the 
king made by the Sardar. He also directed one of 
his confidential chiefs to enter into correspondence 
with the enemy, and to pretend to intrigue against 
him (the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan), and, 
moreover, to enclose the forged letters for Mahmud 
Shah, in order to convince him of his own (the 
writer's) fidelity and attachment to the Shah, and of 
his hatred against his employer Dost Mohammed. 
This perfidy of the Sardar proved successful, so that 
Mahmud Shah and Kam Ran became suddenly 
alarmed, and showed the letters to the chiefs, whose 
seals and names had been forged, and which they 
now bore, and all of them solemnly denied being 
the writers of these letters. In the meantime Salu 
Khan, called Shah Pasand Khan, stated to Shah 



Mahmud that all the Durrani chiefs intended to 
go over to the enemy; and it so happened about 
that time the Shah Ghasi Dilavar, with a few horse- 
men, deserted the Shah's camp and joined the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan. This frightened Shah 
Zadah Kam Ran and his father to the utmost, and 
they fled through Hazarajat to Hirat, leaving all 
the artillery and camp-equipage to the Sardar. 
Purdil Khan, the other brother, got possession of 
Qandhar, which was under Gul Mohammed Khan, 
governor for Mahmud Shah. This was the com- 
mencement of Afghanistan into the hands of the 
Barakzais — Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan and his 
brothers ; and he considered that his good fortune 
had thus gained for him the possession of Kabul a 
second time. 

Mohammed Azim Khan marched from Kabul 
with his own assumed king, the Shah Ayub, and the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan took possession of 
the stronghold of Ghazni, where he appointed his 
younger brother, Amir Mohammed Khan, as Go- 
vernor, with the view that if overpowered by Mo- 
hammed Azim and Shah Ayub, he may easily 
defend himself in this impregnable fort. However 


the Sardar's position was far from securing to him 
the enjoyment of the possession of the capital, for he 
found himself at the same time threatened by his bro- 
thers at Qandhar, and by those with Mohammed Azim 
Khan. Numerous negotiations and altercations were 
exchanged : and at last it was arranged that Moham- 
med Azim, being the eldest of the brothers, should en- 
joy Kabul ; that Yar Mohammed Khan should possess 
Peshavar, and Purdil Khan should receive Qandhar, 
and the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, Ghazni. 
Thus the country was divided between the brothers 
of this family, and the nominally proclaimed King of 
the Sardar was set aside. All appeared happy with 
this arrangement, and were occupied in planning to 
repel any external real or apprehended danger. But 
the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was discontented, 
and searching for an opportunity to secure his own 
particular advantage. 

Mohammed Azim Khan, with Shah Ayub, left 
Kabul to proceed against Shah Shuja, who was 
organizing troops in Shikarpur. When the former 
passed Ghazni, the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan 
returned to the capital, and reproclaimed Shah Sultan 
Ali as king ; and this made Mohammed Azim Khan 


to retrace his steps. When he reached Kabul with 
his own appointed king, Shah Ayub, the monarch 
who had been set up by the Sardar abdicated and 
retired. It is a matter of great difficulty to deter- 
mine here whether the Sardar did all in his power 
to subvert the designs of his rival brother, or joined 
him to dethrone Shah Sultan Ali, who undoubtedly 
was a prince of high talent and of some wealth. 
However, he waited upon Sultan Shah, and said to 
him, that if he was anxious to secure for himself the 
sovereignty, he must murder Shah Ayub. To this 
he replied with wrath, that he was not so inhuman as 
to steep his hands in innocent blood ; and he even 
added, that he will try to destroy any man who shall 
ever perpetrate such a murder. The Sardar, after 
making him easy for a few days, persuaded him, for 
the safety of his person, to retire into the Bala Hisar, 
which he did. Mohammed Azim Khan explained 
to Shah Ayub the necessity which existed for piitting 
an end to the life of Shah Sultan Ali, — on the pro- 
mise that he (Mohammed Azim) will get rid of the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan in the same manner, 
and with this view Ayub meanly agreed. Both of 
the Shahs were living together on friendly terms, till 


after an evening party the poor Shah Sultan Ali 
retired to repose, when Prince Asmail, son of Ayub 
Shah, strangled him to death ; and now the cruel 
Shah requested his instigator, Mohammed Azim 
Khan, to fulfil his promise, of killing the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan. To this request, however, 
he answered, " How can I murder my brother ?" 
Such was the end of Shah Sultan Ali, by the 
intrigues of the Sardar who had once elevated him 
to the throne. 

After some time the Sardar Dost Mohammed 
Khan commenced to contrive schemes for reducing 
the power of his elder brother, Mohammed Azim 
Khan, and for gaining possession of all his wealth, 
which he had hoarded up from extortions and all 
kinds of oppression when Governor of Kashmir. He 
pretended to appear as if he was really fond of his 
brother, and could not part with him even when he 
retired, adding, that he thinks proper to attend him 
always, and to guard him against his enemies, 
whereas, in secret, he intended to annihilate him at 
a favourable opportunity. He had nearly succeeded 
in his base design when, luckily, Navab Samad Khan 
became acquainted with the plot, and informed Mo- 


hammed Azim Khan immediately. He then increased 
the number of his personal guard ; and to divert the 
attention of his brother the Sardar he marched with 
all his treasure and family towards Qandhar, with 
the intention to receive tribute from the Mirs of 
Sindh. The Sardar assembled his Qizalbash ad- 
herents, such as Mahmud Khan Bayat, &c., and 
stated that they had abandoned the legal cause of 
Mahmud Shah, and joined Mohammed Azim Khan 
in the hope that the wealth he had brought from 
Kashmir will be circulated amongst them in Kabul ; 
and that now, on the contrary, he goes with it to 
Qandhar, and enriches its inhabitants. He would 
therefore advise them to use every energetic exertion 
and to follow him, and seize him with the Mammon 
he possesses. They all agreed to this, and started 
off. Meanwhile Mohammed Azim Khan precipitated 
his march, and took shelter in the fort of Ghazni; 
and as he had plenty of money he collected a large 
force to preserve himself However, he induced 
JSTavab Samad Khan to dissuade the Sardar Dost 
Mohammed from such an act of hostility against his 
own brother. The Sardar accepted the terms of 
peace on condition that a sum of money should be 


advanced to him to distribute amongst his followers, 
which was gladly done. 

Easiness of mind was restored to Mohammed 
Azim Khan by this peace, or rather truce, with the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, and he proceeded 
from Ghazni to Qandhar, where, leaving his cum- 
bersome equipage, and being lightly equipped, he 
started to demand tribute from the Mirs of Sindh ; 
and the Sardar, under the name of a coadjutor, fol- 
lowed him. When the army arrived at Shikarpur, 
negotiations began between the Mirs and the in- 
vader; and, when about to be satisfactorily con- 
cluded, here the arch-intriguer, the Sardar Dost 
Mohammed Khan, sprung his secret mine, and 
dispatched his uncle Alahdad Khan clandestinely to 
Mir Ismail Shah, the Minister of the Mirs of 
Sindh, with the proposal, that if he were to advance 
him only one lakh of rupees, in lieu of four lakhs 
which had been demanded by his brother Mohammed 
Azim Khan, that he, in conjunction with the other 
brothers, Sherdil and Pir Mohammed Khan, would 
march back to Qandhar ; which deed, by diminishing 
the strength of the army, and depriving Azim of all 


brotherly support, would compel him to follow them 
with whatever the Mirs chose to give him, or even 
with nothing. The minister knew well that the 
stratagems of the Sardar Dost Mohammed have 
always been unquestionably successful ; and that he 
was the first man who, for his own little personal 
advantage, would aptly sacrifice the material interests 
of his powerful brother. He therefore made the 
above-mentioned proposal known to the Mirs, and 
lost no time in sending the amount of money asked 
by the Sardar, who, being delighted with this suc- 
cess, which otherwise would never have attended 
him, deserted Mohammed Azim Khan ; and Sherdil 
and Pir Mohammed Khan of course went with him. 
Now Azim Khan soon discovered that he was 
treacherously abandoned by his brothers, and by a 
larger number of forces than what he had with him : 
and he therefore considered it proper to fall back 
upon Qandhar, where Purdil Khan received the 
intelligence of his failure, by the conduct of the 
Sardar, before the latter reached the city. He 
received him coolly on account of this: and the 
Sardar thinking that Mohammed Azim and Purdil 


Khan might join to destroy him, and consequently 
considered that it was the wisest plan for himself to 
go to the brothers at Peshavar. 

On his route from Qandhar he plundered villages, 
caravans, &c., and extorted money from every one 
he met till he reached Kabul. Here he created a 
tumult, but Azim Khan followed to check his pro- 
gress. The Sardar had already formed a party of 
his own in the city, and immediately went to Istaliff, 
for collecting the Kohistanis against Azim Khan. 
The Navab Samad Khan caused peace between 
them, on which the Sardar, plundering all he could 
on the road, came to Peshavar. Here the brothers 
of course were aware of the danger which would 
befal them if they were not liberal and polite to their 
embarrassing guest, and they instantly gave up the 
district of Kohat, with its revenues, for his support. 
Mohammed Azim Khan, with the king of his own 
creation. Shah Ayub, came to Peshavar, and de- 
manded the revenue of that country for his Majesty 
from his brothers. When this was settled, he thought, 
imprudently, to leave the Sardar in the rear, in the 
possession of Kohat ; and he promised he would give 
him a larger country, affording much more revenue. 


if he will come with him to Kabul. He then ap- 
pointed Navabs Samad Khan in Kohat, and Mo- 
hammed Zaman Khan at Hashtnagar, he himself 
retiring to Kabul with the Sardar. 

In Kabul the Sardar Dost Mohammed became 
again restless, and began to quarrel with his brother, 
Mohammed Azim Khan, and demanded larger sums 
of money than he could conveniently give. When 
he pressed hard, Mohammed Azim Khan unwisely 
said to the Sardar that he may go any where he 
likes, and that he does not want his services. This 
was the object of his desire, which proved highly 
beneficial to himself and injurious to Azim Khan. 
The Sardar hereupon quitted Kabul, and on the 
road contrived schemes how he might gain possession 
of the stronghold of Ghazni. He assembled all his 
brave followers, and desired them to enter the fort, 
four persons together ; concealing their arms, and to 
continue so doing until he gives further orders.' He 
added, that they are to avoid the suspicion of the 
commander at the gate, and if questioned, say they 
want to buy provisions. When the Sardar found 
that a sufficient number had gone into the fort for 
offensive operations, he himself, in disguise, with two 


servants, joined the party. The commandant of 
the guard at the gate was shot by him ; and a 
skirmish took place, which, after some injury on 
both sides, gave the Sardar possession of the whole 
gate. He now easily hastened to increase the num- 
ber of his retinue from his camp; and he soon 
proclaimed himself the master of Ghazni, and 
restored confidence and peace among the inhabitants. 
He engaged himself in repairing and strengthening 
the fortifications, and stored the place abundantly 
with ammunition and provisions. He then waited 
in confidence, ready for the assault of Mohammed 
Azim Khan. 

The intelligence of the Sardar Dost Mohammed 
Khan's possessing Ghazni heightened the wrath of 
Mohammed Azim Khan ; and at the head of a 
strong force, and with battering guns, he came and 
besieged that fort. For eight days a continued 
firing was kept up on both sides, and the guns from 
the citadel caused great slaughter in the camp of the 
enemy, who, at length, hopeless of subduing the 
garrison, thought best to negotiate with the Sardar. 
Navab Samad Khan was then deputed from the 
camp to confer with Dost for that purpose, but the 


Sardar neither opened the gate nor asked him to 
come in ; but hanging out a rope from the rampart 
he descended by it himself to meet the envoy out- 
side of the fort. The ambassador used every sort of 
art to deprive the Sardar of the fort, but he swore 
that he will rather sacrifice his head than give up 
Ghazni to Mohammed Azim Khan. A second de- 
putation was sent the following day, and another 
conference was held, in which it was agreed that the 
Sardar should continue to keep possession of the 
fort, but that he must come and wait upon Moham- 
med Azim Khan, as a token of his homage, and so 
prevent the appearance of disgrace and weakness to 
be attached to him (Azim). On this the Sardar 
appointed his younger brother. Amir Mohammed 
Khan, the governor ; and manned every tower and 
bastion for defence. Having thus secured the place, 
the Sardar came out and had an interview with his 
besieger, and they both embraced, and yet accused 
each other for the breach of brotherly respect. A 
treaty of peace was thus concluded, and Mohammed 
Azim Khan again resolved to levy tribute on the 

The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was now 


strengthening himself much, and enjoying repose by 
the possession of Ghazni, the first stronghold of 
Afghanistan. Even now nothing could keep hiin in 
peace, nor induce him to secure the internal welfare 
of the country, and he planned to bring external 
embarrassment on his brother, and on the whole 
family. With this view he deputed a mission to the 
Maharajah Eanjit Singh, and kept an unceasing 
correspondence with the Lahaur court, and hoped by 
this alliance to elevate himself, and to subdue his 
brothers, and especially the powerful Mohammed 
Azim Khan. This excited the alarm of Mohammed 
Azim Khan, who lost no time to fall back upon 
Peshavar for the purpose of checking the progress of 
the Sikhs. The Afghan and the Sikh armies were 
now near enough to have occasional skirmishes; 
however, all the Barakzai brothers sent Yar Moham- 
med Khan as an envoy to the Maharajah Kanjit 
Singh. He betrayed the trust reposed in him ; and 
with or without the advice of the Sikh invader, he 
wrote letters to Mohammed Azim Khan, that it 
was the intention of the Sikhs to take a different 
route, and to seize his family and treasure then left 


at Michni. The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was 
to be sure connected with the enemy for the de- 
struction of Azim Khan ; and these sad circumstances 
marred his intrepidity. Upon one hand he con- 
sidered that he ought to prevent the seizure of the 
wives and treasure by the Sikhs at Michni, and on 
the other, that retiring from the face of the enemy 
without hazarding a battle, was a most cowardly 
deed. In the meantime his heart was bitterly 
wounded by finding that not only the Sardar Dost 
Mohammed Khan had attached himself to the Lahaur 
chiefs, but that nearly all the other brothers had 
followed his example. In this disturbed state of 
mind he sometimes resolved to fight and keep his 
ground ; and at other times he thought best to break 
up the camp, for the purpose of preserving his 
wives and his money. Soon afler this his followers 
became disheartened at the uncertainty of his deter- 
minations, and every one began to strike his own 
tent, and to leave the camp; while no one knew a 
sufficient cause for so doing. Mohammed Azim 
Khan, sadly vexed, plucked out his beard, and la- 
mented for the treachery of the Sardar Dost Mo- 


hammed Khan, and of the other brothers; and for 
being thus compelled to retire with the outward show 
of weakness and disgrace. On his return to Kabul 
Azim Khan was attacked by dysentery, and soon 
after died broken-hearted. 

( 130 ) 


Succession of Habib-ullah Khan — He is defeated by the Sardar 
— Peace is concluded between them — Habib-ullah's secret in- 
tentions — Flight of the Sardar — Sherdil Khan and the Sardar 
join against Habib-ullah — Policy of Dost — He takes the Bala 
Hisar — Intrigues and rupture between Sherdil and Dost — 
Siege of the Bala Hisar — Peace between the brothers — 
Death of Sherdil Khan — The Sardar sole master of Kabul 
' — Sayad Ahmad's war with the Sikhs — Rebellion at Tagav, 
and defeat of the Sardar. 

Sardar Mohammed Azim Khan, by the turn of 
fortune, was the first in wealth amid the sons of 
Sarfraz Khan, the brothers of the Sardar Dost 
Mohammed Khan. Knowing the incapacity of 
his son Habib-ullah Khan, he implored Navab 
Jabbar Khan, as he breathed his last, to take 
care of his son, whom he requested and charged 
to wipe away the stigma he had sustained before 
the Sikhs. After his death Habib-ullah Khan suc- 
ceeded him; and these two became his favourite 
and immediate advisers — Hafizji, son of the late 


Mir Vaiz, and Aminullah Khan Laho-gardi * He 
also wrote and invited Purdil Khan from Qandhar, 
and treated him with consideration and liberality. 

It must not be forgotten that Shah Ayub, the 
sovereign created by the late Mohammed Azim 
Khan, was still in the Bala Hisar. He disbelieved 
his son Shah Zadah Ismail, and paid no attention 
to his prudent advice, — namely, to seize Habib-ullah 
Khan with the treasure of his father. Purdil Khan 
therefore entered the citadel by force, with a large 
retinue ; seized the Shah, and killed the Shah Zadah. 
He set Ayub at liberty, however, after having caused 
him to pay the sum of one lakh of rupees ; and he 
then made his way towards the Panjab. 

Habib-ullah Khan, surrounded by the aban- 
doned of all classes, immersed himself in base 
dissipation. The courtiers of his father's time be- 
came disgusted; some retired, and some were dis- 
missed. Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan discovered 
that he had now an open field for his hypocrisy and 
ambition. Regardless of the difference of age, and 
of the dignity of an uncle towards a nephew, he pre- 

* Who took a prominent part in the rebellion against the 
English in 1841. 



tended to respect Habib-ullah Khan, as older and 
chief of the family, and therefore as superior to him- 
self He often ran, and even placed shoes under 
his nephew's feet, wiping them with his own hand- 
kerchief While the Sardar was cunningly gaining 
ground and time for the display of his real object, 
Habib-ullah Khan was fool enough to pride himself 
by fancying that he already exceeded the power of 
his late father in reducing the Sardar to the condition 
of one of the vassals. There was no limit to the 
false and sweet words of his devotion and affection 
towards Habib-ullah Khan, and no bound to the 
pride and vanity of the latter on this occasion. 
However some old and experienced persons about 
him, as Aminoollah Khan, &c., always cautioned 
him against the mask of homage which the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan had politically put on. At 
length he discovered that the Sardar was paying 
him a false homage, and was only watching for a 
favourable opportunity to upset his power. He 
thereupon disclosed his fears of the Sardar to his 
unwise companions ; and with their consent resolved 
to seize the Sardar when he comes to his court, and 
to deprive him of his eyes. Dost Mohammed Khan 


proceeded to the Bala Hisar, as usual, in the morn- 
ing, and it was fortunate for him that Haji Khan 
Kakar became acquainted with the plot, and on the 
Sardar's entering the room, where he sat with Habib- 
ullah, he caught the sight of the Sardar, and put 
his fingers on his own eyes ; which sign the Sardar, 
of quick understanding, instantly knew meant that 
Habib-uUah had contrived and conspired to blind 
him, and consequently he lost not a moment to 
return and ride off on his horse. 

The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan induced Yar 
Mohammed Khan to take his part, and prepared to 
wage war with Habib-uUah Khan. The latter was 
supported by the son of Mir Vaiz and by many other 
influential citizens. The followers of both parties 
came out by the gate named Shah Shahid, and after 
a long fight the Sardar was victorious. The enemy 
was besieged, and would have been easily as- 
sailed had Dost Mohammed Khan not feared the 
plunder of his treasure and property, which the 
Sardar was desirous to procure for his own use. 
He therefore used his exertions in preventing his 
followers to enter the residence of Habib-uUah Khan, 
and stopped in the fort of Baqar Khan Moradkhani, 


hemming in the enemy all the night. Next day 
Amir Mohammed Khan came to aid his brother the 
Sardar, and Habib-uUah Khan also received rein- 
forcements from Lahogard, when another battle en- 
sued near the fort of Kashif However, the no- 
bilities interfered and put a stop to the bloodshed. 
It was agreed that the Sardar was to receive twenty 
thousand rupees and the revenue of Vardak in ad- 
dition to that of Ghazni, and Habib-uUah Khan must 
remain the undisputed master of Kabul. On this, 
the Sardar went to Ghazni and continued to improve 
the military strength of the place in every way for 
some time. But Habib-uUah, conscious of his saga- 
city, could not enjoy rest, for the constant fear of 
being destroyed by the Sardar was destructive of his 
happiness: consequently he dispatched agents with 
valuable presents to the Qandhar chiefs, and sought 
their alliance. Purdil Khan immediately came to 
relieve him from anxiety, and to lend him aid if 
necessary. After some days spent in festivals and 
parties of pleasure, the real Afghan character showed 
itself in a misunderstanding which took place be- 
tween the host and the guest, and this presented an 
opportunity for the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan 


to appear again as the enemy of Habib-ullah Khan. 
In the plain near the fort of Qazi both sides met for 
battle, but bloodshed was prevented by the inter- 
ference of some silver-bearded chiefs. On this Ha- 
bib-ullah placed the Sardar on the elephant with 
himself, and brought him into the city with every 
pomp and show of cordiality, as if he was reconciled 
heartily with him for ever, while yet he conspired 
for his murder. He presented him with a large sum 
of money to distribute among his forces, and thus 
pretended to show the sincerity of his disposition and 
attachment. The Sardar meanwhile became ac- 
quainted with the conspiracy, and while it snowed 
heavily he fled from the city, placing his family also 
on the elephant. The cold was so keen, and the 
rapidity of the flight was so necessary, that one of 
his little daughters fell down in that hurried march 
and expired immediately. Habib-ullah was informed 
of his escape, and immediately followed and overtook 
him. He had, however, secured a fort near Maidan 
for his head-quarters, and was able to sally out and 
thence to skirmish with his pursuers. Amir Mo- 
hammed Khan, the younger brother of the Sardar, 
started from Ghazni to relieve him ; but Habib-ullah, 


having known of this, met and routed him on the 
road. The Sardar now thought proper to leave the 
fort in the dark of the night, and go to his brother 
at Ghazni unseen by the enemy. 

Meanwhile Sherdil Khan was invited by Habib- 
uUah, and the quick-sighted Sardar Dost Mohammed 
Khan, found that their union with each other would 
be injurious to his own advancement. He therefore 
left Ghazni for Kohistan, where he remained for a 
few months, making the chiefs his partisans, and 
thus prepared to render himself strong enough to 
encounter his united foes. Sherdil Khan was not 
less active in the city. He was intriguing to pro- 
claim himself the principal chief, and to destroy 
Habib-ullah Khan, for whose assistance he had origi- 
nally come. The latter's influence was merely a 
shadow of the nominal chiefship, while Sherdil Khan 
managed the affairs of government. He allowed 
thirty thousand rupees per month for his private 
expenses, and appointed Khodai Nazar Khan, his 
own maternal uncle, deputy governor in Kabul. His 
habits were tyrannical, and he very soon made the 
whole population disgusted with the existing rule of 
Sherdil. Many people began to hold correspondence 


with the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, and assured 
him of their co-operation in his behalf. The Sardar 
came to Kabul, and adopted his usually successful 
policy of adjusting matters by stratagem rather than 
with the sword. He asked for an interview with 
Sherdil, and after a long-continued discussion on the 
propriety and importance of the past and present 
conduct of each other, a new agreement was made, 
in which it was arranged that Sherdil Khan was to 
remain the paramount Lord of Kabul; while the 
Sardar was to keep the government of Ghazni, 
Maidan, and Kohistan, marrying at the same time 
the widow lady of Mohammed Azim Khan, with all 
her property. She was the daughter of Sadiq Khan 
Javan Sher, and the step-mother of Habib-uUah Khan. 
Although Sherdil was considered a braver man, as 
well as a shrewd diplomatic character, yet after all he 
could never penetrate into the deep-bottomed hypo- 
crisy of the Sardar. He was quite senseless, indeed, 
not to apprehend the great influence which Dost 
Mohammed gained by his connexion with the widow 
lady. He obtained through this marriage quarters 
and friends among the very warlike and heroic Qizal- 
bashes, where he could raise brave and numerous 


cavalry, and where in adversity he could shelter 
himself against any of his powerful brothers. 

After the conclusion of this agreement the Sardar 
Dost Mohammed Khan thought that nothing could 
advance his interest farther than to cause a struggle 
in the town. He therefore presented a series of fic- 
titious alarms relating to perfidious dangers fi'om 
Habib-uUah to his new ally Sherdil Khan, and in- 
duced him at last to make the other his prisoner. 
The Sardar, to show his sincerity in the cause, coun- 
selled Sherdil that he should confine him also (the 
Sardar) with Habib-ullah, which will show the other 
party that they are not united, and which will thus 
give him the opportunity of promoting his preten- 
sions secretly ! This was accordingly done, and the 
mother of Habib-ullah Khan was exasperated as well 
as distressed at the custody of her son ; and closing 
the gates of the Bala Hisar, she declared war against 
Sherdil. Thus happened what the Sardar. Dost 
Mohammed Khan wanted; and as Sherdil found 
himself in an awkward position, he asked counsel of 
the Sardar, then his prisoner, on mutual understand- 
ing. He was immediately released, made deputy 
governor under Sherdil, and commenced to negotiate 


with the warrior-lady. He sent to her deputations 
repeatedly, and after assuring her, with his usual 
solemn oath, of his fidelity towards her, and pro- 
mising her safe escort with her treasure, as well as 
the wealth of her son Habib-uUah, he succeeded in 
having the gates of the citadel opened, and lost no 
time in placing his guards on the different towers. 
On this Sherdil Khan immediately repaired to the 
Bala Hisar, and placing the widow lady of Mo- 
hammed Azim, the step-mother of Habib-uUah, on an 
elephant, sent her to Sardar, who married her ac- 
cording to the concealed agreement. The Sardar 
resolved not to violate the oaths he had made with 
the lady when she caused to be opened the gates of 
the Bala Hisar for him, and not to satisfy his per- 
fidious avarice by plundering her himself; but he 
induced and gave opportunity to Sherdil Khan to do 
this, on the condition of equal shares in the spoil. 
The pillage took place accordingly, and went so far, 
that every woman of the family was searched and 
deprived even of her dress, if it was not torn. 
Sherdil possessed himself of the whole remaining 
mammon of the late Mohammed Azim Khan, and 
drove every member of the household of Habib-ullah 


with infamy out of the citadel. Sherdil now became 
avaricious of this very considerable booty, and deter- 
mined not to give even a little to the Sardar Dost 
Mohammed Khan, as had been originally stipulated. 
To effect this object of his imprudence, he sent off 
Habib-ullah Khan as prisoner into the distant fort of 
his Mama, and then contrived schemes to blind the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, if not to destroy him 
altogether. In the mean time the brothers, chiefs of 
Peshavar, also arrived in Kabul to take advantage of 
the disorder, and to share the riches if possible. 
Sherdil intended to seize the Sardar and perpetrate 
his deed of cruelty when he attends his court, but he 
was again informed of the plot, as before, by the mo- 
tion of Haji Khan Kakar ; and instantly leaving the 
presence of Sherdil, on the pretence of ablution, he 
rode off on his horse and came to his residence. 
This was the second time when the Sardar had a 
providential escape from his deadly enemies but pre- 
tended friends. 

It was now evident that Sherdil Khan could not 
remain in the enjoyment of his ill-gotten power, as 
the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan could not be en- 
trapped. The latter lost no time in collecting a 


strong body of men at the expense of his new rich 
wife ; and, exasperated at the faithless behaviour of 
Sherdil Khan, he insisted upon having his own will 
for the delivery of Habib-ullah Khan. He then laid 
siege to the Bala Hisar, and all the brother chiefs of 
Peshavar joined him with the view of enriching 
themselves from the plunder of the besieged. Sher- 
dil Khan also sent an express to his brothers at 
Qandhar, intimating to them that he was possessed 
of considerable wealth, which, if he were not pro- 
tected by those who were his real brothers, would 
fall into the hands of the Sardar Dost Mohammed 
Khan and the chiefs of Peshavar, and would make 
them extremely powerful in the family. This com- 
munication stirred up the chiefs, and they left 
Qandhar immediately for the purpose of defending 
their brother Sherdil Khan in Kabul. They arrived 
at length to aid the besieged, but the Sardar had 
surrounded the citadel so closely that provisions 
began to diminish ; and in the mean time he sent a 
message to Sherdil Khan that the brave never shut 
themselves up in a house or fort, but come out and 
feel a proud desire either to fall or to gain in the 
open field. It is well known that Sherdil Khan was 

142 A SALLY. 

really a person of great intrepidity, and braver than 
all the sons of Sarfraz Khan. This message stirred 
him up and he sallied out. Many days at first 
passed in skirmishes, and at last a general action was 
intended. Sherdil arrayed the line of his forces 
towards the tomb of Shah Shahid ; and the Sardar, 
with the flower of his Qizalbash adherents, appeared 
on the opposite hillock, called Tappah Maranjan. 
The Qandhar chiefs, after reconnoitring the position 
of the Sardar, discovered that there would be only 
useless bloodshed in fighting with him while sup- 
ported with such well-equipped cavalry and in pos- 
session of such a commanding position. Sherdil 
Khan, just like an Afghan, came into the camp of 
the Sardar, and stopped at the tent of the Navab 
Mohammed Zaman Khan. Counsel after counsel 
continued for many days, and the leaders of both 
parties were cherishing themselves on fruits and rich 
dinners together, while their respective followers 
were fighting for their employers in the field. 

It would be tiresome to the reader to detail here 
the numerous treaties which were concluded and then 
violated, the struggles which were renewed and which 
again ceased, — oath after oath being exchanged, till 


finally it was settled that the Navab Samad Khan 
should be empowered by both parties to adjust their 
differences. He proposed that neither Sherdil nor 
Dost Mohammed Khan should possess Kabul, which 
should be entirely left to be governed by the influ- 
ential citizens, headed by the Sultan Mohammed 
Khan, one of the brother chiefs of Peshavar. It was 
further arranged that Sherdil Khan with his brothers 
must retire to Qandhar, and the Sardar to his go- 
vernment seat at Ghazni or Kohistan. This peace, 
however, was soon disturbed, for the followers of the 
Qandhar chiefs fell into a quarrel with those of the 
Sardar, and this ended not without much bloodshed. 
In the mean time, the widows of the late Mohammed 
Azim Khan deafened the ears of the hearers by 
shrieks, and begged the Sardar and the Navab to re- 
venge on Sherdil Khan the insult and disgrace he 
had shown to the ladies of their deceased brother, 
demanded that he should be compelled to liberate 
their sons, Habib-uUah and Akram Khan. The Sar- 
dar again, exclusive of his other brothers, went and 
made a secret agreement with Sherdil Khan, that 
the Sardar will join him against any one who may 
attempt to impede his progress, or may wish to seize 


his property which had belonged to Habib-ullah 
Khan, on the condition that Sherdil Khan will bind 
himself to assist the Sardar against the Peshavar 
chiefs, if necessary, and will give up his prisoners 
into his hands. On this Sherdil Khan loaded on 
beasts of burden all the moveable wealth from the 
Bala Hisar, and after delivering Habib-ullah Khan to 
the Sardar, set out for Qandhar. 

The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan meanwhile 
knew that the brother chiefs of Qandhar and of 
Peshavar, in concurrence with each other, had 
established Sultan Mohammed Khan Governor of 
Kabul, with the view of having influence in the 
capital, and that he himself was set totally aside. 
Consequently he insisted upon leaving Habib-ullah 
Khan with Sultan Mohammed Khan on his part in 
the city, and he succeeded in doing so. Some 
time, however, passed before the Sardar could recruit 
his means and troops in Kohistan, and in the interval 
the death of Sherdil Khan happened. The talents 
and bravery of this chief of Qandhar were respected 
and dreaded by the Sardar, who now found that no 
one else remained in the family capable to frustrate 
his designs in any way. Sultan Mohammed Khan 


was exceedingly partial to the citizens of the " Sunni " 
sect; and to counterbalance this, the Sardar took 
the "Shias," or Qizalbashes, under his wings; and he 
employed clandestinely emissaries to kindle religious 
misunderstanding and offences between the two par- 
ties. In the meantime Habib-ullah Khan left Kabul, 
annoyed with the treatment of Sultan Mohammed 
Khan, and this created a fine excuse for the hosti- 
lities of the Sardar. 

Finally, the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan com- 
municated to Sultan Mohammed the alternative to 
leave Kabul, or to be ready to fight with him. The 
latter, however, treated this message with ridicule, 
till the Sardar actually had opened a fire on the city. 
The citizens made a few skirmishes, and at length 
Sultan Mohammed Khan consented to evacuate 
Kabul ; and so the Sardar entered the Bala Hisar 
by one gate, while the Sultan went out by another. 
The Sardar was now so fortunate as to be the sole 
sovereign of Kabul, where he ruled till the British 
Government dethroned him; and he is now again 
ruling where his English enemies could not govern. 
He was proud of having the chief seat and govern- 
ment of the capital of Afghanistan ; but he was not 


happy in his new position. He was sure that as soon 
as the brother chiefs of Qandhar and of Peshavar had 
no fear of attacks from Kam Ran and the Maha- 
rajah Ranj it Singh, they will not allow him to re- 
main in the undisputed possession of Kabul. He 
therefore entered into correspondence with the 
fanatic Sayad Ahmad, who had raised a religious 
war on the Sikhs, in the Yusaf Zai country; and 
who kept the chiefs of Peshavar also engaged so as 
to prevent their attempts to disturb the Sardar. By 
this diversion of the attention of the Peshavar chiefs 
he had nothing to fear from the East; but his 
brothers on the South marched from Qandhar to 
oppose him. He thereupon led forth a large force, 
and met his antagonists near Qarabagh. A few 
skirmishes took place between the Kabul and Qan- 
dhar armies, which were obliged to fall back on 
their respective capitals by the sudden appearance of 
the cholera. 

The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan made a dis- 
covery that Habib-uUah was intriguing with the ill 
disposed chiefs to supplant him from the throne of 
Kabul, and he thought the best and safest mode of 
putting off this impending danger, was to bribe and 


induce the followers of Habib-ullah to desert their 
master, and to join him. He succeeded in this, and 
afterwards confiscated all his estate. Annoyed at this, 
he went over to the chiefs of Peshavar, where he re- 
ceived a district yielding one hundred and twenty 
thousand rupees for his support, yet after a year he 
quarrelled with them and returned again to Kabul. 
The Sardar, however, paid him no attention, and this 
induced him to go to Qandhar with all his family. 
Distress from want, and the neglect of the ruling 
uncles, broke and deranged his spirits, and he became 
quite insane. Even then he did not stop much 
longer there, notwithstanding the chiefs offered him 
twenty-five thousand rupees a-year for his mainte- 
nance, but he crossed the Ghoeleri range of moun- 
tains with his families, and on reaching the Esa 
Khail district near Derah Ismail Khan, he massa- 
cred all his wives and children, and threw them into 
the Indus. Such was the dreadful deed and sad fall 
of one who was once respected, flattered, and dreaded 
by the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, and by the 
other uncles. 

The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan had not firmly 
established his authority in Kohistan, for robberies 



and murders were still in practice, and some persons 
in existence there, who threatened death to his col- 
lectors and magistrates. He therefore assembled a 
select force, but, avoiding every occasion for the use 
of arms, he, with his natural sweetness of tongue, 
ensnared the ringleaders, as Nurak Shakardarari, 
Sayad Baba Qushqari, Zaman Istalafi and Mazu 
Tagavi, &c., assassinated them all, and forced the 
petty ones into banishment. 

The inhabitants of Tagav, in the meantime, re- 
belled against the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan and 
subverted the tranquillity of the suburbs of Kabul. 
The Sardar collected a good force and placed over 
it the Navab Jabbar Khan to punish the rebels. 
The Navab remained for some time in Tagav nego- 
tiating with them, and thought that he will be able 
to settle the disturbance without having recourse to 
arms, but it proved to be quite contrary. The 
Tagavis made a night attack upon the Sardar's army, 
which, with its leader Navab Jabbar Khan, was de- 
feated and dispersed. All the camp equipage fell 
into the hands of the rebels, and the remains of the 
forces returned successful to Kabul. This failure did 
not incense the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, but 


created in him an apprehension that rebellion would 
soon appear on every side, if the honour of his arms 
was not recovered, and if the Tagavis were not 

( 150 ) 


Haji Khan joins the Sardar^ — The Sardar punishes the rebels — 
Takes Bala Bagh and Jalalabad — Jealousy of the brothers— 
His escape from assassination — Marches against Shah Shuja — • 
His letter to the British political agent at Loodianah— Sir 
Claude Wade's answer — The Sardar writes to Shah Shuja — 
Reaches Qandhar, and defeats Shah Shuja-ul-mulk — Cor- 
respondence discovered among the spoils — Ingratitude of the 
Qandhar chiefs towards Dost Mohammed Khan— The Sardar's 
interview with his dying brother — Flight and evil designs of 
the Peshavar chiefs — Haji Khan Kakar. 

While the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was 
making preparations for marching an army in 
person against Tagav, his principal and secret 
object was to subdue Bala Bagh, Jalalabad, and the 
people of Zurmat and of Bangash. The Sardar had 
at this time with him Haji Khan Kakar, a man of 
great treachery and hypocrisy, similar to himself. 
This person was formerly in the service of Habib- 
ullah Khan, and then in that of Sherdil Khan the 
Qandhar chief He knew well that among all the 
brothers Dost Mohammed Khan was the only man 
to prosper, and therefore, on two former occasions 


when he informed the Sardar of the plots which his 
(Haji) master had laid for blinding and killing him. 
Knowing also that at length the Sardar will gain the 
paramount power over the other brothers, he stole 
his escape from the camp of the Qandhar chief, his 
employer, and took shelter in the shrine of " Shah 
Ashqan Arefan," and pretended to be tired of this 
world, and to devote the remainder of this life for 
gaining the happiness of the next. The Qandhar 
chiefs did everything to induce him to follow them, 
but he seemed determined to retire from the world 
and live quiet in the mosque, yet this was merely a 
pretence. The Sardar went to him after the Qandhar 
chiefs went away, and persuaded him to quit the 
Mausoleum, and to co-operate with him for the 
aggrandisement of his power and of his country. 
Haji Khan accompanied the Sardar to his residence, 
and commenced a new career under a new master, 
as he had anticipated, and he will be found, on many 
occasions, to play a double part and to abound in 
treachery. Haji Khan advised the Sardar Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan first to proceed towards Zurmat and 
Bangash ; and, though the Sardar at first thought it 
not good to undertake this expedition, yet at length 


it proved successful. He destroyed many rebellious 
forts, collected revenues, punished the refractory, and 
established peace and governors in that district. The 
cholera in the mean time spread and affected the 
Sardar; and fearful of the result, he returned to 
Kabul. Some time afterwards he declared war 
against Tagav, as he had originally intended. This 
declaration made Sultan Mohammed Khan and the 
other brothers alarmed on account of his increasing 
power, and they communicated to the Navab Mo- 
hammed Zaman Khan their earnest desire and ur- 
gent advice to make himself ready to 6ppose the 
Sardar, who after the conquest of Tagav would cer- 
tainly subdue his country of Jalalabad. While the 
Navab was preparing for defence, repairing the for- 
tress, and storing up provisions at Jalalabad for siege, 
the Sardar was engaged in razing the strongholds of 
the Tagav rebels. They fled to the mountains, and 
the Sardar possessed himself of their very consider- 
able flocks, and of all their various quadrupeds. 
From that day no one from that country ever at- 
tempted to give him any offence, and the captured 
guns of the Navab Jabbar Khan were also restored 
to the Sardar. 



The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan now turned 
his attention to the projected conquest of Bala Bagh 
and of Jalalabad. The former was ruled by Mo- 
hammed Osman Khan, and the latter by the Navab 
Mohammed Zaman Khan. After a siege of two 
days, the chiefs of Bala Bagh surrendered, and then 
the fort of Jalalabad was invested by the forces of 
Dost Mohammed Khan. Here the siege continued 
for a few days, and then the Sardar commanded his 
Kohistan force to mine the fort. It was accordingly 
mined and blown up, when his army made an assault 
and captured Jalalabad. The Navab Mohammed 
Zaman Khan entered the room of his wife, who was 
the daughter of the late Yazir Fatah Khan, and 
thought himself safe under her protection. On this 
the Sardar gave orders to his son, Mohammed Akh- 
bar Khan, to go in, seize, and conduct the good 
Navab to his presence. Kegardless of the respect 
due to him, he forced the Navab to leave his lady's 
protection ; and with no turban on his head he 
was conducted by Akbar Khan into the presence 
of his father, who brought him away and gave him 
as his state-prisoner a sufficient allowance to live 


It must be borne in mind that the daily increase 
of power and influence, and the aggrandisement of 
territory by the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, 
was the source of the odious jealousy of his brothers, 
both old and young, the chiefs of Peshavar and of 
Qandhar. Knowing their own weakness they left 
and acknowledged him to be the master of Kabul, 
but yet they always murmured on account of the 
great expenses incurred by them on various occasions 
in proceeding to Kabul, and in restoring order there 
before the Sardar possessed it ; and consequently 
they wrote to him to repay to them certain sums of 
money, and sometimes they asked for protection 
against Kam Ran and Ranjit. The Sardar always 
laughed at these reckless and murmuring demands 
for money and aid ; but said, in reply, that he had 
nothing to give them, and that if it was convenient 
to him he will lend them military assistance against 
any real and general enemy. The Sardar Dost 
Mohammed found out that the Navab Jabbar Khan, 
instead of adjusting differences between him and the 
other chiefs, increased the diflficulties for him by 
his unceasing intrigues with the malcontents. He 
thought best therefore to deprive him of the Ghilzai 


country, and to fix for him an adequate and respect- 
able stipend in the city. He stated to the Navab 
he has received numerous complaints from his (Na- 
vab*s) subjects, and that for the stability of his ra- 
pidly and progressively increasing government, he 
thinks to take up the administration of that district 
himself, and to provide for him in lieu of it by some 
other means. This made the Navab feel more hos- 
tility towards the Sardar, who had always been suc- 
cessful against the base conspiracies and intrigues of 
his brothers, of the Navab, &c. It has been said 
that while at Jalalabad the Sardar found a person 
armed and concealed at night in his private tent, 
who was bribed to murder him. The Sardar felt or 
rather heard the breathing of a man under his bed ; 
and without making any noise, he got up in the man- 
ner as if he was to retire for a minute, and then to 
return to his bed immediately. He then very quietly 
took the arms from the guard at the door of his tent, 
and pointing the musket in the direction of his bed, 
he commanded the culprit to come out. He was 
seized, yet at the interference of the Navab, and of 
the Peshavar chiefs, he was pardoned, or else he 
would have been blown up by the firing of a gun. 

156 SHAH SHU J A. 

It was immediately before or soon after the Sardar 
gained possession of Jalalabad, that the Shah Shuja, 
the ex-king of Kabul, appeared and raised an army 
at Sindh, with the intention to try to recover from 
his repeated failures of fortune in recovering his do- 
minions and invading Qandhar ; but the chiefs of this 
place wrote and applied for the assistance of the Sar- 
dar Dost Mohammed Khan. He knew that if he 
was not to proceed at their call, his brothers will not 
be able to oppose and to frustrate the designs of the 
Shah, who if once in the possession of that city, 
would place him in a most dangerous situation in 
Kabul ; and he therefore prepared an army, to start 
forth with it towards Qandhar. The Navab Jabbar 
Khan, with the rest of the discontented chiefs, was 
in correspondence with Shah Shuja, who had agreed 
to restore the Ghilzai district to him, and in like 
manner to restore Jalalabad and Bala Bagh to their 
respective masters, the Navab Mohammed Zaman 
and Usman Khan ; and they had resolved to join the 
Shah, when the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan ar- 
rives suddenly before the Shah's camp at Qandhar. 
The Navab was of opinion that Shah Shuja had re- 
solved to recover his lost kingdom under the auspices 


of the English government, and he had inculcated a 
similar belief into others. To effect the purpose of 
his intrigues, or to secure his profit, he planned of 
course numerous schemes, and at last on arriving at 
Ghazni he supplicated the Sardar Dost Mohammed 
Khan to allow him to go on with his plans and to 
make some favourable terms with the Shah for him, 
as he was sure that he (the Shah) would at last be 
victorious. The Sardar, knowing that the Navab 
wished to go over to the Shah, and believing that 
then all the chiefs from his own camp and from the 
Qandhar camps would follow his example, leaving 
him alone in the field, replied thus : " Lala,* there 
will be plenty of time for your negotiations if I be 

Dost Mohammed Khan thought it advisable to 
ascertain whether this expedition of Shah Shuja (as 
rumour described it) was framed by the desire of the 
British government ; and he therefore addressed a 
letter to Sir Claude Wade, then political agent at 
Loodianah, and requested that functionary to inform 
him whether the Shah was supported by the English 

* An affectionate term for addressing personally to a brother, 
and sometimes to a very intimate friend. 

158 SIR Claude's reply. 

government to invade Afghanistan, or was marching 
thither on his own account only. He added, that if 
the former was the case, he would take all these mat- 
.ters into his own deliberate consideration; and if the 
latter, that he was on the way to meet the Shah with 
arms. Sir Claude Wade replied that the British 
government had no participation in this expedition 
of the king against the Barakzai chiefs, but that he 
wishes him well. Dost Mohammed Khan dispatched 
also a letter to Shah Shuja, saying that his brothers, 
the chiefs of Qandhar, are not capable to meet the 
wishes of his Majesty, and that he (the Sardar) is 
making rapid marches, and trusts to settle all differ- 
ences satisfactorily. This mode of writing seemed 
to promise that he will fight with and defeat the 
Shah, which his brothers at Qandhar were unable to 
do. The Sardar had also written to Gulistan Khan, 
the Hazarah chief of Qara Bagh, to reinforce him 
against Shah Shuja ; although he had one year be- 
fore shown designs of revolt, but had not actually 
taken up the cause of the Shah. Whether he did 
not or could not spread dissensions in favour of the 
monarch, is a matter of investigation ; yet it is evi- 
dent that he made a very fair excuse for not accom- 


panying the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan to Qand- 
har. He stated that he was moving with followers for 
the assistance of the Sardar, and on the road met 
some Afghan maliks,* with their heads cut on their 
shoulders, who advised him not to proceed ; but he 
paid no attention to them, thinking that probably 
they wished to mislead him by false advice. He 
continued marching on, he said, till he met Mir Yaz- 
dan-bakhsh,f with his head also in his hand, who cried 
out and said to me, " Oh unfortunate man ! where 
are you going ? Do you wish to fall into the mouth 
of a serpent ? Is not this head disunited from my 
shoulders a warning to you ?" The chief added, that 
when he heard the above words from the lips of a 
Hazarah, he could not hesitate a moment to disbe- 
lieve him ; and that he therefore was obliged to go 
back to his home with his followers, and thought it 
safest not to accompany the Sardar. The most re- 
markable thing in the Hazarah's answer is, that he 
showed his Afghan ruler (by mentioning the Afghan 
and the Hazarah men with their heads cut in their 
hands) that the Sardar being an Afghan was not to 

* Head men of the villages. 

t Whose account will hereafter be found. 


be believed, and that therefore he could not trust 
himself to him. 

On arriving at Qandhar the Sardar thought it 
prudent to fight at once with Shah Shuja-ul-mulk, 
rather than allow his troops to recover from the 
fatigue of their rapid marches. He was wise enough 
to know the duplicity of certain chiefs and relations 
in his camp, and thought even the least delay might 
mature their intrigues and induce them to abandon 
him. Shah Shuja-ul-mulk had occupied a very strong 
post opposite to the city, but his vanity, and the 
idea of securing a safe route, excited him to quit his 
entrenched camp and to choose another place for 
battle in spite of his wiser counsellor, Samandar 
Khan. Dost Mohammed Khan on his side made 
the disposition of his army, and the plan for attack- 
ing the Shah; and he placed his son, Mohammed 
Akhbar Khan (renowned as the murderer of the late 
Sir William Macnaghten, the British Envoy),' at the 
head of his well-mounted cavalry ; and the infantry 
was commanded by Nayab Abdul Samad Khan,* as 

* A Persian adventurer, who came into Bombay as a horse 
merchant, and thence went to Sultan Mohammed Khan at 
Peshavar. He entered his service, and raised a regiment of 


well as by his other sons. Dost Mohammed Khan, 
being always the first for cunning in Afghanistan, 
now desired to know, and tried to find by some hy- 
pocritical manoeuvre, whether the troops that were 
with him had any design to support him or to aban- 
don him. He drew his sword consequently, and gal- 
loped forward as a general towards the enemy. He 
had not proceeded more than fifty yards when he 
stopped to find whether the troops followed him with 
or without hesitation. He then looked at his forces, 
and what he read from their countenances it is im- 
possible to say ; but he ordered Mohammed Akbar 
Khan to make an immediate attack with his cavalry. 
The battle was very hard fought, and the infantry of 
the Shah, under Mr. Campbell, though in a very weak 
state, made a brave resistance. It defeated at once 
the Barakzai force, and the chiefs entered the city 
of Qandhar, Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan was, 

infantry. Afterwards he fled to Kabul, and received a similar 
command under Dost Mohammed Khan. He continued with 
him for some years, and then finding his position dangerous he 
stole his escape to Bokhara, and gained the favour of an infantry 
regiment from the half-mad monarch, the Amir of Bokhara, 
where his proceedings in regard to the British authorities shall 
be mentioned in their proper place. 



however, still keeping his post, and Mohammed Akbar 
Khan causing great havoc by his cavalry and by his 
intrepidity amid the line of the Shah. The Sardar 
having discovered that the army of the Sadozais with 
the Shah was gaining, and his brothers the Qandhar 
chiefs had retreated into the fort ; determined either 
to lose or to gain, he, with his son, Mohammed 
Akbar Khan, made a general attack upon his Ma- 
jesty, and after a desperate resistance and loss they 
at last succeeded to defeat and disperse the army of 
the enemy. The weak but brave regiment under 
Mr. Campbell was still in the engagement, and at 
last surrendered when it was known that Shah Shuja 
with his Khavanins (nobles) had run away, and that 
their commander, Mr. Campbell, had fallen wounded 
on the field. He was taken prisoner by Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, and was handsomely treated by him. 
All the tents, guns, and camp equipage of the ever 
fugitive Shah Shuja, fell into the hands of the Lion 
of Afghanistan, and a large bundle of the papers and 
correspondence of various chiefs in his country with 
the Shah. Among these he found many letters under 
the real or forged seal of Sir Claude Wade to the 
address of certain chiefs, stating that any assistance 


given to Shah Shuja shall be appreciated by the 
British government. 

Nayab Abdul Samad Khan, the commander of the 
infantry of Dost Mohammed Khan, had sent a letter 
to the Shah by his own orderly ; and when detected, 
he (the orderly) was blown up by a gun to prevent 
the disclosure of his master's intrigues with the 

The chiefs of Qandhar prepared to pursue and 
seize the person of the fugitive king, and begged the 
Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan for leave to do the 
same. He replied that he would not take the trouble 
to pursue the Shah ; but that he would be delighted 
to get possession of Shah Zadah Mohammed Akhbar, 
the son of the fugitive Shah by his own sister, whom 
in time of necessity he could make a useful instru- 
ment, and under his royal shadow advance his own 
interest. It was evident that the defeat of the Shah 
and the preservation of the Qandhar chiefship was 
owing to the active intrepidity and brisk assistance 
of the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan ; and yet the 
chiefs, forgetful of this cause for gratitude, began to 
treat the wishes of their champion with contemptible 
neglect and disinterestedness. They boasted of their 

M 2 


superiority and bravery, after the battle had been 
fought and gained by him for them, and even did not 
trust him so far as to enter the city of Qandhar. 
Perhaps herein they were influenced by the remem- 
brance of the mode and success of his stratagem in 
taking possession of the fort of Ghazni ; and thus 
were mistrustful of his designs, and too fearful of the 
probable consequences to allow him to come into the 

The prospect of appearing disorders in Kohistan, 
and the cold treatment he received from the chiefs 
of Qandhar, as also the arrival of the unwelcome in- 
telligence of the serious illness of his brother, Amir 
Mohammed Khan, compelled the Sardar Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan to return to his capital, Kabul. On 
the road he thought it prudent and politic to connect 
himself with the Tukhi Ghilzai chief, and he pro- 
posed the connexion and instantly married his sister, 
in order to make an addition to the circle of his 
wives, and at the same time to establish confidence 
in the Ghilzai chief When he reached Kabul he 
found his dear brother. Amir Mohammed Khan, just 
breathing his last. He was able only to say to his 
brother the Sardar what he had purposed to do, 

THE saudar's brothers. 165 

for the selling his old grain from Ghazni, and for 
storing up the new crop ; and desired him to see that 
the money is received, and that all sorts of pecuniary 
matters are duly settled, for these he was ever most 
passionately fond of. 

Before we make mention of the preparations 
made for his next expedition, it would be neces- 
sary to describe the circumstances which led to it. 
While the Sardar Dost Mohammed was engaged 
at Qandhar, his brothers the Peshavar chiefs. Sul- 
tan and Pir Mohammed Khan, were deprived of 
the government at Peshavar by the Sikh army; 
they were compelled to return and take refuge at 
Jalalabad. They were led to believe that the Sar- 
dar Dost Mohammed Khan would be routed by 
Shuja, which would give them an opportunity to 
gain possession of Kabul, and they had actually 
sent and placed their own governors in some of 
the districts ; but the news came that the Shah was 
defeated, and that the Sardar was returning suc- 
cessful. This was, to be sure, sad tidings for them, 
which destroyed all their prospects and all the 
castles the deposed chiefs, the brothers of Peshavar, 
had built in the air. In the mean time, showing 


the usual fraudulent character of an Afghan, they 
fired a salute to celebrate the victory at Qandhar, 
and accused their own officers of taking the posses- 
sion or the management of certain villages belong- 
ing to the Sardar, pretending that it was contrary 
to their wish and order. They proceeded towards 
Kabul, and went to meet the victorious Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan on his way back from Qandhar. 
The interview was nothing apparently but indica- 
tive of cordiality and brotherly unanimity. Here 
it is worthy of notice that the double-game player 
Haji Khan Kakar bowed lowly to him. This will 
show the feelings and disregard of honour charac- 
teristic to an Afghan, while having no shame or 
repentance for his past ill conduct, but repeatedly 
committing himself to similar disgraces and making 
excuses if necessary. This person had deserted 
Sherdil Khan to join the Sardar, and then deserted 
the latter to connect himself with the Peshavar 
chiefs, who were now deposed ; yet his personal 
safety was secure as being under their protection. 
In the meeting, however, the Sardar said to this 
deserter that it was evident that his brothers of 
Peshavar could expect little good from him after 


his past conduct towards himself; to which Haji 
Khan replied, that if he had deserted him he had 
gone to his brother, and not to any Sikhs or other 

( 168 ) 


Preparations for a new expedition against the Sikhs — Design of 
the Sardar to assume the Royal title — He is surnamed Amir- 
ul-momnin — His method of procuring money — Barbarity 
exercised towards a rich trader — New coinage — The Sikhs 
depute Dr. Harlan to Sultan Mohammed Khan — The Amir 
is incensed, and threatens Dr. Harlan — He encamps at 
Shekhan — Truce with the Sikhs — The Amir's treacherous 
designs — His violent altercation with Pir Mohammed Khan 
— His plans and counsellors— Ranj it Singh arrives, and sends 
an embassy to the Amir — Oath of friendship between the 
Amir and Sultan Mohammed Khan — The Amir seizes the 
Sikh envoys — Breaks up his camp — Sultan Mohammed takes 
the captive envoys with him — Rage of the Amir. 

The Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan stated on his 
return from Qandhar, that he had got rid of one 
enemy in the person of Shah Shuja, now defeated, 
but another was powerfully wounding his heart and 
honour by the constant turn of affairs, and by the 
remembrance of the inroads made by an infidel into 
the J^ahomedan land. In this he alluded to the 
conquest and possessions of the Sikh army at Pesh- 
avar ; he planned to declare a religious war, in the 
view that having no money himself to levy troops, he 



could hardly persuade the people to take up his 
cause; whereas, under the name of a war for the sake 
of religion, he might be successful. The priests were 
accordingly consulted, and all the chiefs, as well as 
his counsellors, and Mirza Sami Khan, concurred in 
the opinion that the Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan 
should assume the royal title, and proclaim himself 
as king ; because the religious wars, fought under the 
name and flag of any other than a king, cannot en- 
title the warriors to the rights and honours of mar- 
tyrdom, when they fall in the field. The Sardar was 
not altogether disinclined to assume royalty ; but the 
want of means to keep up that title, and the unani- 
mous disapproval of his relations, prevented him 
from adopting the name of a king. The Sultan Mo- 
hammed Khan was so jealous of the Sardar's taking 
the royal tifle, that he left Kabul on the pretence of 
going to Bajaur. In the meantime the Sardar, 
without any preparation or feast, went out of the 
Bala Hisar with some of his courtiers; and in 
" Idgah " Mir Vaiz, the head priest of Kabul, put a 
few blades of grass on the head of the Sardar, and 
called him " Amir-ul-momnin," or. Commander of 
the faithful. 

170 THE amir's extortions. 

The change of title from Sardar to the higher 
grade of Amir-ul-momnin, made no change nor pro- 
duced any effect upon the habits, conduct, and ap- 
pearance of Dost Mohammed Khan, except that 
he became still plainer in attire, and in talk, and 
easier of access. The only difference we find now is 
that of addressing him from this time as Amir. 
Before the Amir came to the final determination of 
extortion, the head priest. Khan Mulla Khan, satis- 
fied him by saying that it was not contrary to the 
Mahomedan law to snatch money from infidels, 
such as Hindu bankers, if it was disbursed amongst 
warriors of the true faith. As the Amir was really in 
pecuniary wants, and had the sanction of the priest, 
he therefore seized all the Shikarpuri merchants, and 
demanded three lakhs of rupees from them. The 
Amir sent openly, as well as clandestinely, his 
confidential men into all parts of the country, who 
spared no time in forcing the payment of the de- 
mands of their employer ; and where he had given 
orders to raise a certain sum from certain bankers 
of a district, the persons employed on this occasion 
did not forget to fill their own pockets besides. 
Those who fell into the hands of these official ban- 


ditti were tortured and deprived of their health 
before they would part with their wealth ; and those 
who escaped suffered by the confiscation of their 
moveable property. Sham-shuddin Khan at Ghazni, 
Mohammed Usman Khan at Balabagh, and Mo- 
hammed Akbar in Jalalabad, as well as the other 
petty governors of the various small districts, received 
instructions from the Amir to follow his example in 
seizing and torturing, and thus depriving the wealthy 
of their money. This method of extortion did 
not remain limited in application for the infidels 
alone, but gradually it involved the Mahomedans. 
In the city many principal persons sufiered, and 
among them a rich trader of the name of Sabz Ali, 
who was commanded to pay thirty thousand rupees, 
and having refused the payment of so large a sum, 
he was confined in prison, and torture of every 
horrid description was inflicted on him by the 
Amir. Some days he was branded on his thighs, 
and on other days, cotton, dipped in oil, was tied 
over his fingers, and burnt as a torch; and after 
many days of agony the poor man expired. On this 
occasion the Amir only uttered a word, that he 
wanted his money and not his death ; which, how- 

,172 THE amir's new coinage. 

ever, could not make him a loser, for he forced the 
relatives of this victim to pay, and thus obtained 
this sum. The whole country at this time was an 
appalling picture of extortion and torture, and he 
continued to spread havoc all around till a sum of 
five lakhs of rupees was thus unjustly gathered up for 
the religious war of the faithful. 

The title and the money were now provided for 
the Amir, but another conversation took rise amongst 
the learned Mirzas of the court before the " Com- 
mander of the faithful" could march; and it was 
discussed what words or verse should be struck with 
the name of the Amir on the coin. Numerous 
persons of skill in verse exhibited specimens of their 
own composition, and the one which Mirza Sami 
Khan, the prime minister, formed, at length suc- 
ceeded in being struck on the coinage. The gold 
coin was scarce, but many pieces of silver and copper 
were circulated, bearing the stamp of Dost Moham- 
med Ghazi. The value of the silver was twelve 
sharis, each of which was formed of the value of five 
copper pence. 

Intelligence of these preparations for a religious 
expedition by the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan 


against the Sikhs reached Peshavar ; and the Maha- 
rajah Ranjit Singh deputed Dr. Harlan* to the 
Sultan Mohammed Khan, who was not on good 
terms with the Amir, hoping that by gaining him 
over to himself he would succeed in making a divi- 
sion in the Mahomedan camp. This did not escape 
the notice of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, who 
dispatched the Navab Jabbar Khan with the view 
to frustrate the designs of the Sikh mission, and to 
induce the Sultan Mohammed Khan to join his 
camp with the Bajaur militia. On the arrival of the 
Amir the Navab joined him with the Sultan Mo- 
hammed Khan, and with Dr. Harlan from Bajaur. 
It was now evident that the Sultan Mohammed was 
bought by Dr. Harlan for the Sikhs, and therefore 
the Amir accused him sharply for interfering and 
causing differences between his brother Sultan Mo- 
hammed and himself Dr. Harlan found that he 
was not in a safe position after being suspected by 
the camp followers, and accused by the Amir, whom 
he could not induce to listen to him like the Sultan 
Mohammed Khan. He therefore went at night to 
* An American gentleman. 

174 A TRUCE. 

the Amir with the " Qoran," as a token of suppli- 
cation; and next day he considered himself fortu- 
nate to get permission to pass safely to the Sikh 
camp at Peshavar. The Amir quitted Dakka, and 
encamped at Shekhan, in the plain of Peshavar, 
opposite to the mouth of the Khaibar pass. 

The Maharajah Eanjit Singh had not then arrived, 
and is said to have sent orders to his general to lull 
the designs of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan 
by exchange of negotiations until he himself joins 
the camp ; and these were accordingly commenced. 
The Navab Jabbar Khan and Agha Husain were 
the negotiators of the Amir, who had enjoined the 
latter to watch the former. The Agha was found 
to be bribed by the Sikhs to cause a truce; and 
at length the Sultan Mohammed Khan went to the 
Sikh camp, and became a medium for maintaining 
the truce until the arrival of the Maharajah. Mean- 
while the Amir had refused to give the Government 
of Peshavar to Sultan Mohammed, whether it were 
taken by arms or obtained by negotiations ; and he 
was likewise denied when he proposed to have Jalal- 
abad. He therefore now thought that it was right, 


and that he was free to seek for his own interests 
while in the Sikh camp. 

The Amir Dost Mohammed Khan was sensible 
of his own danger, from the presence of his discon- 
tented brother in the enemy's camp ; and, contrary 
to the rules of the truce, he clandestinely stirred up 
some of the Ghazis to attack the Sikhs with the most 
foul and dishonest view, namely, to endanger his life. 
There were, in consequence of this, several desultory 
assaults made by the Afghans, who brought some 
heads from the enemy's side, along with some little 
plunder from their tents. The Sikh army only 
waited the attacks, and thus obeyed the commands 
of the Maharajah to stand on the defensive. Pir 
Mohammed Khan, brother of Sultan Mohammed 
Khan, who had remained in the camp of the Amir, 
pretending to be unwell, now waited on him, with a 
drawn dagger in his hand, and threatened to stab it 
into his own breast, adding his own opinion of the 
baseness of his act in causing this hostility in spite 
of the existing truce ; alleging that it would excite 
the Sikh general to cut the head off his brother in 
retaliation. The Amir replied, and even swore 
falsely, as usual, that he had never given any such 


directions, and that he had no control over the 
Ghazis — the champions of the true faith. How- 
ever, he affected to say that they should preserve 
the truce, while in the mean time he excited their 
avarice by pointing out to them the golden bangles 
which will fall into their hands by killing a Sikh 
soldier. The advanced guard was changed every 
day by the Amir ; and when Pir Mohammed Khan's 
turn came, the Amir commenced negotiation with 
the Sikh of such a tenour that a severe conflict 
occurred ; — but Pir Mohammed Khan being a good 
soldier, as well as commander, behaved bravely, and 
said that that atrocious scoundrel (the Amir) had 
brought a heavy calamity upon him, but that he 
had got well out of it. 

It was not an easy task for the Amir to decide 
what course to pursue. His prime minister, Mirza 
Sami Khan, supported by Mohammed Afzal Khan 
and a few other chiefs, was advising the Amir to 
wage war ; and Abdul Samad, the commander of 
his infantry, stated boastingly that he would defeat 
the whole Sikh army with his own regiments, and 
would bring Avitabile prisoner. On the other 
hand the Navab Jabbar Khan, considering the 




superiority of the enemy, proposed to retire with- 
out the hazard of battle, and the Amir wisely agreed 
with him. 

Meanwhile the Maharajah Ranjit Singh arrived 
in the camp from Lahaur, and his appearance gave 
fresh and bold spirits to the Sikhs. He lost no 
time in arranging the troops and the plan of attack, 
if necessary ; but at the same time he sent his con- 
fidential physician or minister, Faqir Aziz-uddin, 
along with Dr. Harlan and the Sultan Mohammed 
Khan, to the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, with 
the message either to retire or to fight. While the 
agents were conferring with the Amir, intelligence 
was brought that the Sikh army had already sur- 
rounded the Afghans with a heavy park of artillery, 
and that there was no chance of success by waging 
war, but of much good by retreat. However, the 
Amir was fearful that his followers might become 
disorderly at sounding the retreat, and then he 
might lose his guns and ammunition, which would 
reduce him to the level of his rival relations, as Mo- 
hammed Zaman Khan, &c. He consulted at this 
crisis with his minister Mirza Sami Khan, and during 
the conversation he fixed on a scheme for carrying 



off the Faqir Aziz-uddin and Dr. Harlan, the Sikh 
agents, to Kabul. He thought that this arrangement 
would compel the Maharajah to give up Peshavar, 
or at any rate a very large sum, for the ransom of 
the Faqir, without whom the veteran ruler of the 
Panjab could not live. The Amir, however, thought 
at the same time that this act of seizing the envoys 
would bring an everlasting disgrace on him, and 
therefore he resolved to gain his object by casting 
the odium on the head of his brother the Sultan 
Mohammed Khan. He sent for him, therefore, and 
referring to all past misunderstandings and discord 
between them, he made a new engagement; and 
swearing on the Qoran, he solemnly bound himself 
to maintain a perpetual friendship and brotherhood. 
The Sultan Mohammed Khan learnt and knew im- 
mediately that the intention of the Amir was to gain 
the persons of the envoy at the expense of his dis- 
grace, yet he feigned, and also swore, to adhere to 
the wishes and plans of the Amir. The latter gave 
up the charge of the Faqir and Dr. Harlan to him, 
stating his wish to keep them as hostages till the 
Maharajah restores half the territory of the Peshavar 
to him, and sends a sum of money besides for his 


own expense, proclaiming at the same time that he 
had not come to fight with the Maharajah, on whom 
he looks in the light of a father, but to establish 
peace with him for the future. The Sikh envoy- 
begged in vain to permit him to return to the Ma- 
harajah in the first place for the purpose of informing 
his Highness of the agreement he had concluded 
with the Amir ; but the latter replied that this can 
easily be done by means of a letter. 

The camp of the Afghans was now broken up, 
and the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan used great 
caution and exertion to see that his guns and ammu- 
nition had passed safe to the mouth of the Khaibar, 
but he could not prevent the Ghazis from plundering 
the bazar and his own camp equipage. When he 
was quite safe and far within the valley he heard the 
firing of cannons from the Sikh camp, in their re- 
joicing at his flight. The Amir, believing that he 
had treacherously secured his game in the persons 
of Faqir Aziz-uddin and Dr. Harlan, the Sikh 
envoys, and that they were following him in the 
custody of the Sultan Mohammed Khan, turned his 
face towards the Sikh camp, ridiculed their firing, 
and expressed his own pride that he had carried off 

N 2 


the soul (the Faqir) of Kanjit Singh. In this, how- 
ever, he himself was the person deceived. In the 
mean time he continued his march ; and the Sultan 
Mohammed Khan, conscious of the evil intentions of 
the Amir, and having a favourable opportunity to 
gain the kindness and attachment of the Maharajah 
Ranjit Singh, conducted the envoys, the prisoners of 
the Amir, to his own camp, instead of securing them 
in that of Dost Mohammed Khan. At night the 
Amir encamped at Jabar-ghi, and next morning 
made inquiries where his brother the Sultan Mo- 
hammed Khan had put up with the Sikh envoys. No 
one could find him or them in the camp, but still the 
Amir continued his search. Meanwhile the arrival 
of a messenger from the Sultan Mohammed Khan 
was announced, and a letter was delivered to him. 
The contents were a tissue of violent abuse; and 
after naming him the most faithless and the most 
treacherous, with everything which was bad, threat- 
ened to attack his country if he would not instantly 
send his guns and his brother Pir Mohammed Khan. 
This appalling news wounded the feelings of the 
Amir most bitterly. There were no bounds to the 
sweat of shame and folly which flowed over his face. 


and there was no limit to the laughter of the people 
at his being deceived and ridiculed. His minister 
Mirza Sami Khan was so much distressed by this 
sad exposure of his own trick, and still more by the 
failure of his plan in losing the Faqir, that he hung 
down his head with great remorse and shame, and 
then throwing away his state papers, he exclaimed 
that he would avoid all interference in the govern- 
ment affairs hereafter. In a tone of anger he stated 
to his master that his conduct was very unwise, and 
that he did not pay attention to his counsel when he 
advised him to fight with the Maharajah Ranjit Singh, 
adding, that his followers, the Ghazis, will never be- 
lieve him that he had any intention of carrying on 
a religious war, and that none in future will come 
to support him. After a long-continued talk about 
right and wrong, and in referring to past intercourse 
with the Sikh camp, the Amir marched towards 
Kabul, and could neither keep his followers in order 
nor persuade them to allow him to review and thank 
them before they should depart for their respective 
districts. Such was the termination of the reli- 
gious war of the commander of the faithful in 
Afghanistan. It commenced with extortion and 


oppression, and ended in an expensive rendezvous, 
gaining nothing but contempt and the ridiculous 
title of " Amir " to add to the name of Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan. 

( 183 ) 


Difficult situation of the Amir — Duplicity of the Qandhar chiefs 
— The Amir designs to seize some nobles — His plan betrayed 
by Akhundzadah — He arrests Abdullah Khan Achakzai — 
Releases him — Sisters of the Amir — Saddu Khan murdered 
by a Kohistani bribed by his wife. 

The Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, after returning 
to Kabul, was not easy in his mind, nor was his 
authority respected. Theft, plunder, slaughter, dis- 
obedience to him, were the predominant features of 
the time. He always indulged in the idea that he 
was betrayed by his own relations and brothers, in 
the late expedition against the Sikhs ; and that in 
consequence of their increasing treachery he could 
not execute his wishes in the arrangement of the 
affairs of his own government. He was also sur- 
rounded by many chiefs and followers of the Sultan 
Mohammed Khan, who from the time that Peshavar 
fell into the hands of the Sikh rulers, had sought for 
maintenance from the Amir. He did not know how 
to restore confidence into his former adherents, and 


to provide for the newly arrived Khavanins.* He 
communicated all these difficulties to the brother 
chiefs of Qandhar, and they sent their confidential 
" Mashir," Counsellor Mulla Rashid Akhundzadah, 
apparently to promote the interests of the Amir, 
but secretly instructed and advised to counteract 
them. This Counsellor arrived at Kabul, and by 
his famous possession and practice of hypocrisy, 
gained the entire confidence of the Amir, for he 
gave ready approbation and compliance to all his 
measures. The first object of Dost Mohammed 
Khan was to reduce the number and allowances of 
his former dependants, so that he might be able to 
support the Peshavar arrivals ; and every one groaned 
at the appearance and application of this project, 
and above all there were no bounds to the hard and 
ill language of Haji Khan Kakar. The Amir then 
planned to seize his relations, with a great many 
other men of rank, and, after getting rid of them, 
finally to establish his own authority. His minister, 
Mirza Sami Khan, prepared a list of the persons 
who were to be imprisoned, and whose property was 
to be confiscated. He went himself into the country 
* Petty chiefs. 


on the excuse to look after his estate, but in reality 
to keep himself free from the odium of taking an 
apparent share in the plot; if it proved successful 
he would appear to be perfectly unaware of its ex- 
istence, and if it failed, he would become a mediator 
to restore peace and order. While the minister 
thus secured his own object, Mulla Rashid, who was 
daily becoming more and more a confidant of the 
Amir's plot, was not forgetful of his own peculiar 
benefit. He kept the opposite party alert, and ac- 
quainted with the proceedings of Dost Mohammed 
Khan, whose secrets and confidence he possessed. 
He filled his own coffers with the presents which he 
received from the Navab Jabbar Khan, and from 
the relations of the Amir and other chiefs about him, 
for betraying the secrets he knew, and making them 
watchful of impending dangers from his conspiracy. 
When the Amir thought that the plan was mature, 
and time had arrived to secure the fruits of his per- 
fidy, he sat with a dismal and anxious countenance 
waiting for his confidential accomplice, Akhundza- 
dah. Hereupon the latter appeared, and, throwing his 
turban before him on the ground, feigned to pluck 
at his own beard ; and in a fearful and agitated tone 


of voice explained to the Amir that his relations, the 
Navab, &c. have in some way been informed of his 
plot laid against them, and have collected their re- 
spective followers to frustrate his designs. The 
penetrating Amir instantly knew that the Akhund- 
zadah was the very first person who made the oppo- 
site party acquainted with his proceedings ; and he 
wrathfiilly showered a heavy load of abuse on his 
head, calling him a traitor coming from Qandhar to 
destroy his measures instead of furthering them. 
The Akhundzadah, by remaining quiet, pacified the 
furious Dost Mohammed, and then gradually began 
to advise him by saying that his violence in such 
critical circumstances was perfectly childish, and 
would probably produce serious injury by making 
it manifest that he had really conspired for the 
ruin of his brothers and relations, who, being 
alarmed and losing confidence in him, will then join 
to upset him. Whether the counsel of the double- 
faced Akhundzadah, or the necessity of the time, 
moved the Amir to swallow his own repentance, we 
cannot say, but it is certain that he instantly waited 
upon his brothers, and pretended to be uneasy in his 
inquiries for the reason of assembling their retinue, 


and assuming a warlike aspect. He commenced his 
old and accustomed series of false excuses in a garb 
of solemnity, with an oath that he had never thought 
of any deliberate treachery against them. The plot 
which he had planned, he said, was to get hold of 
Abdullah Khan Achakzai, with his property, and not 
to injure them. He thus cleared himself of the sus- 
picion of his relations, and then set about to make 
schemes to seize and gain possession of the person 
and wealth of the Achakzai chief He instructed 
his wives to send an invitation to the whole number 
of the females of Abdullah Khan ; who, of course, 
will come as usual adorned with jewels, of which he 
will deprive them without any difficulty. He also 
directed Mohammed Akbar Khan to send for the 
chief personally, on pretence of consulting him about 
some state affairs, and when in the room to seize 
him immediately, accusing him that he has been 
corresponding and intriguing with the Prince of 
Hirat, the enemy of the Barakzai family, whom he 
serves. This measure proved successful, the Achak- 
zai chief was apprehended, and his horses and pro- 
perty confiscated. Now, however, the Amir disco- 
vered that his expectations are not realized, and that 

188 THE amir's SISTERS. 

all he had gained by this act of treachery, the seizure 
of Abdullah Khan, was nothing but a few horses, 
old carpets, and worn-out furniture. He thereupon 
thought that the odium and disgrace was heavier on 
his head than these things are worth, and therefore 
he set the chief at liberty, restoring to him his plun- 
dered property. 

It has been stated before that the Amir Dost 
Mohammed Khan had only one brother, named 
Amir Mohammed Khan ; and here we speak of his 
four sisters, because their character and deport- 
ment is worthy of notice. The eldest one was 
married to Shah Shuja-ul-mulk when in possession 
of the kingdom. She had four royal children, 
three daughters and one son.* The second was 
forced to be wife of Abdul Amin Khan Tobschi- 
bashi, at the time when she, with her mother, 
brothers, and sisters, were in distress on the murder 
of their father Sarfraz Khan. The Tobschibashi had 
by her seven children, and one of them was Abdul 
Eashid Khan.f Abdul Rasul Khan married the 

* He was named Shahzadah Akbar, and died when the Shah 
was placed by the British on the throne of Kabul. 

I He was bought by me to desert Haidur Khan at Ghazni, 

THE amir's sisters. 189 

third sister, who has four sons. She is a widow, and 
known by the name of the mother of Madad Khan. 
This lady resembles very much her brother the 
Amir of Kabul, and bears an enterprising character. 
She used every exertion to induce our authorities to 
allow her, with her other sister, to remain in Kabul, 
after the whole family of the Amir were sent pri- 
soners to India. She was aware that her brother, 
though an exile in Toorkistan, might return, and 
that then a general commotion would arise in the 
country. With this view she continued to pay her 
visit to all the principal chiefs in the country, and 
when the Amir appeared fighting with us in Bamian 
and Kohistan, she was day and night engaged in 
marching from one village to another, and in suppli- 
cating the head men of the place, with the holy 
" Qoran " in her hand, to rise against us, the in- 
fidels, — and to join her brother, the Commander of 
the Faithful. When the Amir surrendered, she made 
a wonderfiil escape to Jalalabad, and thence to 

and came to the late Sir Alexander Burnes : his services were ap- 
preciated by Lord Keane and by Major Thomson, the engineer 
officer, in the capture of that fort, and rewarded by a pension of 
five hundred rupees* 

190 THE amir's sisters. 

Peshavar, in spite of our exertions to detect her 
while intriguing. Her conduct in other respects is 
not altogether without suspicion. The fourth sister 
of Dost Mohammed Khan was married to Saddu 
Khan, and had one daughter and one son, Mo- 
hammed Hasan Khan. Neither the behaviour of the 
husband nor wife was free from rebuke. His habits 
were very objectionable and mean. He was always 
stupified with opium and with all sorts of intoxicating 
things. His conduct towards his own daughter was 
unfather-like, brutal, and odiously abominable ; and 
such, that at last it compelled him to take her far 
from the capital, and to put an end to her existence. 
He was passionate and dissipated, and his wife was 
equally regardless of the virtuous modesty of her 
own sex. She bribed a Kohistani to murder her 
own husband ! ! and while he was returning from a 
visit to the Amir at night he was shot in the Shor 
Bazar, and the culprit was seized. The Amir made 
the necessary investigations, and inquired after the 
reason which led him to assassinate a person of 
Saddu Khan's position, being a relative to himself 
The guilty man replied that he had been desired to 
do this by his own wife, the sister of the Amir, 


who promised him a large reward, adding that he 
never dreamt that such a bold and desperate step of 
a female against her own comforter of life — her 
husband, would have originated in herself; but 
that, undoubtedly, there were some political circum- 
stances which must have obliged the Amir to ask 
his sister to cause the annihilation of her own hus- 
band. The Amir made no further questions, and 
appeared sadly asham ed of his sister's conduct, while 
surrounded by the courtiers. However, he ordered 
the guilty one to be executed, and he was hanged 
near the gate of the Bala Hisar. 

( 192 ) 


The Amir fears the Hazarahs — History of Yazdan Bakhsh — 
Dost Mohammed's plan for seizing the Hazarah chief — 
Courage and devotion of his wife— Both are seized by the 
Amir — They negotiate for their release — The Mir escapes, 
and afterwards his wife — He consolidates his power — Haji 
Khan and Mir Yazdan Bakhsh — The Khan plans the ruin 
of the Hazarah Mir — His scheme to entrap him — Fails — He 
makes Haji Khan Governor of the Hazarahjat — Becomes 
suspicious of him — Haji Khan seizes Mir Yazdan Baksh — 
Plunder of the Hazarahs — The Mir is strangled — The Sardar's 
relations with Persia — His education — He humbles his rival 
relatives, and increases his own power — Disgrace of Haji 
Khan — The Amir*s administration of justice. 

It has been briefly described in the commencement 
of the elevation and fame of the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan that his career was marked with 
deeds of tragedy and perfidious bloodshed in Ko- 
histan, and that he had no cause to be alarmed from 
that quarter, except that he was not free from the fear 
of a Hazarah chief of extraordinary character named 
Mir Yazdan Bakhsh. To shorten the history of his 
descent, and of the superiority and destruction of his 


elder brothers and rivals, it may be sufficient to say 
that he was the younger son of Mir Vali Beg of 
Karzar, who was slain by a petty chief. On the 
death of his father, the eldest son Mir Mohammed 
Shah became the master of Behsud ; Mir Yazdan 
Bakhsh assembled a large force, and prepared to 
revenge the wrongs of his family on the assassin of 
his father, — and he apprehended him and slew him 
on the very spot where the blood of his own father 
had been shed. His attention was now turned to 
subvert his elder brother, whom he defeated, and he 
then made himself the principal chief or Mir of 
Behsud. The more he grew in power in his Hazarah 
tribe, and extended his territorial possessions, the 
more did apprehensions arise in the mind of the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. He justly thought 
that the Golam Khanah, a powerful body in Kabul, 
are connected by the ties of their faith with the 
Shia sect and with the valiant Mir of the Hazarah ; 
and that as they were principally the instruments 
of his prosperity, they might turn against him and 
join the Mir to seek his adversity and destruction, 
and he found no other way to entrap the object of 
his apprehension but to cultivate for himself a deeper 


confidence in the Shias of Kabul. He accordingly 
showed them all attention and civility, and at length 
persuaded them to establish a closer alliance be- 
tween him and the Mir Yazdan Bakhsh by his visit 
to Kabul. He wrote all the sacred oath and solemn 
obligations of swearing on the Holy Qoran, and 
affixing his own seal to it, he assured the Mir of 
his personal safety and respectable treatment, and 
the Shias of Kabul became responsible for the 
veracity of the engagement. When the Besut Mir 
received that communication of the Amir, gua- 
ranteed by the people of his own creed, he prepared 
to set out for the city. One of his wives, how- 
ever, the daughter of a Dehzangi chief, dissuaded 
him from such a hazardous visit. She was a woman 
of the most extraordinary qualifications and natural 
powers of mind. She used to put on a masculine 
robe, and ornamented herself with a sword and 
shield, a bow and arrows, a spear, a dagger, and 
a matchlock. She appeared in the field of battle 
with her husband, and shared the laurels by his 
side; thus, at home, she gave her lord comfort and 
counsel, — and in the field of battle she killed his 
enemies. Being wiser than himself in doubting the 


fidelity of the Afghans, she always advised him not 
to trust himself to them. On this occasion she 
found that she could not succeed in forbidding her 
husband to accept the invitation; and, therefore, 
with her usual attachment and boldness, she accom- 
panied him to Kabul, attired as a brave soldier. 
The Amir Dost Mohammed Khan received them 
civilly, but soon seized the opportunity to make his 
guests his prisoners. The perfidious Dost Moham- 
med Khan would have killed the Mir without loss 
of time, but the more talented prisoner knew well 
that gold was the only thing which would melt the 
strong feelings of the Afghan, and especially of their 
treacherous host. He offered him, therefore, one lakh, 
of rupees if immediately liberated, and permitted 
to go and collect from his own country, and in the 
meantime to make the Shias of Kabul security for 
the payment. The Amir, being always notoriously 
in exigence, contracted the orders for his execu- 
tion, so that he might secure for himself possession 
of the money. While the arrangements were going 
on for obtaining the security of the Gholam Khanah, 
with regard to the payment of the ofiered sum, the 
captive Mir contrived his escape from the prison. 

o 2 


When this became known to the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, there was no restraint to his wrath 
and disappointment. He had still, however, the 
brave wife of the fugitive in his custody, whom he 
summoned into his presence and rebuked very se- 
verely. The Hazarah fair, turning towards the Amir 
Dost Mohammed Khan, in the court, exclaimed 
in a heroic tone of voice — " Oh, son of Sarfraz 
Khan, dost thou not feel ashamed to match thyself 
against a female ?" It is said, that on hearing this, 
the Amir and all his Afghan courtiers hung down 
their heads and were abashed. They applauded 
the spirit of the lady, and said to the Amir that 
they will not permit him to offer her any vio- 
lence: and the Amir having recovered his senses, 
agreed to place her in the custody of the Shias, 
thinking that she will be treated by them better 
than by her former Afghan guard, and she was con- 
ducted to the Persian or Shia quarter — Chandaul. 
After some days she made her escape from the gaol, 
and dressing herself like a man, well armed and 
mounted, set off towards the high and bleak hills 
of the Hazarahs. The Amir was soon informed of 
her flight, and dispatched immediately a party of 


horsemen to seize her : she was overtaken, but suc- 
ceeded in keeping off her pursuers by firing her gun 
and pistols towards them. The skirmish continued 
while she was sometimes halting, and at other times 
ascending the valley, till at last she reached the 
boundary of her own country, and the party sent by 
the Amir was now obliged to go back to Kabul, 
ashamed of not being able to secure a female; 
while the enterprising lady joined her husband with 
deep sensations of satisfaction. The Hazarah chief, 
however, never showed any ill will towards the Amir 
of Kabul, never interfered with his extortions, and 
the abuse which he made of his power in other dis- 
tricts of the Hazarahs. He was, moreover, very 
prudent in paying his tribute, — but at the same time 
engaged in erecting a very strong fort, and storing 
it with provisions and ammunition, with the view to 
have safe refuge in it when necessary. 

Upon the other hand, the Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan had not lost sight of the increasing power of 
his fugitive visitor, Mir Yazdan Bakhsh, the Hazarah 
chief He was watching his progress with bitterness 
of mind, and searching for a favourable opportunity 
to check and destroy it. He now appointed Haji 

198 HAji khan's promotion. 

Khan Kakar governor of Bamian. By this he con- 
vinced him of his lasting gratitude in bestowing a 
reward on him for the services he had rendered in 
informing him of the intention of Sherdil Khan to 
deprive him of sight ; and at the same time he thus 
placed an Afghan, one of a different creed, to watch 
the conduct of his neighbour, the Mir Yazdan 
Bakhsh. This person, by his cunning manners, had 
cultivated a friendly sentiment and intimate con- 
nexion with the Shias of Kabul; and had secured 
their confidence by pledging himself to support their 
cause against the Amir if circumstances required it. 
In consequence of this they always wrote to Mir 
Yazdan Bakhsh, advising him to rely on the word 
and counsels of Haji Khan, who, on the other hand, 
gained the sincere friendship and intimacy of the 
Hazarah Mir, by binding himself to destroy all the 
ill intentions of the Amir towards him ; and he even 
said that he would stand by his side if he was to 
rebel from necessity. After some time, the agent of 
Haji Khan, at Bamian, entered into some agree- 
ments with the Tartar chief of Saighan, the enemy 
of Mir Yazdan Bakhsh. This frightened the Mir, 
who thought that this proceeding was a league made 


for his destruction, and that not without advice from 
Kabul. He therefore turned out all the Afghan 
soldiers from all forts where he had himself formerly- 
placed them. He subdued and took possession of 
all the castles of the petty Hazarah chiefs dependant 
on the Afghans, and he became the ruling master 
of the Bamian valley. This alarmed the Amir of 
Kabul ; and Haji Khan, whose interests were con- 
nected with the Bamian territory, showed him the 
necessity of reducing the Mir Yazdan Bakhsh, and 
he also took upon himself to settle the matter. He 
showed himself liberal on every occasion to the 
Hazarahs, the tribe of the Mir; and through the 
Qizalbashes of Kabul he convinced the Hazarah 
Mir that his agent at Bamian had acted contrary 
to his orders; and in order to show the sincerity of 
his false friendship, he dismissed Bahimdad Khan, 
and appointed a new governor. He also sent the 
" Qoran " with oaths that the past is forgotten, and 
that the future wm daily increase their mutual 
friendship and confidence. He proceeded with 
the Amir Mohammed Khan, the brother of the 
Amir of Kabul, towards Hazarahjat ; but Mir 
Yazdan Bakhsh did not join their camp, but in- 


stead of that he went on a pilgrimage to Band 

After the Mir Yazdan Bakhsh had discharged his 
religious duties, he bent his attention to arrange his 
political affairs. He accordingly came with a large 
force to subdue Mohammed Ali Beg, the Tajak 
chief of Saighan, but the latter shut himself up in a 
fort, and showed no inclination to fight. Another 
year rolled on, but neither the Amir of Kabul nor 
Haji Khan were careless about the means of weaken- 
ing the Hazarah Mir, whom they could not entrap 
during the last season. In 1832, Haji Khan again 
volunteered to collect the revenues of the Hazarahjat, 
and to establish the authority of the Amir in Bamian 
on a firmer footing. Dost Mohammed Khan allowed 
him two years to effect this purpose, reinforced him 
with two thousand troops, and gave him an elephant 
in present ; and Haji Khan farmed the whole country 
of the Hazarahs for forty thousand rupees, from the 
Kabul government. He then proceeded thither, and 
through the medium of Khan Shirin Khan, the Ha- 
zarah Mir made known that he agreed to co-operate 
with the governor, whose aim was to ensnare the Mir 
by professions of cordiality, and of good understand- 

HAJI khan's crafty PLANS. 201 

ing with him, and with the people of his creed. In 
the mean time, a religious conflict took place between 
the Shias and the Achakzai Afghans of Kabul, and 
Haji Khan cunningly took the side of the Shias. 
In so doing he had two objects in view ; firstly, to 
convince the Shias of his attachment to them, and 
by this also to entrap the Mir Yazdan Bakhsh ; and, 
secondly, if the Javan Shers or Shias should gain 
the ascendancy in this warfare, the subversion of the 
power of Dost Mohammed Khan will take place of 
course ; and this was his principal desire. However, 
these affairs ended at last in a peaceable manner: 
but this duplicity of the Khan, as well as his corre- 
spondence with the Uzbeks, the Panjab, and the 
Biloch chiefs, did not escape the penetration of the 
able Amir, who naturally grew suspicious of the 
Khan. Sometimes, therefore, he thought to deprive 
him of the power he held, at other times he deter- 
mined to put him to the sword ; but while he con- 
tinued in this state of irresolution, Haji Khan be- 
came acquainted with the alarming fact that he now 
held no safe position. The Mir Yazdan Bakhsh in 
the mean time paid him all the revenues, and waited 
upon him, and this meeting seemed likely to give 


perfect satisfaction on both sides ; for it induced all 
the other chiefs in the Hazarahjat to send in their 
revenues that were due to the Khan, who thus col- 
lected sooner and more than his predecessor, the 
brother of the Amir. 

Haji Khan now set out for an expedition towards 
Saighan ; and, finding himself well supported and able 
to execute his long nourished desire, he summoned 
Mir Yazdan Bakhsh and his relations in the morning 
to come tjo his tent; and as soon as the brother of 
the Khan, with a strong body of armed men, came 
in, Haji Khan took an angry tone of voice and 
accused Mir Yazdan Bakhsh of intriguing against 
him : and forgetting all the often-repeated oaths of 
friendship, he seized the Mir with all his relatives. 
The merciless Afghans began to plunder the Ha- 
zarahs, who, notwithstanding the inclemency of the 
cold, were even deprived of their clothes. The 
faithless Haji Khan allowed only the Mir Yazdan to 
be left in his usual attire, and even his relations 
were obliged to give up their robes. It was a heart- 
rending sight to see the poor Hazarahs, barefooted 
and without clothes, pursued in all directions by the 
Afghans, who were now desirous to inflict on them 


wounds and every act of tyranny, because they were 
Shias. Mir Yazdan Bakhsh was pinioned with his 
adherents, and their feet bound with fetters; and 
the locks were fastened with melted lead, to pre- 
vent them from being opened by any one, and the 
chief of Saighan advised Haji Khan to execute his 
captive. The perfidious Khan accordingly ordered 
the " Pesh-khid-mat " to put an end to the life of 
the chief who only a few days before held sway over 
the whole country, and commanded a large force. 
The Qizalbashes of Kabul, now with Haji Khan, 
made a clamorous remonstrance against his dis- 
honesty and treachery towards the Hazarah Mir; 
but this availed nothing, and the unfortunate Yaz* 
dan Bakhsh was strangled to death. It is said that 
he met his fate with extraordinary composure of 
mind, and that no sign of fear or sadness was found 
in his appearance. Haji Khan said to the Qizal- 
bashes that he was obliged and compelled by Dost 
Mohammed Khan to put the Mir Yazdan Bakhsh to 
this end. Such, however, was the termination of 
the life of the Hazarah chief, and thus was the Amir 
of Kabul relieved from the fear of the only remain- 
ing antagonist left in his kingdom. v 


It must here be stated that the elevation of the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan to power was pro- 
cured merely by the adherence and assistance of the 
Persians. The grand point of the policy of Nadir 
Shah was to colonize the distant regions he subdued 
from his own extensive country of Persia. On his 
death Ahmad Shah Durrani, who first held and 
strengthened the sceptre of the realm of Afghanistan, 
wisely took these foreigners under his protection, 
and trusted them with his personal safety and with 
the charge of the royal family ; and they were sur- 
named Gholam Khanah, or the household slaves. 
He treated them with every consideration, and by 
a course of unceasing cordiality he attached them to 
himself, and thus showed his Afghans that he had 
the warrior Qizalbashes to put them down if they 
ever stirred against him. Dost Mohammed followed 
the same policy ; and the Qizalbashes, strangers in 
land, in customs, in habits, and in faith, thought it 
prudent to attach themselves to him when he was 
nothing, and was looked on with jealousy by his 
most powerful and rival brothers. They supported 
his cause in every extremity, and he was at last so 
successful as to become the superior of all in Af- 


ghanistan. Through their arms he reduced all the 
old and influential men of his own tribe and blood, 
and then patronized young adventurers of obscure 
origin in order to diminish the strength of those to 
whom he owed gratitude at least for his prosperity. 
These Qizalbashes were twelve thousand families in 
number in former days, all men of arms, and not of 
trade ; but now they are reduced to plough the land 
and to sell vegetables, and are craftily managed and 
placed by the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan against 
each other. Their clans are different, and they bear 
various names, as Javan Shers, Afshars,* Rikas, 
Kurds, Bakhtyaris; and, in fact, they thus show 
their origin and descent from every tribe of Persia. 
The chiefs in Afghanistan do not value education 
as the first quality, for they must only know how to ^ 
ride, fight, cheat, and lie; and whoever excels in 
these acquirements gains the renown of the time. 
Amongst the sons of Sarfraz Khan, the brothers of 
the Amir Dost Mohammed, few knew the letters of 
the alphabet. Their early life was spent in poverty, 
danger, treachery, and bloodshed; but when they 
came to power, the constant sight of the orders 
* The tribe of the great Nadir Shah. 


submitted by the Mirzas (Secretaries) for their 
signature at last enabled them to read plain writing. 
Mehardil Khan, one of the Qandhar chiefs, quali- 
fied himself more than the others. He composed 
poetry, and made himself distinguished by his lite- 
rary taste in Persia ; yet there are some of his 
brother chiefs who can neither write nor read. The 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan learnt the " Qoran " 
only at the meridian of his glory, and Nayab Amir 
Mohammed Akhundzadah was his tutor. However, 
his local knowledge, and the information he possesses 
in ancient and modern history, in proverbs, and in 
adventures, as well as in the administration of 
various distant kingdoms, will not fail to show him 
as being well stored with extraordinary talents and 
science. He speaks Persian, Pashto, Turkish, Pan- 
jabi, and the Kashmir languages. 

Haji Khan Kakar, the perfidious murderer of 
Mir Yazdan Bakhsh, came from Bamian on a visit 
to Kabul ; and on his arrival in the city he went 
straight to pay his respects to the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan. He, with polite attention, took the 
Khan, his visitor, into the palace, and introduced 
him to his favourite wife, the mother of Mohammed 


Akbar Khan, with a cheerful voice; and to show 
him a false respect, he said to her that her father 
had arrived, whom she was so long desirous to see. 
The crafty Haji Khan knew instantly that this flat- 
tering title from the Amir was not destitute of some 
treachery. He waited the result, therefore, with 
anxiety, and the next day he was informed by the 
Amir that his wife, who looks upon him (the Khan) 
as her father, has begged of him a favour ; and that 
he will not disapprove of her appointing Haidar 
Khan to the Government of Bamian, and the Amir 
will equally provide the Khan with a larger yearly 
sum in cash. This awoke Haji Khan from mental 
slumber, and he thought that his fortune was now 
commencing to decline ; wherefore, after some days, 
he waited upon the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, 
and showed symptoms of being deeply offended and 
discontented with these measures. The Amir here- 
upon angrily accused him of the atrocious murder of 
the Mir Yazdan Bakhsh, on which the Khan in- 
quired whether it was not perpetrated by his own 
orders : — " No," replied Dost Mohammed Khan ; 
" it was never my wish that you should take a false 
oath, and kill the man afterwards. I repeatedly 


wrote to you to be kind to him, and induce him to 
come to Kabul, and to give him many dresses of 
honour. I would have been friendly to him, and 
permitted him to go back to his own country." 
Haji Khan then continued his remonstrance by say- 
ing, that it is most surprising that the Amir should 
accuse him of false swearing, and asked him how he 
had himself entrapped, and then had cut off the 
heads of the Kohistan chiefs. The Amir replied, by 
his own expertness, because he always sent a piece of 
wood wrapped up instead of the Holy Qoran. While 
this altercation was going on, the Amir did not tell 
him to disband his dependants, as he thought it 
would create an illiberal idea of his own feeling 
towards the soldiers; while Haji Khan, having no 
means to maintain them, would disband them himself 
The Khan, however, retained them still, for he en- 
tertained for some time the hopes of having back 
Bamian; but he at length was compelled to dis- 
charge his followers. 

There are no courts of justice in Kabul, and the 
matters of consequence are therefore all decided by 
the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan himself: hence a 
great criminal, or murderer, has a general hope of 


being released unpunished, if money, and sometimes 
influence, may interfere with his decision. The petty 
offences, and religious business, are entrusted to the 
care of the Mulla, or head of the Shara, or the Ma- 
homedan law. He has appointed a kotval, or con- 
stable, who keeps watch at night, and has the pri- 
vilege to seize the persons who may be found com- 
mitting adultery, drinking wine, gambling or stealing. 
He puts such persons into prison, or " Bandikhanah," 
without limiting the time, and they can be released 
only through the medium of some man of rank, or 
by the discharge and payment of a certain sum. 
The criminal is neither fed nor clothed in the winter 
by the government, wherefore his subsistence de- 
pends upon begging alone. Even in these two 
departments of the "Mulla" and "kotval," if there 
is even the slightest chance of squeezing money from 
any sort of offender, he will not escape the tortures, 
long imprisonment, and even threats of the Amir 
personally. A most singular case happened a little 
before the arrival of the English mission in Kabul. 
The wife of Khairuddin, the son of Mulla Bad- 
ruddin, the great merchant of Kabul, whom the 
Amir respected and called by the appellation of 


father, bore only a suspected character, and the Amir 
got information of her being out of doors at a late 
hour of the night. He was aware that her seizure 
would be productive of a very large sum, and he 
dispatched a person of trust to apprehend her when 
she returns from her visit, and to conduct her into his 
presence ; and this was accordingly done. The Amir 
kept her very close and concealed, and the relations 
felt disgrace as well as anxiety from her prolonged 
absence; and knowing her habits, were still more 
vexed to think that she was in custody. However, 
the Amir, for his own sake, allowed her to commu- 
nicate her apprehension to her husband, but said, as 
she was a lady of a rich family, she was to pay him 
ten thousand rupees before she would obtain her 
liberation. Mulla Badruddin, although he was every 
day in court with the Amir, yet feeling ashamed to 
speak on such a disgraceful subject as his daughter's 
imprisonment, never uttered a word to Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan. He, on the other hand, being aware 
that the delicacy of the case will seal the old rich 
merchant's mouth, persisted not to diminish ought 
of the demanded sum. The absence of the lady 
from home was now the talk of all the neighbours ; 


and to put an end to this, the relatives were compelled 
to send her the amount secretly into the prison. 
She gave it all to the Amir, who, after depriving her 
of the jewels and shawls with which she was covered, 
dismissed her from custody. A similar case in some 
respects followed this deed of extortion. 

There was a young man of moderate income, re- 
lated to Sufi Naqshbandi, who is the only person 
that repairs watches and other European articles of 
the kind in Kabul. He fell in love with a handsome 
girl of a rich Khatri, whose heart was also won. She 
left the house of her parents, who were grieved at 
her choice, and unwilling to see their child married 
to a person of a different religion, and of strange 
customs; while he, on the other hand, bribed the 
Amir, and requested his interference. The girl was 
accordingly caught, and ordered to be sent to the 
palace. She remained there for a considerable time 
in charge of Dost Mohammed Khan ; and the pa- 
rents, considering that she was not worthy to mingle 
with them any more after living in the "Haram 
serai" of the ruler, where she must have drunk 
and eaten with Musalmans, showed no anxiety to 


212 HAJi khan's attempt 

have her restored to them. On this the Amir com- 
municated his will to her paramour, that if he will 
give him a certain sum of money, he may have the 
possession of the fair object of his desire. The 
money was accordingly paid ; and the young damsel, 
after thus causing the coffers of the Amir to be filled 
by the plaintiff and by the defendant, was sent out of 
the palace. Such is a sample of the mode in which 
the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan sometimes dis- 
tributes justice. 

When Haji Khan Kakar was governor of Ba- 
mian, he had made a close alliance with the Tartar 
chiefs of Turkistan. He went among them and had 
conference with several of them, and in particular 
he paid a friendly visit to Mohammed Morad Beg, 
Mir of Qunduz, and on his coming to Kabul, the 
Uzbek envoys accompanied him. The Amir did 
not wish to recognise their mission to him, as he 
thought it was framed by the advice of Haji Khan, 
for his own purposes ; yet at the saine time he re- 
ceived them in his court, and was civil to them until 
he had secured to himself the presents brought for 
him. After they left his presence, he neither gave 


them a residence nor appointed any person to enter- 
tain them ; and they thus were left to the feeding 
and maintenance of Mulla Badruddin, and of Haji 
Khan himself, whose repeated applications to show 
them civility made no effect on the Amir. 

( 214 ) 


The Wives of the Amir — Their jealousies — Cruel treatment of 
one of them by the Amir — An anecdote — A Kashmirian wife 
— Her escape from the Amir — Bitter enmity entertained 
towards the Amir by Sultan Mohammed Khan — Wives, Sons, 
and Daughters of the Amir — His policy of depressing his 
brothers and raising his sons to power — Expedition against 
the Sikhs — Mirza Abdul Sami Khan arrives at the camp — 
Victory of the Afghans — Honours bestowed on Akbar Khan — ; 
How to estimate the sons of the Amir — State of the Amir's 
dominions — Revenues — Encouragement of Commerce— Cha- 
racter of the Amir — His military force. 

It should not be omitted to mention that while the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan was occupied by day 
in endeavouring to increase his power and territory, 
he was not less active at night in planning the aug- 
mentation of the number of his wives, that he might 
complete the cabinet of his pleasures. In some in- 
stances, however, his matrimonial connexions were 
merely political expedients, and not for any domestic 
comforts. The number of his married wives is not 
under fourteen, besides the numerous retinue of slave 
girls. At present the mother of Mohammed Akbar 


is his favourite, and takes the freedom to give him 
her opinion on important occasions. She is de- 
scended from a high family, but is very jealous of 
the other wives of the Amir. Every one of them 
has a separate allowance, a slave girl, and a slave 
boy, and they occupy different rooms in the Palace 
or Haram Sarai, which is encircled by a high wall. 
Only one door is there for communication, where a 
few men, generally of old age, " Qabchis," are sta- 
tioned. When the slave boy is absent, the slave girl 
brings orders from her mistress to the " Qabchi" for 
a purchase, or for any other purpose from the inside. 
If I remember the name well, one of the wives of 
the Amir who is named Bibi Gauhar, excited the 
great jealousy and animosity of the mother of Ak- 
bar Khan, who always sought for an excuse to create 
the suspicions and the wrath of the Amir against the 
rival lady. One evening there was a demand of fire- 
wood in the establishment of Bibi Gauhar, and her 
slave boy brought a quantity of it piled on the back 
of the seller. His eyes were, on entering the palace 
door, blindfolded, and his face wrapped in a cloth 
while he was conducted by the boy. After unload- 
ing the burthen from his back, he was in the same 


manner brought back and let out of the Haram 
Sarai. Hereupon the penetrating and jealous mother 
of Akbar Khan thought this the best opportunity 
to excite some abusive, but unjust suspicion of her 
character in the heart of the lord. The Amir was 
quietly asked in through Mohammed Akbar Khan, 
and the niother of the latter, taking him aside, stated 
that it was a disgraceful thing that her " Ambagh," 
rival wife of the Amir, was visited by her paramour, 
who came in under the disguise of a wood-seller; 
and she then fabricated sufficient stories to make the 
Amir prepared to meet her object, for he appeared 
incensed, and considered that it was not a fabrication ; 
and the poor lady, who a little before was the charm- 
ing idol of the Amir, was sent for and ordered to be 
punished for her misconduct. Her assertions of 
truth were not listened to, and he told Mohammed 
Akbar Khan to wrap her all in a blanket, and 
throwing her on the ground to strike her with sticks. 
The son was now perfectly aware of the jealousy of 
his own mother against her, and did not fail to inflict 
many most severe and cruel blows upon her. She 
was not released until she fainted, and appeared 
quite motionless in the bloody blanket. After some 


time when she recovered, the Amir found that he 
had been deceived by his wife, the mother of Ak- 
bar, and he apologized to the sufferer for his sad 
mistake, and punished the fair inventor of the story 
(Akbar's mother), only by not going to her apart- 
ments for a few days. Bibi Gauhar was the widow 
of Mahmud Shah, afterwards of Mohammed Azim 
Khan, and is now one of the Amir's wives. 

At breakfast one day the Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan asked one of his guests to eat an egg, to which 
he replied that he had already eaten a considerable 
number of slices of roast mutton, and feared an egg 
might cause an attack of indigestion. This made the 
Amir burst into laughter, and he said that the Amir 
Bangashi's wife bore a more masculine taste and 
appetite for eggs than his noble guest, who appears 
to yield in this affair to a female. In an amusing 
tone of voice Dost Mohammed Khan entertained the 
circle of his courtiers with the following anecdote : — 
When I went to the Bangash country to collect the 
revenues of that district, political circumstances 
induced me to marry the daughter of the chief, after- 
wards known as the mother of Mohammed Afzal 
Khan. According to the custom of the Afghans, 


the parents of the lady place several baskets of fruits 
and of sweetmeats, and one or two of boiled eggs, 
coloured variously, in the chambers of the newly- 
married pair. After the dinner was over the Amir 
with his bride retired, and while amusing themselves 
with conversation, he took a fancy for some grapes, 
and the bride handed him an egg, which he found in 
fact to have a better taste than any he had ever had 
before. He added that he saw his bride using her 
fingers with admirable alacrity in taking off the 
skin preparatory to swallowing an egg, and that 
this activity continued till she finished the whole 
basketful, to his astonishment, and he remarked 
that there were not less than fifty eggs in the 
basket ! 

Before we speak of the other ladies of the Amir 
Dost Mohammed Khan it would not perhaps be 
uninteresting to the readers to mention a singular 
instance of fidelity and perseverance in duty of a 
Kashmirian wife, named Bibi Karmi, in the face of 
danger and of every temptation. I have already 
mentioned her being formerly married to Mo- 
hammed Rahim Khan Amin-ul-mulk. When this 
chief was confined by Kam Ban at Qandhar, 


his son Prince Jahangir heard much said in 
commendation of the prisoner's wife, and he en- 
deavoured to get possession of her. His threats 
and his offers of good fortune were equally re- 
ceived with contempt by the lady, who at length was 
informed that the prince had sent a party to seize 
and conduct her to the palace. Without saying a 
word to her dependants she left the house imme- 
diately, and threw herself into an adjacent well, in 
order to preserve her chastity and to avoid the dis- 
honour of violation by her royal captor. Fortunately 
the well was dry, and was filled with rubbish, &c. ; 
and although she suffered several bruises, yet she 
remained alive, and unseen by all, except by one 
merchant, who was standing at the time on the roof 
of his house. He had heard the report, and became 
convinced that the female who had thrown herself 
into the well must be Bibi Karmi, wife of the Amin- 
ul-mulk. He was also aware that there was in it no 
water, and therefore he secretly conveyed to her 
some meal and water at night. Jahangir could not 
find anywhere the object of his rash passion, and he 
plundered the houses of the neighbours when they 
failed to give him accurate information of her move- 


ments. The prisoner chief was forgetful of his own 
sufferings at the idea of the capture of his fair wife, 
which was bitterly marring the peace of his heart, for 
he did not know that she was safe, though suffering 
a strange kind of safety in the well. After some 
days the husband was liberated on paying two lakhs 
of rupees to Kam Ran, and permitted to proceed to 
Kabul. He was on his way overtaken and joined by 
his wife Bibi Karmi, after her wonderful escape. 
The merchant who had fed her in the well for his 
own good will, and expecting a high reward from 
Amin-ul-mulk, brought a horse, and mounting the 
Bibi Karmi on its back, started off from the city, and 
after a continued march of sixty hours, delivered the 
lady to the Khan, who felt no bounds to his unex- 
pected joy, and rewarded the man liberally. On 
the death of Amin-ul-mulk the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan communicated the wish of his mar- 
riage to her, which was received with great hatred 
by the Kashmirian widow. The Amir, stimulated 
by the reputation of her beauty and wealth, deter- 
mined to possess her, and ordered his counsellor, 
Agha Husain, to proceed to her residence, and 
placing her forcibly in the "jampan" (a kind of 


open litter), to escort her to his " haram sarai." 
The order was accordingly executed, and the qazi, or 
the priest, was desired to solemnize the ceremony of 
marriage, while the sad shrieks of the widow were 
rending to the ears of the hearers. When the party 
broke up and the Amir retired, he was overpowered 
by the charms of her beauty. Now as to Bibi Karmi, 
she was never at rest from the moment she was mar- 
ried without her own consent, and her tears flowed 
in torrents. All the endeavours of the Amir to make 
her his friend were fruitless, and she plainly told him 
that she would rather poison herself than allow him to 
approach. She stated that in her opinion it would be 
a most disgraceful and cold affectation to profess to 
enjoy his society, and to forget all the good and love 
of her deceased husband ; adding, that it is an un- 
becoming and vain hope of the Amir to expect love 
from her ; but that if he was desirous to possess the 
property she has, she would be glad to give him all. 
On this she placed all her jewels before the Amir 
with her slave girl, who was also admirably well 
favoured, and left the room. In short, when he had 
well considered that nothing could gain the favour 
and attachment of the lady towards him, he kept her 

222 THE amir's royal wife. 

jewels, and she was permitted to leave the palace 
after an unpleasant stay of a few months. She is 
now in Kabul, respected and liked by all, and her 
fidelity has become a proverbial saying among the 

In the number of his wives the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan has one from the royal family, which 
case is unprecedented in record or even in rumour, 
for no one ever was allowed to make a matrimonial 
connexion with the royal or Sadozai females. On 
the contrary, it was considered a great honour if any 
descendant of the Sadozai would marry a female 
from the Barakzai tribe, namely, that of the Amir, 
or indeed of any other tribe besides their own. 
When the decline of that dynasty commenced, she 
attracted the sight and attention of the Sultan Mo- 
hammed Khan, the brother chief of the Amir, at 
Peshavar, and a correspondence began between 
them. She prepared to leave Kabul to be married 
with her intended husband, under whose escort 
she was proceeding. The Amir had also lost 
his heart for her beauty, and got hold of her 
by force and married her immediately. This at 
once created, and has ever since maintained, a fatal 



animosity between the brothers; and the Sultan 
Mohammed Khan has often been heard to say that 
nothing would afford him greater pleasure, even at 
breathing his last, than to drink the blood of the 
Amir. Such is the nature of the brotherly feeling 
now existing between them ; and the Amir has 
often and justly mentioned that these three words, 
commencing with the Persian letter " ze," and pro- 
nounced like z in English, are the principal and 
deadly causes of quarrel among men, namely, 
"zan" (female), "zar" (money), and "zamin" 

Descent or Relationship of the Wives of the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. 




1. Sister of Mulla Rashid 

2. Daughter of Mulla Sadiq Ali, 

the Bangash Chief . . • . . 

3. Daughter of Baqa Khan, the 

Parvan Chief ....... 

4. Daughter of Khojah Khanji, 

whom the Amir murdered in 
Kohistan, as is already men- 
tioned .......... 



Mohammed Afzal 
and Azam Khan 

Mohammed Akram 

Mohammed Aslam, 
Hassan and Hu- 
sain Khan. 

Vali Mohammed 


6. Widow of Shah Mahmud, and 
afterwards of Azim Khan . . 

6. Granddaughter of Jahangir 
Khan, Tori Chief 





Descent or Relationship of the Wives of the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. 




7 . Daughter of Prince Abbas, who 
caused enmity between the 
Amir and Sultan Mohammed 

8. Daughter of a wealthy mer- 
chant, Nazir Khair-ullah.* 

of Zurmat 

10. Daughter of Sadiq Khan Javan 

Sher, widow of Azim Khan . 

11. Sister of the Chief of Kalat 

and Ghilzai 

12. Bibi Karmi of the Amin-Ul- 

mulk, who acted as above 

13. Daughter of Haji Raihmat- 

ullah-Khan, famous for being 
the mother of Akbar Khan, 
and favourite of the Amir . . 

14. Daughter of the Chief of Mo- 
rad Khani, married on his 
restoration to Kabul or re- 
turning from India in 1843. 

Sultan Jan, Step- 

Mohammed Akbarf 
Ditto Haidar. 
Ditto Sherali. 
Ditto Amin. 
Ditto Sharif Khans. 

The Amir Dost Mohammed Khan's best policy 

* He left Kabul for fear of being seized and deprived by the 
Amir of his riches, and resided at Bokhara. Amir married 
his daughter to soothe his fear, and thus induce him to return 
to Kabul, and j^lunder him. He knows the Amir^s craft, and 
will not come back. 

t This son of the Amir is well known to the world for bis 
treacheries, cruelties, and murders. 


for the security of his authority is very judicious, 
though it has made him disliked by his rival rela- 
tions. In the commencement of his power we find 
him occupied in bestowing the administration and 
charge of various districts upon his relations, or in 
some instances allowing them the enjoyment of their 
own possessions. Thus Navab Mohammed Zaman 
held Jalalabad ; Mohammed Usam Khan, Bala 
Bagh ; Jabbar Khan, Laghman and the Ghilzai ; 
Shamshuddin Khan, Ghaznin ; Haji Khan, Bamian ; 
and so were also the other petty districts shared 
among them : but when he gained the stability of his 
position, he deprived every one of them of all autho- 
rity, placing his own sons in their places. These 
feared him more than the others, and followed his 
example in the administration of their respective 
territories. Now at length the Amir was firmly 
established, and looked upon as the supreme Lord of 
Afghanistan. He was of course surrounded by his 
intriguing and dissatisfied brothers at home, but yet 
he entertained no fear of their upsetting him. The 
alarms, however, were daily increasing fi'om the fear 
of an enemy abroad, — the powerful ruler of the 


The SiMtan Mohammed Khan, brother of the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, influenced by the 
Sikhs, commenced intrigues and designs for taking 
Kabul. The Amir ordered Mohammed Akbar 
Khan to proceed to Khaibar, and then he reinforced 
him by means of his eldest son, Mohammed Afzal 
Khan. He did not take this step merely as one 
frightened by rumours, but he had actually received 
repeated communications from the chiefs of the 
Khaibars, demanding the dispatch of some troops, 
and offering him their co-operation against the Sikhs, 
stating that otherwise they will be obliged to acknow- 
ledge the authority of Ranjit Singh. The army of 
the Amir encamped at the mouth of the Khaibar 
Pass, towards Peshavar, and every day skirmishes 
took place between the Afghans and the Sikh force 
garrisoned at Jam Road. The Amir considered it 
proper that his sons and the army should have some 
person of good judgment to regulate their conduct 
and the plan of the battle or of the negotiations. He 
was well aware that he had no more trusty servant 
nor any wiser man than his minister Mirza Abdul 
Sami Khan, and him he commanded to join his sons. 
The Mirza arrived in the camp, and observed that a 


large number of Mahomedan fanatics had assembled 
under the standards of Mohammed Akbar and of 
Afzal Khan, whether stimulated by religious feelings, 
or moved thereto by their avarice of plunder ; but at 
the same time he was sure of sustaining one or two 
very strong battles with the Sikhs then present. He 
determined on attacking the enemy, and reported all 
the circumstances and prospects to the Amir at 
Kabul, and he sent fresh reinforcements under the 
Navabs Jabbar Khan, Usman Khan, and Sham- 
shuddin Khan. The fort of Jam Koad was besieged, 
and the garrison prevented from fetching any water 
or grass from outside the citadel. They wrote to 
Sardar Hari Singh at Peshavar, telling him of their 
distressed and fearfril condition, and solicited his 
immediate succour. The Sikh chief, with an army 
of about ten thousand men, twenty pieces of artillery, 
and a great quantity of ammunition and provisions, 
came to the relief of the garrison at Jam Road. 
He attacked the Kabul forces, and compelled Mo- 
hammed Akbar Khan to quit his ground ; while 
Mohammed Afzal Khan, his brother, with his con- 
spicuous bravery and judgment, managed to pene- 
trate into the left wing of the Sikh troops, on which 



Hari Singh retraced his steps. He then, however, 
assailed the Navab, defeated him, and captured two 
of the guns. Many Afghans were fleeing back to- 
wards Kabul ; but Shamshuddin Khan, noted for 
bravery, happened to reach the place at this crisis, 
and by a most daring assault regained the lost field. 
Hari Singh was mortally wounded, and soon after 
died \ and this gave the Afghans the victory. The 
Sikhs, after losing their leader, entrenched their 
position round the fort of Jam Road, and the army 
of the Amir of Kabul was recalled. 

It is a general topic of conversation that, had not 
Mohammed Afzal Khan shown his judicious valour, 
and Shamshuddin Khan his rash boldness, the victory 
would never have been gained by the Afghans. 
However, all the merits and praise due to them were 
attributed by the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan to 
Mohammed Akbar Khan, the son of his favourite 
wife. She gave feasts and illuminated the city in 
commemoration of the victory gained by her son, and 
prevailed upon her husband to think and say that 
every honour and all applause was due to him. 
Since that period the eldest son of the Amir, Mo- 
hammed Afzal Khan, with other heroes of the family. 


is very much disheartened. No feeling of pure 
regard has since existed between the father and these 
sons ; and Akbar Khan continues gaining the favour 
and strength of the Amir. 

It is a matter of unquestionable truth, that Mo- 
hammed Akbar Khan, by his most extraordinary and 
successful intrigues, cruelties, and murders has gained 
the highest pitch of influence in Afghanistan and 
renown in England, but Mohammed Afzal Khan is 
the first of ^all the sons of Dost Mohammed Khan 
who possesses a sound judgment and the laudable 
quality of heroism. On the death of the Amir 
there will be no doubt a general commotion in Ka- 
bul. If Sultan Mohammed Khan, the ex-chief of 
Peshavar, or any of the present chiefs of Qandhar, 
be in existence at that period, no doubt he will then 
exert himself to become the master of the capital, 
and many chiefs, and even the sons of the Amir, 
will co-operate with any of these against Mohammed 
Akbar Khan. On the other hand, none of the 
sons of the Amir stands so high in the estimation of 
the population and of the chiefs, and the Barakzai 
family, as Mohammed Afzal Khan, and all these 
will join him against Akbar Khan. Mohammed 


Azam Khan, also the brother of the former, will not 
hesitate to intrigue for killing the latter, while Ak- 
ram Khan, and the other sons of the Amir, will 
unite with him. Akbar Khan will have no sup- 
porters but his own younger brothers, as Haidar 
Khan, &c. The whole dominion of Kabul, now 
under the possession of the Amir, will be divided 
into small principalities, governed by his sons, and 
independent of each other ; and continued warfare, 
intrigues, assassinations, and plundering of the mer- 
chants, will be the predominant features of the go- 

It is well known that the Amir Dost Mohammed 
is not the master of the whole of Afghanistan. He 
has, of course, seated himself on the throne, or in 
broad words, in the capital of that dominion — Ka- 
bul. The city is divided by the river " Jue Shir," 
which springs from Sirchashmah, on the road to 
Bamian; has a population of about sixty-five. thou- 
sand souls ; lat. 34° 30', long. 69° 6'. The whole 
province of Kabul, or the authority of the Amir 
Dost Mohammed Khan, extends from Hindu Kush- 
Parwan, lat. 35° 10', long. 69° 12' on the north, to 
Mukar, south of Ghuzni, lat. 32° 52', long, e?"" 41', 


and little higher from Bamian in the west, lat. 
34* 50', long. 67° 48', to the Khaibar pass in the east, 
lat. 33'' 58', long. 7V 30',* making a length of two 
hundred miles from east to west, and the breadth of 
about one hundred and seventy miles from north to 
south. All the distances above detailed are often 
traversed by the Amir's cavalry from three to five 
days. The principal towns and marts of the country 
are Jalalabad, Ghazni, and Charkar, with some 
other petty places of renown, as Istalif, Shakardrah, 
&c. &c. 

On the revenues of the province of Kabul a great 
many assertions are in existence, varying from each 
other very considerably. My information on this 
point is derived from the records of the chief col- 
lectors of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, as Mirza 
Sayad Husain, Divan Mitha upon one side, and Di- 
vans Birbal and Daya Ram on the other. These 
parties, however, differ in the total sum, but the con- 
nexion of Sayad Husain with the minister of the 
Amir, is the manifest reason of his pocketing large 
sums undetected from the revenues, while the latter 
Divans proved the truth on their own side, by putting 
* Thornton's ' Gazetteer of the Countries adjacent to India.' 



down the additional sums only on the paper which 
were realized for the government, and paid in accord- 
ingly. By the Sayad's account, the annual sum 
of money derived from the land, custom-house, ex- 
tortion, and other unjust sources (Bidat), amounts to 
2,431,271 rupees, while Divan Birdal collected 
2,509,238 lakhs. It would be better and perhaps the 
shortest way to put down here the list of the collec- 
tions of the latter, and I shall mention the amount of 
the revenue under its proper heading or name by 
which it is raised, namely, " Asal," or just, and 
" Bidat," or unjust. The accounts of Divan Birbal 
make an additional sum of 77 ^^^7 rupees in favour 
of the government. 

Names of the , or of the Places the Revenue 

is collected from. 

Duties from Custom House . . . . 

Vajah Shahganj, Arghande, &c. &c. . 

Bilok-i-Kohdaman, Char Yakar, and 


Khalsah, Government Land . 
Eezah Kohistan and Bulaghain . 

" Asal," or 

just Amount 

of the 



and 2 abbasi 

and 3 shahis 

and 1 abbasi 



' Bidat,'' or 



of the 



and 1 saunar 

and 1 shahis 

and 6 shahis 


Total Sum in 


and 1 abbasi 





Names of the , or of the Places the Revenue 

is collected from. 

" Asal, or „„;,.»* 

just Amount ^iunt 

"' **'® of the 

Revenue. j,°4'„\%^. 

Total Sum in 


Tajakyah Maidan 



Behsud and Bamian 

Ghaznin . . , 

Taefah Kharauti, Shinvari, &c. 
Zurmat, Gardez, and Kharvar . 

Hazarah Turkam, and Parsa . . 

Khurm and Khost 

Jalalabad and Lamghan-i-Tajakyah 
" Darkat-i-Mut-faraqah Havai/' 





I 1,000 




and 1 senar and 1 shaliiand3shahis 

69,964 I 

397,971 I 37,451 
and 7 shahis and 3 shahis 


and 2 abbasi 





Total . . 
Grand Total 




and 6 shahis 



and 8 shahis 




and 6 shahis 



The Amir Dost Mohammed Khan has acquired 
great celebrity for the encouragement of commerce 
in comparison with the conduct of his brothers, the 
chiefs of Qandhar and Peshavar ; and in this he has 
acted wisely, both for his own benefit and for that of 


the merchants. The roads under his government 
are safer than they were in former days ; and there 
are no further demands on the merchandise made by 
the petty officers of the customs, as there were under 
the Sadozai dynasty. But I have heard from Mulla 
Eahim Shah, Gholam Qadir, and Gopaldas Shikar- 
puri, merchants of first rank, that the consumption of 
goods, and the circulation of money, was upon a 
much larger scale under the disturbed state of the 
late kings' governments only in Kabul than it is now 
under the Barakzai chiefs, including Qandhar and 
Peshavar, as well as Hirat.* The chief of Kabul has 
established some new duties on the exports, the im- 
ports, and the transit of goods in Kabul, under 
various names, commonly called " Bidat," which has 
already been stated under the head of revenues. The 
Amir has encouraged commerce indeed, but yet he 
has often forcibly extorted large sums of money from 
the merchants, wherewith to maintain his troops for 
sake of the extension and stability of his government. 
Whenever traders with shawls from Kashmir, or 
horses from Bokhara, pass on their way through 
Kabul, the Amir avails himself of the first descrip- 
* Independent of the Barakzais. 



tion of the articles, and of the animals, and giving no 
value to all the cries of the owner, he pays any sum 
he likes; which, of course, is much less than the 
original price. The merchants bring a great quantity 
of gold in Russian ducats, and the Bokhara tilas for 
Amrat Sar and India ; but a good deal more from the 
former place. They bring these openly in the 
smallest quantity only, for fear of being seized by the 
Amir; and being thus forced they practise smug- 
gling. At one time, while the British mission was 
in Kabul, a Lohani merchant was Seized, if I re- 
member well, with twenty thousand ducats ; and on 
application made on his behalf several times by the 
late Sir Alexander Burnes, the Amir reluctantly 
restored some portion of it to the merchant. 

Amount of duties levied at the diiFerent offices of customs in the 
province of Kabul, given to me by Mirza Sami, the minister 
of the Amir : — 

Names of 

Amount in 


Kabul Eupees. 

Kabul .... 


Ghazni .... 


Bamian .... 


Kafshan .... 


Charkar .... 


Istalif .... 


Sarae Khojah 


Arghande . . . . , 



Names of 

Amount in 


Kabul Rupees. 



Basaval or Hazarah nau 


Gandumak . 


Lahogard . . . 




Goshi Qandhar 


From the* city gates called 

" Chiraghi 


(lamp) . 



Total . . 415,500 

It must be understood that the above mentioned 
sum is included in the revenue of the government, 
and the total amount of 2,509,238 rupees is nearly 
equal in Company's rupees to 2,262,943, or about 
226,294^. sterling. All the government and mer- 
cantile accounts are received and paid in Kham 
rupees, equal to ten shahis each. This is not a 
current coin, but is used in the accounts. 

In the person, in the manners, and in the public 
proceedings of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, 
there is manifest the existence of every thing ima- 
ginable most suitable to support his own view. He 
is calm, prudent, and wise in cabinet, and an able 
commander in the field. In treachery, cruelty, 
murder, and falsehood, he is equally notorious. He 
is not at all a popular ruler, but he is the first man 


in Afghanistan who knows how to keep his authority 
undisturbed, and to deal effectually with the vaga- 
bond Afghans. He is certainly very much liked in 
regard to one thing, namely this : any man seeking 
for justice may stop him on the road by holding his 
hand and garment, once his beard, may abuse him 
for not relieving his grievances ; and the Amir will 
continue to listen to him without disturbance or anger. 
Upon several occasions people in companies come 
near to the palace, and by the shouts of " Dad," jus- 
tice, deafen the ears of the hearers ; but seldom do they 
receive what they want. On the whole, whatever 
odium may be attached to the Amir of Kabul, it is an 
unquestionable fact that he is the only person tit to 
rule Kabul. Dost Mohammed Khan is of the Sunni 
religion, being the son of an Afghan; but as his 
mother is a Shia, he is therefore suspected to be of 
her creed, though he does not confess it openly. He 
has indulged in all sorts of dissipation, and expe- 
rienced all kinds of hardships. When he gained 
power, he prohibited the sale and the use of wine, 
and prevented dancing girls from remaining in his 
kingdom, while the dance performed by boys was 
considered lawful ! One day he was informed that 


some women were drinking and dancing privately in 
the house of Husain, the servant of Nayab Abdul 
Samad, on which the Amir sent people to seize 
them. The punishment inflicted upon them for 
drinking wine against the Mohammedan law and his 
own notification was the infliction of deformity in- 
stead of their beauty, in order to prevent them fi-om 
appearing again in drinking parties. Their heads 
were shaved, and the beard of the host was burnt by 
the flame of a candle ! The Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan always gets up before it is dawn, takes a bath, 
makes his prayers, and reads a portion of the 
" Qoran " every morning. After that Mahmud 
Akhund Zadah gives him some lessons in history as 
well as poetry. He receives afterwards the state 
people privately in the dressing-room of the bath, 
and then comes out to hold his court. He sits there 
generally till 1 p.m. Now he had his breakfast, or 
I may say his dinner, as it is just the same- as he 
receives after sunset. When he has finished his 
breakfast or mid-day meal he sleeps till 4 p.m. He 
then discharges his prayers, and proceeds usually to 
ride, sees his stud, and returns to the palace, where 
he dines with his immediate courtiers and friends. 


There is then some talk of his early proceedings and 
of his future plans; and the wonder, the jealousy, 
and the ascendancy of foreign powers are discussed. 
Sometimes chess, and at other times music, were the 
favourite amusements of the evening. He amused 
himself generally in this manner till one hour past 
midnight. All the chiefs are then dismissed, and on 
retiring the Amir resides in the apartments of his 
wives. They live in separate parts, and the Amir 
pays a visit to one lady one night, and to another 
wife the next night, and no one is visited two nights 
successively except the mother of Mohammed Akbar 

The military strength of the Amir Dost Moham- 
med Khan does undoubtedly exceed and excel that 
of any other of the chiefs of Afghanistan ; and if I 
am rightly informed, the Sadozai kings never had 
such a large park of well-mounted guns as the Amir 
has. Whatever his occupations were during the day 
or night, his sole aim was bent towards the improve- 
ment and increase of his military power. He had 
fifty pieces of cannon, some of them well cast, be- 
sides those which were captured from the Sikhs when 
Sardar Hari Singh fell in the battle of Jam Koad ; 


he has also about two hundred of " Shahnaks," good 
ones of their kind ; these being light and small are 
placed on the backs of camels, and used by the 
driver. His cavalry amounted to twelve thousand 
in number, and is composed of two different bri- 
gades, the one called " Khud Aspah," riders of 
their own horses, and the other, " Amlah Sarkari," 
mounting the government horses. These are placed 
uhder the petty " Khavanins," in various numbers, 
from two to two hundred horses, and then attached 
to, and commanded by, some one of his own sons. 
Mohammed Akbar Khan usually leads two thousand, 
Mohammed Afzal Khan six hundred, Gholam Hai- 
dar Khan one thousand, and so on, the other sons 
and the Navabs, and the rest of the relations of the 
Amir, have few followers. He has also more than 
two thousand of " Jazayarchis," or infantry, bearing 
a large musket, like a wall piece of ordnance, which 
they use with a rest. This arm has gained great 
improvement under Mohammed Akbar, and his best 
and most confidential Ghilzai are armed with them, 
and he superintends the manufacture of them in per- 
son. The infantry of the Amir, organized by Na- 
yab Abdul Samad, Mr. Campbell, and Dr. Harlan, 


cannot be compared to the cavalry of that chief, but 
as they are generally the men of the mountains, they 
are by the position of their country and mutual war- 
fare well adapted to fight under the shelter of bushes, 
walls, and hollow places, where the uniform move- 
ments of our foot regiments will not permit them to 
exercise their discipline as the Afghans can. Their 
muskets are also better for throwing balls to a long 
distance than those of England. This portion of 
the Amir's force is limited to about fifteen hundred 

The pay of the troops is not properly distributed, 
for neither the cavalry soldiers nor commanders, 
" Khavanins," receive an equal sum ; the increase 
of pay and rank both depend entirely upon the 
influence and patronage of their friends. They 
are paid yearly in cash, grain, grass, sheep, 
blankets, and butter, which, after obtaining an 
order from the paymaster, they get from the 
local collectors and the headmen of the villages 
in the country. The general pay of a horseman 
is 12 tomans, or 120 Kabul Kham rupees, that 
is about 10/. a-year, which feeds and clothes him 
with his family, as well as his charger — such is the 



wonderful cheapness of provisions in that country. 
The foot soldier has no more than 84 rupees, or 
8/. a-year, in the same manner, but a greater 
number of them are engaged for only about 6L per 

( ^^43 ) 


Connection of the British with Afghanistan — Policy of Russia 
— Her alliance with Persia — The Afghans lean towards the 
British Government — Claims on Peshavar — Policy of Lord 
William Bentinck — Of Lord Auckland — Letter from the 
Amir to the Governor-General — Reply of the latter — Mission 
of Sir Alexander Burnes — The Amir demands the restoration 
of Peshavar — Sir Alexander's Reply — Dissatisfaction of Dost 
Mohammed Khan — His letter to the King of Persia — His 
plan of balancing Russia, Persia, ^nd England against each 

I HAVE now fully related the adventurous com- 
mencement of the career of the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, and brought him gradually to the 
zenith of his glory. It is evident that the Afghans 
never put any circumstances on record, nor do they 
take the trouble to keep past events fresh in their 
memory. Whatever they do remember is preserved 
by the memory only, in the rudest manner. My in- 
formants always failed in giving the precise dates, 
or even the years of the Amir's progress, as noticed 

R 2 


in the preceding pages, and therefore no blame can 
be justly attached to this narrative for misplacing the 
events of his career. I shall now begin to describe 
the circumstances which opened the way for making 
the British more familiar with Afghanistan, and 
which also made the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan 
desirous to correspond with the Indian authorities. 

Upon the one hand the English Government 
always sought for information in an independent state, 
lying between the confines of the Indian Empire and 
the Caspian Sea, and its officer felt an anxiety to 
secure that object. That political foresight was even 
worked upon so far back as 1808, when the mission 
of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone was 
directed and proceeded to that quarter. The valu- 
able " Account of the Kingdom of Kabul," published 
by that functionary, opened the eyes of the British 
nation to explore its curiosities, and in a political 
view the attention of the Government was^ most 
earnestly directed to that part of the globe. Hence 
also some Englishmen of mature sense and much 
ambition were induced to penetrate into that des- 
potic country, and thought that, by making important 
and improved additions to the already gained know- 


ledge of that extensive tract, and close familiarity 
with its vast number of inhabitants, they might gain 
the patronage of their Government and high estima- 
tion in their own country. With these deliberate 
views of advantage, therefore, they set out to carry 
their objects into effect. First of all Mr. Moorcroft 
entered Afghanistan, but unfortunately he expired 
on the other side of the Hindu Kush. Mr. Sterling, 
Captain Arthur Conolly, and after all the late Sir 
Alexander Burnes,* walked in the same path as 
marked out by his predecessors. The more new 
knowledge we gained of that region the more interest 
we felt in relation to its importance, both in a poli- 
tical and commercial point of view. For this purpose 
the navigation of the river Indus was opened, and a 
favourable alliance made with the Sindhians, the 
Daud potrahs, and the Sikhs. 

Upon the other hand, the Persians and the Afghans 
having much more inland communication with each 
other, and dwelling on the frontiers of Russia, 
nourished a magnified idea of her ambitious policy, 
of her great power, and of her jealous eyes towards 
British India, and thus they considered themselves 
* When the author of these Memoirs accompanied him. 


the fortunate favourites of both these rival nations. 
The Persians, being wiser and nearer than the 
Afghans, set the example of acting on this universal 
feeling, allied herself to Kussia, while she con- 
tinued to profess the holding of intimacy with 
England, and in this manner thought she obtained 
her wishes. The Afghans, though not so polished 
as their neighbours in Persia, were not altogether 
unaware of the interest which the English took in 
their extensive country, which commanded the passes 
or doors leading to India. With this thought the 
late King Shah Shuja sought asylum in British 
India, and hoped to be supported by us, and in this 
he was not disappointed. Also in the same opinion 
the late celebrated Vazir Fatah Khan sent com- 
munications to the Indian Government. The same 
impression was on the heart of the Amir Dost 
Mohammed Khan, but his crafty manoeuvring 
brought all the secret designs of the parties concerned 
in them to light, and he thought that he possessed 
the key of Hindustan, which no doubt will be too 
dearly bought by the English if there should happen 
the slightest shadow of another bidder. 

With these well matured sentiments he desired to 


make himself known to the governments of India, 
Persia, and Kussia ; and while his brother, the Sultan 
Mohammed Khan of Peshavar, was alive, and held 
the Kohat and Hasht-nagar districts of that province 
under his acknowledged superior, Maharajah Ranjit 
Singh, the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, whom 
both always despised and feared, made claims upon 
Peshavar. There were always warfare and negotia- 
tions between him and the Sikhs upon this subject, 
and the Amir despatched communications and agents 
to the governments of British India, Persia, and 
Russia, soliciting the interference of each of these 
powers to recover the Afghan territory from the 
ruler of the Panjab, and promised his alliance and 
services to them (of course against each other) if 
there should happen the necessity of employing such 
services in future. 

The late Lord William Bentinck, however, did 
not take a prominent interest in the politics of Af- 
ghanistan. In fact there did not seem any necessity 
during his government to demand attention so seri- 
ously in that quarter as it unavoidably happened to 
require in the time of his successor. The regretted 
Governor-General nevertheless seemed inclined to 


share so far in the politics of that country that he 
appointed Sayad Karamat Ali,* Mr. Masson, and 
myself f in Afghanistan to convey to him information 
of the passing events in that state. This produced 
an easy way for the Amir to effect his long-nourished 
objects, and he therefore lost no time in correspond- 
ing with the British government. His communica- 
tions to his Lordship and Sir Claude Wade, the 
political agent, implored the mediation of their 
authority to adjust differences between him and his 
powerful enemy the Maharajah Ranjit Singh. He 
had strong reasons for fearing that he might be sub- 
verted by his foe, who, through the influence of his 
brother Sultan Mohammed Khan, now with the 
Sikhs, could injure him (Dost Mohammed) even in 

In the mean time the Earl of Auckland arrived 
as the new Governor-General of India, and the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan addressed a congratu- 
lating epistle to his Lordship. 

* Fellow traveller with the most deeply regretted and distin- 
guished Captain Arthur Conolly. 

f I never joined that situation at Qandhar, being appointed in 
the meantime to settle the disputes between the subjects of 
Lahore and Bahavalpur during the absence of Major Mackinon. 

THE amir's letter TO HIM. 249 

The Amir Dost Mohammed Khan of Kabul to the 
Governor- General of India, 

(After compliments.) 

" As I have been long attached to the 
British Government by the ties of friendship and affection, 
the late intelligence of your Lordship's arrival, enlight- 
ening with your presence the seat of government, and 
diffusing over Hindustan the brightness of your counte- 
nance, has afforded me extreme gratification ; and the field 
of my hopes, which had before been chilled by the cold 
blast of wintry times, has, by the happy tidings of your 
Lordship's arrival, become the envy of the garden of 

"It may be known to your Lordship, that, relying on the 
principles of benevolence and philanthropy which distin- 
guish the British Government, I look upon myself and 
country as bound to it by the strongest ties, and the letters 
I have received from that quarter have all been replete 
with friendly sentiments and attention, — and to the effect 
that, in the time of need, the obligations of friendship 
should be fulfilled. The late transactions in this quarter, 
the conduct of reckless and misguided Sikhs, and their 
breach of treaty, are well known to your Lordship. Com- 
municate to me whatever may suggest itself to your 
wisdom for the settlement of the affairs of this country, that 
it may serve as a rule for my guidance. 

" I hope your Lordship will consider me and my country 
as your own, and favour me often with the receipt of your 

250 HIS lordship's reply. 

friendly letters. Whatever directions your Lordship may 
be pleased to issue for the administration of this country, I 
will act accordingly." 

This letter was followed by many others similarly 
expressive of his anxiety and fear of the Sikhs ; and 
his alarms were truly increased when an army of 
fifty thousand from Lahaur arrived at Peshavar, in- 
tending to revenge the sudden attack of the Afghans 
upon Jam Koad, and the fall of the Sardar Hari 
Singh in that battle. The Earl of Auckland sent 
to the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan a very kind 
answer, and at the same time resolved to relieve him^ 
from the continued fear of the Sikhs, under the 
name of holding a commercial alliance with him. 

The Earl of Auckland to the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. 

22nd August, 1836. 

(After compliments.) 

'*I HAVE had the pleasure to receive 
your friendly letter, which was transmitted to me through 
Sir Claude Wade, and I am gratified at the opportunity 
which it affords so shortly after my assumption of the 
Indian government, to convey to you the assurances of my 
unfeigned regard and esteem. 

" It is my wish that the Afghans should be a flourishing 
and united nation ; and that, being in peace with all their 


HIS lordship's reply. 25 1 

neighbours, they should enjoy, by means of a more ex- 
tended commerce, all the benefits and comforts possessed 
by other nations, which through such means have attained 
a high and advanced state of prosperity and wealth. 

" My predecessor, aware that nothing was so well calcu- 
lated to promote this object as the opening of the naviga- 
tion of the Indus, spared himself no pains in procuring this 
channel for the flow of industry and enterprise ; and it shall 
be my study to second his philanthropic purpose, and to 
complete the scheme which he so successfully commenced. 
I feel assured that you cannot but take a lively interest in 
the success of this undertaking, so especially conducive as 
it must be to the prosperity of the people over whom you 

"It is probable that I may, ere long, depute some 
gentlemen to your Court, to discuss with you certain com- 
mercial topics, with a view to our mutual advantage. 

" I have learned with deep regret that dissensions exist 
between yourself and the Maharajah Ranjit Singh. My 
friend, you are aware that it is not the practice of the 
British Government to interfere with the affairs of other 
independent states ; and indeed it does not immediately 
occur to me how the interference of my Government could 
be exercised for your benefit. I shall be happy, however, 
to learn from you by what means you think that I can be 
of any assistance ; and in the meantime, I have only to 
hope that you will be able to devise some mode of effecting 
a reconciliation with the Sikhs ; it being not only for your 
own advantage but for the advantage of all the countries in 


the vicinity, that two nations so situated should ever pre- 
serve the unimpaired relations of amity and concord. 

'* Begging that you will accept my renewed assurance of 
friendship and regard, 

" I am, &c. &c. 

(Signed) " Auckland." 

The receipt of this letter excited a great sensation 
in Dost Mohammed Khan, and served as a new 
reason for him to employ his tact in order to second 
his own objects, by intriguing with Persia and 
Kussia. On the other hand the Governor-General of 
India made preparations for sending a special mission 
to his court, and Sir Alexander Burnes was selected 
to conduct it. The equipage of the mission and the 
presents for the Amir were nothing in comparison 
to those of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone 
when deputed to Shah Shuja-ul-mulk : however, 
Sir Alexander Burnes, in company with his assist- 
ants. Major Leech, Lieut. Wood, and Dr. Lord, of 
the Bombay Presidency, ascended the Indus, and 
I was ordered by the Supreme Government to join 
him on that river. 

The mission was well received at Haidarabad, 


Khairpur, and Bahavalpur, on its way up the river ; 
and in the latter place Sir Alexander Burnes re- 
ceived a letter from Mr. Masson, the news-writer 
in Kabul, stating that the Amir has been delighted 
to hear that he was nominated to confer with him ; 
and he added that whatever the objects of the 
mission might be, whether commercial or political, 
they will meet an unreserved welcome from the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. The more near the 
British mission approached Afghanistan, the more 
frequently the Amir of Kabul despatched letters to 
Sir Alexander Burnes, conveying the expression of 
his delight at the prospect of the interview, and his 
readiness and desire to attach himself to the British 
government by any terms the Governor may think 
proper to propose. On entering the Khaibar Pass 
the mission was met by a deputation from the Amir, 
and a salute was fired ; and it was honourably con- 
ducted and escorted by Shah Ghasi Gul, Mirza 
Aghajan, and Sadat Khan, the Momand chief, to- 
wards Kabul. Dost Mohammed Khan sent another 
deputation, headed by Nazir Ali Mohammed Khan, 
who had directions to provide the mission with all 
the Afghan cookery and the other luxuries of Kabul, 


and to wait upon us all the way to Kabul. After 
some marches it reached Butkhak, and next day 
Mohammed Akbar Khan, with a large retinue, came 
to receive and conduct the mission into the city. 
The procession in entering was very grand, and 
we were placed on elephants together with him, 
and thus proceeded onwards between lines made 
on both sides by the spectators and the re- 
spectable citizens, who were requested by the Amir 
to welcome us. The anxiety and pleasure of Dost 
Mohammed Khan at the arrival of the English envoy 
was so great, that he desired his son to conduct us at 
once to his own presence. He received us most 
cordially ; and near his own palace a beautiful gar- 
den, surrounded with the most comfortable apart- 
ments, was allotted to us as our place of residence. 

On the 21st of September the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan assembled his nobles and received 
the mission formally. Sir Alexander Burnes- sub- 
mitted his credentials from the Governor-General of 
India to the Amir, and they were opened by himself, 
and read aloud by his minister Mirza Abdul Sami 
Khan; and the Amir seemed really flattered by 
hearing the contents of them in the presence of those 



chiefs who, being older, and having seen the late 
kings of the Sadozai family, had never dreamt that 
Dost Mohammed Khan, one of the humblest of the 
sons of Payandah Khan, could become a person of 
such consequence as to be respected by the English 

The credentials were these : — 

The Earl of Auckland to the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. 

Fort William, \Uh May, 1837. 

(After compliments.) 

"In my letter to your address, dated 
2nd August, 1836, I intimated my intention of deputing an 
officer to confer with you as to the best means of promoting 
the interests of commerce, and facilitating the intercourse 
of traders between India and Afghanistan. 

*' To your enlightened mind it cannot fail to be obvious, 
that commerce is the basis of all national prosperity, and 
that it is commerce alone that enables people of one 
country to exchange its superfluous commodities for those 
of another ; to accumulate wealth, and to enjoy all the 
comforts and blessings of civilized life. 

" The general diffusion of these blessings^ and comforts 
among neighbouring nations is the general object of the 
British Government. It seeks for itself no exclusive 
benefits, but it ardently desires to secure the establishment 
of peace and prosperity in all the countries of Asia. 

" With this view the British Government prevailed upon 


the powers occupying the banks of the river, to open the 
navigation of the Indus ; and to this object, indeed, have 
all its efforts been invariably directed. 

" I now send Sir Alexander Burnes, who will deliver this 
letter, to confer with you as to the best means of facili- 
tating commercial intercourse between Afghanistan and 
India. I have no doubt that he will meet with a friendly 
reception at your Court, and that his personal communi- 
cation with you will be attended with all the advantages 
which I anticipate. 

" In conclusion, &c., 

(Signed) "Auckland." . 

For a few days the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan 
continued to show us every civility, and appearing 
to act with perfect sincerity and candour ; and in his 
conversation with Sir Alexander Burnes he always 
showed a moderation in his demands. Sir Alexander 
Burnes wrote at that time as follows : — " Up to this 
time my communications with the Amir have been 
confined to matters of compliment and ceremony, 
but I shall take an early opportunity of reporting 
on what transpires at this court, merely observing at 
present, from what I have seen and heard, that I 
have good reason to believe Dost Mohammed Khan 
will set forth no extravagant pretensions, but will 


act in such a manner as to enable the British Go- 
vernment to show its interest in his behalf, and at 
the same time to preserve for us the valued friend- 
ship of the Sikh chief." 

However, the moderation of the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan was of short duration. He forgot 
that the presence of the British mission in his capital 
had prevented the Sikh army from revenging the 
sudden attack of Akbar Khan upon Jam Road, and 
placed no value on the mediation of the English, 
which was intended to secure his interests. The 
tenor of his previous correspondence and conversa- 
tion was anxiously expressive of his fears of an 
attack from the Sikhs ; but now, changing his views 
and his mind, he longed for the possession of 
Peshavar, and he accordingly demanded of Sir 
Alexander Burnes to write to his government to 
cause the restoration of that province to him. Sir 
Alexander Burnes replied to the Amir that 
Peshavar was never under his authority ; and that 
his brothers, Sultan Mohammed and Pir Mohammed 
Khan, were the rulers of that part of Afghanistan, 
and had still " jagirs " in that district, granted to 
them from the sovereign of the Panjab. He added, 

258 SIR Alexander's propositions 

also, that the Maharajah Ranjit Singh was a faithful 
ally of the English, — was powerful both in arms and 
in money; and had lost his commander-in-chief, 
Sardar Hari Singh, in an unprovoked assault of the 
Afghans upon his handful of forces at Jam Road. 
The British Government, he said, being desirous to 
establish peace for the extension of commerce as far 
as to the markets of Central Asia, and finding by 
the Amir's letters and words that he was always 
involved with alarms, resolved to adjust differences 
between him and the Sikhs by amicable terms; 
that is to say, the Amir will have no further neces- 
sity by extortions to make himself unpopular, to 
raise troops and to shed blood in fighting with the 
forces of the Panjab. On the contrary, that he will 
enjoy the comforts of his authority without fear, and 
will reign in prosperity. Sir Alexander Burnes 
continued, that his Government will induce the 
Maharajah, by friendly advice, to give up Peshavar 
to its former master, the Sardar Sultan Mohammed 
Khan, the brother of the Amir; but that the al- 
liance, which so faithfully is maintained by the 
Maharajah, cannot permit the British Government 
to use its authority directly on this subject. 


In my own presence the Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan replied, that this was not the good offices of 
the English which he had expected ; that his hopes 
were quite different ; that he had now a turban of 
muslin on his head, but that on entering into a 
friendly relation with the British he had sanguine 
hopes that he would have a shawl one in lieu of muslin. 
On the contrary, he finds that the English wish to 
keep the old material on his head, with the obliging 
promise that they will not allow any other power to 
deprive him of it. To this act of amity he attaches 
not much importance, as he was not afraid that any 
one will ever wrest it from him. The Amir con- 
tinued, that the restoration of Peshavar to the 
Sultan Mohammed Khan will not be a token of the 
British entertaining good wishes towards himself, — 
nay, it will hasten the ruin of his government in 
Kabul. He added, that his brother, Sultan Mo- 
hammed, though one of the family, and of one blood 
with himself, was a more fatal enemy to him even 
with a small force than the Sikhs with their large 
army. The Sikhs will lend his brother money, and, 
under his Mahomedan name, will send forth their 
intrigues to the very heart of his capital. 

s 2 


Now, also, the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan was 
informed of the progress of the Persian mission 
towards Afghanistan, bearing presents and letters in 
answer to those which he and his brothers the 
Qandhar chiefs had despatched to the king, and 
which affair the Amir had kept till this time un- 

It must here be said with propriety that when he 
had communicated his grievances to the British 
Government, he conveyed the same to the other 
western powers of Kussia and Persia, with the view 
of gaining his object by playing these three states 
against each other. 

Letter from the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan to His Majesty 
Mohammed Shah, King of Persia. 

(After Respects.) 

" Since in former days the chiefs of my 
family were sincerely attached to the exalted and royal 
house of your Majesty, I, too, deem myself one of the 
devoted adherents of that royal race ; and considering this 
country as belonging to the kingdom of Persia, I on a 
former occasion despatched Haji Ibrahim to your Majesty's 
presence with the object of explaining certain affairs con- 
nected with this nation. I crave permission to state, that 
the cause of my addressing in the present instance is the 


following: — Your Majesty is the king of * Islam,' yet 
throughout these territories disturbances and misery are 
caused by that detestable tribe, the Sikhs. 

" Although four hundred thousand families of the tribe 
of Afghans, and the neighbouring tribes, wear the collar 
of obedience in subjection to this sincere well-wisher, my 
inability for the employment and arrangement of this mul- 
titude limits my forces to twenty thousand excellent horse 
and ten thousand foot, and fifty gun?, which are ready at 
my capital, Kabul.* 

" I have been long engaged in war against one hundred 
thousand horse and foot of the wicked infidels, who have 
three hundred guns ; but, by the grace and assistance of 
God, I have not yet been subdued by this faithless enemy, 
and have been able to preserve the true faith ; but how long 
shall I be able to oppose this detestable tribe, and how long 
shall I be able to resist their aggressions?! Without 
doubt an account of the difficulties of my situation has 
reached your Majesty ; and your Majesty must have heard 
that, notwithstanding the inferiority of my power, I am per- 
petually engaged in war with the wicked Sikhs, without a 
moment's cessation. As the noblest of cities, Qandhar and 
the capital Kabul, and the countries bordering on Khora- 

* Exaggeration. For the proper number, see his military 
power in the preceding pages. 

•f This is sufficient to show that the Amir feared the aggres- 
sion of the Sikhs, but never considered that he had a right to 
seize upon Peshavar, and that it should be given to him, and not 
to his brother. Sultan Mohammed Khan, is not also known of this. 


san, as well as the province of Khorasan, and the country 
dependant on the above places, form part of the Persian 
territory, and are within the kingdom of the King of Kings^ 
the misery and welfare of those dominions cannot be sepa- 
rated from the interests of the Persian government. Even 
if my affairs should fall into disorder, and even if your Ma- 
jesty should not direct your attention to the condition of 
these countries, nevertheless I shall persist in contending 
with the Sikhs as long as I am able ; but should it prove 
that I be unable to resist that diabolical tribe, then I have 
no choice, and must connect myself with the English, who 
will thus obtain a complete authority over the whole of 
Afghanistan ; and it remains to be seen hereafter to what 
places, and what extent the flame of the violence of this nation 
may be carried. 

^' I considered it imperative on myself to represent these 
circumstances to the King of Islam. As for the rest, your 
Majesty will act as seems expedient to your royal under- 
standing. All other affairs will be narrated by Mohammed 
Husain Khan, who is a trusty person attached to your well- 

This letter will clearly show that the Amir, with- 
out having waited the answer of his former commu- 
nication, sent through Haji Ibrahim, despatched 
Mohammed Husain Khan with another letter in the 
mean time into Persia ; and from this proceeding the 
reader will perceive that the Amir Dost Mohammed 


Khan was not desirous to form any connexion with 
the British government, unless the Shah of Persia 
should relinquish his cause. He had also sent a 
letter to the Emperor of Russia by Husain Ali, 
stating that since Mahomed Shah, the centre of 
the faith, had closely connected himself with his Im- 
perial power, desiring the advantage of such alliance, 
that he also being a Mahomedan, was desirous to 
follow his example, and to attach himself to his Ma- 
jesty. In that letter the Amir gave an exaggerated 
account of his own military power and of his success- 
ful opposition to the Sikh army, whom he described 
as commanded by English and French officers. He 
added that if he was not assisted by the Emperor, 
the Sikhs, who are in alliance with the English go- 
vernment, will at last overpower him, and that their 
influence in Afghanistan will be a foundation for that 
of the British, who, under a commercial name, will 
become the superiors of this country, and will annihi- 
late the trade which is now so briskly conducted 
between Moscow, Bokhara, and Kabul. 

He then added, " that Husain Ali will fully explain 
to your Imperial Majesty the feelings of my respect 
and attachment to your august government, and the 


advantages which are likely to result to us all, Russia, 
Persia, and Afghanistan, from being heartily united, 
and considered to be but one body." This letter was 
recently shown to me by the son-in-law of Mirza 
Sami Khan, with the one which is already published 
in the Afghanistan correspondence. 

The chiefs of Qandhar, the brothers of the Amir 
of Kabul, had also deputed Taj Mohammed Khan to 
his Excellency Count Simonich, the Russian ambas- 
sador in Persia, and his credentials were expressive 
of similar sentiments of concord and attachment to 
the Russian government as the letter of Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, alluded to and given above. It is 
plain enough to observe that the Amir was raised to 
the supremacy which he enjoyed, by his bloody and 
treacherous but successfiil intrigues, and by the ad- 
herence to him of the Persian sect in Kabul. He 
was now, therefore, persuaded by his confidential 
counsellors, Mirza Sami Khan, Agha Husain, Mah- 
mud Khan Bayat, and Haji Mirza Khan of Nanchi, 
not to come to a definite alternative in his negotia- 
tions with Sir Alexander Burnes, but to wait the 
arrival of the answers from the Russian and Persian 

( 265 ) 


A Persian Envoy arrives at Qandhar — The Chiefs of that place 
make a treaty with him — Letter from the Shah of Persia to 
the Amir — Instructions of the Persian Envoy — Mr. Ellis's 
despatch to Lord Palmerston — Sir John Macneil at the Per- 
sian Court — The Shah marches against Hirat — Despatches of 
Sir John Macneil — Russian intrigues — Various letters to the 
Chiefs of Qandhar — Their treaty with the Shah, under the 
guarantee of Russia — Negotiations of Sir A. Burnes at Kabul 
— The Russian Envoy, Capt. Vikovich — Diplomatic etiquette 
in Asiatic courts — Letters relating to Capt. Vikovieh — His 
proceedings at Kabul — Progress of Russian influence there — 
The English mission retires — Various documents. 

The information which the Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan had previously received of the progress of the 
Persian ambassador was now confirmed by his arrival 
at Qandhar, which induced him to take open steps 
with regard to particulars which he had hitherto kept 
secret. He knew the weight and value of the 
influence of his old adherents, the Javanshers of 
Kabul, and was aware that the government of Persia, 
advised by Eussia, was marching against Afghanistan, 
or at least Hirat, the gate of India. Qambar Ali 


Khan, the ambassador of his Majesty Mohammed 
Shah of Persia, along with Mohammed Husain Khan, 
the agent of the Amir, had in the mean time arrived 
in Qandhar. The chiefs in this place detained the 
Persian envoy to enter into alliance with them ; and 
being jealous of the Amir of Kabul, and desirous to 
gain the conspicuous favour of the Shah of Persia 
and of the government of Persia for themselves alone, 
they prevented him from prosecuting his journey to 
Kabul until they themselves had concluded a treaty 
of alliance with him. 

" The Treaty which I, Qambar Ali Khan, here made 
with the respected Sardars, Kohandil, Rahamdil, and 
Mehardil Khan, on the part of His Majesty Mohammed 
Shah, is as follows : — 

" In case the Sardars should send one of their sons to 
His Majesty, I promise to the Sardars the following in 
return : 

"1. That the country of Hirat, whether it be taken by 
the power of the servants of the Persian Government, or by 
that of the Sardars, must be left to the latter ; and that 
the Shah should not expect anything from them in return 
but service, and likewise should make no interference of 
any kind with their country or tribe in Afghanistan. 

"2. His Majesty is not to form any connexion with the 
Afghans of any description, great or small, and also not to 


employ them in case of any business with the Afghans ; 
but in such case His Majesty is to have recourse to the 

" 3. His Majesty is never to make friendship with Shah 
Zadah Kam Ram and Yar Mohammed Khan. 

"4. On the arrival of the son of Sardar Kohandil 
Khan, His Majesty is to order the army at Meshid to 
march towards Hirat ; and if Kam Ram and ^ar Mo- 
hammed Khan resolve to take Qandhar, the Shah should 
prevent them by coming to Qandhar ; and if they do not 
agree to this, then the Shah should come to Hirat. 

" 5. The Shah is also to give the Sardars means to pay 
the expenses of twelve thousand cavalry and infantry, and 
twelve guns, and the extra expenditure of the troops in the 
capture of Hirat ; and, if the war lasts long, the Shah 
must furnish the expenses of the army. 

"6. In case any harm befal the country of the Sardars, 
the Shah is to give them, in his own country, land equal to 
the value of their loss. 

"7. The Treaty which I have now made with the 
Sardars, is to be approved of by His Majesty, and to bear 
the signature of Haji Mirza Aghasi, Mirza Masud (the 
Minister for Foreign Affairs), and also of the Ambassadors 
of Russia and of England, to secure confidence to the 

" Qambar All" 

When Mohammed Husain Khan, the envoy of 


the Amir of Kabul, who had returned from Persia 
with Qambar Ali Khan, discovered that the Sardars 
would not permit his companion to go to Dost 
Mohammed Khan, and had made an engagement 
with him, taking all the credit to themselves, and 
casting altogether the interests of his employer, the 
Amir, aside, he quitted Qandhar, and returned to 
Kabul. Dost Mohammed Khan, when informed 
of what had been done, secretly told him that he 
(Mohammed Husain) was not to pay any atten- 
tion to what he (the Amir) might speak slight- 
ingly of the result of his mission, of his own letter, 
and of the power of Mohammed Shah; for such 
things would be said by him in order to make the 
British envoy believe that he did not care for the 
alliance of Persia, but was desirous to connect him- 
self with the English, and this deceit was to be con- 
tinued until he received the reply to his letter from 
" Petarpur " (St. Petersburgh). In secret he wrote, 
at the desire of Mohammed Husain Khan, to the 
chiefs of Qandhar, desiring them to send Qambar 
Ali Khan to him in Kabul, and upbraiding them 
that they had made a treaty with him for their own 
advantage, without consulting him at all, or making 


him a partisan in it. Now the cunning Amir, ac- 
cording to his arrangement with his envoy, made as 
if he looked upon the result of his mission as a 
matter of trifling importance, and did not show him 
much respect. He deceitfully pretended, in the pre- 
sence of the British envoy, and of Mr. Masson the 
newswriter, to be dissatisfied with the terms of the 
letter (farman) which the King of Persia had sent 
him in answer to his letter (arizah), while privately 
he felt proud of the arrival of such an honourable 
token of His Majesty's favour on his behalf, and sent 
a copy of it to the King of Bokhara, with whom he 
was in correspondence on terms of equality. 

Letter from His Majesty Mohammed Shah, King of Persia, 
to the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan of Kabul. 

" His Excellency, the repository of honour and glory, the 
most Noble of Nobles, the opponent of infidels, the Amir 
Dost Mohammed Khan, Lord of Kabul, is honoured with 
our auspicious royal correspondence, and informed that the 
two letters addressed by His Excellency have been conveyed 
to our Royal presence by the hands of Haji Ibraham and 
Mohammed Husain Khan. The contents of each, display- 
ing the rectitude of the intentions of that receptacle of 


dignity, have been perused by us from the beginning to the 
end, and the objects and wishes of his Excellency have 
also been explained to us by the above messengers. All 
these circumstances being proofs of sincerity and purity of 
intention, they gave entire satisfaction to our Royal mind, 
and disposed us to feel confidence in his devotion. 

" With regard to your representation of your connexion 
with this never-ending government, and with regard to 
your observations that Kabul is to be considered as one of 
the countries dependant on the kingdom of Persia, and that 
you are incessantly engaged in war with the infidels, not- 
withstanding whose superior strength you had hitherto been 
able to oppose them, and to preserve those dominions from 
subjection, but that if you did not receive assistance from 
us, you will be obliged to seek aid elsewhere, in order that 
an end might be put to these disorders ; in truth these ob- 
servations are written with sincerity, and it is apparent to 
our kingly mind that your Excellency is a distinguished 
warrior of Islam, who fights with valour for the faith, most 
surely expecting to prosper, both on account of his depend- 
ence on this never-ending government, and for the protec- 
tion of Islam, and for the defence of our kingdom and re- 
ligion ; and from kingly generosity we deem it imperative 
on us to hold that refuge of dignity under the standard of 
our protection, and not to grudge or withhold from him 
assistance of any kind. Thus, before the arrival of the 
messengers of your Excellency, we had firmly resolved to 
march to Hirat, and to convey every description of aid to 


your Excellency. We commenced our march from our 
capital, Tehran, with this intention. After our arrival at 
Bootan, it was represented to the ministers of this haughty 
state, that the cholera was raging with violence throughout 
the cities of Khorasan. We, therefore, for the sake of 
change of air, and in expectation of the cessation of this 
malady, moved to a healthy situation, and halted some days 
in the plains of Kalpoosh. In the meantime, it was repre- 
sented to us, that Makhdum Quli, the Yamut (Turkman), 
having formed an alliance with Ala Quli Khan (chief of 
Khiva), had arrived at Karakala, which is situated near 
the Desert, with twenty thousand horse, the flower of the 
Usbeg and Turkman cavalry ; and having fortified him- 
self in that position, was waiting for the opportunity of 
the absence of our conquering army to produce disorder 
and tumult on the confines of our dominions. When this 
intelligence reached us we despatched our beloved brother, 
Feridun Mirza, with eight thousand regular infantry and 
four thousand cavalry, and twelve guns, to chastise these 
marauders. As soon as they became acquainted with the 
arrival of our troops, their courage failed them ; and, not 
daring to oppose our forces, they abandoned their provisions 
and stores, and fled into the deserts. Our brother followed 
in pursuit of this wicked tribe ; and near Qirchul, the 
cavalry, and some of the infantry, overtook and attacked 
them. From morning until night the fire of war was in a 
blaze, but the aflair terminated in the defeat of the Turk- 
mans. The greater part were killed, some were captured. 

272 THE shah's letter. 

and the remainder fled into the barren deserts, and escaped 
from our warriors. After chastising this tribe we halted 
some time at the river Gurgam to arrange the affairs of 
that frontier ; and then winter, and the season of snow and 
rain having arrived, it was impossible to continue the cam- 
paign. We despatched twenty thousand horse and foot, and 
forty guns, with ordnance and stores, to Khorasan, to be 
in readiness to march in the beginning of spring to Hirat ; 
and we have resolved to march, with the assistance of God, 
with the remainder of the army, towards Khorasan, after 
the festival Nauroz. As there has been some delay in 
the advance of the victorious army, we have despatched 
Qambar Ali Khan to your Excellency ; and have sent a 
diamond-hilted dagger to your Excellency, which is to be 
worn as the ornament of your faithful waist. We have 
commanded Qambar Ali Khan to detail the full extent oi 
our royal favour towards your Excellency, and your Ex- 
cellency will explain to Qambar Ali Khan your wishes and 
intentions, in order that they may be represented to us on 
his return." 

Written in the month of Shaval, 1252. 

Qambar Ali Khan, while detained and negotiating 
at Qandhar, was very brisk in his intrigues and cor- 
respondence with Mahmud Khan Bayat, and other 
Persians of influence, and in the confidence of the 
Amir. He had also employed secret emissaries to 


collect information of the resources of the country, 
and particularly about the provisions. He had also 
requested the rich merchants of the Persian tribe to 
secure supplies for the army of Mohammed Shah, 
who, by his statement, was to penetrate Afghanistan 
in company with the Russian ambassador, as soon as 
Hirat had tendered submission. He possessed the 
following instructions, bearing the seal and signature 
of Mohammed Shah, and of his prime minister Haji 
Mirza Aghasi, the copy of which he gave, with his 
own agreement, as a security to the various mer- 
chants. Among them was Mulla Nasu, a wealthy 
trader, in the confidence of the chief Kohandil Khan, 
who secretly gave the copy of it to my newswriter, 
Mohammed Tahar. 

Translation of a Copy of Instructions from the Persian 
Government to Qamhar Ali Khan^ envoy to Kabul. 

" When you pass beyond the boundary of Qayan, at 
each stage that you reach you will detail the following 
particulars in a book which you will present to His Majesty 
on your return, namely, the state of the towns and villages, 
and population, with an account of all circumstances that 
happen during your journey, an estimate of the population 



and the strength of the tribes at each place, as of the 
Sistanis, Biloches, Afghans, and Qazalbashes, and an ac- 
count of the revenue and expenditure of those countries, — 
their produce, their principal articles of cultivation, and 
from what course of cultivation the most profit is made, 
and an account of the taxes levied from the people, and the 
imports or commerce : finally, whether there is water on the 
road, and whether the latter is level or mountainous. In 
passing through Bilochistan you must raise great expecta- 
tions of the munificence and benevolence of His Majesty 
in the minds of the Khans of Belochistan and of Sistan. 
If these persons are favourably disposed towards Kam Ran, 
you should endeavour to persuade them to attach themselves 
to the service of this government, and try to inspire them 
with perfect confidence. You should, in particular, extol 
the generosity of His Majesty to Ali Khan, and declare to 
him that tidings of his services had reached His Majesty. 
All these Khans should assemble and prepare their troops, 
&c., at the time of the arrival of the fortunate camp, for 
they are to join the Royal Stirrup. At Qandhar he will 
deliver the firman and robes of honour to Kohandil Khan, 
and to his brothers, and excite his hopes of the generosity 
of His Majesty. He will attach himself strongly to Ko- 
handil Khan, and he will inquire from him why, after the 
arrival of that letter (some former one), he did not send his 
brother and his son. Kohandil Khan must endeavour to 
send one of his brothers in advance to this court, while he 
himself will remain in his present situation, and await the 


arrival of the Royal army. He will get his troops in 
readiness, and prepare as much cavalry as is practicable, 
for, please God, the campaign of Hirat will be entrusted 
to him. Qambar Ali Khan will declare to Kohandil Khan 
that if he has incurred any losses in the service of this 
government, reparation shall be made for them, and he 
shall experience His Majesty's generosity. Qambar Ali 
Khan will form an acquaintance with all the persons ia 
authority, and with the Afghan and Qazalbash Khans, as 
well as with the Qazalbashes in general ; and his object 
will be to excite their hopes of His Majesty's generosity. 
If they feel apprehensions, on account of the religious 
differences of Shias and Sunnis, he will endeavour to dispel 
their apprehensions, and will give them assurances that tlie 
justice and benevolence of His Majesty will not permit any 
distinction whatever to be made between them, and thus 
he will endeavour to render all persons desirous of serving 
this government. When he has finished his affairs in Qand- 
har he will proceed to Kabul, and deliver a dagger as a 
mark of His Majesty's favour to Dost Mohammed Khan, 
and he will convey the auspicious robes of honour to Navab 
Jabbar Khan. He will use the utmost endeavours to in- 
spire them with earnest confidence in the sincerity of His 
Majesty's favour for them ; and he will give them the strongest 
assurances that, after the arrival of the Royal army in those 
countries, favours of every description shall be unsparingly 
lavished upon them. Publicly he will declare that the 
object of his mission is to convey an answer to the petition 



of Dost Mohammed Khan, and to deliver the auspicious 
robes of honour, but in private he will expatiate on the 
connexion of Dost Mohammed Khan with this country, and 
he will declare that, please God, Dost Mohammed Khan 
shall enjoy the royal favour to such an extent that those 
countries shall be placed completely in his possession, and 
he shall have entire control over them. Qambar Ali Khan 
will declare to Dost Mohammed Khan, that if he will 
avow his intimacy with this government, and will send one 
of his brothers or his sons to this court, it will prove of the 
highest advantage to him. In fine, his hopes of assistance 
from this country are to be excited, and he is to be per- 
suaded that his only hope of safety is from this government. 
He is to be urged to prepare his troops, and he is to expect 
the arrival of His Majesty in spring. If the Amir is 
desirous of obtaining from Qambar Ali Khan a document 
declaring his connexion with this country, and prohibiting 
the Sikhs from molesting him, he is permitted to grant it." 

While the Persian and the Afghan envoys were 
entering into alliance, and exchanging treaties for 
their respective governments, the Shah . and his 
minister were not indifferent about other affairs, but 
busied themselves also in giving proof to the British 
ambassador that the court of Tehran was not only 
resolved to subdue Hirat, but that the reduction 
of the whole kingdom of Afghanistan into subjection 


was talked of and intended. The Right Honourable 
Mr. Ellis, who was sent from England to congratulate 
the Shah on his ascending the throne of Persia, writes 
to Lord Palmerston in the following manner : — 

** I thought it desirable to bring again formally before 
Haji Mirza Aghasi, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, 
the views of His Majesty's Government in respect of the 
foreign policy best suited to the actual condition of Persia ; 
but they both protested against considering the Afghans as 
a government or consolidated state, with whom relations of 
peace or of equality were to be maintained. They declared 
that a large portion of Afghanistan belonged to the Shah 
of Persia, and that he was at liberty to decide for himself 
how he would deal with the Afghans, as being his subjects. 

" I inquired how far they considered the dominion of 
Persia to extend, and their reply was, to Ghazni. 

" I feel quite assured that the British Government 
cannot permit the extension of the Persian monarchy in the 
direction of Afghanistan, with a due regard to the internal 
tranquillity of India, for that extension will at once bring 
Russian influence to the very threshold of our empire. 

" The success of the Shah in this undertaking is anxi- 
ously wished for by Russia, and her Minister here does 
not fail to press it on to early execution. The motive 
cannot be mistaken. Hirat, once annexed to Persia, may 
become, according to the commercial treaty, the residence 
of a Russian consular agent, who would from thence push 


its researches and communications, avowed and secret, 
throughout Afghanistan. Indeed, in the present state of 
the relations between Persia and Russia, it cannot be 
denied that the progress of the former in Afghanistan is 
tantamount to the advance of the latter, and ought to 
receive every opposition from the British Government that 
the obligations of public faith will permit. 

" Aziz Khan (the Qandhar Envoy) held the same lan- 
guage to me as he had undoubtedly done to the Shah and 
his Ministers, namely, that the whole of Afghanistan was, 
with the exception of Hirat and its dependencies, ready to 
come under feudal submission to the State, who, in a fort- 
night, with the aid of the Afghans, like Nadir Shah, could 
push his conquests to Delhi. 

"That the Russian Minister had had a long audience 
with the Shah on the preceding day, when the subject of 
discussion was the expedition against Hirat, in which the 
Russian Minister had recommended perseverance this year, 
on the ground that what now could be effected with ten 
thousand men, might not next year be practicable with a 
much larger force. 

" It appears from the correspondence that Dost Moham- 
med Khan, on the 17th of September, despatched an agent, 
Haji Ibrahim, with letters to the Shah of Persia, placing 
himself, his country and its resources, at the disposal of the 
Shah, offering to co-operate in an attack upon Hirat, and 
seeking generally the protection of the Shah against the 



On the departure of the Right Honourable H. 
Ellis, Sir John Macneil was appointed by the 
Government of England the envoy extraordinary 
and minister plenipotentiary at the court of Persia. 
His long residence in that country and acquaintance 
with the feelings and politics of its people, promised 
fair that the intrigues of Persia, guided as they were 
by the Russian ambassador, will not be permitted to 
pass without detection; for as the latter continued 
still unchanged in his designs towards Afghanistan, 
Sir John Macneil, in his various despatches to Lord 
Palmerston, gives a full detail of the united policy 
of the Persian and Russian states. The British 
minister did all he could to dissuade the Shah from 
undertaking the hazardous expedition against Hirat, 
and reminded his Majesty that such proceedings will 
be contrary to the expectation of her Majesty's Go- 
vernment, and will, in fact, be injurious to the 
interests of British India. Nevertheless the cam- 
paign was formed, and the Shah marched against 
Hirat. The messenger of her Majesty's embassy in 
Persia, bearing letters from Major Pottinger, was 
seized, maltreated, and deprived of his letters and 



property. The Russian minister was in the mean- 
time urging the Shah to prosecute his journey 
towards Hirat, and promised, on the part of his 
government, that if Persia takes possession of Hirat, 
she shall be released from the balance of the debt 
due to the cabinet of St. Petersburgh. Colonel 
Stoddart, accompanying the camp of the Shah, took 
always an opportunity to beg his Majesty to come to 
amicable terms with Hirat ; but such remonstrances 
were of no avail. Ghuryan was taken, and Hirat 
besieged. Such disregard to the advice of the 
British representative was productive of serious 
injuries and insults to the agents of that government 
in all parts of Persia ; and the inhabitants of the 
Residency at Bushir were threatened to be mas- 
sacred by the populace. At length Sir John Macneil 
determined to proceed to the camp, and try to 
persuade Mohammed Shah fervently to accept the 
terms of the defenders of Hirat, and induce him to 
withdraw his army from the siege of that place. 
His Excellency Count Simonich, the Russian am- 
bassador, wrote to the foreign minister of his Ma- 
jesty to prevent Sir John Macneil from joining the 


camp; and Mirza Masud really directed a com- 
munication to him on the subject, and desired him 
at least to postpone his departure till the instruc- 
tions of the Shah were received; nevertheless he 
sent no answer, but set out to his quarters. On 
arriving at Ghuryan he received an official letter 
from the deputy foreign minister, conveying the 
orders of the Shah not to proceed beyond that place. 
Yet he joined the camp, and induced the Shah to 
allow him to mediate, and to adjust the differences. 
Then treaties were framed ; at one time agreed to, 
and at another time reftised through the advice of 
Count Simonich. In the meantime the British 
ambassador was not respected nor treated with the 
usual cordiality, and was thus compelled to leave the 
court and camp of the King of Persia. 

Extracts from the Despatches of Sir John Macneil, Envoi/ 
Extraordinary/ and Minister Plenipotentiary/ at the Court 
of Persia. 

" Yet in this state of things, the Russian minister, as late 
as the 23rd iilt., still continued to urge the Shah to under- 


take a winter campaign against Hirat, an enterprise which, 
even were the army in the best condition as to feeling and 
preparation, would be extremely hazardous. 

" Agreeably to intelligence communicated to me by Co- 
lonel Stoddart, it appears, that when one of my couriers was 
returning from Hirat to the capital, some horsemen were 
despatched from the royal camp in pursuit of him, who pre- 
vented him from continuing his journey, and brought him 
to the camp, where he was treated with great violence and 
indignity. Subsequently, when Colonel Stoddart had waited 
on His Excellency the Hajee, and explained to him that the 
above person was in my service, and when the Persian 
government was apprised that he was attached to my esta- 
blishment, even then an order was issued for placing him in 
guard, and he received extreme ill-treatment from Hajee 
Khan Karabreghee, who used every description of threat 
towards him. 

" It is reported and believed at Tehran, that the Russian 
minister has announced the intention of his government, if 
the Shah should succeed in taking Hirat, to release Persia 
from the engagement to pay the balance of the debt due by 
her to Russia ; and the reason assigned for this act of grace 
is, that the Emperor desires to contribute that amount to- 
wards defraying the expenses of the campaign. 

" I have the honour to enclose a copy of a communication 
I received a few days ago from the officiating resident at 
Bushire, by which your Lordship will perceive that a threat 


of exciting the populace to commit violence, with an allusion 
to the massacre of the Russian mission, has been held out by 
the government of Bushire. 

" The most obvious impediment to the interference of 
Great Britain in the quarrel between Persia and Hirat is 
the stipulation contained in the ninth article of the treaty of 
Tehran ; but it can hardly be argued that this article binds 
us to permit the unjust and wanton destruction by Persia of 
the most valuable defences of India, while the Shah appears 
to be acting in concert with, and promoting the influence in 
those countries of, that very power whose exclusion from 
them has become the chief object of the alliance with His 
Persian Majesty. 

" And as I find that the government of India entertains 
the opinion that the preservation of the integrity of Hirat is 
of vital importance, I have determined to proceed to the 
Shah's camp, and to endeavour, by every means in my 
power, to induce His Majesty to conclude a treaty with 
Shah Kam Ran, and to raise the siege of Hirat. 

" Count Simonich has contented himself with despatching 
a messenger, and with inducing Mirza Masud to address 
me a letter, remonstrating against my going to the camp, on 
the pretext that, from the opinion entertained by people 
generally of the views on which I act, my presence in the 
camp will tend to strengthen the Afghans, which will be 
injurious to the Persian government. 

" ' According to what you yesterday mentioned verbally in 


the apartment of His Excellency the Beglarbegi, it would 
appear that you intend speedily to proceed to the camp of 
His Majesty, &c., &c., the Shah ; and as, in consequence of 
certain circumstances which have occurred, and of certain 
others which friends and enemies have conjectured and 
imagined to be connected with these, your Excellency's 
presence during the siege of Hirat will certainly and un- 
doubtedly produce greater confidence and resistance on the 
part of the besieged, and this is obviously injurious to the 
interests of this proud and ever-enduring empire, and the 
British government certainly cannot desire to cause an 
injury to this state ; therefore I request your Excellency, if 
possible, to abandon this journey, or to postpone it for a 
time, till instructions on this subject can be received from 
His Majesty the Shah.' 

" At Ghuryan I received a letter from the Deputy Mi- 
nister of Foreign Affairs, conveying to me the Shah's desire 
that I would not advance beyond that place, as my presence 
could not fail to encourage the Hiratis in their resistance. 
I replied, that my duty to my own government, and even 
to the Shah, precluded the possibility of my complying with 
His Majesty's requests, which I greatly regretted, as it was 
at all times my anxious desire to comply with the wishes of 
the Shah. Next day I came in one march to the camp. 
All the attentions usually paid on such an occasion were 
omitted ; and I have reason to believe that all my acquaint- 
ances in camp were either directly forbidden to visit me, or 


received hints to the same effect which could not be mis- 
understood ; yet I took no notice of these slights. 

" On the morning of the 20th, before I had yet left the 
town, I heard of the arrival of Count Simonich in the 
camp, and I ceased to hope that the adjustment of the dif- 
ferences between Persia and Hirat was on the point of being 
effected. On my return to the ~ camp, I found the Shah's 
views had undergone an important change : his manner was 
more abrupt and peremptory ; and he at once rejected the 
proposed agreement. 

" In about an hour the firing recommenced ; and from 
that time the siege was prosecuted with renewed activity ; 
for Count Simonich gave his advice as to the best manner 
of conducting it, and employed an ojficer of the Etat-Major, 
belonging to his suite, to construct batteries, and to carry 
on other offensive operations against the town. The Shah 
became elated with success. The Russian minister furnished 
a sum of money to be given to the Persian soldiers ; and 
his countenance, support, and advice confirmed the Shah in 
his resolution to grant no conditions to the Afghans of 

" I have had the honour to report to your Lordship that 
more than one attempt at negotiation had failed. 

" I need not repeat to your Lordship my opinion as to 
the effect which such a state of things would necessarily have 
on the internal tranquillity and security of British India ; 
and I cannot conceive that any treaty can bind us to permit 


the prosecution of schemes which threaten the stability of 
the British empire in the East. The evidence of concert 
between Persia and Russia, for purposes injurious to British 
interests, is unequivocal, and the magnitude of the evil with 
which we are threatened is, in my estimation, immense, and 
such as no power in alliance with Great Britain can have a 
right to aid in producing." 

Now I must come back to the proceedings of 
Qambar Ali Khan, the Persian envoy, in connexion 
with the chiefs at Qandhar. A treaty of an offensive 
and defensive nature was formed between them, and 
the chiefs despatched their agent with him to wait 
upon his Majesty the King of Persia in his camp at 
Hirat. The credentials were submitted to the Shah 
with the treaty, and the letters of the chiefs delivered 
to M. Goutte, the Russian assistant ambassador, and 
General Bronski, with the camp of Mohammed 
Shah. The latter officer, although Polish, and in 
the service of Persia, was intimately connected with 
the Russian embassy in this country, and was in- 
triguing with the Afghans, in order to promote the 
interests of the cabinet of St. Petersburgh. M. Goutte 
promised the approbation and protection of Count 


Simonich, and which was finally despatched to the 
chiefs. After perusing such documents, which con- 
tain the avowal of the Russian agent, and seeing 
that the Russian ambassador becomes a guarantee 
in arrangements concluded between Persia and 
Qandhar, there remains no place for any doubt 
concerning the aim and the intentions of the Russian 
Government. The treaty to which he becomes a 
party or guarantee must of course be thought to be 
good for himself On consulting these matters deli- 
berately, the Shah and the Russian functionaries 
addressed letters to the chiefs, approving of the 
treaty they had sent by their agents with Qambar 
Ali Khan. 

Mohammed Shah to Sardar Kohandil Khan, Chief of 

(After compliments.) 

" Alahdad Khan has arrived in my 
camp, and made known your requests, and the favour of 
the king towards you has increased. Whoever shall in 
confidence come to me shall meet with nothing but kind- 
ness, and shall gain his ends, and if you are still firm and 
true to your word, you may consider the favour of the king 


firm to you too. Always write the state of your wishes 
and hopes to me, and consider that you will gain all your 

M. Goutte, the Russian Agent with the Shah, to Kohandil 


(After compliments.) 

" Alahdad Khan and Mir Mohammed 
Khan have delivered your letter to me, and I was much 
delighted at its contents. You wrote to tell me you had 
determined on becoming subservient to Mohammed Shah, 
and had sought his protection. You may depend upon my 
fulfilling the engagements I have entered into with you, 
and consider it to be advantageous to yourself to perform 
any service to the government. I cannot express, in 
writing, my friendship for you, and care for your welfare. 
Regarding your making Russia the guarantee in this con- 
nexion, your wishes will meet the Russian ambassador, to 
whom I have forwarded your letter, and with it I have 
written my own opinions on the subject. I have cultivated 
your friendship at the suggestion of Haji Aghasi. It 
is better to despatch Omar Khan without apprehension, 
and I will write to the Persian government, to remove all 
apprehensions at your sending your son. He will be 
treated with great distinction by the Shah and his nobles. 
When you have despatched your son, the treaty, drawn up 
by Qambar Ali, will be entered into by the means of Hajee 


Aghasi, and I, as your friend, tell you to be under no 
apprehension at sending your son. After he arrives, every- 
thing you wish will be done through Haji Aghasi ; send 
your son quickly, and trust him to God. When I receive 
an answer from the Russian minister (Siraonich), I will 
forward it." 

Major- General Bronski to Kohandil Khan. 

(After compliments.) 

" Abdul Wahad Beg and Alahdad 
Khan have arrived with Qambar Ali Khan, and have ex- 
tolled to me your acts and nature. Consider the subjects 
on which Captain Vikovich conversed with you, connected 
with your welfare ; besides these, I have other subjects to 
speak on. You have done well in seeking the protection of 
Persia ; this Alahdad informed me you had done, and I am 
much pleased with your messages. Alahdad Khan has re- 
quested me to write to you ; he has himself witnessed my 
influence here, and has been himself favourably received by 
the Shah, and asked to know in what favour the Sardars of 
Qandhar were with him (the Shah). Nothing but good 
will result from this your connexion with the Shah ; so 
much good, indeed, that I cannot put it to paper. Be 
convinced that your serving the Shah will turn out every 
way to your advantage. The Shah treats every one ac- 
cording to his deserts, and your deserts are above all 
others. By all means send Mohammed Omar Khan 
speedily ; he will be treated with nothing but kindness, 



and on this subject the assistant to the Russian minister, 
M. Goutte, has written, as also Haji Aghasi, who has 
written to confirm what Qambar Ali had done (at Qand- 
har). By the fortune of the Shah, Maimana, the Hazarahs, 
and Char Adinak (Annak) have been subdued as com- 
pletely as could have been wished ; and as the Asif of 
Mashed had written, no doubt the son of Mizrab Khan 
Wall, and the brother of Sher Mohammed Khan, and 
Gurdzanum Khan and others will come over to the Shah 
(as hostages). Persia is not what it was ; I wish your 
connexion with Persia were speedily accomplished. Mo- 
hammed Shah has hitherto avoided taking Hirat out of 
kindness to its Mahomedans : but, by the blessing of God 
and the fortune of the king, Hirat will be taken ; every- 
thing will be for the best. It will be all the better the 
speedier you despatch Mohammed Osmar Khan." 

Copy of the Draft of a Treaty sealed by Kohandil Khan, or 
the proposed Terms of a Treaty between His Majesty Mo- 
hammed Shah and Kohandil Khan, the Sardar of Qand- 
har, under the sealed guarantee of His Excellency Count 
Simonich, the Russian Ambassador. 

"I, as Minister Plenipotentiary of the Russian govern- 
ment at the Court of Persia, guarantee the fulfilment of 
the following conditions of treaty between His Majesty 
Mohammed Shah, and the Sardar of Qandhar. 

" I. The principality of Hirat to be bestowed by the Shah 


on the rulers of Qandhar, as a reward for their faithful services 
performed to him since his accession to the throne of Persia. 

" II. The territories and tribes at present subject to the 
Sardars of Qandhar to be preserved to them free of violence, 
injury, or confiscation. 

" III. The Persian government in no way to amalgamate 
with their own subjects any of the Afghan tribes, great or 
small, nor to employ them upon service unconnected with 
their own affairs, and all business relative to the Afghan 
states to be submitted by the Persian government to the 
rulers of Qandhar. 

" IV. The Prince Kam Ran and his minister Yar Moham- 
med Khan to be excluded from all participation in the 
councils of Persia. 

" V. Should any hostile movement be made against Qand- 
har by Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, the English, or the Amir of 
Kabul, aid to be afforded by the Shah to the Sardars. 

" VI. In the event of the sons or brothers of Kohandil 
Khan coming with an auxiliary force to the royal camp, no 
violence or injury to be in any way offered to the persons 
or property of them or their followers, and none of them to 
be detained as hostages, with the exception of a single son 
of Kohandil Khan, who will always remain in the service of 
the Shah. 

" VII. Acontingent of twelve thousand horse and twelve 
guns to be supplied by the Qandharis to garrison Hirat, 
receiving pay and rations from them, and to assist the Shah 
on occasion of service. 

u 2 


" VIII. On the arrival of the treaty duly ratified at 
Qandhar, Mohammed Omar Khan to be immediately de- 
spatched to the royal presence. 

" IX. After the presentation of this prince, the necessary 
money for the outfit of the horse and artillery to be made 
over by the Persian government to the Sardars of Qandhar ; 
Sardar Mehardil Khan to be then sent with a thousand horse 
to the royal camp. This prince being presented, and mutual 
confidence being established between the Shah and the Sar- 
dars, no other demand to be made upon the Qandharis 
by the Persian government than that of military service. 

"Should Mohammed Shah fail to fulfil any of these 
several conditions, or depart in any way from the stipula- 
tions, I, as Minister Plenipotentiary of the Russian govern- 
ment, becoming myself responsible, will oblige him, in 
whatever way may be necessary, to act fully up to the 
terms and conditions of the treaty." 

I have brought the lengthened arrangements of 
the Qandhar chiefs with the Persian and the Rus- 
sian governments to a plain conclusion ; and it would 
be desirable now to turn our attention to the affairs 
of Kabul, and the negotiations of Sir Alexander 
Burnes with the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. 
Agreeably to mutual understanding, as has already- 
been stated, he pretended to be angry with the style 


of the letter of the Shah, and did not come to a 
final settlement with the English envoy, waiting 
the arrival of the Persian army in Hirat, and an 
answer from the Emperor of Eussia to his letter. 
He was always in possession of the daily progress of 
the Russian minister; and through the Hazarah 
country received secret communications concerning 
the movements of the Russian agent towards his 
capital. He kept this under very strict secrecy ; and 
if any talk was made of the power of Persia, and the 
influence of Russia, by any one in his court, while he 
knew that there was a person to inform us of it, he 
simply treated such ideas with contempt and laughter, 
calling the Russians and Persians " Lotis," or buffoons. 
In short, he always tried to keep off* despair from 
Sir Alexander Burnes by his pleasing manners and 
eloquence, and thought that his craft was not known 
to him. This was, however, not the case, for the 
British envoy knew his meaning, and told and wrote 
to him several times to come to an immediate un- 
derstanding ; but he put off from day to day, writing 
letters to the chiefs of Qandhar and Qunduz, making 
mention of his feigned intention to establish friend- 
ship with the British. 


At length the expected news came of the arrival 
of Captain Vikovich, the Russian agent, in Ghazni, 
on his way to the court of the Amir Dost Moham- 
med Khan. Hereupon the Amir, and his minister 
Mirza Sami Khan, planned privately, and it was 
soon conveyed by his " peshkhidmat " to Sir Alex- 
ander Burnes secretly, that Dost Mohammed Khan 
was to call upon the British envoy, and reporting 
the progress of the Russian agent towards Kabul, 
offer to act as guided by him (Burnes). If the 
latter did not approve of his coming to the city, then 
the Amir was to secure for himself a document from 
Sir Alexander Burnes, binding his government to 
pay him money, and aid him with forces on the plea 
of giving an insult to the cabinet of St. Petersburgh ; 
and after having that paper he was at liberty to 
receive Captain Yikovich, and attach himself to 
Russia or to the English, whichever offered him the 
highest proposals. However, the Amir called upon 
Sir Alexander Burnes, who, hearing his sayings, 
and knowing previously the meaning of his conver- 
sation and of his visit, said that the Amir would 
commit no wrong in receiving Captain Vikovich, 
and, on the contrary, will make known his own 


hospitality and good sense in distant regions. Here 
the Amir was disappointed at the failure of his 
scheme ; yet still persevering in his design, he tried 
to induce Sir Alexander Burnes to commit himself 
in some other way. In our presence he spoke to his 
minister in a manner that showed as if he felt no 
interest in the mission of St. Petersburgh, and that 
he therefore thought it was better to place him in 
the house where the other Persian lier (Mohammed 
Husain) was living, and again feigned to ask the 
opinion of Sir Alexander Burnes on the subject. 
He still adhered to his former sentiments, and re- 
plied that the Amir was ruler of Kabul, and knew 
best to treat and receive agents and guests in his 
own house. Finding that Sir Alexander Burnes 
was not a man to become the subject of his fraudulent 
proposals, he adopted at last what he had always 
meant. He was aware that his brother Navab 
Jabbar Khan, and also other relations, and certain 
chiefs, were in favour of the English mission, and 
might make intrigues with Captain Vikovich also. 
He therefore found no better place and charge for 
the Russian agent than that of his confidential 
minister Mirza Sami Khan. He knew that the 


people whom he suspects will be known there, and 
wiir thus fear to visit him in his house ; and that 
this will keep his communication with the Russian 
envoy entirely secret. He was accordingly treated 
with great respect and civility, and was allowed to 
go and meet the Amir clandestinely in the private 
apartments of the minister. As he had not his own 
equipage, the son of the Mirza always accompanied 
him to sights and to the places of chief note, which 
attention was similarly shown to Sir Alexander 
Burnes for three days after his arrival in the Bala 
Hisar. This was the kind of honour paid to the 
envoy of the Emperor, which the British news- 
writer, Mr. Masson, mentions in his book, saying 
that he was under surveillance. 

Captain Yikovich delivered his credentials, which 
consisted of a letter from the Emperor of Bussia, 
and another from His Excellency Count Simonich, 
the Russian ambassador. These were wjitten in 
the Persian and in the Russian languages. The 
Amir had no bounds to his joy and pride inwardly, 
but outwardly he feigned to show the English envoy 
and news-writer that he never knew till that very 
moment that he had even written a letter to St 


Petersburgh. He denied the transmission and the 
proceedings of Husain Ali, and of Mirza Sami Khan ; 
and the latter took the credit upon himself (as Mr. 
Masson says) of gaining another ally for the Amir. 
All this ignorance of the Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan, and the writing of the letter by the Mirza 
without his knowledge, was nothing but a fabricated 
invention of them both to mislead the English 
functionaries. By adopting this cunning line of 
policy he created a difference of opinion among a 
number of the persons who formed the mission of 
Sir Alexander Burnes, and at the same time he 
resolved to show them that he is an object so va- 
luable and dearly sought by the united great powers 
of Kussia and Persia, that the Emperor and his 
ambassador had addressed to him such flattering 
epistles while he never thought of seeking their 

The Russian part of the Emperor's letter was 
copied by Major Leech, and the Persian was trans- 
lated by me, which translation was unfortunately 
plundered from me at the time of the insurrection 
of Kabul, and could not be recovered afterwards, 
although I procured and purchased some of the 


papers in Kabul. Mr. Masson says it bore no sig 
nature, and was wri-tten directly by the Emperor 
himself; which affirmation, according to him, raises 
some doubts of its authenticity. On the contrary, 
according to Asiatic usage, these are the very rea- 
sons for confiding in the veracity of the letter. In 
all countries of despotic government, as Afghanistan, 
Turkistan, and Persia, and their neighbour the Rus- 
sians, letters are forwarded under the seal and not 
under the signature. There were several letters of 
the Emperor of Russia shown to us by the late 
minister, Qoshbegi, to the address of the King of 
Bokhara, written direct from his Majesty, never 
from his secretary. The letters addressed by the 
minister do not stand so high in the estimation of 
the Asiatic monarchs as those written from the 
sovereign himself. It is considered a most strong 
feeling of regard and friendship, and confidence on 
the part of the writer. The cabinet of St. Peters- 
burgh being aware of such a prevailing custom, and 
desire of its neighbours the Ozbegs and Persians, 
generally writes to them under the seal and name of 
the Emperor: and so in the same way was the 
letter written to the Amir of Kabul. 


It is worthy of making such a remark in this 
place, and further to prove this, to the end that it 
may be clearly known how much the Asiatic monarchs 
are offended in being addressed by the minister or 
secretary, and not from the Sovereign himself. On 
the restoration of Shah Shuja to the throne of his 
predecessors, and the detention of Colonel Stoddart, 
the British Government was, on several occasions, 
obliged to begin communication with the King of 
Bokhara. More than fifty letters from Sir William 
Macnaughten, the British representative, and several 
others from the Earls of Auckland and of Ellen- 
borough, were sent by special and highly paid mes- 
sengers to the Amir of Bokhara ; but he was always 
displeased at their arrival, and never returned an 
answer to any of them, and dismissed the bearers 
without any reply. He always told them, and also 
Colonel Stoddart, that he was an independent king, 
and should like to correspond with the British 
Sovereign directly, and not with the British repre- 
sentatives at Kabul, and the Governors-General of 
India, — (farman farma), whom he called the ser- 
vants of the state. In the same manner it was felt 
by the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. He con- 


sidered the letter of the Emperor of so much more 
value and importance than that of Count Simonich, 
that the letter of the ambassador did not even stand 
in the first rank. 

The contents of the letter from the Emperor of 
Russia to the Amir of Kabul, as far as I remember, 
firom the translation I made of it at the time, to be 
sent to the government of India, were not of any 
political nature. It plainly acknowledged the receipt 
of the Amir's letter, and assured him that all the 
Afghan merchants shall be well received in the 
empire of Russia, justice and protection shall be ex- 
tended towards them, and their intercourse will cause 
to flourish the respective states. 

I have heard many people in their talking, say, 
that if the letter of the Emperor touched upon no 
other points but those of trade, there was no necessity 
for taking such alarm at its appearance in Kabul, 
and that it was exaggerated in importance,, as it ap- 
peared to be felt by the Indian government. Though 
I do not boast of being well versed in the histories of 
India written by talented English authors, but from 
what I have learned from them I come to the con- 
clusion that the disguised word or appellation for 


politics is commerce, and that commerce is the only 
thing which expands the views and policy of terri- 
torial aggrandisement. To my great surprise I read 
from the book of Mr. Masson the doubts he enter- 
tained of the true character of the mission of Captain 
Vikovich. These doubts must have arisen from some 
extraordinary sources of information, or else from 
the ambitious motive of making himself conspicuous 
in differing from the opinions of those who had more 
apparent, wise, and just means to consider that agent 
a true representative of the court of St. Petersburgh. 
Count Nesselrode is the best authority on such a sub- 
ject, and he has plainly acknowledged this mission to 
Kabul, and the following letters will further show 
that he was not an adventurer, but an accredited 
envoy from Russia. 

Mohammed Shah of Persia to the Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan of Kabul. 

(After compliments.) 

" Agreeably to my affection and 
kindly feelings towards you, I wish to bestow great favours 
on you, and anxiously wait to hear from you. 

" In these days the respectable Captain Vikovich, hav- 
ing been appointed by my esteemed brother the Emperor of 


Russia, to attend your Court, paid his respects on his way, 
stating that he had been honoured by his Imperial Majesty 
to deliver some messages to you : on this I felt it incumbent 
on me to remember you by the despatch of this Raqam, to 
convince you that your best interests are deeply engraven 
in my mind. 

" Concerning the favours of my brother Majesty attached 
to you, let me hear occasionally from you ; and by render- 
ing good services to him you will obtain the protection of 
this Royal house." 

His Excellency Count Simonich, the Russian Ambassador at 
Tehran, to Amir Dost Mohammed Khan of Kabul. 

'^ The respectable P. Vikovich will wait upon you with 
this letter. 

"Your agent Haji Husain Ali has been attacked. by 
a severe illness, and therefore he stopped at Moscow: 
when the intelligence of his bad health was conveyed to the 
Emperor, a good physician was ordered to attend, and 
endeavour to cure him as soon as possible. On his recover- 
ing I will not fail to facilitate him in his long journey back 
to Kabul. 

" Knowing your anxiety to hear from this quarter I have 
hastened to despatch the bearer to you. He was ordered 
to accompany your agent to Kabul, and I hope on his 
arrival at your court that you will treat him with considera- 
tion, and trust him your secrets. I beg you- will look upon 


him like myself, and take his words as if they were from 
me. In case of his detention at Kabul you will allow him 
often to be in your presence, and let my master know, 
through me, about your wishes, that anxiety may be re- 

" Though the great distance has often prevented the 
regularity of my correspondence with you, I am always very 
happy to respect and serve your fiiends, in order to show 
my friendly opinions towards yourself. 

" The cause of our often hearing fi-om each other merely 
depends upon friendship and acquaintance. 

" I have some Russian rarities to forward to you : as the 
bearer (P. Vikovich) is lightly equipped, it was beyond 
his power to take them along with him ; but I will take the 
first opportunity to convey them safely to you, and now 
have the pleasure to send you the under-mentioned list of 

First Kind of Samur. 


Gilt and silvered cloth 

Cloth with do. flowered . . . . . 

Ditto with gilt do 

Ditto with green gilt flowers 

Zari Abi, with gilt do 

Ditto qirmiz of gold 

Ditto do. of silver 

Parcha hazir, red and white 

Ditto painted 


_^ Piece. 

Parcha hazir, white with gold flower . . ; 1 

Alachah with do. ... 1 

Ditto yellow with silver do. ... 1 

Ditto red and green 1 

Ditto light blue . 1 

Ditto with red flower 1 

Ditto green .......... 1 

Ditto banassh 1 

Ditto red and light blue 1 

Before we proceed to notice the negotiations of 
Captain Yikovigh in Kabul, it will be desirable to 
describe here briefly his conference with the chiefs of 
Qandhar. He told them that the King of Persia 
does not pay any attention to the advice of the 
British ambassador, but has attached himself to the 
Russians, who avowedly and secretly will lend him 
every aid to promote his object. Major Leech also 
reports thus : — 

" Regarding the Russian officer, now in Kabul, with a 
letter from the Emperor, Mehardil Khan informed me that 
the following were his messages to them from the Emperor : 
that if they would make friends with the Amir Dost 
Mohammed Khan, the Russians would assist them with 
money to make war upon the Sikhs, and to regain Multan 
and Derajat ; and that they would also aid them in regain- 


ing Scinde ; that Mohammed Shah owed them one and a 
half crores of rupees, and they would give an order on 
him for that sum, the money to be divided between the 
Amir and them equally, as also the countries thus gained ; 
that the Russians could not furnish men, but would furnish 
arms ; that they in turn expected the Sardars to become 
subservient (far man bardar), and to receive a Russian 
resident; that they were to make war when desired, and 
make peace equally at the Emperor's will. This officer 
told them that the English had preceded the Russians in 
civilization for some generations ; but that now the latter 
had arisen from their sleep, and were seeking for foreign 
possessions and alliances; and that the English were not 
a military nation, but merely the merchants of Europe. 
Sardar Mehardil Khan also informed me that several mer- 
chants had seen that officer in Bokhara, but were ignorant 
of the object of his visiting that city." 

" With regard to the active part that Russia is taking 
in the movements of Persia, the Sardar assured me he had 
good authority to state that Russia had taken measures to 
keep the kingdom of Mohammed Shah tranquil in his 
absence, by means of letters where they were feared, and of 
troops where they were not feared." 

The residence of Captain Vikovich in the house 
of the minister was very favourable to his general 
deportment and secret negotiations or intrigues. 



His intercourse and negotiations with the Amir, con- 
ducted only through his confidential Yazir, were not 
made public, as were those of the British envoy. 
With him the communication was held sometimes 
through the Navab Jabbar Khan, or the Mirza 
Imam Yardi, and sometimes the Nayab Amir. If 
anything was ever known to us of the proceedings of 
the Russian envoy, it was only through the secret 
information of the Peshkhidmat of the Amir, and 
of the minister. In some circumstances the intelli- 
gence gained by Mr. Masson, the news-writer, was 
satisfactory, and without the slightest doubt. The 
Russian envoy told the Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan that he has been instructed by his government 
to assure him of using its influence to adjust matters 
with the Sikhs, and to request the Court of Lahaur 
to restore all the Afghan territories to the ruler of 
Kabul. On the day of the festival of Nauroz (equi- 
nox) the minister Mirza Sami Khan had a party of 
some selected persons of state, to which Captain Vi- 
kovich was also invited. In the middle of their 
enjoyments, it was considered by him that his not 
asking the English envoy, while the Russian agent 
was present, will openly reflect a suspicious and uncivil 


light on his conduct, and on this consideration he sent 
his son to ask Sir Alexander Burnes to favour him 
with his company. He justly refused to accept the in- 
vitation, saying that if the Mirza did not think proper, 
for his own convenience, to invite him previously, 
like his other guests, he need not take the trouble to 
join his assembly. After a long and frequent inter- 
course Sir Alexander Burnes asked me to go to the 
minister. Here all the Persian and the Ghilzai chiefs 
were present. The minister and Captain Yikovich 
sat a little higher than the others, on the " Nihali ;" 
and the former, to show his civility, removed from 
his seat, where he placed me by the side of the 
Russian envoy. While the music was going on, the 
minister was conversing on politics, sometimes with 
M. Vikovich and sometimes with me, inquiring the 
number of the English troops stationed at Lodiana ; 
the distance between the divisions of Karnal, Merat, 
and Kanpur; and whether the Mahomedans were 
the major part of the army, or the Rajputs; and 
what were the feelings of the natives of India towards 
the decayed household of the great Taimur. Under- 
standing the manner in which the inquiries were 
made, I came to the conclusion that every question 

X 2 


was put to me according to arrangements made pre- 
viously to my joining the party; and therefore, 
confining myself only to the answer of his questions, 
without commenting on politics, I pretended to show 
my astonishment at the great demand for Kashmir 
shawls in the Russian dominions. This afforded an 
opportunity to Captain Vikovich, who said, although 
the valley of Kashmir was nearer to the boundary of 
British India, yet the good treatment which the 
merchants receive from his government, along with 
the high price for their commodity in Moscow and 
at St. Petersburgh, had gained good will for the 
inhabitants of this valley. He then said to the 
minister it is wonderful that the Amir of Kabul 
lays his claims upon Peshavar, while he keeps the 
name of Kashmir exclusively to himself, though it 
is a principal source of the wealth of the Durrani 
empire. The minister replied that the policy of the 
Afghans is different from that of the other nations. 
They first catch hand, and then the arm, mean- 
ing, let us first gain Peshavar, and the claims on 
Kashmir will soon follow. Captain Vikovich said 
that, if it pleases God, his presence in Lahaur with 
the letters of the Emperor and of the Shah of Persia, 


of which he was the bearer, will induce the ruler of 
the Panjab to accede to the terms of the Amir in 
giving Multan, Derehjat, Kashmir, and Peshavar to 
their original masters, the Afghans. He added that 
he was authorized to say to the Maharajah Kanjit 
Singh, that if that chieftain does not act in a 
friendly manner towards the Afghans, Russia will 
send money easily to Bokhara, whence the Amir 
can make arrangements to bring it down to Kabul 
to raise troops, and to fight with the Sikhs for the 
recovery of his country. The Russian agent also 
issued a report that fifty thousand men of Russian 
regiments were in readiness to land in Astrabad, in 
order to keep peace in the rear of Mohammed Shah, 
who would then march towards the Panjab; that 
such movements would rouse all the discontented 
chiefs of India to rebel ; and that the English, who 
are not soldiers, but merely mercantile adventurers 
of Europe, would not dare to assist Ranjit Singh, 
knowing that the Afghans are succoured by the 
warlike nation of Russia. 

The presence and the promises of the Russian 
envoy changed now even the outward deportment of 
the Amir towards the British mission. He de- 


manded a written bond for the restoration of Pesha- 
var, besides a large sum of money to enable him to 
make himself the Supreme Lord of Afghanistan. 
In the mean time Captain Vikovich stated that the 
law of England does not permit the Governor- 
General of India to act without consulting the 
Council and the three authorities; whereas he and 
Count Simonich, or any other Russian agent, had 
the same power as the Emperor himself, and need 
not seek nor wait for the advice of the others. All 
these proceedings were communicated to the Go- 
vernor-General of India, who judiciously placed not 
much credence at first in the professions of the 
mission ; but when the state of things took an un- 
favourable attitude for the preservation of the tran- 
quillity of India, he was then obliged to treat the 
whole subject not slightingly, but as an important 
affair. Some people, who do not know the real cha- 
racter of the Afghans, and especially that of the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, say, "Why did not 
the Earl of Auckland give the small sum of money 
demanded by the chiefs of Qandhar or the Amir ? " 
but there are hundreds of old nobles living in Kabul 
who will agree with me, that the refusal of the money 


from the Governor-General was judicious and wise. 
It would not have served to bind the Amir to co- 
operate with the British, nor to promote their in- 
terests ; but it would have afforded him ample means 
for using his arms against the Sikhs and against our 

The Sardar Mehardil Khan, one of the brother 
chiefs of Qandhar, advised by the Shah of Persia 
and by Count Simonich, arrived at Kabul with 
the avowed purpose of frustrating the designs of 
the British envoy, and inducing the Amir to give 
him his dismissal and to settle his affairs with the 
Russian agents. He and the Amir now began to 
talk thus, that they really want a written engagement 
from the British government, not only to protect 
them against Mohammed Shah, but also pledging 
its influence, money, and arms to force Eanjit Singh, 
a faithful ally of the English, to give up all the 
Afghan territory, which, on the other hand, the 
Russians and Persians have offered to recover for 

The winter was now past, and still the Amir did 
not dismiss the Russian agent from his court, as he 
had promised in his intercourse with Sir Alexander, 


and had written in his letter to Count Simonich. 
On the contrary, he entered more and more into 
close intimacy and conversation in public with him, 
and invited him openly to pass evenings and have 
dinners in the palace with him. Now it became 
evident that the Amir of Kabul was unfeignedly 
attaching himself to the Eussian government, and 
that the further stay of Sir Alexander Burnes was 
not honourable to the name and credit of his govern- 
ment. He made his last report, therefore, of the 
steps which the Russian agent had taken, and of the 
throwing off of the mask which the Amir had 
hitherto assumed and worn to deceive us, stating 
circumstantially the proofs that he and his minister 
had become colder in their manners towards us, and 
warmer in their intercourse with Captain Vikovich. 
At last the letter of the Governor-General arrived 
for the Amir, stating that if he was inclined to 
attach himself to the other powers, he had better 
give leave for departure to Sir Alexander Burnes, 
which alternative was readily accepted. Our failure 
in the negotiations soon became public, and the 
people, especially the traders, feared to deal with the 
mission. The bankers would not lend the money 


necessary for our journey, and the muleteers refused 
to supply conveyances unless permitted by the Amir. 
Two or three days passed without any progress in 
the preparations for the return of the mission to 
Peshavar, and at length I waited upon the Amir 
with a note from Sir Alexander Burnes. After I 
had dined with him I delivered it into his hands, 
and Sardar Mehardil Khan read it before him. 
The tone and the words of the letter were written 
strong, but just, and worthy of the British envoy. 
This naturally roused the mind of the Amir and of 
his party, and after assuring me of orders to supply 
us with everything the mission wanted, the only 
word I heard him saying to his adherents and to the 
Qandhar chief was that he had not anticipated that 
matters would go so far, nor that the Russian go- 
vernment would come so openly forward to further 
his ends in spite of the English. He continued, 
smilingly, that as the British envoy was offended, he 
should not lose time to stir up Vikovich to inform 
his government of the state of affairs at Kabul. 

Moreover I am astonished to read in Mr. Masson's 
work that the Amir Dost Mohammed was exalted 
at the submissive humility of Sir Alexander Burnes, 


who always addressed and answered him with his 
hands closed and the word of " Gharibnavaz," and 
that he (Masson) had never given information of 
Vikovich having letters for the Lahaur chief. I 
had more opportunities than Mr. Masson to be pre- 
sent when Sir Alexander Burnes had interviews 
with the Amir and with many other independent 
rulers of Asia, but I never heard him accosting any 
of them in the humble manner described by this 
worthy gentleman. His tone of voice with the Amir 
of Kabul and with the chiefs of other places was 
conspicuous, and bore the accents of dignity worthy 
of his government and rank ; and I have heard the 
chiefs myself saying that his " Guftar va Kirdar " 
(meaning his sayings and doings) bespeak of his 
talent and his high notions. With regard to his 
misrepresenting the information which Mr. Masson 
gave him, I can only say that no British officer 
charged with such high functions of his government, 
and entrusted with the welfare of his country, as Sir 
Alexander Burnes was, would commit such a gross 
act as to misrepresent the information in order to 
support his own views. Every line of the four 
volumes of the valuable work of Mr. Masson speaks 

IN MR. masson's work. 315 

of the author's sound judgment and independent 
character, it cannot be denied ; but not one human 
being on the face of the earth will impartially admit 
that his opinions did always stand firmer and wiser 
than those of the other men who at that time con- 
ducted their arduous duties honourably, and who are 
now no more to defend themselves. I rejoice to see 
the independence of Mr. Masson duly estimated; 
but if that independence were accompanied by the 
least shadow of that gratitude which he owed for the 
patronage he received from Sir John Macneil, Sir 
Alexander Burnes, Sir Claude Wade, Sir William 
Macnaghten, and other functionaries, it would have 
reflected a laudable credit upon him. But alas, they 
are now of no use to him, and the work is published. 
In broad words, if an obliged Englishman were to 
make such return to his obliging and national friends 
as Mr. Masson has made, what then can be expected 
from an Asiatic like myself? I have great regard 
for the person, talent, and character of Mr. Masson, 
but I beg to say that I do not like his principles as 
displayed in throwing loads of disparagement on the 
memory of those who lost their lives in the service 
of their country, and are not now able to answer the 


remarks of Mr. Masson or of any one besides. He 
quotes some lines of the various notes from Sir 
Alexander Burnes, Sir William Macnaghten, and 
the then chairman of the India House, &c., to prove 
the authenticity of his opinions ; but unfortunately 
they are not alive to give publicity to the notes which 
Mr. Masson wrote to them at that time. They are 
dead, and the valuable work comes out. May suc- 
cess attend the sale, and the second edition appear 
with alterations! 

Captain Vikovich made a very long and interest- 
ing report of his negotiations with the chiefs of 
Qandhar and the Amir of Kabul, and despatched it 
for his Excellency Count Simonich, the Russian 
ambassador with the Shah of Persia. Our agent, 
however, found means to obtain a copy of that 
interesting document before it reached its destina- 

The Russian Ambassador at Tehran, to Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, of Kabul. 

(After compliments.) 

"In these happy days the respectable 
Haji Ibrahim Khan, one of your people, arrived at the door of 
His Majesty the Shah. He has now got leave to return to 


you, and I embrace the opportunity to write to you, being in- 
duced to do 80 by the praises which I am always hearing 
concerning you, and the friendly conversation which has 
passed between your man and^myself. Through him, there- 
fore, I send this friendly letter, and hope that you in ftiture 
will keep up a correspondence with me. 

" Considering me your friend, I trust that you will 
strengthen the bonds of friendship by writing to me, and 
freely commanding my services, as I shall be happy to do 
anything for you. 

" Look upon me as your servant, and let me hear from 

(Sealed) *' Graf. Iwan Simonich, 
Minister Plenipotentiary of the Russian government." 

Letter to the Amir of Kabul, forwarding the preceding from 
Ilaji Ibrahim, his Agent at Tehran. 

(After compliments.) 

*' I REACHED the camp of the Shah in the 
month of Jamadi-ul-aval. When His Majesty learned the 
contents of your letter he was happy and kind to me ; at that 
time the Shah was at Chashma Ali, seven marches from 
Tehran, near Dam Ghan ; he stated that on arriving at Klial- 
push he would discharge me with some messages for you. 
On his reaching Khalpush he went to punish the Turkmans, 
and I accompanied His Majesty as desired. When we 


returned to Sharood the winter set in, and the Shah, by the 
advice of his counsellors, left his artillery there, abandoned 
the intentions of going to Hirat this year, and returned to 
Tehran. He ordered his nobles to get ready by Nauroz, 
for an expedition to Hirat. 

" The Shah directed me to inform you that he will 
shortly send an Elchi, who, after meeting you, will pro- 
ceed to Ranjit Singh to explain to him, on the part of the 
Shah, that if he (Ranjit Singh) will not restore all the Afghan 
countries to you, the Amir, he must be prepared to 
receive the Persian army. When the Shah takes Hirat he 
has promised to send you money and any troops you may 

" The Russian ambassador, who is always with the Shah, 
has sent you a letter, which I enclose. The substance of 
his verbal messages to you is, that if the Shah does every- 
thing you want, so much the better ; and if not, the Russian 
government will furnish you (the Amir) with every thing 

" ITie object of the Russian Elchi, by this message, is 
to have a road to the English in India ; and for this they 
are very anxious. He is waiting for your answer, and I 
am sure he will serve you. The letter you sent by Agha 
Mohammed Kashi pleased the Shah very much, and he 
(Mohammed Husain) will soon return to you. 

" The Asef-ul-Daulah, the ruler of Khorasan, has 
written to the Shah that he saw Yar Mohammed Khan on 
this side of Farah ; he says he has not power to oppose the 


Shah, but he will not serve him until the Shah gives him 
money to take Qandhar and Kabul. 

" I send you the letter (Firman) of the Shah, which will, 
I trust, meet your approbation.*" 

Major Mackeson, British Agent^ Camp Shekwan, to Sir 
Claude Wade, political Agent, Lodiana. 

" The Russian envoy at Kabul gave out that he intended 
to visit Lahaur, in order to have some friendly conversation 
with Maharajah Ranjit Singh, and to send an account of 
his Highnesses military power and resources to the Em- 

Major Mackeson to Sir Claude Wade. 

Camp KhanpuTj \2th Feb., 1838. 

" His Highness next adverted to a letter he had received 
from Peshavar, mentioning that the Russian envoy intended 
to come on to Lahaur." 

Sir Alexander Bumes to Sir William Macnaghten. 

Kabul, 4th March, 1838. 

" I HAVE the honour to report, for the information of the 
Right Honourable the Governor-General of India, that I 
have more grounds for believing that Captain Vikovich, the 
Russian agent at Kabul, is charged with letters from his 
government to the Maharajah Ranjit Singh. I observe that 


Colonel Stoddart mentions this as a siirmise to Sir John 
Macneil ; and a few days ago Mr. A. Ward wrote to me 
from Peshavar, to know if the ' on dit ' of M. Vikovich's 
going to the Panjab were true. 

" I have made every inquiry on this subject, and in the 
course of yesterday Mr. Masson was informed that the 
Russian agent had letters for the Maharajah, and that the 
purport of them was to the effect, that if his Highness did 
not withdraw from Peshavar, the Russian government would 
compel him." 

Sir Claude Wade to Sir W. H. Macnaghten. 

21»^ March, 1838. 

" I HAVE the honour to transmit an open letter to your 
address from Sir A. Burnes, dated the 4th instant, repeat- 
ing, from Kabul, the report which had formerly reached 
Peshavar, that the mission of Captain Vikovich would ex- 
tend to Lahaur." 

Sir Alexander Burnes to the Earl of Auckland. 

Kabul, Zrd Dec, 1837. 

" In the despatches, which I forward by this opportunity 
to Sir W. Macnaghten, your Lordship will find a report of 
the extraordinary circumstance of an agent having arrived 
at this capital direct from St. Petersburgh, with a letter 
from the Shah of Persia and from the Count Simonich, the 
Russian ambassador at Tehran. 

" Before I enter upon the messages delivered by the 


agent to the Ameer, it is proper to state the information 
which has reached me regarding what has passed at Qand- 
har. In my official communication of the 9th September 
last, your Lordship will remember that I reported the 
departure of one Haji Mobin on a mission to Persia ; and, 
as it was believed, in pursuance of the advice of the Russian 
ambassador. That individual accompanied Mohammed 
Shah to Khorasan, and was requested by His Majesty to 
await the arrival of Captain Vikovich, and to proceed with 
him to Qandhar. The connexion between Russia and 
Persia in this part of the transaction leaves little doubt of 
the whole being a concerted plan between these powers. 
The statement made by the emissary to the Sardars of 
Qandhar was to the effect that Russia had fall influence 
in Persia : and that they should assist the Shah, and draw 
on him for money, and if their drafts were not paid, that 
the Russian government would be responsible for their dis- 
charge ; but that they should follow the wishes of Mo- 
hammed Shah, if they sought the Emperor's good offices, 
and on no account ally themselves with the English nation. 
This declaration, if true, is certainly most explicit ; but 
though it has been communicated to me by a man whose 
other reports entirely tally with all that is passing in Qand- 
har, and who is the individual that made known to me five 
months ago the then inexplicable nature of Haji Mobin's 
mission, I should not wish your Lordship to give to it that 
confidence which I seek to place on the report of events 
that have transpired at Kabul. 



" On the evening of the 20th inst. the Amir received the 
Russian messenger. On the agent's producing Mohammed 
Shah's raqam, the Amir felt a degree of irritation which 
he could hardly control, and said, in Afghani, that it was 
an insult to him, and a proof of Mohammed Shah's being 
guided by advisers ; for his master, the Emperor, wrote 
him a letter, and the subservient Shah of Persia arrogated 
to himself the right of sending him a raqam, or order, with 
his seal in the face of the document. The agent was then 
dismissed, and invited to the Bala Hisar on the following 

" The communications which passed on this second occa- 
sion have also been made known to me, and are of a start- 
ling nature. M. Vikovich informed Dost Mohammed 
Khan that the Russian government had desired him to state 
its sincere sympathy with the difficulties under which he 
laboured ; and that it would afford it great pleasure to assist 
him in repelling the attacks of Ranjit on his dominions ; that 
it was ready to furnish him with a sum of money for the 
purpose, and to continue the supply annually, expecting, in 
return, the Amir's good offices. That it was in its power to 
forward the pecuniary assistance as far as Bokhara, with 
which state it had friendly and commercial relations ; but 
that the Amir must arrange for its being forwarded on to 
Kabul. The agent stated that this was the principal object 
of his mission ; but that there were other matters which he 
would state by-and-by ; that he hoped the Amir would give 
him a speedy answer to despatch to St. Petersburgh, and 


that with reference to himself, he would go, if dismissed, 
along with it, though he gave the Amir to understand (and 
imder which impression he still continues) that it was his 
wish to remain, at least for a time, in Kabul. ITie report 
of this interview has been communicated to me from two 
sources, and they both agree in the substance of what 

" Having thus laid before your lordship these strong de- 
monstrations on the part of Russia to interest herself in the 
affairs of this country, it will not, I feel satisfied, be pre- 
sumptuous to state my most deliberate conviction that more 
vigorous proceedings than the government might wish or 
contemplate than have been hitherto exhibited are ne- 
cessary to counteract Russian or Persian intrigue in this 

"By one class of politicians everything regarding the 
designs of Russia in this quarter has been disbelieved. By 
another, the little which has transpired has excited imme- 
diate, and, in consequence, what may be termed groundless 
alarm. For the last six or seven years I have had my 
attention directed to these countries, and I profess myself to 
be one of those who do believe that Russia entertains the 
design of extending her influence to the eastward, between 
her dominions and India. With her commercial operations, 
she has invariably spread the report that her designs were 
ulterior; and the language of her agents has lately been, 
that as the affairs of Turkey and Persia are adjusted, she 
sought an extension of her influence in Turkistan and Kabul. 

Y 2 


Such reports would deserve little credence if unsupported 
by facts ; but assisted by them, they gather higher import- 
ance, and exhibit views which, but for the greatest vigilance, 
might have eluded notice for years to come. 

" There being, therefore, facts before us in the transac- 
tions passing at Kabul, it seems impossible, with any regard 
to our safety, to look on any longer in silence. If Russia 
does not entertain inimical feelings directly to the British in 
India, she avows that she wishes for the friendly offices of 
the chiefs on our frontier, and promises them her own in 
return ; so that it is useless to conceal from ourselves that 
evil must flow from such connexions, for this is, indeed, 
casting before us a challenge. It is a true maxim that 
prevention is better than cure, and now we have both in our 
hands. We might certainly wish to delay a while longer 
before acting ; but it is now in our power, by the extended 
and immediate exercise of our already established influence, 
to counteract every design injurious to us. 

" I trust that the free expression of my sentiments will 
not prove displeasing to your Lordship : I am emboldened 
by the confidence which has placed me here to speak accord- 
ing to my conviction." 

Sir W. H. Macnaghten to Sir Alexander Bumes. 

20th January, 1838. 

" His Lordship attaches little immediate importance to 
this mission of the Russian agent, although he will bring all 


the circumstances connected with it to the notice of the 
home authorities, as it undoubtedly marks a desire, which 
has long been known to exist on the part of the Russian 
government, to push at least the influence of their name to 
our Indian frontier ; and the proceedings, especially of the 
Russian envoy at Tehran, in regard to it, are open to much 

" His Lordship is much gratified at the deference to our 
views shown by Dost Mohammed Khan, in requesting your 
advice as to the reception of this agent; and he entirely 
approves your having sanctioned his being admitted to the 
presence of the Amir, and treated with becoming civility. 
If he be not already gone from Kabul, you will suggest to 
the Amir that he be dismissed with courtesy, with a letter 
of compliments and thanks to the Emperor of Russia for his 
proffered kindness to the Kabul traders. His mission 
should be assumed to have been, as represented, entirely 
for commercial objects, and no notice need be taken of the 
messages with which he may profess to have been charged. 

" This of course will be recommended by you, in the 
event of the Amir being firmly disposed to abide by our 
good offices. If he should, on the other hand, seek to retain 
the agent, and to enter into any description of political 
intercourse with him, you will give him distinctly to under- 
stand that your mission will retire ; that our good offices 
with the Sikhs on his behalf will wholly cease ; and that, 
indeed, the act will be considered a direct breach of friend- 
ship with the British government. It has been before at 


different times stated to you, that the continuance of our 
good offices must be entirely dependant on the relinquish- 
ment by the Amir of alliances with any power to the west- 

From the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan of Kabul to His 
Excellency Count Simonich. 

** Your friendly letter was delivered to me by the respect- 
able Captain Vikovich, and I was delighted to read this 
your second epistle. 

" If I were to offer full thanks for such kindness, it would 
be as impossible as to confine the river in a small vessel, or 
to weigh its water with stones. 

" I fully understand the messages which you had sent to 
me through Captain Vikovich, and confidently expect that 
your imperial government will support and defend my 
honour, and by doing so, it will be easy to win the hearts of 

"I thank you for the offer you made to arrange my 
affairs, and further for your informing me that you do not 
merely tell me so ; but that you will fulfil your promise. I 
expect much more from your friendly government, and my 
hopes have been increased. Though the distance between 
us is great, it does not prevent our approach in heart. My 
mind is put in peace by your fiiendly messages, and I hope 
it will continue so. 

" Before the arrival of the agent of your government 


(Captain Vikovich), the ^English government had deputed 
Sir Alexander Bumes, who is now with me in Kabul. That 
officer is sowing the seeds of friendship between Ranjit 
Singh and myself; nothing is yet settled, however, but let 
us wait the result. 

" On the winter ceasing, and the roads opening, I will 
despatch Captain Vikovich by any road he prefers. At 
present, on account of the snow, I have postponed his de- 

" I hope you may continue to enjoy happy days." 

From Captain Vikovich to Count Simonich. 

"Having departed from Qandhar 2nd (or may be the 
27th) November, of the past year, 1837, 1 arrived at Kabul 
on the 8th of December. The reception of Dost Moham- 
med Khan, and his condescension towards me, were suf- 
ficiently marked — polite as kind. 

" I was lodged in the house of the first minister, Mirza 
Abdulemi (probably Abdul or Abdallah) Khan, and 
after three days' (waiting), I demanded an audience, when 
I delivered the imperial credentials [literally the most high 
letter] and the letter of your Lordship ; and to that I added 
verbally, that the object of my coming was to evince to 
him, and to the rulers of Qandhar, the very gracious 
wishes (or inclinations) of the Emperor ; and to declare that 
His Majesty the Emperor was pleased to return a gracious 
reply to the letter of Dost Mohammed Khan, and vouch- 


safed to him protection and friendly alliance ; that the 
rulers of Afghanistan having made up or reconciled their 
differences among themselves [this passage is rather guessed 
at, being unintelligible] should acknowledge or place them- 
selves under the dominion of Persia, with whom Russia is 
connected by truly friendly relations, 

" The Amir (Prince), in showing his satisfaction at the 
imperial letters (credentials), gave me to understand that a 
friendly treaty (on the part) of the Afghans with the Per- 
sians could not be (subsist), because an English envoy, Sir 
A. Burnes, now here, has concluded (or was concluding) a 
mutual treaty. That Dost Mohammed Khan having col- 
lected as large an Afghan army as possible (should go, or 
was to go) to the assistance of Kam Ran against the Persians 
besieging Hirat ; and by that treaty the English bound 
themselves to give (supply) to the Afghans twenty thousand 
muskets [I cannot exactly make out the word thousand ; but 
suppose it. Some words here about the Russian alliance 
not legible] ; and to make over to the possession of the 
Afghans, Peshavar, and the other conquests of Ranjit, on 
the right bank of the Indus ; and that the treaty was de- 
spatched to Calcutta, for the information of the Governor- 
General of India, Lord Auckland. Thus terminated my 
first interview with the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, but 
his vizier Mirza Abdool (Husain) Khan almost daily comes 
to me, and makes various inquiries regarding the power of 
Russia and of the other European governments. In the 
meantime Sir A. Burnes departed (went) for Qandhar, ac- 


companied by the lieutenant of artillery, Leech, in order to 
(induce) the Qandhar rulers (to enter into) a treaty, and (to 
withdraw themselves) from friendly relations with the Shah. 
The English have established between Kabul and Qandhar 
a kind of (letter-post) ; and they have written (or it has been 
written) that the Persians are defeated, have retreated to 
Meshid, and have suffered extremely from hunger (want of 
provisions). All this has occasioned Dost Mohammed Khan 
to conduct himself very coldly towards me ; and then, as he 
daily (converses) with Burnes, from my arrival here to the 
20th February, I have hardly (or two or) three times been 
in his presence. Having discovered (or learnt) from Mirza 
Abdul Khan that he [I do not make out whether Abdul 
Khan is here meant, or Dost Mohammed] had a secret dis- 
trust of (or dislike to) English influence (or connexion), I 
endeavoured, as much as possible, to strengthen it, and suc- 
ceeded in shaking his previous (or at a former time) con- 
fidence in and friendship towards them. 

" In the meantime, on the 21st February was received from 
Lord Auckland a reply distinctly (decidedly) to cancel 
(refuse) all that Burnes had negotiated (or agreed upon) ; 
but in his letter (not clearly made out) he does not advise 
(dissuades) the rulers of Afghanistan to enter upon any 
alliance with Persia or with other powers ; that the Afghans 
were in a great measure indebted for their independence to 
the support of the English, who restrained Ranjit Singh 
from conquest. 

^' The true cause (reason) for such proceeding of Lord 


Auckland, as Burnes declares, is the following: — Ranjit 
having received from the Company a proposal to give the 
Afghans Peshavar, and other conquests, that he would 
willingly comply with the wishes of the Company upon re- 
ceiving intimation to that effect [some reference here to the 
territories between the Indus and Kashmir, and securing 
the succession to his heirs, but I cannot make connected 
sense of it]. On receiving such proposition from Ranjit, 
Lord Auckland replied, that in consequence of (or on the 
occasion) the approach of the Persian Shah to Hirat, he 
decidedly (objects) and advises Ranjit to retain Peshavar, 
and to oppose himself to the movements of the Shah, who, 
as reported, is resolved to extend his march (or conquest) 
on the borders of India. Dost Mohammed Khan abandon- 
ing his hopes of assistance (not clearly made out) on the 
part of the English, has sent to Qandhar (the purport) of 
the letter received from Lord Auckland, and requested for 
consultation and co-operation one of the Sardars of that 
place ; Sir A. Burnes, on his part, has written to Lieut. 
Leech (being) at Qandhar, that he should by all means 
endeavour to dissuade the Sardars from going to Kabul, 
and with Dost Mohammed Khan. But the ill-conducted 
intrigues of Leech have been disclosed, and roused the 
Sardar Kohen Khan, and led the Afghans to adopt the 
contrary course — to join Dost Mohammed Khan, and break 
off all connexion with them (the English), and place them- 
selves under the sway of Persia, with the guarantee of Russia ; 
that the Shah should supply (one hundred thousand) mus- 


kets for the equipment of Kabul and Qandhar army, and 
that after taking Hirat, the Shah himself with his troops 
should advance into Afghanistan, for the recovery of the 
provinces conquered by Ranjit. In demonstration of the 
sincerity of this proposal, the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, 
and the Sardar Kohen Khan, — as one of their proceedings. 
Mirza Abdul Khan, who not only possesses the entire con- 
fidence of Dost Mohammed Khan, but influences all affairs 
in Afghanistan particularly, — and the Sardar Mehir Khan. 
They request me to set out (in the course of a month) to 
forward (or obtain from your Lordship) the guarantee — 
that the Persians shall fulfil the conditions upon which the 
Afghans agree to submit themselves to the sway of Persia j 
and for that purpose I intend leaving Kabul on the 26th or 
27th April. Sir Alexander Burnes has frequently demanded 
of Dost Mohammed Khan, that I should be immediately 
dismissed, and that the rulers of Afghanistan should engage 
not to enter into any negotiations (or relations) with Persia 
and Russia ; but seeing that now affairs have taken entirely 
another turn, he does not wait for the arrival of his com- 
panions, who, last autumn, went into Turkistan, and having 
instructed Lieutenant Leech to proceed from Qandhar to 
Shikarpoor and Hydrabad, (where he probably) suspects 
that the ruler of Sindh may enter into the confederation 
forming between Persia and Afghanistan, he left Kabul on 
the 19th (or may be 17th) instant (April) ; and went 
through Peshavar to Lahaur. I have the honour to present 
for the favourable consideration of your Lordship, a brief 


description of Afghanistan. I venture to infer (conclude) 
that with some pains and discretion the Russian government 
(administration) — here — as well as in commercial, as poli- 
tical relations. The geographical position of Afghanistan 
makes it the only — through which a conqueror can — from 
Qandhar to the very shores of the ocean ; — barren desert, 
which can never be passable by any kind of military force 
(or detachments) ; on the north and north-west the road 
(way) from Turkistan is bounded (closed) by the strong pass 
of Hindu Kush, which has only two roads hardly passable 
for the space of four (I cannot make out whether the next 
word is months, or some term implying distance, I think the 
former), (several words here not legible) — for military 
stores, or supplies of an army. The people of Afghanistan 
are warlike, and if the mutual animosities existing between 
the several authorities (ruling powers) were reconciled, they 
could oppose the united forces of all India. Being a place 
where it is difficult (as it is in all such places) to display (or 
enforce) the maritime power of Russia ; it nevertheless par- 
ticipates (lends its aid) in the reliance and influence which 
your Lordship has ably succeeded in diffusing throughout 

Persia. In these countries your , which extends as 

far as the exploits of the Persian armies, accompanies the 
name of your Lordship, and no one of the inhabitants of 
Kabul, nor of Qandhar, doubts that the Shah, when leaving 
Tehran, gave over to your Lordship the reins of govern- 
ment — for my part, I do not doubt, that, by the aid of this, 
something permanent may be done (established here) ; the 


English have appreciated the full importance of this country 
in a political point of view (bearing), and they have spared 
neither trouble nor expense to gain a footing (or to instal 
themselves) in Afghanistan, as, without doubt, is known to 
your Lordship. Their successes, in respect to the defence 
of Hirat, and this mission of Sir Alexander Bumes, as it 
appears (to have been), cost him (or them), as far as I can 
ascertain, three hundred rupees, he (or they), during eight 
years residence here, (or possibly it may be ' when here eight 
years ago '), made purchases to the extent of one hundred and 
fifty rupees. From the year 1832 there has been here an 
established English agent, receiving a salary of one thousand 
rupees. He left Kabul, together with Sir Alexander 
Bumes. On my arrival at Tehran, I shall have the honour 
more particularly to lay before your Lordship the affairs of 
Afghanistan. At present I venture to beg most humbly 
that the desired guarantee (by the Afghans) should be 
acknowledged by your verbal condescension in the camp of 
the Shah. 

(Signed) " Vikovich, Lieutenant." 

( 334 ) 


The British Mission leaves Kabul — Iniquitous counsels given to 
the Amir respecting it — He rejects them — The Amir attaches 
himself wholly to Russia — Departure of Captain Vikovich — 
Honours paid him — Affairs of Sindh — Opinions current in 
Hindustan relative to Russia — The Asiatics anticipate reverses 
for the British power in the East— Correspondence, and other 
Documents — Reasons for the advance of the Army of the 
Indus — Negotiations set on foot by the British Government. 

Having delivered the last letter of the Governor 
General to the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, and 
had an audience of leave with him, the British 
Mission quitted Kabul on the 26th of April, 1838, 
and his son Gholam Haidar Khan escorted us to a 
distance of four miles from the city. The minister 
Mirza Sami Khan came to Butkhak, and presented 
Sir Alexander Burnes and myself with three horses 
in a most miserable condition. He remained and 
dined with me, and during the night we had a long 
conversation with that officer. He stated that Cap- 
tain Vikovich has promised positively the pecuniary 
aid of Russia and the military assistance of Persia 


for furthering the objects of the Amir; and the 
minister then trying to make us believe his regret at 
our departure, and his neutrality of feeling in regard 
to the success of the Russians at the court of Kabul, 
said to Sir Alexander Burnes that all this was 
brought about by the Sardar Mehardil Khan of 
Qandhar. When it was pointed out to him that 
wisdom cannot permit one to place much credence 
in the extravagant proposals made by distant powers 
to the Amir, the minister replied that it is not 
Persia that we rely upon, but Captain Vikovich in 
Kabul, and Count Simonich in the Persian camp, 
who is a legally authorised representative of the 
Emperor of Russia. These he said have become 
guarantees, and have made agreement to support the 
Amir in recovering the Afghan territory from the 
Sikhs. Since Russia is one of the greatest powers 
of Europe, and her representative with the Shah of 
Persia is reckoned to be an Emperor, and that this 
race of men is celebrated for adhering to their word, 
as is well known in Khorasan, all this leaves little 
room to doubt that the Russian ambassador could 
have proposed and agreed to anything which was not 
authorised by his government, and that the cabinet 


of St. Petersburgh will not act accordingly. He 
says that the letter of the Amir to the address of the 
Governor-General will follow us, and shortly after- 
wards we bade adieu to the minister and came to 
Tezin. The Mission was escorted to Jelalabad 
safely by Nazir Ali Mohammed, and yet various 
reports were privately received from Kabul that 
some of the chiefs, as Mohamud Khan Bayat and 
Agha Husain, were advising the Amir to massacre 
the Mission, or at least to detain it till a large sum 
of money is paid by the English government for its 
ransom, which will furnish him with the means of 
defence against his impending danger. The Amir 
wisely paid no attention to such rash counsels of his 
friends; and Dr. Lord and Mr. Wood, who were 
invited by Mir Mohammed Morad Beg of Qunduz, 
returned to Kabul after the Mission had departed 
from that city. They suffered no molestation, but 
being received coldly by the Amir Dost Mohammed 
Khan, they were sent away safely to Jelalabad, and 
thence followed us by the Kabul river to Peshavar. 
Lieut. Wood had also heard from authentic sources, 
and observed on his way through Kabul, that the 
Amir and Captain Vikovich had grown very familiar 


with each other, and that the former had attached 
himself without reserve to Russia. 

There is no doubt that although the Mission of 
Sir Alexander Burnes proved to be unsuccessful in 
its chief purpose, yet it afforded ample information 
at the time of the proceedings and the steps which 
the Russian government had openly taken into the 
politics of Afghanistan. The Sardar Mehardil 
Khan and the Amir addressed letters respectively to 
Mohammed Shah, King of Persia, stating all the 
circumstances of the negotiations, and of the failure 
and departure of the British envoy. Captain Viko- 
vich told the Amir that he will transmit a sum of 
fourteen lakhs of rupees to him ; and the Russian 
ambassador in Persia requested the Shah to accede 
to all the terms of the chiefs of Qandhar and of the 
Amir of Kabul, since they had entered into alliance 
and friendship with Russia. 

The Amir at length dismissed Captain 'Vikovich 
with all honour; and appointing Habbu Khan an 
agent on his part to go with him, he desired Mehar- 
dil Khan to take them safe to Qandhar. Here, on 
this occasion, the Russian agent was treated with 
much more distinction than he was on his way to 



Kabul. The chiefs, at his request, unanimously 
wrote letters and treaties for the satisfaction of the 
Russian ambassador at the Persian court, who had 
made himself guarantee on the part of his govern- 
ment that he will not only make these chiefs masters 
of Hirat, but will cause Mohammed Shah to give 
Ghuryan also to them ; and they on their part sent 
Mohammed Omar Khan with about two hundred 
and fifty horse to wait upon the Shah and Count 
Simonich. The Amir also, though becoming much 
more unpopular by his alliance with Persia and with 
Russia, was engaged in repairing the Bala Hisar of 
Kabul and the fort of Ghazni, and in urging the 
Shah and Count Simonich to subdue Hirat and to 
push on to Kabul. The arrival of Mohammed Omar 
Khan, the son of Kohandil Khan, the principal 
chief of Qandhar, in the Persian camp, and the 
seizure of Frah by Mohammed Saddiq, another son 
of the chief, gave no proof of want of vigour nor any 
encouragement to the Afghans in their hopes of now 
defending Hirat ; and many were desirous to desert, 
and even to surrender it to the Qandhar party in the 
Persian camp, if any one would venture to make 
such a communication to them. Captain Vikovich 


returned again from Hirat to Qandhar, and supplied 
the chiefs with ten thousand Russian ducats, which 
Kohandil Khan distributed amongst his troops. He 
also informed him that Mohammed Shah had given 
permission to Count Simonich to bring Russian 
forces to reduce Hirat and to send money to the 
chiefs in Afghanistan; and that, according to the 
European law, his presence in Qandhar will prevent 
the Governor-General of India and its allies from 
taking any hostile attitude towards that city. That 
officer wrote also to the Amirs of Sindh to keep 
themselves easy, and promised that he, with the 
Sardars, will in three months hence be on the banks 
of the Indus with them. Such communications un- 
doubtedly would not be favourable to the cause of 
the British in Sindh; and moreover the chiefs of 
Qandhar publicly declared that they are paid and 
requested by the Shah and by Russia to proceed 
against the territory of Hirat, and that if Qandhar 
during their absence was attacked by any inimical 
power, the Russian government, acting on its agree- 
ment and guarantee, will supply them with money 
to recover it from the enemy. When the chief 
started on his march towards Hirat, Captain Viko- 

z 2 


vich supplied him with grain brought from the vil- 
lages under the authority of Persia; and he had 
cunningly spread a report that he was acting under 
the authority of Count Simonich and of the Shah of 
Persia, who is the ally of his master the Emperor. 
He accordingly accompanied the camp of the Sardar, 
and the Shah of Persia promised to send Agha 
Sayad Mohammed with money to the Amir of 
Kabul, and the Russian ambassador sent at this time 
some presents to the Amir (perhaps those left behind 
by Captain Vikovich). The intelligence of this 
despatching of the letter of the Russian agent to the 
Sindhians was found by Sir Henry Pottinger to be 
true, and there was no doubt that the Russian name 
and influence was materially injurious to British 
interests even as far as to the eastern side of the 
Indus. The rumours of the power and bravery 
of the Russians, exaggerated by distance and talked 
of in Oriental style as it passed from one person to 
another, had given ample reasons for restlessness in 
the minds of the discontented chiefs of India. This 
was indeed not limited to Mahomedans only, but 
extended to the Rajput chiefs also of that country ; 
and every one of them was looking forward with 

LORD Auckland's letter. 341 

anxiety for the expected reverses of the English. 
Tired of tranquillity, and aspiring and longing for 
that pomp which all Asiatics enjoy during public con- 
fusion, they were whispering their wishes and prepar- 
ing themselves to be ready at a moment's call, and to 
throw off the mask of quiet discontent against the 
rule of the British government. 

Lord Auckland to Amir Dost MoJiammed Khan. 

Simla, 21th April 1838. 

(After compliments.) 

" I HAVE received your letter, and 
fully comprehend its contents. 

" It has been a source of much regret to find that your 
views of what is most for your advantage have led you to 
decline the good offices which I have tendered, for the 
purpose of efiecting a reconciliation between you and Maha- 
rajah Ranjit Singh, on the only terms on which I could, 
consistently with what has appeared to me just, engage to 
exercise my mediation for the settlement of the unhappy 
differences existing between you. 

" With the explanation, however, of your sentiments 
which you have now afforded to me, my further interposition 
in this affair could not lead to beneficial results ; and as, in 
so unsettled a condition of things, the continuance of Sir A. 
Burnes, and of the officers under his orders in Afghanistan, 


would not be conducive to the good ends which I had hoped 
to accomplish by their deputation, 1 have now issued otders 
to them to return to India ; and they will accordingly set 
out, on receiving from you their dismissal, for which their 
immediate application will be made to you. 

" I have to express to you my acknowledgments for your 
attention and kindness to these officers while residing in 
your dominions. 

" (Signed) Auckland." 

Sir Alexander Bumes. 

*' On the night of the 25th April, I had the honour to 
report for the information of the Right Hon. the Governor 
General, that I had had my audience of leave with the 
Amir of Kabul ; and I quitted the city on the following 
day (the 26th), being escorted about two miles from its 
gates by three of the Amir's sons ; and also accompanied to 
the first halting-place, Butkhak, by Mirza Sami Khan. It 
is now my purpose to lay before his Lordship such addi- 
tional particulars as illustrate the opinions of Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, and the views which it seems he has in 
contemplation, and which, since we can no longer act with 
him, will, as it appears to me, require counteraction. I 
inquired into the truth of these reports in circulation 
regarding the Amir having actually gone over to Persia, 
and sought the security of Russia. The reply was, that 
they were too true. I asked what had really occurred, and 


learned that some of the Amir's family, or that of his bro- 
thers at Qandhar, were to be sent with letters to the Shah ; 
that Captain Vikovich had promised to get the guarantee 
of Russia to all their arrangements ; and that when Hirat 
fell, either to send part of the Persian force through the 
Hazarahjat to Kabul, or furnish the Amir with money to 
expel the Sikhs from Peshavar, which, he had said, was the 
more easily to be exacted from the Shah, who was a large 
debtor to Russia. 

" It will be remembered that the Amir, in my last inter- 
view with him, offered no palliation of the intercourse 
which he had had within the last few days with Captain 

" I have had intelligence of it that leaves little or no 
doubt on the subject. 

" Captain Vikovich has already asked leave to set out 
forthwith to Hirat. 

" Whatever are the plans of Persia and Russia, it will 
now be no fault of the chief of Kabul if they come not to 
maturity. He still gives out that he would not trust 
Persia alone, but seconded M. Goutte and Captain Viko- 
vich, he considers the Russian guarantee will gain for him 
all his ends, and, besides being able successfully to contend 
with the Sikhs, as certain of ministering to his ambition, and 
fixing his supremacy." 


Amir Dost Mohammed Khan to Lord Auckland, 

(After compliments.) 

" All the conversation which has 
passed between Sir A. Bumes and myself from the day of 
his arrival is well known to your Lordship, and consequently 
it is needless to repeat it. 

" I also wrote a second time respecting the determination 
of the King of Persia, and the expectations of this friendly 
nation (Afghans) for the protection and enlargement of their 
possessions, which it had hoped from the British Govern- 
ment for a long time. 

" It is well known to your Lordship that the Afghans 
expected very much from the English, from the day the 
Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone came to Afghanistan, 
for that gentleman made a treaty with the Afghans of an 
offensive and defensive nature : 

" Since Sir A. Bumes discovered that the Afghans were 
quite disappointed, and he has no powers from your Lord- 
ship to satisfy this nation, he is now returning to India with 
my permission. 

" When Sir A. Burnes reaches India he will minutely 
speak to your Lordship on all the circumstances of this 
place. There are many individuals who have enjoyed the 
favour of the British ; but our disappointment is to be 
attributed to our misfortune, and not to the want of the 
British Government." • 

LIEUT, wood's opinion. 345 

From Lieutenant Wood. 

" The non-arrival of our baggage detained us a few days 
in Kabul, during which we had an ample opportunity of 
observing how far recent events had influenced the public 
mind. The Qizalbash or Persian parties, numbering 
many of the most respectable citizens of Kabul, rejoiced at 
what had occurred ; but the mass of people, Afghan and 
Tajik, were at no pains to conceal their discontent. 

" Dost Mohammed Khan was engaged at chess when we 
entered the apartment ; and while the interview lasted, he 
affected to be more intent on his chess-board than on the 
political game which we well knew was the uppermost in 
his mind. His manner was at first cold." 

Sir Alexander Bumes. 

u w^'xTH reference to Russia, her proceedings are open to 
so much remark, after Count Nesselrode's disavowals, that, 
I presume she must either disavow Captain Vikovich and 
M. Goutte as her emissaries, or be made responsible for 
their proceedings. I have only again to repeat my most deli- 
berate conviction, founded on much reflection regarding the 
passing events in Central Asia, that consequences of a most 
serious nature must, in the end, flow from them, unless the 
British Government applies a prompt, active, and decided 
counteraction. I do not offer these as my opinions, founded 
on the periodical publications of all Europe (though the 


coincidence of sentiment in all parties does not want in 
weight), but as formed on the scene of their intrigues ; and 
it is my duty, as a public servant, earnestly to state them 
to my superiors. 

"As I am despatching this commission from Jelalabad, 
half way to Peshavar, I have received good information that 
the Amir has been constantly with Captain Vikovich since 
I left, and that officer has earnestly solicited permission to 
proceed to Hirat by the direct road of Hazarajat, and 
offered the solemn pledges to do all which the Amir wishes, 
under a month. He has also bound himself to address 
Maharajah Ranjit Singh, after retiring from Peshavar ; and 
when Dost Mohammed Khan asked if he had authority to 
do so, he replied that he had a letter to that potentate which 
would soon set matters right. 

" Explaining further the plans of the chiefs of Kabul and 
Qandhar, consequent on their new alliance with Persia and 

" The day after you left Kabul the Amir had a private 
meeting with the Sardar Mehardil Khan, Reshid Akhund- 
zadah, and Mirza Sami Khan. They have settled that Mo- 
hammed Azim Khan (the Amir's son), and Mirza Sami 
Khan, should leave Kabul, and having joined Mohammed 
Omar Khan and Mulla Reshid, at Qandhar, proceed to 
Hirat, and wait upon Mohammed Shah on the part of the 
Kabul and Qandhar chiefs. 

" Sardar Mahardil Khan has addressed a letter to Mo- 
hammed Shah, which, after being sealed by his brothers at 


Qandhar, will be sent by express. The contents of the 
letter are as follows : — 

" * On the arrival of Qambar Ali Khan, your Majesty's 
agent, at Qandhar, it was resolved that Mohammed Omar 
Khan should wait upon the Shah on the part of the Qandhar 
chiefs. Meanwhile, Sir Alexander Bumes reached Kabul, 
as an agent of the British Government, on which our elder 
brother Dost Mohammed Khan sent a letter, preventing 
us sending Mohammed Omar Khan to his Majesty on 
the following grounds : the British Government and Ranjit 
Singh are very near the Afghans, and Mohammed Shah is 
a distance of three months' journey ; and that Amir feared 
these two powers may be offended, and endeavour to ruin 
him, which his Majesty could not prevent. Regarding the 
superiority of our brother (the Amir), and seeing the good 
of the governments, we recalled Mohammed Omar Khan 
from Giriskh, on account of the confusion ; when we received 
authentic information of his Majesty's arrival at Hirat, 
I left Qandhar, and came to Kabul, and brought about the 
dismissal of Sir A. Burnes, and induced the Amir to send 
his minister Mirza Sami Khan to his Majesty, and from 
Qandhar Mohammed Omar Khan, and Mulla Reshid, to 
wait upon his Majesty.' 

" The contents of the Amir's letter to Mohammed Shah 
are as follows : — 

" * When Qambar Ali Khan reached Qandhar, Sir A. 
Bumes also came to Kabul, on the part of the English 
Government. He prevented my entering into an alliance 


with your Majesty. As the Shah was at a distance I kept 
Sir A. Burnes in evasive discourse, and having the sure 
information of your Majesty's arrival at Hirat, I dismissed 
him instantly. I have now appointed my son Mohammed 
Azam Khan to wait upon your Majesty. I will obey the 
orders (amar) of his Majesty in future.' 

" The chappar has been despatched with the above letter 
to Hirat. 

" This proposal of the Mirza to the Amir originates in 
his sagacity, for he has settled every thing with Captain 
Vikovich, who has promised that on reaching the camp of 
Mohammed Shah he will send the Amir the sum of forty 
lakhs of rupees. The above officer is boasting very much 
what he will do to protect and exalt the Amir, but it is 
needless to mention those affairs minutely. 

" After your departure from this place, the Amir sends 
for Captain Vikovich daily to his court, and makes ar- 
rangements with him which are as yet not written. 

" On Tuesday evening a man by the name of Bahar, in 
the service of Kohandil Khan, came to Kabul with letters 
from the Russian agent with Mohammed Shah to Captain 
Vikovich. AUadad, who had accompanied Qambar Ali 
Khan, has also returned to Qandhar, with other letters from 
Mohammed Shah and the Russian agent, to the address of 
the Qandhar chiefs. 

" His Excellency has instructed the Shah to satisfy the 
chiefs of Qandhar, and the Amir of Kabul, at any rate, and 
give whatever they want, since they have written to him (the 


ambassador) through Captain Vikovich, and accepted the 
friendship of Russia. 

" The Amir has dismissed Captain Vikovich with all 
honour and respect ; and that officer has proceeded to 
Qandhar, along with Sardar Mehardil Khan, accompanied 
on the part of Dost Mohammed Khan by Hubu Khan 
Barakzai, enjoying the Amir's confidence. 

" The Qandhar family will wait on the Shah without 
delay, and be introduced through Captain Vikovich ; and 
it is understood at Kabul, that the Amir will send his own 
subsequent messengers direct to Hirat by the Hazarah 

" (Signed) A. Burnes." 

" After perusing the treaty the Russian envoy took it to 
Mohammed Shah, who agreed to every article of it. The 
envoy m'ade himself guarantee for the fulfilment of its 
articles, and sent it back to the Sardars, along with his own 
letter, the contents of which are as follows : — 

" ' Mohammed Shah has promised to give you the 
possession of Hirat, and I sincerely tell you that you 
will also get Ghoryan, on my account, from the Shah. 
It is, therefore, advisable that you send your son Mo- 
hammed Omar Khan to Hirat, where you must also after- 
wards come. 

" * When Mohammed Omar Khan arrives here I will ask 
the Shah to quit Hirat, and send your son along with his 
Majesty to Tehran ; I (the Russian envoy) will remain 


here with twelve thousand troops ; and when you join, 
we will take Hirat, which will be afterwards delivered 
to you ! ' 

" On the arrival of this letter the Sardar had no bounds 
to his joy, and sent it to Kabul. The report was, that it 
did not please the Amir at all. 

" Sardar Mehardil Khan has returned to Qandhar. The 
Russian Agent (Vikovich), who accompanied him from 
Kabul to this place, was received here with honour, since 
the Russian Envoy at Hirat had written strongly to the 
Sardars, that they must treat Vikovich with all sorts of 
consideration ; and believe his tongue, oath, and words, as 
if they were from him (Russian Envoy). 

" The Sardars have sent Mohammed Omar with two 
hundred and fifty horsemen to Hirat, to wait upon Moham- 
med Shah, and have sent an elephant for His Majesty, and 
some shawls for the Russian Envoy. 

" The Sardars have sent one himdred and fourteen 
letters, &c., ordering the heads of Sistan, Farah, Sabz- 
var, and other Afghans, to join their son Mohammed Saddiq 
Khan at Farah. They have also informed them that the 
Russian Envoy has made them the * Mir Afghan,' and has 
promised to give them possession of Hirat, when, if any of 
them will not obey our (Sardars') orders, he will be 
banished from the country for ever. 

" You must also know that the days in which you saw 


Dost Mohammed Khan are departed. He is no longer 
popular. His joining the Russians has utterly ruined him 
in the eyes of all Mahomedans. 

"This has quickened Dost Mohammed Khan's plans; 
he has set out about repairing the Bala Hisar of Kabul, 
and the fort of Ghazni ; he has also increased his taxes in 
the Kohistan ; and, as you know, this only increases his 
difficulties. He now sends messenger after messenger to 
the Russian Ambassador and the Shah, urging them to 
settle affairs at Hirat, and come on to Kabul, when the 
country will be theirs. 

" You take no notice of the fire which has been kindled 
in Khorasan and Afghanistan. You will see how far it 
extends in the course of six months. 

" Mohammed Shah has written a letter to the Sardars of 
Qandhar. The contents of the letter were much ; but tell 
you the result of it. 

" Since the arrival of Mohammed Omar Khan, His 
Majesty has become sure of the attachment of the Sardars 
at Qandhar, to Persia, and that they should be at ease on 
account of their son, Mohammed Omar Khan ; after taking 
Hirat, His Majesty will send Vikovich to them, and the 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, with the amount of nine 
lakhs of rupees, and then they must hold themselves ready 
to receive the orders of the Shah. 

"This letter was sealed by the Shah, his Minister Mirza 
Haji Aghasi, and the Russian Ambassador. 

"Mohammed Omar Khan was received by ten thousand 


Persian cavalry, and presented with four guns and five pairs 
of dresses of honour. The Shah has given him a place near 
his own tent, and his Agent, Alladad Khan, lives with the 
Russian Ambassador. Mohammed Omar Khan gets two 
hundred ducats every day for his expenses ; and the Shah 
has told him that he will do much more for the Sardars 
than he told them in his letters. 

" This intelligence was sent by Mohammed Omar Khan 
to his father Kohandil Khan, through Khodadad Khan, 
chappar (courier), who arrived here in eleven days from 

" Two days after the arrival of Mohammed Omar Khan, 
the Persians made an assault on Hirat, and lost four 
hundred people, besides two hundred or three hundred 
wounded. Borowski and Samsan have been dreadfully 
wounded, and the former nearly killed. The head of one 
of the Russian officers was cut off and taken into the city 
by the Afghans. After this engagement both parties 
returned to their own quarters. 

" The arrival of Mohammed Omar Khan at the Persian 
camp has deeply disheartened the Afghans at Hirat. 
Many of them have turned against each other, and if the 
Sardars at Qandhar write to Mohammed Omar Khan, he 
would easily take Hirat, for the Afghans would likely 
surrender it to him. 

"Mohammed Sadiq Khan, the eldest son of Kohandil 
Khan, has possessed Farah, and is repairing it. 

" On the 18th October, I wrote to Captain Leech about 


Captain Vikovich, the agent of the Russian Ambassador, on 
which you are also informed. 

" On the 26th of the above month, Captain Vikovich 
reached Q^^ndhar, having left Mohammed Shah at Kosan, 
on the other side of Ghoryan. Sirdar Kohandil Khan 
wanted to send his aon Mohammed Omar Khan, and three 
hundred horsemen for his reception, but Captain Vikovich 
prevented the Sardar doing so. He entered the city alone, 
and put up in the house of Mirza Yaha. 

" Captain Vikovich told the Sardars that he was the 
bearer of sixty thousand ducats. Out of the above sum he 
has a bill for forty thousand ducats on the treasury of 
Kirman, and that money will be paid in three months hence 
to Dost Mohammed Khan ; ten thousand ducats he has in 
cash for the Sardars, who will get ten thousand more from 
Qayn, when they go with their army of Hirat. 

"After a long discussion on both sides, the Sardars 
took the ten thousand ducats from Captain Vikovich, and 
divided them. Kohandil Khan has pitched one coss from 
the city on his way to Hirat, and troops are daily assem- 
bling to join him. 

" The Russian Ambassador then asked the Shah his 
opinion of taking measures about Hirat : he told him to 
send money to the Afghan chiefs. The Shah said, ' When 
the Afghans come against Hirat, I will also order my forces 
in Khorasan to join them in attacking that city.' On this the 
Ambassador told the Shah if the city of Hirat was not even 
taken by the combined arms of the Afghans and Khora- 

2 A 


san, what then was the mode to reduce it ; the Shah 
pointed out to the Ambassador that it was not accord- 
ing to Treaty, that Russian forces should pass through 
Persia, but now His Majesty would make no objection if 
that Government should send their army through it to 
reduce any country they liked. This •permission from the 
Shah was received by the Ambassador with great thanks 
and pleasure. The Ambassador has gone with the Shah. 

" The Sardars^told Captain Vikovich that they were now 
quite satisfied about Hirat, but they feared for Qandhar, 
which may be taken by the English. He answered then, 
that it was not the law among Europeans that one nation 
should dare to conquer a foreign land in the presence of an 
officer from another, and therefore his (Vikovich's) pre- 
sence will prevent the English coming. These words have 
made the Sardars totally fearless of any ill luck. 

" On this the Sardars and also Captain Vikovich wrote 
separate letters to the Mirs of Sindh, saying that they 
should remain quiet for three months, and the Mirs will 
soon see them on the Indus with their army. 

" The proceedings of Captain Vikovich at Qandhar are 
matters of notoriety here, and may have a prejudicial effect 
at Hyderabad. I also find that the Russians have sent 
presents to Ali Khan, the Bilochi chief of Sistan. I keep 
Colonel Pottinger informed on these matters, and indeed on 
all that is going on." 


To Major JR. Leech. 

"I YESTERDAY asked Kohandil Khan what he meant by 
proceeding towards Hirat in the present crisis of affairs, and 
what was to be done with the English ? He said that if the 
English were encamped on the plains of Qandhar, he 
could not help going as far as Farah. He said his only 
plan was to remain at Farah, as the Persians and 
Russians had told him ; and if Qandhar in the interim 
should be taken or besieged, the Russians would have the 
blame ; that the Russians would give money and troops to 
them, that they might come back and fight at Qandhar; 
and that if they did not find the English there, they might 
employ the resources put at their disposal to subdue Hirat. 

" Sardar Kohandil Khan has left Qandhar, having 
distributed ducats to his army; he expected to arrive at 
Farah on the 9th of November. 

" Captain Vikovich has brought one thousand kharvars 
of grain for the Sardar, that was in the fort of Shamshuddin 

" Aladad Khan and Captain Vikovich arrived at Qand- 
har on the 17th October, bringing with them ten thou- 
sand ducats, which Kohandil Khan immediately applied 
for. The Russians answered, that it rested with Aladad 
Khan, to give the money as soon as the Sardars should 

"On the 21st October, the Sardars pitched their pesh 
khanah (advanced tents), and received the ten thousand 

2 A 2 


ducats. Sardar Kohandil Khan took for his share two 
thousand seven hundred ducats ; Sardar Rahamdil and 
Mehardil Khans took the same ; Mir Afzal Khan 
received nine hundred and fifty ducats ; and Mohammed 
Sadiq Khan the same sum. 

" On the 22nd October, four messengers arrived from 
Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, saying that Sir A. Bumes 
and Lieutenant Wood had arrived at Peshavar with thirty 
regiments ; that the Sikhs had retired from Peshavar, and 
urging the Sardars not to quit Qandhar. 

" Sardar Kohandil Khan showed the letter to Captain 
Vikovich, who said that they were at liberty to act as they 
pleased. The Sardars said they would start in four days." 

Si?' Alexander Bumes. 

" This agent does not wish to figure as a Russian, but as 
a Persian ; he gives out that his proceedings are guided 
by Mohammed Shah's orders, whose ally and friend is his 
master the Emperor. 

" Sardar Mehardil Khan has pitched at Vashien, 
Sardar Kohandil Khan (in company with Captain Viko- 
vich) at Kishknakhued ; and Sardar Rahamdil Khan, near 
the Hauz Madad, twelve coss from the city. All the 
troops are preparing to follow and join them. 

" Abdul Saheb Khan, the servant of the Russian am- 
bassador, passed through Qandhar on his way to Kabul, in 
charge of the dress of honour for Dost Mohammed Khan. 


" Our intelligence from Qandhar has been all along 
accurate, and you will see that the letters sent from Qand- 
har to Hyderabad, under Captain Vikovich's instigation (if 
not by himself), have at last come to light, as stated in the 
sixth paragraph of Colonel Pottinger's letter of the 23rd 
instant (November, 1838), now forwarded. It now turns 
out that the chiefs of Qandhar have offered a portion of 
their Russian bribe to the chief of Kelat, and such is the 
unhappy fatality hanging over these disunited chiefs ; which 
throws considerable light on the intrigues of Russia in that 
quarter, and in which Captain Vikovich is represented to 
have taken a prominent part. 

" Captain Vikovich has given ten thousand ducats to the 
Sardars of Qandhar, and promised them ten thousand more 
when they arrive at Farah, and the same number again on 
reaching one march on this side of Hirat, and twenty 
thousand ducats on besieging that city. The Sardars have 
consequently left Qandhar, and arrived at Farah. Mehar- 
dil Khan has been sent back to Qandhar ; for he was 
afraid of the Ghilzais making an insurrection, because the 
heads of that tribe, Abdulrahman Khan, and Sultan Mo- 
hammed Khan, the sons of Shahabuddin Khan, and Gul 
Mohammed Khan, the son of Khan, had received letters 
from Shah Shuja ; and because in the city there were Haji 
Khan, Sohbat Khan, and Mama, in whom the Sardars 
had but little confidence. 

" The Russian agent, who lately came to Dost Mohammed 
Khan, presented six hundred yards of long cloth and a few 


pieces of broad cloth. He has put up at Mirza Sami 

" On the 11th December Sardar Mehardil Khan in- 
vited Captain Vikovich to a party at his house, where there 
were present MuUa Nasu, Nazar Mohammed Khan, and 
Haji Husain Alii Khan, the Persian ambassador. The 
Sardar told Captain Vikovich that he (the Captain) had told 
them (the Sardars) that on that side of the Indus was the 
British government, and on this side that of Mohammed 
Shah, who owes allegiance to Russia ; that since they had 
also submitted themselves to Russian allegiance, it behoved 
him to assist them against the English, who are now going 
to invade Afghanistan. Captain Vikovich answered that 
they were not in allegiance of Russia, because though he 
had given them ten thousand ducats to set out for Hirat, 
they had not yet travelled twenty-five cosses during fifty 
days, and that when they arrived at Hirat he could assist 
them against any enemy. He also added that he was 
deputed to Amir Dost Mohammed Khan, and that the 
Amir had sent his letter to Russia by his man Habbu 
Khan, declaring himself a servant of the Russian govern- 
ment, and given an unsealed copy of it to himself; that the 
man had come as far as Qandhar, and then disappeared ; 
that he sent the copy of the letter to his government, and 
received a letter for the Amir to the effect that he (the 
Amir) was not a servant but a friend ; that if he wanted the 
Russian friendship he should write so, and it would send to 
him four lakhs of ducats and four officers skilled in artillery 


and infantry exercise ; and that he was waiting for an 
answer to that letter from the Amir, after the receipt of 
which he would return to Russia. 

** He also stated that the Russian government had more 
reliance on Dost Mohammed Khan's intellect and power 
than on the chiefs of Qandhar, because he, notwithstanding 
his poverty, and being without means, is fighting against the 
Sikhs who are provided with everything." 

( 360 ) 


Reluctance of the Indian Government to interfere with Captain 
Vikovich — Proceedings of Count Simonich — Sir A. Burnes 
and Sir J. Macneil urge the necessity of vigorous measures — 
The north-western Frontier — Lord Wellesley's opinion — 
Policy of the British government — Shah Shuja — Correspond- 
ence, and extracts from various sources illustrative of British 
policy in Afghanistan— The British government resolve to 
restore Shah Shuja — Mission to Ranjit Singh — Tripartite 
Treaty — Preparations — Declaration of the Governor- General 
— Letter to the Shah of Persia. 

It has been well known to all, and published in 
various papers, and in the government despatches, that 
the Earl of Auckland, then the Governor-General 
of India, did not attach much importance to the 
mission of Captain Vikovich and the Russian in- 
trigues in Afghanistan; and judiciously considered 
that the whole matter should be decided by the 
authorities of England in Europe. But yet the cir- 
cumstances, which were daily assuming more and 
more and now wearing constantly an unfavourable 
aspect, would neither dictate nor approve the policy 


of his Lordship to treat always a subject of such 
magnitude thus slightingly. His Excellency Count 
Simonich, the Russian ambassador, with his other 
colleagues, was not only superintending and plan- 
ning the assault upon Hirat, against the advice of 
the British minister, but was actually deputing agent 
after agent, and sending money and grain to the 
Amir of Kabul and the chiefs of Qandhar. Sir 
John Macneil was in the meantime dismissed by the 
King of Persia, and Sir Alexander Burnes by the 
Amir of Kabul. Both of these functionaries, well 
versed and experienced in the politics of the East, 
and noted for their knowledge of the feelings of that 
country, well proved also in their anxiety for the 
welfare of British India, and in their zeal to pre- 
serve the national honour, urged upon the Governor- 
General the consideration of the necessity so ap- 
parent for taking immediate steps to counteract the 
openly united intrigues and encroachments of the 
Russian ambassador and of the Shah of Persia, 
which had most effectually made their way into 
Sindh and the interior of India. It is unnecessary 
for me to beg the readers to trace their way back in 
the histories of former times, and in the records and 

362 LORD wellesley's policy. 

publications which are so numerous, and which all 
bear a prompt witness that whenever any rumours of 
invasion from the west of the Indus have been afloat 
they have always excited very much the people of 
India. Even Zaman Shah contemplated at one 
time the plan of an expedition to proceed towards 
Lahaur, with the view to cross the Sutlej, and his 
correspondence with the Tipu Sultan were topics of 
great deliberation and interest to the British authori- 
ties of that day. Notwithstanding that barrier of 
British India was admitted by Lord Wellesley to be 
the territory of Banjit Singh, yet his Lordship, in 
consideration for the safety of the English posses- 
sions, made a capital remark, regardless of all ties of 
friendship which might be in existence with the 
rulers of that country: "I consider that we have 
nothing more between us and the most desirable 
frontier everywhere but the territory of Banjit. If 
we were threatened on the north-west, for example, 
by an invasion of the Bussians, we should, in self- 
defence, be obliged to take possession of the country 
to the foot of the hills, as we could not leave an 
intermediate space in which the enemy might esta- 
blish themselves." The Earl of Auckland was also 


informed that the letters of Sir John Macneil, de- 
spatched to Sir A. Burnes through the Bombay 
government, " proved all previous conjectures to be 
well founded, and that M. Vikovich was what he 
had given himself out, an agent from the Emperor 
of Russia." Meanwhile the reports of the unpopu- 
larity and the internal dissensions of the government 
of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan had frequently 
reached the ears of our government. Taking all 
these points into one deliberate view, it became 
necessary that a friendly government should be 
established in Afghanistan, and the Barakzai chiefs, 
who are inimically disposed towards the British, 
must be removed from the usurped authority of 

It is well known that the British government in 
India, alarmed at the startling advance of Napoleon, 
had deputed the Honourable Mountstuart Elphin- 
stone for this purpose, and had entered into alliance 
with Shah Shuja-ul-mulk, who, by adverse circum- 
stances, was since obliged to leave his dominions, and 
to take refuge in Lodianah. He had tried several 
times to accomplish the recovery of his throne, but 
through want of resolution had repeatedly failed in his 


attempt. All the princes of India, and particularly 
those of Central Asia, nay, even some of the Barak- 
zai, I have heard saying that Shah Shuja was driven 
away by his own servants, and sought refuge among, 
and the protection of, the English. They added, 
that these, by the rules of honour and as a powerful 
nation, were bound to replace him on the throne; 
that they would have done in this no more than was 
done by a former king of Persia, in the case of 
Dara Shikoh, when he fled through the fear of Au- 
rangzeb. Though Shah Shuja, by his long inactive 
life and private residence at Lodianah, had lost the 
abilities of a sovereign, yet his name and person, and 
the hereditary right, were not only considered by the 
Governor-General to constitute him the best instru- 
ment for gaining the end in view, but were also 
recommended as such by the best authorities and of 
the largest experience. Sir Alexander Burnes, after 
his departure from Kabul, writes to the Earl of 
Auckland in these terms : — * 

June 3, 1838. 

"It is clear that the British government cannot, with 
any credit or justice to itself, permit the present state of 

* Sir John Hobhouse's Speech, page 33. 


affairs at Kabul to continue. If this be left undone, they 
will succumb to Persia and Russia, and become the instru- 
ments for whatever those powers desire. I therefore dis- 
tinctly state that the evil lies beyond Afghanistan itself, and 
must be dealt with accordingly. 

" If it is the object of government to destroy the power of 
the present chief of Kabul, that may be effected by the 
agency of his brother, Sultan Mohammed Khan, or of Shah 
Shuja-ul-mulk ; but to ensure complete success in the plan, 
the British government must appear directly in it, that is, it 
must not be left to the Sikhs themselves. 

" Of Sultan Mohammed Khan, the first instrument at 
comihand, you will remember that his brother. Dost Mo- 
hammed, plainly confessed his dread of him if aided by 
Sikh gold, and with such aid the ruler of Kabul may be 
readily destroyed ; but Sultan Mohammed has not the 
ability to rule Kabul : he is a very good man, but incapable 
of acting for himself; and, though fit as an instrument for 
getting rid of a present evil, he would still leave affairs as 
unsettled as ever when fixed in Kabul ; and he is conse- 
quently a very questionable agent to be used at all. 

"As for Shuja-ul-mulk personally, the British govern- 
ment have only to send him to Peshavar with an agent, and 
one or two of its own regiments as an honorary escort, and 
an avowal to the Afghans that we have taken up his cause, 
to ensure his being fixed for ever on his throne." 

The opinions of Sir John Macneil with regard to 


the right of the Sadozai family, or of Shah Shuja, 
are expressed in this manner :* — 

" Though the sovereignty of the Afghans has passed out 
of the hands of Ahmed Shah's descendants, the Durrani 
tribe, it appears, maintain an undoubted ascendancy in the 
nation. The Barakzais have usurped the greater portion 
of the power of the Sadozais ; but the latter family still main- 
tains itself in Hirat, and has a strong hold on the prejudices, 
if not on the affections, of a large portion of the Durranis. 

" That the Barakzais, holding Kabul and Qandhar in in- 
dependence, would not appear to have conciliated the attach- 
ment of the Durranis, who depend in a great measure for 
their power on influences foreign to their tribe. To force 
their rule therefore on the people would not only be a diffi- 
cult operation in itself, but, if sought to be effected through 
the mediation of the British government, would require a 
degree of support from us which we cannot, in my opinion, 
afford to give to the present possessors of power in Afghan- 
istan, or rather to the ruler of Kabul, without bringing new 
elements of discord into action, productive of more evil to 
the peace of iVfghanistan, and of the whole country, than the 
preservation of the sovereignty of the Afghans in the Sa- 
dozai family would be worth." 

Sir Claude Wade, the political agent at Lodianah, 
having continued a rapid communication and inter- 
* Correspondence relating to Afghanistan, No. 5, page 20. 



course with all the chiefs of Afghanistan, and by this 
means possessing a full knowledge of the feelings of the 
inhabitants, who frequently visited Shah Shuja,* pre- 
ferred that His Majesty should be placed on the throne 
in the room of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. 

" In this letter Sir Claude Wade endeavoured to impress 
upon Lord Auckland the opinion that Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk 
ought to be preferred to Dost Mohammed, — and stated 
why he differed from Sir Alexander Burnes on that point. 
Gentlemen would do well to peruse that important docu- 
ment, the facts stated in which, and the inferences drawn 
from them, are directly at variance with what was said by 
that Honourable Gentleman on the opposite side. In one 
place Sir Claude Wade says, ' My own sources of informa- 
tion, which have been repeatedly authenticated both by 
natives and Europeans, who have visited Kabul, lead me 
to believe that the authority of the Amir (Dost Mohammed) 
is by no means popular with his subjects, and many instances 
in confirmation of the fact might be adduced from the reports 
of Mr. Masson, even when that individual has been willing to 
render every justice to Dost Mohammed Khan's abilities." 

As quoted by Sir Claude Wade,t who sums up 
his advice by these words : — 

" I submit my opinions with every deference to the 

* Sir John Hobhouse's Speech, p. 37. f Ibid,, p. 39. 

368 OF MR. MASSON ; 

wisdom of his Lordship's decision ; but it occurs to me that 
less violence would be done to the prejudices of the people, 
and to the safety and well-being of our relations with other 
powers, by facilitating the restoration of Shah Shuja, rather 
than by forcing the Afghans to submit to the sovereignty of 
the Amir." 

Above all the authority of Mr. Masson, from his 
long intercourse with the Afghans, and from being 
the news-writer of the Indian government, will un- 
doubtedly appear a predominant feature in the 
evidences already quoted.* 

" The British government," said one of those on whose 
information that government acted (Mr. Masson), " could 
employ interference without offending half-a-dozen indi- 
viduals. Shah Shuja, under their auspices, would not even 
encounter opposition ; and the Amir (Dost Mohammed 
Khan) and his friends, if he has any, must yield to his 
troops or become fugitives. Another presumed recom- 
mendation of Shah Shuja was this — pointed out by the same 
authority. No slight advantage, were Shah Shuja at the 
head of government (in Afghanistan), would be that, from 
his residence among Europeans, he would view their inter- 
course in these countries without jealousy, which cannot be 
expected from the present rulers, but after a long period, 
and until better acquaintance may remove their distrust." t 

♦ Thornton's History of British India, vol. vi. p. 150. 
t Correspondence relating to Afghanistan, No. 5, p. 20. 


" The failure of Shah Shuja is now most sincerely la- 
mented by all reflecting minds : I myself, however, rejoiced 
at it at the time, but the course of events seems to prove 
that his success would have been felicitous to the country, 
and the wishes of all classes even now turn to his restoration. 

"I must confess," writes Mr. Masson to Sir Claude 
Wade,* " I am not very sanguine as to any very favourable 
result from negotiations with the Barakzais (that is Dost 
Mohammed and his brothers). They are chiefly indeed their 
own enemies ; but their eternal and unholy dissensions and 
enmities have brought them to be considered as pests to 
the country, and the likelihood is that affairs will become 
worse rather than better while they remain." 

Mr. Lord and Lieutenant Wood, on their return 
from Qandarz, secured the unanimous voice of the 
population in Kabul against the Amir, and in favour 
of the Shah ; the latter of whom thus expresses his 
own opinion : — 

" Annoyed at Dost Mohammed's reception of Vikovich, 
the Russian emissary, and disquieted by the departure of 
the British agent, they looked to the Amir as the sole cause 
of their troubles, and thought of Shah Shuja and redress." 

On these various and unquestionable evidences, 
given by the authorities well versed in the politics 

* Sir John Hobhouse's Speech, p. 38. 

2 B 


of that quarter, where the danger was impending, the 
Earl of Auckland resolved to establish Shah Shuja 
on the throne, and thus to extinguish the flame of 
the united intrigues of Kussia and of Persia on the 
west side of the Indus, before it extended to the 
eastern bank of that river. It was considered de- 
sirable, previous to forming an expedition for that 
purpose, to make the Maharajah Ranjit Singh, the 
ruler of the Panjab, a party in this important under- 
taking. Shah Shuja, who was watching with ex- 
treme anxiety the proceedings of Sir Alexander 
Burnes's late mission in Kabul, and, as he said him- 
self, praying for its failure, was now informed that 
the British government were to restore him to his 
dominions, using both their money and their arms 
in his favour. 

The Governor - General of India deputed Sir 
William Macnaghten, Bart., on a mission to the 
Court of Lahaur; and Sir Claude Wade and Sir 
Alexander Burnes were also directed to co-operate 
with him. The mission was favourably received by 
the Maharajah,* and the negotiations commenced 
with good designs, and ended successfully. The 
* See ' Ranjil's Court/ by the Hon. Captain Osborn. 



form of the agreement was in great portion the copy 
of that into which the ruler of the Panjab and the 
Shah had entered in 1833-4, with the exception of 
the third party — the British — which had now become 
an accomplice in the aifair, and which agreed that 
while the Sikh and English .troops engaged and 
encamped together to promote the cause of the Shah, 
the slaughter of the kine should not be permitted, 
as being against the religion of the Sikhs. The 
following is the copy of this tri-partite treaty, which 
must be borne in mind, and referred to on the 
release and departure of the Amir Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan from the British territory, through 
the Panjab, escorted by Captain Nicolson. 

Treaty hettoeen the British Government^ Ranjit Singh, and 
Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, concluded at Lahore on the 2Qth 
June, 1838. - 

" Whereas a treaty was formerly concluded between the 
Maharajah Ranjit Singh and Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, consist- 
ing of fourteen articles, exclusive of the preamble and con- 
clusion : and whereas the execution of the provisions of the 
said treaty was suspended for certain reasons : and whereas 
at this time Sir William H. Macnaghten having been de- 

2 B 2 


puted by the Right Honourable George Lord Auckland, 
G.C.B., Governor-General of India, to the presence of the 
Maharajah Ranjit Singh, and vested with full powers to form 
a treaty in a manngr consistent with the friendly engage- 
ments subsisting between the two states, the treaty afore- 
said is revived and concluded, with certain modifications ; 
and four new articles have been added thereto, with the 
approbation and in concert with the British government, 
the provisions whereof, as contained in the following eighteen 
articles, will be duly and faithfully observed. 

" 1. Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk disclaims all title on the part of 
himself, his heirs and successors, to all the territories lying 
on either bank of the river Indus that may be possessed by 
the Maharajah, viz., Kashmir, including its limits E. W. N. S., 
together with the fort of Attak, Chach, Hazara, Khebel, 
Aub, and its dependencies, on the left bank of the aforesaid 
river, and on the right bank Peshavar, with the Usafzai 
territory, Khataks, Hasht Nagar, Michni, Kohat, Hangu, and 
all the places dependant of Peshavar, as far as the Khaibar 
Pass ; Bannu, the Vazivi territory, Daur, Tank Gorak 
Kalabagh, and Khushalgar, with their dependant districts, 
Dera Ismail Khan and its dependencies, together with 
Dera Ghazi Khan, Kot Mittan, Omar Kot, and their 
dependant territory, Sanghur, Harand, Dajal, Hajipur Ra- 
janpur, and the three Kachis, as well as Munkera, with 
its district, and the province of Multan, situated on the 
left bank. These countries and places are considered to be 
the property, and to form the estate of the Maharajah ; and 


the Shah neither has, nor will have, any concern with them ; 
they belong to the Maharajah and his posterity, from genera- 
tion to generation. 

" 2. The people of the country on the other side of Khaibar 
will not be suffered to commit robberies and aggressions, or 
any disturbances, on this side. If any defaulter on either 
state, who has embezzled the revenue, take refuge in the 
territory of the other, each party engages to surrender him ; 
and no person shall obstruct the passage of the stream 
which issues out of the Khaibar defile, and supplies the .fort 
of Fatahghar with water, according to ancient usage. 

" 3. As, agreeably to the Treaty established between the 
British Government and the Maharajah, no one can cross 
from the left to the right bank of the Satlej vnthout a 
passport from the Maharajah, the same rule shall be ob- 
served regarding the passage of the Indus, whose waters 
join the Satlej, and no one shall be allowed to cross the 
Indus without the Maharajah's permission. 

"4. Regarding Shikarpur and the territory of Sindh, 
lying on the right bank of the Indus, the Shah will agree to 
abide by whatever may be settled as right and proper, in 
conformity with the happy relations of friendship subsisting 
with the Maharajah through Sir C. Wade. 

"5. When the Shah shall have established his authority 
in Kabul and Qandhar, he will annually send the Maharajah 
the following articles, viz. fifty-five high-bred horses, of 
approved colour and pleasant paces, eleven Persian scymi- 
tars, seven Persian poniards, twenty-five good mules, fruits 


of various kinds, both dry and fresh, and Sirdas or musk 
melons, of a sweet and delicate flavour (to be sent through- 
out the year), by way of Kabul river and Peshavar ; 
grapes, pomegranates, apples, almonds, raisins, pistahs or 
chesnuts, an abundant supply of each ; as well as a piece of 
satin of every colour ; choghas of fir, kim khabs wrought 
with gold and silver, and Persian carpet, altogether to the 
number of one hundred and one pieces ; all these articles 
the Shah will continue to send to the Maharajah every year. 

"6. Each party shall address the other on terms of 

"7. Merchants of Afghanistan who may be desirous of 
trading to Lahaur, Amratsar, or any other parts of the 
Maharajah^s possessions, shall not be stopped or molested 
on their way ; on the contrary, strict orders shall be issued 
to facilitate their intercourse, and the Maharajah engages to 
observe the same line of conduct on his part with respect to 

" 8. The Maharajah will yearly send to the Shah the 
following articles, in the way of friendship — fifty-five pieces 
of shawls, twenty-five pieces of muslin, eleven dupatahs, five 
pieces of kim khab, five scarfs, five turbans, fifty-five loads 
of barah rice (peculiar to Peshavar) . 

" 9. Any of the Maharajah's officers who may be deputed 
to Afghanistan to purchase horses, or on any other busi- 
ness, as well as those who may be sent by the Shah into the 
Panjab for the purpose of purchasing piece goods or 
shawls, &c. to the amount of eleven thousand rupees, will 


be treated by both sides with due attention, and every 
facility will be afforded to them in the execution of their 

" 10. Whenever the armies of the two states may happen 
to be assembled at the same place, on no account shall the 
slaughter of kine be permitted to take place. 

''11. In the event of the Shah receiving an auxiliary 
force from the Maharajah, whatever booty may be acquired 
from the Barakzais in jewels, horses, arms great and small, 
shall be equally divided between the two contracting parties. 
If the Shah should succeed in obtaining possession of such 
property without the assistance of the Maharajah's troops, 
the Shah agrees to send a portion of it to the Maharajah by 
way of friendship. 

"12. An exchange of missions charged with letters and 
presents shall constantly take place between the two parties. 

" 13. Should the Maharajah require the aid of any of the 
Shah's troops, in furtherance of the objects contemplated by 
this Treaty, the Shah engages to send a force, commanded 
by one of his principal officers. In like manner the Maha- 
rajah will furnish the Shah, when required, with an auxiliary 
force, composed of Mahomedans, and commanded by one 
of his principal officers, as far as Kabul, in furtherance of 
the objects contemplated by this Treaty. When the Maha- 
rajah may go to Peshavar the Shah will depute a Shahzada 
to visit him, on which occasion the Maharajah will receive 
and dismiss him with the honour and consideration due to 
his rank and dignity. 


" 14. The friends and enemies of each of the three high 
powers, that is to say, the British and Sikh Governments 
and that of Shuja-ul-Mulk, shall be the friends and enemies 
to all and to each of them. 

"15. Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk engages, after the attainment 
of his object, to pay without fail to the Maharajah the sum 
of two lakhs of rupees, of the Nanak, Shahv, or Kaldar 
currency, calculating from the date on which the Sikh 
troops may be despatched for the purpose of reinstating His 
Majesty in Kabul, in consideration of the Maharajah 
stationing a force of not less than five thousand men, cavalry 
and infantry, of the Mahomedan persuasion, within the 
limits of the Peshavar territory, for the support of the Shah, 
and to be sent to the aid of His Majesty whenever the 
British Government, in concert and counsel with the Maha- 
rajah, shall deem their aid necessary ; and when any matter 
of great importance may arise in the westward, such 
measures will be adopted with regard to it as may seem 
expedient and proper at the time to the British and Sikh 
Governments. In the event of the Maharajah requiring 
the aid of any of the Shah's troops, a deduction will be 
made in the subsidy, proportioned to the period for which 
suph aid may be afforded ; and the British Government 
holds itself responsible for the punctual payment of the 
above sum annually to the Maharajah so long as the provi- 
sions of this Treaty are duly observed. 

"16. Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk agrees to relinquish, for him- 
self, his heirs, and successors, all claims of supremacy and 


arrears of tribute over the territories now held by the Mirs 
of Sindh (which will continue to belong to the Mirs and 
their successors in perpetuity), on condition of the payment 
to him by the Mirs of such a sum as may be determined, 
under the mediation of the British Government, one million 
five hundred thousand of rupees, and of such payment being 
made over by him to the Maharajah Ranjit Singh on these 
payments being completed. Article 4, of 12tli March, 
1833, will be considered cancelled, and the customary 
interchange of letters and suitable presents between the 
Maharajah and the Mirs of Sindh shall be maintained as 

"17. When Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk shall have succeeded in 
establishing his authority in Afghanistan, he shall not attack 
nor molest his nephew the ruler of Hirat, in the possession 
of the territories subject to his government. 

" 18. Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk binds himself, his heirs, and 
successors, to refrain from entering into negotiations with 
any foreign state without the knowledge and consent of the 
British and Sikh Governments, and to oppose any power 
having the desire to invade the Sikh or British territories 
by force of arms, to the utmost of his ability. 

" The three powers, parties in this Treaty, viz. the British 
Government, the Maharajah Ranjit Singh, and Shah Shuja- 
ul-Mulk, cordially agree to the foregoing articles. There 
shall be no deviation from them in any way whatever, and 
in that case the present Treaty shall be considered binding 
for ever, and this Treaty shall come into operation from and 


after the date on which the seals and signatures of the three 
contracting parties shall have been affixed. 

" Done at Lahaur, this 26th day of June, in the year of 
our Lord 1838, corresponding with the 15th of the mouth 
of Asarh, 1895, aera Bikarmajit. 

(Signed) "Auckland, 

" Ran JIT Singh, 

" Shah Shujah-ul-Mulk." 

While the Governor-General was ratifying the 
above-mentioned treaty with the Maharajah, and 
with Qazi Mohammed Husain, on the part of 
Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, and was framing the plan of 
the projected expedition, the arrival of advices from 
England, " characterized doubtless by Lord Palmer- 
ston's usual vigour,^ led to the renewed considera- 

* I forgot to mention in the preceding and proper place, when 
I was invited by the minister of the Amir of Kabul, in the 
presence of M. Vikovich, the conversation turned on the com- 
position, taste, and love of poetry. The Russian agent said to 
the minister that Europeans consider the taste for poetry a sign 
of lazy habits, but the scientific inventions productive of wealth ; 
and the tact of the principal leaders of the politics of the states 
are the national amusement and talk of the day. The Mirza 
replied that if that was the case, no nation in Europe can boast 
of excelling in science more than the English ; and their suc- 
cessful career in India, China, and Barmis says much for the 
excellence of their politics. Here M. Vikovich hesitatingly 
replied that Russia has now roused from slumber, and her mi- 



tion of the plan for establishing a British influence 
at Kabul, by the restoration of Shah Shuja," 
strengthened and conlirmed the determination of 
the Earl of Auckland, and thus the expedition of 
Afghanistan was resolved on. 

On the return of Sir William Macnaghten from 
the Court of Lahaur, preparations were made to 
put the contemplated schemes of policy into im- 
mediate execution, and the declaration of war 
was proclaimed and circulated in all parts of India 
and Afghanistan. 

Declaration on the part of the Right Honourable the Governor- 
General of India, 

Simla, \st October, 1838. 

"The Right Honourable the Governor-General of India 
having, with the concurrence of the Supreme Council, di- 
rected the assemblage of a British force for service across 
the Indus, his Lordship deems it proper to publish the 

nister Count Nesselrode is considered at the present age to be 
matchless in politics, and would shake the whole of Europe if 
there was not one rival for him, ** Vazir i daval i Kharajah 
Inglisyah (the English minister for the foreign affairs). Lord 
Palmerston." He also added that Louis Philippe, King of the 
French, is the wisest sovereign, but fears Count Nesselrode, who 
has not yet acknowledged him as King of that nation. 


following exposition of the reasons which have led to this 
important measure. 

" It is a matter of notoriety that the treaties entered into 
by the British government in the year 1832 with the Mirs 
of Sindh, the Navab of Bahavalpur, and the Maharajah 
Ranjit Singh, had for their object, by opening the navigation 
of the Indus, to facilitate the extension of commerce, and to 
gain for the British nation in Central Asia that legitimate 
influence which an interchange of benefits would naturally 

" With a view to invite the aid of the de facto rulers 
of Afghanistan in the measures necessary for giving full, 
efiect to those treaties. Sir Alexander Bumes was deputed, 
towards the close of the year 1836, on a mission to Dost 
Mohammed Khan, the chief of Kabul. The original sub- 
jects of that officer's mission were purely of a commercial 
nature. Whilst Sir Alexander Burnes, however, was on 
his journey to Kabul, information was received by the 
Governor-General that the troops of Dost Mohammed 
Khan had made a sudden and unprovoked attack on those 
of our ancient ally the Maharajah Ranjit Singh. It was 
naturally to be apprehended that His Highness the Maha- 
rajah would not be slow to avenge the aggression ; and it 
was to be feared that the flames of war being once kindled 
in the very regions into which we were endeavouring to 
extend our commerce, the peaceful and beneficial purposes 
of the British government would be altogether frustrated. 
In order to avert a result so calamitous, the Governor 


General resolved on authorising Sir Alexander Bumes to 
intimate to Dost Mohammed Khan that if he should evince 
a disposition to come to just and reasonable terms with the 
Maharajah, his Lordship would exert his good offices with 
his Highness for the restoration of an amicable understand- 
ing between the two powers. The Maharajah, with the 
characteristic confidence which he had uniformly placed in 
the faith and friendship of the British, at once assented to 
the proposition of the Governor-General, to the effect that, 
in the meantime, hostilities on his part should be suspended. 

" It subsequently came to the knowledge of the Governor- 
General that a Persian army was besieging Hirat; that 
intrigues were actively prosecuted throughout Afghanistan, 
for the purpose of extending Persian influence and authority 
to the banks of, and even beyond, the Indus ; and that the 
court of Persia had not only commenced a course of injury 
and insult to the officers of Her Majesty's mission in the 
Persian territory, but had afforded evidence of being en- 
gaged in designs wholly at variance with the principles and 
objects of its alliance with Great Britain. 

" After much time spent by Sir A. Bumes in fruitless 
negotiation at Kabul, it appeared that Dost Mohammed 
Khan, chiefly in consequence of his reliance upon Persian 
encouragement and assistance, persisted, as respected his 
misunderstanding with the Sikhs, in urging the most unrea- 
sonable pretensions, such as the Governor-General could 
not, consistently with justice and his regard for the friend- 
ship of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, be the channel of submitting 


to the consideration of his Highness ; that he avowed 
schemes of aggrandizement and ambition injurious to the 
security and peace of the frontiers of India ; and that he 
openly threatened, in furtherance of those schemes, to call 
in every foreign aid which he could command. Ultimately, 
he gave his undisguised support to the Persian designs in 
Afghanistan, of the unfriendly and injurious character of 
which, as concerned the British character in India, he was 
well apprized, and by his utter disregard of the views and 
interests of the British government, compelled Sir A. Bumes 
to leave Kabul without having effected any of the objects of 
his mission. 

" It was now evident that no further interference could 
be exercised by the British government to bring about a 
good understanding between the Sikh ruler and Dost Mo- 
hammed Khan, and the hostile policy of the latter chief 
showed too plainly that, so long as Kabul remained under 
his government, we could never hope that tranquillity of our 
neighbourhood would be secured, or that the interests of 
our Indian empire would be preserved inviolate. 

" The Governor-General deems it in this place necessary 
to revert to the siege of Hirat and the conduct of the Per- 
sian nation. The siege of that city has now been carried on 
by the Persian army for many months. The attack upon it 
was an unjustifiable and cruel aggression, perpetrated and 
continued notwithstanding the solemn and repeated remon- 
strances of the English envoy at the court of Persia, and 
after every just and becoming offer had been made and re- 


jected. The besieged have behaved with a gallantry and 
fortitude worthy of the justice of their cause; and the 
Governor-General would yet indulge the hope that their 
heroism may enable them to maintain a successful defence 
until succours shall reach them from British India. In the 
meantime the ulterior designs of Persia, affecting the inter- 
ests of the British government, have been, by a succession 
of events, more and more openly manifested. The Governor- 
General has recently ascertained by an official despatch from 
Sir J. Macneil, Her Majesty's envoy, that His Excellency 
has been compelled, by a refusal of his just demands, by a 
systematic course of disrespect adopted towards him by the 
Persian government, to quit the court of the Shah, and to 
make a public declaration of the cessation of all intercourse 
between the two governments. The necessity under which 
Great Britain is placed of regarding the present advance of 
the Persian army into Afghanistan as an act of hostility 
towards herself, has also been officially communicated to the 
Shah, under the express of Her Majesty's Government. 

" The chiefs of Qandhar (brothers of Dost Mohammed 
Khan of Kabul) have avowed their adherence to the Per- 
sian policy, with the same full knowledge of its opposition 
to the rights and interests of the British nation in India, 
and have been openly assisting in the operations against 

" In the crisis of affairs consequent upon the retirement 
of our envoy from Kabul, the Governor-General felt the 
importance of taking immediate measures for arresting the 


rapid progress of foreign intrigue and aggression towards 
our territories. 

" His attention was naturally drawn at this conjuncture 
to the position and claims of Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, a mo- 
narch who, when in power, had cordially acceded to the 
measures of united resistance to external enmity, which 
were at that time judged necessary by the British govern- 
ment, and who, on his empire being usurped by its present 
rulers, had found an honourable asylum in the British 

^* It had been clearly ascertained, from the information 
furnished by the various officers who have visited Afghan- 
istan, that the Barakzai chiefs, from their disunion and 
unpopularity, are ill-fitted, under any circumstances, to be 
useful allies to the British government, and to aid us in our 
just and necessary measures of national defence. Yet so 
long as they refrained from proceedings injurious to our 
interests and security, the British Government acknowledged 
and respected their authority ; but a different policy ap- 
peared to be now more than justified by the conduct of 
those chiefs, and to be indispensable to our own safety. 
The welfare of our possessions in the East requires that we 
should have on our western frontier an ally who is interested 
in resisting aggression and establishing tranquillity, in the 
place of chiefs ranging themselves in subservience to a 
hostile power, and seeking to promote schemes of conquest 
and aggrandizement. 

" After serious and mature deliberation, the Governor- 


General was satisfied that a pressing necessity, as well as 
every consideration of policy and justice, warranted us in 
espousing the cause of Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, whose popu- 
larity throughout Afghanistan had been proved to his 
Lordship by the strong and unanimous testimony of the 
best authorities. Having arrived at this determination, the 
Governor-General was further of opinion that it was just 
and proper no less from the position of Maharajah Ranjit 
Singh, than from his undeviating friendship towards the 
British Government, that his Highness should have the offer 
of becoming a party to the contemplated operations. 

"Sir William H. Macnaghten was accordingly deputed 
in June last to the court of his Highness, and the result of 
his mission has been the conclusion of a tripartite treaty by 
the British Government, the Maharajah, and Shah Shuja- 
ul-Mulk, whereby his Highness is guaranteed in his present 
possessions, and has bound himself to co-operate for the 
restoration of the Shah to the throne of his ancestors. The 
friends and enemies of any one of the contracting parties 
have been declared to be the friends and enemies of all. 

" Various points had been adjusted which had been the 
subjects of discussion between the British Government and 
his Highness the Maharajah, the identity of whose interests 
with those of the Honourable Company has now been made 
apparent to all the surrounding states. A guaranteed 
independence will, upon favourable conditions, be tendered 
to the Mirs of Sindh, and the integrity of Hirat, in the 
possession of its present ruler, will be fully respected ; while 

2 c 


by the measures completed or in progress, it may reasonably 
be hoped that the general freedom and security of commerce 
will be promoted ; that the name and just influence of the 
British government will gaui their proper footing among the 
nations of Central Asia ; that tranquillity will be established 
upon the most important frontier of India ; and that a last- 
ing barrier will be raised against hostile intrigue and en- 

" His Majesty Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk will enter Afghan- 
istan, surrounded by his own troops, and will be supported 
against foreign interference and factious opposition by a 
British army. The Governor-General confidently hopes 
that the Shah will be speedily replaced on the throne by 
his own subjects and adherents ; and when once he shall be 
secured in power, and the independence and integrity of 
Afghanistan established, the British army will be with- 
drawn. The Governor-General has been led to these 
measures by the duty which is imposed on him of providing 
for the security of the possessions of the British crown ; but 
he rejoices that, in the discharge of his duty, he will be 
enabled to assist in restoring the union and prosperity of 
the Afghan people. Throughout the approaching opera- 
tions, British influence will be sedulously employed to fur- 
ther every measure of general benefit, to reconcile differences, 
to secure oblivion of injuries, and to put an end to the dis- 
tractions by which, for so many years, the welfare and hap- 
piness of the Afghans have been impaired. Even to the 
chiefs, whose hostile proceedings have given just cause of 


ofiPence to the British Government, it will seek to secure 
liberal and honourable treatment, on their tendering early 
submission, and ceasing from opposition to that course of 
measures which may be judged the most suitable for the 
general advantage of their country. 

" By order of the Right Honourable the Governor-Gene- 
ral of India. 

(Signed) " W. H. Macnaghten, 

" Secretary to the Government of India., 
^' with the Governor- General.** 

Immediately after this a few men of war were 
ordered through the Bombay government to land 
troops in the Persian island named Kharak ; and 
having taken possession of the place, waited there for 
further advice. It was also suggested that a large 
number of British forces should be collected at 
Firozpur, and proceeding thence in company with the 
Shah Shuja, should march upon Kabul, passing through 
Sindh, the Bolan Pass, Qandhar, and Ghazni ; and 
that the Shah Zadah Taimur, with the Sikh con- 
tingent, should shape his course within the Panjab, 
so as to divert the attention of the Kabul chief from 
the Khaibar side. The rendezvous of the troops, 
now nominated the army of the Indus, was appointed 

2 c 2 

388 COLONEL stoddart's letter 

to be at Firozpur, where the Governor-General had 
an interview with the Maharajah Ranjit Singh. 

Let us turn back to the affairs in Persia. 
Sir John Macneil, who was compelled to leave 
the Persian camp, and who was on his way 
back to the Turkish frontier, was now apprised 
of the arrival of the man of war, and wrote 
immediately to Colonel Stoddart, still in the Per- 
sian camp, to inform the Shah of the proceedings 
undertaken by the British government, and if his 
Majesty were not to relinquish the siege of Hirat, 
the army now landed in the island of Kharak will be 
directed to march through Persia. The gallant 
colonel submitted the following proposal to the Shah, 
which perplexed and brought His Majesty to his 
senses, and the bugle of retreat was sounded, and 
the siege of Hirat raised. 

<*T AM directed by Her Britannic Majesty's Minister 
Plenipotentiary to state that he has been entrusted by Her 
Majesty's Ministers to inform your Majesty that the British 
Government look upon this enterprise in which your Majesty 
is engaged against the Afghans as being undertaken in a 
spirit of hostiUty towards British India, and as being totally 
incompatible with the spirit and intention of the alliance 


which has been established between Great Britain and 
Persia. That consequently, if this project is persevered in, 
the friendly relations which up to this time have so happily 
subsisted between Great Britain and Persia must necessarily 
cease, and that Great Britain must take such steps as she 
may think best calculated to provide for the security of the 
possessions of the British crown. 

" I am further directed to inform your Majesty, that if 
Hirat should have surrendered to your Majesty, the British 
Government will consider your Majesty's continuing to 
occupy that, or* any other portion of Afghanistan, as a 
hostile demonstration against England. 

"Her Majesty's Minister Plenipotentiary anxiously hopes 
that, by speedily withdrawing the Persian army into your 
Majesty's own dominions, your Majesty will avert the in- 
evitable consequences of persevering in a course of hostility 
to England. 

"The British government also demands reparation for 
the violence offered to its messenger, which is a matter quite 
distinct from the question of Hirat. Her Britannic Majesty's 
Minister Plenipotentiary trusts your Majesty will grant that 
reparation in the manner which he pointed out, and thus re- 
lieve the British Government from the necessity of having 
recourse to other measures to exact it. 

" Your Majesty is no doubt informed by the government 
of Ears that a body of British troops, and a naval armament 
consisting of five ships of war, have already arrived in the 
Persian Gulf, and that for the present the troops have landed 

390 COLONEL stoddart's letter 

on the island of Kharak. The measures your Majesty may 
adopt in consequence of this representation will decide the 
future movements and proceedings of that armament ; hut 
your Majesty must perceive, from the view which Her Ma- 
jesty's Government has taken of the present state of affairs, 
and from the effect which must have been produced in the 
minds of Her Majesty's Ministers and the British authori- 
ties in India by the subsequent proceedings of the Persian 
Government, with which they were not then acquainted, 
that nothing but the immediate adoption of measures to 
comply with the demands of the British Government can 
induce the authorities acting under the order of that Go- 
vernment to suspend the measures which are in progress for 
the defence of British interests, and the vindication of British 

" In the meantime Her Britannic Majesty's Minister Ple- 
nipotentiary will pursue his journey to the Turkish frontier, 
and will remove all the English from the Persian territory ; 
but he trusts that the bad counsel of the ill-disposed persons 
who have induced your Majesty to persevere in a course 
which has placed affairs in this position will no longer in- 
fluence your Majesty ; and that, guided by your own wisdom 
and by a regard to the true interests of Persia, your Majesty 
will adopt such measures as will enable Her Britannic Ma- 
jesty's Minister Plenipotentiary to return to your Majesty's 
Court, and restore to its former footing of cordiality the 
alliance between the two governments. Your Majesty has 
seen that all Her Britannic Majesty's Minister Plenipoten- 


tiary has stated to your Majesty in regard to these matters, 
has been dictated by sincerity and truth, and by an anxious 
desire to avert the evils which it was obvious must result 
from a perseverance in the course which the Persian Go- 
vernment was pursuing ; and he again assures your Majesty 
that nothing but immediate danger and injury to Persia can 
result from rejecting the demands of the British Govern- 

" That God may guide your Majesty to a wise decision, 
and that he may forgive those whose evil counsels have led 
to such a state of things, is the earnest prayer of an old and 
faithful servant, who has ever been a sincere well-wisher of 
the Shah and the Persian Government." 

Many people, who pretended to be well informed 
in the affairs of Afghanistan, said, on the arrival of 
the dispatch of Colonel Stoddart, stating that the 
Persians had raised the siege of Hirat, that now there 
was no necessity any longer for the government of 
India to persevere in crossing the English army 
beyond the Indus into those distant regions. This 
circumstance, indeed, altered the disposition of the 
campaign in respect to the number of the troops, but 
it did not change the measures of the Governor- 
General ; and in a political point of view his Lord- 
ship justly felt it incumbent upon himself to remem- 


ber that there were many reasons in existence of 
great weight and importance which require the com- 
pletion of his contemplated objects. 

Firstly : Though the Persians had raised the siege 
of Hirat on the 9th of September, 1838, yet the 
forts and districts' of Ghuryan, Kurukh, Sabzvar, and 
Farah, at two marches beyond the boundary of 
Qandhar, were still occupied by the Persian autho- 
rities ; and from the following letters it will appear 
that the British officer at the court of Persia was 
urging upon the Persian government to give up the 
possession of those places to the Afghans, and that 
on the 29th of November, 1838, he had not suc- 
ceeded in his negotiation; and I may safely state 
that the fort and district of Ghuryan were not restored 
by the Persians to the Hirat government till more 
than a year after the British had occupied Afghan- 
istan, or long after the departure and failure of the 
mission of Major Todd from Hirat. 

From Lieutenant- Colonel Shell to His Excellency Mirza 
Masud, the Minister for Foreign Affairs. 

Tehran, Nov. 22, 1838. 

" In the communication which Colonel Stoddart conveyed 
to His Majesty the Shah, from his Excellency the British 



minister, subsequent to his departure from the Royal camp, 
his Excellency Sir John Macneil announced to His Majesty 
that if His Majesty should retain any portion of the Afghan 
territory, the British government will consider such a pro- 
ceeding as a hostile proceeding against itself. Her Britannic 
Majesty's envoy extraordinary has now learnt that the 
troops which occupied Ghuryan, and also those which took 
possession of Farah, Sabzvar, and Khurrukh, in the name 
of the Shah of Persia, continue to hold those places in the 
name of His Persian Majesty. 

" Agreeably to the instructions I have received from Sir 
John Macneil, I have the honour to request that your Ex- 
cellency will furnish me with information on this subject, 
and I request you to state whether or not the troops which 
have occupied Ghuryan, Farrah, Sabzvar, and Khurrukh, 
hold these places for the Shah of Persia, or are subject to 
His Majesty's orders." 


Tehran, Nov. 29, 1838. 

" I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your 
Excellency's letter of the 1 0th Ramadan (28th November), 
in reply to the communication which I addressed to you 
regarding the continued occupation by the Persian govern- 
ment of Ghuryan, Farah, Sabzvar, and Khurrukh. 

" ^our Excellency having given no reply sufficient to con- 
vey the information I sought, whether the above places were 
garrisoned by Persian troops, or were held by troops in the 


name of His Persian Majesty, I am obliged to conclude 
from your silence that the intelligence which had been re- 
ceived by His Excellency Sir John Macneil, on this subject, 
is correct, and that the above places are held by troops in 
the name of His Majesty the Shah, and are under His 
Majesty's orders. 

" I am instructed by Her Britannic Majesty's minister 
plenipotentiary to intimate to His Persian Majesty's mi- 
nisters, that he feels it to be his duty to protest against the 
continued occupation of Ghuryan by Persian troops being 
regarded as constituting any right on the part of Persia to 
retain permanent possession of that fortress or district. 

" With regard to Farah, Sabzvar, and Khurrukh, I am 
directed by his Excellency Sir John Macneil to call on the 
Persian government to fulfil the engagement into which 
His Majesty the Shah entered at Hirat, of complying with 
the whole of the demands of the British government, and to 
issue the necessary orders for immediate evacuation of these 
places, furnishing me at the same time with an authentic copy 
of that order, for the information of the British government." 

Secondly : If the army had not moved, the occupa- 
tion of those places would not, in consequence of any 
negotiation, be abandoned by the Persians; and if 
they were allowed to keep it, the results were ap- 
parent, and are well described in a letter from Sir 
John Macneil to Lord Palmerston. 


" If the Shah should effect the subjugation of any por- 
tion of Afghanistan, he will employ the influence of the 
chiefs who may have submitted to him to disturb the 
power and the quiet of those who have not ; and when he 
has been elated with success, and has secured a footing in 
that country, from which it may be difficult to drive him, I 
fear that apprehension of a rupture with England would 
no longer deter him from prosecuting his conquests ; and 
though he might hesitate to seek foreign aid for the pur- 
pose of getting possession of Hirat, he might not improbably 
be induced to have recourse to it for the purpose of enabling 
him to retain a conquest which he had already made.'* 

Thirdly : M. Yikovich was even then distributing 
money to the chiefs of Qandhar, who, in adherence 
to the treaty concluded between them and Persia, 
and guaranteed by the Count Simonich, were acting 
inimically towards Hirat under the influence of the 
personal presence and guidance of Captain Vikovich. 

Fourthly : If the Governor-General were to leave 
the chiefs of Qandhar and the Amir of Kabul to 
pursue their own plans, the result would be that 
Persian agents, superintended and directed by Kus- 
sian officers, would be placed in the court of the 
above chieflains; and intrigues would have been 
conducted and extended by them even to the very 


heart of India; for branch missions of the united 
states of Persia and Eussia had already been passing 
through Sindh, &c. 

Fifthly: By the Tripartite treaty, which was 
already ratified, the British government and the 
Lahaur Court were bound to replace Shah Shuja, 
who at the time was earnestly sought by the Afghans, 
and in whose person the English found the means 
of holding a friendly relation with the kingdom of 

Under all the preceding grave and urgent consi- 
derations the Governor-General ordered the march of 
the army of the Indus ; and it left Ferozpor on the 
10th of December, 1838. The whole number of 
the force available for employment in the Afghan- 
istan expedition, according to Major Hough's ac- 
count, was as follows : — 

1st. The army of the Indus (from Bengal) under 

Major-General Sir Willoughby Cotton .- 9,500 
2nd. Major-General Duncan's reserve division, 

at Ferozpor, &c 4,250 

3rd. Shah Shuja's contingent 6,000 

4th. The Bombay force under His Excellency 

Lieutenant-General Sir John (afterwards 

Lord) Keane 5,600 



5th. The Bombay reserve or Sindh force . . . 3,000 
Total number to act in Sindh and 

Afghanistan 28,350 

Previous to the opening of the campaign I was 
attached to the Mission, and the Governor-General, 
after a long conference with me on the various points 
connected with the progress of the army, and the 
advancement of the views of the government in 
Afghanistan, made me the bearer of his letters to 
the address of the bankers at Multan and to the 
Lohani merchants at Darahband, for the purpose of 
raising money, collecting supplies, and employing 
carriages for the use of the army. Sir Alexander 
Burnes was directed to go ahead of the army and 
negotiate an offensive and defensive treaty with the 
Mirs of Khairpur in the Upper Sindh; and Sir 
Henry Pottinger to form the same with the Mirs 
of Haidarabad in the Lower Sindh ; while Major 
Mackison had to negotiate with the Navab of Ba- 
havalpur, or the Daudpotra chief, to facilitate the 
progress of the army in his territory, and to supply 
Shah Shuja with certain equipage. 

The bankers in Multan and the Lohanis in the 


Derahbad were highly flattered with the contents of 
the letters from the Earl of Auckland. The former 
sent boats down the Chenab and the Indus, loaded with 
money and grain, to meet the wants of the army on 
its arrival at Shikarpur ; and in addition to this they 
lent their personal assistance to Major Thompson 
and others, the commissariat officers who followed 
me into that city. The latter also collected a con- 
siderable number of camels, and brought provisions 
after the army to Qandhar. 

The judicious proceedings and negotiations of 
Major Mackison with the Daudpotra chief gave 
ample comforts and easy means to get supplies to 
the army of the Indus; and I myself heard Sir 
Willoughby Cotton saying that every one in his 
camp seemed well satisfied while passing through the 
Bahavalpur territory. 

As to the progress and results of the negotiations 
committed to Sir Alexander Burnes and to Sir 
Henry Pottinger in Sindh, I have only this remark 
to make in this place : that after a very short period 
of successful negotiations by those functionaries, and 
a short time of their absence from that country, the 
fate of that dominion has been finally doomed, and 


it is now connected to and joined with the British 
empire of India; wherefore I deem it desirable to 
reserve my saying on such grave subject, will put the 
whole matter briefly into one view in a separate 
chapter. It will prove amusing to the readers to 
find from what I have quoted, the highest and un- 
questionable authorities on this point, that how justly 
and how far back the Mirs of Sindh had discovered 
our ambitious designs for the conquest of their coun- 
try ; and how prudently they suspected our travellers 
and even myself, who went to examine their country ; 
and how far they were right in their anticipations is 
now clearly understood, since we have become the 
masters of their country, and they are banished. 


London : Printed by William Clowks and Sons, Stamford Street. 





Mohana Lai a, munshi 

Life of the amir Dost 
Mohammed Khan of Kabul