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' ' The untented Kosmos my abode 

I pass, a wilful stranger : 
My mistress still the open road 
And the bright eyes of danger." 

R. L. S. 

Soldier and Traveller 













THE Editor desires to express his grateful thanks 
to all who have assisted him in the preparation 
of this volume ; and he would specially acknow- 
ledge the kind help and encouragement afforded 
him by Captain Claude Clerk, C.I.E., and Mr 
Herbert Compton. 




Mr Frederick Cooper and Colonel Gardner Sir Lepel Griffin 
Mr Edgeworth's abstract of Colonel Gardner's Journal 
Sir Henry Yule and Sir Henry Rawlinson Mr Ney Elias 
Sir Henry Durand's 'Life of a Soldier of the Olden 



Parentage and birth of the traveller A wanderer from child- 
hood The Jesuit school in Mexico Five years in Ireland 
Gardner returns to America Visits Lisbon, Madrid, 
Cairo, Trebizond, and Astrakhan Gardner's elder brother ; 
his sudden death Gardner's first visit to Herat First 
wanderings in Asia . . . . . .13 



Savage hospitality The Khalzais (Dai Kundi Hazaras) The 
Therbahs The ancient Kafirs Gardner acquires a faithful 


follower The slave - dealers Gardner's nom de voyage 
A generous host Gardner's dangerous illness The 
Khan of Khiva A geographical problem Adventures of 
M. Sturzky Gardner returns to Astraakhn . . 28 



M. Delaroche Gardner again leaves Astrakhan Crossing the 
Aral Sea Gardner approaches Ura-tube An adventure 
with Kipchak Kirghiz "When at Rome act like the 
Romans " A flight for dear life Gardner a freebooter 
Approaches Afghanistan . . . . .43 



The kingdom of Afghanistan Habib-ulla Khan and his his- 
tory Gardner joins his standard and becomes a soldier of 
fortune Afghan tolls The romance of war Gardner's 
marriage The castello Triumph of Amir Dost Muhammad 
Khan Tragic end of Gardner's married life Habib-ulla 
Khan's resolution 54 



Gardner a fugitive Desperate straits The value of salt in 
Central Asia The kalendars Visit to a Kafir priest A 
kind reception The Khilti Kafirs Historic remains 
Disposal of the dead by the Kafirs A relic of the past 
Farewell to the holy man An attack by robbers A race 
for life The escape A good soldier Bolor Captain 
Younghusband Note on "Bolor" . . . .73 




The Kokcha river The Kunduz chief Slave-dealing Trav- 
elling companions Some Badakshan history The ruins of 
ancient Zaruth The Kafir empire of early times Difficult 
travelling Attacked by wolves Undesirable acquaint- 
ances The Therbah's finger Retribution The chief of 
Shighnan Justice tempered by mercy . . .102 



Beauties of Kafiristan Titles of the Shighnan ladies 
Methods of obtaining gold from the rivers Visit to a 
Kirghiz encampment A benevolent ruler Dress and ap- 
pearance of the Kirghiz A venerable fakir Visit to the 
ruby mines Wait for the wedding A disappointment 
Consolation Wanderings in the Pamirs A robber chief 
A ride for a wife A tragic occurrence . . . 1 23 



The Garden of Eden The Akas and the Keiaz Gardner 
leaves Pamir Crosses the Yamunyar river near Tash- 
balyk The yak Yarkand The two cities Leh and 
Srinagar The great earthquake Gardner's journey 
through Gilgit and Chitral The strategic importance of 
Chitral Second visit to Kafiristan Gardner traverses 
Afghanistan and is imprisoned at Girishk Visit to Kabul 
Farewell to the Therbah Gardner arrives in Bajaur 
Syad Ahmad the reformer His history Death of the 
Syad Gardner becomes chief of artillery at Peshawar and 
concludes his travels . . . 145 




Peshawar Maharaja Ranjit Singh Gardner enters his service 
Visits on the way Dr Harlan and General Avitabile 
Generals Ventura and Court Raja Dhyan Singh, the 
Prime Minister Gardner's dtbut as a gunner He becomes 
an instructor Campaign on the Indus Operations in 
Bannu The Sikh-Afghan war of 1835 Final conquest of 
Peshawar by the Sikhs Gardner obtains command of the 
Jammu artillery Ranjit Singh's last campaign A rapid 
march The rebellion of Shamas Khan . . 175 



Early days of the Sikh army Ranjit Singh's Gurkhas The 
Maharaja and his paddle-boat Gulab Singh and the 
treacherous merchant The jocose chaudri A camel-load 
of flattery Character of Gulab Singh . . .198 



Death of Ranjit Singh Ambitious project of the Dogra 
brothers Maharaja Kharrak Singh Murder of Sardar 
Chet Singh Deposition and death of Kharrak Singh The 
vengeance of Heaven Death of Nao Nihal Singh . . 211 



The rival claimants Sher Singh propitiates the army De- 
fence of the fortress Gardner's defence of the gateway 


Terms of peace Murder of the Maharani and accession of 

the Maharaja Sher Singh ..... 227 



The Kabul disaster Gardner accompanies the Dogra troops 
to Peshawar Brigadier-General Wild delayed by Gulab 
Singh Sir Henry Lawrence Bad news Murders of Ma- 
haraja Sher Singh and of Dhyan Singh Sati of his widow 
and thirteen slaves Character of Hira Singh Rani Jindan 
Death of Suchet Singh Gardner disguised as an Akali 
Deaths of Hira Singh and Jawahir Singh Outbreak of 
war with the English ..... 240 



The Sikh generals Departure of Ventura and Avitabile 
The apex of the army Colonel Hurbon Gulab Singh's 
diplomacy Rani Jindan and the deputation Occupation 
of Lahore Terms of peace ..... 263 



Gardner exiled from the Panjab 'History of the Reigning 
Family of Lahore ' Gardner enters Gulab Singh's service 
Settles for life in Kashmir Birth of his daughter 
Impression of Gardner Mr Andrew Wilson Captain 
Segrave The Russian advance towards India Gardner's 
advice to John Bull Death of the Traveller The sug- 
gestion of his career ..... 276 



MEDICAL OFFICERS . . . . . . 296 


II. GENERAL ALLARD . . . . .311 


IV. GENERAL COURT ..... 325 
V. DR HARLAN ...... 329 


VII. COLONEL FORD ..... 340 



X. COLONEL CANORA ..... 345 


XIL LESLIE OR RATTRAY . ... . . 348 





xvn. CAPTAIN M'PHERSON ..... 352 



XIX. ) 


INDEX . . . 355 


A GOODLY portion of Colonel Gardner's eventful 
life was spent in the Panjab kingdom or province 
during the palmy days of Ranjit Singh. His 
adventurous travels were in the regions adjacent 
to or beyond the Panjab frontier. The early years 
of my own active service were passed in the 
Panjab, and I was accustomed, indeed obliged, to 
study the affairs of the regions beyond its north- 
west frontier, even though I had no chance of 
travelling in them. Thus the names mentioned 
by Gardner in his Memoirs regarding countries 
beyond the Panjab have long been known to me 
from anxious study. The names of men and 
places mentioned by him in the Panjab are still 
better known to me those of men either from 
personal acquaintance or very near tradition, those 


of places either from frequent visits or from actual 
residence. Major Pearse has now arranged these 
stirring and interesting Memoirs in a lucid and 
satisfactory manner ; and I willingly comply with 
his request that I should write a brief Introduction. 
It is indeed hard for me to describe to an English 
reader the memories which a perusal of these 
Memoirs summons up in my imagination, the 
potent figures whom I used to see moving on the 
historic stage, now described by one who knew 
them even more intimately than I did ; the work- 
ings of human nature in the most mountainous 
regions of the earth, which I often heard narrated 
by many an Asiatic, now recorded in my own 
language by one who saw them in their very 
midst ; the tremendous events, on which I con- 
stantly pondered while standing on the very spots 
or places where they occurred, now depicted by 
one who was a witness of, or participator in, 
them ! 

As is often the case in the men who live a 
daring, dashing life that sustains nervous tension 
and excites the imaginative faculties, Gardner 
evidently possessed a power of narration and 
description in a high degree clear in facts, 
graphic in touches of detail, picturesque invari- 


ably applicable equally to human motive, action, 
and habit appreciative towards others, modest 
respecting himself indicating that presence of 
mind, whether in distress or in peril, whereby his 
aptitude for accurate observation never for an 
instant failed him. In the middle and later part 
of his career he must have been a fairly diligent 
writer. Had he been able to preserve all his 
papers, and if, after the loss of some among them, 
he had been at the pains of bringing out all he 
had, under his own eye, with the requisite supple- 
ments, a capital record would have been handed 
down to us. The tale of his career would have 
been as good as that which Othello told to 
Desdemona. As it is, his life-story is something 
of that nature, and though not so complete as 
it might have been under the auspices of the 
narrator himself, has yet been made sufficiently 
so by Major Pearse's good care and skill. It well 
deserves the attention of our rising manhood in 
the British Isles. Though relating not to the 
British dominions nor to the British service, it 
shows what men of British race can do under 
the stress of trial and suffering. It illustrates 
that self-contained spirit of adventure in indi- 
viduals which has done much towards found- 


ing the British Empire, and may yet help in 
extending that Empire in all quarters of the 

To the Memoirs also are appended some useful 
memoranda regarding the several European officers 
employed together with Gardner in the service of 
Ranjit Singh. 

Alexander Gardner was born in 1785 in North 
America, on the shore of Lake Superior, and died 
at Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, in 1877. His 
father was a Scottish emigrant to the then British 
colonies of North America, who took part in the 
War of Independence. His mother was an English- 
woman resident in South America, and had an 
admixture of Spanish blood. Her distinguished 
son wrote of her in terms of the highest admir- 
ation. He inherited an adventurous disposition 
from both sides, paternal and maternal. He sought 
first for a position in the Eussian service, but 
accidentally lost it on the eve of attainment. 
Then he crossed the Caspian Sea, and entered 
on a career of adventure in Central Asia, from 
Kokan across the Hindu Caucasus to Herat, amidst 
ambuscades, fierce reprisals, hairbreadth escapes, 
alternations between brief plenty and long fasting 
amidst episodes sometimes of brutality and 


cruelty wellnigh inconceivable, at other times of 
hearty charity and fidelity unto death. For some 
time he was prominent in the service of Habib- 
ulla Khan, the first Afghan opponent of the great 
Dost Muhammad Khan. During two years he 
actually enjoyed a term of domestic happiness, 
when he was peaceful indoors though generally 
at war out-of-doors. This was the one oasis in 
the wild desert of his whole life. To the last 
he could never refer to it without tears, case- 
hardened as he was, with his memory seared by 
many horrors, and his visage hardened by looking 
at terrors in the face. It met with a bloody and 
piteous termination ; and then for some time he 
had to get through an existence fraught with 
extremity of hardship and of crisis, during which 
he was preserved by his own intrepidity and 
penetration. At length he succeeded in entering 
the Panjab, being engaged in the service of the 
Afghan chiefs who held Peshawar, and who were 
subdued by Maharaja Eanjit Singh. While there 
he received a command to enter Eanjit Singh's ser- 
vice, and proceeded to Lahore. He was employed 
in the Maharaja's service as commandant of artillery 
for several years. Then he was transferred to the 
service of Dhyan Singh, the Prime Minister, a 


Rajput of the lower Himalayas, who with his 
brother, the famous Gulab Singh, became the chief 
feudatories of the Sikh sovereignty. He made 
the acquaintance of Henry Lawrence, then a rising 
political officer at Peshawar, at the time of the 
British disasters at Kabul in 1841. After Dhyan 
Singh's death he served Gulab Singh alone. He 
witnessed, or was in close contact with, the sang- 
uinary revolutions that followed one after another 
upon the death of Eanjit. He was at Lahore 
during the first Panjab war in 1845-46. He then 
returned to the territories of Gulab Singh, who 
became sovereign of Jammu and Kashmir. He 
died a pensioner under Gulab Singh's successor 
in Kashmir at the advanced age of about ninety 
years. His constitution, originally magnificent, 
must have become somewhat worn out by the 
severe vicissitudes of a long career, and he dreamed 
the evening of his life away. 

It is wonderful how he retained the power of 
writing English simply, gracefully, graphically, 
inasmuch as for several years consecutively he 
could never have heard it spoken nor had any 
opportunities of reading it. For long intervals 
he could have used no language but Mongolian 
or Pushtoo, and later on little but Panjabee. He 


must also have learnt at least something of Persian 
and Russian. 

In this widely extended record, almost entirely 
autobiographical, beginning in the latter part of 
the last century and ending past the middle of the 
present century stretching from the Caspian Sea 
across the Indus and on to the Sutlej the diverse 
matters group themselves under certain heads as 
follows for a bird's-eye view : 

First. The geography of Central Asia, especially 
the country of the rivers Oxus and Jaxartes, the 
Turcoman desert, the western extremity of the 
Himalayan range, Badakshan, the Pamir with 
sources of the Oxus, and Chitral. 

Second. The characteristics, mental and phys- 
ical, of the men and women of these regions, 
the dispositions of individuals, the customs of 

Third. The court and camp of Ranjit Singh, 
which formed the most potent organisation of this 
kind ever erected by the natives of India in modern 

Fourth. The tragic and sometimes terrific events 
which ensued after the death of Ranjit Singh, and 
which led to the first war between the Sikhs and 
the British, a war which broke the back of that 



community, religious, military, and political, saluted 
proudly by the Sikhs as the Khalsa. 

Fifth. The scenes, strange, weird, pathetic, un- 
lucky, lucky, in Gardner's life, relating to him in 

I proceed to offer a few observations on each of 
these groups. 

In respect to the first group, the geograph- 
ical details, though not quite all that they 
might have been, owing to the loss of papers 
in time of dire trouble, they are yet notably 
considerable, and are in themselves valuable. 
Gardner has been highly esteemed as a geogra- 
phical authority upon the regions he had visited 
by such men as Sir Alexander Burnes, Sir Henry 
Rawlinson, Sir Henry Durand, and Mr Ney Elias. 
Much attention was paid to his work at the time 
by the Royal Asiatic Society in India. Fifty years 
ago, when he travelled or sojourned in those moun- 
tains and uplands, there was a sentiment, a pre- 
vision, in the British mind to the effect that our 
interest in these regions must one day grow and 
rise. By this time, indeed, it has grown and risen ; 
for a large, perhaps the greater, part of them has 
come within the British sphere of influence after 
delimitation of boundaries by treaty with a Euro- 


pean Power. We have therefore rendered our- 
selves nationally responsible for learning all that 
can be learnt about these regions. Much, indeed, 
has been done in this way since Gardner's time. 
Still, these Memoirs of his deserve study, for they 
will clear up some points that are obscure, confirm 
others that may have been doubtful, add others 
not previously verified, and render our general view 
more correct and better subservient to our com- 
prehension of political relations. The more the 
geographical features are brought home to the 
minds of our politicians, the better will they know 
how to guard our own domains. Moreover, we 
are now concerned to understand the origin, the 
progress, the history of geographical discovery in 
this quarter. To all this the Gardner Memoirs 
greatly conduce. They do not consist merely of 
topographical description, but while conveying 
sound information, they are replete with varied 

Kegarding the second group, that of the men 
and women, it is to be remarked that if, in the 
words of the poet, " the noblest study of mankind 
is man," then here is to be found some material 
for that end material, too, specially useful to 
us Europeans, because since some centuries at 


least we find little or nothing of that sort on 
our own European continent. Gardner narrates 
the divers incidents which happened under his 
own eyes, and wherewith he was closely concerned 
or had immediate contact with artless naivete, 
each point being limned by a master hand, like 
those touches in a sketch which, to artists' eyes, 
indicate that it has been taken from nature. The 
internal evidence convinces us that these characters 
are drawn from the life in Central Asia. Now and 
again the rapine, the revenge, the thirst for blood, 
the disregard of life, the throes of agony, the 
effacement of all sentiment, the destruction of 
all faith and honour, make us wonder whether 
these creatures are like human beings whether 
they are not predatory animals, birds of prey, in 
human form. Yet there are simultaneously af- 
forded proofs that into these poor souls there has 
been breathed something of the divine spirit which 
is not yet extinct that through all the clouds and 
brooding darkness there sometimes break the rays 
of light from the conscience given by the Creator. 
The same narrative presents instances among the 
same men of fidelity, truthful, honourable, endur- 
ing, and disinterested for danger or safety, for 
plenty or hunger, for heat or cold, for peace or 


crisis. Again, there are cases of hospitality with 
many of the best qualities of charity as we under- 
stand it of protection accorded to one who seemed 
helpless, friendless, destitute, maintained proof 
against temptation and inviolable under trial. Af- 
ter terrific scenes there closely follow ceremonies, 
graceful, gallant, chivalric, almost recalling the 
legends of the Golden Age. The character of 
the women is often romantic and courageous in 
the extreme. In what we should call Baronial 
warfare, where one wild chief will be the conqueror 
and another the conquered, the women, generally 
numerous, of the vanquished are infamously seized 
as the spoil of the victor. But often the pride of 
the women will not brook this. When they see 
that warlike defence is over, they will die rather 
than fall into the hands of their foes : the wife will 
beg death from her husband's sword, the sister 
from her brother's dagger. Apart from all this, 
several episodes are briefly recounted which, as 
tragic plots, would be worthy of Shakespearean 
treatment, and as dramas would be as complete 
as anything that a dramatist could frame. In 
reference to the dreadful faults of these poor 
people in Central Asia, the charitably considerate 
reader may remember that some centuries ago the 


devastating inundation of Gengiz Khan and his 
Mongol hordes swept over these garden-like ter- 
ritories, which probably were among the original 
habitations of mankind. By this dread series of 
events there came about that which the historian 
eloquently and truly describes, "a shipwreck of 
nations." There was not only a dislocation but 
a disruption of society. Morally as well as materi- 
ally every root was torn up, every foundation 
dug out, every landmark swept away, everything 
that pertained to civilisation was flung into a 
vortex of barbarism. The damage then done to 
countries at that time among the fairest on earth 
has proved irreparable during the succeeding cen- 
turies. Yet the plant of divine affection once 
sown in a race of mankind never quite dies the 
light of other days is never put out the spark is 
still in the embers ready to burst forth into white 
flame. No doubt, since Gardner's time the Eus- 
sian supervision will have done much for social 
improvement, and British influence, advancing in 
the same direction, may do still more. Still, if we 
are to prepare for the better things that are to be, 
we ought to know the things that have been, and 
therefore weigh well such authentic narratives as 
those of Gardner. 


Eeferring to the third group, that concerning 
Eanjit Singh, we may observe that it relates hardly 
at all to the condition of the Panjab at the time. 
Gardner had but scant notions I might almost 
say no notion of civil government. But after 
quitting the turbulent Peshawar and its cut- 
throat neighbours, and on crossing the Indus, he 
was evidently struck with the comparative peace, 
the rule and order, which reigned in the Panjab. 
In the absence of any account from the author, 
I may explain to our reader the character of 
Ranjit Singh's civil rule in a few words, having 
myself had to study it while the memory of it 
was fresh among the people, and while evidence 
on every point was forthcoming. It was as bad 
as it dared to be with such a people as the 
Panjabi just that and no worse. It took all 
that it could venture to take from the people 
that much and no more. It took no thought for 
judgment and justice, that was relegated to 
feudatories of degrees and sorts ; but they were 
men of the country, locally respected or feared, 
and they would not carry things too far. The 
Sikh sovereignty as a political and military insti- 
tution only was popular in the Panjab. It was 
the symbol of a national faith, founded on a sort 


of theocracy, but victorious by force of arms. 
The people were in no humour to quarrel with 
it needlessly. So long as they could go on pay- 
ing their way, they did not want any revolution 
they would bear a burden sooner than rebel, 
they would yield up a large percentage of their 
crops before they turned out to fight. They 
would so turn out, however, instantly if pro- 
voked beyond a certain point, and this too with 
grenadier-like force. The knowledge of this kept 
the conduct of the Government within bounds. 

Still, Gardner gives us much material for the 
historical completion of the portraiture of Kan- 
jit Singh, who considering his comparatively 
humble birth, his mean bringing up with really 
no education, his want of personal gifts, the dis- 
advantages arising from debased habits and the 
lowest life was the most extraordinary native 
that ever rose to power in India within modern 
times, power effectively great and long sustained 
over the manliest race on the Indian continent 
personal, too, to himself alone, so that when 
it dropped from his dying hands no successor 
could be found to take it up. Thus the reader 
will doubtlessly note the various meetings which 
Gardner had with Ranjit Singh, the cautious 


inquiries about military affairs, the instinctive 
dread of the approach of the British Power, the 
employment of European officers in the field, 
the march with the army to the Afghan fron- 
tiers with the Sikh sovereign at its head, the 
strange affairs at the mouth of the Khyber Pass, 
and the several other operations on the Trans-Indus 
border. He gives some instructive notes regard- 
ing Ranjit Singh's management of the Sikh or 
Khalsa army. While presenting a high estimate 
of Ranjit's capacity for kingship, he abstains from 
noticing perhaps he even throws a veil over 
the king's vices, which were scandalously overt 
and destructive of respectability in the State. 
He must have seen these more or less, but he is 
loyal when leaving them unmentioned. This is 
the more noteworthy in that he deals quite dif- 
ferently with the character of Gulab Singh, who 
was equally his patron and ultimately his sole 
employer. His analysis of Gulab Singh's con- 
duct and disposition amounts to ruthless vivi- 
section, and must doubtless be true. On the 
other hand, he attributes many wise and able 
qualities to his master, to whom this particular 
praise well deserved, no doubt was most accep- 
table. Strangely enough, it appears that this 


character was published at the time, and gave no 
offence to Gulab Singh. This would be incredible 
had it not been authenticated. The fact must be, 
that Gulab Singh had been so inured to the com- 
mission of crime, and Gardner to the sight of it, 
that both had ceased to be horrified by it. There- 
fore the one did not hesitate to impute it, nor did 
the other mind the imputation, so long as a certain 
sort of praise was attributed which the one knew 
how to render with discrimination and the other 
appreciated highly. 

The fourth group relates to the events ensuing 
on the death of Ranjit Singh. The events in the 
palaces of native princes in India have now been 
known to European authorities for a century and 
a half. I do not remember any so grave as those 
which occurred in quick succession at the capital 
of the Panjab, Lahore, at this epoch. Upon most 
of these a lurid light is thrown by Gardner's narra 
tive, he being an eyewitness of some, or in immedi- 
ate proximity to others. I must refer the reader 
to Gardner's word-pictures of these grim occasions 
their effect would be marred by any attempt at 
reproduction. The story of how Dhyan Singh the 
Vizier receives a deadly threat from Cheyt Singh 
within the next twenty-four hours how Dhyan 


Singh (Gardner with him) follows up Cheyt Singh 
that very night into the recesses of the palace, and 
after a tiger-spring stabs him to the heart, saying 
that the twenty-four hours are not over is drama- 
tically tragic. Rarely do we have such a tale 
authenticated at first hand by an eyewitness. Of 
a similar character is the murder of Dhyan Singh, 
shot in the back, and the sati-burmng of his young 
widow she declaring that her funereal fire shall 
not be lighted till the heads of her husband's 
murderers are placed at her feet ; and she, when 
they have been thus placed by Gardner himself, 
mounting the pyre and applying the torch with 
her own hand, her little maid in her lap sharing 
the same fate. Equally graphic is the account of 
the murder of the Maharaja Sher Singh. He has a 
stormy interview with a great feudatory. At the 
end he asks to look at the handsomely -worked 
barrel of a musket which the feudatory bears. 
Admiring it, he gets the muzzle close to his 
breast ; the feudatory pulls the trigger and the 
king drops dead. The last scene at Lahore is 
remarkable, when the Sikh army, governed no 
longer by its sovereign but by its own military 
committees, is shortly to march and cross the 
Sutlej as an act of war against the British. 


There is now an infant Maharaja as sovereign, with 
his mother as regent, assisted by a brother, who is 
especially unpopular with the army. All three are 
summoned to attend a great parade : they come 
in state, she and her boy on one elephant and 
he on another. They are received with an omin- 
ously resounding salute of artillery. Her elephant 
is first made to kneel down ; she with her boy 
is dragged shrieking to a sumptuous tent; then 
the brother's elephant is made to kneel, and he 
is promptly despatched in the face of the army. 
Such was the discipline with which the Sikh army 
on the eve of contest prepared itself to cross swords 
with the British. Lastly, while the army is fight- 
ing a losing battle, a big deputation comes back 
from it to Lahore to see the Regent and complain 
to her against the commissariat. She receives 
them, the complaints grow louder, and the fate 
of the capital is trembling : suddenly (Gardner 
standing just behind her) she flings off her loose 
outer skirt and flings it at their heads, saying, 
"Wear that, you cowards, while I go to fight in 
man's equipment ! " The men are abashed, and 
the crisis is for the moment averted. I have 
held out only a few signals, but to realise these 


romances of real life, the reader must peruse 
Gardner's narrative. 

The last or fifth group contains the scenes affect- 
ing Gardner personally. These are so frequent 
throughout the Memoirs that to array them all 
would be like counting the beads in a long neck- 
lace. I shall only advert to a very few in order 
to give some idea of the whole. On the last day 
of his married life in Afghanistan, after an adverse 
fight he is told that his little fort (castello) has 
been captured, and that all is over within it. He 
rushes thither and ascends to his desolate chamber. 
There he sees his young wife lying dead with her 
boy, also dead, in her arms. From out her dress 
there just protrudes the left hand with which she 
has driven the dagger to her heart to avoid be- 
coming the prey of the captor. Anon he and his 
few followers, afraid to light a fire in the Afghan 
cold at the mouth of their cave for fear of dis- 
covery, desperate from wounds and hunger, stop 
a party of traders, overhaul their effects, taking 
some of their provisions, such as fat sheep-tails 
preserved in snow, and a ball of salt well rounded 
off from constant licking, but leaving them to pro- 
ceed with their more valuable things. Later on, 


when in Moslem service, he hangs round his neck 
a clasped Koran which none will dare to touch. 
Between the leaves of this he places his notes and 
memoranda ; when the book shall thus become 
suspiciously thick he means to say that these are 
extra prayers. During the early days of his ser- 
vice with Ranjit Singh some guns presented by 
the British Governor-Greneral have arrived. He 
is shown the shells and fuses in the tumbrils, and 
asked if he can fire them. Fortunately for him, 
he finds among the fuses a slip of paper which he 
can read while his employers cannot, and which 
gives the necessary instructions. Possessed of 
this knowledge, he is able to fire them with entire 
success ; and so in Sikh estimation his reputation 
as an artillerist is made. On one dire occasion 
after Ranjit Singh's death he makes havoc with 
his guns. A fight at the closest quarters is going 
on between two rival parties for the possession of 
the palace fortress of Lahore. He has to defend 
the gate, which has been destroyed, and at the 
entrance he contrives to pack his ten guns with 
their muzzles all together : these he fires simul- 
taneously as the fanatical Akalis with shouts and 
brandished swords are pressing in a mass up the 


narrow way and lo ! the assailants are literally 
blown into the air. 

These Memoirs, published just half a century 
after the event, corroborate the conclusion formed 
by many, as I remember, after the first Sikh war in 
1845-46. On the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, 
Sikh rule in the Panjab became an impossibility. 
The members of a brave but unruly confederacy, 
extending over the Land of the Five Rivers, had 
been united and held together by the rough genius 
of Ranjit Singh, but never welded nor consolidated. 
He was not statesman enough for such consoli- 
dation, being merely a rude organiser, and a fight- 
ing commander without being a soldier in any 
higher sense. On his death it became, from 
Gardner's narrative, clearer than ever that there 
were four parties clutching with lethal violence at 
each other's throats the Court party, the so-called 
blood princes, the Dogras (Dhyan Singh and G-ulab 
Singh), and the Sindhanwala chiefs. Above all was 
an unmanageable army acknowledging no power but 
its own. The destruction of all these elements, 
the one by the other, was about happening when 
the first Sikh war broke out. On a retrospect we 
may almost regret that the British Government 


could not then annex the country, the native rule 
having become demonstrably impossible. That 
would have saved all the bloodshed in the second 
war. As it was, a further respite was allowed in 
the hope of better things. But the fire of disturb- 
ance burst forth worse than ever. The second war 
had to be undertaken, and after that the annex- 
ation of the Panjab became inevitable. If any 
one should doubt the ultimate necessity of that 
annexation, let him consult these Memoirs of 






IN the hot weather of the year 1864 the Govern- 
ment of India deputed, as was then the annual 
custom, an officer to the valley of Kashmir to 
act as referee between the large body of English 
visitors and the subjects of his Highness the 
reigning Maharaja. 

The officer selected for duty on this occasion 
was Mr Frederick Cooper a man well known in 
his day for a terrible act of severity performed 



by him in the execution of his duty during the 
suppression of the great mutiny of the Indian 

Mr Cooper was a man of talent and imagina- 
tion, and while making such inquiries concerning 
the affairs of Kashmir as seemed to him a desir- 
able preliminary to the performance of his new 
duties, he heard for the first time of the exist- 
ence at Srinagar of an old European commandant 
of the name of Gardner. 

Feeling sure that the conversation of this veteran 
would supply information of great interest con- 
cerning the history, manners, and customs of 
Kashmir, Mr Cooper lost no time in requesting 
the old adventurer, who bore the rank of com- 
mandant or colonel of artillery, to favour him 
with a visit. 

The desired visit was speedily paid, and Mr 
Cooper's description of his new acquaintance, 
written down at the time, presents to us the 
hero of the following narrative of travel and 

" The old colonel," he writes, " while on the 
verge of his eightieth year, had a gait as sturdy 
and a stride as firm as a man of fifty. Some 
six feet in height, he usually wore a tartan-plaid 


suit, purchased apparently from the quartermaster's 
stores of one of the Highland regiments serving 
in India. In consequence of a severe wound in 
the neck, received in battle many years before, 
the old commandant had long been unable to 
eat solid food ; he had, moreover, lost from age 
nearly all his teeth. The photograph " a copy of 
which forms the frontispiece of this work " while 
indicating the outline of the countenance, gives 
but a dim idea of the vivacity of expression, the 
play of feature, the humour of the mouth, and 
the energy of character portrayed by the whole 
aspect of the man as he described the arduous 
and terrible incidents of a long life of romance 
and vicissitude. 

" The English he spoke was quaint, graphic, and 
wonderfully good considering his fifty years of 
residence among Asiatics. 

" In the course of our first conversation I dis- 
covered the stores of experience, adventure, and 
observation which the old man could unfold ; his 
memory, too, except as to precise dates, I found 
singularly tenacious. He complained of the loss 
and abstraction at various times of his manu- 
scripts. A whole volume, which contained an 
account of his visit to Kafiristan, perished at 


Kabul in the destruction of the house of Sir 
Alexander Burnes. 

" Sir Alexander, whose interest in Kafiristan is 
well known, had borrowed the book in question 
from Gardner before starting with the army of 
the Indus on that march from which he was 
never to return." 

The outcome of this interview was a series of 
conversations between Mr Cooper and Gardner, 
in the course of which the latter related those 
wanderings and adventures, an account of which 
I have pieced together to the best of my ability 
in the following pages. 

Colonel Gardner had from time to time written 
down in his quaint, crabbed handwriting many 
anecdotes connected with his service under Maha- 
raja Eanjit Singh ; and these pictures of a bygone 
conqueror, and of the mighty army which he 
welded together, possess a unique interest and 

Mr Cooper unfortunately did not live to com- 
plete his history of Gardner's travels, and for 
some years after his death the unfinished work 
and Gardner's own manuscripts entirely dis- 

In a footnote to Sir Lepel Griffin's masterly Life 


of Ranjit Singh occurs the following reference to 
these papers : " Colonel Gardner . . . allowed me 
to read his manuscript narrative of the later years 
of the Maharaja, and the events which succeeded 
his death. These most interesting and valuable 
papers, which were intrusted to the late Mr Fred- 
erick Cooper, C.B., have disappeared, and the loss, 
from a historical point of view, is considerable." 

I will conclude this reference to Mr Cooper's 
share in preparing the narrative by mentioning 
the fact that his rough draft of Gardner's travels, 
as far as the point where Gardner left the Pamirs, 
was corrected throughout by Gardner himself; 
and therefore it may be assumed that the traveller 
accepted the draft as a faithful record of his 

It is perhaps unnecessary to relate to the reader 
how it was that Gardner's papers came into my 
hands : suffice it to say that this occurred some 
four years ago, and that the vicissitudes of the 
papers by no means came to an end with Mr 
Cooper's death. Two very high authorities on 
Central Asian geography successively took the 
papers in hand with a view to investigating their 
value, and both unhappily died while the papers 
were in their possession. 


I must now say something on the subject of 
the credibility of Colonel Gardner's narrative. 

Those interested in the study of geography may 
be aware that an abstract of a portion of Gardner's 
travels appeared in the ' Journal of the Asiatic 
Society of Bengal' of February 1853. This ab- 
stract was furnished to the Journal by Mr Edge- 
worth, an officer of the Bengal Civil Service ; but 
as Mr Edgeworth was unfortunately prevented 
"by want of leisure and other causes" from 
properly editing the abstract, its publication 
throws but little light on Gardner's exploits, and 
has no value for us save that it affords positive 
proof that Gardner had written at some period 
prior to 1853 an account of his travels, " thrown," 
as Mr Edgeworth writes in his introductory re- 
marks, " into the shape they now have, occupying 
several volumes of country paper." 

The abstract was, in fact, so carelessly put to- 
gether, and so barbarously mangled by native 
printers, that its publication permanently injured 
Gardner's reputation, and even caused many per- 
sons to express their disbelief that he had ever 
visited the regions he professed to describe. 

Such, however, was not the opinion of geogra- 
phers so thoroughly qualified to give an authori- 


tative opinion on the subject as the late Sir Henry 
Rawlinson and Sir Henry Yule. Thus the latter, 
in his preface to the second edition of Wood's 
' Journey to the Sources of the Eiver Oxus/ after 
making severe comments on the inaccuracy of Mr 
Edgeworth's abstract of Gardner's Journal, says : 
"Colonel Gardner is not only a real person, and 
one who has real personal acquaintance with the 
regions [Badakshan and the Pamirs] of which 
we are treating, to a degree, it is believed, far 
surpassing that of any European or native tra- 
veller whose narrative has been published, but 
he appears to have acquired the esteem of men 
like the late Sir Henry Durand, whose good 
opinion was of unusual worth." 

Sir Henry Kawlinson repeatedly refers in his 
geographical writings to Gardner's travels, and 
in his well - known ' Monograph on the Oxus ' 
says, " Colonel Gardner did certainly visit Bad- 
akshan in person"; and again, "Gardner actually 
traversed the Gilgit valley from the Indus to 
the Snowy Mountains, and finally crossed into 
Chitral, being, in fact, the only Englishman up 
to the present time (1872) who has ever per- 
formed the journey throughout. 

These remarks of Sir Henry Rawlinson and Sir 


Henry Yule were written, it must be remembered, 
before Mr Cooper had set about the task of writ- 
ing a corrected version of Gardner's travels, and 
these two eminent geographers had nothing before 
them on which to settle Gardner's claim to be 
considered a great traveller but the mangled 
"abstract," the inaccuracies of which they so 
severely criticised. Nevertheless, barbarous spell- 
ing, unrecognisable names, and incorrect dis- 
tances notwithstanding, they agreed in believing 
that Gardner had verily and indeed traversed 
Badakshan and the Pamirs, and had found his 
way from those regions to India by the way of 
Gilgit and Chitral. 

About a year ago I placed the entire MS. of 
Gardner's geographical notes and Mr Cooper's 
rough draft of his travels in the hands of that 
"mute, inglorious Milton," the late Mr Ney 
Elias, a man whose invincible modesty alone 
prevented his being known as one of the greatest 
of English travellers, and one of the highest 
authorities on Eastern geography. 

Mr Elias took the greatest interest in the MS., 
and at the time of his sudden and lamented 
death had, in part, written a note on Gardner's 


Having himself a personal knowledge of Bad- 
akshan and other portions of Gardner's route, 
possessed by no living European, Mr Elias's 
opinion may be accepted as final. The follow- 
ing extract should satisfy all but the most in- 
credulous : 

"There appears to me to be good internal 
evidence that, as regards the main routes he 
professes to have travelled, Gardner's story is 
truthful. When he tells us that he visited the 
east coast of the Caspian, Northern Persia, Herat, 
the Hazara country, even Khiva ; that he spent 
some time in and about the district of Inderab, 
and afterwards passed through part of Badak- 
shan and Shighnan, thence crossing the Pamirs 
into Eastern Turkestan, I see no reason to doubt 
him. At the time he speaks of, such journeys 
were almost as practicable for Europeans as for 
Asiatics. Most of the countries in Central Asia 
were in a more or less disturbed and lawless 
condition much more so than in later years 
but that was a condition which' affected Asiatic 
and European alike. . . . The times were, on 
the whole, sufficiently favourable to render be- 
lief in the main features of his narrative possible ; 
and it is, in a sense, the truth of the general 


narrative that enables us to excuse the untruth 
of many of the details. 

"In other words, had Gardner not travelled 
over a great part of the ground he professes to 
describe, it would not have been possible for 
him to interpolate the doubtful portions of his 
story. He could not have known enough of the 
surrounding conditions or even the names of 
places and tribes, nor have met with the people 
whose clumsy inventions he at times serves out 
to us. It is necessary, for instance, that a man 
who could never have read of the Pamir region 
should at least have visited that country or its 
neighbourhood before he could invent or repeat 
stories regarding Shakh Dara or the Yaman Yar, 
or be able to dictate the name of Shighnan." 

I will conclude this brief introduction of Colonel 
Gardner and his writings with a summary of his 
career with which Sir Henry Durand completed 
a sketch entitled ' Life of a Soldier of the Olden 
Time : An unwritten Page of History ' : 

"Even in outline the story is of great interest, 
a life drama indeed, as full of incident and 
adventure as drama can well be. The story of 
Dugald Dalgetty is nothing to this, as it will be 
seen by the light of times to come. 


" To take the two ends of the long tangled line 
is something wonderful, one end bright and 
sunny on the banks of Lake Superior in the Far 
West ; the other end approaching, where the 
chapter will close, in lands watered by the Indus. 
And then the schooling in Ireland, and the teach- 
ing in Lahore ; the parting from home for ever 
for a life from end to end of perils such as very 
few men have ever imagined, still less known. 

"It is difficult perhaps to comprehend all the 
career, but much may be understood. There is 
no mistake about the high heart, the undaunted 
courage, the unflagging will. Colonel Gardner's 
personal influence, too, must have been great 
what is called magnetic ; for how else could he 
have bound to himself for nine months, and he 
all the time a prisoner, men who seemed to have 
an interest in separating from him as far as pos- 
sible ? And how else could he have drawn to 
himself those Sowars and others whom he led 
to Kabul and elsewhere ? 

" That such a man has been so little mentioned 
in the history of the times is a marvel. But 
we must remember that he was a man without 
a country, though England or any country might 
be proud to claim him. 


" Faithful to his standard, whatever it was, 
obeying without questioning military orders, he 
presented and presents, perhaps, one of the finest 
specimens ever known of the soldier of fortune. 

" He must have been a man, too, who did not 
care to force himself into notice so long as he 
could obtain employment ; and the fact that he 
secured the respect and confidence of so many 
persons, of characters so widely different, is 
enough to show that besides being a bold 
soldier, he was possessed of rare tact and skill, 
of qualities indeed which, if the love of adven- 
ture had been urged on by anything like an 
equal share of ambition, would have gone far to 
gather together the turbulent elements among 
which he lived, and make of them a more 
devastating flame than even Gardner himself 
ever saw." 

Such a tribute, coming from so honoured a 
source, surely entitles Gardner to "a fair field 
and no favour," and never in his life did he ask 
for more. 





ABOUT the middle of the last century a certain 
Scottish surgeon named Gardner accompanied his 
father to North America, and subsequently took 
an active part in the War of Independence. It 
appears that he was intimately associated with 
several of the leaders of the rebellious colonists, 
particularly with George Washington and the 
Marquis de Lafayette, and he long preserved 
their correspondence with him. 

After the War of Independence had ceased Dr 
Gardner obtained employment under the Mexican 
Government, and while living in Mexico married 
the daughter of an Englishman named Haughton, 


who was the principal official of a town and dis- 
trict on the banks of the river Colorado. Haugh- 
ton's wife was of Spanish descent and belonged 
to a good family, through whose influence Haugh- 
ton had obtained preferment. Haughton himself 
was the son of a major in the English army, 
well known in his day as a traveller in Africa, 
in which mysterious continent he eventually lost 
his life. 

Soon after the marriage Dr Gardner and his 
wife moved northwards and made their home on 
that portion of the shore of Lake Superior which 
is nearest to the source of the Mississippi, and 
here in the course of time they became the 
parents of three sons and as many daughters. 

The youngest of these sons, the hero of these 
pages, who was born in the year 1785, received 
the names of Alexander Haughton Campbell, and, 
like his brothers, was brought up in the Unitarian 
religion, the creed of their father. The daughters, 
on the other hand, followed their mother and be- 
came Eoman Catholics. 

Although in his old age Alexander Gardner 
became devout in his language, and, perhaps from 
long association with Orientals, interlarded his 
letters with pious phrases, it does not appear that 


religion came much between him and worldly 
objects during his adventurous career. For many 
years he passed as a Mussulman, and apparently 
felt no scruple in the matter. 

This may possibly have resulted from the con- 
tentions which took place in his childhood, as the 
strict views of Mrs Gardner impelled her to en- 
deavour to draw her sons as well as her daughters 
into the fold of her Church. 

Alexander Gardner's travels began early in life, 
for before his fifth birthday Dr Gardner returned 
to Mexico and made a new home there, near the 
mouth of the river Colorado and not far from the 
town of St Xavier. At the same time he per- 
manently entered the Government medical service, 
and in course of time acquired considerable pro- 
perty in addition to some inherited by his wife. 

Mrs Gardner was, to use her son's words, "in 
all respects a well - educated and accomplished 
woman, of a rare sweetness and strength of char- 
acter." She educated her sons and daughters in 
their early years, and as a man may be in some 
measure judged by his appreciation of that price- 
less blessing, a good mother, it is worthy of note 
that Gardner attributed to that early training 
whatever of good there might be in his character. 


She was, he adds, an accomplished linguist, speak- 
ing French and Italian well, in addition to English 
and Spanish, which she naturally knew in virtue 
of her mixed descent. 

Dr Gardner was cast in a rougher mould, but 
he was a well-educated man, and taught his sons 
Greek and Latin, with the severity customary at 
that period, until they reached the age of twelve, 
when (no doubt at the desire of their mother) 
they went successively to the Jesuit school at St 

As was natural, Gardner, when recording his 
early recollections, had no very definite memories 
of this school, but remembered creating a sensation 
on his first arrival there by a sturdy refusal to 
attend the daily mass and the confessional. The 
contempt with which he was treated by the 
priestly masters galled him to the quick, and he 
was even more infuriated by the haughty disdain, 
such as Spaniards alone can exhibit, with which 
his schoolfellows received both friendly overtures 
and warlike challenges. 

Isolation in youth is hard to bear, yet no doubt 
Gardner had to thank it in part for the stern 
and inflexible courage that enabled him to endure, 
and even to enjoy, the much greater isolation 


that of the European dweller among Orientals 
that was his lot for the greater part of his life. 

Alexander Gardner's chief consolation during 
his lonely school-life was derived from the inces- 
sant study of a book of travels among the 
American Indians, the property of the Principal 
of the school. Gardner discovered this book, he 
relates, in the Principal's library, while waiting 
there for chastisement. He begged for a loan of 
the book, but being refused, took an opportunity 
of possessing himself of it ; and the successful 
lawlessness of the act, coupled with the romantic 
character of the book, no doubt permanently 
influenced him. In his own words, "From this 
early period of life the notion of being a traveller 
and adventurer, and of somehow and somewhere 
carving out a career for myself, was the maggot 
of my brain." 

Gardner remained nearly nine years in the 
seminary, mainly at the intercession of his 
mother, for his father would have preferred his 
being educated in England. 

Mrs Gardner died early in the year 1807, 
when Alexander was between twenty - one and 
twenty - two years old ; and there is some mys- 
tery as to the manner in which he passed the 



following five years. He himself states that he 
was in Ireland during the greater part of the 
time, preparing partly for a maritime life, to 
which he was then inclined. It is probable that 
while in Ireland he acquired a certain knowledge 
of the science of gunnery, and also assimilated 
the tenacious accent of "the distressful country." 
In after -years his knowledge of artillery and his 
strong Irish brogue gave occasion to those un- 
friendly to him to accuse Gardner of being a 
deserter from the British artillery. This charge 
was, however, quite unsubstantiated, and there 
are no grounds for giving it the slightest credit. 
It should also be stated that Gardner came in 
contact, after the Sikh war, with very many 
English officers and soldiers, and that, had the 
statement been true, more would certainly have 
been heard of it, as every effort was being made at 
the time to remove the European and foreign officers 
who were in the service of the Sikh Government. 

In 1812 Gardner returned to America, landing 
at New Orleans in the month of March. Here 
he received the news of his father's death, con- 
veyed to him in a letter from his second brother, 
and immediately embarked on the career of ad- 
venture to which his inclination led him. 


The spirit of unrest, inherited from both sides 
of their parentage, was no doubt strong in the 
Gardner family ; and Alexander's eldest brother 
had for several years been employed by the 
Eussian Government as an engineer at Astrakhan. 
By his advice Gardner left Philadelphia, where 
he had been staying with one of his uncles, and 
sailed for Lisbon, whence he proceeded to Madrid. 
There he realised his father's Spanish property 
(derived from his wife) on behalf of the family, 
it having been arranged that the portions of 
himself and his eldest brother should be pro- 
vided from this source. 

Having realised the property, Gardner trans- 
mitted the proceeds to his brother at Astrakhan, 
retaining only a sum sufficient for his own travel- 
ling expenses to that city. 

While preparing for this journey, Gardner made 
the acquaintance of a man named Aylmer, whom 
he describes as very clever and an experienced 
traveller, and, moreover, a relation of the Prin- 
cipal of Gardner's old Jesuit school in Mexico. 
Aylmer was a Jesuit himself, and had no difficulty 
in persuading Gardner to join him in a journey 
which he was about to make to Alexandria and 
Cairo. His complete knowledge of Persian and 


Turkish made him a desirable travelling companion 
for Gardner, and the latter seized the opportunity 
offered him of gaining an acquaintance with those 

Early in the year 1813 they accordingly set 
out from Madrid together, and arrived in due 
course at Cairo, where Gardner found (as Aylmer 
had promised him) a friendly and intelligent 
French society. A Monsieur Julien welcomed 
them to his house, and they found other visitors 
there in the persons of two German mineralogists. 
These men, one of whom was named Dallerwitz, 
having been dissatisfied with the salaries offered 
them by the Egyptian and Persian Governments, 
had determined to try their fortune in a military 
career, and to wend their way to the Russian 
frontier, as reports were current that European 
military officers, particularly those trained as 
engineers, were in request by that Government. 

Having made the acquaintance of these Ger- 
mans, Aylmer and Gardner determined to proceed 
to Trebizond with them. Another member of 
the party was a highly accomplished Frenchman 
named Rossaix, one of that large body of his 
countrymen who had been thrown out of em- 
ployment by the peace of 1805, and who dis- 


persed themselves over the East in search of a 
new field for military enterprise. Rossaix was a 
skilled engineer, and had a design, which he 
afterwards carried into execution, of entering the 
service of the ruler of the Sikhs, Maharaja Ranjit 

The conversation which Gardner had at this 
time with M. Rossaix led him, many years later, 
to enter the Maharaja's service. 

Rossaix himself went to Lahore, and died there 
of cholera many years before Gardner's arrival, 
having obtained very lucrative employment. 

The party of engineers which now left Cairo 
was too small to travel safely, and they intended 
to join a large caravan, organised by some Armen- 
ian merchants, which had recently started. After 
running some risks, Gardner and his companions 
caught up the caravan a few marches from Jericho, 
and found that it consisted of about 3000 human 
beings " a medley of Asiatics, chiefly pilgrims ; 
a mendicant set, but very sturdy." It was 
necessary to maintain an incessant watch against 
them, but, as it proved, unsuccessfully, for the 
party did not escape robbery in fact, they were, 
pillaged to such a degree that a small party of 
Christian, Turkish, and Arab merchants, who had 


effects which they did not choose to lose, and 
with whom Gardner and his friends were asso- 
ciated, kept aloof some 300 yards from the 
main encampment, letting it be known that any 
prowlers would be fired on. 

When near Erzeroum intelligence reached 
Gardner's French and German friends which 
decided them on going with him to Astrakhan. 
They therefore embarked at Trebizond on a 
Russian craft bound for a small port at the 
northern base of the Caucasus. From this place 
Gardner wrote to his brother, who immediately 
set to work to obtain employment for him 
under the Russian Government. 

Finding that the salaries of mineralogists were 
very high, and that there was a considerable de- 
mand for superintendents (presumably of mines), 
Gardner applied himself studiously to all the 
books he could gather together, so that his 
brother might be able as soon as possible to 
testify honestly to his acquirements. He was, 
he says, aided in his studies both by a natural 
bent and by some training in the rudiments of 
geology and chemistry happily acquired from his 
lamented and honoured father. At this period 
Gardner lived with his brother, and worked and 


studied under his supervision : he speaks with 
much gratitude of his fatherly kindness, and 
recalls with satisfaction the fact that he was 
able to make himself useful to him. 

This settled and promising life was, however, 
to come to an abrupt end ; for when Gardner 
was on the point of receiving the reward of his 
labours in the shape of a Government appoint- 
ment, his hopes were shattered and his home 
broken up by the sudden death of his brother, 
who was killed by a fall from his horse on 
December 14, 1817. 

Gardner's first design was to request the ful- 
filment of the promises of employment for him 
that had been made to his brother ; but far 
from obtaining his wish, he was disgusted by 
repeated discourtesies and delays, and, to add 
to his difficulties, his brother's property was 
attached in liquidation of claims based on ac- 
counts which his death had left unclosed. 

After a tedious litigation that detained him 
nearly a year and cured him of any fancy for 
the Russian service, Gardner, through the kind 
intervention of a friend, was allowed to retain 
about 6000, one -third of his brother's effects. 
This sum included his own patrimony. 


Disgusted with Russia, and disheartened by the 
loss of his brother, Gardner was about to return 
to America when he met one day a German 
named Sturzky, who was accompanied, to Gard- 
ner's surprise and satisfaction, by his old travel- 
ling companion Dallerwitz. These two gentlemen 
had left the Russian service, and were about to 
proceed to the Court of Persia in quest of 
fortune, and Gardner was easily induced to 
accompany them. He left the bulk of his for- 
tune in safe hands at Astrakhan, and taking 
with him a small sum for travelling expenses, 
started again on his travels. The party left 
Astrakhan early in October 1818 in a small 
merchant craft, in which they crossed to the 
eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, and then, 
turning south, gradually worked their way to 

This was a slow and tedious voyage, and, on 
landing, the company broke up, Dallerwitz re- 
turning to Russia, while Sturzky and Gardner 
started for Herat. Gardner now proposed travel- 
ling through Persia and Afghanistan to the Pan- 
jab, having heard while at Astrabad that his friend 
M. Rossaix was receiving large pay at Lahore. 


In the course of the journey to Herat, Gardner 
and Sturzky fell in with a respectable -looking 
and intelligent man, with some twenty mounted 
attendants. He represented himself to be a 
naib or vakil (ambassador) from the khan of 
Khokand, sent from that territory on a political 
mission to the Courts of Persia and Herat, and 
now returning to his master. He held out allur- 
ing prospects to the travellers if they would 
accompany him to Khokand. M. Sturzky was 
at once persuaded to adopt the proposal, and 
was fully convinced of the truth of the man's 
assertions. He endeavoured to persuade Gardner 
to go with him and the vakil, and Gardner 
would have done so but that he fortunately fell 
ill. Sturzky therefore took a friendly leave of 
him, and departed with his new ally. This took 
place within a few miles of Herat, and Gardner 
entered that city on the following day, and re- 
mained there a short time until cured of his 
fever. He then proposed to visit Khiva, and 
possibly to rejoin M. Sturzky. 

On the 20th January 1819 Gardner was fit to 
travel, and started off to Ghorian, hearing that 
a small caravan of petty merchants and Mecca 


pilgrims, bound for different parts of Turkestan, 
was collecting there. Losing no time, Gardner 
covered the thirty-five miles to Ghorian by sun- 
set, but, to his intense vexation, found that he 
had been misinformed, and that the caravan was 
really ending, not beginning, its journey. It 
was bound for Herat, there to rest some time 
before proceeding eastward. The kqfila (cara- 
van) was a very small one, and had been no 
less than eighteen months on the march from 

Nevertheless, some of its devoted members had 
still to toil as far as the north-eastern boundaries 
of Khokand, Kashgar, and Yarkand, and even to 
the more distant regions of Mongolia. 

Gardner returned with the kafila to Herat, 
and having made acquaintances among the pil- 
grims, determined to remain with them during 
their stay at Herat, and to travel towards Kun- 
duz in their company. He was now, at the age 
of thirty -four, about to enter on a career of 
apparently aimless wandering, which he pursued 
until his arrival in the Panjab in August 1831, 
a period of twelve years. Occasionally he settled 
down for a time, but soon the force of circum- 


stances, or a roving and lawless disposition, com- 
pelled him to move on. 

We can now leave Gardner to tell in his own 
language the tale of his first journey in the 
wilds of Central Asia, on which he started on 
January 19, 1819. 





WE left Herat at daybreak, and as the melting 
of the snow might soon be confidently expected, 
the kafilcb took a direct, but little-frequented, road 
over the snowy ranges of the "Western Hindu 
Kush. We were, in all about 100 persons, bound 
for various parts of Turkestan, and by general 
agreement amongst us the city of Kunduz, the 
capital of the kingdom of that name, then under 
the sway of Mir Murad AH Beg, was to be our 
first destination. Arrived there, or near there, we 
intended to break off into small parties which 
could make their own arrangements for reaching 
their homes. Most of us were provided with 


rough - coated ponies or mules. The region 
through which we now commenced to travel 
was inhabited by the Hazaras, whom we found 
to be a truly hospitable race. We journeyed 
along the track that appeared to separate the 
northern (or hill) Hazaras from the southern 
tribes, and our daily marches were from eight 
to ten miles in length, and generally in a north- 
easterly direction. 

The kindly hill Hazaras kept us regularly sup- 
plied with fresh bread and milk, and made us 
welcome to their villages for as long as we 
liked to stay. I observed, and it was worth 
observing, that the farther we journeyed from 
the confines of civilisation the more marked and 
scrupulous was the punctiliousness with which 
our wants were met. 

We took sixteen marches to traverse the land 
inhabited by the Hazaras, and in the evening 
of the fifth day we arrived at a mosque, which 
served as a serai, or resting-place for travellers, 
and hinted a wish to stay the night and a 
readiness to pay for accommodation, food, and 
forage. Our offer met with polite but sharp 
resentment : no purchasers could be allowed to 
rest under their protection. It is considered not 


only a disgrace but a crime, for which they are 
responsible to God, if a fellow -creature suffers 
want under their roof; but these wild Hazaras 
strictly define the limits of their hospitality, and 
consider it quite a venial matter to sally forth 
armed, and to waylay and plunder caravans be- 
fore they happen to have entered the charmed 
precincts. But any outrage on a poor and lonely 
traveller is hooted as a disgrace. 

Devotion precedes a marauding expedition. The 
Hazara invariably recites a prayer in the mosque 
or at the nearest shrine, and if in the struggle 
for booty slaughter is probable, he, before striking 
the necessary but perhaps deadly blow, mutters 
between his teeth the "kulma," repeating the 
invocation " Bismilla ill il la." They deem the 
penal responsibility for the crime materially 
modified in the eyes of God and man by this 
propitiatory precaution. In fact, in their eyes 
it is tantamount to absolution, the booty is re- 
garded as lawfully gained income, and a portion, 
one-fortieth, is set aside for charity. The omission 
of the invocation precludes all these benefits ; and 
death, heavy calamity, or some deadly illness is 
deemed to be hovering over the guilty. 

To resume my journey. We proceeded on our 


way through thinly inhabited country. The lower 
Hazara district, the borders of which we skirted, 
was thriving with grain crops, and we obtained 
guides and protectors through the district, thereby 
avoiding adding our slender belongings to swell 
their prosperity. 

These protectors w r ere fakirs, mullahs, or pirs 
in other words, men of various religious pre- 
tensions. Each conducted us to the limit of his 
spiritual dominions, and the sanctity of their 
profession was our only but sufficient protection. 
They were quite indispensable to our life and 
property, and were well rewarded by subscription, 
though they often tried to exact more than we 
were disposed to afford. 

Travelling thus, we traversed, as I have said, 
the Hazara country for a period of sixteen days. 
I then left the kafila, and turning to the north, 
with a few companions, I entered the country 
of the Khalzais, 1 a mountain tribe living to the 
north of the Hazara region. The history of this 
race is obscure, but they are supposed to be the 

1 1 am very uncertain of the spelling of this name, and have been 
unable to identify the tribe. They are said, in Edgeworth's abstract 
of Gardner's travels, to be a section of the Dai Kundi Hazaras. 
Hardly anything is as yet known of the Dai Kundi country. 


descendants of emigrant Arabs, Mongols, and 
Tartars. From my notes I take the following 

The Khalzais are low sized, but stout and 
active, of a florid complexion, with brown or 
dark-red hair and beard. 

The women are very comely, active in all 
household pursuits, and not shrinking from hold- 
ing a spear and taking part in a clan skirmish. 
The beauty of the women is in repute through- 
out Afghanistan and the north of Persia, from 
whence slave-dealers are deputed to kidnap them 
for the seraglios of the wealthy. Reprisals are 
often adopted, and expeditions formed by the 
Khalzais to carry fire and sword into the neigh- 
bouring countries. In these expeditions the 
Khalzais carry off women and children for sale 
in the slave-markets of Balkh or Bokhara. 

The Khalzais are armed with a long straight 
knife, a short, stout, broad-headed spear, and a 
matchlock or jezail. Their dress consists of a 
long loose garment of a coarse woollen texture, 
manufactured from the wool of their own sheep ; 
a jacket made of roughly dressed skins ; a waist- 
band of several folds of cloth; narrower rolls 
round the legs ; raw skin sandals ; and a curiously 


shaped leather hat completes the picturesque cos- 
tume. In the summer those who can afford to 
do so, adopt soft trousers. 

The women dress in loose trousers, with a short 
vest of black or blue woollen stuff. Their hair 
is neatly braided, with long pendent ringlets. 

They live in caves, some of which have spacious 
apartments, calculated to shelter a patriarchal 

The tribe are devout Muhammadans, and can 
marry the usual number of wives, but, contrary 
to custom, they adopt no privacy for them. Not- 
withstanding, the virtue of the Khalzai female is 
held in high repute. 

From this tribe I passed on to another known 
as the Therbahs, a tribe of Kafir descent. 

The Therbah, who is a half-savage, worships 
the sun and moon, fire and water, and resembles 
in some respects the scattered remnants of the 
Guebers of Persia. The tribe wanders about the 
sandy wastes south of Merve. They maintain 
friendly relations with their neighbours the Khal- 
zais, and they understand each other's dialect. 
They intermarry with the Siah Posh Kafirs, who 
inhabit the Eastern Hindu Kush ranges, but the 
pride of the latter tribe does not permit them 



to give their daughters in return. The Therbah 
is said to be able to make the journey to the 
Khawak district, on the border of Kafiristan, in 
ten or twelve days. 

In ancient days the Kafirs are said to have 
spread over the whole Hindu Kush region, and 
even far to the west of those mountains, but 
various invasions worked great changes. Timur 
passed over the Bamian route into India, and 
partially destroyed the Kafir races by the sword 
or by compulsory proselytism. Local traditions 
affirm that while carrying on an unsuccessful war 
with the Siah Posh Kafirs he managed to compel 
8000 males of other tribes to adopt Muhamma- 
danism. The numerous tribes who follow the 
Prophet under the name of Hazaras, and the 
Kemaik races, are lineal descendants of these 
ancient Kafir tribes. The Therbahs are among 
them, but have retained their ancient religion. 
The Therbahs resembled the Khalzais in appear- 
ance, and with some trifling exceptions their dress 
was also similar. Their chief, whose name was 
Therman Khan, treated me with much friendship 
and hospitality, and his son Ibrahim Khan at- 
tached himself to me also. I passed about a 
month with Therman Khan, and made several 


expeditions of exploration, which I should think 
worthy of record but for the far more exciting 
scenes through which I was destined to pass. 

In addition to two servants who were already in 
my employment, I here procured two others. One 
of these was an Afghan or Kohistan lad about 
eighteen years of age, who had been stolen by an 
itinerant slave -dealer, bought by Therman Khan 
as a child, and reared by him. Therman Khan 
gave me the lad, and he proved a faithful servant 
and good soldier. I always called him Therbah, 
in memory of the tribe whence I obtained him, and 
his history will be found in the following pages. 

It being now my purpose to proceed to Merve, 
a party of Therbahs, under Ibrahim Khan, was 
ordered by the chief to conduct me to that neigh- 
bourhood. In the course of our journey we met 
with the following adventure, which indicates the 
species of society into which we had penetrated. 
We reached a town called Nack, distant some 
miles from Merve, and there met a party of 
five slave-dealers from the north. While we were 
inquiring particulars of the country through which 
they had travelled, these men opened a shy con- 
verse in the Turki dialect with some of our party. 
When the time for repose came, they sought a 


private interview with Ibrahim Khan, who in a 
short time returned to us with peals of laughter, 
and I was apprised that negotiations had been 
made for my sale as a slave. The slave-dealers 
were not convinced that their proposition was 
declined, and one of them sneaked in and privately 
thrust five tillahs into the hand of Ibrahim Khan : 
he flung them away, and repeated that I was not 

At last words grew high and blows were ex- 
changed, and the scuffle ended in the binding in 
bonds of the five merchants by the chief authority 
of the place. 

They were very near being retaliated upon and 
made slaves of themselves, but humanity prevailed 
in the counsels and they were let go mulcted, 
however, of everything but a sword and shield 
apiece, as a just fine for their insolence and 
violence. After these ruffians had vanished, it 
transpired that four of them belonged to a body 
of men whose whole trade consisted of kidnapping 
children for sale. Eleven tillahs of gold, part of 
the money found on my would-be purchasers, were 
handed to me. I gave ten of them to Ibrahim 
Khan when we parted company a fortnight later. 
From his protection I passed to that of a Turko- 


man chief, named Shah Mardak, said to be of 
Mogul origin : he, however, stoutly professed to 
be a Turkh. He was chief of a small oasis in the 
sandy tract to the south-east of Merve. He gave 
me a most hospitable welcome. 

I lived with him for some time, moving about 
in an easterly direction, and eventually left him 
and made a forced march to Andkhui, where I 
joined a considerable caravan. This was composed 
of merchants of various nationalities, the principal 
of them being a very intelligent man, who passed 
by the name of Urd Khan. He received me as 
a guest in his tents, and treated me with great 
generosity. I had no money left and no prospects 
at Khiva, his home and the destination of the 
caravan, save the doubtful assistance that M. 
Sturzky might be able to afford me. 

I have not yet stated that my own travelling 
name was Arb Shah. I passed as a native of Arabia, 
and met very few in my travels who could speak 
Arabic. I explained any deficiency of knowledge of 
my native language by telling my interlocutor that 
I came from the opposite corner of Arabia to that 
with which he was acquainted, having previously 
taken care to worm this information out of him. 

While travelling with Urd Khan I fell danger- 


ously ill with brain fever, and was insensible for 
two days. We were at the time about ten days' 
journey from Khiva. Nothing could exceed the 
paternal benevolence of Urd Khan. He actually 
conveyed me in a bed made up in a kajaiva, 
carried by one of his private camels, and I was 
balanced by his ladies in the kajawa on the other 
side : they treated me with great kindness. 

During my illness we were one day alarmed by 
twenty horsemen galloping up. Urd Khan, as the 
selected chief of the caravan, was deputed to deal 
with them. His tactics were erroneous. Thinking 
they were but a small party, and calculating on 
our strength, he told them to be off as " dogs." 
Off they went and halted suddenly a mile in front, 
and seemed in a moment to melt away out of 
sight. We marched on for a few miles, when 
suddenly a band of some 400 marauding Turkoman 
horsemen appeared. Urd Khan now changed his 
tone. As for me, I was dead-sick, and little cared 
what became of me. 

He rode forward and arranged a parley with the 
chiefs, who condoned his former demeanour to their 
deputies, as the first batch proved to be. Our 
lives were to be spared, and we and our women 
were not to be sold into slavery, the ordinary 


doom on such occasions, but Urd Khan was to 
be mulcted of a fine camel and two kajawas full 
of selected merchandise. Then every one had to 
open his bales, and contributions were levied from 
us all, in due proportion, under Urd Khan's super- 
vision. My pony was seized ; and a rich Jewish 
merchant, who was among us, was treated with 
exceptional severity. This he attributed to Urd 
Khan, and longed for revenge. The depredators 
affected great indignation at having had to come 
so far. They had come, they said, twenty farsangs 
on receiving Turkoman telegraphic intelligence of 
the treatment of their deputies at the hands of 
Urd Khan. 

They do, in fact, communicate with each other 
with extraordinary speed, and swoop down in num- 
bers, like vultures upon a dead body, when but 
one solitary bird has originally scented the carrion. 
We were warned that we should only be safe until 
noon the following day, and taking the hint, 
hurried off, and had hardly got across the river 
Oxus when a body of sixty men, either of the 
same band or another of like character, halloed 
to the peasantry on our bank that we were robbers 
and had despoiled them. 

The peasantry were soon up in arms, but for- 


tunately took our view of the matter. The 
whistling, shouting, shrieking, and signalling on 
this occasion betokened the state of incessant 
watchfulness the inhabitants of these parts are 
obliged to maintain. Aided by the villagers, we 
were strong enough to hold our own, and moved 
slowly on. We did not dare to halt, as from the 
well-known pride of the Turkoman hordes we were 
in hourly expectation of another attack, and we 
therefore moved on until within two marches of 
Khiva. Here a tremendous altercation arose be- 
tween the Jew and Urd Khan. The Jew wanted 
to go to Khokand, Urd Khan intended shortly to 
start for Orenburg, and they were bartering com- 
modities to suit the different markets. 

The country we were now in was most inimical 
to Russians, of whose movements they were very 
jealous, and the Jew disappeared, and gave out 
that Urd Khan had a Russian spy with him. I 
was still prostrate with fever, and indifferent as 
to what befell me. Urd Khan swore that no harm 
should touch me, and nobly did that generous and 
disinterested Asiatic redeem his pledge. He had 
some acquaintance with the khan of Khiva, and 
went to see him, and declared that I was too ill 
to move. 


In a great state of anxiety as to my identity, 
the khan ' deputed three learned men, who had 
travelled over half the world, to examine me. 

I told them the truth that I was an American. 
They were suspicious. One of them, a very en- 
lightened man, thought to pose me by a conclusive 
and abstruse geographical question, " Could I go 
by land from America to England ? " I promptly 
answered, " No ! " at which, as much delighted at 
his own superior learning as at my reply, he de- 
clared that he was convinced. Americans they 
considered " Yagistanis," or Independents. 

Urd Khan hovered round my couch during this 
perilous interview, and plied me with incessant 
gruels, magnifying my deplorable state, and 
actually managed so well as to get the Jew 
flung into prison. He then deported me quietly 
to the home of a friend of his at Urgunz. During 
all this time I had no resources of my own, and 
lived entirely on the munificent hospitality of my 
Eastern entertainer. From this place I wrote to 
Khokand to M. Sturzky, who wrote me in reply 
a doleful account of himself. The Khiva people 
had stripped him of everything, and but for the 
intercession of a holy travelling khoja, of great 
sanctity, he would have been murdered. 


He subsequently managed to join me on my 
way to Astrakhan, after many adventures. He 
was half-naked, thin, hungry, and ill, but still in 
good spirits. The hapless man had bought his 
escape from Khiva at the price of circumcision in 
a public ceremonial by the fanatical Jchofa, who 
deemed the wrath of Heaven inevitable had he 
omitted to avail himself of this happy opportunity 
of securing the conversion of an infidel. 

My health being restored, I dismissed my Ther- 
bah to his home, and returned with M. Sturzky, 
by way of the Sea of Aral, whence I crossed the 
steppe to Alexandrovsk, where I took ship for 





GARDNER reached Astrakhan without further ad- 
venture, and there had the good fortune to meet 
a relation and friend, in the person of M. Dela- 
roche, the son of one of Gardner's maternal aunts. 

M. Delaroche, who had been a great traveller, 
had brought with him letters to high Russian 
authorities, by means of which he purposed to 
obtain for his relations the remainder of the elder 
Gardner's fortune, which had been so unjustly 
attached by the Russian Government. 

In this matter he eventually was successful, and 
was also ready and even anxious to obtain employ- 
ment for Gardner ; but, as the latter quaintly puts 


it, he had imbibed a prejudice against the Russian 
method of conducting business, and preferred to 
remain his own master. 

In the course of the year 1820 M. Delaroche 
left for America and M. Sturzky for Moscow. 
Gardner took an early opportunity of repaying 
his debt to the generous Urd Khan, and remained 
at Astrakhan until the beginning of the year 1823, 
during which period he apparently spent or lost 
his small fortune. 

He then became restless, and in the month of 
February again set out on his Asiatic travels. 

He could not, he says, rest in civilised coun- 
tries, and, being free from family ties, was per- 
suaded that he would find happiness among wild 
races and in exploring unknown lands. Realising, 
therefore, the scant remains of his fortune, 
Gardner embarked for the last time on the Cas- 
pian Sea. He had determined to lose his identity 
as soon as possible, and particularly to cast off all 
connection with Russia a step that was essential 
to his safety, as that nation was much hated and 
dreaded at the period in question by all the tribes 
and peoples between the Caspian Sea and the city 
of Khiva. 

On leaving his ship Gardner therefore dismissed 


his servant, who returned to Astrakhan, and im- 
mediately exchanged the Russian furs which he 
was wearing for the garb of an Uzbeg. This con- 
sisted, he says, of a lofty, peaked fur cap ; a black 
postin (sheepskin coat) ; thick wide drawers reach- 
ing to the knee ; short black boots, with bandages 
twisted round the leg over them and up to the 

There was nothing worthy of note during Gard- 
ner's journey across the steppes from the Caspian 
to the Aral Sea. The ground was familiar to him, 
and he merely records that he received great hos- 
pitality from the various chiefs, and that he re- 
sumed (this time for many years) his travelling 
name of Arb Shah, the convenience of which has 
been explained. 

In spite of the risk, Gardner could not resist 
sending a message to his friend Urd Khan, to in- 
quire where he was and how he fared. The mes- 
senger returned and informed Gardner that Urd 
Khan had gone to Meshed, and also conveyed a 
warning from Urd Khan's brother to Gardner that 
he should not visit Khiva. 

Meanwhile Gardner had with great difficulty 
crossed the Aral Sea : his boat filled with water 
and nearly foundered. Eventually he and his 


companions landed on the south-east shore, in a 
most dangerous swamp at the mouth of a river. 
There is, he says, a most remarkable formation at 
this place. The silt of the river forms an immense 
bed of inert vegetable matter, which presents all 
the horrors of a quicksand for any unfortunate 
vessel that founders. No life has ever been known 
to be saved under such circumstances. Having 
happily effected a safe landing, Gardner and two 
or three wanderers who had joined him travelled 
for a short distance along the bank of the river at 
whose mouth they had landed, but presently 
struck off to the east with the intention of reach- 
ing Khojend, the home of one of the party. They 
gave all towns and other dangerous places a wide 
berth, but on approaching their destination were 
tracked and apprehended by some scouts, who, 
however, let them pass unmolested on receiving a 
satisfactory account of the party from the native 
of Khojend. 

On approaching Ura-tube they made a detour, 
as the beg or bai (ruler) of that place was a noted 
and unscrupulous marauder and robber. About 
this time Gardner was joined by his faithful Ther- 
bah, who had heard of his journey and had followed 
him up, and also by a remarkable person who was 


travelling with three or four camels. Gardner 
suspected this man of being an escaped convict 
from Siberia, but was uncertain of his nationality 
he called himself a Pole, and perhaps was one. 
He spoke of various parts of Germany and of 
Transylvania and Albania. He usually spoke 
French to Gardner, and went by the name of Aga 
Beg. He showed himself very friendly to Gardner ; 
and it was, in fact, thanks to his information and 
advice that the party kept clear of the direct road 
to Ura-tube and Khojend, and went by the Ak- 
Tagh range, farther to the north. 

Barely had they skirted this range when they 
found themselves in bad company. The advent- 
ures that followed shall be related in Gardner's 
own words. 

"We found ourselves," he says, "close upon a 
large camp of Kipchaks, which was pitched on the 
banks of the Jisak, a river which empties itself 
into the Zerufshan. At the head of the encamp- 
ment was a powerful beg or bai. 

" There was nothing for it but to make the best 
of things ; so we, as the smaller party, sent a depu- 
tation to salute the larger. From the date of this 
rencontre the whole destinies of myself and my 


party were changed, and our horizons were dark 
with presages of imminent disaster. 

"A suspicious cordiality was soon struck up 
between some of our servants and those of the 
bais large camp. Pressure was also put upon us 
by the Ura-tube freebooters, who, on the pretext 
that we had intruded without leave in their terri- 
tory, made a demand for fifteen or twenty horses. 
We had the latter number among our small party, 
five of which were mine, very fine animals which 
had caught the eye of the stalwart bai, our neigh- 
bour. Twenty per cent of all our goods was also 
demanded, and eight days were allowed us to show 
our belongings. Nothing is done in a hurry in 
Asia. It was pretended that similar demands 
were made on our neighbours the Kipchaks, and 
their bai sent for us to his camp under the pre- 
text of asking our advice. On arriving there he 
was not to be found, and on our return we found 
that he had visited our little encampment during 
our absence. The result of his inspection was soon 
apparent. Orders came to us that we should move 
closer to the bai's camp. We had to obey, and 
that very night our horses and camels were stolen 
under the very noses of our treacherous servants. 

" We tracked them to the bai's camp, recognised 


our property, and demanded their restitution. We 
were, however, hustled back with volleys of abuse. 
We then offered to buy them back, but it was of 
no use. 

" Meanwhile, to add to our difficulties, the Ura- 
tube chief sent an imperative mandate for a con- 
tribution of five horses. We had none to give, 
and grew desperate. 

" We swore on our drawn swords to recover our 
horses and property by stratagem or force, or die 
for it. 

" Aga Beg had two trusty men, as familiar as 
wild beasts with the intricate ravines about the 
place, and such ground was homelike to my Ther- 
bah. We determined to make a midnight daur 
(raid), recover our horses, plunder as much as 
we could in reprisal, and escape by the ravines. 
Hemmed in as we were, we prowled about for two 
nights, being fired upon once or twice in mistake for 
wild animals by the camp outposts of the Kipchaks. 

" The suspicions of the bai seemed at last to be 
lulled, and the hour came. We entered the camp 
and carried off twelve horses, including my own 
five, and plenty of booty, and then made the best 
of our way south by places in which pursuit was 
at that hour of night almost impossible. It was a 



daring deed. We knew that the pursuit would be 
close and furious, and that the whole country 
would soon be up. We were at the mercy of Aga 
Beg's guides, but felt that we could rely on him 
and them. Our hope was to reach Samarkand, 
where he had property and a powerful connection. 

" Three horsemen of the Ura-tube chief suddenly 
overtook us about dawn, and with violent abuse 
ordered us to halt and yield in the name of the 
Government. On our refusal they threatened to 
fire, and in self-defence we slew them and fled on, 
taking their arms and horses, through the tracks 
most remote from habitations. One night a Turk- 
oman horseman passed near us at full speed, and 
soon afterwards another came up to us and stopped 
us. He said he had orders from Samarkand to 
aid in arresting a desperate band of robbers. We 
declared that we were in pursuit of them. We 
might easily have killed him, but agreed that by 
letting him pass on we might divert suspicion 
from ourselves. 

" It was evidently unsafe to make for Samar- 
kand, as was our intention then ; so, wearily but in 
good heart, we pursued our anxious way towards 
Hazrat Imam, hoping for shelter there. 

"Having reached the Oxus, we hid ourselves 


among the rocky banks, and sent a man to the 
holy place to see what our chances were. He re- 
turned with the calamitous news that our party, 
'dogs of Mervites,' were proclaimed all over the 
country, and no one would dare to take us in." 

Finding life under such circumstances a trifle 
too exciting, Gardner and his companions now 
decided to strike southward and endeavour to 
make their way to Kabul, there to offer their 
services to Amir Dost Muhammad Khan, who was 
at this time establishing himself, by right of con- 
quest and by the will of the people, as ruler of the 
northern and eastern portions of Afghanistan. 

Gardner but seldom mentions dates, and it 
is difficult to gather from his rapid narrative 
how long was the period during which he and 
Aga Beg lived as wandering freebooters. They 
apparently joined forces early in the summer of 
1823, and from the great distances covered during 
their prolonged flight from the Kipchak marauders, 
it must have been well on in the year when the 
party crossed the Oxus at the first practicable spot 
above Hazrat Imam and headed towards Kabul. 

A rough and dangerous mountain country had 
to be traversed, all authorities to be avoided, and 


it need cause us no surprise to learn that the condi- 
tion of the travellers proceeded from bad to worse. 
Unheedingly they passed the famous lapis-lazuli 
mines ; historic cities were to them but the strong- 
holds of oppression, and, as such, to be avoided. 

" Food," says Gardner, " we obtained by levying 
contributions from every one we could master, but 
we did not slaughter unless in self-defence." 

When near Kunduz, it should be said, they had 
again been compelled to kill a party of three armed 
men, who declared that Gardner's party were them- 
selves the robbers whom they professed to be pur- 
suing, and threatened to take them before the ruler 
of the province. 

A guilty conscience is certainly suggested by the 
following passage, which immediately follows that 
quoted above : " On coming near Inder - ab (or 
Anderab) we halted for two days, to rest our 
wearied bones. We told the same story to all we 
met, saying, 'Have you seen any robbers? We 
are in pursuit of a band.' " To this query Gardner 
says they invariably received the response, "You 
will find them in Bolor." We shall henceforth 
become familiar with this name under various 

The borders of Afghanistan were at length 


reached, but the path to safety and employment 
under Dost Muhammad Khan was by no means 

The reader will be reminded in the next chapter 
how it was that Dost Muhammad Khan came to be 
Amir of Kabul, and must further understand that 
at the time of Gardner's arrival in the Inder-ab 
valley, that region and the Kohistan (or mountain 
country to the north of Kabul) was in possession of 
a rival claimant to the throne. This claimant was 
Prince Habib-ulla Khan, son of the deceased elder 
brother of Dost Muhammad Khan. Habib-ulla 
Khan had for a short time been recognised as ruler 
of Kabul, but had now been dispossessed by his 





THE kingdom of Afghanistan dates only from the 
year 1747, when Ahmad Khan, hereditary chief 
of the Sadozai tribe, was crowned King of the 
Afghans at Kandahar. Ahmad Khan changed the 
name of his tribe to Durani, and assumed the title 
of Shah Duri Duran. After a glorious career of 
conquest he died in June 1773. 

Ahmad Shah Durani was succeeded by his son 
Taimur, who reigned twenty years, and was suc- 
ceeded by his son Shah Zaman, who was blinded 
and deposed in the year 1799. Shah Zaman's 
brother and successor, Mahmud Shah, had no 


strength of character, and in July 1803 was set 
aside in favour of Shah Shujah, another brother. 

The vicissitudes undergone by this unfortunate 
monarch are well known, and had resulted in his 
exile in the year 1811, when the greater part of 
Afghanistan fell under the dominion of another 
great clan the Barakzai of which Dost Muham- 
mad Khan eventually became the chief. In 1839 
the British placed Shah Shujah once more on the 
throne of Afghanistan, but as soon as the protec- 
tion of that Power ceased, in April 1842, Shah 
Shujah was murdered. 

His son and successor, Fathi Jang, shared the 
same fate a few months later, and Dost Muhammad 
resumed the power whieh he alone could wield 
effectively. His family has ever since reigned in 

The people of Afghanistan are indifferently 
called Afghans and Pathans. The former name is 
by some writers said to indicate the turbulent 
nature of the people (fighan meaning lamentation) 
the same Persian word fighan means in another 
sense " idols," and may therefore imply a nation of 

The name " Pathan " is said by Colonel Malleson 
to embody the idea of strength. "Pashtun" or 


" Pukhtun," yet another name of the nation, is 
said to mean "dwellers in hills." 

Gardner and his companions had, of course, no 
knowledge of Afghan politics, and little antici- 
pated the events which were about to frustrate 
their intention of seeking employment under Dost 
Muhammad. Gardner's account of his campaign 
under Prince Habib-ulla Khan is so spirited, and 
fortunately so complete, that it follows entirely 
in his own words. 

The history of the internecine struggle between 
Dost Muhammad Khan and the various members 
of his family for the throne of Afghanistan has 
been very incompletely told by historians. The 
record of the Kohistan campaign, as related in the 
following pages by Gardner, is therefore valuable 
as well as interesting. 

The happy audacity and confidence displayed by 
the adventurer on the occasion of his falling in 
with Habib-ulla Khan throw full light on his 
character, and enable us to understand how it 
was that dangers vanished from before him. 

At last (says the traveller) we came upon 
an outpost of the Kohistan region of the Kabul 
country, and were stopped by a mounted guard. 


We demanded the name of the ruler. The guard 
declared it to be the great Amir Habib-ulla Khan, 
of Kabul, Kashmir, and Peshawar. We desired 
to be brought before him. The guard refused, 
and demanded the usual custom dues. We per- 
sisted, and seeing a threatening of an attack, 
disarmed two of them, but the third escaped and 
flew for aid. The crisis was now approaching. 

In about an hour we heard the trampling and 
rushing sound of still distant cavalry, and pres- 
ently the famous but unfortunate outlawed chief- 
tain, splendidly mounted and at the head of fifty 
picked horsemen, dashed at us. We could see 
them coming on like a desert-storm for a mile, 
and I had barely time to order my followers to 
mount and to place myself at their head, when the 
cavalcade was upon us. I received them with a 
respectful military salute. , Habib-ulla Khan was 
enraged at the insult we had offered to his out- 
post, but amused, I could see, at the attitude 
of our small band. The moment was come for 
parley ; I ordered my men to sheath their swords, 
returned my own to its scabbard, and demanded 
an audience. By this time we were completely 
surrounded by the chiefs party, and I knew that 
we were in their power, and that nothing but 


audacity and tact could save us. I enjoined 
silence, under pain of death, on my men, and then 
explained myself frankly to the chief. 

I told him I was of the New World (he had 
never before heard of it) and a Christian, and he 
declared the secret should be inviolable. His first 
irritation over, it pleased rather than displeased 
his fine nature that we had refused to comply with 
the demands of the outpost, and had preferred 
to fling ourselves on his protection. The affair 
ended by the generous chief sending then and 
there a distance of three miles for a sumptuous 
repast and Kabul vintages wherewith to recruit 
our famished frames. He then took us with him 
to his fort, where he recounted to me all his 
history, his hopes, and his sufferings. He told 
me how he had been plundered, how grossly his 
mother had been treated, how his two lovely 
sisters had been violated by order of his uncle, 
Dost Muhammad Khan, and how he had slain 
them at their own request with his own hand, 
and lastly, how he had fled and become the out- 
law I found him. 

I sympathised deeply with the brave and per- 
secuted man, whose eyes filled with tears when he 
recalled the dishonour of his family. The person 


of the chieftain was as attractive, and his face as 
handsome, as his stature was gigantic ; his prowess 
in action I have never seen surpassed. His open 
nature abhorred Asiatic wiles, and thus he had 
easily fallen a prey to the machinations of his wily 
uncle, Dost Muhammad Khan. 

The Dost at this time had abandoned the follies 
of his youth and affected great religious austerity, 
and by these means, and by making grants of land 
to the mullahs 1 in all the Kohistan, the territory 
still held by his nephew, had succeeded in raising 
up a religious war against him. He bribed the 
avaricious and intriguing priests to proclaim 
Habib-ulla Khan an infidel and a wine -bibber, 
and was aided by the liberal opinions and jovial 
habits of the sardar. 

Being, like Habib - ulla Khan, of a sanguine 
disposition, and, moreover, being favourably im- 
pressed by his appearance and manner, I prof- 
fered the services of myself and my followers, 
which were readily accepted, and I was en- 
gaged as commandant of 180 picked horse to 
be employed in forays into the enemy's country, 
and in levying contributions on all caravans, 
especially seizing every morsel of baggage and 

1 Priests. 


property that was intended for Dost Muhammad 

Our good friend Aga Beg took leave, and the 
chief presented the faithful, though mysterious, 
adventurer with a fine horse, and a safe escort 
to his destination. 

I had one day accidentally noticed a golden or 
brazen cross hanging from Aga Beg's neck, and 
asked him in French where his home was, thinking 
that he might be of that nationality. He replied, 
with a smile, in that language, that he lived in 
the mountains of Ura-tube, but gave me no 
further information, nor did I seek for any. I 
parted from him with regret, and for ever. 1 

From this date for a period of two and a half 
years I led a life in the saddle, one of active war- 
fare and continual forays : so successful were we 
that we had our advanced posts within twenty 
miles of Kabul, and the Dost dared not show his 
nose in the whole mountain region. 

None of the chiefs faithful and ardent followers 
received any pay. We lived, as I have said, in 
the saddle, and fed in common, for the good cause 

1 The Pole gave Gardner a curious crystal pipe-bowl as a parting 
present. This gift was subsequently a source of trouble to the 


of right against wrong which we had espoused. 
Any money derived from our captures went to pay 
the general expenses. 

We made daily forays, with various results, and 
Habib-ulla Khan headed us in every struggle, and 
was the champion of every fight. He seemed 
ubiquitous in action, and his shout in the charge 
struck terror into the hearts of our enemies, and 
seemed to lend double courage and vigour to his 
followers. There was hardly one of us who was 
not at one time or other indebted to him for 
life, and not one who was not ready to repay the 

The contributions levied on travellers and 
traders amounted to nearly 20 per cent. Now 
the dues of Government (and it was these dues 
that we affected to levy) ought, by the Muham- 
madan law, to amount to one -fortieth or 2 per 
cent. So, to satisfy our consciences, we detailed 
to our victims the following rapacious schedule : 

2 1 per cent the dues of God ; 
2 1 " for the priests ; 
2| ii for the poor ; 
2| ii for the great Amir Habib - ulla 


2i per cent for prayers of intercession at 

Mecca ; 
2 ii for the protection we afforded 

them out of our dominions ; 
and the remainder for our expenses (for by 
this time we had usually got tired of details). 

I cannot relate my experiences at length, for 
the events of one day much resembled those of 
another, but one occasion is indelibly impressed 
on my memory. 

It was about six months after I joined Habib- 
ulla Khan that we received information from a 
trustworthy source in Kabul that Dost Muhammad 
Khan was about to move in force to the north, 
but for a short distance only, and not with the 
intention of attacking us. The politic conduct 
of his uncle always infuriated Habib-ulla Khan, 
who longed for an opportunity of settling the 
family questions in the field. 

He now, however, felt that something was likely 
to happen which would give him an opportunity 
of dealing a home-blow to his enemy, and so it 
fell out. We ascertained from our spies that one 
of the ladies of Dost Muhammad's harem, who 
had long been absent on a pilgrimage to various 
shrines, had ended her pious journey at Hazrat 


Imam, and was now about to return to Kabul 
from that place, with an escort of some fifty 
sowars. The object of her pilgrimage had been 
to secure the intercession of the priests of all the 
shrines in her favour, she being unblessed with 
issue. So anxious was the Dost about the safety 
of his lady, and of a treasure in gold that she 
was bringing with her from a source which I 
failed to identify, that he sent an overpowering 
body of horse to guard all the Bamian passes. 

By a clever ruse, and by making some of our 
people personate some sowars of Dost Muhammad 
Khan and misinform other bodies of his troops, 
we induced the lady's escort to divert their route 
to the Ghorband Pass, where Habib - ulla lay in 
wait. We attacked them in front and rear, and 
they were largely outnumbered, but the escort 
were true to their trust and made a gallant 

Eventually we cut off the camels laden with 
treasure and those on which the lady and her 
attendants were carried, and Habib-ulla committed 
the entire prize to my care, while he covered our 

While so doing he was attacked by a large 
force of the Kabul cavalry, which had found out 
what was going on and that they had been de- 


ceived. So hardly was he pressed, and so hot 
was the pursuit, that nothing but extraordinary 
exertions on our part, and the brilliant courage 
of Habib-ulla Khan, extricated us. 

In the course of the running fight to our strong- 
hold I was enabled to see the beautiful face of a 
young girl who accompanied the princess. I rode 
for a considerable time beside her, pretending that 
my respect for the elder lady made me choose 
that side of her camel on which her attendant 
was carried. 

On the following morning Habib - ulla Khan 
richly rewarded all his followers, for he was gen- 
erous to a fault ; but I refused my share of the 
gold, and begged for this girl to be given me in 
marriage as the only reward I desired. She was 
of royal birth on the mother's side, being the 
daughter (as was at once discovered) of one of 
Habib - ulla Khan's nearest relatives. He, how- 
ever, freely and willingly gave her to me, and 
established me as commandant of a fort near his 
own abode. There I was very happy for about 
two years, in the course of which time my wife 
made me the father of a noble boy. 

To return, however, to Dost Muhammad's lady. 

She was treated with scrupulous honour and 


respect, being given a separate residence with her 
attendants. Every facility was given her to com- 
municate her whereabouts to her lord, and after 
negotiations which lasted over two or three 
months, she was ransomed at the price of 3000 
tillaks of gold, five horses, three large falcons, 
and other articles of value. She returned to 
Kabul with her personal honour untarnished and 
her private property untouched. 

Many of us hoped that after this dignified and 
chivalrous behaviour to the wife of an uncle who 
had barbarously outraged the family of Habib- 
ulla Khan, negotiations might have been entered 
into and a spirit of amity displayed by the Dost. 
But it was not to be so. Habib - ulla, far from 
encouraging any proffer of reconciliation, rather 
widened the breach by his unyielding pride. He 
declared that his uncles should humble themselves 
before him, and not he to them, and he published 
it abroad that the ransom paid for the lady was 
the token of their humiliation and the symbol 
of their admission of his sovereign rights. Neither 
would the proud youth abate one jot of his claims 
to absolute dominion, nor lower in any degree his 
tone of defiance. 

The Dost despatched two wily mullahs, osten- 



sibly with a view to effect a reconciliation between 
him and his nephew. These men were kindly and 
cordially received, but we soon found that they 
were endeavouring to tamper with our officers, 
and Habib - ulla assumed a distant behaviour to- 
wards them. The mullahs were made over to my 
care as guests. I housed them, and attended with 
due courtesy to their wants. 

When they had resided about fifteen days in 
my castello, which was about a mile and a half 
to the north-east of the fort of Parwan, 1 Habib- 
ulla Khan's residence, the leader of the two de- 
clared one morning that he had seen a vision 
during the previous night. A prophet had ap- 
peared unto him and declared that it was his, 
the mullah's, bounden duty to convert Habib-ulla 
Khan and his troops to the right faith. After 
this announcement he assumed fanatical airs, and 
stood in one of the principal highways with a 
Koran in one hand and a rusty pistol in the other, 
calling on all passers-by to repent, that he might 
show them the seventh heaven, the everlasting 
abode of the houris. Being looked on as half- 

1 Parwan or Parwandarrah is a few miles north of Charikar. A 
British force was defeated there by Dost Muhammad in November 


crazy, not much notice was taken of him, until 
one day he was seen standing on the top of one 
of the turrets of my castello and beckoning to 
some armed strangers who had evidently been 
skulking about the ravines. Signal whistles were 
soon heard from two or three quarters. 

No more ado was made than for the mullah to 
be shot dead forthwith by my killadar (fort-war- 
der), and the rest of the party fled precipitately. 

I was not at home at the time, but was seated 
in the presence, receiving orders on some important 
matter from the chief, when the tidings reached 
him. He merely remarked, " Let the dead mullah 
be washed and buried, according to the rites of the 
Faithful." He then wrote to Kabul, explaining 
how the man had met his death through his own 
misconduct and treachery. This occurrence nat- 
urally was exaggerated and made use of against 
Habib-ulla Khan and his followers, and the cry 
for a holy war to the knife became hot and 
furious. The addition of " saint - killers " was 
made to the already tolerably complete vocabu- 
lary of opprobrious designations used against us 
by the Dost's party. 

Now, as I have already said, the Dost had 
gained over the priests by large grants of land, 


most of which lay in the district still held by 
our party. The time had now come for our 
enemies, aided by the excited feeling abroad, to 
make a simultaneous attack on us from all sides, 
with the object of destroying us if possible, or at 
any rate of finally driving us out of the country 
and breaking our power. The Dost employed his 
whole available force, some 12,000 men, for the 
work of extirpation. They hemmed us in on the 
west, south, and east, and for a period of from 
two to three months there was a series of bloody 
and desperate fights. We were gradually more 
and more closely surrounded, and our originally 
slender numbers were terribly attenuated. 

In March 1826 1 the struggle was nearly over. 
Habib-ulla Khan's force mustered but 180 devoted 
sowars. Our sole remaining outlets were the 
Khawak Pass and the Kafir -Ghaur, the latter 
almost inaccessible and in country unknown to 
nearly all of us. Well do I remember the occa- 
sion of the Dost's final attack. Snow was still 
lying on the ground in large and deep patches. 
My troop (which had hitherto escaped fairly well) 

1 It is usually stated that Dost Muhammad overcame the rebellion 
of Habib-ulla Khan in the course of the year 1824 ; but the details 
of the civil war are but little known, and Gardner's date may be 


had been reduced in the previous day's fight from 
ninety men to thirty-nine. The enemy had been 
most pertinacious, and had followed us until well 
into the night, contrary to their usual custom. 
I felt that we were at our last gasp, when an 
express message reached me from Parwan, which 
Habib-ulla was defending in person, ordering me 
to join him at Grha'rak-i-Siah, a place so called 
from a dark ravine beneath it. My heart beat 
with sad forebodings, too awfully to be realised 
I must hurry over this part of my history. 

I soon learnt that my chief had been over- 
powered and his fort taken : he himself with the 
few survivors of the garrison had cut their way 
through their enemies, and endeavoured to throw 
themselves into my castello. They had, however, 
been unable to escape from their pursuers, and 
were sore pressed when I came to their assis- 
tance. I reached Habib-ulla Khan about half- 
way between Parwan and my home, and found 
him fighting desperately with twelve of his men 
about him. Cutting my way through the enemy, 
I reached him, and found that he was badly 
wounded in the arm. I myself had previously 
received a ball in my knee. 

Habib-ulla Khan, on seeing me, drew me aside 


(the enemy having now retired), and, with a stony 
countenance in which all outward sign of emotion 
seemed to have been frozen down, told me that all 
was over with my unfortunate wife and little baby. 
He then detached half my men, and ordered me to 
go to my castello with the remainder and bring off 
what was left of the garrison, if any had survived 
the attack. 

On arrival I felt a stern pleasure at seeing the 
great number of dead bodies of the enemy in com- 
parison to those of the defenders ; but our succour 
was too late the garrison had been slaughtered to 
a man. 

The silence was oppressive when I rode through 
the gateway of the fort, and my men instinctively 
fell back, when an old mullah (who had remained 
faithful to our party) came out to meet me, with 
his left hand and arm bound up. His fingers had 
been cut off and his arm nearly severed at the 
wrist by savage blows from a scimitar while striv- 
ing to protect my little child. Faint from his 
wounds and from the miserable recollection of 
the scenes from which he escaped, the sole sur- 
vivor, the aged mullah, at first stood gazing at 
me in a sort of wild abstraction, and then re- 
counted the tale of the massacre of all I loved. 


The garrison had long and gallantly held their 
own, though attacked on all sides by an immensely 
superior force. They had seen Habib-ulla Khan 
approaching, fighting gallantly, and had for a 
moment thought themselves saved, but he had 
been driven back and passed from their sight. 
The castello had then been stormed and all in it 
put to the sword, with the sole exception of the 

After this brief story the mullah silently beck- 
oned to me to dismount and to follow him into 
the inner rooms. There lay four mangled corpses, 
my wife, my boy, and two little eunuch youths. 
I had left them all thoughtless and happy but 
five days before. The bodies had been decently 
covered up by the faithful mullah, but the right 
hand of the hapless young mother could be seen, 
and clenched in it the reeking katar with which 
she had stabbed herself to the heart after handing 
over the child to the priest for protection. Her 
room had been broken open, and mortally self- 
wounded as she was, the assassins nearly severed 
her head from her body with their long Afghan 
knives or sabres. The mullah had tried to escape 
with the child, but had been cut across the hand 
and arm as aforesaid, and the boy seized and bar- 


barously murdered. There he lay by the side of 
his mother. 1 

I sank on my knees and involuntarily offered 
up a prayer for vengeance to the Most High God. 
Seeing my attitude, the mullah, in a low solemn 
tone, breathed the Muhammadan prayers proper 
for the presence of the dead, in which my sowars, 
who had silently followed with bent heads, fer- 
vently joined. Tear after tear trickled down the 
pallid and withered cheeks of the priest as he 
concluded. Rising, I forced myself and him away 
from the room, gave him all the money I had 
for the interment of the dead, and with fevered 
brain rode away for ever from my once happy 
mountain home. 

Habib-ulla Khan saw by our faces that all was 
over, and, with the same stony expression of 
despair in his countenance, bade us dismount 
and take counsel as to our future. His mind, he 
said, was made up. He would save, by death 
from his own hands, all his females from dis- 
honour (he had removed them from Parwan some 
little time before), and then fall upon the enemy 
and die sword in hand. 

1 To the end of his long life Colonel Gardner was unable to tell 
without tears the sad story of his Afghan wife and child. 




IN accordance with his resolution Prince Habib-ulla 
Khan returned to his stronghold in an inaccessible 
place near Parwan, and there with his own hands 
slew his wives and female slaves. He believed 
that this terrible act was necessary to preserve 
them from dishonour at the hands of the victorious 
faction, and his previous experiences certainly 
justified his belief. The prince's mind became 
unhinged from his misfortunes, and it is believed 
that he shortly afterwards died while performing 
a pilgrimage to Mecca. 

Gardner mentions a beautiful act of fidelity on 


the part of a Kafir boy, one of the prince's slaves, 
who had been treated very kindly by him. This 
boy first begged leave to accompany the prince, 
and on being told that this was impossible, he 
insisted on being slain together with the ladies 
of the royal household. 

It would appear that Gardner and seven other 
wounded men were unable to follow Habib-ulla 
Khan on account of the severity of their injuries, 
and this fact undoubtedly saved Gardner's life. 
Still his circumstances were bad enough, and by 
some means or other it was absolutely necessary 
for him and his companions to put as much 
ground as possible between themselves and the 
followers of Dost Muhammad Khan. 

How they fared shall now be related by Gardner 
himself. He thus continues his narrative : 

I will not dwell upon the details of my parting 
from my noble chief and brother, nor will I relate 
how he carried out his dreadful intention in regard 
to his family. The days which immediately fol- 
lowed the departure of Habib-ulla Khan seem a 
wild and sickening dream. I was wounded in 
the neck and leg, and my companions were all 
more or less disabled. Our party only numbered 


eight souls. The greatest danger attended any 
appearance on our part on the northern plains. 
There was nothing before us but to plunder to 
support life. 

Our whole property amounted to the value of 
nine or ten annas in copper coins, called Kohistani 
zerubs. To light a fire by day was certain dis- 
covery, and we had to contend against damp 
clouds and cold sleet. 

After making a short march, with great pain and 
difficulty, we concealed ourselves in a cavity among 
some rocks, from which we could command a good 
view of the main passes for nearly two miles. 
Desperate with hunger, wounds, and privation, 
we despatched from this place two of our party 
(having previously sworn fealty to each other on 
our naked sword-blades) to try and procure some 
flour or a sheep. They returned without success ; 
but having sworn to stick by one another to the 
last, all doubts were removed, and we boldly lit a 
fire and slept in a circle with our feet to the heat. 
Our nimchis and postins 1 were our only bedding 
and clothing. 

The night passed, and in the morning, after our 

1 Postins = sheepskin coats. The word nimchi has a similar mean- 
ing : here probably it stands for a sheepskin used as a blanket. 


scouts had again sallied forth, we were aroused by 
three low whistles from our sentinel. A party of 
six Hindus and two Afghans was slowly approach- 
ing, with two ponies loaded with various bundles. 
It seemed as if they would never arrive ! 

At last we emerged, and met them with the 
salute "Salaam Aleikum," and demanded some- 
thing to appease our hunger, in the name of God 
and the Prophet. There was a pause. Our num- 
bers were few, but we were desperate and famishing, 
so without further parley we fell upon the party 
and disarmed them. The booty miserably dis- 
appointed us. We got some snow -preserved fat 
sheep-tails (dumba), some snuff, some dried pepper, 
some skins, and a big lump of reddish-black salt. 
We added to our collection a little asafcetida, and 
half the money belonging to the Hindus, amount- 
ing to ten tillahs. During the whole time we 
carefully kept mounted, as is the rule to prevent 
surprise, and allowed the party to proceed without 
further molestation. It was evident that, as we 
hoped, we were supposed to be a mere outpost of 
a band of professional Turkoman marauders and 
slave - robbers, of which I, with my fairer com- 
plexion, my high black pirpank, 1 black postin, 

1 Conical hat. 


hair -rope girdle, and Turki overall boots, was 
accounted the chief. They thought themselves 
well off in not being taken for slaves to the 
markets of Kunduz, Balkh, or Bokhara. 

On returning to our cave we found the mouth 
nearly blocked up with boulders from an avalanche, 
which had killed near it some large hyena -like 
animal. This we considered a godsend, and fell 
to cooking it. It was disgustingly rotten, but 
our famished senses cared for nothing, and after 
dabbing it over with the spices we had just looted, 
we made a hearty meal of it, half raw. 

On the following morning we arose with light 
hearts expecting the return of our two scouts, who 
had again gone down towards the plain of Inderab. 
After our usual orisons, and having posted the 
necessary look-out on the top of the crags which 
towered to the height of 1200 or 1500 feet over 
our head, we proceeded to dress our own and our 
horses' wounds for which purpose we ventured 
for the first time to encroach upon our precious 
and only lump of salt, part of the previous day's 
loot. We were reluctant to make use of it in 
the absence of any of our party, as salt, when 
scarce, is invaluable to travellers, and in Central 
Asia it is looked upon as most dishonourable 


conduct to make unnecessary and unequal use 
of it. 

It was for a similar reason that the day before we 
had preferred to eat of our half-stinking wolf-meat, 
instead of at once attacking two fine fat sheep- 
tails, preserved in snow, which we had captured. 
Our lump of salt was perfectly round, and polished 
from the many lickings it had received from the 
tongues of former owners, and as it would have 
been considered a sacrilegious act to break off 
a splinter, we were forced to take some water in 
the hand and rub the salt in it. With this we 
washed our wounds, and afterwards applied a 
dressing of powdered charcoal and clay, which was 
bound over them and so left for twenty-four hours. 

We now turned our attention to procuring a 
meal for the day without encroaching on our 
comrades' rations, or on the aforementioned sheep- 
tails. We finally resolved to collect a quantity of 
snow mushrooms and edible herbs, sufficient for 
two or three days, to which we might give a relish 
by a little salt, a morsel of wolf-meat, or of our 
fat sheep - tails. What was our consternation to 
find that during the night rats had eaten through 
the rope which tied them up, and consumed the 
whole of them ! Nothing daunted, however, we 


started to collect provisions.- Before we had gone 
far we were recalled by our look-out on the crags. 
We arrived at our post not a moment too soon, 
and found ourselves confronted by seven men, all 
on foot, four of whom were dressed as dervishes or 
fakirs. Two of the latter were old men with long 
red beards, the other two being dressed as dervishee- 
Jcalendars, with the high cap and alpha to suit, 
thrown over their postin vests : all carried the 
usual wooden bowl, the holy chob-shereef or staff 
of peace, with quantities of bead rosaries and black 
hair ropes tied round their necks, by which the 
holy Koran was suspended. 

This, as is the custom, they held towards us 
in both hands as we approached, as a deprecation 
against evil intentions, and at the same time 
pronounced the usual fakir's salutation, " Shukur, 
Shukur Allah," pronounced with a drawling, 
solemn accent. 

Turning away from these men, we brought our 
spears to bear on their three companions, who 
were well clothed in Kohistani Afghan costume, 
and appeared to be fumbling to get their hands 
on their swords and knives, with the evident 
intention of resistance. This was speedily over- 
come, and the most bumptious, who had twice 


tried to cut off my spear -head, was knocked 
down, and they were all disarmed. We then 
proceeded to search them, and were much sur- 
prised to find underneath their outer -dress full 
suits of chain - armour, evidently concealed for 
the purpose of safe conveyance to Kabul or to 
some chief in that vicinity. 

Although we were but five in number, our 
scouts being still absent and the look-out man 
remaining on his post, we resolved to make 
these men prisoners, and keep them with us till 
the return of our comrades, and until we had 
arranged our future movements. So we marched 
them off to our retreat, and made them assist 
us in collecting herbs for our day's meal. We 
took this precaution from dread of treachery on 
the part of the holy men, of the character of 
which class we had so many sad recollections. 
We learned from one of the fakirs that the news 
of the defeat of Habib-ulla Khan had reached 
the valley of the Kunduz river, and that 
mounted bands had been collected in that neigh- 
bourhood to plunder all weak parties who might 
be flying from the vengeance of Dost Muham- 
mad, and to protect their own villages from 
strong parties of fugitives. 


"We began to feel anxious about the safety of 
our two scouts, when to our joy they returned 
on the second day, bringing with them two 
sheep and some other provisions, carried by 
three other men, taken in the Inderab valley, 
two of whom our scouts pronounced to be our 
lawful slaves, they having been caught in the 
act of betraying the scouts. 

They further told us that one of Habib-ulla's 
jamadars, having been forced to fly from the 
Ghorband valley, where he was stationed, had 
crossed the border into Turkestan with fifteen 
or twenty horsemen ; and after safely passing 
the border fort of Khunjan, had been attacked 
in the Killaghai Pass by an overwhelming force 
of the people of that region. The jamadar 
and all his party had been killed or taken 

This news determined us to break up our 
present camp, and to make with all speed and 
secrecy to the famous holy shrine of Hazrat 
Imam, situated on the south bank of the Oxus, 
and about two marches north of Kunduz. There 
we were sure to find sanctuary. 

We resolved therefore to start that very night, 
and to proceed by a bypath mostly used by the 


Kafirs, to a place called Pir Nimchu Kafir Ghaur 
(or the cave of the priest of the Nimchu Kafirs). 1 
In accordance with this resolution we started 
after nightfall, taking our prisoners with us. 
However, we set them at liberty at the head 
of the pass, having previously taken the suits 
of chain -armour from them and deprived them 
of their arms. I also exchanged clothes with 
one of the dervishes. We then showed them a 
secure place to rest in, and warned them not to 
stir till the following day. "We subsequently 
discovered that these men were not travelling 
in their proper characters, but were nothing 
more nor less than a band of robbers, and that 
the bearded old men were merely decoys. In 
fact, one of our recently returned scouts declared 
that he recognised in them part of a large body 
of professional robbers well known throughout 
that region. 

The night was fine and clear, and we went on 
our way, taking with us the three men our scouts 
had brought in one as a guide to the roads and 
paths, and the other two as our bond-fide slaves. 

1 Nimchu Kafirs are the descendants of mixed unions between 
Kafirs and Muhammadans, and are to be found all round the 
borders of Kafiristan. 


After descending a short distance, our path 
struck off to the north-east for a few miles, and 
then again to the east, after which we kept our 
old guide, the North Star, nearly on our right 
hand for eight or ten miles, when, after passing 
with some difficulty over a rocky spur of the 
Northern Hindu Kush, we descended and crossed 
a small rapid stream, whose banks were thickly 
wooded. After passing through the underwood, 
we entered a deep watercourse with high cliffs 
on either side. This was the Ghaur-i-Kafir, or 
Kafir's path. 

It now became very dark, so we halted on a 
nice grassy spot, well sheltered in case of rain. 
We had got over eighteen or twenty miles. 

Here one of our party suggested that it would 
be well if we got rid of our Afghan dress and 
tried to appear like Turkomans. We immedi- 
ately set to work, and with some skins which 
formed part of our booty extemporised Turko- 
mani caps. We then turned the hairy side of 
our postins outwards, and substituting grass 
ropes for our lunfis, 1 we produced a decidedly 
successful personification of a small band of 
wandering Turkomans. 

1 Lunj is = scarves. 


We started again, however, as soon as the 
light served, and after a fatiguing ride through 
deep defiles and watercourses, we arrived late in 
the evening at the Ghaur-i-Pir Nimchu our 

We had sent one of our party in advance to 
give notice of our approach, and were most 
kindly received by the holy man. He had with 
him nine or ten disciples, by whom we were 
treated with the greatest civility. We and our 
horses were quickly provided with every neces- 
sary, and before we went to rest our feet were 
well washed with warm water and bran, mixed 
with sweet herbs. 

They seemed to have ample stores of every- 
thing, and the best wine of Kafiristan was not 
wanting. Being all of us very tired, we soon 
went to rest on soft bear- and sheep-skins, which 
were spread for us in a large cave. 

In the morning we all performed our orisons 
in company. The pir seemed to be of a very 
advanced age, I should say almost ninety : al- 
though somewhat bent and with but dim eye- 
sight, he still possessed considerable vigour and 
a stentorian voice, and was altogether of a com- 
manding appearance. 


He and his race were of the Khilti race of 
Kafirs, which tribe inhabits the outer ranges and 
northern crest of the Hindu Kush. There were 
no inhabitants within a long day's march of this 
place, and even at that distance they were but 
few and far between. The old pir said that the 
holy place was originally established by the great 
kings of Ghor ; and he showed me two marble 
slabs with Arabic characters engraved on them, 
said to have been presented by two kings of 
Ghor who reigned at Delhi viz., Muhammad 
Ghori, and Shah budin Ghori, first Emperor of 
Delhi. There was likewise a large slab of 
green marble, also with an inscription, said to 
have been presented by Timur in person when 
he attempted to invade Kafiristan, but got no 
farther than this point. This memorial was 
erected in the year 1398. 

The aged pir said that even in these bad and 
unholy days he could still, by the grace of God 
and the Prophet, boast of having a lakh 1 of dis- 
ciples far and near, and comprising both Nimchus 
and Muhammadans. We too, feeling a reverence 
for the holy man our protector, went through the 
usual ceremony and became his disciples. 

i A lakh = 100,000. 


We now for the first time had our wounds 
properly dressed ; and the good old man pre- 
sented us with hill -ponies in place of some of 
our horses, which were worn out. He soon 
guessed that we were a portion of Habib - ulla's 
following, and assured us that our misfortunes 
gave us a stronger claim on him than if we had 
come in happiness and wealth. He advised us 
to go to Hazrat Imam, avoiding Kunduz and 
such noted places, and to travel through Badak- 
shan. We resolved to follow his advice, but fate 
willed it otherwise. 

The old pir was remarkably shrewd and in- 
telligent for a man who had never been farther 
than the Khawak Pass on one side and the 
sources of the Khalsu on the other. 

In legendary and traditional lore he was well 
informed. According to him Scythia was the 
original cradle of the Kafir race, and they claim 
one of the kings of the dynasty of Cyrus as 
their founder. 

I must here mention that at the intercession 
of the pir we exchanged our two slaves with 
him for some skins and other articles of clothing 
of which we were in need. Our third prisoner 
freely volunteered to join our fortunes, and 


having taken the oath of fidelity, he was pro- 
vided with a Turkoman dress and arms. The 
good pir also presented me, as a special mark 
of favour, with a fine leopard -skin mantle and 
cap to match, the latter about three-quarters of 
a yard high. But his highest mark of favour 
was his presenting me with an old and worn-out 
Koran, which he ceremoniously hung round my 
neck in the large cave. 

I here formally and in his presence assumed 
command of our small party, each one faithfully 
promising to give strict obedience to my orders. 

On the day of our intended departure our 
strength received a welcome accession. We had, 
of course, always had a good look-out kept for 
us by one of the disciples, as pursuit was quite 
possible, though improbable. Early on this day 
the signal was given that a small party of 
strangers was approaching. This turned out to 
be five of our old friends and comrades, another 
remnant of Habib-ulla Khan's following. One of 
them was very badly and two slightly wounded. 
They had been under the command of a naib or 
lieutenant named Usbuk Beg, a native of Kara- 
tegin, a district north of the river Oxus. About 
a month before our defeat he had a party of 


about seventy horsemen under his orders, mostly 
Usbegs and Hazaras, of which we now saw the 
survivors. Shortly before Habib-ulla Khan's last 
fight, Usbuk Beg had been cut off by Dost 
Muhammad's troops and forced to fly towards 
Kunduz. After being allowed to pass several 
border forts in apparent friendship, he had been 
treacherously attacked by large numbers of 
Kunduz horsemen, when all but nine of his 
troop were slain or captured. These nine were 
again attacked in the Inderab valley, and lost 
four more of their number. Finally, the five 
survivors reached this place of safety. The 
soldier who was badly wounded was left to be 
well cared for by the holy men ; and after stay- 
ing an extra day to allow the others to recruit 
their strength, we finally started, now thirteen 
in number. 

On taking my leave of the pir, he generously 
placed in my hands a Eussian silk handkerchief, 
in one corner of which were tied up sixty gold 
Bokhara tillahs. Having obtained a guide from 
our kind host, we each of us bent down and 
received his parting blessing. We then embraced 
his disciples, and took leave of them with regret 
and affection. 


They held out every inducement to me to 
remain with them, promising me certain felicity 
in a future state, which would, they said, be 
ensured by having my remains placed on the 
highest peak of the Hindu Kush. They disposed 
of their dead in this way, and never by burial. 
Although Muhammadans, they appeared to have 
a strange hankering for the worship of fire, water, 
and the sun. Among other earthly inducements 
to join them, they promised to place 20,000 brave 
Khilti Kafirs under my command. 

There being no access to their country except 
by bypaths such as that by which we had 
travelled, and known to few, Kafiristan may be 
considered as one huge fortress, well kept by 
the able hands of its brave inhabitants. 

I have not yet described the pir's place of 
abode. It was a collection of caves situated on 
an extensive rocky plateau about 1000 feet above 
the ravine below, and with high peaks above it. 
There was no vegetation whatever, with the 
exception of a few mossy patches. Most of the 
caves were immense clefts, not produced by the 
action of water, but evidently by some great 
convulsion of nature. Some of them were not 
less than 100 yards in depth, and from 10 to 


50 feet broad, but invariably narrowing towards 
their farther end. Most of them were stored 
with grass, firewood, and various requisites for 
the use of the hermit and his disciples. In one 
I perceived a copious spring of cool clear water, 
and the quantities of provisions and stores which 
were supplied spoke well for the reverence with 
which the holy man is regarded by his followers. 

Had we not expected a hot pursuit from Dost 
Muhammad's troops, this would have seemed a 
safe refuge ; but I was determined to run no 
risk of bringing our kind host into trouble. 

Setting forth, then, refreshed, strengthened, 
and encouraged, we travelled in the direction of 
Hazrat Imam our first two days' journey being 
most tedious, for we had to recross the spurs of 
the Hindu Kush, over and through which we 
had reached the pir's retreat. 

I will not weary you by detailing our marches, 
but must describe a remarkable relic of the past 
which we observed on the most northern range 
of these mountains. On a smooth rocky plat- 
form, having a slight slope towards the north, 
was an immense mass of stone, which our guide 
called the Asp-i-Dheha. This on inspection 
turned out to be (as I imagined) a unique curi- 


osity, but our guide told us that a similar one 
existed in the Khilti country. It was a colossal 
figure of a horse, now lying prostrate on its 
left side, the head turned to the north. It had 
evidently at one time been erect, as the stumps 
of the four feet were still in position : they were 
part of the platform, and had evidently never 
been detached from it. I assured myself that 
there was no joint or cement, and that the 
entire figure must have been hewn from the 
solid rock. These four stumps were of different 
lengths, and the portions of the legs still at- 
tached to the horse's body corresponded perfectly 
with them. It seemed singular that the enor- 
mous mass had not been broken in falling, but 
this was accounted for by its very size and by 
the hardness of the material a black flinty por- 
phyrite with beautiful veins of dark red and 
green running through it. On striking it with 
my knife it rang like bell-metal. 

I should say that its height when erect was 
about 15 feet to the withers. 

One guide related the tradition concerning the 
horse as follows : " This horse once had wings 
and could fly ; even now it often speaks and im- 
plores its master to come and ride it again. The 


giant, its master, lives far away in the north, 
in the land of ice and snow. Every night he 
used to fly down on this horse to meet a beau- 
tiful queen of these parts. In the course of time 
she died, and the giant, coming down as usual 
and finding her dead, was so overpowered with 
grief that, alighting from his horse, he cut off 
its wings. He then took up the mountain and 
buried himself beneath it. His horse waited so 
long for him that it was turned into stone, but 
always remained facing the north, expecting its 
master's return. Hence it is that it often calls 
aloud to him, as has been said." 

As it was our wish to reach Hazrat Imam with 
as much secrecy as possible, we resolved to keep 
to the hills as far as Takht-i-Sulaiman, and after- 
wards reach our destination by the Lataband 
Pass. We then hoped to be safe fijom all pur- 

We moved northwards, and shortly after leav- 
ing the horse met a man armed with a bow and 
arrows and carrying a shield. He told us that 
he was a herdsman, and showed us a path which 
led in the required direction past an old fort called 
Killa Seth. His home was hard by, and, as he 
informed us, a day's march from Takht-i-Sulaiman. 


As he volunteered to show us the way, he was 
quickly mounted behind one of our party, and 
we took leave of our former guide, who had 
conducted us from Ghaur-i-Pir. Our new con- 
ductor informed us that the ruins of the fort 
were at times infested by a party of Kunduz 
horsemen, sixty in number, who had recently 
carried off his goats. 

After a long day's ride we came at sunset to 
the ruins, which stood on a high hill. These con- 
sisted of foundations only, half buried in the earth, 
but were both massive and extensive. Some of 
the stones, which were cut in an oblong form, 
must have weighed several tons. We pushed on 
for a mile or so, and halted for the night in a 
narrow glen. About a mile from our post was a 
village, the first we had seen since parting with 
Habib-ulla Khan. The inhabitants were herds- 
men, and confirmed our guide's account of the 
dangers of the road we had intended to follow. 
They told us that the Kunduz marauders infested 
that region, and had taken away many of the 
inhabitants, making slaves of them and plunder- 
ing their villages. This information changed our 
plans, and we turned in an easterly direction. We 
had started, as usual, at break of day, and rode 


at a rapid pace, hoping to reach a pass called 
the Dara Sulaiman before night. 

About two hours before sunset we met an 
Udassi fakir, who was, he said, seeking medicinal 
herbs, and who had just come from Hazrat Imam 
vid Jerm. He claimed to be a transmuter of 
metals into gold. This superstition is very com- 
mon in the East, among the higher as well as 
the poorer classes. 

While he was pointing out to us the direction 
of the Takht - i - Sulaiman, which, he said, was a 
long day's march from us, we perceived a con- 
siderable body of horsemen moving towards the 
south, but apparently not approaching us. When 
about due west of us they suddenly changed their 
direction and moved on us at a quicker pace. We 
were now satisfied that they were enemies, and 
pledged ourselves to sell our lives and liberty at 
as dear a rate as possible. We now made every 
effort to reach the pass before them, as, should 
we succeed, we might hope to withstand their 
first charge and finally escape in the darkness. 

They were about fifty in number, well-mounted, 
and (as we found) all armed with matchlocks slung 
on their shoulders, swords, spears, knives, &c. It 
was now raining heavily, with dark heavy clouds 


all around us. Galloping for the pass at full 
speed, we arrived within 600 or 800 yards of it, 
well in advance of our pursuers, when a small 
party of five men emerged from the pass and 
boldly charged towards us in front, loudly order- 
ing us to halt in the name of the Kunduz chief, 
Mir Ali Murad. We, however, paid no attention 
to them, when two of them brought their match- 
locks down to the present and threatened to fire 
on my Therbah, who was nearest to them. He 
immediately charged them, and quickly unhorsed 
and slew both of them ; and our volunteer, who 
was a capital horseman and spearman, wheeled 
round upon the others and despatched two. My 
Therbah immediately afterwards killed the re- 
maining man with his long Afghan knife. 

The fray now became general, as the main body 
charged us, trying to save their comrades. This 
fortunately prevented their using their matchlocks, 
and we had reached the mouth of the pass, which 
we held with desperation. Their overwhelming 
numbers, however, soon broke our ranks, and they 
unfortunately got mixed up with us : there was 
no room for orderly fighting, and it was a mere 
cut-and-thrust affair. 

Soon we had only seven men left out of thir- 


teen, and we slowly retreated up the pass, keeping 
them off as well as we could. In the pass we 
lost two more men, one our late volunteer, and 
were now reduced to five, each of us severely 
wounded. I myself received two wounds, one a 
bad one in the groin from an Afghan knife, and 
the other a stab from a dirk in the chest. 

It was now quite dark, and the rain was coming 
down still heavier than before. However, our 
enemies followed us no farther, no doubt the 
plundering of the dead being their chief induce- 
ment to return. We made our way through the 
pass as quickly as we could in the midst of heavy 
rain, hail, and lightning, while the roll of the 
thunder seemed to make the very rocks around 
us and the ground beneath us to vibrate most 
sensibly. What with my two former wounds still 
raw, and my two fresh ones (one of which was 
bleeding freely), I was soon so weak as nearly to 
faint in my saddle ; while my Therbah was in 
nearly as bad a condition. We, however, kept up 
our spirits, and congratulated ourselves that not 
one of our party had been taken alive or doomed 
by capture to hopeless slavery. 

Thus we proceeded through the whole dark 
night, the vivid and repeated flashes of lightning 


alone showing us the way over most difficult 
ground. About daybreak we arrived at the east- 
ern mouth of the pass, and having cleared it, we 
left the road and made for the shelter of a secluded 
glen, where we halted. The rain had now nearly 
ceased, and we proceeded to collect forage for our 
jaded horses. We were so utterly wearied that 
we did not care for food for ourselves, though we 
had two days' rations of mulberry-bread with us, 
which had been given us by the holy pir. We 
accordingly lay down in our dripping clothes, in- 
different whether we might be traced and again 
attacked by our last night's enemies. I did not 
even take the precaution to apply any dressing 
to my wounds, merely satisfying myself that the 
bleeding had ceased. 

Notwithstanding a drizzling rain which shortly 
came on, and the keen cutting blast from the hills, 
we slept nearly the whole day. Whilst I slept my 
Therbah sat watchful by my side, and no expostula- 
tion of mine could induce him to lie down and take 
rest. Though he spoke in high terms of praise of 
the bravery of our comrades, and particularly of 
our volunteer, who had been killed beside him, he 
never made any reference to his own exploits, and 
considered it as an insult for any one to allude in 



his presence to his acts, or draw attention to his 

I may here be permitted to say that, from long 
association with these rude people, I have in a 
measure contracted some of their habits and peculi- 
arities this among others ; and though bearing on 
my body the tokens of my younger and wilder 
days in the shape of thirteen or fourteen wounds, 
nothing annoys me more than to be asked how I 
got this and where I received that. If such a 
question had been asked me in Turkestan, I should 
certainly have knocked the man down who ques- 
tioned me. And I may here say, once for all, that 
in all the occurrences of my past, misspent life, I 
was invariably actuated in my inward soul by feel- 
ings at once honest and upright, at least so far as 
my poor senses allow me to judge between right 
and wrong. 

We now deeply repented not having acted on 
the advice of the old pir, and as we considered it 
useless to attempt to reach Hazrat Imam, we de- 
termined to strike off directly to the east, towards 
the Kokcha river, and thence across the Oxus 
towards the Shighnan and Bolor ranges, in whose 
wild fastnesses we felt sure of a safe retreat. 



The name Bolor, applied by different writers to various 
regions of Central Asia, has long puzzled geographers. 
It has even been stated, but quite without justification, 
that no such place as Bolor ever existed; for it cannot 
be seriously believed that writers who have been proved 
trustworthy in all other particulars should have entered 
into a general conspiracy to deceive the generations of 
mankind for whom they successively wrote, on this one 
subject only. Yet so conflicting are the various state- 
ments as to the locality of Bolor that an eminent English 
geographer was driven to form the theory that part of 
the map of Central Asia had become accidentally semi- 
inverted: by correcting this supposed error he most in- 
geniously brought the rival Bolors into one focus. 

"Without making a wearisome catalogue of all the geo- 
graphical works in which this mysterious region is men- 
tioned, it may be interesting to notice the following 
allusions to Bolor by the best known writers : 

1. Hwen-Thsang, who travelled during the years 629 
to 645 A.D., visited Bolor twice. He describes the king- 
dom as lying on the Indus, and in the heart of the 
Himalayas. In another place he states that it lay south 
of the mountains that formed the southern boundary of 
Pamir. In the opinion of Mr Ney Elias, one of the 
highest authorities on the subject, the Bolor of Hwen- 
Thsang is now represented by the small States now under 
the Gilgit agency viz., Chitral, Gilgit, Panyal, Hunza, 
and Nagar. 

2. Al-Biruni, a writer in the eleventh century, men- 
tions " Balur Shah " as the ruler of a region which 
General Cunningham identified as Balti or Baltistan. 


Mr Ney Elias, however, dissented from this opinion, on 
the authority of Mirza Haidar, who invaded Bolor in 
1530-31 and placed it in the Gilgit Chitral region. 

3. Marco Polo says that he travelled through Bolor on 
his way from the high plain of Pamir to Kashgar. In 
the opinion of Sir Henry Yule this region would be that 
to the north of Balti and Kanjut, and included in Sirikol. 

4. The name Bolor occurs in various writings of the 
seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth cen- 
turies ; and towards the middle of the latter century it 
came to be believed, on the authority of certain Jesuit 
missionaries who entered Eastern Turkestan from China, 
that the true position of Bolor was to the west of Pamir. 
This belief is supported by statements in the Chinese 
Imperial Geography, which mention Bolor as a country 
east of Badakshan and south-west of Yarkand. 

Bolor, in fact, according to the Chinese and the Jesuit 
geographers, was either Pamir itself under another name, 
or a portion of the region now known as Pamir. This 
localisation of Bolor coincides with the geography of 
Gardner, and is therefore at variance with that of all 
writers who place this "will-o'-the-wisp" of a country 
to the south of the Karakorum Mountains. Being unable 
to reconcile the conflicting statements quoted above, and 
many others referred to by the various writers on the 
subject, I appealed for assistance to Captain Young- 
husband, whose acquaintance with Central Asia need 
not be dilated on, and in his reply to my letter lies, I 
believe, the solution of the ancient problem. 

Writing from the Hindu Kush frontier on the 16th 
September 1894," I have not," he says, " myself heard 
the word Bolor used. ... In these countries ranges of 
mountains seldom have a name. We, for instance, call 


the mountains round me here the Hindu Kush ; but not 
a single native of these parts has ever heard that name 
applied to them. Mountain-people look upon mountains 
as the usual state of affairs on this earth, and don't give 
a name to the mass of mountains amongst which they 
live, any more than the inhabitants of a plain country 
give a name to the plain. An outside traveller has there- 
fore to invent a name to apply to the mountain-range 
which he visits. 

"We have unearthed Hindu Kush and applied it to 
the whole range, although I believe it is in reality the 
name of a single pass only ; and in the same way Gardner 
may have applied the name Bolor. 

" I have talked over the matter with Lieutenant Cocker- 
ill, an officer who has been travelling round the frontier 
this summer, and he suggested that very possibly Bolor 
may be merely a corruption of the Persian word Mid 
upper or above. 

" This word is pronounced by the people of Badakshan 
(and by Afghans too, I believe) very broad " baw-law." 
Upper Chitral is often spoken of as Chitral Bala, and in 
this way a passing traveller may have thought that the 
upper part of Chitral was named Bala Baw-law Bolor. 
Or again, the upper regions anywhere might be called 
Bala. A traveller from the plains of Badakshan going to 
the Pamirs might say, ' I am going up above, I am going 
bdld,' and a stranger might think that bdld was a name. 
This is far-fetched in a way, but in the default of any 
other theory it is worth thinking over." 

It is indeed well worth thinking over, and is to my 
mind the only approach that has yet been made to a 
reconciliation of the conflicting statements as to the 
cloudy land of Bolor. H. P. 





HAVING somewhat recruited ourselves and our 
horses by a few days' halt in the glen, we set off 
north - eastward in the direction of Jerm, and, I 
think, after two or three marches we entered the 
Kokcha valley and crossed that river eight or 
nine miles north of Jerm. Thence we struck for a 
ford on the eastern branch of the same river, north 
of Yomal, and between that place and Khairabad. 
We crossed the river and journeyed on some 
fifteen miles, where, for the first time since leav- 
ing the Khawak Pass, we ventured to approach 
some scattered villages, which we observed at the 
base of a high mountain-range running north and 


south. These mountains appeared to be of con- 
siderable altitude, and many of their peaks were 
topped with snow. 

We were deceived by the height of these moun- 
tains, for on approaching the villages we found 
that, although in a rocky situation and surrounded 
by ravines, they were at a distance of some miles 
from the actual base of the hills. With the ex- 
ception of three or four huts, all these habitations 
were deserted. A few poor families lived apart 
from each other, and appeared to be in the lowest 
state of poverty and wretchedness. All this 
misery was caused by the oppression of the Kun- 
duz chief, who, not content with plundering his 
wretched subjects, made an annual raid into the 
country south of Oxus, and by chappaos (night- 
attacks) carried off all the inhabitants on whom 
his troops could lay their hands. These, after 
the best had been selected by the chief and his 
courtiers, were publicly sold in the bazaars of 
Turkestan. The principal providers of this species 
of merchandise were the khan of Khiva, the king 
of Bokhara (the great hero of the Muhammadan 
faith), and the robber beg of Kunduz. 

In the regular slave-markets, or in transactions 
between dealers, it is the custom to pay for slaves 


in money ; the usual medium being either Bok- 
haran gold tillahs (in value about 5 or 5J Com- 
pany rupees each), or in gold bars or gold grain. 
In Yarkand, or on the Chinese frontier, the medium 
is the silver khurup with the Chinese stamp, 
the value of which varies from 150 to 200 rupees 
each. The price of a male slave varies according 
to circumstances from 5 to 500 rupees. The price 
of the females also necessarily varies much, from 2 
tillahs to 10,000 rupees. Even double the latter 
sum has been known to be given. 

However, a vast deal of business is also done 
by barter, of which we had proof at the holy 
shrine of Pir-i-Nimcha, where we exchanged two 
slaves for a few lambs' skins ! Sanctity and slave- 
dealing may be considered somewhat akin in the 
Turkestan region, and the more holy the person 
the more extensive are generally his transactions 
in flesh and blood. 1 

The few wretched families at present residing 
in the hamlets where we halted were mostly Tajiks 
and farmers, with some few labourers and petty 

1 Note by Colonel Gardner. I subsequently knew at Mooltan a 
most respectable Lohani fruit merchant who was proved by his own 
ledger to have exchanged a female slave-girl for three ponies and 
seven long-haired, red-eyed cats, all of which he disposed of, no 
doubt to advantage, to the English gentlemen at that station. 


traders, most of the Uzbegs being in their tents 
among the hills pasturing their cattle. The in- 
habitants treated us with all hospitality, so we 
resolved to stay here for a certain time, to rest. 
During our stay three strangers arrived direct 
from Jerm and Yomal. They informed us that 
the latter place was a long day's march west or 
south-west of us. On becoming acquainted with 
these men I discovered that one of them was a 
respectable Syad named Mir Ali Shah, who had 
a servant with him ; both were well armed, and 
with handsome weapons. The third person was, 
curiously enough, a Hindu named Jey Earn, of 
respectable appearance and well armed. These 
people appeared to have travelled much together. 
They were both well - educated men, and could 
read, write, and speak fluently Persian, Turki, 
Pashtu, and Arabic. The Hindu had further some 
colloquial knowledge of the languages of Kafiri- 
stan, as he had formerly travelled in that country 
with some other Hindus. 

They appeared to be intimate with the courts 
and chiefs of Turkestan and Afghanistan, and Mir 
Ali Shah had held some position of trust under 
Dost Muhammad shortly after the death of Sardar 
Azim Khan, the father of our late chief Habib-ulla 


Khan. The Syad was a great traveller, and had 
been to Shikarpur, Lahore, and Peshawar, and had 
also made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and visited all 
the places of note in Persia. Jey Ram had been 
to many places in Russia, as far as Moscow. 

They appeared to have been travelling for pleas- 
ure during the last two years under the ostensible 
character of hakims (doctors), to which they added 
astrology and fortune-telling. I invited them to 
stay with us as our guests as long as it might suit 
them to do so. They dressed our wounds and 
those of our horses with such skill and success that 
my Therbah declared that they had been sent by 
God for our succour. By their advice we remained 
in these villages for eighteen or twenty days to 
recruit our strength, as they stated that the coun- 
try through which we proposed to travel was so 
difficult that we should be obliged to leave our 
horses behind and proceed on foot. They further 
said that they themselves were now on their way 
to those countries, and that on reaching the Oxus 
they intended to sell their horses and do likewise. 
They intended to remain during the winter in the 
Darra Darwaz, and in the following spring to visit 
Yarkand. Our present residence was called Zaruth 


While resting here these men related to us the 
legends and traditions of the country round, par- 
ticularly concerning the treachery of Shah Sultan 
Shah, a former ruler of Badakshan, who had mur- 
dered a Kashgar prince when the latter had fled 
for refuge to his country when Kashgar had been 
invaded by the Chinese. 

The prince was enticed into Badakshan by false 
promises of friendship, and then put to the torture 
to force him to give up his jewels and treasure. 
Finally he was put to death by being cut up, limb 
by limb, in the presence of his wives and children. 
God had, however, punished this cruel act by 
means of the prince's grandson, who instigated the 
chiefs of Balkh and Kunduz to attack Badakshan, 
and having caused himself to be placed at the 
head of their troops, had avenged his grandfather's 
murder by the conquest and almost total depop- 
ulation of Badakshan. Even now his descendants 
were the chief instigators of the yearly raids into 
this unhappy country. 

The Syad informed me that Faizabad, which 
stands on the north of the junction of the two 
main branches of the Kokcha river, has always 
been considered the capital of Badakshan, but that 
since the invasion of the country its importance 


has gradually decreased, notwithstanding its ex-' 
tensive iron-smelting trade and silk manufactures, 
and that Jerm may now be considered the most 
prosperous place. 1 

Badakshan is the garden of the East, and the 
only obstacles to its prosperity are the con- 
stant depredations of the Kunduz chief. He is 
prevented by the difficult nature of the country 
from extending his forays north of the Oxus, 
except occasionally towards the north - western 
boundaries of Badakshan. 

While remaining at Zaruth Nao we started one 
day to see the ruins which existed in the neighbour- 
hood, and after riding over a most difficult country 
for about seven miles, came to a semicircular plat- 
form of bare rock about 300 or 400 yards in circum- 
ference, in the centre of which were the ruins of 
Zaruth. Nothing, however, now remained but 
large masses of hewn stone, all of a black colour 
and flinty nature, which were strewn about in all 
directions. In the midst of these ruins was piled 
up an immense cairn of loose stones, contributed 
by visitors ; and, as was the custom, each of us 

1 About three years after this history was related to Colonel 
Gardner, the Kunduz chief made an organised raid into Badakshan 
and totally destroyed Faizabad. H. P. 


added one or two more to the heap. There was 
another cairn at the entrance to a cave, which was 
at the base of the eastern face of the neighbouring 
cliff. Having washed our hands (as in duty bound) 
in the spring- water close by, we entered the cave 
in single file, the mouth of it being only about 2 
feet or 2 feet broad ; its height was about 20 feet. 

However, as we advanced it gradually widened 
for about 15 yards, at which distance from the 
entrance were its largest dimensions namely, 
about 24 feet in width. The roof was here so high 
that we could not perceive it in the darkness. The 
cave continued with these dimensions for about 20 
yards farther in a straight line, and then turned 
and grew narrow towards the north, and ended in a 
cleft a few yards farther on. 

The floor consisted of the bare uneven rock, but 
the walls on each side were well polished to the 
height of 6 or 7 feet, on which space were to be 
seen the mutilated remains of idols, which had been 
originally cut out of the rock in pretty high relief. 
They were, however, so mutilated that only one or 
two could be distinguished as having limbs, and 
the faces of all were smashed. 

At the farther end of the cave there was a small 
spring of water, near which was a very remarkable 


echo, which appeared to reverberate through other 
spacious galleries. 

The story of this place (called Sheheid Ghaur-i- 
Zaruth), as told me by the Syad, was that formerly 
the whole of Badakshan was held by the Kafirs, 
and the Kur Kafirs held the northern part of the 
range now called the Koh -i-Kojah -Muhammad ; 
other tribes held the whole of the ranges south of 
the Oxus, through which country numerous caves 
and ruins are to be seen to attest to their former 
power. From the reign of Sultan Mahmud of 
Ghazni 1 (A.D. 1000) down to Khusrao (A.D. 1150), 
the last of the Ghazni dynasty, constant raids had 
been made into Badakshan in order to destroy the 
Kafirs and annex their country; but it was not 
until Muhammad Ghori conquered Delhi and 
founded the Muhammadan Government of India 
(A.D. 1193) that the country called Kafiristan was 
broken up, and the name of Badakshan bestowed 
on that part from which the Kafirs were driven. 

At this time a holy man from Mecca headed the 
Ghazis in a religious war, and slew 300 or 400 
Kafir priests in this very cave. All the idols were 

1 The Ghaznivide dynasty existed from A.D. 962 to 1186, but did 
not possess an independent sovereignty until A.D. 999, when Mahmud 
threw off his allegiance to the Court of Bokhara. H. P. 


then destroyed, and on the ruins of their place of 
worship the Mecca pir built a masjid to commemo- 
rate the heroic deed he had consummated. This 
done, the holy man took up his abode there, and 
his successors held sway until the days of Timur 
some 200 years. 

This monarch attempted to complete the sub- 
jugation of Kafiristan, but was foiled. The Kafirs, 
in retaliation, issued from their fastnesses and made 
a successful raid to the north and west. They 
came to this place, slew the pir of that day with, 
it is said, 500 followers, and razed his masjid to the 
ground. The Syad told me of numerous other 
caves in the neighbourhood even more extensive 
than this one, but the roads to them were very 
dangerous at this time of year from constant 

Having halted about twenty days at these 
villages, and being now pretty well recovered from 
our wounds, we started and took a north-easterly 
direction, to get through the Khojah Mahomed 
range, by the pass called Kafir Ghesh Durrah, 
from two large stone idols cut out of the solid rock, 
and representing the Kafir deity Ghesh (the Earth) 
and his wife Dizane (the producer of all things). 
The road was so bad that we were obliged to lead 


our horses over it. It was far more difficult than 
the Khawak Pass, though at about the same 
altitude the ascent and descent being far more 

Darkness came upon us, with rain, sleet, and 
snow, when we were at the top of the pass. "We 
passed a most wretched night under some rocks, 
and were nearly frozen from the intensity of the 
cold and the bitter wind, which blew keenly. We 
started early the following morning, and after 
travelling for four days over most difficult, almost 
impracticable country, and after traversing another 
pass at least equally elevated as that just described, 
we arrived at the southern branch of the Oxus, just 
opposite the junction of the Shakh Dara river, 
which flows into it from the eastward. 

During the entire march of four days we only 
met two or three solitary Badakshani herdsmen ; 
and though we saw some few ruined villages off the 
road, we did not come across a single inhabited 
one, a significant proof of the present state of 
desolation of this part of Badakshan. 

We found the bridge over the river destroyed, 
and only some rope-crossings left which, as we 
had horses, left us nothing for it but to make a 
bridge or raft. 


The inhabitants of this region had fled into the 
fastnesses to escape a grand raid, which was daily 
expected, and we could get but little assistance. 
Finally we managed with incredible difficulty to 
bind blocks of ice together with straw ropes, which 
when covered with grass formed a means of cross- 
ing for us and our horses. I should mention that 
in all my misadventures I had religiously kept the 
horses which I stole in reprisal from the Kipchak 
chief. They were excellent animals, and though 
some had been killed and others left behind, I still 
had five of them. As I have said, that was the 
number of survivors of my party after the attack 
of the Kunduz robbers, and we certainly owed our 
lives to the excellence of these horses, which I was 
anxious to keep as long as possible in so dangerous 
a country. From the reports of the guide whose 
services we managed to secure, we made out that 
we were about seven or eight marches from the ruby 
mines. I was most anxious to visit them, but my 
Therbah and Jey Earn remonstrated, and begged 
me to wait until we reached the fort of the chief of 
Shighnan, from which we could proceed to the fort 
of Gharan, in the immediate vicinity of the mines. 
There he promised us a cordial reception. 

After crossing the river we passed a miserable 



night, without food or a light for our pipes, with 
the keen wind blowing down upon us from the 
snowy heights of the Bolor Mountains and the 
Pamir steppes. 

The next morning I was still more importunate 
about the ruby mines, fearing to lose the oppor- 
tunity of a lifetime, and eventually I prevailed. 
So, having shifted our camp to a more sequestered 
spot, and leaving the remainder of our party with 
strict orders to lie close, the Syad, the Therbah, 
and myself started off, armed with stout spears. 
We wandered through rock and precipice, and after 
weary toil were brought to a standstill by a deep, 
swift torrent. We managed to wade through it by 
tying our three selves together separately we 
should certainly have been carried off our feet. 

Having reached the other side we strode on ex- 
ulting, hoping to reach some outlying hamlet ; but 
on attaining the summit of a hill, at least 13,000 
feet above the level of the sea, we were disap- 
pointed to find more journeying in store for us. 
Night was approaching, and we had brought no 
food with us. Just then we came upon an exciting 
wild hunt. A quantity of wild sheep tore past us, 
hotly followed by wolves. My Therbah promptly 
shot one of the sheep, but two wolves turned and 


disputed our right to it. We shot the nearest wolf, 
but others came up and hovered round. Now we 
were in a fix, for we had no materials for a fire, 
and jaded as we were, had the prospect of a night's 
skirmishing with hungry wolves, leopards, hyenas, 
and jackals. The Syad was better off, as he sus- 
tained himself by his unfailing resource of opium. 

We buried our sheep under a pile of stones, and 
leaving the Syad to watch, the Therbah and I set 
out in search of fuel. After some trouble we 
collected a miserable bundle of tufted shrub and 
animal dung, and returned just in time to save our 
raw material. The Syad was musically snoring 
under the influence of his opium, and a wolf had 
dragged our sheep from underneath the stones and 
had nearly eaten one of its legs. 

I was behind the Therbah, having gone farther 
away to secure a tall shrub I had remarked at 
a distance, and was nearly eaten by a pack of 
wolves, for just as I hurried up and shot the 
first depredator, the main body threw themselves 
alike on his dead body and on me. I tried to 
force my way through them, but one of them 
gave me a sharp nip, and the taste of blood 
made him set up an unearthly screech, which, 
being taken up by the others, proved my sal- 


vation, for my friend the Therbah hurried up, 
shouting and firing into the midst of them. At 
this they slowly and sulkily retreated. 

We then proceeded to warm, rather than roast, 
the new flesh at our scanty fire, at which the 
Syad expressed great disgust, and asked what 
crime he had committed to be asked to eat raw 
meat. The Therbah and I had not spoiled our 
appetites with opium, and fell to ; immediately 
afterwards the former fell asleep. The Syad 
then, somewhat recovered from the effects of the 
opium, convinced me, after a long argument, of 
the danger and fruitlessness of attempting further 
to find the ruby mines. 

The next morning we commenced the return 
journey, and had just reached the stream which 
had given us so much trouble before, when we 
heard a sharp whistle, and saw two men peering 
down on us from a rock about 150 yards above 
us. The Syad gave a friendly salute, and went 
forward to meet them, and presently returned 
with them. As will be seen, a pleasant acquisi- 
tion they proved ! 

One was a stout active greybeard of about 
sixty, the other a tall strong young man of 
about twenty. Both carried long heavy match- 


locks with wooden forked props attached, and 
matches lit, and each had a sword and shield 
loosely slung over their shoulder. Seeing this, 
the Therbah and I, unperceived by them, loos- 
ened our weapons. 

They accosted us in a friendly way, and seemed 
astonished at our double-barrelled muskets, and 
at the intelligence that they killed at 800 yards. 
They declined to make a close inspection of such 
terrible weapons. They told the Syad that they 
were servants of the Kunduz Beg, and had been 
with some others in search of falcons for the 
prince. They were very officious in offering aid 
in crossing the stream to the Syad, begging to 
carry his garments and boots for him. 

The Therbah and I did not like the appearance 
of things, and declined assistance. The strangers 
were very reverential to the Syad, kissing his 
feet. We had now approached the brink, and 
the Syad, after breathing a short " Bismillah, 
Illah, Illah," descended the bank, entered the 
stream, and had got half-way across when off 
started the two strangers with his boots and 
clothes, the Therbah and I, who had kept our 
eyes on them, in hot pursuit. The Therbah 
dropped his gun to lighten himself, and we 


gained on them rapidly. I covered them with 
my weapon, when they dropped the clothes. 
We speedily recrossed the ford, not knowing 
how many more marauders might be about, 
when " bang " went a matchlock, and a ball 
struck the ground at our feet. A second shot 
went through the Syad's pirpank (a high, coni- 
cal, black lambskin cap), a third took off the 
top joint of the second finger of my poor Ther- 
bah's left hand. The ball struck him while wav- 
ing his arm to me to fire. Feeling that there 
was no help for it, I took steady aim, fired, and 
rolled over the elder robber, who fell down the 
khad (declivity). The younger one rushed away, 
yelling to his comrades. We went our way, 
looking constantly round, and presently we saw 
three or four men gathered round the dead or 
dying robber. A few dropping shots were sent 
after us, but luckily we escaped scot-free to our 

When I awoke next morning I was surprised 
to see three strangers telling some long yarn to 
the Syad's servant and to the Hindu, Jey Earn. 
I feigned sleep, and heard them say how they 
belonged to the great beg of Kunduz, were out 
on an expedition in search of falcons, had been 


set upon by a desperate gang of robbers the 
evening before, their leader shot dead, and they 
themselves robbed of all their money. They 
showed the matchlock of the victim of my 
double-barrelled gun. 

I soon identified in one of the strangers the 
younger of our two assailants, and the man I 
had seen fire the shot that took off the Therbah's 
finger. I resolved on the capture of these men, 
who, with their listeners, thought me buried in 
profound slumber. I contrived to give a signal 
to my trusty Therbah, and suddenly sprang upon 
the men, and with his aid overpowered them in 
an instant. 

I bound and secured the younger worthy, and 
when the Therbah presently recognised him, I 
had much difficulty in preventing him from at 
once avenging his shattered hand. 

The Syad appeased him by saying that the 
fellow would be sold next day as a dog of a 
Kafir at the fort in Shighnan, to which we now 

In the evening we arrived there, and were re- 
ceived with much kindness by the bai, or chief. 
He came out to meet us, attended by two or 
three followers, and with a present of two goats, 


some melted butter, floor, and firewood, all very 
acceptable. The old man welcomed us to his 
dominions, and loudly praised their beauty. He 
identified our prisoners with a gang of profes- 
sional robbers from the Jerm district, whose chief 
was the man I had killed, and who had been 
pillaging and murdering for the last three years. 
He said that they must, according to the custom 
of the country, be either sold in slavery or suffer 
death. The good old bai, though of the blood 
royal, did not disdain to sit up half the night 
with us, squatted on the ground in true patri- 
archal style, armed to the teeth with sword, 
dagger, and buckler. We had not a cloth among 
us to spread on the greensward, little being left 
to us beyond our good horses and arms, and our 
scant clothing. 

The night passed away, and next morning we 
heard that the young robber had made a clean 
breast of all the transactions of his gang. "We 
were summoned to the presence, and the young 
miscreant, after a solemn adjuration, repeated 
his confession before us. He told a tale of 
murders and robberies in which he had taken 
part during the last eight months, and offered 
to show where the booty was buried. He was 


sent off under escort, and soon returned with 
every item he had mentioned. 

The bai then assumed a judicial air, no further 
evidence of guilt was deemed requisite, and 
each member of the conclave was called upon 
for his vote as to the punishment. At the same 
time three mullahs or khojas, who were in 
special attendance, opened each his Koran and 
pored over the statutes with great gravity. Two 
men were sent out to ascertain the wish of our 
party. After the votes were all given it ap- 
peared that, with one dissentient, who was for 
pardon, it was unanimously decided that all 
should be sold into slavery for life. Mine was 
the dissentient, but powerless, voice. 

The bai then summoned a person of high 
official standing, whose dress proclaimed him to 
be no less than the Court barber. A solemn 
prayer was offered by the head Jchofa, after 
which the long hair of the prisoners was cut by 
the above functionary within an inch of their 

They were then proclaimed for public auction, 
and knocked down to the bai himself at the low 
figure of 18 tillahs of gold-dust a-head. 

After this their hair was close shaven to the 


scalp. The bai then rose and took hold of the 
young man who had confessed by the arm, put 
his hand upon his head, and declared him peni- 
tent. He then ordered him to be his personal 
attendant. The young man at once prostrated 
himself, and the bai being now seated, he placed 
his head underneath the heel of the chief. The 
bai then raised him up, and he was forthwith 
released and a freeman. The other two, who 
were doomed for slavery, were sent away in 
custody of four or five armed men, who were 
instructed where to meet a slave -dealer who 
would take possession of them. 





ALL the prominent points of the Shighnan valley 
are studded with castellos. The control of the bai 
over his subjects was very limited. Bands of 
depredators amounting to 200 or 300 men would 
at times cross the Pamir steppes and plunder the 
Tash- Kurgan district and others in an easterly 
direction, going as far as Yarkand and Kar-galik. 
But now, in consequence of the wide - reaching 
ascendancy of the Kunduz power, the Shighnan 
clans are rather the plundered than the plunderers. 
We proceeded on our journey through the valley, 
amid the usual varieties of mountain country, and 


encountering the usual difficulties with practical 
skill. Every effort was being made to procure by 
bribery a respite, at least, from the dreaded raid 
of the Kunduz ruler. Everything obtainable was 
being collected gold-dust, horses, leopard and 
lion skins, falcons, fine greyhounds, &c. Most of 
the inhabitants, especially women and children, 
had for the last two or three months been remov- 
ing all their chattels into the mountain fastnesses 
to the north of Shighnan, and had even crossed 
the boundary range into Roshan and Darwaz. 

All the houses and hamlets I saw in Shighnan 
were well kept, especially when the presiding 
female was of Kirghiz extraction, or from Wakhan, 
Chitral, or Kafiristan. The beauty of the women 
of the last-named region is proverbial in Asia ; 
hair varying from the deepest auburn to the 
brightest golden tints, 1 blue eyes, lithe figures, 
fine white teeth, cherry lips, and the loveliest 
peach-blossom on their cheeks. 

All along the westerly part of the Shakh Dara 

1 Sir Henry Rawlinson, speaking at a meeting of the Eoyal 
Geographical Society in April 1881, said that, forty years previously, 
while at Kahul, he had seen a Kafir slave, the most beautiful 
oriental lady that he ever saw. She was the only lady he had ever 
met who, by loosening her golden hair, could cover herself com- 
pletely from head to foot as with a screen." H. P. 


valley were traces of former habitations, once 
populous and happy hamlets. Here and there 
were clumps of mulberries, apricots, peaches, 
cherries, walnuts, and poplars. But for the fever- 
ish excitement of a life of perpetual fear of in- 
vasion, nothing could be more charming than the 
rustic society of these mountains. Polygamy, of 
course, prevails, and each bai or baron numbers 
his seven or eight partners of his existence. 

The first four wives had titles which signified 
(1) the original ; (2) the beauty ; (3) the hand- 
maid ; (4) the pet. Here, as in Turkestan, the 
females are by no means secluded : each and all 
were free to come and go as the mountain breezes. 
Far different is it with the females in the Afghan 
families of Kabul and other large cities. 

In the families among whom I was now sojourn- 
ing connubial honour and felicity were the rule. 
I remember that one day the Syad and myself 
were paying a social visit to the old bai. In our 
position of guests we enjoyed the privilege of 
entering the sacred precincts of the harem, and we 
found the old man submitting to a pretty sharp 
slipper-beating at the hands of two beauties, who 
had taken this mode of avenging themselves for 
an imaginary breach of fidelity ! 


The population generally were herdsmen or 
farmers, but they added to their income by gold- 
washing in the rivers and by occasional plundering 
expeditions. There are three different methods of 
obtaining gold from the rivers. The first is to 
wash the river-sand at certain well-known spots, 
particularly at the inner angles of curves, where 
the strong current of the main stream causes swift 
reverse eddies, and allows the gold scales and 
particles to subside together with quantities of 
deep purple and black ferruginous sand, in which 
alone gold is found. This operation is lucrative 
in the Upper Oxus and several other rivers. The 
proper season is after the rains, and when the snow- 
floods have subsided and left the rivers at their 
lowest. Sometimes as much as four tillahs weight 
of gold is collected about 120 grains. This, when 
rubbed up with a little mercury, forms a still 
amalgam. It is then taken home and separated 
from all impurities. The mercury evaporates 
through an application of heat, and the residuum 
of pure gold is stored in the hollow shank-bones of 
large birds, such as herons, cranes, &c. The second 
method, in vogue principally in the neighbourhood 
of Hazrat Imam, consists in the formation of a sort 
of gold -trap of fleecy sheepskins, which are laid 


down in the bed of the river at chosen spots. 
They are held in place by heavy stones, and care 
is taken that the natural inclination of the wool 
faces the stream, so as to keep the entire growth 
of the wool freely flowing in the water. After two 
or three days' immersion the fleeces are carefully 
taken from the river and sun - dried. Without 
hazarding a suggestion that the fable of the 
Argonautic expedition of the Golden Fleece may 
have derived its origin from the immemorial 
practice just described, it is certain that the 
possession of these golden fleeces is the cause 
of severe skirmishes, as armed parties frequently 
rush upon the men left to watch, and sometimes 
bear off the prize, leaving its guardians dead on 
the riverside. The third method is to scoop out 
little holes in the sand in suitable places, and 
rubbing the sand in the hands, to pick out the 
grains of gold by aid of a keen eye. This is 
principally practised by the nomad tribes to the 
eastward of the Pamir steppes, in the regions of 
Khotan, Chiang, &c. 

To return to our sojourn with the bai. We 
became pleasantly intimate, and one day he pro- 
posed to take the Syad and myself on a trip to 
visit a Kirghiz encampment. My Therbah attended 


us. Starting at daybreak, we arrived after a 
scramble of eight hours through ravines and over 
rocks. The encampment was pitched on a strangely 
chosen spot. Not a tree was to be seen. There 
were wild mountain flowers in abundance ; and a 
purling stream fringed with willows wound through 
the tents pitched on either bank. 

Not only the males but the females of the en- 
campment met our small cavalcade a mile out, and 
favoured the bai first, and afterwards the rest of 
us, with many embraces. There were about eight 
families. The peculiar warmth of welcome was 
chiefly attributable to the presence of the bai, 
whom they honoured as their chief. This volun- 
tary allegiance arose from the fact of the chief 
being able to some extent to protect them. Some 
forty families in all of the Kirghiz owned the 
bai's sovereignty, of whom about twenty had been 
subject to his father. To each family was granted 
an allotment of land on the slopes of the western 
base of the Pamir steppes. Here they soon shook 
off their former nomadic habits. When the snows 
melted they used to go with their families to visit 
their old friends in the higher Pamir steppes, but 
faithfully returned to their new settlement in the 
fall of the year to reap their crops. The uniformly 


conciliatory policy of the patriarchal bai reconciled 
them to a stationary life. He never imposed on 
them a tax higher than the time-honoured fortieth 
part of all produce. Any further contribution was 
entirely voluntary. The bai told me that there 
were some fifteen chieftains in the same position 
as himself along the district of the Bolor ranges 
and the western skirts of the Pamir steppes, and 
that they all acted in a similar way to their 
Kirghiz settler subjects. In all there were about 
30,000 souls who had divested their allegiance 
from the Court of Khokand to the petty Bolor 
chiefs. The whole of the nomad Kirghiz tribes of 
this region were formerly subjects of the king of 
Khokand, but had been driven into rebellion by 
the extortions to which they had been subjected. 
The Khokand authorities were truly rapacious, and 
each official in turn exacted dues from the unhappy 

The personal appearance of the male Kirghiz is 
peculiar. He wears a coarse skin or woollen gar- 
ment tightly girt round the waist with leather or 
woollen ropes ; a woolly or fur cap. The features 
are pure Tartar : small, deep - sunken eyes, de- 
pressed forehead and nose, and high cheek-bones. 
When fully accoutred with the heavy rude match- 



lock over his broad shoulder, the Kirghiz, though 
squat and low in figure, presents, with his robust 
frame and ruddy cheeks, the type of a resolute 
mountaineer. The women of the encampment, 
while bearing traces of their Tartar descent, were 
much the more pleasing -featured portion of the 
community. They had light -brown hair, blue 
eyes, and rosy cheeks and lips. 1 

Each family had its sheep, protected by fierce 
hill-dogs ; and the headmen owned camels and 
rugged ponies. 

The women were uniformly modest and virtu- 
ous, active and good-natured in the performance 
of their household duties. 

There were in camp some beautifully shaggy- 
maned Khazak ponies, with bushy and glossy 
hair all over their heads and bodies, almost con- 

1 Colonel Gardner was rather an enthusiast on the subject of 
female beauty. As recent travellers in the Pamir region have 
described the appearance of the women in less favourable terms, I 
will add the testimony of Captain John Wood, who visited that part 
of the world in December 1837 : " If unable to praise the men of 
the Kirghiz for their good looks, I may, without flattery, pronounce 
the young women pretty. All have the glow of health in their 
cheeks, and though they have the harsh features of the race, there 
is a softness about their lineaments, a coyness and maidenly reserve 
in their demeanour, that contrast strongly and most agreeably with 
the uncouth figures and harsh manners of the men." From 'A 
Journey to the Source of the River Oxus.' H. P. 


cealing their eyes, and reaching to the ground ; 
also some splendid Shahbaz hawks, collected as a 
propitiatory offering to the Kataghani robber- 
chief. I accompanied the bai when he went to 
present these gifts, which seemed to give great 

On our way we visited the famous ruby mines. 
To reach them we had to diverge southwards. 
Before starting we were treated to a sumptuous 
repast served on wooden trays, on which were 
spread handsome tablecloths. Everything was 
served by fair hostesses. We had kababs and 
pillaos, both sweet-spiced and saline, with fresh 
cheese - curds, washed down by draughts of fine 
though somewhat acid Kafiristan and Chitral 
wine. Nor was fine, fat, snow - preserved wild 
mutton wanting. We had horn spoons and 
ladles to help ourselves with. 

The presents for the dreaded chief consisted 
of lion and tiger skins, large red - deer antlers 
and horns of markhor and ibex, some fine 
furs, a few bags and bones full of gold-dust, 
some musk -glands, and a few rubies of inferior 

Having taken leave of our hosts and hostesses 
with outstretched hands, muttering a short prayer 


after the head mullah, we mounted and started 
off towards a lonely hamlet where we were to 
pass the night before going to the mines. 

Here dwelt a solitary fakir of venerable aspect, 
with long white locks and eyebrows, and evi- 
dently of an advanced age. He was seated on 
the only mat in the place, outside his hovel, 
absorbed in reverie. All his worldly property 
seemed to consist of some earthen pots of grain 
placed in a hole dug in the middle of the hut. 
He was evidently one of those hermits of the 
mountains who relinquish the world and all its 
cares. He was a remarkable man, for he had 
visited Turkey, Asia Minor, Arabia, Persia, Tur- 
kestan, and Afghanistan ; had seen Constantinople, 
Bagdad, Erzeroum, Mecca, Medina, Ispahan, and 
Teheran. Moreover, he was known to be the 
owner of a remarkable ruby, and the old bai 
was most anxious to become its possessor. He 
made most urgent entreaties for the gem, but 
for some time the fakir sat perfectly unmoved. 
The bai declared that by means of this ruby 
only could the robber - chief, whom he was on 
his journey to propitiate, be induced to spare 
the lives, property, and honour of all the inno- 
cent families around. At last the fakir quietly 


arose, and lifting the plank that covered a hole 
in the hut, after a little fumbling produced the 
gem. Having motioned us with a dignified ges- 
ture to be seated, he proceeded quietly to unfold 
a bit of rag, then with much grace placed the 
jewel softly in the hands of the bai, bestowed 
on him his blessing, expressed his hope that the 
offering might produce the anticipated result, 
and then relapsed into a silent reverie. The bai 
offered him a sum of money, but the old man 
gently declined it, but desired that the allowance 
of grain, which it appears was made him, should 
be somewhat augmented, in order that he might 
be able to relieve wayworn and destitute trav- 
ellers. This was at once agreed to, when the 
fakir motioned to us to leave his hut, whereupon 
we departed. 

On examining the gem I found a small Zoroas- 
trian altar cut in high relief on the centre of 
the oblong face of the stone, and round the altar 
a double cordon of letters of the same kind of 
characters that appear on the Scytho - Bactrian 
coins which are found about Balkh, Bokhara, &c. 
The stone was very valuable, from 150 to 200 
carats in weight a pure lustrous gem. It was 
salaamed to by the bai and all his followers. 


The ruby had been found about the time of 
Timur by an ancester of the fakir in a cave 
near the famous shrine and Kafir city of Esh or 
Oosh in the Bolor ranges. 

On the following day we took leave of the 
holy man and proceeded to the mines. They 
consisted, somewhat to my surprise, of cave -like 
burrows about 1000 feet above the river. They 
were cut in soft, decayed, sandstone stratified 
rock, which both above and below alternated 
with a species of mountain limestone, also in 
strata. There was a thick, whitish, and in parts 
yellowish, saline - like crust formed on the sides 
of the cuttings, which exuded from the limestone 
rock, and which was in many parts strongly 
marked with green, yellow, and dirty-white spots, 
giving evidence of the presence of iron or copper 
oxides. The upper part and roofs of the burrows 
were utterly neglected and in ruins. After wad- 
ing diagonally through the slush we emerged. 
Around were old dismantled forts which once 
commanded the passage of the river and the 
entrance to the mines. It was said that there 
were copper, antimony, and lead mines in the 
vicinity, but that they had not been worked 
since the days of Timur. In my wanderings I 


lost no opportunity of inquiring about the various 
mines which existed in the regions which I visited, 
but I never found one which seemed likely to 
repay attention. 

After leaving the ruby mines I returned with 
the bai to the valley, which he made his head- 
quarters at this time, and stayed with him 
about two months. I had intended to proceed 
to Yarkand, but the bai dissuaded me from 
going there without protection. Moreover, the 
bai, who was at least sixty -five years of age, 
desired us to witness his approaching nuptials. 

The bride was a fair young Kirghiz, with a 
rich dowry of camels, ponies, sheep, hounds, 
hawks, &c. 

Early in the morning of the wedding-day all 
the bai's male subjects gathered round the fort 
gateway in their gaudiest attire of various skins 
and furs thrown over dirty and tattered woollen 
garments, and armed to the teeth. Most of them 
had spears in their hands, a large, heavy, forked 
matchlock slung over their shoulders, with sword 
and shield, and perhaps the handle of a long 
hatchet -like knife sticking out from the waist- 
band. Some wore gay heron -plumes in their 
head-dresses, all were mounted on Kirghiz camels 


or ponies. The most comical addition to the 
dress was a flag stuck on a pole tied to each 
man's back, which waved high over his head. 

There was a monster kettle - drum, horn trum- 
pets, and a nondescript brass wind-instrument, a 
few stout male singers, and some dancing -boys 
got up in female attire. 

When the old bai came forth from the fort, 
with the bridecake of mulberries and a wreath 
of flowers, there was a general greeting of 
" Salaam Aleikum," and the instruments set up a 
tremendous discordant braying, which set the 
camels scampering about the plain. The motley 
cavalcade then started up a ravine, and every one 
commenced firing salutes of blank cartridge. 

When we had come within a quarter of a mile 
of the Kirghiz encampment the bai sent a formal 
deputation of some of his followers, with wreaths 
of flowers in one hand and the sword in the other, 
to demand the bride ; but lo ! imagine the uproar 
and disappointment when it was found that the fair 
one had absconded with her mother, and that her 
father had started with some twenty horsemen in 
hot pursuit. The end was tragic. On the father 
overtaking the fugitives they refused to surrender, 
and a bloody fight ensued. The enraged Kirghiz 


chief killed his own wife and daughter, and after 
a brief and bloody struggle not one of the eloping 
party survived. They were thirteen in all, and 
the eleven men of the party laid fifteen of their 
opponents low, besides wounding the chief himself. 
We returned in sadder mood to partake of what 
should have been the marriage-feast. As if to 
drown the past in oblivion, the night witnessed 
deep potations of the beloved kumiss, and before 
morning the bai was consoled by marriage with 
a lovely girl of fifteen, daughter of one of the 
Kirghiz' headmen. 

Shortly afterwards we took leave of the bai, 
although warmly pressed by him to settle down 
as honoured members of his principality, and went 
on to visit another chief, whose abode was called 
Bolor Kash. 

We had been invited to pass the remainder of 
the summer with this chief, and were received with 
all due honour and courtesy. It was about the 
end of August 1826 when we arrived at Bolor 
Kash, but I was anxious to push on, and cut our 
visit down to three or four days. I found in this 
village, as in all other Kirghiz communities, an 
old witch, who was the oracle of the place. She 
was at once genealogist, news-monger, astrologer, 


historian, exerciser, match - maker, doctor, and 

While staying here I was distressed to hear that 
the presents offered by my friend the head bai of 
Shighnan had not been considered sufficient by the 
rapacious beg of Kunduz, and his wrath was feared. 

Travelling in these regions was extremely diffi- 
cult, and at one time we took seven days to cover 
forty miles. 

During our journey we came upon a lonely 
hamlet where a near relation of the ruling prince 
of that region had betaken himself. He had un- 
fortunately killed a favourite courtier of the ruler, 
and had to fly for his life. 

He had assumed the title of Shah Nawaz Beg, 
and was trying to carve out a principality for 
himself. He had already made a fair beginning 
by the subjection of a community of five Kirghiz 
families. Travelling on, we came to more hamlets, 
until at the end of September we crossed an un- 
named river and arrived at the fort of the ruler 
against whom Shah Nawaz Beg had revolted. 

The Syad and Jey Ram, who were previously 
acquainted with the prince, went ahead, leaving 
us some 500 yards outside. We were soon sum- 
moned, and passed up a steep ascent of some 300 


yards, and into a kind of domestic chapel a small 
mosque and thence into a private bath, where 
we performed our ablutions. Thence we proceeded 
to the mosque, where we performed our evening 
orisons, which we had scarcely concluded when we 
were summoned to the presence of the potentate. 
He was seated in state on some coloured felts, with 
a large dirty-looking bolster to support his back. 
Round the walls of the room, which were wattled, 
were squatted kinsmen and courtiers armed to the 

On our arrival the ruler arose ; and we ex- 
changed the usual hearty salutations, and he 
favoured each of us with warm embraces. Tea, 
wine, and kumiss were freely distributed, and 
the king entered into easy conversation with us, 
lamenting with strong emotion a recent disastrous 
affair in which some of his followers had been mur- 
dered. He aimed his remarks pointedly at some 
of our party, knowing that they would not fail 
to pass them on to those for whom they were 

We stayed a fortnight with the prince, and then 
moved on about nine miles, to the northern Bolor 
ranges, where we sojourned a month in a cave, 
occasionally used as a shooting-lodge. We found 


game as plentiful as the population was scanty, 
the great wild sheep being the favourite quarry. 

Our intention now was to go up towards the 
Ustum valley, south of the Alai ranges, and 
about mid-way between the Terek Pass and Lake 
Karakul ; but winter approached, and a noble 
robber-chieftain, Shah Bahadur Beg, to whom we 
had been introduced, would have detained us hos- 
pitably. However, we were anxious to push on, 
and prevailed over his objections and started. 
Shah Bahadur Beg's residence was the fort of 
Tak, or Kurghan Tdk, distant about two and 
a half days' good marching from the fort of 
Bolor Kash, and north or north-west of it. The 
intervening country is monotonous and sparsely 

After a week's travelling, aided by some of 
Shah Bahadur Beg's retainers, we met a party of 
travellers, who declared that the passes were all 
closed by snow ; so we were obliged to return, not, 
however, without extracting blackmail (which was 
readily paid) of 10 per cent from these and other 

On our way back to the Shah's stronghold we 
fell in with a party of thirteen Kirghiz families 
who had been compulsorily summoned by him to 


arrange a marriage dispute. It seemed that a fair 
young damsel, daughter of the Kirghiz bai, had 
been betrothed and sold for various considerable 
sums to a number of different suitors. It was 
settled now by the elders and priests that all 
the young suitors had an equal right to her, 
that the lady should ride with a slung bow, and 
that whoever caught her should be the lucky 

Accordingly she appeared : a lovely girl, with 
a heron's plume stuck in her high fur cap grace- 
fully waving over her fair forehead ; a red leathern 
girdle round her waist ; and a small light bow 
slung over her arm. She also held a few 
arrows. She then chose a fleet horse and started 
off at full speed, hotly pursued by her suitors. 
The excitement of the chase was vivid. She 
was long seen waving the bow over her head in 
the distance, until a turn of the plain round a 
mountain spur hid the headlong party from our 
sight. Had she escaped and returned to camp in 
possession of the bow, she would have been con- 
sidered as freed from all engagements ; but it was 
not to be so. After a long chase the young lady 
returned, flushed and tired, without her bow, and 
somewhat abashed. Shortly afterwards we saw 


the triumphant suitor describing a figure of eight 
on horseback on the very spot whence the lady 
came again into our range of vision, and brandish- 
ing the fateful bow aloft. 

Then the elders and priests arose, and with pipe 
and tambour played the conquering hero into camp. 
Before an hour had elapsed the nuptial knot had 
been tied. The bride now for the first time 
loosed her virgin tresses, which were formerly 
plaited over her neck ; and then the wedding 
banquet commenced. 

The wedding-cake, of pulverised mulberries, was 
cut into substantial lumps by young female attend- 
ants, whole roasted sheep were chopped up, and 
sour kumiss was handed round. Then came a ball, 
and all danced and gambolled until the bleating of 
the lambs in the encampment, and the general stir 
of animal life, warned us that the grey dawn was 

Alas ! it ushered in a melancholy day. Although 
not one of our party had slept a wink amid the 
joyous revelry of the night, we were up and off at 
sunrise, and had not proceeded more than four or 
five miles when of a sudden Shah Bahadur Beg 


himself unexpectedly and mysteriously appeared 


before us, with a strong body of followers. He 
welcomed us courteously, and then rapidly dis- 
appeared on some expedition, the object of which 
we could not divine. The mystery was soon 
terribly solved. In the evening the Shah re- 
turned from his raid ; with him were some seven 
or eight Kipchak Kirghiz elders and females, and 
to our grief we recognised the beauteous heroine 
and bride of yesterday's revels, strapped to the 
chiefs back, on his horse. Earnest were our 
intercessions for the prisoners, and so far as the 
rest of them were concerned, they were success- 
ful, for the Shah graciously released them. 

As to the unhappy girl, our prayers were fruit- 
less. The Shah declared that he had had the 
misfortune that day to kill both her parents, her 
brothers, and her husband, and that he was there- 
fore bound to constitute himself her protector. 
Sadly we accompanied the Shah to his home. 

Nothing reconciled the girl to her fate. She 
stabbed herself to death before the Shah two days 
afterwards, with a dagger which she had evidently 
concealed for the purpose. 

We wintered here with the Shah, and in the 
spring of 1827 took our departure, resisting all 


the inducements of our host to stay. He con- 
sidered that, with women, wine, good horses, good 
guns, good dogs, good falcons, and with a castello 
on the top of a crag in Yagistan, 1 all that life could 
offer was at our feet. 

1 "Yagistan" means "the independent country." 





GARDNER passed the winter of the year 1826 with 
the hospitable robber -chief Shah Bahadur Beg, 
and set forth in the spring of 1827 on his journey 
to Yarkand. 

In addition to Jey Ram the Hindu, and Mir 
Ali Shah, the Syad, Gardner's party included the 
Syad's servant and Gardner's own four attendants, 
or eight persons in all. 

The party determined to travel northwards 
at first, so as to strike the trade route from 



Samarkand to Yarkand ; and with this object they 
journeyed through Karategin to the valley of the 
Surkhab ; then turning eastward they went by the 
great Alai valley or plateau. 

This is a region considered by many to be no 
other than the site of the Garden of Eden and the 
birthplace of the human race. In contrast to most 
of the regions round about, the Alai valley is very 
fertile. Gardner stated in after-life that the wild 
fruits there were equal to the garden fruit of 

At this point the only Afghan who remained of 
the party which originally followed him from the 
Kohistan declined to go any farther east, and took 
his leave. 

Gardner gives a curious account of the in- 
habitants of the Karatagh and Aktagh mountains, 
who were, he says, the descendants of the ancient 
Kafir race who inhabited this region. 

Although no subsequent traveller, whose experi- 
ences have been published, has as yet confirmed 
Gardner's account, his statement is too curious 
to lose, and may even hereafter be proved to be 
accurate. Dr Sven Hedin is stated to have dis- 
covered a previously unknown tribe very similar 
to Gardner's Akas. 


The mountain-ranges known as the Aktagh and 
Karatagh are considerably to the west of the place 
in which Gardner now was ; but he states that the 
Akas, as he calls these wild tribes, lived also in 
the mountains bordering the Alai valley, and that 
they were the original inhabitants of Kashgar. 1 
At the time of his visit they were entirely confined 
to the mountains. 

" The Akas," says Gardner, " and other moun- 
tain tribes of the great Kashgar population, pre- 
tend, like all the people of Great Kashgar, to great 
antiquity, and are probably the aborigines of these 
mountains (Aktagh), from which they take their 

" Very few Akas have ever embraced Muham- 
madanism, and these few are a tribe to the 
north of and about the Terek Pass. They go 
by the name of Grums, a degraded and little 
respected tribe. 

" The other Akas are an independent and fierce 
race, of predatory habits, and prove themselves to 

1 Gardner mentions the Alai and Trans- Alai ranges by name, and 
appears to apply the name Aktagh to some range near them. The 
mountains in this region are so named in Arrowsmith's map of 
Central Asia, the only one that Gardner could have seen at the 
period when he dictated his recollections to Mr Cooper and Sir 
Henry Durand : this seems to explain his mistake. 


the surrounding Muhammadans to be of obstinate 
and warlike character. A continual and bitter 
warfare exists between them, much resembling 
that between the Kafirs of the Hindu Kush and 
their Afghan and Chitrali neighbours. 

"All the Akas that the Muhammadans make 
captive in their raids are invariably sold as 

"The Akas are of low stature, but well made 
and hardy; manly, fierce, and savage in manner. 
They are generally dressed in skins. Their women, 
though of fair complexion, are not entitled to be 
called good-looking, being of coarse features except 
in one curious tribe called the Keiaz. 

"This tribe live in small communities in the 
most inaccessible peaks of the mountains, and 
number some 7000 souls in all. They lead the 
life of wild beasts, living in holes and dens dug 
out of the crags. They subsist chiefly by hunting, 
in which they are very expert, and so barbarous 
are they as seldom to use fire to make their meat 
more palatable. If the tales told by their Mu- 
hammadan neighbours are to be relied on, the 
Keiaz are not content with the raw flesh of wild 
animals alone, but 'sometimes devour the bodies of 
their enemies who fall into their hands. 


"Among the mountains and valleys that I 
passed through on my way to Ausgess resided 
these Keiaz. They, like the Akas, were generally 
clothed in the skins of wild animals that they 
slew in the chase. They were armed only with a 
small bow and a spear. They adore rude idols, 
large masses of curiously shaped stone or rocks. 
They mix very little with the Akas, by whom 
they are considered a barbarous people ; but 
the latter admire their women, frequently take 
them captive, and make them slaves or even 

"The Keiaz marriage rites are simple : the lover 
lays his bow at the feet of the lady ; if she lifts it 
up, kisses and returns it, she is . his wedded wife. 
By taking her husband's bow and flinging it on 
the ground before him, she can divorce herself, 
and she may secure a husband by unslinging his 
bow from his shoulder. I heard, however, that 
these practices, though existing and considered 
sacred, were seldom resorted to. The Keiaz, in 
their funeral ceremonies, much resemble the Akas, 
who sometimes burn their dead, and sometimes 
bury them in a sitting or erect position, but never 
place them in a horizontal position in mother 


" Sometimes, again, they lay their dead in deep 
water-holes, or allow them to be washed away by 
the torrents into which they fling them. 

" The Akas and Keiaz had various divinities, 
but also worshipped obscene figures." 

The MSS. concerning Gardner's journey from 
the Pamirs to Yarkand are so incomplete and 
confused, that I have experienced great difficulty 
in tracing his route. Among other places men- 
tioned in connection with the Akas and Keiaz are 
a fort and valley named " Ustum " : the valley 
is stated to have been a very large one, running 
east and west, and at the eastern extremity was a 
second fort, named Uskumbak. 

This second fort was said to be eighteen days' 
march south-west of Kashgar, and the Ustum 
valley may therefore be the exit from the 
Pamir plateau now known as the Gaz defile. 
Gardner had therefore, apparently, turned south- 
ward again from the Alai plateau, and had passed 
near Lake Kara Kul, thus travelling by the old 
trade-route from Samarkand to Yarkand. Pos- 
sibly, however, Gardner left the Alai valley by 
the more direct road of the Terek Pass. This 
pass is a very long one, and is divided into two 
marches. The second march ends at a place 


called Egrushtam a name not unlike Ustum, 
which Gardner in another paper spells " Rustam." 

Gardner states that he and his companions 
halted a few days at Uskumbak, as was the regular 
custom of small parties of travellers by this route, 
so as to unite with another party, and so make up 
a caravan of sufficient strength to brave the perils 
of the great desert of Kashgar. Three merchants 
had already joined him, and by the accession of a 
party of seven stragglers at Uskumbak, natives of 
Yarkand, who were desirous of going thither, 
Gardner's party was brought up to seventeen and 
provided with guides : he therefore went on his 
way without further delay. 

From Uskumbak Gardner and his companions 
marched in three days to another fort called 
Dunchu (or Dunchai), which was four long 
marches south-west of Tash-balyk, a large town 
on the north bank of the Yamunyar river. They 
heard that during this three days' journey water 
was only procurable at one spot, and that at the 
middle of the second day's march. They therefore 
carried water with them, slung in skins under the 
horses' bellies. On arriving at the spot where 
water was promised, they found it extremely salt 
and bad, in small pools, but were obliged to make 


the best of it. On this day, all along the road, 
they met herds of yaks, which Gardner describes 
as follows : 

" On this day all along our march we met with 
large herds of various species of deer, antelope, &c., 
and some small herds of what the Akas named 
1 ansak,' but which the Yarkand men called ' yak/ 
a large animal resembling a cow. These yak, of 
which there are two or three species, are found 
in great numbers to the north, and were very 
numerous also throughout the whole of the desert 
to the south. Early this evening we put up at 
some dried-up reservoirs, in some of which, how- 
ever, a little muddy brackish water still remained, 
round which numerous footprints of deer, antelope, 
and yak proved that they resorted to this place 
for water. The Mogul merchants told me that a 
certain tribe of Chinese Tartars venerated those 
yaks to such a degree as to make the wounding 
or killing of them punishable with death. The 
animals which I saw between this place and 
Yarkand had cylindrical horns curved outwards, 
very long pendent hair, and horse-like tail : the 
largest specimen I saw here very much resembled 
an English bull in appearance, and the footprints 
of some were larger than those of any bull. The 


head was somewhat short, crowned with two round 
horns, which tapered from the foot upwards and 
terminated in sharp points. 

" To the wandering tribes of Tartars these 
animals are most valuable, but more particularly 
to the tribes called at Yarkand the Kizl and Alai 
Kirghiz, who wander about in large or small obahs 
or camps, and drive the animals from place to 
place in summer towards the Pamir. They are 
an easy mode of conveyance, furnish good, warm 
coverings and wholesome food. They are never 
employed in agriculture. Tents and ropes are 
manufactured from their hair, and many dress 
themselves entirely in the skins. 

" The yaks' tails have been held in high esti- 
mation for ages throughout India as objects of 
pageantry and parade, and no man of distinction 
stirred abroad or sat in his durbar at home 
without two or three " thrusters - away of flies" 
attending him. The Chinese and some of the 
Chinese Tartars sometimes dye yaks' tails of a 
reddish black, or some other colour, and wear them 
as tufts in their bonnets or on their horses, often 
accompanied by a peacock-feather, the emblem of 
royal dignity or high station. The yak is one of 
the most timid of animals, and very swift : when 


chased by horsemen and dogs, and on the point of 
being overtaken, it hides its hindquarters in some 
bush and there waits for its enemies, imagining, 
perhaps, that if it could conceal its tail, which it 
considers perhaps as the object they are in search 
of, it might escape unhurt." 

On the third day after their departure from 
the Pamir plateau, Gardner and his companions 
reached the town of Dunchu (or Dunchai), having, 
he says, to wade the Yamunyar 1 river to reach it, 
the town standing on the south bank of the river. 

From Dunchu they journeyed to Yarkand in 
twenty-one days, making one halt only to visit a 
great mound with caves, which Gardner calls Mahu 
or Mahusang. He states that mephitic vapours 
arise here from clefts in the ground, and also that 
the mound apparently covers the site of an ancient 
city. Gardner's description of Yarkand is briefly 
given in Mr Edgeworth's abstract in the following 
words : 

"Keached Yarkand. It consists of two cities, 
one inhabited by the Muhammadan population, 
the other by the Chinese garrison. The gates 
are closed at night. The population number 

1 The existence of this river was for a considerable time doubted 
by geographers : it is, however, correctly named by Gardner. 


80,000 to 100,000 souls, and there are 15,000 
soldiers in the garrison. There is a Muhammadan 
governor, named Khan Ali Jan. The Chinese 
governor is named Shun Teth. Green and black 
tea, packed in vellum, shawls, wool, porcelain, 
and chrysoprase beads are among the principal 
articles of trade." 

Gardner remained three days at Yarkand and 
then went on his way southward, reaching Kar- 
galik on the second day. Thence, going south 
steadily, he arrived in thirty days at Leh, the 
capital of Ladak. In the course of this journey 
he traversed the Karakoram Pass, but says little 
about it, no doubt because it was really much 
easier travelling than many passes which he had 
already traversed. The diary of his journey is 
given in Mr Edgeworth's abstract, but is not 
sufficiently interesting to merit transcription. Sir 
Henry Durand mentions that Gardner travelled 
from Yarkand to Leh as a pilgrim, wearing the 
hadji dress. Arrived at Leh, he was sent with 
five or six others to collect pilgrims from Khoten 
and other places to the eastward, and while on 
this errand he saw the Pangkong Lake. 

Having collected the pilgrims, Gardner returned 
to Leh, and went thence to Srinagar, the capital 


of Kashmir. Shortly before he arrived there a 
terrible earthquake occurred, which killed 11,000 
or 12,000 people. The stench from the corpses 
was frightful, and the survivors, were afraid to 
bury them. In consequence a kind of plague 
broke out in a few days, people fell to the earth 
with vertigo and nausea, and their bodies turned 
black. The natives fled in all directions. Diwan 
Kirpa Earn was at this time governor of Kashmir 
for Maharaja Kanjit Singh, having recently suc- 
ceeded his father. 

At the time of Gardner's arrival at Srinagar 
that city was still under the influence of Afghan 
merchants and soldiers, and from some of them 
Gardner heard a false report that his former leader 
Habib-ulla Khan was once more in the ascendant, 
and the adventurous soldier decided at once on 
joining his old chief. Accompanied only by Jey 
Earn the Hindu, by his faithful Therbah and three 
other Muhammadans, he made an astonishing 
journey from Srinagar through Chilas and Bunji 
(where he crossed the Indus) to Gilgit, and thence 
to Chitral. Of this journey Sir Henry Eawlinson 
writes in his "Monograph on the Oxus " i 1 " Gardner 
actually traversed the Gilgit valley from the Indus 

1 Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xlii. 


to the Snowy Mountains, and finally crossed over 
into Chitral, being, in fact, the only Englishman 
up to the present time [1872] who has ever per- 
formed the journey throughout." 

Gardner subsequently wrote voluminous reports 
on the importance of Chitral to India, both as 
a trade-route between that country and Central 
Asia and as a weak spot in our military position. 
He was, however, in advance of his time, and his 
words fell upon deaf ears. Later days have seen 
a wiser policy adopted ; and those who have wit- 
nessed the very recent occupation of Chitral by 
England, and of Kafiristan by the Afghans, with- 
out understanding the military advantages of both 
moves, may be enlightened by the following note, 
written by Gardner about thirty years ago : 

"It is said that when Amir Dost Muhammad 
Khan was invading Kunduz and Badakshan in 
1850, the large body of troops which had been 
sent from Kabul vid the Khawak Pass [the route 
followed by Gardner himself] had met with but 
slight success. There appeared no prospect of 
thus reducing these distant regions to subjection 
until a body of from 2000 to 3000 irregular 
cavalry, with four or six guns, I know not which, 
were sent up from Jalalabad by the Chitral 


caravan-route, and crossing the Baroghil Pass 
into Wakhan, swept to the westward, vid Kala- 
i-Panj and Ishkashem, meeting no resistance until 
they arrived at Jerm. 

"The chief of Badakshan, seeing himself thus 
unexpectedly attacked both in front and rear, 
went with the leading inhabitants of his province 
and tendered his full submission to the Afghan 

" This body of troops then continued its march, 
and in a similar manner compelled the surrender 
of the chief of Kunduz, who had previously made 
a noble and successful defence against the Kabul 

"May it not be suggested that what happened 
on the above occasion may be repeated in the 
reverse way, and that Afghanistan may fall to 
Eussia if attacked in like manner ; that is, that 
while one army was knocking at the time-honoured 
gate of Bamian, another might steal its way 
down the Chitral valley, and suddenly dash on 
the astounded and probably weak garrison of 

Gardner's prophetic lines show at any rate that 
as a student of " the great game of Central Asia " 
he was in the front rank. 


From Chitral he sent his followers and baggage 
down by river to Jalalabad, while he himself for 
the second time entered Kafiristan and travelled 
along the Kamah or Kameh river. He was ac- 
companied by a priest, and was well treated, his 
only difficulty being to escape from the hospitality 
of his hosts. 

The full diary of this visit to Kafiristan and 
of Gardner's journey from Pamir was lent to Sir 
Alexander Burnes, and was destroyed when that 
unfortunate officer was murdered at Kabul and 
his house pillaged. 

All that remain by way of record of this most 
interesting passage in Gardner's adventurous life 
are some disconnected notes and allusions. Some 
of the notes are written on the margin of various 
printed pages concerning Kafiristan. 

Among the allusions are two references to the 
fact related by the Kafirs to Gardner that two 
Europeans had lived in their country about the 
year 1770, and had, according to one story, died 
in captivity, and, according to the other, been 
murdered by the Kafirs, under the supposition 
that they were evil spirits. These unfortunate 
Europeans were probably Koman Catholic mis- 


A geographical note by Gardner is of interest. 
On a statement by Captain Raverty concerning 
the Kashkar, Chitral, or Kunur river, and an un- 
named river which Captain Eaverty says joins it 
at Chigar-Serai, Gardner says : 

" The river called the Kameh or Kafir- Ab rises 
east or south-east of the Kotal-i-Dara [Dorah Pass 
on modern maps] in the north of Kafiristan, and 
flowing at first south-west, bends down to the 
south-east and joins the Chitral or Kashkar river 
near Chigar-Serai. Thence those united streams 
or rivers are known as the Kunur river, and fall 
into the Kabul river at or near Jalalabad." 

The Kameh river does rise as stated above ; it 
does bend slightly westward, and then to the 
south - east. The statement illustrates Gardner's 
knowledge of a country into which no white man 
but himself had then penetrated. Concerning 
the tribes of Kafiristan enumerated by Raverty, 
Gardner writes : 

"These are the names of the principal valleys 
as well as of the tribes, the main valley being 
the Kameh, down and along the upper portion 
of which the Kam or Kameh tribe inhabit." 

This statement also has been confirmed by the 
recent writings of Sir George Robertson ; but no 


one but Gardner could have made it at the time 
when it was written by him. 

Leaving Kafiristan by Chigar-Serai and Jalala- 
bad, Gardner journeyed towards Kabul, but on 
approaching the capital found that he had been 
misinformed about Habib - ulla Khan, who was 
now said to have perished while on a pilgrimage 
to Mecca. Dost Muhammad was all-powerful, and 
it was no part of Gardner's plan to place himself 
in the lion's jaws, though as a matter of fact he 
was eventually compelled to do so. 

Gardner now contemplated returning to Persia, 
and marched vid Ghazni and Kilat-i-Ghilzai to 
Kandahar. At this city the Sardars, Dost Mu- 
hammad's brothers, who governed the province, 
sent for a crystal hookah, Gardner's most valued 
possession, which had been given him by his 
mysterious friend the Pole of Ura-tube ; they 
also demanded from him and his followers (a 
band of Khaibari outlaws who had attached them- 
selves to him) a ransom of a lakh and a half of 

Gardner arrived at Kandahar early in the spring 
of 1830, and after a time occupied in reasoning 
with the Sardars, he obtained permission from them 
to take leave and proceed to Herat. This permis- 


sion was conveyed in an official letter written in 
Persian, and was evidently couched in terms of 
double meaning, for on reaching Girishk and pre- 
senting the letter, Gardner and his followers were 
treacherously seized while at dinner, and were cast 
into the subterranean dungeons of the castle. 
After a few days the Khaibaris and the Therbah 
were released ; but Gardner was kept for nine 
months a prisoner beneath ground. 

Now was shown his remarkable influence over 
those who from time to time became his followers 
for none of the Khaibaris would desert him, but 
went round to the priests, exciting sympathy in 
his behalf. These faithful men eventually obtained 
Gardner's release, but with extreme difficulty, and 
by means only of the whole party promising not 
to go to Herat, and stating in writing that they 
had been well treated. 

The head of the party of Khaibaris was one 
Ghulam Rassul Khan of Ali Masjid, and this man 
actually proposed to re-enter Kandahar and force 
the Sirdars to give them some money to help them 
on their way. So bold a proposal delighted 
Gardner, and the attempt was accordingly made, 
but without success. 

Ghulam Rassul Khan now obtained the dress 


of a shahzada, 1 in which Gardner was dressed ; 
and certain men who were at variance with the 
Sirdars gradually joined the party until their 
number reached forty armed and mounted men. 
With this following Gardner set out towards 
Kabul. He had thus escaped from most immi- 
nent danger, from a long and apparently hopeless 
captivity, and found himself at the head of a 
strong body of men, several of whom had shown 
extraordinary fidelity to him. All that he now 
wanted was money, and accident or design soon 
placed within his grasp the means of obtaining 
a supply. 

Between Kilat-i-Ghilzai and Kabul Gardner's 
party met a kafila or caravan bound for Kandahar, 
and belonging to merchants trading under the pro- 
tection of the Kandahar rulers. Gardner, who 
with his men had halted as soon as the approach 
of the caravan was signalled by his scouts, pre- 
tended that he also was proceeding to Kandahar, 
and joined the kafila. As soon as a favourable 
opportunity arose he seized and bound the mer- 
chants, thus anticipating them in their intentions 
with regard to him ; then, taking the bull by the 

1 Probably meaning a prince of the ex-royal family, of whom 
there were a great number. 


horns, he made straight for Kabul, with the inten- 
tion of throwing himself on the mercy of Amir 
Dost Muhammad Khan. 

The party rode night and day, so as to outstrip 
the messengers of the Kandahar Sirdars, and riding 
direct to the Bala Hissar or palace, Gardner and 
Ghulam Rassul Khan presented their arms, horses, 
and spoil to Dost Muhammad and asked for a 
private audience. They then told their story to 
the warlike chief, who heard them patiently, 
agreed that they had been badly treated by his 
brothers, and had done rightly in taking the law 
into their own hands. He declined to take any- 
thing from them, but would not allow them to 
remain in his territory. The Amir then gave 
Gardner a safe -conduct to the territory of Mir 
Alam Khan of Bajaur, whom Gardner decided to 
visit. This chief had already treated him kindly 
when he passed through Bajaur on his way from 
Kafiristan to Afghanistan a year previously. 

When leaving Kabul Gardner lost the services 
of his faithful follower the Therbah, who had 
shared so many dangers and hardships with him, 
and had done nobly in keeping up the fidelity of 
the Khaibaris during Gardner's long captivity at 
Girishk. The Therbah now returned to his own 


home, and Gardner once again became a lonely 
man, with no resource but his own stout heart 
and ready wit. Never had these two allies stood 
by him better than in his bold action at Kabul, 
where he had countless enemies. In the words 
of Sir Henry Durand, whose narrative has been 
closely followed in this chapter, " Gardner seems 
to have been indebted for life, and that many 
a time over, to his cool audacity, which never 
failed him for a moment, be the strait what it 

Gardner obtained permission from the Amir to 
remain a few days at Kabul, and left that city 
towards the end of January 1831. He was, he 
says, disappointed at having failed to establish 
himself in a military career under that great leader 
of men, but for many reasons he was glad to leave 
Afghanistan. There were too many Afghans whose 
fathers and brothers had met him in battle to 
make a residence in a country where blood-feuds 
were a sacred duty even moderately safe from 
treachery and violence. 

Moreover, neither Gardner's admiration for the 
Amir, nor gratitude for the protection he had af- 
forded to the fugitives, could blind Gardner to the 
iniquity of Dost Muhammad's conduct towards 


Prince Habib-ulla Khan. Finally and principally, 
Gardner adds, he hated every Afghan of the domi- 
nant faction for the death of his innocent wife 
and son. 

The period of Gardner's wanderings was now 
approaching a close ; but before he could enter the 
Panjab, the country which, with its then depen- 
dency, Kashmir, was thereafter to become his home, 
he had to traverse the most dangerous of all regions 
that from Kabul to Peshawar the very home of 
battle, murder, and sudden death. 

It was, however, he writes, with a light heart 
that he retraced his footsteps from Kabul to Jal- 
alabad, and thence to Kunar and Bajaur, where 
he was again kindly received by the ruler, Mir 
Alam Khan. 

His adventures in those troubled regions may 
now be related by himself: 

I arrived at Bajaur at the moment that a certain 
Muhammad Ismail had arrived from the fanatic 
chief Syad Ahmad with a demand for aid from 
the mir, as from all neighbouring Muhammadan 
chieftains. This Syad Ahmad was a remarkable 


man, who gave much trouble for some years to 
Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 

Some four years prior to my arrival at Bajaur 
he had raised the green standard of the Prophet 
in the Eusafzai hills, between Peshawar and Attock, 
and proclaimed a religious war against the Sikhs. 
Syad Ahmad belonged to a family of Syads in 
Bareilly, and commenced life as a petty officer 
of cavalry in the army of Amir Khan, the great 
soldier of fortune. After preparing in India for 
the religious war which he desired to wage, Syad 
Ahmad entered Afghanistan ; but finding no en- 
thusiasm there, he proceeded with several hundred 
followers to Punjtar in the Eusafzai hills, and made 
that place his headquarters. This, as I have said, 
was early in the year 1827. 

After various vicissitudes the Syad actually be- 
came in 1830 master of the city and district of 
Peshawar, from which place he ousted Sultan 
Muhammad Khan. This prince was a brother of 
Amir Dost Muhammad Khan, and at this time 
ruled Peshawar as a tributary of Maharaja Ranjit 
Singh, the sovereign of the Panjab. 

This success of the Syad proved his ruin, for the 
Maharaja immediately occupied Peshawar in per- 


son, and determined to destroy the reformer once 
and for all. He intrusted the task to his son, the 
Shahzada 1 Sher Singh, whose operations were at 
first unsuccessful. 

Syad Ahmad had two faithful and trusted fol- 
lowers, the Maulvis Abdul Hai and Muhammad 
Ismail, and these men strained every nerve to 
obtain assistance and reinforcements for their 

When Muhammad Ismail arrived at the Court 
of Mir Alam Khan the latter was in doubt what 
course to adopt. The religious enthusiasm of his 
people, and their hatred of the infidel Sikhs, im- 
pelled him to make common cause with the Syad, 
but at the same time he had substantial reasons to 
maintain friendly relations with Ranjit Singh, and 
more especially with the Wazir (or Prime Minister), 
Raja Dhyan Singh. The influence of the latter 
was very great throughout all the mountain regions 
on the northern boundaries of India. 

In this difficulty my arrival, with my trusty 
band of Khaibaris, was very welcome to the mir, 
and no doubt combined with his former friendship 
to elicit the warm reception which he gave me. 

1 The recognised sons of Maharaja Ranjit Singh bore the title of 
shahzada or prince. 


He was wary enough to say nothing of his in- 
tentions to me for three or four days after my 
arrival, until my attention was attracted by an im- 
passioned address which I heard Muhammad Ismail 
deliver to a large assembly of the wild Eusafzai 
mountaineers. The enthusiasm which he aroused 
suggested to me that I might do worse than join 
the Syad his master, as I saw a good opportunity 
of getting together such a body of followers as 
would make my services valuable to any ruler to 
whom I might subsequently offer them. There- 
fore, when Mir Alam Khan proposed to me to take 
command of those of his followers who desired to 
array themselves under the sacred banner of the 
Syad or Khalifa as he now styled himself, I fell in 
readily enough with his wish. 

In a few days I marched towards Balakot, the 
headquarters of Syad Ahmad, at the head of some 
250 well-armed and warlike mountaineers, all burn- 
ing with religious zeal and with the desire to work 
their will in the rich city of Peshawar. For rich 
it seemed to them, though at that time its pros- 
perity was at a very low ebb, it having been for 
so many years bandied about between the Sikhs 
and Afghans. 

On the march I heard a curious story concerning 


the Syad, which may or may not have been true. 
In either case it did not appear to lessen the 
respect in which the narrator evidently held the 
holy man. 

At some period of his career, said my informant, 
Syad Ahmad was in the service of Sirdar Pir 
Muhammad, chief of Kohat and one of the Bar- 
akzai l brothers. The Syad was then young, active, 
energetic, and a first-rate swordsman and horse- 
man. One day he and another man applied for 
pay towards their expenses, and received a written 
order for some 30 or 40 rupees on a village a few 
miles from Peshawar. They went to the village 
in company and received the money; but when 
returning they quarrelled as to its division, the 
upshot being that Syad Ahmad slew his comrade. 
Then, taking all the money, he hastened to Pesha- 
war. At the gateway of Sirdar Pir Muhammad's 
house in that city he found a swift horse standing, 
ready saddled and bridled, according to custom. 
This horse he forcibly seized, and fled on it across 
the Kabul river to Bajaur. There he immediately 
began to preach a holy war against all unbelievers. 
It did not appear to distress my religious enthusiast 
to believe that the great Khalifa, the Defender of 

1 That is, one of the brothers of Dost Muhammad Khan. 


the Faith, the glitter of whose sword was now to 
scatter destruction among the infidels, was iden- 
tical with the thief and murderer of the story. 

However, as it turned out, we set out to join 
the holy standard just an hour too late, for the 
Syad and his faithful maulvi were slain, fighting 
bravely side by side, before we could join in the 
fight. They were taken by surprise at a place near 
Balakot and surrounded by a large party of Sikhs, 
who had crossed the river Indus on massaks, or 
inflated skins. In his anxiety to rejoin his master 
Muhammad Ismail had left me and my force a 
march behind, and, owing to the mistake or 
treachery of a guide, we took longer than was 
expected in coming up. 

I well remember the scene as I and my Eusaf- 
zai and Khaibari followers came in view of the 

Syad Ahmad and the maulvi, surrounded by his 
surviving Indian followers, were fighting desper- 
ately hand to hand with the equally fanatical 
Akalis of the Sikh army. They had been taken 
by surprise and isolated from the main body of 
the Syad's forces, which fought very badly without 
their leader. Even as I caught sight of the Syad 
and maulvi they fell pierced by a hundred weapons. 


Those around them were slain to a man, and the 
main body dispersed in every direction. 

With some difficulty I kept my party together, 
and withdrew to the hills, showing so bold a front 
to the Sikhs that they did not dare to follow us 
far. The Eusafzai mountain - passes always gave 
the Sikhs cholera, as Avitabile 1 used to say. 

I was literally within a few hundred yards of 
the Syad when he fell, but I did not see the angel 
descend and carry him off to Paradise, although 
many of his followers remembered afterwards that 
they had seen it distinctly enough. 

I remained two nights at Panchthar, where I 
rested my men after their exertions, and divided 
the booty between them. The death of the Syad 
broke the only link that held his followers together, 
and in the retreat many of the parties from dif- 
ferent regions fell upon one another for plunder. 
My Khaibaris and Eusafzais were equal to the best 
in this matter, and cut down several of the Hindu- 
stani fanatics 2 who had joined them for protection, 

1 General Avitabile, Kanjit Singh's Italian governor of the Pesha- 
war district. See Appendix. 

2 The Hindustani fanatics were the Indian followers of Syad 
Ahmad. Their descendants give trouble to the present day, and 
took a prominent part in the recent Frontier war. 


and whose clothing or equipment seemed to them 
a desirable acquisition. 

Having rested my men, and given leave to my 
faithful Khaibaris to return to their homes, I re- 
turned to Bajaur, where I was kindly welcomed by 
Mir Alam Khan. It was while in comparative 
ease and security, and habited as a Mussulman, at 
Bajaur, that I managed to jot down the rough 
records of my wanderings. As a devout man I 
carried the Koran suspended from my neck, and in 
its leaves I deposited my scraps. After a time the 
holy book got so bulky that I had to devote my 
tobacco-pouch as a receptacle for my writings. No 
one would ever touch the Koran of a neighbour, 
and had any interference been attempted or sus- 
picions aroused, I should have represented my 
scraps as additional prayers. 

My stay at Bajaur was not a long one, as during 
the summer I received an invitation from Sultan 
Muhammad Khan * to enter his service as chief of 
artillery. This prince had been reinstated as gov- 
ernor of Peshawar when, as I have related, Maha- 
raja Eanjit Singh came to his assistance in the 
previous year. Sultan Muhammad Khan took 

1 Brother and enemy of Dost Muhammad Khan. 


great interest in artillery, but I taught him all 
that he knew about the subject. 

Gardner's travels had now come to an end. 
Except for the period of his imprisonment at 
Girishk, he had been constantly on the move 
since his final departure from Astrakhan in February 
1823, a period of eight and a half years. 

Few men have undergone such perils and have 
travelled such long distances through unknown 





IT may be as well to repeat, for the information 
of those unfamiliar with Eastern history, that Pesha- 
war, so long a bone of contention between the 
Sikh and Afghan nations, was now practically a 
portion of the Panjab. 

Sultan Muhammad Khan, though nominally an 
independent sovereign, was to all intents and pur- 
poses a vassal of Ranjit Singh. 

It was, in fact, not very long after Gardner's 
arrival at Peshawar that the Maharaja compelled 
Sultan Muhammad to join his Court, and replaced 


him as governor of Peshawar by a succession of 
Sikh sardars, who, proving incapable of managing 
the turbulent people of Peshawar, that "nest of 
scorpions," were succeeded finally by the iron- 
handed Avitabile. 

Gardner thus describes his entry into the 
Panjab : 

I went to Peshawar in the month of August 
1831, and remained there until the spring of the 
following year, 1832, when a letter was received 
by Sultan Muhammad Khan from Maharaja Ranjit 
Singh 1 desiring my services. I myself would 

1 Kanjit Singh, who became Maharaja of the Panjab, was born in 
the year 1780, and at the age of eleven succeeded his father as chief 
of one of the least important of the twelve confederacies which at 
the time composed the Sikh nation. One by one the confederacies 
fell before the talents and ambition of Kanjit Singh, who then 
turned his attention to those portions of the Panjab that were in pos- 
session of neighbouring rulers. Multan was captured in 1818, and 
Kashmir in the following year. 

The only Powers that the Maharaja now had cause to fear were 
the British and the Afghans, and with the object of facing them on 
equal terms Ranjit Singh set about the task of raising a large army, 
formed on the European system. With this object in view he gave 
employment to a considerable number of foreign officers, of whom 
the most important were Generals Ventura, Allard, Court, and 
Avitabile ; Colonels Gardner and Van Cortlandt. The skill and 
tenacity with which the Sikh army fought the British in two des- 
perate campaigns show with what success these officers and their 
assistants served Ranjit Singh. 


have preferred to remain at Peshawar, but Sultan 
Muhammad dared not refuse the Maharaja. I 
regretted leaving him, as he had treated me kindly 
and honourably, making me daily a guest at his 
table, and giving me a liberal salary. 

On taking my leave of Sultan Muhammad he 
bestowed a number of gifts upon me, including an 
excellent horse and a sum of money. 

I was directed to travel under the care of the 
Maharaja's daroga, or chief of the stud, who was 
then at Peshawar, collecting the annual tribute of 
horses. Some delay, however, occurred in his 
setting out on his journey to Lahore, as none but 
the best Persian or Turki horses were accepted in 
tribute, and I took advantage of the opportunity 
by again visiting my friends Mir Alam Khan of 
Bajaur, Futteh Khan of Panchthar, and Paindah 
Khan of Am, on the right bank of the Indus. 

Thence crossing to Torbela, I went down to the 
fort of Attock, where I met the daroga with his 
horses. His escort consisted of some forty well- 
armed Sikh horsemen ; but notwithstanding, he 
had been attacked at night between Peshawar and 
Attock by 300 or 400 Afridis, and four of his 
horses had been taken from him. 

On our way from Attock to Rawal Pindi we 



were again attacked by 400 to 500 Ghakkars near 
the Margali Pass, with a loss on this occasion of 
two horses and five men. 

After this nothing of import occurred until the 
party arrived safely at Gujrat. Hence the dar- 
oga started direct for Lahore, while I and my 
servants remained a few days with Dr Harlan, 1 
then governor of the district. Then, crossing the 
Chenab river, I went to Wazirabad, where I re- 
mained four or five days the guest of General 
Avitabile, 2 the governor. It was unfortunate that 
a sore animosity existed at the time between these 
two governors. However, I received letters of in- 
troduction from both, and went from Wazirabad to 
Lahore, where I met Generals Ventura 3 and Court. 4 

1 Dr Harlan was an American adventurer who obtained employ- 
ment at different times under Ranjit Singh and Dost Muhammad. 
He was thoroughly unscrupulous and a man of considerable talent. 
His ' Memoir of Afghanistan ' is worth reading. 

2 General Avitabile was governor of Wazirabad before he was 
made governor of Peshawar. He greatly beautified the town of 

3 General Ventura was an Italian officer of high character in the 
service of Eanjit Singh. He was much honoured and trusted by 
the Maharaja, and commanded the "Fouj Khas" or model brigade 
of the Khalsa army. General Ventura eventually became governor 
of Lahore. 

4 General Court was a French officer of artillery, a most honour- 
able and estimable man of considerable professional skill. 

For biographies of all the above officers see Appendix. 


After a few days' delay I was presented at Court 
by General Ventura and the Prime Minister, Kaja 
Dhyan Singh. 

I presented my letters from Syad Jan, chief of 
Kunar, and from Mir Alam Khan of Bajaur, both 
of whom were on friendly terms with the Maharaja. 
I also had letters from the three Barakzai brothers, 
Sardars Sultan Muhammad of Peshawar, Pir 
Muhammad of Kohat, and Syad Mahmud of 

On the day of my presentation to the Maharaja, 
and while I was waiting outside the Shalimar 
Gardens, an incident occurred which is described 
in the work called ' Adventures of an Officer,' by 
the great and good Sir Henry Lawrence (after- 
wards my well-known and honoured friend). 

A certain Nand Singh, an officer of the Maha- 
raja's cavalry, rode his horse intentionally against 
me and endeavoured to jostle me into the ditch, 
which was deep and filled with running water. 
I touched the rein of my good steed, gave him 
half a turn, pressed him with my sword-hand 
the veriest trifle on the loins, and in an instant 
Nand Singh and his horse were rolling on the 
ground. I calmly expressed a hope that the 
fallen man was not hurt, and was treated with 


much civility during the remaining time that I 
was kept waiting. 

Shortly after I was summoned to the Maha- 
raja's presence, and was graciously received by 
that great man. Much as I had heard of the 
insignificance of his appearance, it at first startled 
me ; but the profound respect with which he was 
treated, and the extraordinary range of subjects 
on which he closely examined me, speedily dis- 
pelled the first impression. 

The Maharaja was indeed one of those master- 
minds which only require opportunity to change 
the face of the globe. Ranjit Singh made a 
great and powerful nation from the disunited 
confederacies of the Sikhs, and would have 
carried his conquests to Delhi or even farther 
had it not been for the simultaneous rise and 
consolidation of the British empire in India. 

At the time of my arrival at Lahore the Maha- 
raja was in want of an instructor of artillery, M. 
Court being employed principally as superin- 
tendent of the gun - factory. He was a very 
amiable and accomplished man, as was General 

A few days after my audience Raja Dhyan 
Singh, the Prime Minister, showed me the two 


guns that had been presented by Lord William 
Bentinck, the Governor-General of India, to Maha- 
raja Eanjit Singh. Dhyan Singh pointed out to 
me the shells and fuses in the tumbrils, and 
asked me if I could explain their use or fire 
them. I found in one of the tumbrils, inclosed 
in a bundle of fuses, a small printed slip of 
paper giving instructions as to the time of burn- 
ing, time of flight, &c. Having read this, I told 
Dhyan Singh that I hoped to be able to fire 
them and to satisfy him as to my knowledge of 
their proper use. I, however, asked to be 
allowed to cut and burn one fuse first, which at 
his desire I did in his presence. The result 
agreeing with that shown on the printed slip, 
there seemed to be no further difficulty. 

Accordingly one of the guns, with its tumbril, 
&c., was given over next day into my charge, 
and I was ordered to get ready to fire three or 
four of the shells at different distances in the 
presence of Maharaja Eanjit Singh. I took a 
few soldiers in hand, and in a few days' time 
all this was done with a degree of success un- 
expected even by myself, the shells bursting ex- 
actly as required at 600, 800, 1000, and 1200 


This occurred in the presence of the Maharaja 
and his entire Court, and all seemed pleased, 
especially the Prime Minister Kaja Dhyan Singh, 
who ever after acted as my patron and stead- 
fast friend. His brothers Kaja (afterwards Maha- 
raja) Gulab Singh and Kaja Suchet Singh also 
befriended me. 

In consequence of my success as an artillerist 
I received a considerable present, and was en- 
rolled in the Maharaja's service with the rank of 
colonel of artillery, and was placed in full com- 
mand of a camp of eight horse - artillery guns, 
two mortars, and two howitzers. I was likewise 
deputed to teach most of the principal officers 
attached to the artillery, at the head of whom 
were General Sultan Muhammad and several 
colonels, all of whom as my shagird (pupils) 
were directed to present me with a nuzzar or 
douceur of 500 to 1000 rupees. 

For two or three months Maharaja Kanjit Singh 
witnessed with much interest their firing of shell, 
shot, canister, red - hot shot, &c. ; all receiving 
presents from his Highness according to their 
proficiency and merits. The presents ranged 
from 500 to 5000 rupees, and were usually paid, 


half in gold and silver, and half in Pashmina 
shawls, 1 &c. 

This mode of treatment proved, of course, a 
strong incentive to the Maharaja's officers, who 
worked hard, early and late. 

I should mention that on meeting my country- 
man Harlan I resumed the character of a wilayati 
or foreigner, and resumed also the name of 
Gardner, which I had abandoned for so long that 
it sounded strangely in my ears. The Sikhs 
usually called me " Gordana." 

Thus matters continued for three or four 
months, when I was ordered to proceed with my 
park of artillery, to which was added a force of 
800 regular infantry and 400 " Ghorcharahs," or 
irregular cavalry, to join General Ventura. The 
General had previously been despatched with his 
force of about 6000 men to subjugate and annex 
Sabzal-kot and Rojan, both on the right bank of 
the Indus below Mittun-kot. This object, after 
some trouble, having been effected, I received an 
order to march with all speed with my force of 
artillery, infantry, and cavalry via Dera Ghazi 
Khan and Dera Ismail Khan to join the Sikh 

1 Commonly called " Kashmir " shawls. 


force, then in Bannu, under the command of Sardar 
Tara Singh. Accordingly I went, finding con- 
siderable difficulty at and on each side of the 
Paizu Pass, from bad roads and an almost com- 
plete lack of water. 

On reaching the fort of Lukki, to the north of 
the Paizu Pass and on the river Gombela, I found 
Tara Singh hard pressed by the Bannuites, he 
having but 2000 Sikh irregular cavalry and four 
small guns with him, without any infantry. He 
found himself obliged to act on the defensive 
against some thousands of well-armed and mounted 
Bannuites, assisted by 4000 or 5000 wild mountain 
Waziris on foot. However, in the course of about 
four months we managed to cut down, burn, and 
destroy all the grain crops, and to level and 
destroy the forts, villages, gardens, fruit-trees, 
orchards, &c., of all the most refractory, and of 
those who refused to pay their fixed annual 
stipend or revenues. This effected, we returned 
to Lahore via Kalabagh on the river Indus. 

In such expeditions I served the Maharaja for 
some three years, and early in 1835 I was march- 
ing south when, at Wazirabad or Eamnagar, I 
found the whole Sikh army, with Ranjit Singh at 
their head, in full march towards Peshawar. Here 


Tara Singh, with and under whom I was still 
serving, halted on the banks of the Chenab for a 
day or two for instructions. Having received 
them, we changed our front and marched west- 
ward, and soon took up our respective positions 
in the advancing Sikh army. On arriving at 
Peshawar we found Amir Dost Muhammad with 
40,000 or 50,000 of his own troops, and about 
60,000 to 80,000 Grhazis, encamped at and about 
the mouth of the Khaibar Pass. 

The " Francese Compo," l or French division of 
the Sikh army, then personally commanded by 
the four French and Italian generals Messieurs 
Allard, 2 Ventura, Avitabile, and Court and 
having a strength of 20,000 to 22,000 men, 
marched towards Hashtnagar, and thence slowly 
and cautiously made its way westward and south- 
westward with the object of turning the left flank 
of the Dost's army; while the remainder of the 
Sikh army, commanded by Kanjit Singh himself, 
and 60,000 to 80,000 strong, horse and foot, 
threatened Dost Muhammad's centre and right 

1 This was the camp name of the " Fouj Khas," or model brigade. 

2 General Allard was a French officer who died in Ranjit Singh's 
aervice. See Appendix. 


The good, kind, and polite old Fakir Azizuddin, 1 
with his younger brother Nuruddin, Chefs Diplo- 
matiques of home, foreign, and private affairs, 
Head and Grand Ministers of State to Kanjit 
Singh, were, as peacemakers, day and night, back- 
ward and forward, parleying direct between Kanjit 
Singh and Dost Muhammad. They certainly per- 
formed this duty at great personal risk, as serious 
and heavy cannonading and skirmishing took place 
every day from morning till night between the 
two armies. 

The firing and fighting took place along the 
whole front, and there being but two and a half 
or three short miles between the armies, and the 
Afghan position being on rising ground, every 
movement on either side was plainly visible to 
the other. Thus matters proceeded for about a 
month, when the entire Sikh army, with the 
French division, were ready to advance and make 
a simultaneous attack on the Afghan position. 

Ranjit Singh ordered pay to be issued to the 

1 Fakir Azizuddin, Foreign Minister to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, 
was a very remarkable man. He originally gained influence over 
the Maharaja by his skill as a physician, and subsequently impressed 
his master by the wisdom of his advice. Sir Lepel Griffin, the 
highest authority on Panjab history, considers Azizuddin to have 
been one of the ablest and certainly the most honest of all Ranjit 
Singh's courtiers. His brother Nuruddin was also much respected. 


whole army without delay, and accordingly all 
arrears, with one month's pay in addition as a 
present, were issued to all the troops with such 
celerity that the entire 100,000 men were paid off in 
the course of about four hours. A general advance 
and attack along the whole line was ordered to 
commence at four o'clock the next morning. This 
was done, but the Sikhs had not advanced above 
1000 yards when the words "Fled! Fled!" were 
loudly vociferated by the whole army, proclaiming 
that the bird had flown. In fact, Dost Muham- 
mad, with all his troops and Ghazis, had retreated 
during the night into the Khaibar, and when day 
broke not even a single tent or Afghan was to be 

The Sikh army was halted, and encamped on 
their advanced ground for two days, and Fakir 
Azizuddin returning from his mission on the 
evening of the second day, the camp was broken 
up on the third, and the whole army retired on 
Peshawar. After five or six days' rest Maharaja 
Kanjit Singh with his army marched back to 
Lahore, leaving Sirdar Hari Singh Nalwa as 
governor of Peshawar. By this one month's 
sparring, coquetting, and skirmishing with Dost 
Muhammad, Ranjit Singh gained his long- wished- 


for object, the undisputed occupation and master- 
ship of the Peshawar valley. But still it could 
not be called a bloodless victory, for the Sikhs 
daily lost from 100 to 150, or even 200 men : the 
Afghan loss must have been much greater, the 
Sikh artillery being far more numerous than, and 
superior to, that of the Afghans. 

The cavalry charges in bodies of from 2000 to 
5000 men on either side were usually very serious 
and bloody affairs ; and the Sikhs daily lost many 
lives at the merciless hands of the Ghazis, who, 
each with his little green Moslem flag, boldly 
pressed on, freely and fairly courting death and 
martyrdom. They only became shy of thus 
advancing when they had seen the bodies of dead 
Ghazis burnt in heaps ; for in their wild fanatical 
simplicity they believed (as they do even now) 
that if their bodies are thus burnt, instead of 
going to heaven they inevitably go to the nether 

On recrossing the Indus at the fort of Attock 
the Sikhs unfortunately lost a full boat-load of 
regular infantry ; and the rear and flanks of the 
Sikh army, both in going to and returning from 
Peshawar, were, as was always the case, harassed 
by the Ghakkars. This tribe inhabits the range of 


hills westward of Rawul Pindi, and claims to be of 
Persian descent. Their legends speak of a former 
great Ghakkar dynasty. 1 Parties of the Sikh army 
were also constantly attacked by the Afridi tribe, 
which inhabits the hills between Attock and 

On reaching the Jheluni river the army was, 
to some extent, broken up, a large part of it 
being dispersed on various duties. A body of 
5000 or 6000 men were sent to Bannu, as it 
was stated that the Waziris had collected in 
large numbers, and were about to unite with 
the Afridis of Kohat, and with the Khaibaris, 
for the purpose of attacking Hari Singh, and, 
if possible, of retaking Peshawar. 

The three former Barakzai chiefs of Peshawar 
had gone to Kabul with their brother, Dost 
Muhammad ; but a short time afterwards Maha- 
raja Ranjit Singh sent for them, and honoured 
them and treated them well at Lahore, though 
I do not know how he induced them to go 
there. When I reached Gujrat a sardar or 
general named Amir or Mir Singh, with two strong 
battalions of infantry, 500 Sikh irregular cavalry, 

1 In the year 1205 the conqueror Muhammad Ghori was killed 
by the tribe of Ghakkars. 


and my camp of artillery, was ordered to follow 
and join the force already sent to Bannu. We 
accordingly marched down the left bank of the 
Jhelum, crossed over at Khushab, and marched 
thence vid Towana and the sandy desert road 
to Kalabagh, where we crossed the Indus. 
Thence we marched to Bannu by the Esau-khel 
road, and then joined the main body. We 
found the Bannuites usually quiet and amenable, 
willing peaceably to pay their annual tribute ; 
but the hill Waziri tribes, particularly those of 
Kunigaram, gave us no rest day or night for 
the three or four months that we remained at 
Bannu. We received strict orders not to enter 
the hills, and therefore could not punish them 
as we desired ; but the dread of our doing so, 
and our daily threatening to do so, prevented 
them from going towards either Kohat or Pesha- 
war, as otherwise they might have done. More- 
over, they soon heard that the Barakzai sardars, 
the former chiefs of Peshawar, had gone to La- 
hore and were well treated there ; and this news 
kept them quiet for a time. So, receiving the 
annual tribute without further trouble, we all 
returned to Lahore. 

After a short time I went with my camp to 


Amritsar for the Dasahra festival, for which 
occasion the whole of Eanjit Singh's army was 
yearly collected in camp. It was about this time 
that the Prime Minister, Raja Dhyan Singh, 1 
took me from Maharaja Kanjit Singh's service 
and placed me in full command of his own and 
his brothers' artillery, which was attached to the 
already organised Jammu contingent of 7000 to 
8000 men. 

The artillery portion of the contingent, now 
placed under my command, consisted of six nine- 
pounder and six six-pounder horse-artillery guns, 
four mortars, four howitzers, and two three- 
pounder mountain -guns, twenty-two pieces in all, 
besides some camel-guns, all well found and in 
good order. With this camp, and attached to 
the Jammu contingent, I marched with Kanjit 
Singh and his whole army about the early spring 
of 1837 from Lahore to Wazirabad, and thence 
down the left bank of the Chenab, vid Eam- 
nagar to Chiniote. So far, this march was 
supposed to have for its object the settling of 
some differences between Diwan Sawun Mull, 

1 Sir Herbert Edwardes states in his 'Life of Sir Henry Law- 
rence' that Gardner married a native wife, given him by Raja 
Dhyan Singh out of his own house. 


governor of Multan, and Raja Gulab Singh, ruler 
of Jammu. However, we halted some time at 
Chiniote, where at first rumours, and afterwards 
authentic news, reached us that Sardar Muham- 
mad Akbar Khan, Dost Muhammad's son, had 
come from Kabul with 20,000 to 25,000 Afghan 
troops, had passed through the Khaibar, and was 
now devastating the plains of Peshawar up to 
the very walls of the city; and that the Sikh 
governor, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, though un- 
doubtedly an experienced and remarkably brave 
soldier of acknowledged skill, could make no 
head against him. Soon afterwards news arrived 
of Sardar Hari Singh's death, he having fallen 
bravely at the head of his Sikh troops under the 
sword of the Afghans. 1 

Ranjit Singh, now aroused to action, issued 
immediate and strict orders for the whole army 
to reach Peshawar as quickly as possible by 
forced marches, each commander choosing his 
own road. The Prime Minister, Raja Dhyan 
Singh, a remarkably brave and active man, 
reached the fort of Jamrud, near the Khaibar, 
with 10,000 to 12,000 irregular cavalry, on the 
morning of the seventh day from Chiniote; but 

1 Battle of Jamrud, April 30, 1837. 


he unfortunately found that Muhammad Akbar 
Khan, hearing of the rapid and near approach 
of the whole Sikh army, after doing all the 
injury he could, had on the previous day fled 
back towards Kabul. On the morning of the 
ninth day Eaja Gulab Singh, 1 at the head of 
his contingent, all intact, reached Khairabad, 
opposite and west of Attock ; and during that 
day the bulk of the Sikh army arrived, and 
were crossing the river pell-mell and in no 
small confusion and uproar. 

While Kaja Gulab Singh with one contingent 
was passing westward through the Gidar Gali 
Pass about noon, he received written directions 
from his brother at Jamrud not to advance 
towards Peshawar, but to cross the Kabul river 
and enter and overawe both the upper and lower 
Yusufzai country, these tribes, emboldened by 
Muhammad Akbar Khan's temporary success and 
firebrand raid, having become refractory and in- 
clined to mischief. This order, though apparently 
simple to obey, really gave Kaja Gulab Singh 
and our whole 'contingent plenty nay, handfuls 
of work night and day for six months : for the 

1 Brother of the Prime Minister, and subsequently Maharaja of 



artillery it was a regular life in the saddle. 
During the Yusufzai campaign Mian Udam 
Singh, 1 Raja Gulab Singh's eldest son, almost 
daily achieved such prodigies of valour as to 
call forth the unstinted admiration and applause, 
and often the amazement, of the whole con- 
tingent. If Raja Suchet Singh, 2 his uncle, was 
too reckless, dashing, flashy, and fiery before 
the enemy, Udam Singh also was rash and 
impetuous to a dangerous degree. 

Meanwhile trouble had arisen in Gulab Singh's 
own dominions. Raja Dhyan Singh had an 
orderly or servant of good family, belonging to 
one of the hill tribes south and south-west of 
Kashmir and Punch. This man, Shamas Khan 
by name, whom the Raja had treated with con- 
siderable kindness, spread a false report through- 
out the whole hill -country (while the brothers 
were busily engaged) that both Gulab Singh 
and Dhyan Singh had been killed in battle. 

The entire population of these hill regions 
were thus encouraged to rise in armed rebellion, 

1 It will be seen that this brave young soldier was killed with 
Maharaja Nao Nihal Singh on the 6th November 1840. 

" Raja Suchet Singh was the third of the Jammu brothers, of 
whom Dhyan Singh and Gulab Singh have already been mentioned. 


and by stratagem and treachery most of the 
hill forts about there were seized and the garri- 
sons massacred. 

This untoward news of course made Raja Gulab 
Singh anxious to return and regain his sovereignty, 
and the Yusufzai region being now settled and 
peaceful, the Eaja with his contingent crossed in 
the autumn to the left bank of the Indus at Bazar- 
ki-Patan, some miles above Attock, and marched 
thence direct to Kahati, near the Jhelum, north- 
west of Rawul Pindi. Leaving his artillery here, 
Raja Gulab Singh with the remainder of the con- 
tingent entered the hills, while another body of 
troops moved up quickly from Jammu. After some 
desultory warfare the rebellion was crushed and 
subdued in about three months, when the whole 
contingent again returned to Lahore. I had not 
been long there when news arrived that the Sikh 
force in Bannu had been obliged to retire across 
the Indus, and had suffered great loss. On this 
Raja Suchet Singh with Prince Nao Nihal Singh, 
son of Shahzada Kharak Singh, with a large Sikh 
force and the Jammu contingent, were ordered 
to proceed to Bannu without delay. 

Our contingent, under Raja Suchet Singh, reached 


Kalabagh by forced marches, and thence went on 
to Bannu carefully, the Sikh force under their 
prince 1 joining us a day or two after. For two 
months or more we had severe fighting with some 
thousands of Waziris and Bannuites united. How- 
ever, we levelled and burnt all the refractory 
Bannu fort - villages, and beat the Waziris back 
into their hills, and even well punished and dis- 
persed them. This done, we marched by the 
Paizu 2 Pass to Tank, to punish the Nawab of that 
principality he being the cause and instigator 
of all the late troubles in this quarter ; but pre- 
vious to our arrival he had fled to one of his 
strongholds some twenty or twenty - five miles 
within the Waziri hills. Thither our contingent, 
with Suchet Singh at its head, quickly fol- 
lowed him. Our way led through ravines, and 
up along the bed of the Tank river, until we 
reached a considerable plain, in the centre of which 
stood the fort of Sarwarghur. However, we found 
that the Nawab had fled on to Ghuzni or Kabul 
the day before our arrival. We therefore quickly 
retraced our steps to Tank, and there annexed the 
whole of the principality; but we certainly had 

1 Nao Nihal Singh. 2 Now called " Shaikh Budin." 


considerable hard work and some severe fighting, 
both going to and returning from Sarwarghur. 
The Waziris crowned the heights on each side of 
us, and disputed every inch of the road. 

The object for which we had been sent being, 
as far as practicable, effected, the whole force 
marched back to Lahore. 





IN addition to the foregoing record of his cam- 
paigns in the service of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, 
which was written by Colonel Gardner himself, 
and has been left, as far as possible, unaltered, 
I have found various disconnected anecdotes con- 
cerning the great Maharaja and Gardner's later 
master, Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and 
Kashmir, which may amuse and possibly instruct 
the reader. They also are given in Gardner's own 

The following description of the early days 
of the Khalsa army is of undoubted interest, and 
presents a vivid picture of the homely and simple 
dealings of Ranjit Singh with his soldiers : 


In the early part of Ranjit Singh's career there 
was no such thing as money payments. The 
soldiers received patches of land, and were called 
puttidars. It was considered ignoble to take 
money payments : a ready - money soldier was 
held in contempt. It was in 1809, when Lord 
Metcalfe, then a young political officer from 
Delhi, was deputed to Amritsar, that Ranjit Singh 
first set his keen eye upon disciplined and regular 
soldiery. It so happened that a dash at Met- 
calfe's encampment was made by some of the 
redoubted Akalis. 1 The small escort of red-coated 
Purbias rallied round Metcalfe, and so astonished 
the Akalis by their unwonted appearance and 
bold front that they turned and fled. Ranjit 
Singh was not slow to learn the lesson taught, 
and he looked about to find any one who could 
teach drill. One Drounkal Singh appeared, who 
proved to the Maharaja that he knew the bayonet 
exercise, &c., and was immediately employed by 
the Maharaja to make a commencement with some 
twenty or thirty men. The old troops took um- 
brage, and resented the innovation : the idea of 
money payments, too, was abhorrent. Ranjit 

1 The Akalis were a fanatical band of Sikhs who corresponded to 
the Ghazis of Muhammadan nations. 


Singh was not the man to be turned from his 
purpose. He used to favour the new men in 
every way used to send for them in a morning, 
distribute food from his own table to them after 
their parades, with which he affected to be highly 
pleased, and administered bacJcshish to each with 
his own hand. The sight of the money was too 
much for the remainder of the army, who now no 
longer held aloof from the new discipline and 
regular payment. Ranjit Singh attempted a fur- 
ther innovation in introducing the Sepoy cap 
instead of the turban : this the army would not 
stand, and mutinied. The wily Maharaja bided 
his time, and did not press the point. He had 
about 1200 Gurkhas in his camp. Turning to the 
Sikhs, he said he would not force the caps on those 
of his own faith and nation, especially consider- 
ing the inconvenience which the long hair they 
were obliged to wear might cause them; but 
ordered them to surround the Gurkhas when they 
went for their pay, and secure a promise from 
them that they would wear the caps. At this 
time the camp of the Maharaja was pitched on 
the great plain of Govindgarh, outside Amritsar. 
The sturdy little Gurkhas got wind of the con- 
spiracy, and went for their pay with loaded mus- 


kets. On receiving their pay they commenced 
returning, and met three battalions of Sikhs march- 
ing down upon them, with the intention of which 
they had been forewarned. They halted and said, 
"Let us pass, or we open fire, we are armed 
and loaded : you would not wear the cap ; no 
more will we." So far from the Sikhs carrying 
out the Maharaja's orders, they rushed up and 
embraced the Gurkhas, and a great fraternisa- 
tion followed. Still Ranjit Singh, though obliged 
to overlook these acts, did not swerve from his 
purpose ; and he managed to effect his end 
adroitly, by ordering the drill -instructor, Droun- 
kal Singh, to wear the cap himself, and to en- 
list in future no recruit without previously taking 
agreement from him to wear it. This man, 
Drounkal Singh, afterwards became a colonel, and 
has descendants possessed of good property all 
over the country. 

Great man though he undoubtedly was, it must 
be remembered that the Maharaja was quite un- 
educated. He looked upon his European officers 
as men of universal talents, and it was his regular 
habit to compel them to undertake duties in 
addition to those on which they were specially 
employed. Thus Avitabile and Ventura, originally 


engaged as military instructors, were appointed 
governors of provinces, but were still required to 
perform military duties ; Harlan, though nearly 
always employed in civil duties, held in addition 
the command of troops ; Honigberger, who was 
a doctor and nothing but a doctor, was compelled 
to superintend a gunpowder manufactory, and 
was pressed to accept a civil government. 

The following anecdote, recorded by Colonel 
Gardner, tells of yet another profession that was 
once forced on General Ventura : 

Ranjit Singh's Paddle-boat. 

Having heard of steamers, Eanjit Singh desired 
to have one ; and believing that a foreigner could 
do anything, asked General Ventura if he was a 
good blacksmith, and desired him, without waiting 
for a reply, to make him a steamer at once. The 
General protested, but it was as much as his 
position was worth. Eanjit said he was a fool, 
and General Ventura promised to make one, and 
boldly asked for 40,000 rupees. He came to me 
and begged my aid. I read up all I could about 
paddle-boat building, and succeeded in turning out 


a wondrous sort of two-decked barge with paddle- 
wheels to be worked by hand. I may mention 
that when the 40,000 rupees were sent by the 
hands of the bais (the personal attendants of 
Kanjit), they demanded 15,000 rupees out of it. 
We knew it was better not to murmur but to give 
it, as people of that sort were not to be offended. 
E-anjit Singh clapped his hands, as was his wont, 
in ecstasy with the boat, in the sides of the lower 
decks of which I had made port - holes which 
bristled with swivel-guns. This boat was launched 
on the Ravi, but with the utmost efforts of the 
exhausted wheel -turners would not go more than 
10 yards or so up the stream. However, Ranjit 
Singh was delighted. I had built fore and aft 
cabins, and he filled them with nautch-girls, and 
there was a great tamasha. He sent us 20,000 
rupees in addition, of which the bais took 5000 : 
the cost of the boat could not have been more 
than 2000. This was the first and only steamer 
built for the Sikh monarchy. Ranjit Singh was 
quite satisfied with the fact of the boat moving up 
the stream, however slowly, without sails or oars : 
he had equalled the achievements of the West 
in science, and that was all he desired. The 
picnic was not unaccompanied by strong drinks, 


and I received at the end of the celebration a 
further present of a shawl and 3000 rupees. 

Maharaja Guldb Singh. 

Scarcely less interesting a figure than the great 
Maharaja himself was Maharaja Gulab Singh of 
Kashmir, into whose service Gardner finally passed 
after the death of Ranjit Singh. The following 
anecdote shows Gulab Singh in one of his more 
gentle moments, for, as is told in another place, 
he could be very terrible to his subjects when 
it seemed fit to him to strike terror into their 
hearts. " The utmost reverence and submission," 
says Gardner, "attended the invocation of his 

" A travelling merchant had been robbed by 
three thieves, who had just completed their act 
of spoliation when their victim in despair uttered 
the cry, ' Dooai Maharaj ! ' (Succour, oh king ! ) 
Immediately on hearing these words the thieves 
reflected, and decided to restore all their booty. 
In doing so they stipulated that the merchant 
in return should never reveal the circumstance, 
and this he promised. Proceeding on his journey, 
he disposed of his property in the various markets, 


and, faithless to his word, went straight to the 
Maharaja Gulab Singh and complained of having 
been robbed. As is usual in these dominions, a 
hue and cry was sent all over the country, and, 
as is almost invariably the result, the thieves were 
captured and brought before Gulab Singh. They 
admitted the robbery, but on being asked by his 
Highness if they had anything to plead in ex- 
tenuation of the crime, they recounted the facts, 
how at the mere sound of the invocation to the 
Maharaja's name they had returned the booty, 
stipulating only for silence. On hearing this the 
Maharaja, who had taken the precaution of 
securing from the mouth of the complainant the 
list of property stolen, sent to the bazaars where 
the robbers declared the goods had been sold. 
They were produced ; the perfidy of the merchant 
was proved ; he was sentenced to lose his 
property, which was handed over to the robbers, 
who were pardoned. The purchase - money was 
restored to the buyers, and the merchant was 
thrown into prison for nine months. 

" I was seated in durbar when this occurred. 

" Gulab Singh used to enjoy a little opium 
occasionally, and his tongue never failed to become 
amusingly unloosened afterwards. Often when 


nazars were presented he used jokingly to return 
them. One day the chaudri of a very turbu- 
lent neighbourhood, called Deva Buttala, below 
Bhimbur, presented a rupee, which Gulab Singh 
returned with polite jocularity. Many a time 
had the incorrigible Deva Buttalaites received 
chastisement for their bold depredations. In 
such repute, indeed, was their character held, that 
recruits from this part were more in request than 
almost any other in the Panjab. The chaudri 
asked, in reply to repeated inquiries from Gulab 
Singh as to not only his own immediate per- 
sonal welfare, but that of every one of his 
relations (and this with great affected interest), 
whether he might detail the exact truth. ' Go 
on/ says the Raja. * Well,' rejoined he, ' there is 
no period of my mind when I suffered less 
anxiety, and was so completely at my ease ! ' 
' How so ? ' cries Gulab Singh. ' Why/ said the 
chaudri, ' I can now keep open house, for I 
have nothing in it to steal. Formerly I had the 
trouble of locking the door upon my cooking 
utensils, but I am spared all trouble now about 
thieves. For which I thank God/ said the 
chaudri, pretending gratitude to the Disposer of 
events. Gulab Singh was highly amused at the 


man's readiness, and gave him a quantity of 
brass cooking - pots, and 20 rupees, cautioning 
him to lock his door again. 

" In those days a patriarchal simplicity ob- 
tained. With the advance of European ideas 
(call it civilisation if you will) a greater distance 
came to be observed between the sovereign and 
his subjects ; and the respectful familiarity on 
one side, and jocular condescension on the other, 
are not to be found except in remote tracts. 

" Gulab Singh had a knack of flattering and 
saying something personally pleasing to all who 
appeared at his durbars. One day he loaded a 
chaudri with the most fulsome compliments, till 
at last the elated recipient, affecting a look of 
artlessness, asked permission to say one word 
('urz kurna'). 'By all means,' says the Eaja. 
' Unfortunately, sire, I forgot to bring my camels, 
horses, and mules here to carry away such a load 
of praises, and fortunately, too, as they must have 
sunk under the pleasing burden. Instead, have 
the kindness to give me something personally sub- 
stantial, which, although really inferior in value 
to your Highness's approbation, I could yet take 
away in my hand/ and he held it out. Gulab 
Singh and the whole durbar were delighted at 


the humour of the man ; 50 rupees were at once 
sent for, and a dress of honour, which the man 
carried off, and he was called always afterwards, 
' the unt walla chaudri ' (the csuaiel-chaudri). 

"Gulab Singh used to go round and visit 
peasants' houses personally, and, often incognito, 
ask about their crops, pat their children, and 
make himself pleasant in a thousand ways, not 
forgetting to leave substantial tokens of his 

Character of Gulab Singh. 

The following study of Maharaja Gulab Singh, 
written by Gardner, and included by Colonel 
Carmichael Smyth in his 'History of the Eeign- 
ing Family of Lahore/ is worthy of perusal. It 
presents an interesting picture of that very re- 
markable statesman, missing only one trait the 
intense pride taken by Gulab Singh in his very 
dubious descent from the ancient reigning family 
of Jammu, a pride which, in the opinion of 
that shrewd observer Sir Herbert Edwardes, was 
even more powerful than the avarice which 
seemed to most people Gulab Singh's guiding 
impulse : 

"The character of Gulab Singh in the early 


days of his power was one of the most repulsive 
it is possible to imagine. 1 Ambitious, avaricious, 
and cruel by nature, he reduced the exercise of 
his cruelty to a system for the promotion of the 
objects which his ambition and avarice led him 
to seek. He exercised the most ruthless bar- 
barities, not in the heat of conflict or the flush 
of victory only, nor in the rage of an offended 
sovereign against rebellious subjects : he deliber- 
ately committed the most horrible atrocities for 
the purpose of investing his name with a terror 
that should keep down all thoughts of resistance 
to his sway. 

" To turn to smaller traits ; he is an eater of 
opium, he tells long stories, offers little, promises 
less, but keeps his word ; has a good memory, 
and is free and humorous with even the lowest 
and poorest class of his subjects. The partaker 
and companion of their toils and labours, seem- 
ing to be their diligent and careful instructor 
and father, their intimate village brother, their 
free, jocose, humorous neighbour, their constant 

1 It is a most remarkable circumstance that, in spite of the publi- 
cation of Colonel Gardner's extremely candid account of Maharaja 
Gulab Singh's character and career, the latter apparently felt no 
ill-will towards Gardner, but retained him permanently in his 


visitor; yet, with all this, in reality a very 
leech, sucking their life's blood, the shameless 
trader of their sons and daughters ; the would-be 
great merchant of the East, the very jack-of-all- 
trades, the usurer, the turn -penny, the briber, 
and the bribed. With all this he must be ac- 
counted the very best of soldiers, and, for an 
Asiatic and an uneducated man, he is an able, 
active, bold, and energetic, yet wise and prudent 
commander. He is anything but strong-headed 
and hot-blooded ; prudently making slow, resolute, 
and judicious movements, thinking more of his 
resources, reserves, &c., than is the wont of 
Orientals. Looking more to the future and its 
wants and requisites than to the present or the 
past, slowly he proceeds, feeling his way as he 
advances, quick in taking advantages, relying 
much on his subtle political talent, and looking 
on arms as his last resource. In the field of 
battle he is self-composed, prudent, and watchful 
to the last degree; but at the breach, storm, or 
charge, he freely, though reluctantly, expends 
his men, while himself just the man to be at 
their head if required. Generally, however, he 
is the cool and able commander in the rear." 





MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH died on the 27th June 
1839, and, in the words of Sir Lepel Griffin, the 
six years which followed were a period of storm 
and anarchy, in which assassination was the rule 
and the weak were ruthlessly trampled under foot. 
The kingdom founded in violence, treachery, and 
blood did not long survive its founder. Created 
by the military and administrative genius of one 
man, it crumbled into powder when the spirit 
which gave it life was withdrawn. The death 
of Ranjit Singh was, in fact, followed by a rapid 
succession of crimes and tragedies such as have 
rarely been paralleled in history, save in the 


darkest period of the downfall of Kome, or in 
the early days of the French Eevolution. 
Colonel Gardner thus tells the tale : 

In the old age of the Maharaja there was a 
person whom he especially took into favour, and 
whom he loved like a son from his birth. This 
was Hira Singh, the son of Eaja Dhyan Singh. 
Ranjit Singh could hardly bear the boy to be 
out of his sight, and he from infancy was sedu- 
lously taught to call the monarch taba (papa). 
As Hira Singh approached manhood the army 
also yielded its affection to the Maharaja's 
favourite, and so it came about that this senile 
love of the old Maharaja, aided by the inclination 
of the powerful army, suggested a dream of great- 
ness to his uncles the Dogra brothers, and led to 
the successive deeds of violence by which it seemed 
to them that their ambitious design might be 
gratified. This dream was that Hira Singh, the 
heir of their family, or at least the most promis- 
ing of its rising generation, might eventually 
succeed to the throne of Ranjit Singh. Those 
to be swept away were the male members of the 
Maharaja's family, and all those ministers, advisers, 
and chiefs who would not join the Dogra party. 


A glance at the table (Appendix) will show 
that in the course of a very few years this pro- 
gramme was carried out in all its essential feat- 
ures ; and I will now relate how it was that all 
these murders were brought about directly or 
indirectly by the Dogra brothers, Dhyan Singh 
and Gulab Singh, for the eventual aggrandise- 
ment of their family in the person of Hira 
Singh. The two brothers played the awful game 
with deliberate and unswerving pertinacity, and 
the narrative will explain how their schemes 
were carried out, and how Dhyan Singh and Hira 
Singh were themselves overwhelmed in the tor- 
rent of blood which they had caused to flow. 
When Eanjit Singh's death opened to them the 
field of action, the veil of futurity hid these 
events from their eyes : their only thought was 
that the way to the throne had to be cleared 
of all obstacles, and at the same time an out- 
ward show of fealty to the Khalsa, and of 
loyalty to the sovereign line of succession, had 
to be maintained. The slightest suspicion might 
have been fatal, yet prompt action seemed to 
be the least dangerous course, and the first blow 
fell quickly. 


Ranjit Singh when on his deathbed summoned 
to him his only legitimate son, Shahzada Kharrak 
Singh, and proclaimed him his heir, with Raja 
Dhyan Singh as Minister. Now Kharrak Singh 
was a blockhead, and a slave to opium : at the 
time of his accession to the throne of Lahore he 
passed his whole time in a state of stupefaction. 
His chief adviser was a sardar named Chet 
Singh, and this man had the courage to set 
himself forward as a rival to the all-powerful 
Dhyan Singh, and was also so rash as to make 
known his intention of having the Minister 
assassinated. Matters came to a climax in 
October 1839, but little more than three months 
after Ranjit Singh's death ; and being, as I was, 
the commandant of Raja Dhyan Singh's artil- 
lery, and high in his confidence, I was closely 
connected with the events which I am about to 

It must be remembered that Dhyan Singh and 
his brothers had been created Rajas by Ranjit 
Singh, and that in the latter years of his reign 
they had become nearly independent, gratitude 
and the additional power that Dhyan Singh's 
office of wazir conferred upon them being the 
links that bound them to the service of their 


old master and benefactor. After his death, they 
became entirely independent, and maintained a 
large force of troops of their own race (Dogras). 1 
Sardar Chet Singh, the chief adviser of the new 
Maharaja, endeavoured to obtain the support of 
General Ventura and the other foreign officers, 
and was aided by the ill-feeling which had long 
existed between Ventura and the Minister. By 
the 8th October things had reached such a pitch 
that the murder of the whole Dogra family had 
been decided on, and Chet Singh was rash 
enough to say in durbar to Dhyan Singh, " See 
what will become of you in twenty-four hours." 
Eaja Dhyan Singh, who was a man of in- 
flexible resolution and imperturbable serenity of 
demeanour, smiled politely and replied, " Your 
humble servant, sir; we shall see." He had for 
some time past prepared the way for his in- 
tended action by spreading rumours that Chet 
Singh was a traitor, and in the pay of the 
British Government. As such rumours gain 

1 " The Dogras are a branch of the Aryan invaders of India who 
settled in the hill country between the Panjab and the Himalayas. 

" They are divided into castes, and the Dogra Rajputs (who rank 
next to the Brahmans) rose to power with the brothers Dhyan Singh 
and Gulab Singh, and are a ruling and fighting caste. 

" Jammu is about the centre, as it is the capital of the country of 
the Dogras." Drew's ' Northern Barrier of India.' 


credence in proportion as they are detailed and 
minute, he noised it abroad that Chet Singh had 
engaged to place the Panjab under the protec- 
tion of the British, to pay 6 annas in every 
rupee of revenue to them, to disband the Khalsa 
army, and to turn all the sardars out of their 

The time to move had now arrived, and he 
betook himself as soon as the durbar was over 
to the zenana of Kharrak Singh (to which he 
had the right of admission by favour of the 
late Maharaja), and secured an interview with 
the Maharani, the mother of Prince Nao Nihal 
Singh. This lady was well aware of the weak- 
ness of her husband, and Dhyan Singh easily 
persuaded her that the success of Chet Singh 
would result in the entire supremacy of that 
sardar and the foreign officers, and the reduc- 
tion of the royal family to a cipher. Prince 
Nao Nihal Singh was at this time a spirited, 
ambitious youth of eighteen years of age, the 
only descendant of Eanjit Singh who showed 
character and ability. His wife was summoned 
to the secret conclave in the zenana, and sub- 
sequently the prince himself was called in. It 
was agreed that none could be more devoted 


to the family of Eanjit Singh than the Dogra 
brothers, and that the only obstacle to general 
tranquillity was the traitor Chet Singh. The 
arrangements decided on were the death of the 
latter, the retirement of Kharrak Singh from 
active public life, for which neither his inclina- 
tions nor his mental endowments fitted him, and 
the regency of his son, Nao Nihal Singh. The 
prince fully and cheerfully agreed to a pro- 
gramme which was to lead to his aggrandisement. 
The next step was to ascertain the feelings of 
the Sikh sardars of the French brigade. Dhyan 
Singh found them entirely with him, and secured 
a promise of their co-operation. Lastly, the con- 
cert of the powerful Sindhanwalia family was 
necessary. Chet Singh, prompted by General 
Ventura, had already sought alliance with them, 
assuring them that the Dogra family were in 
correspondence with the British with a view to 
the disinheritance of Eanjit Singh's descendants 
and their own elevation to power. Eaja Dhyan 
Singh's policy viz., placing Nao Nihal Singh on 
the throne was sufficient answer to any doubts 
the Sindhanwalias might have felt as to the loyalty 
of the Dogra family, and their aid was at once 


Finally, Dhyan Singh gave instructions to the 
army, which was now completely at his orders, 
to remain perfectly quiet all night. I received 
orders that loaded guns were to be placed at 
nightfall at all the gates of the palace, and that 
whatever occurred, whatever thunders there might 
be at the gates, every one was to feign sleep. 
Eaja Dhyan Singh asked me if I would like to 
accompany him, and of course I accepted the 
invitation. The party consisted of about fifteen : 
the three Raja brothers Gulab Singh, Dhyan 
Singh, and Suchet Singh in addition to Prince 
Nao Nihal Singh ; then came the heads of the 
Sindhanwalia family, then two trusty noblemen 
called Rao Lai Singh and Rao Keshur Singh, 
and myself. The ladies of the zenana had 
promised to leave us free entrance to the build- 
ing where the Maharaja and his Minister slept. 

It was near midnight when we entered the 
palace, and no sooner had we left the gate 
through which we had been admitted than a 
voice accosted us, " Who is it ? " Dhyan Singh 
replied, "The Maharaja goes to-morrow to bathe 
at Amritsar, and we are to make the necessary 
preparations." This was the concerted answer. 
We reached another and inner gate, which noise- 


lessly opened on a whispered order from Dhyan 
Singh. Without uttering a whisper, we stealthily 
crept our way in the dark up a flight of stairs, 
over a place called the Badshah - i - Takht, and 
thence to the immediate vicinity of the royal 
apartment. Here Gulab Singh and Dhyan Singh 
held a whispered consultation, the purport of 
which I could not catch. At this moment a 
man started up, and seeing us, called out and 
tried to run off". Suchet Singh shot him dead, 
and was himself instantly almost knocked down 
by a tremendous cuff on the ear dealt him by 
his brother, Gulab Singh, who cursed him under 
his breath for his imprudence. On looking over 
a parapet we saw two companies of the Ma- 
haraja's guard. Dhyan Singh quickly went 
down the staircase to the place where they 
were stationed, and was accosted by the subadar 
in command, who said, " Why did you fire ? " 
I had followed Dhyan Singh, and stood imme- 
diately behind him. He simply showed his 
right hand (on which he had two thumbs) and 
put his finger to his lips. On seeing the well- 
known peculiarity the subadar whispered, "Lie 
down," and the whole of the two companies 
noiselessly lay down at full length and pre- 


tended sleep. The subadar then pointed with a 
mute gesture to the room of the doomed man, 
the door of which had been left ajar. There 
was a light in the room. Dhyan Singh ap- 
proached and entered it, followed .by the whole 
party. Lo ! there sat Maharaja Kharrak Singh 
on his bed washing his teeth. The adjoining 
bed, which belonged to Chet Singh, was empty. 
When asked where his Minister was, Kharrak 
Singh simply replied that he had gone out on 
hearing a shot fired. 

Perceiving a fierce sort of half smile light up the 
faces of the Dogra brothers, he begged that Chet 
Singh's life might be spared, and would have 
proved very restive had not his own son and 
some four or five Sikhs held him down while we 
proceeded in search of the fugitive. Two torches 
had to be lit, and on entering the room where we 
expected to find the Minister it appeared to be 
empty : it was very long and narrow. Lai Singh, 
however, called out that he saw the glitter of a 
sword in one corner, and there cowered the wretched 
man, his hand upon his sword. We were armed 
only with daggers. The eyes of Dhyan Singh 
seemed to shoot fire as his gaze alighted and fixed 
itself on his deadly foe. Gulab Singh was for 


interposing to do the deed of blood himself, fear- 
ing for his brother (who was a short man) in the 
desperate defence he counted on ; but Dhyan Singh 
roughly shook him off, and, dagger in hand, slowly 
advancing towards his enemy, said, "The "twenty- 
four hours you were courteous enough to men- 
tion to me have not yet elapsed." Then with 
the spring of a tiger the successful counter- 
plotter dashed at his enemy and plunged his 
dagger into his heart, crying out, "Take this in 
memory of E-anjit Singh." Dhyan Singh then 
turned round to his party, his face radiant with 
gratified purpose, and courteously thanked us for 
our aid. 

We then, in token that this was entirely a 
State proceeding, prostrated ourselves at the feet 
of Maharaja Kharrak Singh, and subsequently at 
the feet of his son, Nao Nihal Singh. The latter 
had been most actively and fully occupied in trying 
to pacify his father, whose rage was uncontrollable. 
It was only by the intercessions, prayers, and 
explanations of the Maharani and the other ladies 
of the zenana, added to those of his son, that he 
could be brought to understand the political neces- 
sity of the doom that had been meted out. The 
night's work done, we all returned quietly to our 


camps. A general sensation of relief was felt on 
all hands at the death of Chet Singh : not the 
slightest animosity was awakened by it, and the 
opinion was openly breathed by all, " Now all will 
go straight." 

Chet Singh having been dealt with, the Dogra 
brothers turned their attention to Maharaja Khar- 
rak Singh, and experienced no difficulty in remov- 
ing him from their path, aided as they were by 
the ambition of his son, Prince Nao Nihal Singh. 
Immediately after the death of Sardar Chet Singh, 
Kharrak Singh was deposed. His actual reign 
had been limited to a few months, and he was 
not long permitted to survive its termination. It 
is stated that the deposed Maharaja lingered for 
some nine months after his deposition, during 
which period he was gradually poisoned by his 
physicians, with the connivance of his son and 
successor. Kharrak Singh cherished the greatest 
affection for this unnatural son, and in the agony 
of death called for Nao Nihal Singh in order to 
pardon him : the young prince, however, visited 
his father once only during his long illness, and 
that on the day before his death, and even then 
treated him with the greatest brutality and inso- 
lence. The next day, November 5, 1840, Kharrak 


Singh breathed his last at the early age of thirty- 

The vengeance of Heaven soon fell on Maharaja 
Nao Nihal Singh. On the day following Kharrak 
Singh's death his body was burnt in accordance 
with the Sikh custom, and two of his Eanis and 
eleven of his slave -girls were burnt with him. 
The new Maharaja stood for a time by the blaz- 
ing pile, which had been erected in the open space 
opposite the mausoleum of Ranjit Singh ; but, 
either ill or impatient, he would not remain as 
etiquette demanded until his father's body had 
been consumed by the flames, but went to a 
bathing-place about 120 yards away to perform 
the ceremony of ablution. He was attended by 
the whole Court, and five elephants were in wait- 
ing ; but as it would have been considered irrever- 
ent for him to ride past the funeral-pile on his 
return, the elephants were sent back to wait at a 
little distance. I was present at the commence- 
ment of the ceremony of cremation of Maharaja 
Kharrak Singh, and when the torch was applied 
was standing close by in attendance on Raja 
Dhyan Singh. Before the new Maharaja left the 
spot I was directed by Dhyan Singh to go and 
bring forty of my artillerymen in their fatigue 


dress : I was not told, nor have I ever ascertained, 
what they were wanted for. When I returned, the 
catastrophe had just occurred. 

Maharaja Nao Nihal Singh had passed through 
an archway on his return from bathing, and just 
before entering it he took the hand of his constant 
companion Udam Singh, the eldest son of Raja 
Gulab Singh : the two young men entered the 
archway together. As they emerged from it a 
crash was heard; beams, stones, and tiles fell 
from above, and the Maharaja and Udam Singh 
were struck to the ground. The latter was killed 
on the spot, and Nao Nihal Singh was struck to 
the earth. He was injured in the head, but 
presently attempted to rise, and cried out for 
water. The Prime Minister rushed up, and, it 
is said, pushed aside the dead body of his own 
nephew, reserving all his devotion and care for 
the young king. Nao Nihal Singh was carried 
into the palace, the doors were closed, and ad- 
mission denied to all. Several of the principal 
sardars begged to see the Maharaja, among them 
the Sindhanwalias, relations of the royal family : 
in vain did Nao Nihal Singh's mother, in a 
paroxysm of rage and anxiety, come and beat 
the fort gates with her own hands admittance 


even to the fort there was none, still less into 
the Maharaja's apartment. None of the female 
inmates, not even his wives, were suffered to 
see him. 

The palki-bearers who had carried Nao Nihal 
Singh to his palace were sent to their homes ; they 
were servants in my own camp of artillery, and 
were five in number. Two were afterwards 
privately put to death, two escaped into Hin- 
dustan, the fate of the fifth is unknown to me. 
One of the palki-bearers afterwards affirmed that 
when the prince was put into the palki, and when 
he was assisting to put him there, he saw that 
above the right ear there was a wound which 
bled so slightly as only to cause a blotch of 
blood about the size of a rupee on the pillow or 
cloth on which Nao Nihal Singh's head rested 
while in the palki. Now it is a curious fact that 
when the room was opened, in which his corpse 
was first exposed by Dhyan Singh, blood in great 
quantities, both in fluid and coagulated pools, was 
found around the head of the cloth on which the 
body lay. Be this as it may, when the doors were 
thrown open the Sindhanwalias found the young 
Maharaja dead, Dhyan Singh prostrate in afflic- 
tion on the ground, and Fakir Nuruddin, the 



royal physician, lamenting that all remedies " had 
been useless. 1 

Thus perished Maharaja Nao Nihal Singh on the 
day following the death of his father. 

1 It was at the time commonly believed that the death of Nao 
Nihal Singh was brought about by the Dogra brothers, but it is at 
least equally probable that it really resulted from an accident. Syad 
Muhammad Latif, the author of ' The History of the Panjab,' points 
out very sensibly that had the fall of the parapet been foreseen, 
some other companion than Udam Singh would have been chosen 
for the doomed prince. Dhyan Singh himself also appears to have 
narrowly escaped being crushed, his arm being severely contused. 
This certainly points to an accident. 





WITH Nao Nihal Singh expired the legitimate 
line of Ranjit Singh. All that remained to 
thwart the ambition of the Dogra brothers were 
Sher Singh and the other princes whom Ranjit 
Singh had from time to time, for reasons of his 
own, chosen to acknowledge. 

Sher Singh, the eldest of the princes, was very 
popular with the army, and would in ordinary 
course have now succeeded to the throne ; but 
to further their deep-laid plot, the Dogra family 
set up a rival claimant in the person of Maharani 
Chand Kour. This lady was the widow of Khar- 
rak Singh and mother of Nao Nihal Singh, 
and she based her claim to the throne on the 


assertion that a widow of Nao Nihal Singh 
would in due time give birth to an heir. Chand 
Kour claimed the regency of the kingdom pend- 
ing the birth of her grandchild, and her preten- 
sions were by no means without the support of 
precedent among the Sikhs. Still further to 
complicate matters, and with the intention of 
eventually destroying both claimants, the Dogra 
family now pretended to be divided among them- 
selves. Eaja Gulab Singh and his nephew Hira 
Singh espoused the cause of the queen, while 
Eaja Dhyan Singh declared for the party of 
Sher Singh, who assumed the title of Maharaja. 
Sher Singh remained for a time at his estate 
of Batala, but by the end of the year considered 
himself strong enough to assert his claim, and 
marched on Lahore at the head of a small body 
of troops. This took place early in the month 
of January 1841, and on the approach of Sher 
Singh, Chand Kour, Gulab Singh, and Hira 
Singh threw themselves into the fortress of 
Lahore. The Dogra troops of Gulab Singh were 
on this occasion all placed under my immediate 
orders, but in the event of a battle it was ar- 
ranged that Gulab Singh himself should take 
supreme command, while I should devote myself 


to my especial charge, the artillery. Until the 
actual fighting commenced Gulab Singh could 
better aid our side by giving his full attention 
to diplomacy. I must mention that Dhyan Singh 
did not accompany Sher Singh to Lahore, but 
withdrew for a time to Jammu, the capital of 
the Dogra dominions. 

On approaching Lahore Maharaja Sher Singh 
summoned the whole Khalsa army to join him, 
and in his proclamation made use of a traditional 
Panjabi expression, which may be translated 
"five brothers." The meaning of this term was 
that every soldier was to take four relations with 
him on the campaign, to share in the pillage 
that would ensue. Such was the ancient custom 
of the Khalsa army, and the magnitude of the 
assembly on this occasion may be imagined : to 
the very horizon the plains and the hills were 
one blaze of camp-fires. To strengthen his in- 
fluence with the army Sher Singh made great 
concessions to them, giving them leave to execute 
lynch-law, and do all that they thought fit for 
their private enemies. To this flagrant weakness 
may be attributed the mutinies and violence which 
occurred during Sher Singh's reign, and particularly 
the atrocities inflicted on the detested pay officials. 


I should mention that previous to our throw- 
ing ourselves into the fort of Lahore, Gulab 
Singh's Dogra troops, under my command, were 
encamped at Shadera, across the Eavi. We had 
been casting guns in the garden there, and those 
guns which were unfinished I buried before mov- 
ing into Lahore. They were not discovered. The 
situation was critical. At the utmost our force did 
not exceed 3000 men, and against us were prob- 
ably not less than 150,000 men, with 200 pieces 
of artillery, encamped on the plain of Mian Mir. 

The revolution had awoke the country, and 
was about to sift the husks from the wheat sep- 
arate the good and bad; and the whole Manjha 1 
was astir. Gulab Singh knew well that the troops 
had been bought over, but adhered bravely to his 
determination to defend the Maharani to the last. 
Being of an acquisitive turn of mind, no doubt the 
fact that the "Koh-i-nur" and the whole of the 
State treasury were in the fort had due weight 
with him. The army and the population, which 

1 " The Manjha" was, strictly speaking, the country in the neigh- 
bourhood of the cities of Lahore and Amritsar ; but the term had 
a wider significance, and was used to distinguish the Sikhs who 
lived north of the Sutlej from the "Malwa" Sikhs, who lived 
south of that river. The Malwa Sikhs preserved themselves from 
coming under the sway of Ranjit Singh by placing themselves 
under British protection. 


flocked in hundreds of thousands, were eager for 
plunder. The first thing to be done was to see 
whether the Sikh sardars were with us. All 
swore heartily to be faithful ; and Tej Singh was 
the most fervent in his protestations of loyalty. 
Now the city guard was composed of portions of 
the regular army ; Dogras only held the fort. A 
largesse of two lakhs of rupees was distributed 
among the city guard in order to secure their 
fidelity. Every preparation for the crisis was 
made that ingenuity could devise, and for two 
days we were hard at work, but still there came 
no move on the part of Sher Singh. At last on 
January 13th one of the most tremendous roars 
that ever rose from a concourse of human beings 
drowned our voices, distant as it was, and warned 
us that the man had arrived. Sher Singh had 
indeed come, and planted his flag and pitched 
his camp on the high mound called "Budha ka 
awa." The whole of his troops then thundered 
a salute, which continued for two hours, amid 
shouts of " Sher Singh Badshah ! Dhyan Singh 
Wazir ! death to Chand Kour and the Dogras ! " 
We were shut up in the fort, and two days elapsed 
amid the most portentous buzz of voices from the 
moat outside, while Sher Singh made preparations 


for attack. My women and all the others, ex- 
cepting the queen, had been hidden previously 
in disguise in various parts of the city. Another 
deafening salute, which lasted for more than an 
hour, announced to us that Sher Singh had been 
enthroned by the army, and that obeisance was 
being made by the commanding officers. The 
poor queen was so sick with terror at the uproar 
made, no doubt to overawe us, that she caused 
another lakh of rupees to be given hurriedly to 
the doubtful city troops of the regular army, who 
held the gates of the city. With the hour, as, 
I must say, is ever the case in critical periods, 
came the man ; and nothing could surpass the 
calmness, the forethought, the activity, and the 
mental resource of Gulab Singh, or his sedulous 
consideration for the terrified queen. His de- 
termination never failed him. He had a knack 
of seizing occasion for action with such rapidity 
of vision, combined with such immutability of 
purpose, that those of his actions that appeared 
most questionable were justified by the bright 
results by which they were always attended. 
Every sardar solemnly swore fealty again on 
the Granth. 1 We had blocked the archways 

1 The sacred book of the Sikhs. 


leading to two gates of the fort with carts and 
waggons, and had planted two guns loaded to 
the muzzle with grape at each of the upper forts, 
Dogra soldiers lining the parapets of the walls 
above. The night after Sher Singh's investment 
passed in comparative silence, which to us was 
as full of portent as the former noise. Eesistance, 
indeed, seemed useless in the teeth of such odds. 
As the morning dawned the whole army arose 
and surrounded the city. Every gate was im- 
mediately opened to them by the soldiers, who, 
having pocketed three lakhs from the queen, had 
made an equally profitable bargain with Sher 
Singh. Destruction stared us in the face : we 
had red-hot cannon-balls ready to blow ourselves 
and the whole city into the air, if the worst came 
to the worst. Two heavy siege-trains of forty 
guns each were laid against the fort, while no 
less than eighty horse-artillery pieces were drawn 
up on the broad road immediately in front of 
us on the city side, which position they were 
peaceably allowed to take up by the treacherous 

The tops of the minarets of the Badshahi 
mosque swarmed with marksmen, who fired direct 
into the interior of the fort. General Sultan 


Muhammad and Imam Shah commanded respec- 
tively the right and left wings of the army. As 
with the city troops, so with the sardars, es- 
pecially the important Sindhanwalias, all forsook 
us. The treachery of Tej Singh was so con- 
spicuously and pointedly base, he having prayed 
us to leave the gates of the upper fort open for 
the sardars, that we all swore to a man to kill 
him if fate put him in our way. The gates of 
the outer wall leading into the Hazuri Bagh 
having been opened, Sher Singh entered in person 
and took shelter in a tykhana. 1 Gulab Singh was 
now summoned to surrender. Every moment we 
expected to see the spark of a port-fire and to 
hear the crash of the cannonade. Gulab Singh's 
keen eyes peered anxiously through the openings : 
still there was no noise, and not a musket fired. 
I then sidled down the archway to look through 
the chink of the Hazuri Bagh gate, which I had 
blocked up with carts, and saw fourteen guns 
deliberately loaded, planted within 20 yards, and 
aimed straight at the gate. 

The Dogras on the walls began to look over, 
and were jeered at by Sher Singh's troops. The 
little fort was surrounded by a sea of human 

1 Underground room. 


heads. Gulab Singh made contemptuous replies, 
and roared out to Sher Singh, demanding that he 
should surrender. There was a brief but breath- 
less pause, and I had not time to warn my 
artillerymen to clear out of the way when down 
came the gates over our party, torn to shreds by 
the simultaneous discharge of all the fourteen 
guns. Seventeen of my party were blown to 
pieces, parts of the bodies flying over me. When 
I had wiped the blood and brains from my face, 
and could recover a moment, I saw only one 
little trembling Klasi. I hurriedly asked him for 
a port-fire, having lost mine in the fall of the 
ruins. He had just time to hand it me, and I 
had crept under my two guns, when with a wild 
yell some 300 Akalis 1 swept up the Hazuri Bagh 
and crowded into the gate. They were packed 
as close as fish, and could hardly move over the 
heaps of wood and stone, the rubbish and the 
carts, with which the gateway was blocked. Just 
at that moment, when the crowd were rushing 
on us, their swords high in the air, I managed 
to fire the ten guns, and literally blew them into 
the air. In the pause which followed I loaded 

1 " Akalis," literally " Immortals," the fanatical Sikhs, correspond- 
ing to " Ghazis." 


the guns with the aid of the three of my artillery- 
men who survived, and our next discharge swept 
away the hostile artillerymen who were at the 
fourteen guns outside, who had remained stand- 
ing perfectly paralysed by the destruction of the 
Akalis. Then Sher Singh fled, and grievous car- 
nage commenced. The Dogras, always excellent 
marksmen, seemed that day not to miss a man 
from the walls. The whole of the artillerymen 
round the field-pieces in front of us strewed the 
ground. In the Hazuri Bagh we counted the 
bodies of no less than 2800 soldiers, 200 artillery- 
men, and 180 horses. And now the whole park 
of artillery opened upon us that day, and for the 
three days following, tearing the walls of the 
fort to rags. They mounted their heavy guns 
on high houses, the walls of which they pierced 
to command the fort. Many a time did Sher 
Singh attempt a parley ; but Gulab Singh knew 
his countrymen too well to believe any protesta- 
tions. He said, " Wait until Dhyan Singh comes." 
At last that noble Minister did arrive, furious, as 
it seemed, with Sher Singh for his rashness ; and 
after protracted delay, the firing on both sides 
was finally subdued. Our bombardment was over, 
and the brothers arranged terms of peace. Our 


little force was to quit the fort with honour, and 
betake itself to the old encampment on the other 
side of the river. It was decided that while Chand 
Kour should be recognised as titular head of the 
State, and as such should receive a personal 
allowance of twenty lakhs of rupees per annum, 
the posture of public affairs and the temper of 
the army were such that a man was required as 
king. Sher Singh was therefore chosen Badshah, 
and Eaja Dhyan Singh kept his original place as 
Wazir and War Minister. 

Dhyan Singh then arranged for an interview 
between his brother and the new monarch. Dur- 
ing the siege we had been up to our knees in 
State jewels and gold mohurs ; but as our lives 
were not worth a moment's purchase, no one had 
possessed himself of aught. Gulab Singh, how- 
ever, had secured the " Koh - i - nur " about his 
person. (Chand Kour would have swallowed it 
if she had got hold of it.) And now came a 
masterpiece of acting on the part of Gulab 
Singh. He presented the " Koh-i-nur " with much 
empressement to the reigning sovereign, and took 
great credit for saving the royal property. In 
return he obtained a firman for twenty lakhs' 
worth of villages west of Bhimbur, and was recog- 


nised as guardian of the Maharani Chand Kour. 
He had not, however, lost the opportunity of 
securing about two millions of treasure in his 
honourable hands from the fort, which spoil was 
securely conveyed to Jammu. 

Thus ended the memorable defence of the for- 
tress of Lahore. The poor Maharani did not long 
survive, dying a miserable death by the hands 
of slave-girls, bribed by Sher Singh, who dropped 
a great flagstone on her head while she was lying 
in her bath. This brutal act incensed the Dogra 
brothers ; but they were pacified by the reversion 
of the landed property of the murdered queen, 
which property is in the possession of their family 
to this day. 

Thus on the 18th January 1841 Sher Singh 
became Maharaja indeed, and for the space of a 
year and a half nothing of great importance 
befell him. He was brought into close connec- 
tion with the British, owing to the course of the 
Afghan war, and gave free passage to their troops 
through his dominions, thus carrying out the 
policy of Maharaja Kanjit Singh. His army, 
however, got more and more out of hand, and 
Sher Singh strove in vain to lay the spirit of 


insubordination which his unwise concessions had 
aroused. Murders of commandants and other 
officers constantly occurred, and the sound ad- 
vice of Dhyan Singh was rejected by the infatu- 
ated Maharaja, who passed his time in drinking- 
bouts and every debauchery. 




THE month of January 1842 was disastrous to the 
British, for of a large force which was compelled 
to leave Kabul on the 6th of that month but one 
single man reached the city of Jalalabad, where 
a garrison under Sir Robert Sale with difficulty 
held its own. The few survivors of the Kabul 
force were prisoners in the hands of Muhammad 
Akbar Khan, the son of Dost Muhammad. 

Shortly before this time Maharaja Sher Singh, 
who was a staunch supporter of the British, ordered 
the Dogra force, of some 10,000 men, to proceed 
to Peshawar, and appointed Raja Gulab Singh 


governor of that province in the room of General 
Avitabile, who shared in the unpopularity of Ranjit 
Singh's old foreign officers. I accompanied the 
Dogra troops in my capacity of commandant of 

It is recorded in history that General Wild, who 
commanded the first body of troops, hurried up 
through the Panjab on the news of the disasters 
of Kabul, was delayed at Peshawar, and rendered 
unable to advance through the Khaibar Pass to 
reinforce Sale's beleaguered garrison of Jalalabad ; 
but it is perhaps reserved for me to explain clearly 
how this was brought about. 

It was on this occasion that I was first brought 
in contact with Sir Henry Lawrence, then a young 
" political " officer. 1 I have often since expressed 
my admiration of that great and good man, and 
of the tact and ability he brought to bear on his 
political duties. 

The Dogra force was encamped on the west bank 
of the Indus, and Gulab Singh obviously had no 
wish to go to Peshawar in accordance with his 
orders. Under the pretext that his rear was 

1 Sir Henry Lawrence was born in 1806, and was consequently 
thirty -five at this time. Gardner was, of course, twenty or twenty- 
one years older. 



threatened, he sent frequent messages by myself 
and others to Peshawar to say that he was unable 
to advance thither. Meanwhile I was aware that 
he was receiving daily letters from Kabul. He 
was, indeed, in constant communication with 
Muhammad Akbar Khan. These messages were 
brought by men whom Gulab Singh used to rep- 
resent as paupers and refugees. 

One day an English doctor in the disguise of a 
Pathan came into camp, requesting aid, in the 
shape of boats, from Gulab Singh. This assistance 
was promised, and the doctor departed to Brigadier 
Wild's camp. Directly he had gone Gulab Singh 
sent me and another commandant in his confidence 
(who, like myself, was intimately acquainted with 
the Yusufzai country and people), and directed us 
to go all along the Indus and conceal every boat 
we could lay hands on. He pretended that these 
boats were required for his own force, and for great 
British reinforcements coming up in rear. Thus 
the army of succour of the unfortunate Wild, who 
was making every effort to get on, was delayed for 
ten days at Attock instead of two, and in that 
period the destruction of the army at Kabul was 
consummated. At last Wild got across, and Gulab 
Singh then took charge of the ferry at Attock. 


Daily rumours of disasters at Kabul arrived, and 
news now came, to add to the confusion, that the 
whole Sikh garrison of Peshawar was in open 

Over and over again did Lawrence write to 
Gulab Singh, who returned him no answer. The 
road from Peshawar to Attock, moreover, was 
beleaguered by mutinous troops. 

One day I heard that a sahib had come into 
camp, and seeing one or two persons under a tree, 
I went forward and found Lawrence dressed, not 
very successfully, as a Pathan. He had had the 
courage to travel right through the Yusufzai coun- 
try, had crossed the river at a dangerous place 
(Bazar-ka-patan), and here he was in the midst of 
the camp asking for Gulab Singh. That astute 
chief at once ordered large tents to be prepared 
for the British official, gave him a warm reception, 
and declared that he had written at least five times 
a-day, and that his notes must have been inter- 
cepted. Lawrence was then closeted two hours 
with Gulab Singh, and I could see at once on the 
close of the interview that the wonderful tact of 
the rising " political " had prevailed, and that he 
was master of the situation. 

It was amusing to listen to the verbal fence of 


the two when I was admitted into the audience- 
tent. Lawrence had got some valuable news from 
down country, and he was well aware that Gulab 
Singh's direct news from Kabul would be of the 
greatest interest to the British. He jocularly 
offered to swap news. Gulab Singh laughed and 
agreed. " Give and take," said he ; " let it be fair 
barter : you tell the truth, and so will I." 

The bargain was struck, and Lawrence led off 
by telling Gulab Singh that his expedition to 
Thibet had utterly failed, and that his agent, 
Wazir Zorawar Singh, with 9000 soldiers, had been 
cut off nearly to a man. 

" I also have some news," said Gulab Singh in 
his turn, and then told Lawrence the horrid truth 
that all was over with the British at Kabul, and 
that Akbar Khan was pressing Jalalabad with 
terrific vigour. Lawrence, shocked at the intelli- 
gence, demanded proofs, when the two retired once 
more to a private conference, and Gulab Singh 
showed him the letter he had received. 1 

1 The conversation between Sir Henry Lawrence and Gulab Singh, 
as related by Gardner, agrees sufficiently closely with the account in 
the Life of Sir Henry written by Sir Herbert Edwardes. The fact 
that information was given to Lawrence by Gardner is also men- 
tioned, with the explanation that Gardner was exceptionally well- 
informed in Sikh affairs, because " he had married a native wife, 
given to him by Rajah Dhyan Singh out of his own house ; and 


The story of General Pollock's advance to Kabul, 
and of the subsequent withdrawal of the English 
army from Afghanistan, need not here be related : 
suffice it to say that, thanks in a great measure to 
Sir Henry Lawrence, the Sikh troops of Maharaja 
Sher Singh took a fair share in the operations. At 
the conclusion of the war a grand review of the 
British and Sikh armies took place at Ferozepur, 
and it was on this occasion that Prince Partab 
Singh, the heir-apparent, won so much favour with 
Lord Ellenborough and the English officers. 

In February 1843 Dost Muhammad Khan, 
having been released from his captivity in India, 
returned to Kabul by way of Lahore, where he 
contracted a treaty of alliance with the durbar. 
Soon after this the intrigues and jealousies between 
the Sindhanwalias and Raja Dhyan Singh recom- 
menced, and eventually cost all of them, and 
Maharaja Sher Singh, their lives. 

The principal Sindhanwalia sardars were named 
Attar Singh and Lehna Singh (who were brothers), 
and Ajit Singh, who was nephew to both of them. 

through her, and living always among the natives, he was behind 
the scenes, and heard a good deal of the intrigues that were on foot. 
He had wild moods of talking, letting the corners of dark things 
peep out, and then shutting them up again with a look behind him, 
as if life at Jammu was both strange and fearful." 


These sardars were very powerful, and had 
exceptional influence on account of their rela- 
tionship to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. They had 
left the Panjab for a time after Sher Singh's acces- 
sion to the throne, but now returned, and were 
apparently on friendly terms with the Maharaja. 
Attar Singh, however, distrusted both Sher Singh 
and Dhyan Singh, and retired to his estates, leav- 
ing his brother and nephew to carry on the war. 

For a time there was great familiarity between 
Lehna Singh, Ajit Singh, and the Maharajah, and 
the three frequently caroused together. Maharaja 
Sher Singh passed most of his time at his favourite 
house, known as Shah Bilawal, and here on Sep- 
tember 15, 1843, the tragedy occurred. 

An inspection of certain soldiers, for whom the 
Sindhanwalias desired to receive a yagir, was fixed 
to take place on this day, and in the morning the 
soldiers were marshalled in brilliant array. The 
Maharaja, however, did not inspect them at the 
appointed time, and Lehna Singh and Ajit Singh 
consequently went to him and reproached him in a 
jocular manner for keeping them waiting. They 
were each armed with a magnificent new double- 
barrelled gun. Seating themselves opposite Ma- 
haraja Sher Singh, they asked for a jagir. He 


replied, " By-and-bye," and stretched out his hand 
for Ajit Singh's gun, which he wished to look at. 
Ajit Singh affected to hand it to him, but brought 
the muzzle to bear on his breast, pulled the triggers, 
and lodged the contents in his body. Two cuts of 
a sword finally ended the career of Maharaja Sher 

Not content with this murder, Ajit Singh went 
into the inner apartments and cut down Partab 
Singh, the pretty little son of Sher Singh. Partab 
Singh ran up to Ajit Singh and knelt before him, 
calling him "uncle." 1 The brutal Ajit Singh, hot 
with the blood which already dyed his hand, then 
penetrated into the harem of Sher Singh, and 
murdered all the Maharaja's women one under 
circumstances of peculiar atrocity, for she was on 
the eve of giving birth to an infant. 

With that strange foreboding which seems to 
attend the coming of terrible events, there was a 
general uneasiness in the air. I for one was on 
the alert directly I heard the shots fired, and went 
at once to find Dhyan Singh, who had already 
gone to see Maharaja Sher Singh in consequence 

1 Sir Lepel Griffin states that Prince Partab Singh was murdered 
by Lehna Singh. 


of some dark rumours which had reached him. 
He found Ajit Singh fresh from his deeds of blood 
and half-way on his return journey to Lahore. 
Dhyan Singh turned and accompanied Ajit Singh, 
and the Sindhanwalias said to him, " What is done 
cannot be undone. Dhulip Singh must now be 
Maharaja." This was in accordance with Dhyan 
Singh's views, and all seemed quiet for a few min- 
utes, though he was uneasy at finding himself sur- 
rounded by Ajit Singh's followers. On arriving at 
the outer gate of the fortress they entered together, 
but at the inner gate all but a very few of the 
Minister's attendants were excluded. 

Presently Ajit Singh drew Raja Dhyan Singh's 
attention to some men on the parapet of the fort, 
shot him in the back, and despatched him with a 
sword. Thus perished the wise and brave Dhyan 
Singh, whose fall was deplored by the whole army : 
but it was avenged, and that quickly. 

Grief and fury seized the troops. The Sindhan- 
walias endeavoured to come to terms with Hira 
Singh and Suchet Singh, the son and brother of 
the murdered Minister, but they knew better than 
to trust them. Hira Singh enflamed the rage of 
the army by fervent appeals, and excited their 
cupidity by lavish promises of money. The excite- 


ment was wound up to frenzy by the conduct of 
the young and exquisitely lovely wife of Dhyan 
Singh, the daughter of the Kajput chief of Pathan- 
kot. This lady vowed that she would not become 
sati until she had the heads of Lehna Singh and 
Ajit Singh. I myself laid their heads at the feet 
of Dhyan Singh's corpse that evening. 

The Sindhanwalias attempted to defend the fort, 
but in a feeble manner at first. Forty thousand 
men attacked them, and they saw that all was lost. 
When, however, the wall was breached, and death 
became imminent, they fought with desperation and 
inflicted heavy loss on the army. Ajit Singh and 
Lehna Singh were killed with no more mercy 
than they had shown, and Kaja Dhyan Singh was 

The sati of his widow then took place, and sel- 
dom, if ever, have I been so powerfully affected as 
at the self-immolation of the gentle and lovely girl, 
whose love for her husband passed all bounds. 
During the day, while inciting the army to avenge 
her husband's murder, she had appeared in public 
before the soldiers, discarding the seclusion of a 
lifetime. When his murderers had been slain she 
gave directions as to the disposition of his property 
with a stoicism and self-possession to which no 


one beside her could lay claim : she thanked her 
brave avengers, and declared that she would tell of 
their good deeds to her husband when in heaven. 
There was nothing left for her, she said, but to 
join him. 

Great efforts were made among the assembly to 
prevent the sacrifice of a sweet little maiden of nine 
or ten years of age who had been passionately 
attached to the murdered Eaja. When not allowed 
to get upon the pyre, she vowed she would not live, 
slipped from the hands of those who would hold 
her, rushed to the battlements of the city, and 
threw herself from them. We picked her up more 
dead than alive, and the beautiful devotee seated 
on the pyre at last consented to take the child in 
her lap to share her doom. 

They placed her husband's diamond kalgi 
(aigrette) in her turban, and she then fastened it 
with her own hands in the turban of her stepson, 
Hira Singh. Then, smiling on those around, she lit 
the pyre, the flames of which glistened on the arms 
and accoutrements, and even, it seemed to me, on 
the swimming eyes of the soldiery. So perished 
the widow of Dhyan Singh, with thirteen of her 
female slaves. 

As for Maharaja Sher Singh, no one thought of 


avenging his death, and not a thought was bestowed 
on the sepulture of his remains. 

The tragic events described above were followed 
by the succession of the boy Dhulip Singh to the 
throne, with Hira Singh as wazir. The latter now 
appeared to be all-powerful ; but he had powerful 
enemies, and, moreover, a master in the person of 
one Pandit Julia, a man of the most repulsive cast 
of countenance, and of a most tyrannical and am- 
bitious spirit. He had been tutor to Hira Singh 
in his youth, and the latter, being still quite a 
young man, was entirely in his hands. 

Hira Singh was indeed but a poor copy of his 
father, whom he in vain attempted to resemble. 
His character was compounded of many conflicting 
qualities. Crouching and mean to his superiors; 
silent and suspicious with his equals ; proud, super- 
cilious, and arrogant to his inferiors ; subtle and 
deceitful to all. Too much puffed up to return, or 
even notice, the salutations of better men than 
himself; reared as the lapdog of Eanjit Singh and 
his dissolute companions ; with a smattering of 
English, Persian, and Sanscrit, and pretending to 
a perfect knowledge of all three languages. Clean, 
neat, and showy in person, like his father ; but 


too effeminate to resemble him truly; unstable, 
and, as it seemed, not daring to walk, stir, sit, rise, 
eat, drink, sleep, or speak without what ? A 
trifling sign, a careless nod, or some such sufficient 
guiding token from his mysterious jailor, his 
familiar spirit, his preceptor, master, father and 
brother, inferior and superior, Pandit Julia. 

No sooner was Hira Singh in power than his 
actions, under the guidance of the Pandit, caused 
the greatest dissatisfaction in the army, and in- 
trigues were speedily afoot, having for their object 
Pandit Julia's downfall and death. The leading 
spirit in this movement was Sardar Jawahir Singh, 
brother of the Eani Jindan, and consequently 
uncle of the young Maharaja Dhulip Singh. Eani 
Jindan and Jawahir Singh were the children of 
one Manna, the dog-keeper of Eanjit Singh. Eani 
Jindan was endowed with extraordinary beauty 
and great talent. Her father, Manna, was a man 
of much humour and fun, who used to take great 
liberties with the old Lion of the Panjab, often 
rallying him jocularly on the state of his harem, 
and jocosely asking him to make a queen of his 
little daughter. Manna used to perch the pretty 
child on his shoulder, and run with her along- 
side of the Maharaja's palki when he made his 


entrances into Lahore, declaring the girl was 
getting burdensome and heavy. At last the mon- 
arch was persuaded, and said, " Very well, bring 
her." (He did this as Manna used to banter him 
about his age, and the Maharaja was very sensitive 
as to his personal decay.) 

In the harem the little beauty used to gambol 
and frolic and tease Eanjit Singh, and managed 
to captivate him in a way that smote the real 
wives with jealousy so much so that Ranjit Singh 
sent her when thirteen years of age to Amritsar, 
and gave her an allowance of 5000 rupees per 
month. Eaja Dhyan Singh had charge of her, 
and this contributed to that able courtier's influ- 
ence. He took her back to Lahore, treated her 
with great dignity, and ultimately effected the 
celebration of the karewa, tantamount to the 
chadar dalna, 1 marriage ceremony, between her 
and Ranjit Singh. Her ascendancy over the 
Maharaja was soon gained, and never lost. 

Now, to increase his influence over the new 
Minister, Hira Singh, Pandit Julia intrigued so 
as to produce, if possible, a deadly feud between 

1 The offspring of this form of union was considered legitimate, 
and had the right of inheritance. Chadar daltia means " throwing 
the sheet." 


him and his two uncles, Gulab Singh and Suchet 
Singh, the remaining Dogra brothers. 

Suchet Singh was a splendid swordsman, and the 
very pink of chivalry. He knew that the Pandit 
was at the bottom of the estrangement between 
himself and his nephew, but matters had gone too 
far to be put straight. Early in December 1844 
Suchet Singh received an invitation from the Rani 
Jindan and her brother Jawahir Singh to come 
to Lahore, and was assured by them that the 
army would go over from Hira Singh to him. 
In an evil moment for himself the gallant Suchet 
Singh started with only fifty men, and having 
arrived at Lahore, took up quarters in a small 
mosque near the Shalimar Gardens. 

Pandit Julia knew that the success of Suchet 
Singh would be death to himself, and took his 
measures accordingly, distributing to each man 
in the army a pair of bracelets worth 30 rupees. 
This reward had been promised by Hira Singh 
to the army as a reward for the loyalty to his 
house they had shown in avenging on the Sind- 
hanwalia family the murder of his father, Raja 
Dhyan Singh. The time for disbursing the re- 
ward was well chosen. 

On Suchet Singh sending word that he had 


arrived, Hira Singh, who loved him in his heart, 
wanted to go at once and embrace his uncle ; 
but his evil genius the Pandit persuaded him that 
he would be murdered, and produced a pothi or 
horoscope in which it was written that Suchet 
Singh or Hira Singh would fall the next day. 
The Pandit then ordered the army to attack the 
mosque ; but they too loved Suchet Singh, and at 
first refused to obey. At last they attacked, and 
under the fire of eighty pieces of artillery the 
roof of the mosque soon began to fall on the 
heads of the devoted little band within. 

Suchet Singh read his Granth calmly, prepared 
himself for death, and calling his followers around 
him, told any of them who were not ready to 
die to go in peace. None would, however, leave 
him. He then charged the army with his fifty 
followers, and after performing prodigies of valour 
they all perished. The troops who attacked them 
lost 160 killed and wounded. Hira Singh threw 
himself in great grief upon the dead body of his 

At the time of Suchet Singh's death I had 
just returned to Jammu from Sialkote, which I 
had captured from Kashmira and Peshora Singh, 
adopted sons of Eanjit Singh. I informed Gulab 


Singh of his brother's rash journey, and the Raja 
burst into tears and said, "He will be killed to 
a certainty ! Take your force from Sialkote " 
(where I had left it), "hasten to Lahore, and 
defend him." 

Gulab Singh would not delay to give me a 
written order, but took off a small gold ring, 
which I was to show as a proof that I repre- 
sented him. I immediately started, picked up 
my troops at Sialkote, arrived on the third day 
at Lahore, and fired a salute to let Suchet Singh 
(as I hoped), and the army also, know of my 
arrival. I was one day too late. 

The hatred towards Pandit Julia rapidly in- 
creased, and soon the whole army was won to 
the side of Griilab Singh. Loud demands were 
addressed to Hira Singh to give up the Pandit, 
but Hira Singh refused to comply, and so turned 
the vengeance of the army against himself. Even- 
tually Hira Singh and the Pandit were compelled 
to take refuge in the late Raja Dhyan Singh's 
house at Lahore, known as the " Hira Mandi," 
but subsequently fled with 1200 men to Shah- 
dera. The army then entered the city of Lahore 
and commenced killing all the Dogras. 

My life, being, as I was, in command of the 


troops of that race, was imperilled ; but some 
Akalis, who knew that I was an old officer of 
Banjit Singh, took me under their protection, 
and from motives of personal safety I became a 
complete Akali in costume and habits. 

On the 21st December 1844 the army crossed 
to Shahdera and yelled to Hira Singh to give 
himself up to them and let the Pandit meet his 
fate. Hira Singh, however, fled with the Pandit, 
and with them Sohan Singh, a son of Gulab 
Singh. After a running fight of nine miles they 
were all caught and slain : their heads were cut 
off and paraded through Lahore city. I myself, 
dressed as an Akali, carried the Pandit's head 
in my hands. The whole army was responsible 
for his death, but Hira Singh's death was caused 
by his mistaken loyalty to his tutor. 

After the Akalis had triumphantly carried about 
the heads of the dead princes for more than a 
fortnight, I managed with great difficulty to secure 
the heads and to send them to Jammu to Gulab 
Singh. The heads were then cremated. 

Eaja Gulab Singh now thirsted for vengeance 
on the Sikh nation, which had killed so many 
members of his family. He determined to make 



terms for himself with the British, and to leave 


the Sikhs to their doom. Jawahir Singh especi- 
ally incurred his wrath for the death of Hira 
Singh and Sohan Singh. 

Jawahir Singh was completely intoxicated by 
his sudden rise to power, and in the exuberance 
of his heart began to ill-treat Kashmira Singh 
and Peshora Singh, two adopted sons of Maha- 
raja Ranjit Singh. This was enough to cause 
the army to feel furious indignation any favour- 
ite of the old Maharaja was sacred to them. 
Kashmira Singh and Peshora Singh were shortly 
afterwards killed, the latter under atrocious cir- 
cumstances of cold-blooded treachery. One cir- 
cumstance connected with his murder incensed 
the army to the last degree. The boy had im- 
plored his murderer to give him arms and let 
him die fighting like a Sikh and a man, and the 
story reached the army of Lahore. Their first 
resolution was to march to Attock and avenge 
the murder, which had taken place there ; but the 
Sikhs are proverbially fickle, and the immediate 
death of Jawahir Singh was decided on as a pre- 

The Council of the army deliberated for fifteen 
or twenty days. Jawahir Singh was in the fort, 


and dared not show his head : menacing news 
reached him daily. I had one interview with 
him, and could hold out no hope, but told him 
to behave like a man and face the peril. The 
Council at last closed their deliberations and de- 
cided that Jawahir Singh should be slain, and that 
then the army should march down and attack 

On September 21, 1845, Jawahir Singh was sum- 
moned b.efore the army. He came out on an 
elephant, holding in his arms his nephew, the 
young Maharaja Dhulip Singh, the last survivor 
of the line of Eanjit Singh. The Maharani Jin- 
dan accompanied him on another elephant. Ja- 
wahir Singh had an escort of 400 horsemen, and 
two elephant-loads of rupees with which to tempt 
the army. As soon as the cavalcade left the 
fort an ominous salute ran along the immense 
line of the army 180 guns were fired. A roll- 
call was beat, and not a man of that great host 
was absent. So terribly stern was their discipline 
that, after the salute had died away, not a sound 
was to be heard but the trampling of the feet 
of the royal cavalcade. 

Dhulip Singh was received with royal honours : 
his mother, the Maharani Jindan, in miserable 


terror for her brother, was seated on her golden 
hauda, dressed in white Sikh clothes and closely 
veiled. As soon as the procession reached the 
middle of the line one man came forward and 
cried out, " Stop," and at his single voice the 
whole procession paused. A tremor ran through 
the host : many expected a rescue on the part of 
the French brigade ; but not a man stirred. The 
great Panch (Military Council) was still sitting 
on the right of the line. Four battalions were 
now ordered to the front, and removed Jawahir 
Singh's escort to a distance. Then another bat- 
talion marched up and surrounded the elephants 
of the royal personages. Ten of the Council then 
came forward ; the Rani's elephant was ordered 
to kneel down, and she herself was escorted to 
a small but beautiful tent prepared for her 
close by. 

Then a terrible scene took place. The Rani 
was dragged away, shrieking to the army to spare 
her brother. Jawahir Singh was next ordered to 
descend from his elephant. He lost his head, 
attempted to parley, and a tail Sikh slapped his 
face and took the boy Dhulip Singh from his 
arms, asking him how he dared to disobey the 
Khalsa. Dhulip Singh was placed in his mother's 


arms, and she, hiding herself behind the walls of 
her tent, held the child up above them in view of 
the army, crying for mercy for her brother in the 
name of her son. Suddenly, hearing a yell of 
agony from a well-known voice, she flung the 
child away in an agony of grief and rage. For- 
tunately he was caught by a soldier, or the conse- 
quences might have been fatal. 

Meanwhile the bloody work had been done on 
the hated Minister. A soldier, who had presum- 
ably received his orders, had gone up the ladder 
placed by Jawahir Singh's elephant, stabbed him 
with his bayonet, and flung him upon the ground, 
where he was despatched in a moment with fifty 

Thus did the Sikh army avenge the death of 
Kashmira Singh and Peshora Singh. 

Maharani Jindan now became regent, and with 
her lover Lai Singh, who was appointed her ad- 
viser, decided on a policy of aggression. That 
policy was indicated by the old Sikh motto, 
" Throw the snake into your enemy's bosom," 
which is even more forcible than the English, 
" Kill two birds with one stone." The snake was 
the evilly disposed, violent, yet powerful and 
splendid Sikh army. It was to be flung upon 


the British, and so destroyed. Thus did the Rani 
Jindan in her turn plan to avenge herself on the 
murderers of her brother Jawahir Singh. 

The army entered on the war with enthusiasm, 
and every man took with him a spade from his 
own home for engineering purposes. The skill 
with which they used them, and the valiant stand 
which they made against the British, is a matter 
of history. 

The Sikh army crossed the Sutlej on the 8th 
December 1845. 





AFTER the murder of Wazir Jawahir Singh his 
sister, the Rani Jindan, was declared regent. Her 
principal advisers were Diwan Dina Nath, Bhai 
Ram Singh, and Misr Lai Singh, the first named 
of whom was a man of remarkable talent, known 
as " the Talleyrand of the Panjab." When war was 
declared against the British, and the Sikhs crossed 
the Sutlej, I was acting as Raja Gulab's agent and 
factotum at Lahore, and in consequence had great 
power and influence. 

Two more contemptible poltroons than the two 
generals of the Khalsa army Lai Singh and Tej 
Singh, both Brahmans never breathed. Lai 
Singh ran away and hid himself for twenty days 


in an oven at Ludiana, in which the Sikhs would 
have baked him if they had caught him. Tej 
Singh always kept at the apex of the army (in the 
rear), pretending that he could thus have an eye 
to both divisions, and that it was not his duty to 
go in front. Tej Singh was never trusted by any 
one. After the start of the Sikh army for the 
front Lai Singh and Dina Nath used to receive 
visitors, and a succession of picnics used to take 
place at Shalimar Gardens. The Rani's policy was 
to affect enormous anxiety for the success of the 
Sikhs, but to afford them no substantial aid. If 
Delhi was taken, then so much the more glory and 
loot ; if the British were victorious, the Eani, who 
was corresponding with them, could trust to their 

The pusillanimous and ignominious departure 
of Avitabile and Ventura at this critical juncture 
much disgusted the army, who wanted efficient 
and civilised control. There was no necessity to 
leave that I saw. I was always treated with 
honour and respect. 

The state of the army was such that proscription 
rolls were made out of all individuals obnoxious to 
them, and they had to be given up. I started 
originally with the army, but was recalled by the 


Kani to Lahore, and she specially insisted that I 
was wanted to hold Lahore against the Khalsa. 
I was privately told to bring back no Sikhs, but 
as many Mussulmans as I had with me. These 
Mussulmans were the very brigade which mutinied 
at Peshawar in 1841, at the time Sir Henry 
Lawrence was deputed there. The Muhammadans, 
hating the Sikhs, were enchanted at the recall, 
and on our return I was, as it were, governor of 
Lahore. My orders were simple : " No Sikhs are 
to return ; manage that, and the rest shall be as 
you like." Much more fear was entertained of 
personal maltreatment by the Sikhs than of the 
British Government. 

Twenty - five of Lord Hardinge's body - guard, 
thinking matters rather doubtful, deserted and 
put themselves under my orders at Lahore fine 
tall men, swaggering about the city, very different 
from the slight and active "Manjha" Sikhs. One 
of them asked for a regiment of cavalry to lead 
against the British. The resolve of their ruler 
to destroy the army, anyhow and by whatever 
means, was known even by the Sikh army itself; 
but such had been the stern discipline of the 
Panch, such were the hopes of loot from Delhi, 
such the real belief that the intentions of the 


British were aggressive, such the domestic incite- 
ments of their families to plunder, and such their 
devotion to their mystic faith, that one single 
dogged determination filled the bosom of each 
soldier. The word went round, "We will go to 
the sacrifice." One miserable deserter was nearly 
beaten to death by his Panjabi countrywomen. 

" Let us not survive," said some, " the invasion 
of Kanjit Singh's boundaries." For to their minds 
the occupation of the protected Sikh States by 
British troops was tantamount to an invasion. 

After the battle of Ferozeshah, which took place 
on the 22nd December 1845, it was reported at 
Lahore that the British army had been defeated, 
and the Maharani and her council, though knowing 
the truth, were yet afraid that their own army 
might in the end be successful. They well knew 
that in that case it would return to Lahore, and 
that anarchy and bloodshed would once again be 
the order of the day. They therefore sent con- 
gratulatory messages to the troops, and counselled 
an immediate advance southwards by way of 
Bhawulpur. By this means, they said, the 
British army could be taken in flank, and Delhi 

The only duty imposed on me was to protect 


Maharani Jindan and her child, and to get the 
dread Khalsa army destroyed somehow. 

" Don't come back, gallant men of the ' Guruji,' " 
said we, " without at all events seeing Delhi." 
The Fakir Azizuddin foresaw, as well as most of 
us who were not infatuated by religion or intoxi- 
cated with drink, that the British must in the end 
win, from the elements of real unity which guided 
their councils, notwithstanding the doubtful state 
of their native troops. 

Lai Singh ran away at Mudki : he preferred the 
embraces of Venus at Lahore to the triumphs of 
Mars ; and was, as all Brahmans are, held in the 
highest contempt by the Sikhs. He fled, hid him- 
self in a hayrick, and skulked off from the army. 
Swapping his handsome horse for a "tattoo," and 
smearing over his face with ashes like a poor fakir, 
he hid himself in an oven belonging to an old 
bakeress at Ludiana. The Eani Jindan led him a 
dreadful life at first, when he returned to Lahore 
after twenty days' absence, jeering at him for his 
cautious behaviour; but he being her favourite, 

orders were given to stop any further hilarity. 


Even to Tej Singh the army cried, " Do not betray 
us ! " such was his character for treachery. When 
he arrived at Ferozeshah he said he was off to 


bring up the reserve." He never once went to the 
front. There was another general who actually 
ran away, and was jeered at by the army as a 
lounda kutta (dog with his tail cut). Tej Singh, 
keeping in his favourite position, the apex (as he 
called it) of the army, actually built a bomb- 
proof mud hut, like a small tent, for himself, 
inside which he sat doing puja (i.e., " saying 
his prayers "), his Brahman astrologers being 
instructed to give out that everything depended 
on the safety of the holy man. When he dis- 
appeared after the battle of Ferozeshah he gave 
out that he was outflanked by the British, and 
was turning to meet his new enemy in the rear. 
He declared that he was panting for the war, but 
that his Brahmans would not let him out of his 

Hurbon was a fine soldier : he was a Spaniard, 
and had come out to the Sikh service on hearing 
the accounts of the large emoluments received by 
Ventura and Avitabile. He was told to show his 
mettle in the campaign, which he did, and bravely, 
being the engineer, moreover, who did all the 
castrametation which so surprised the British 

All this time Gulab Singh, who could have 


brought 40,000 men by a sign of his finger, was 
being implored by the Sikhs to aid them. At 
that moment he had a difficult and critical game 
to play. The army offered to make him (Dogra 
though he was) Maharaja, and to kill the traitors 
Lai Singh and Tej Singh. Fortunately for the 
British, their prestige had its influence on his 
mind, and his memory recounted the treacheries 
of the Sikhs to himself and his countrymen, and 
he decided ' otherwise. He remained firstly at 
Jammu, the Eani Jindan telling him not to stir 
unless she required him. Meanwhile Gulab Singh 
cajoled the whole of the leading panchayets of 
the Sikh army, affecting to see every visitor from 
the battles at any moment, whether he was bath- 
ing or eating, as if his whole heart was with the 
Sikhs. He got all the wheat - carriers in the 
country, loaded them with immense display with 
about one-fourth of what they could carry, put 
placards in " Gurmukhi " on their necks to the 
effect that they were carrying supplies from Gulab 
Singh, and told them, under pain of mutilation, 
not to go two abreast, in order that the army and 
the country might imagine that incessant and 
enormous supplies were being forwarded to the 
stalwart and devoted Khalsa by their loyal and 


affectionate friend. " I'm not going empty-handed 
to the great campaign that is to end at Calcutta," 
gave out Gulab Singh. " When all is ready for 
campaigning, off I start. This will be a long war," 
said he. " It's a race to the capital, and devil 
catch the hindmost." Thus he temporised. But 
he held the power, and would have used it (if 
Dhyan Singh had been alive, or if he himself had 
been a Sikh) to create an insurrection which would 
have shaken the British power more even than the 
mutiny of 1857. All the protected Sikh States in 
the Malwa Nabha, Jhind, and Patiala were 
ready to envelop the British army in case of a 

When at last, after the defeat at Sobraon on 
February 10, 1846, the remains of the Sikh army 
passed Hari-ka Ghat, Gulab Singh moved from 
Jammu. I went to meet him. "How is her 
Majesty?" said he, the first words. I went 
with him to meet Major Lawrence. I had about 
500 men, Gulab Singh some 2000, and 20,000 
or 30,000 men within hail. Now here were the 
Sikhs crossing at Hari-ka Ghat, and the British 
at Kussur, who were therefore in a most critical 
position, as they were between the Sikh and 


Dogra armies. Of course Gulab Singh had a 
double move ; and Lawrence seemed to be anxious 
at the military mistake of moving the British 
army between one strong, though beaten, force, 
and another fresh in body and of a doubtful 
course of policy. Though Sir Henry tried to 
pump me, I only said, and could say, as an 
honest paid servant of my masters, "Keep up a 
bold face, and look to your right : the Dogra 
force may be secured to act as light infantry in 
case of any further trouble." 

A very dramatic and characteristic scene oc- 
curred between the battles of Ferozeshah and 
Sobraon. The unfortunate Sikhs were hurried 
on to their fate, and were literally starved for 
want of rations. They sent a deputation of 500 
picked Sikhs to Lahore to urge the dire neces- 
sities of the army for three days they had 
lived upon grain and raw carrots. The Rani 
at first would not allow the deputation to enter 
Lahore. She feared justly for her personal safety 
at the hands of these desperate men. I there- 
fore placed four battalions of infantry in guard 
over the queen, and she at last consented to 
hold a durbar and receive the deputation. They 


were told to come armed with swords only. 
Under the pretence of this being a State oc- 
casion, I turned out a very large personal guard 
for the queen, who waited behind a screen the 
arrival of the envoys. I was standing close 
to the Rani, and could see the gesticulations 
and movements of the deputation. In answer 
to the urgent and loud complaints of the sacri- 
fice to which the army was exposed, she said 
that Gulab Singh had forwarded vast supplies. 
"No, he has not," roared the deputation; "we 
know the old fox : he has not sent breakfast 
for a bird (chiria-ki-haziri)" Further parley 
ensued, the tempers of both parties waxing 
wroth. At last the deputation said, "Give us 
powder and shot." At this I saw some move- 
ment behind the purdah (the little Dhulip was 
seated in front of it). I could detect that the 
Rani was shifting her petticoat ; I could see 
that she stepped oiit of it, and then rolling it up 
rapidly into a ball, flung it over the screen at 
the heads of the angry envoys, crying out, 
" Wear that, you cowards ! I'll go in trousers 
and fight myself ! " l The effect was electric. 

1 Colonel Gardner has Anglicised this well-known story. 


After a moment's pause, during which the de- 
putation seemed stunned, a unanimous shout 
arose, "Dhulip Singh Maharaja, we will go and 
die for his kingdom and the Khalsaji ! " and 
breaking up tumultuously and highly excited, 
this dangerous deputation dispersed, and rejoined 
the army. The courage and intuition displayed 
by this extraordinary woman under such critical 
circumstances filled us all with as much amaze- 
ment as admiration. 

The Rani Jindan was very vain of her attrac- 
tions, and when I was showing Sir Henry 
Lawrence and Sir Eobert (then Captain) Napier 
round the Palace of Lahore, immediately upon 
the occupation after the termination of the first 
Sikh campaign, the latter officer asked me if I 
could manage to procure him a sight of her. 
Knowing that Rani Jindan possessed rather more 
than ordinary female curiosity, I offered to 
gratify her with a sight of the victorious Eng- 
lish, and thus it was that her beautiful head 
and neck appeared once or twice over a wall, 
to the gratification of the officers. 

The Rani used to wonder why a matrimonial 
alliance was not at once formed for her with 



some officer of rank, who would then manage 
State affairs with her. 

She used to send for portraits of all the 
officers, and in one especially she took great 
interest, and said that he must be a lord. This 
fortunate individual's name has not transpired, 
and, much to the Maharani's mortification, the 
affair went no further. She considered that such 
a marriage would have secured the future of 
herself and her son. 

The British army had reached Lahore on the 
20th February 1846, and on the 8th of the 
following month a treaty of peace was ratified 
between the British Government and the Lahore 
durbar. Maharaja Dhulip Singh renounced all 
claim to the territories south of the river Sutlej, 
and recognised the independence of Gulab Singh 
as Raja of Jammu and such other hill territories 
as might be assigned to him. Colonel Sir Henry 
Lawrence was appointed Resident at Lahore, 
where furthermore a large British force was to 
remain till the end of the year. 

On the 15th March the Governor- General, Sir 
Henry Hardinge, invested Gulab Singh with the 


title of Maharaja of Kashmir and Jammu, and 
Gulab Singh acknowledged the supremacy of the 
British Government. 

Thus, after a campaign of but sixty days, the 
proud and fierce Khalsa army was effectually 
defeated, though by no means disgraced, and 
the kingdom of Ranjit Singh reduced to a 
position of dependency and subjection. 





COLONEL GARDNER, as has been explained, was not 
called upon to take an active part in either of the 
wars between the Sikhs and the British. He took 
the field on the outbreak of the first war, but was 
almost immediately recalled to Lahore by the Kani 
Jindan, mother of the young Maharaja, who de- 
sired him to take command of her own guards. 
On the conclusion of peace a council of regency 
was appointed to administer the government of 
the Panjab, and one of the leading members of 
this council was Raja Tej Singh, who was Gardner's 
personal enemy. 


Tej Singh lost no time in taking advantage of 
his position, and Gardner presently received an 
order from the council to leave Lahore within 
twenty-four hours. There was no disputing the 
order, and Gardner was compelled to seek an 
asylum on British soil. He went to the frontier 
station of Ludhiana, where he had friends, and 
during his brief residence there occupied his leisure 
by giving to Colonel Carmichael-Smyth of the 3rd 
Bengal Light Cavalry the information which the 
latter embodied in a work entitled ' The History of 
the Reigning Family of Lahore.' Those who have 
read that curious and little-known work will re- 
cognise some of the incidents contained in the 
foregoing pages. 

Gardner's period of exile was very short : he 
was soon afterwards permitted to enter the service 
of Gulab Singh, now created an independent 
sovereign as Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. 

The latter province was ceded to the Maharaja 
for reasons which need not here be discussed, but 
they did not commend themselves to Sheikh Imam- 
ud-din, the governor of Kashmir under the Sikh 
Government. Imam-ud-din declined to surrender 
Kashmir to the new Maharaja, who was therefore 
compelled to obtain possession of his kingdom by 


force of arms. Gardner accompanied Gulab Singh 
in the operations which ensued, and when Imam- 
ud-din had been overthrown and the new sovereign 
"had his own," Gardner received the reward of 
his long and faithful services to the Maharaja and 
his family. He received command of the "Ranbir" 
regiment of infantry, and of all the Kashmir artil- 
lery, with a salary of 500 rupees per mensem. 
This income, with the revenues of some villages 
bestowed upon him by the Maharaja, gave Gardner 
a comfortable income for the remaining thirty years 
of his long life. He lived in good style, after the 
native fashion, being from long habit a complete 
Oriental, and retained his activity of mind and 
body to the very last. 

Gardner was held in high respect by his native 
neighbours, and more especially by the old soldiers 
of the Khalsa who had settled in Jammu or 
Kashmir. These veterans loved to meet one 
who had enjoyed the confidence of Eanjit Singh ; 
and those of them who live still, though now ex- 
tremely old, are full of recollections of " Gordana 

Colonel Gardner's last years were rendered in- 
teresting to him by the birth of a daughter, who 
received the name of Helena : there is pleasing 


evidence in his letters that the wellbeing of this 
child of his old age occupied many of his thoughts. 
This daughter, now Mrs Botha, has inherited much 
of her father's adventurous and roving spirit, and 
recently visited her birthplace. Many ancient Sikh 
soldiers came from all directions to see her, and to 
tell her of their attachment to her father. One 
fact about Gardner they never failed to mention, 
which was the curious habit that he had of clutch- 
ing his neck with an iron pincer when about to 
drink. This operation was rendered necessary 
by the severe wound in his neck, which has 
been mentioned elsewhere. His Highness, the 
reigning Maharaja of Kashmir, also told Mrs 
Botha of this peculiarity of her father, he having 
been greatly impressed by it when a boy. Colonel 
Gardner's daughter has two children, a son and 
a daughter, on the former of whom she has be- 
stowed the name of Alexander, in memory of his 

It will be readily imagined that English visitors 
to the vale of Kashmir lost no opportunity of 
calling on the old adventurer, and of hearing the 
strange story of bygone days which he was so 
ready to tell. Some of those who delighted thus to 
hear of ancient wars were famous soldiers, among 


whom may be mentioned Lord Strathnairn, "a 
first-class fighting-man," and Sir Henry Durand, 
the hero of the Gate of Ghuzni. 

Many of these English visitors have left on record 
their impressions of Gardner, and the description 
of him by Mr Andrew Wilson in his charming book, 
' The Abode of Snow,' merits quotation. " Colonel 
Gardner," he writes, " a soldier of fortune, ninety 
years of age, was born on the shores of Lake 
Superior, and had wandered into Central Asia at 
an early period. It was something almost appal- 
ling to hear this ancient warrior discourse of what 
have now become almost prehistoric times, and 
relate his experiences in the service of Ranjit 
Singh and other kings and chiefs less known to 
fame. If (as I have no reason to believe) he 
occasionally confused hearsay with his own ex- 
periences, it could scarcely be wondered at con- 
sidering his years, and there is no doubt as to the 
general facts of his career. Listening to his graphic 
narrations, Central Asia vividly appeared as it was 
more than half a century ago, when Englishmen 
could traverse it, not only with tolerable safety, 
but usually as honoured guests." 

Captain Segrave supplies a vivid portrait of 
Colonel Gardner in his old age, which may ex- 


plain the costume in which he appears in the 
frontispiece. In writing of his first meeting with 
Gardner, Captain Segrave says : " I can perfectly 
recollect my first interview with him. He walked 
into Cooper's reception-room one morning, a most 
peculiar and striking appearance, clothed from 
head to foot in the 79th tartan, but fashioned 
by a native tailor. Even his pagri was of tartan, 
and it was adorned with the egret's plume, only 
allowed to persons of high rank. I imagine he 
lived entirely in native fashion : he was said to be 
wealthy, and the owner of many villages." 

Gardner took a keen interest in public affairs, 
and wrote voluminously on the subject of the 
Russian advance towards India. He was an ad- 
vocate of the "forward policy," and perhaps 
showed some want of tact in impressing his views 
on this subject on Lord Lawrence during the 
latter's viceroyalty. 

Other opinions of Gardner's might have found 
more favour with Lord Lawrence, and to those 
interested in the future destiny of our Indian 
empire there may appear to be something of value 
in the following letter, which is obviously modelled 
on the well-known " Brahmin ee-Bull " letters. It 
shows, at any rate, the impressions of a white 


resident in India who had had peculiar oppor- 
tunities of ascertaining native opinions, and whose 
sympathies were rather with the natives than 
with their English conquerors. It may be deemed 
worthy of note also in consideration of the great 
age (ninety-one) of its writer. 

"A few plain, simple, and brotherly words from 
John Bull of India to his much beloved Aryan 
brother, the Eight Honourable Sir John Bull 
of England. 

" MY DEAR JOHN, There is no occasion here to 
call upon the great and erudite professor, Max 
Mtiller, or any other Max, to rise from his chair 
to prove our relationship, as it has been so long 
acknowledged both by ourselves and by all the 
literati, antiquarians, and historians of Europe 
and the East. Therefore, my dear John, let it 
suffice, I say, that I and nearly all my brethren 
and kindred here really and seriously believe that 
the time has arrived when a true and sincere 
community of feeling, thought, word, and deed 
should exist between us for our mutual and 
common interests ; and should by all possible 
means be promoted for the future welfare and 
happiness of the great Aryan family. But to 


carry this design to its legitimate end, it is of 
the greatest importance that all future corre- 
spondence between us, as brothers, should be 
conducted in a plain, open, and candid manner ; 
that is, we must use plain, common English, 
without any parliamentary beating around the 
bush, or unmeaning and ambiguous phrases. This 
is really so much a necessity, that I cannot believe 
but that it has already been settled and agreed 
between us. Therefore, to commence, I will first 
make the simple remark that it is of little use 
to remind you of the manner in which you 
originally, about 250 or 300 years ago, became 
acquainted with us ; nor to ask you whether you 
then entered our house by the front door, the 
back door, or the skylight. 

" But, dear John, when you did enter, you very 
soon succeeded by your wisdom and discretion in 
making yourself completely and comfortably at 
home, inducing us to believe that you had come 
on a brotherly visit ; consequently we received 
you as brothers should, and we respected you 
both as a brother and a friend, although we had 
previously neither seen you nor heard much of 
you for five or six thousand years. 

" But, dear John, you cannot but remember that 


when you had become a guest or lodger in our 
house it was not long before you began to lay 
claims on all our goods and chattels ; in fact you 
seemed inclined (of course in a friendly and 
brotherly way) to make everything your own ; 
and you next, very wisely, began to make laws 
of your own by which you aptly and adroitly 
made it appear that everything you had done 
was right and inevitable, according to your laws, 
will, and pleasure. At the same time, by the 
magic aid of your Western talent and wisdom, the 
various family feuds and internal broils, which 
unfortunately always exist among us, afforded you 
a fair opportunity of assisting one party against 
another ; and thus it came about that while con- 
fusion and warfare stalked through the land, peace 
seemed to be your will and your gift. So matters 
continued until the great Lord Olive, Sahib 
Bahadur, appeared upon the stage, and played 
so distinguished and conspicuous a part in the 
Indian drama ; and although he came to India 
with merely a humble kalamdan 1 in his pocket, 
such was his genius that he laid the sure founda- 
tions of that glorious fabric, the British empire in 
the East. 

1 Inkstand. 


" Aided as you were by the genius of Lord Clive 
and his successors, is it not true, dear John, that it 
was our folly and disunion that permitted or, to 
speak more politely, compelled you to advance 
from the Bay of Bengal to Peshawar, and from 
Cape Comorin to the Himalayas. 

" This, however, dear John, is ancient history, 
and we might be content to forget it, but that it 
is all written with our own records, and must 
therefore at times come to our memory. Another 
fact, too, is recorded, with which you, dear John, 
must be familiar namely, that India was famed 
in ancient times as one of the richest countries 
of the earth, the land of jewels and gold. Now 
all this wealth has vanished, and India to-day is 
actually impoverished, perhaps one of the poorest 
of all countries. 

" Now, my dear John, I shall ask you a plain 
and simple question Where has all this wealth 
gone to? You surely do not consider us profli- 
gates or spendthrifts, who have squandered all 
our national belongings in frivolity and vanity ? 
That, dear John, is not our traditional character. 
We are well known throughout the world as a 
thrifty and prudent race. You will hardly assert 
that we have been so mad as to throw our wealth 


into the sea ; nor have we sent it to the Emperor 
of China, nor thrown it away on the dogs and 
bears of the North Pole ; any more than we have 
made a present of it to the woolly - headed 
" Habshis " of Africa. Then, dear John, to what 
quarter of the globe do you think it can have 
gone but to the West ? In fact, some of our 
star-gazers and astrologers assert (though I can 
hardly believe them) that you have been adroitly 
milking the poor Indian milch cow to your heart's 
content from the day you first entered the country 
to the present time. If this be true, dear John, 
all we can say is, that although you have always 
loved us well, you seem to love the poor old milch 
cow better ; and there is no doubt whatever that 
she has now become so lean on it that she is now 
only fit to be laid up in some humane and charit- 
able hospital for worn-out animals. It is indeed a 
fact, too, that while India has become one of the 
poorest, England has become one of the richest, 
countries on the earth. 

" A few days since one of our promising youths 
(I believe they call him " Young Bengal ") de- 
clared at a debating club that it was a positive 
and historical fact that, when you first entered 
our house, you appeared so amiable that, in our 


usual polite way, we frankly asked you to consider 
the house your own, and you certainly lost no 
time in taking us at our word ; for, very shortly, 
you not only were quite at home in our house, 
but actually took upon yourself the heavy re- 
sponsibilities of paterfamilias. In this capacity, 
he added, you went to great expense in dressing 
us out in red coats, of which we were so proud 
that we strutted about in them like peacocks on a 
green. Seeing this, you kindly made cheap 
" Charlies " of us, to watch the house and cry 
aloud, the livelong night, " All's well " ; and so 
well did we do our duty that no robbers came to 
rob the robber ! 

" Dear John, from the happy days of our revered 
Shri Ram Chandra to the present time we never 
heard of such a thing as a National Debt, but now 
you have in some way placed upon our weak and 
emaciated shoulders the Atlas-like burden of a 
hundred and fifty millions of money ; but as you 
say you have done it for our benefit, we must so 
accept it. For the kind exertions you are making 
for our education, thus placing us on the highroad 
to enlightenment and civilisation, we beg to offer 
you our sincere thanks ; for we are conscious that 
knowledge is power, and that this is the only path 


by which we can in time attain to national great- 
ness. But we must ask more immediate help. 
You well know, dear John, the numerous occa- 
sions on which ere now we have proved our loy- 
alty to the throne, how often- we have fought, 
and freely spilt our best blood, in your cause, not 
only in India, but in Egypt, in China, in Persia, 
in Burma, and other lands ; and in return you 
surely will not think it too much if we ask you to 
bestow on us three small favours. The first of 
these is the full development of the natural re- 
sources of India, both mineral and vegetable. 
They are rich and varied, and can only be fully 
developed by means of a hearty and full measure 
of the necessary legislative initiation and encour- 
agement : there is no doubt that you would soon 
be proud to see the happy results of such action 
on your part in an improved and modernised 
system of agriculture, horticulture, husbandry in 
general, and irrigation ; and I further undertake 
that soon we should boast of our Manchesters, 
Leeds, Sheffields, and Newcastles. Secondly, we 
earnestly request you to open for our preferment 
the door so long closed, and to give us access to 
the higher grades in the civil and military services. 
My dear John, it is mere folly, an unwise and 


unworthy subterfuge, to say, or affect to believe, 
that we have not clever and trustworthy gentle- 
men of high rank and proved respectability, fully 
capable of acting as Deputy Commissioners, Pol- 
itical Agents, Residents, or even Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernors ; as well as Captains, Majors, Colonels, and 
Generals in the army. I can assure you that we 
have many scions of noble and princely birth, who, 
with a fair meed of encouragement, would soon 
qualify themselves for, and would prove a credit 
to, your civil or military service. 

" Our third and chief request is that, for the 
future benefit of both India and England, we 
should be allowed to have representatives both 
in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, 
as well as in the Indian Councils of London and 

" My dear John, you often say that you have won 
India by the sword ; but I beg to assure you that 
if you grant us these three requests you will fairly 
and completely win the hearts of your three hun- 
dred million, more or less, of Indian subjects. 

"As to the native army, I beg to assure you 
that you possess as good material as can be 
found in any part of the world ; but I would sug- 
gest that clan corps, or clan divisions, would be 



the best system that you could adopt. For in- 
stance, a Rajput, a Goorkha, an Oude, an Afghan, 
or a Sikh division, of well-chosen men, organised 
to suit their own national ideas (not yours), and 
commanded by officers of their own clan or race, 
would prove not only loyal to you, but of the 
highest value in every respect. I assure you that 
such officers, chosen from the chiefs and nobles of 
the land, would not only be held to loyalty by 
their high birth, high caste, rank, and family 
pride, but would by them be stimulated to a noble 
ardour and desire to distinguish themselves in the 
field as brave soldiers. 

"As to the reigning princes of India, you have 
only to treat them honourably, justly, and can- 
didly, and they will assuredly prove the strongest 
and truest pillars of the State, and the best sup- 
porters of your empire in the East. With kind 
regards and best wishes, I beg to remain, dear 
John, your affectionate Aryan brother, 

" JOHN BULL of India. 

" 22nd July 1876." 

The story has been told. The long and event- 
ful life came at last to a peaceful close, and 
Alexander Gardner, one of the last of the Indian 


adventurers, died in his bed at Jammu on the 
22nd day of January 1877, being then in the 
ninety-second year of his age. At the end Gardner 
wished to lie among Christian men, and he was 
accordingly buried in the military cemetery at 
Sialkot, the nearest English cantonment. 

In that quiet nook he, who had seen men and 
nature under such strange and varied circum- 
stances, rests from his labours. The field of ad- 
venture which attracted him has ceased to offer 
inducements to the bold spirit of the wanderers, 
but there are yet dark places on the earth where 
they may do good work. To those who have in 
them the divine spark of enterprise these pages 
may not be without a suggestion and a lesson. 






1. General Ventura 



2. Allard 



3. M Avitabile 



4. it Court 



5. ii Harlan 



6. ii Van Cortlandt. 



7. Colonel Ford 



8. ii Foulkes 



9. Captain Argoud 



10. Colonel Canora 



11. ii Thomas 



12. Lieut.-Col. Leslie, alias Rattray 



13. Colonel Mouton 



14. ii Hurbon 



15. ii Steinbach 

English (?) 


16. Captain de la Font 



17. M'Pherson 



18. Mr Campbell 

Anglo- Indian (?) 


19. Mr Garron (Carron ?) 



20. Gordon 



21. ) 
> De Fasheye (father and son) 
2t2t, ) 



23. Alvarine 



24. Hommus 



25. Amise 



26. Hest 



27. De la Roche 



28. Dubuignon 





29. John Holmes 

30. Vochus 

31. Del'Ust 

32. Hureleek 

33. Fitzroy 

34. Barlow 

35. Martindale 

36. Jervais 

37. Mo3vius 

38. Bianchi 

39. Dottenweiss 









1. Dr Harvey 

2. Dr Bene"t 



Drew 500 rupees per mensem 

in 1838. 

3. Dr Martin Honigberger Austrian Drew 900 rupees per mensem 

same year. A clever doctor, an 
enterprising traveller, and an 
amiable man ; author of an 
interesting work, ' Thirty-five 
Years in the East.' 




THE Sikhs, who became eventually the most powerful 
nation encountered by us during the conquest and con- 
solidation of the Indian Empire, were in the beginning no 
more than a weak and persecuted religious community. 

Nanak, the founder of their religion, was born in the 
year 1469, and the name " Sikhs " literally, learners or 
disciples given by him to his followers, became in time 
the descriptive title of the whole people. 

Nanak was succeeded by nine other prophets, the last 
of whom, Govind Singh, was assassinated in 1708. At 
the time of Govind Singh's death the Sikhs had become 
a warlike and powerful people, but they had yet to await 
the coming of the man who was to weld them into a 
nation and bestow on them the gift of discipline. 

At length, in the year 1780, Eanjit Singh, destined to 
become a great leader of men, was born at Gujrat, the son 
of Mahan Singh, chief of one of the least important of 
the twelve confederacies into which the Sikhs were at 
that time formed. 

Mahan Singh died in 1791, and the young Kanjit Singh, 
only eleven years of age, would hardly have been per- 


mitted to arrive at manhood but for the protection given 
him by two remarkable women. These were his mother, 
Raj Kour, daughter of Raja Gajpat Singh of Jind; and 
his mother-in-law, Sada Kour, 1 who had succeeded, as 
widow and heiress of her husband, to the chiefship of the 
powerful Kanheya confederacy. This confederacy ranked 
fourth in importance among the twelve, and Ranjit Singh, 
having grown up under the protection of its chieftainess, 
took no rest until he had dispossessed Sada Kour from 
authority. She died in the year 1827 in the prison to 
which her ungrateful proUgt. had consigned her. 

Ranjit Singh's treatment of the other cherisher of his 
youth was yet more ungrateful, for, unless rumour foully 
belies him, he killed his mother, Raj Kour, with his own 
hands following in this action the example left him by 
his father and grandfather. 

It would be wearisome to the reader to trace minutely 
the measures, alternately violent and treacherous, by 
which Ranjit Singh gradually brought confederacy after 
confederacy under his rule, but some notice must be 
taken of an eventful period in which the young chief 
seized the golden opportunity of his lifetime. 

The city of Lahore, the ancient capital of the Panjab, 
had been occupied in the years 1797 and 1798 by Shah 
Zaman, the Afghan invader of Northern India ; but in 
the latter year domestic troubles recalled him somewhat 
suddenly to his own dominions, and while crossing the 
river Jhelam in flood he lost twelve pieces of artillery 
which were imbedded in quicksands. Not being able to 

1 Ranjit Singh had married, after the oriental fashion, at the age of six 
years, Mahtab Kour, daughter of Sada Kour. The title " Kour " means 


tarry until the guns had been extricated, Shah Zaman 
promised Eanjit Singh, whose inherited territory lay near 
Lahore, authority to take possession of that city and dis- 
trict from its then rulers, if he would save the imperilled 
guns (whose possession was at that period a matter of 
importance) and send them to Afghanistan. Having ex- 
tricated the guns, Eanjit Singh made short work of 
capturing Lahore, whereupon he assumed the title of 
Maharaja, by which he is known in history : moreover, 
he soon afterwards annexed Amritsar, the religious capital 
of the Sikhs. 

It will be understood that this rapid rise to power of 
a competent and ambitious ruler, and the consequent 
consolidation of the Sikhs, could not escape the notice of 
the English Government ; and resulted, in fact, inevitably 
in the development of political relations between the two 
Powers, now become neighbours. 

In 1809 a mission under Mr (afterwards Lord) Met- 
calfe effected an alliance between the British and Eanjit 
Singh, to which the latter honourably adhered during the 
remainder of his life. 

An incident occurred during the visit of Mr Metcalfe's 
mission which brought home to Eanjit Singh's mind a 
sense of the true value of discipline, and determined him 
to form an army on the European system. Among the 
Sikh troops of 1809 were a turbulent and fanatical set of 
men known as the Akalis, or Immortals, whose headlong 
valour had often served Eanjit Singh and turned the 
fortunes of a doubtful battle. The Akalis, infuriated by 
the sight of the religious observances of Mr Metcalfe's 
Hindu escort, suddenly and without the slightest warning 
made an attack in overwhelming numbers on the camp of 


the British mission, which was defended only by two com- 
panies of native infantry. Though taken by surprise, the 
escort quickly rallied and repelled the attack of the 
Akalis, who incurred the wrath of Ranjit Singh even more 
for their ignominious defeat than for the inconvenience 
caused by their misconduct in making the attack. Prof- 
iting by this experience, and with the object of raising 
his own troops to a state of discipline similar to that of 
the British-Indian army, the Maharaja gave employment 
to certain deserters from our service, with whose assist- 
ance considerable progress was made. 

Finally, the absorption, in the year 1820, of the great 
Kanheya confederacy, removed the last remaining faction 
of any strength, and left Ranjit Singh free to devote his 
attention in earnest to the formation of a disciplined 
army for the now united Sikh nation. With a natural 
prejudice against Englishmen, the Maharaja proceeded 
with great caution in the selection of officers to assist him 
in his task, and it was not until the spring of the year 
1822 that the two pioneers of the band of adventurers 
in the Panjab appeared on the scene. These were the 
Chevalier Ventura and the Chevalier Allard, officers of 
the great Napoleon's army, who had served the Emperor 
with honour and credit, and who, after the fatal day of 
Waterloo, had wandered to Egypt, and thence successively 
to Persia, Afghanistan, and the Panjab, in search of 

The arrival at Lahore of Ventura and Allard did not 
put an immediate end to the difficulties which had 
attended their journey; for Ranjit Singh was of an ex- 
tremely suspicious turn of mind, and took some time to 
assure himself that the two foreigners (who were in a 


state of extreme poverty) were really what they declared 
themselves to be, and not secret emissaries of the dreaded 
and suspected British Government. 

Before describing the careers of Ventura and his com- 
panions in arms, a brief description must be given of the 
old Sikh army the " Dal Khalsa," or army of God, as it 
was called and of the Maharaja, its creator. 

The army consisted for the most part of cavalry, raised 
and paid under a feudal system. Each chief furnished 
his followers with arms and horses, and the mounted 
soldier alone was held in respect. The exceptional estima- 
tion in which the Akalis (the fanatics already mentioned) 
were held, was partly due to their religious character and 
partly to the desperate courage which they showed in 
action. They usually fought on foot, but all other Sikhs 
mounted themselves before going on active service if 
possible, or at any rate on the first opportunity that 
offered itself. 

The Sikh weapon was the sword, which, when mounted, 
they used with great skill. Bows and arrows were used 
by the infantry, and a few matchlocks ; but in the early 
days of Ranjit Singh's career the Sikhs disliked firearms 
and artillery of all descriptions, and possessed little or no 
skill in their use. 

The picture of a Sikh soldier of the unreformed army, 
drawn for Bellasis by Chand Khan, 1 is probably as accur- 
ate as it is spirited, due allowance being made for the 
supposed bias of the speaker : " Go to the bazaar, take any 
dirty, naked scoundrel, twist up his hair, give him a lofty 
turban and a clean vest; comb out and lengthen his 
beard, and gird his loins with a yellow cummerbund ; put 

1 In ' Adventures of an Officer in the Pan jab,' by Sir Henry Lawrence. 


a clumsy sword by his side and a long spear in his 
cowardly hand; set him on a strong bony two-year-old 
horse, and you have a passable Sikh." Omitting the 
adjective "cowardly," the above description may be ac- 
cepted ; but such men as those so unflatteringly described 
had done great things for Ranjit Singh. The swords may 
have been clumsy, but they were wielded by no cowardly 
hands when Multan was captured by the Khalsa from its 
gallant Afghan defenders. 

With the arrival of Ventura and Allard came the day 
when the Maharaja could put into execution his long- 
cherished design, and commence to form his undisciplined 
hordes of horsemen into that Sikh army which in the end 
faced, and for a time faced successfully, the conquerors of 
Napoleon and his legions. 

At the death of Ranjit Singh (1839) the strength of the 
regular army of the Panjab is stated by Sir Lepel Griffin 
to have been 29,000 men, with 192 guns. The monthly 
cost was Rs. 3,82,088, or say 500,000 per annum. 

The irregular levies were estimated at about the same 
strength, and, says Sir Lepel Griffin, "were the picturesque 
elements in the Maharaja's reviews. Many of the men 
were well-to-do country gentlemen, the sons, relations, or 
clansmen of the chiefs who placed them in the field and 
maintained them there, and whose personal credit was 
concerned in their splendid appearance. There was no 
uniformity in their dress. Some wore a shirt of mail, with 
a helmet inlaid with gold and a kalji or heron's plume ; 
others were gay with the many-coloured splendour of velvet 
and silk, with pink or yellow muslin turbans, and gold- 
embroidered belts carrying their sword and powder-horn. 
All wore, at the back, the small, round shield of tough 


buffalo-hide. These magnificent horsemen were armed 
some with bows and arrows, but the majority with match- 
locks, with which they made excellent practice." 

And what manner of man was the great Maharaja who 
had welded together this valiant, powerful, and pictur- 
esque army ? 

Of the many descriptions of him that have been handed 
down to us, none is more vivid than that written by the 
traveller, Baron von Hligel : " In person he is short and 
mean-looking, and had he not distinguished himself by his 
great talents, he would be passed by without being thought 
worthy of observation. Without exaggeration I must call 
him the most ugly and unprepossessing man I saw through- 
out the Panjab. His left eye, which is quite closed, dis- 
figures him less than the other, which is always rolling 
about wide open, and is much distorted by disease. The 
scars of the smallpox on his face do not run into one 
another, but form so many dark pits in his greyish-brown 
skin ; his short straight nose is swollen at the tip ; the 
skinny lips are stretched tight over his teeth, which are 
still good ; his grizzled beard, very thin on the cheeks and 
upper lip, meets under the chin in matted confusion ; and 
his head, which is sunk very much on his broad shoulders, 
is too large for his height, and does not seem to move 

It must be remembered that this striking picture was 
drawn late in the Maharaja's life, and Sir Lepel Griffin 
tells us that in earlier days Kanjit Singh, though short of 
stature and cruelly disfigured by smallpox, was the beau 
idtal of a soldier, strong, spare, active, courageous, and 
enduring. An excellent horseman, he would remain in 
the saddle the whole day without showing any sign of 


fatigue. His love of horses amounted to a passion ; he 
was a keen sportsman and an accomplished swordsman. 
His dress was scrupulously simple, contrasting strongly 
with the gorgeous costumes of the Sikh sardars. 

That Ranjit Singh was indeed a great man, a king of 
men, cannot for a moment be doubted. He was a born 
ruler, with the natural genius of command. Men obeyed 
him by instinct and because they had no power to disobey. 
Yet his moral character was extremely low selfish, false, 
avaricious, grossly superstitious, shamelessly and openly 
drunken and debauched. That a man with these char- 
acteristics exercised an absolute control, even when 
paralysed and indeed half dead, over the turbulent Sikh 
people, testifies to his greatness. 

Without attempting to present a complete picture of so 
complex a character as that of Eanjit Singh, two points 
call for our special attention when considering the 
Maharaja as a ruler and as the creator of an army : the 
first, his appreciation of the value of European discipline ; 
and the second, his discrimination in the choice of agents. 

The sketches of the Maharaja's chief officers, which 
follow, show how wisely they were chosen and how 
judiciously they were employed. From these pages and 
from the record of Colonel Gardner, some idea may be 
derived of the Dal Khalsa, or Sikh army. 


For several reasons the name of General Ventura 
deserves to stand first in the roll of Eanjit Singh's white 
officers. He stood second to none in the estimation of his 


royal master, and was held in like respect by those British 
officials, both civil and military, with whom he came in 
contact. He was, moreover, with Allard, the first to 
enter Eanjit Singh's service, and he remained in it faith- 
fully until and after the end of the Maharaja's life. 

The fact, however, which influences me most strongly 
in according the place of honour to Ventura is his selection 
by Kanjit Singh to command the " Fouj Khas," or model 
brigade the first in rank, discipline, and equipment in 
the reformed army. The four infantry battalions of this 
brigade were the models on which the remainder of the 
army was formed, and it was by the conversion of his 
main strength from indifferent irregular cavalry to infantry 
of a very high class that Kanjit Singh effected the mar- 
vellous results which establish his claim to be considered 
a great military organiser. In this conversion Ventura 
was his right-hand man, and the only thing to be regretted 
is that the account of his career, that of an honourable and 
brave soldier of fortune, is perhaps less entertaining than 
those of some of his less reputable colleagues. 

Of the early life of Ventura I have been able to ascer- 
tain but little. It is usually stated (on the authority of 
Henry Prinsep) that Ventura, an Italian by birth, had 
held the rank of colonel of infantry in the army of the 
Napoleonic Empire ; and there is no reason to doubt the 
fact. There is, unfortunately, no record in the French 
War Office of the services of individual members of the 
Italian contingent of the army of the First Empire, nor 
can information on the subject be obtained from the War 
Office of the present Italian army. 

Joseph Wolff, the heroic missionary-traveller, states that 
Ventura was a Jew by birth, and that his name was 



Keuben Ben-Toora. Be this as it may, Maharaja Eanjit 
Singh, when his first distrust had worn off, rapidly took 
Ventura into favour, gave him at first the command of 
two battalions, and very shortly afterwards that of a 
brigade. For a dwelling the Maharaja assigned to Ventura 
the remarkable building close to Lahore known as the 
tomb of Anarkali. This building had previously been 
occupied by Prince Karak Singh, the heir-apparent a 
fact which shows the high social position accorded to 

The Maharaja desired his officers to engage not to eat 
beef, not to shave their beards, and not to smoke tobacco ; 
but on Ventura and Allard agreeing to the first two 
conditions, the third was dispensed with. 

General Ventura had not long to wait before an op- 
portunity offered itself to him to show the Maharaja 
and the Sikh army the merits of his system of dis- 
cipline, and also to illustrate his skill as a tactician. 
In March 1823, only a year after Ventura's arrival at 
Lahore, the Sikh army was engaged against the Afghans 
in the battle of Nowshera or Theri. The Afghans were 
in great strength their regular troops holding a position 
on the right bank of the Kabul river, while 20,000 
mountaineers of the Khatak and Yusufzai tribes occupied 
a strong position on the left bank. 

Maharaja Eanjit Singh now showed his confidence in 
Generals Ventura and Allard by sending them with a 
small force of eight battalions and two batteries to keep 
the regular Afghan troops in check, while he with his 
main strength fell upon the Ghazis. The battle was 
severely contested, but, thanks to the superior general- 
ship of Eanjit Singh, resulted in a complete victory for 


the Sikhs. The loss of the victors was estimated by 
Captain (afterwards Sir Claude) Wade 1 at 2000 men 
out of a total force present of 24,000. 

The Afghan tribesmen had more than 3000 men killed, 
but gallantly rallied on the day following the battle and 
were ready to renew the fight. Muhammad Azim Khan, 
however, who commanded the Afghan regular troops, fear- 
ing lest his treasure and harem might fall into the hands of 
the Sikhs, broke up his camp, and, crossing the Momand 
hills with undignified haste, regained the valley of Jalala- 
bad. He was pursued for a considerable distance by 
Ventura and Allard, whose force had been increased by 
a contingent under Prince Sher Singh one of the 
Maharaja's sons, and a brave soldier. 

In consequence of this victory Eanjit Singh occupied 
the city of Peshawar, and his troops plundered the whole 
district up to the Khaibar Pass. 

General Ventura was highly favoured by the Maharaja 
in consequence of his services on this and subsequent 
occasions, and was granted pay at the rate of 2500 
rupees a -month. He also was at various times given 
large jagirs, or feudal grants of land, by his royal 
master; and towards the end of the Maharaja's life 
Ventura received two villages as a special gift for his 
young daughter Victorine. 

In spite of this large income the General was not so 
rich a man as might have been expected. He was too 
honourable to add to his fortune by illicit means, and 
his salary was usually in arrears to a very considerable 
extent. For years the debt amounted to no less than 

1 Sir Claude Wade held charge for many years of our political relations 
with Ranjit Singh, and was on most intimate terms with the Maharaja. 


150,000 rupees, or five years' income; and whenever 
Ventura asked for the money due to him the Maharaja 
would say, "What do you require it for? Is not all I 
have yours ? " 

In 1825 General Ventura was married to a European 
lady at Ludhiana, and in honour of the event a cere- 
monial took place at Lahore, when the bridegroom re- 
ceived gifts of 10,000 rupees from the Maharaja and 
30,000 from the courtiers. 

The first campaign in the year 1826 was directed 
again Kotler, the chief command being intrusted to 
Jamadar Khushal Singh, a favourite officer of the Maha- 
raja. In this campaign a number of Sikh sardars or 
chiefs, and soldiers, refused to serve under Ventura and 
Allard, and threatened to resist their authority by main 
force. The two generals complained to the Maharaja, 
who at once proceeded to the army, degraded the mutin- 
ous officers, and severely punished the ringleaders of 
inferior rank. 

Later in the year General Ventura accompanied Sardar 
Hari Singh Nalwa, one of the bravest and best educated 
of the Sikh chieftains, in various small expeditions. A 
rising at Gandgarh was quelled after a smart action, 
the hill fortress of Srikot was captured ; and finally 
Ventura took part in a demonstration under Prince Sher 
Singh, the object of which was to exact payment of the 
annual tribute from Yar Muhammad Khan, at that time 
ruler of Peshawar. The tribute was paid without fighting, 
and so ended a year of great military activity. 

In the year 1827 occurred the curious incident of the 
horse Laili, which has been so often dilated on by writers 
of Sikh history. This horse was believed to be of sur- 


passing beauty and excellence, and it is said that Fatten 
Ali Shah, of Persia, offered 75,000 rupees for the animal. 
Maharaja Eanjit Singh also set his heart on becoming the 
owner of Laili. Yar Muhammad Khan of Peshawar, the 
owner of the coveted horse, had it noised abroad that 
Laili was dead; but this having been disproved, the 
Maharaja sent an expeditionary force under the command 
of his son, Prince Sher Singh, and General Ventura, and 
at length obtained possession of Laili. The presence of 
General Ventura, and subsequently of General Allard, at 
Peshawar, in connection with this affair, proved to be 
of material service to the Maharaja, as he was thereby 
enabled to rescue that city and district from the fanatical 
followers of Syad Ahmad the Keformer, who had defeated 
the Afghan troops and slain Yar Muhammad Khan him- 
self. Peshawar was for a time relinquished to the 
Afghans and the Sikh army withdrawn. The ultimate 
fate of Syad Ahmad is related by Colonel Gardner in 
chap. ix. of this work. 

To avoid undue repetition, it will suffice to say that, 
from the time of his entering Ranjit Singh's service, 
General Ventura took an active part in all the campaigns 
and expeditions by means of which the Maharaja in- 
creased year by year the extent of his dominions and 
the efficiency of his army. 

The confidence shown in Ventura, and the other foreign 
officers who will next be introduced to the reader, aroused 
so much jealousy among the Sikh princes and chieftains 
that, in general, the leadership of those expeditions in 
which the Maharaja himself did not exercise the com- 
mand was bestowed on one of the reigning family, or 
one of the few chiefs who could be trusted in independ- 


ent employment : thus in the year 1831, that of Colonel 
Gardner's arrival in the Panjab, General Ventura shared 
with Shahzada Sher Singh the command of the force sent 
out from Peshawar against the reformer Syad Ahmad. 
As is related in Gardner's narrative, this force completely 
defeated Syad Ahmad's followers, and the prophet him- 
self was slain, at a place called Balakot. Gardner was 
just too late to take part in the action ; but it is probable 
that Ventura became aware that Gardner had intended 
to assist the insurgents, and that this fact, coupled with 
Gardner's adherence to the Dogra faction, caused the 
ill-will which is shown by Gardner's language to have 
existed between them. The French and Italian officers 
in Eanjit Singh's service held much aloof from those of 
other nationalities, and this also must have contributed 
to the unfriendliness. 

Later in the year 1831 General Ventura was sent to 
Multan, in command of a force of 10,000 troops and 
thirty pieces of artillery, for the purpose of collecting 
the tribute of that province. 

Space does not permit me to detail Ventura's military 
achievements in the service of Maharaja Ranjit Singh : 
suffice it to say that he served that exacting master faith- 
fully to the end of his life, and after the Maharaja's 
death he in like manner served his successors. 

In addition to the rank of general, conferred on Ven- 
tura soon after he entered the Sikh service, Ranjit Singh 
created him Jcazi and governor of Lahore, which appoint- 
ment gave him the third seat in durbar. 

During the early years of his service in the Panjab 
General Ventura had lived with General Allard in a 
large mosque near the Lahore cantonments. It is re- 


lated that when Ventura was absent in France for two 
years (1838-1840), his family, together with forty or 
fifty female slaves, lived during the whole period in 
this mosque without once moving out of doors. 

General Ventura was a high-minded and honourable 
soldier, much respected by the Sikhs, and also by all 
the English officers with whom he was brought in con- 
tact. He eventually retired from the Panjab in 1843, 
possessed of an ample fortune, and passed the remainder 
of his life at Paris, where he lived in very good style. 


The second of Maharaja Eanjit Singh's foreign generals 
was Jean Francois Allard, born at Saint Tropez, a small 
seaport on the Mediterranean coast of France, on March 
8, 1785. Allard joined the French army on December 
6, 1803, his first regiment being the 23rd Dragoons, in 
which he passed through the various grades to the rank 
of squadron quartermaster-sergeant. 

Allard served in Italy during the years 1804 to 1806, 
and was transferred in the latter year to the royal guard 
of the army of the kingdom of Naples. In February 
1807 he became quartermaster of the Neapolitan regi- 
ment of light cavalry, and towards the end of the fol- 
lowing year accompanied that corps to the theatre of 
war in Spain. 

Allard became sub-lieutenant on the 15th June 1809, 
and lieutenant on the 10th July 1810. On the 31st 
July 1813 he received two sword - cuts in the skirmish 
of Aleazar, near Alcala, and a year later was transferred 


to the 2nd regiment of dragoons of the Imperial Guard 
of France. In July 1814 he was again transferred to 
the 2nd Hussars, and on 28th April 1815 he was pro- 
moted captain in the 7th Hussars. 

His services had been rewarded with the crosses of 
the Royal Spanish Order and of the Legion of Honour, 
and he held the appointment of aide-de-camp to Mare- 
chal Brune. Fortune appeared, therefore, to smile on the 
young soldier, and a successful career in the military 
service of France seemed fairly within his reach. The 
fatal day of Waterloo, and the murder of his patron, 
Mare'chal Brune, dashed his hopes to the earth, and after 
four years of hesitation and of half-hearted attempts to 
make a fresh start in the royal army, Allard decided to 
seek his fortune abroad. His first intention was to visit 
the United States, but a communication from his friend 
Colonel Ventura caused him to change his plans and 
accompany the latter to Persia, where they entered the 
service of Abbas Mirza, the heir -apparent. Here the 
friends were treated with kindness and respect, but their 
aspirations in the matter of salary were very far from 
satisfied ; so in the fulness of time they took leave of 
Abbas Mirza and passed through Afghanistan into the 

Their early troubles in this kingdom have been related 
in the account of Ventura, and on that subject it need 
only be stated that at the same time that Ventura re- 
ceived command of a body of infantry, Allard was com- 
missioned to raise a corps of dragoons, who were to be 
armed and disciplined like the cavalry of European 
armies. Into this task Allard entered with unbounded 
enthusiasm, and with a considerable amount of success. 


Lieutenant William Barr, of the Bengal Horse Artil- 
lery, who accompanied Sir Claude Wade in his successful 
operations in the Khaibar Pass, gives an excellent de- 
scription of the Sikh cavalry at the time of Allard's death. 
After an unfavourable review of the artillery (who were, 
however, much better than they looked), Barr writes : 

" We then reached the cavalry, the dragoons occupying 
the left. These were well mounted, and form a fine body 
of men and horses. On their right were two regiments 
of Allard's cuirassiers, the most noble - looking troops 
on parade. The men and horses were all picked, and 
amongst the former are to be seen many stalwart fellows, 
who appear to advantage under their cuirasses and steel 
casques. Particular attention seems to have been paid 
to setting them well up, and their accoutrements are 
kept in the highest order. Many of the officers wear 
brass cuirasses, and their commandant is perhaps the 
finest man of the whole body, and looks extremely well 
in front of his superb regiment. ... It used to be poor 
Allard's pride and amusement to review these men, and 
their present martial appearance is no doubt owing to 
that officer's constant care and superintendence." 

Barr goes on to say that in marching past, the regular- 
ity and order of the cuirassiers could scarcely be exceeded 
by the Company's cavalry. 

Barr and his companions had previously been much 
struck by the excellent way in which Allard's dragoons 
were mounted. This was the corps mentioned above as 
taking the left of the line of cavalry. The dress of these 
dragoons consisted of a jacket of a dull red with broad 
facings of buff, crossed in front by a pair of black belts, 
one of which supported a pouch and the other a bayonet, 


genuine dragoon equipment, in which the Sikh cavalry 
fought, as the old quip has it, indifferently on horseback 
or on foot. Hound the waist the dragoons wore a cum- 
merbund, partially concealed by a sword-belt, from which 
hung a sabre with a brass hilt and leathern scabbard. 
The carbine was so attached as to give it the appearance 
of being slung across the back of the dragoon, but rested, 
in fact, in a bucket fastened to the saddle. The trousers 
were of dark-blue cloth with a red stripe, and the turbans 
of crimson silk, brought somewhat into a peak in front, 
and ornamented in the centre with a small brass half- 
moon, from which sprang a glittering sprig about two 
inches in height. 

The officers were attired from top to toe in bright 
crimson silk, and were armed with a sabre only. 

Like General Ventura, Allard took part in all the cam- 
paigns of the Sikh army from the date of his arrival in 
the Panjab. It is related that very soon after Allard had 
begun to form his regular cavalry Eanjit Singh ordered 
his Ghorcharas, or irregular cavalry, to cross the Indus. 
The order was immediately obeyed, but no discipline was 
observed and no precautions were taken. No less than 
500 men are said to have been swept away by the torrent 
and drowned. Allard then mounted an elephant, and 
directed his cavalry by trumpet-sounds, and moving them 
in a suitable formation, succeeded in conveying them 
across the Indus without loss. Allard was immediately 
given the rank of general, and received the same pay as 
Ventura viz., 3000 per annum. 

General Allard, like his friend Ventura, was a man of 
high character, of polished manners, and of a most amiable 
disposition. Frequent mention is made of him in the 


writings of travellers in the Panjab, and, almost without 
exception, he is spoken of in terms of respect and liking. 
He showed a princely hospitality to Europeans of all 
ranks, and a gentleness to the natives of India which 
earned him the contempt of Avitabile a fact on which 
he is surely to be congratulated. 

Ranjit Singh seems to have felt a genuine affection for 
Allard, and it is even said that the Maharaja's death was 
hastened by the loss of his friend. 

General Allard's death occurred at Peshawar on Janu- 
ary 23, 1839, and his body was taken to Lahore for burial : 
the cause of death was heart disease. The Maharaja was 
in bad health, and his attendants were long afraid to tell 
him of Allard's death. General Allard was nearly fifty- 
four years old, and left a wife and large family, to whom 
he was greatly attached. He was perhaps the most 
amiable and attractive of soldiers of fortune. 

It is worth mentioning that Allard, together with 
Ventura, Avitabile, and Court, received from King Louis 
Philippe the rank of general in the French army and the 
Cross of the Legion of Honour. Allard was also appointed 
Political Agent of the French Government at the Court of 
Lahore. In appearance he was said to have been a hand- 
some man, of a benevolent cast of countenance ; and Miss 
Eden amusingly describes the impression made on her by 
his remarkable beard. "Allard," she writes in a letter 
from Calcutta dated December 5, 1836, "wears an im- 
mensely long beard that he is always stroking and making 
much of ; and I was dead absent all the time he was there 
because his wings are beautiful white hair, and his mou- 
stachios and the middle of his beard quite black. He 
looks like a piebald horse." 



In marked contrast to Allard was Avitabile, the third of 
Ranjit Singh's white generals, who is even better known 
to us than are Ventura and Allard, as it fell to his lot 
to occupy a position for many years in which he was able 
to render signal services to the British Indian Govern- 
ment. This position was that of governor of Peshawar, 
which city and province were ruled by Avitabile with 
remorseless cruelty, shameless rapacity, and signal skill 
and success. 

Of the early life which fitted a Neapolitan peasant for 
such a position but little can be ascertained with certainty, 
but that little discloses a very remarkable personality. 
" Paolo di Bartolomeo Avitabile a general in the armies 
of the Panjab and of France ; Chevalier of the Legion 
of Honour; of the Orders of Merit and of Saint Ferdi- 
nand (of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies) ; Commander 
of the Durani Order (of Afghanistan) ; Grand Commander 
of the Lion and Sun and of the Two Lions and Crown (of 
Persia) ; and of the Star of the Panjab " was born at 
Agerolo in the kingdom of Naples on the 25th October 
1791, and served in the local levies of his native State 
during the years 1807 to 1809. 

Avitabile then entered the artillery of the army of King 
Joseph Buonaparte, and served that sovereign and his 
successor Murat. Avitabile served several campaigns 
under Murat in the Italian contingent of the imperial 
army, and rose to the rank of lieutenant, receiving also 
the command of the 15th Battery. 

When the kingdom of Naples was restored to the Bour- 
bons by the fall of Napoleon, Avitabile retained his rank 


and command, and served under the Austrian General 
Delaver at the siege of Gaeta. On this occasion he 
showed distinguished gallantry, and was twice wounded. 
General Delaver recommended him for promotion to the 
rank of captain and for a decoration, but for some un- 
explained reason Avitabile was removed in the same rank 
of lieutenant to a light infantry regiment. Disgusted by 
this treatment, Avitabile determined to seek his fortunes 
abroad, and embarked for Philadelphia : his voyage was, 
however, disastrous, and ended in a shipwreck near Mar- 
seilles. Here Avitabile was kindly treated, and advised to 
turn his steps eastward rather than westward : he accord- 
ingly took ship for Constantinople, where he found an 
envoy of Futteh Ali Shah of Persia charged with the duty 
of obtaining European officers for the Persian army. 

Avitabile arrived at Teheran in the year 1820, and 
served the Shah and his heir-apparent for a period of six 
years, during which he performed signal services, and was 
rewarded with the rank of " khan " and the grade of 
colonel. He also received two of the highest Persian 
decorations. 1 Discontented with his remuneration, and 
hearing favourable reports from Ventura of his service in 
the Panjab, Avitabile and Court (a brother-officer of the 
Napoleonic army who was in Persia with him) set out for 
India. After an adventurous journey through Afghan- 
istan, they arrived in the Panjab and were quickly given 
employment. Ranjit Singh soon discovered that Avi- 
tabile's talents lay in the direction of civil government, 

1 This statement is derived from an account of General Avitabile in the 
'Livre des Ce'lebrite's Contemporaines,' published in 1846. It must, how- 
ever, be mentioned that Sir George Russell Clerk, who knew Avitabile 
well, mentions in his Diary that the latter held no military rank in Persia, 
and, in fact, made his living in that country as a pedlar. 


and made him governor of the town and province of 

Avitabile showed great ability in this office, and ruled 
his subjects, Sikhs and Muhammadans alike, with im- 
partial severity. In so doing he undoubtedly pleased 
Eanjit Singh, who had all the instincts of a great ruler, 
but gave great dissatisfaction to the Sikhs, who desired 
and expected to be treated as the ruling race. In addition 
to his duties as governor, Avitabile exercised military 
command over the troops at Wazirabad, and succeeded 
in impressing something of his own stern character on 
Ms infantry regiment. 

The Eev. Joseph Wolff, on his arrival in the Panjab 
(in 1832), found Avitabile at Wazirabad, and gives the 
following interesting account of him: 

"This famous Neapolitan spoke Italian, French, Per- 
sian, and Hindustani with equal facility. He had im- 
proved the town of Wazirabad to a remarkable extent. 
He kept the streets of the city clean, and had a fine 
palace and a beautiful carriage for himself. He was a 
clever, cheerful man, and full of fun. He told Wolff at 
once that he would show to him his angeli custodes, and 
then took him to his bedroom, the walls of which were 
covered with pictures of dancing-girls. 

" He and Wolff one day rode out together on elephants, 
and he said to him, ' Now I will show you the marks of 
the civilisation which I have introduced into this country.' 
They rode outside the town, and there Wolff saw before 
him about six gibbets, upon which a great number of 
malefactors were hanging. Though Avitabile was full of 
fun, yet whenever the conversation was directed to im- 
portant subjects, he became most serious. Though he had 


amassed in India a fortune of 50,000, he was always 
panting after a return to his native country, Naples ; and 
he said to Wolff, ' For the love of God, help me to leave 
this place ! ' " 

Avitabile continued to govern Wazirabad wisely, and 
on the whole well, until he was removed in the year 1834 
to Peshawar. The government of this new conquest of 
the Maharaja's had proved too arduous a task for the 
various Sikh princes and sardars who had tried their 
hands at it. 

Peshawar is, as has been well said, a fragment of 
Central Asia that has accidentally become, geographically 
and politically, part of India. Of all the cities of the 
plains its inhabitants have been and are the most savage 
and unruly. The ruthless Avitabile was the first man 
who ever held Peshawar in subjection. In the opinion of 
Sir Henry Lawrence, a man who must have held Avita- 
bile's methods in horror, " the most lenient view of him 
that can be taken is, to consider him as set in authority 
over savage animals not as a ruler over reasonable 
beings as one appointed to grind down a race, who bear 
the yoke with about as good a grace as ' a wild bull in a 
net,' and who, catching the ruler for one moment asleep, 
would soon cease to be governed. But the ground of 
complaint alleged against him is that he acts as a savage 
among savage men, instead of showing them that a 
Christian can wield the iron sceptre without staining it 
by needless cruelty, without following some of the worst 
fashions of his worst neighbours. Under his rule sum- 
mary hangings have been added to the native catalogue 
of punishments, and not a bad one either, when properly 
used ; but the ostentation of adding two or three to the 


string suspended from the gibbet, on special days and 
festivals, added to a very evident habitual carelessness of 
life, lead one to fear that small pains are taken to dis- 
tinguish between innocence and guilt, and that many a 
man, ignorant of the alleged crime, pays for it with his 
blood. . . . 

"Still, General Avitabile has many of the attributes of 
a good ruler: he is bold, active, and intelligent, seeing 
everything with his own eyes ; up early and late. He has, 
at the expense of his own character for humanity, by the 
terror of his name, saved much life. It is but just to state 
that the peaceful and well-disposed inhabitants of Pesha- 
war, both Hindu and Muhammadan, united in praise of 
his administration, though all with one voice declared 
that mercy seldom mingled in his decrees. Believed to 
fear neither man nor devil, Avitabile keeps down by grim 
fear what nothing else would keep down, the unruly 
spirits around him, who, if let slip, would riot in carnage : 
his severity may therefore be extenuated as the least of 
two evils." 

This is not an unfavourable picture, and it is worth 
studying, for Avitabile was one of the very few Euro- 
peans who has governed an Eastern province on oriental 

Avitabile was in appearance " a tall stout man, of sensual 
countenance, with large nose and lips, something of the 
Jewish type, and well whiskered and bearded. He wore 
a laced blue jacket, not unlike that of our horse-artillery, 
capacious crimson trousers of the Turkish fashion, and a 
rich sword." The blade of this sword had belonged to the 
Emperor Akbar, and was a superb one : it cost Avitabile 
2000 rupees, and the setting cost him another thousand. 


The hilt was of gold, studded with very valuable jewels, 
as was the scabbard, a very small portion of green velvet 
being visible in the middle of the latter. It would be 
interesting to know what has become of this costly relic. 

The following anecdote, told by a German traveller in 
the Panjab at the time of Avitabile's governorship of 
Peshawar, illustrates the General's ready wit and know- 
ledge of native character : 

"A certain Mohammedan woman of Peshawar had a 
son and a daughter. Both married, and the daughter and 
daughter-in-law gave birth, at the same time, to two 
children, one a boy, the other a girl. Some time after- 
wards a serious dispute arose between the two ladies. 
The daughter's child was a girl, that of the daughter-in- 
law a boy, but the former maintained that the boy was 
hers and had been stolen from her. The daughter-in-law 
denied the charge, and was supported in her denial by her 
husband's mother. The strife became serious, and the 
contending parties brought the affair before the judge. 
This magistrate, being no Solomon, was unable to elicit 
the truth, and dismissed the complainants. The latter 
were not satisfied, and appealed to the High Court, over 
which General Avitabile presided. The case was brought 
before him, and public curiosity was strained to the high- 
est pitch, each eagerly asking his neighbour, 'How will 
the judge decide ? ' The statements upon both sides having 
been gone through, General Avitabile ordered two goats 
to be brought, one having a male, the other a female kid. 
This being done, he sent for two sheep that had each a 
lamb, one a male, the other a female. In like manner he 
commanded two cows to be brought, of which one had a 
male, the other a female calf. These different quadrupeds 



being introduced, he ordered that the goats, the sheep, and 
the cows should be milked, and the milk of each animal 
placed in a separate vessel, which should be marked. 
' Now,' said the General, ' let this milk be examined, and 
it will be found that that which belongs to the animals 
that have male young is stronger than the milk which has 
been taken from the others.' Upon inspection this was 
found to be correct. ' Now,' said the judge, ' bring me 
some milk from the mothers of the children/ The milk 
was brought, and General Avitabile declared that the 
milk of the daughter-in-law was stronger than that of the 
daughter, and that consequently she must be the mother 
of the boy. The wisdom of the judge astonished every 
one, and his decision was universally admired." 

It is also related that on one occasion General Avitabile 
quelled a mutiny among his troops by releasing and arm- 
ing a number of prisoners, by which means he took his 
troops by surprise and reduced them to subjection. 

It is an interesting fact that the best account of Avita- 
bile, after that of Sir Henry Lawrence, is contained in 
the 'History of the War in Afghanistan' of Captain 
(afterwards Sir) Henry Havelock. Captain Havelock had 
marched to Kabul in 1839 with the ' army of the Indus/ 
in the capacity of aide-de-camp to Sir Willoughby Cotton, 
and in November of that year arrived at Peshawar on his 
return to India. 

Havelock confirms all that is written by others concern- 
ing the lavish hospitality shown to all comers by Avita- 
bile, and his description is worth transcribing, giving, as it 
does, a curious picture of the life of the adventurer in 
high places : 

" In the ' Serai/ mentioned by Elphinstone as one of the 


glories of Peshawar in 1809, the present governor of the 
city has established his military headquarters, and his 
civil and fiscal tribunals. It is called the 'Gorkhatra,' 
and is a vast quadrangle, the length of each side being 
250 yards. This has been rendered habitable, first by 
building a suite of apartments over the gateway nearest 
to the country, and next by erecting a very handsome 
dwelling in the Persian fashion, consisting of three storeys 
and a rez-de-chaussde, on the side nearer the city. 

" The governor is a man of princely habits. His dress, 
chargers, and equipages all partake of a splendour well 
calculated to uphold his authority amongst a people like 
the Afghans. He particularly, and very justly, piques 
himself on the excellence of his table, and keeps an 
establishment of not fewer than eight cooks, who are 
well versed in all the mysteries of Persian, English, and 
French gastronomy. He is, moreover, a frank, gay, and 
good-humoured person, as well as an excellent ruler and 
skilful officer." 

As Captain Havelock passed a complete month in close 
association with Avitabile, this very favourable picture 
of the redoubtable Italian possesses much value. 

On the occasion of the advance of the British army in 
1842, under General Pollock, to avenge the destruction of 
Elphinstone's army in Afghanistan, Avitabile was again 
brought in contact with a large number of English officers. 
From what motives he acted it would perhaps be un- 
gracious to inquire too closely, but it is undeniable that 
General Avitabile rendered very important services to 
England at that critical juncture. No stone was left 
unturned by him to facilitate the movement of our troops 
through the Peshawar province, and the General also 


lavished personal kindnesses and hospitality on the Eng- 
lish officers. 

Among other friendly actions of Avitabile may be 
mentioned the advance of large sums of money to the 
British field - treasury. This, however, was at least as 
convenient to the lender as to the borrower, for Avitabile 
was thus enabled to transmit to England a considerable 
portion of his fortune. No less than ten lakhs of rupees 
were advanced in this manner by the General. 

After Avitabile's return to Europe he asked for some 
mark of the satisfaction of the East Indian Company, and 
in due course the Court of Directors resolved (27th August 
1845) "that the eminent services of General Avitabile, 
while governor of Peshawar, in co-operation with the 
British troops during the Afghanistan campaign, fully 
entitle him to some enduring testimonial of the Court's 
grateful sense of his conduct." Avitabile was subse- 
quently presented by the Court with a sword worth 300 

Eeference has already been made to Avitabile's kindness 
to European travellers. Like Generals Ventura and Al- 
lard, he ever received such wanderers with princely hos- 
pitality, and he behaved generously also to those natives 
of the Panjab whom he ruled with such iron severity. 
Sir Kichard Burton relates that, when passing through 
Egypt on his celebrated pilgrimage to Mecca, he was in 
some way mistaken for Avitabile; and that a party of 
Indian Muhammadan pilgrims travelled a long distance 
to see him, relying on the well-known liberality of " Abu- 
Tabile " for assistance. 

Avitabile's government of Peshawar came to an end 
during the disturbed year of 1843. He was compelled to 


leave the city and to take refuge at Jalalabad. Eventually 
he retired to British India, and thence made his way to 
his native Naples. 

General Avitabile received the same rate of pay as 
General Ventura viz., 3000 per annum, in addition to 
ajaffir worth 2000 per annum, as governor of Peshawar. 
His further emoluments are supposed to have been very 
great, more particularly after the death of Maharaja 
Eanjit Singh, when all business fell into confusion. 

After his retirement from the Sikh service General 
Avitabile built a fine house at Castellamare near Naples, 
but did not long live to enjoy it. An over-devotion to 
champagne carried him off, and his large fortune soon 
found its way into the pockets of the lawyers so many 
soi-disant relations asserting their claims to a share of 
the General's goods as to make " Avitabile's cousins" 
a byword in Italy. Thus for the hundredth time did the 
pen profit by that which the sword had earned. 


The fourth and last of Eanjit Singh's white generals is 
less known to history than the three whose record has 
been briefly sketched. 

It appears from the official records of the French War 
Office that Claude Auguste Court was born on the 26th 
September 1793, and entered the cole Polytechnique of 
Paris on the 24th April 1812. He was appointed sub- 
lieutenant in the 151st Eegiment of the Line in 1813, and 
was transferred to the 68th Eegiment in the following 
year. He was permitted to resign his commission in 


July 1818 ; but his service in the French army, though 
short, had not been undistinguished, for he served the 
campaign of 1813 in Saxony, of 1814 and of 1815, and 
was wounded by a musket-shot in the left leg on the 
28th March 1813 at the skirmish at Halle. 

Court next took service in Persia, when he made the 
acquaintance of Avitabile, and finally travelled to the 
Panjab in company with him. This journey to Kabul 
was performed in the autumn of 1826, and in the spring 
of 1827 Court and Avitabile entered the service of Maha- 
raja Eanjit Singh. The Maharaja was anxious to im- 
prove and increase his artillery, and appointed Court to 
the command of that arm a duty for which his very 
considerable talents and scientific attainments fitted him. 
The striking improvement in the Sikh artillery which 
was effected in the twelve remaining years of the Maha- 
raja's life must be largely attributed to Court's exertions, 
for all accounts of the Sikh army agree in stating that 
he was an excellent officer, and entirely devoted to his 
professional duties. 

It would probably be wearisome to the readers to give 
a long description of the artillery of the Khalsa army as 
perfected by General Court. It may be found by the 
curious in Barr's 'Journal of a March through the 
Punjab.' Barr, an officer of the Bengal Horse Artillery, 
concludes his remarks with the following words : " When 
it is considered that all we saw was the work of the 
General's own knowledge, and when we reflect on the 
difficulties he had to surmount, it is a matter almost of 
wonder to behold the perfection to which he has brought 
his artillery." How staunchly this artillery fought against 
us is well known. 


As an instance of Maharaja Eanjit Singh's fitful gener- 
osity, it is stated that the first shell constructed by General 
Court was worth 30,000 rupees to him probably a record 
reward to an artillery officer. 

In the agreements signed by Court and the other 
European officers it was stipulated that they should 
abstain from eating beef, should grow their beards, and 
should marry native wives. This last clause was not 
insisted on in the case of Ventura, who married a 
European lady ; but Allard, Avitabile, and Court fell in 
with their master's wishes. Avitabile, indeed, married 
with oriental profusion ; Allard married a charming lady 
of Kashmir, by whom he had a large family ; and Court 
twice married natives of India. 

In addition to his domestic amenities General Court 
took much interest in archaeology. The results of his 
researches in the antiquities of the Panjab frequently 
adorned the pages of the Journal of the Asiatic Society 
of Bengal, and his cabinet of coins and other treasures 
is said to have been superb. " He is at all times," says 
M'Gregor the historian, "ready to exhibit them with a 
politeness which reflects equal credit on him as a 
gentleman and a savant." 

Barr describes Court as a short, thick-set man, pitted 
with smallpox, and with the appearance of a rough-and- 
ready sailor. His uniform consisted of an open horse- 
artillery jacket, displaying beneath it a red waistcoat 
profusely ornamented with lace. Like Avitabile, he wore 
a handsome sabre attached to an embroidered belt ; but, 
unlike him, Court was a man of very simple habits. He 
was accustomed to live in a small house in the garden 
of the larger building occupied by his family. 


General Court received 2400 a-year in pay, in addition 
to &jagir worth 100 a-year. 

During the lifetime of Kanjit Singh the foreign generals 
were enabled to keep clear of the conflicting factions of 
the Court, but after the Maharaja's death such conduct 
was impossible. All who served Karrak Singh and his 
successors were compelled to form part of one faction or 
the other. Thus when Prince Sher Singh was about to 
march to Lahore in January 1841, to assert his claim to 
the throne, he called General Ventura to his side. Ven- 
tura's influence was great, and over none was it stronger 
than his friend Court. The two Generals therefore ac- 
companied Sher Singh to Lahore, and took part in the 
siege of the fort of Lahore, in the defence of which 
Colonel Gardner took so prominent a share. 

As has been related by Gardner, the accession of Sher 
Singh to the throne was followed by an outburst of 
violence on the part of the Sikh army which threatened 
to wreck the great fabric which had been created by the 
genius of Kanjit Singh. A large number of officers who 
had incurred the enmity of the soldiery were murdered in 
cold blood ; and General Court, for some reason, was 
among those held to be most obnoxious. Court's house 
was attacked by his own troops, and the General was 
compelled to seek refuge in the camp of General Ventura, 
who had to use his artillery to protect himself and his 

General Court subsequently left Lahore and took up his 
abode on the British side of the Sutlej, where he remained 
for several months, repeatedly claiming his discharge 
from the Sikh Government. It was refused. So, disdain- 
ing to decamp without leave, he returned to Lahore ; but 


foreseeing the probability of some such bouleversement as 
afterwards took place, the General wisely left his zenana 
in safe quarters at Ludiana. 

General Court eventually returned to France, where 
his wife was formally christened and remarried to him, 
according to Catholic ceremonies, by the Archbishop of 
Marseilles. After General Court's death a jagir worth 
480 a-year was settled on Madame Court. The General 
appears to have been an honourable and highly amiable 
man, and a good soldier. 


In addition to General Ventura, Allard, Avitabile, and 
Court, whose claims to the rank of general are indubit- 
able, that position is also claimed by one Josiah Harlan, 
usually described by historians as Dr Harlan. The doctor 
himself prefers the rank of general, a fancy in which he is 
followed by some of* his profession at the present day ; 
and although his claim to that title may be doubtful, it is 
a positive fact that Maharaja Eanjit Singh not only made 
him governor of an important province, but conferred on 
him the command of a body of troops. 

Those whose good fortune it is to have read that truly 
delectable book ' The Travels and Adventures of Dr "Wolff,' 
may remember that when Wolff entered the Panjab he 
arrived " at Attock, when he crossed a suspension bridge 
on the back of an elephant. According to his custom, 
whenever he crosses water, Wolff screamed out, which he 
did on this occasion in crossing the Indus." 

Then, journeying on, this most valiant of cowards (for 


a right brave man he was, as all who know his history 
will testify) proceeded to the pleasant city of Gujrat, 
"a considerable town, which also belonged to Eanjit 
Singh." He arrived there late at night, and was brought 
to the palace of the governor, who had expected him; 
when, " to his great surprise, he heard some one singing 
" Yankee Doodle," with all the American snuffle. It was 
his Excellency the Governor himself. He was a fine tall 
gentleman, dressed in European clothing, and with an 
Indian hookah in his mouth." Wolff asked how he came 
to know "Yankee Doodle." He answered, in nasal 
tones, " I am a free citizen of the United States, from the 
State of Pennsylvania, city of Philadelphia. I am the 
son of a Quaker. My name is Josiah Harlan." As this 
man's history seemed romantic to Wolff, he recorded it 
(as far as it then went) with sufficient accuracy in the 
following words: 

" Harlan," he said, " had in his early life studied sur- 
gery, but he went out as supercargo in a ship to Canton. 
He then returned to America, where he had intended to 
marry a lady to whom he was engaged; but she had 
played him false. He then went to India, and came to 
Calcutta, whence Lord Amherst, at that time Governor- 
General of India, sent him as assistant-surgeon with the 
British army to the Burmese empire. Afterwards he 
quitted the British army, and tried to make himself king of 
Afghanistan ; but, although he actually took a fortress, he 
was defeated at last by a force sent against him by Eanjit 
Singh, which made him a prisoner. Eanjit Singh, seeing 
his talents, said to him, 'I will make you governor of 
Gujrat, and give you 3000 rupees a-month. If you behave 
well I will increase your salary ; if not, I will cut off your 


nose.' So Wolff found him, and his nose being entire 
was evidence that he had behaved well." 

Such was the story told by Harlan to Wolff, and 
recorded by the latter with his inimitable simplicity of 
manner, and it was fairly accurate. It is worth mention- 
ing that Harlan's service in the first Burmese war was in 
the capacity of assistant-surgeon to the battery of artillery 
commanded by Major (afterwards Field - Marshal Sir) 
George Pollock. 

Harlan did not distinguish himself in the British ser- 
vice, and soon left it, finding his way eventually to the 
Panjab frontier. It was not in Afghanistan (as he told 
Dr Wolff, or as the latter wrongly understood him) that 
Harlan set up the star-spangled banner, but on the 
debatable land south of the river Sutlej, over which 
Eanjit Singh claimed sovereignty and the British Indian 
Government exercise protection. 

Whether or not Harlan crossed the Sutlej is doubtful, 
but he fell into the hands of Eanjit Singh, who took him 
into favour and gave him employment. Harlan now 
entered on the dangerous career of a secret agent doubly 
dangerous in his case ; for not only did he act as envoy 
from Eanjit Singh to Dost Muhammad, visiting Afghanis- 
tan twice at least in that capacity, but he also was the 
agent in the Panjab of the exiled Shah Shuja, the 
legitimate king of Afghanistan. 

In 1828 Harlan visited Kabul, travelling in the disguise 
of a dervish, and while ostensibly employed by Eanjit 
Singh, secretly intriguing in the interests of Shah Shuja. 
His mission was, in fact, to revolutionise Afghanistan, 
and with that object Harlan took up his abode in the 
house of one of the Amir's brothers. 


Harlan evidently feels that some apology for his con- 
duct is required, and exclaimed : " Let no Christian be 
deceived by the fraternal appellation. Amongst the 
customs of Orientals we meet with strange perversions of 
our commonest received principles, and the term 'brother' 
in a community which springs from a system of polygamy 
means a natural enemy, a domestic adversary, expectant 
heir of a capricious parent, contending for mastery in the 
disturbed arena of family feuds." 

Harlan found Dost Muhammad too firmly established 
in power for his intrigues to meet with success, but his 
visit to Kabul was by no means wasted. He obtained 
the confidence of Dost Muhammad, who admitted him to 
great intimacy. Harlan seems to have understood the 
greatness of his host's character, and in his ' Memoir ' 
describes the Amir's manner of life in a most interesting 
way ; indeed his sketch of Dost Muhammad's daily 
round is the most vivid that has been recorded. Harlan' s 
style is turgid, but by no means devoid of power, and in 
his pages we see described Dost Muhammad's neglected 
childhood and dissolute youth ; his unexpected rise to 
power ; his public renunciation of the follies and crimes 
which had hitherto marked him ; his wisdom, strength, 
justice, and moderation when in power ; and his calm 
endurance in the day of adversity. 

While thus observing and admiring the qualities of a 
great ruler, Harlan felt that life in the Panjab was more 
lucrative as well as more congenial than a precarious 
existence in Afghanistan. He returned, therefore, to 
Lahore, with a mission to act there as the agent of Dost 
Muhammad. His life at this time must indeed have been 
somewhat complicated. 


For the next seven years Harlan was governor of 
Jasrata and Nurpore, and subsequently of Gujrat, gain- 
ing the confidence of Maharaja Eanjit Singh, and serving 
him for a time with zeal and ability ; but at the end of 
this period, it is stated by Sir Henry Lawrence that " any 
regard that may have obtained between them was con- 
verted into hate." 

In 1835 Harlan was removed from his governorship. 
It is stated that Eanjit Singh found that Harlan was 
coining base money under the pretence of studying 
alchemy. Be this as it may, the Maharaja considered 
Harlan an eminently suitable person to act as his am- 
bassador to Dost Muhammad, who was now threatening 
the town and province of Peshawar, so long in dispute 
between the Sikhs and Afghans. Harlan was sent with 
Fakir Azizuddin, the confidential barber and minister 
(oriental combination) of the Maharaja, with instructions 
to delay the Afghans until the Maharaja had gained 
sufficient time to assemble the Sikh army on the northern 

Harlan states, with evident pride, that while ostensibly 
an ambassador, his real mission was to corrupt the Amir's 
chiefs, and sow distrust and disloyalty among them. An 
excuse for Harlan may be found in the conduct of Dost 
Muhammad, who, with all his merits as a ruler, was a 
consummate scoundrel if judged by the European standard 
of honour. He proposed on this occasion to seize Harlan 
and Azizuddin, the latter being known to be indispensable 
to the Maharaja (as he alone could prepare the mysteri- 
ously compounded cordial which gave the paralysed 
monarch fictitious strength), and to make use of them 
to compel Eanjit Singh to abandon Peshawar. This 


intended treachery towards the sacred persons of am- 
bassadors perhaps justified Harlan's line of conduct : he 
knew the man he had to deal with. 

To escape the odium which, even in the East, would 
have followed on the seizure of the envoys, the Amir 
made his brother, Sultan Muhammad Khan, swear many 
oaths on the Koran to make Harlan and the fakir 
prisoners. Harlan, however, found means to induce 
Sultan Muhammad Khan, who was the Afghan governor 
of the Peshawar province, to come to terms with Eanjit 
Singh and desert Dost Muhammad ; and the prince was 
the more readily led to that course of conduct by the 
feeling that the Amir would reap the benefit if the envoys 
were seized, while the odium would fall on himself, they 
being his guests. 

Sultan Muhammad Khan, therefore, marched his fol- 
lowers, amounting to some 10,000 men, to the vicinity of 
the Sikh forces (which now confronted the Afghan army), 
and wrote to the Amir to announce his defection. 

Masson, another adventurer, who was with Dost 
Muhammad at the time, gives a most amusing account 
of the transaction ; and states that Sultan Muhammad's 
letter to his brother was couched in such abusive terms 
that when it was read in open durbar before the Amir 
many of those who heard it were obliged to go out from 
" the presence " to conceal their mirth. It was a case of 
"the biter bit"; but it is somewhat humiliating to find 
that the most successful knave in so choice a collection 
was the white man. In consequence of this diplomatic 
success of Harlan, the Afghan army shortly melted away, 
Dost Muhammad was compelled to return to Kabul, and 
Peshawar was finally lost to the Afghans. 

DK HAUL AN. 335 

Harlan, however, had lost Eanjit Singh's favour, and 
soon left his service, whether by resignation or dismissal 
is not quite clear. Harlan himself writes : " Monarch as 
he was, absolute and luxurious, and voluptuous in the 
possession of treasured wealth and military power, I 
resolved to avenge myself and cause him to tremble 
in the midst of his magnificence." With this benevolent 
intention he left the Panjab and entered Dost Muhammad's 
service towards the end of the year 1836. He states that 
the Amir " received him with much the same feeling of 
exultation that the King of Persia is known to have 
indulged when his Court was visited by Themistocles." 

Dost Muhammad, he states, received him as a brother 
and addressed him by that title, seated him in durbar at 
his side, gave him the command of his regular troops, and 
at his instigation again declared war against the Sikhs, 
who had recently annoyed him by erecting a fort at Jam- 
rud, which commanded the mouth of the Khaibar Pass. 

In the battle which took place before this fort in April 
1837 the Sikh general, Hari Singh, was slain, and, as 
Harlan puts it, " the proud King of Lahore quailed on his 
threatened throne, as he exclaimed with terror and de- 
spair, ' Harlan has avenged himself this is all his work.' " 
However, as a matter of history, the Afghans shortly 
afterwards retreated from the frontier without again 
giving battle. 

In the following year (1838) Harlan was sent in charge 
of a military expedition, despatched by Dost Muhammad 
against the Prince of Kunduz. His account of his ex- 
ploits is too good to lose. "In the execution of this 
enterprise," he writes, " I surmounted the Indian Caucasus, 
and there upon the mountain heights unfurled my coun- 


try's banner to the breeze under a salute of twenty-six 
guns. On the highest pass of the frosty Caucasus, that of 
Kharzar, 12,500 feet above the sea, the star-spangled 
banner gracefully waved amid the icy peaks and soil- 
less rugged rocks of a sterile region, seemingly sacred to 
the solitude of an undisturbed eternity. We ascended 
passes through regions where glaciers and silent dells, and 
frowning rocks, blackened by ages of weather-beaten 
fame, preserved the quiet domain of remotest time, 
shrouded in perennial snow. "We struggled on amidst 
the heights of these alpine ranges until now supposed 
inaccessible to the labour of man, infantry and cavalry, 
artillery, camp-followers, and beasts of burden" and so 
forth. The General was, in fact, a poet as well as a doctor 
and a soldier. 

During this expedition he became also a sovereign 
prince, the crown of Ghor having been secured to him 
and his heirs by a voluntary act of the then prince, 
Muhammad Eeffi Bey, although, as he writes, he " looked 
upon kingdoms and principalities as of frivolous import, 
when weighed in the balance of the more honourable and 
estimable title of American citizen." 

It is not recorded that the General met with any strik- 
ing military successes ; but there is some interest for us in 
the personality of a youthful prince, who was intrusted to 
his care and tuition, and who was the nominal commander 
of the expedition. This was Akram Khan, son of the 
Amir "by a Highland lassie, whom he married to 
strengthen his authority in the Kohistan," or hill 
country. Akram Khan subsequently commanded the 
contingent sent by Dost Muhammad to strengthen the 
Sikhs against us in 1848. 

DB, HARLAN. 337 

Harlan made bis last appearance as a negotiator in 
August 1839, when Lord Keane's army approached Kabul. 
The General tells us that Dost Muhammad and bis chiefs 
unanimously decided to depute him to meet Sir Alexander 
Burnes, with absolute power to make any settlement that 
he might think advisable. An official was, he says, de- 
spatched to Burnes's secretary (the worthy Mohan Lai), 
conveying an intimation of the appointment of Harlan 
as plenipotentiary, and by return of the messenger an 
official response was received, indirectly declining the 
proposition by deferring the measure to a more con- 
venient opportunity. 

Eventually Burnes, or more probably the envoy, Sir 
William M'Naughton, declined to treat in any way with 
the Amir, who consequently withdrew from the neighbour- 
hood of Kabul. 

Harlan gives a dramatic account of the abandonment of 
Dost Muhammad by all his principal followers, which, in 
the words of Kaye, only wants a conviction of its entire 
truth to be most interesting and valuable. 

Harlan's last appearance at Kabul is eminently char- 
acteristic. On the arrival of the British army at that city 
Dost Muhammad fled to the mountain country in the 
north, and was promptly deserted by Harlan, who is 
last mentioned as having breakfast with Sir Alexander 
Burnes on the morning after the latter arrived at the 

Of how Harlan found his way to India, and thence to 
Philadelphia, we are told nothing, yet we cannot but ad- 
mire the adroitness with which he must have managed 
his journey through the Panjab. Doubtless the death of 
Kanjit Singh, who had expired on the 27th June, spared 



the General an awkward meeting. As to the later days 
of this strange character history is silent. 


Henry Charles Van Cortlandt was the son of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Henry Clinton Van Cortlandt of the 31st Eegiment. 
He was educated in England, and entered the service of 
Maharaja Eanjit Singh in 1832. He served in the various 
frontier campaigns that occurred yearly during the life- 
time of the Maharaja, and was present at the battle of 
Jamrud, in which the Sikh general, Hari Singh Nalwa, 
was killed. 

Van " Cortlandt, then a colonel, served with the Sikh 
contingent which shared in Sir George Pollock's operations 
in the Khaibar Pass, and he was also present (as is men- 
tioned by Colonel Gardner) at the siege of Lahore by 
Maharaja Sher Singh. 

Sher Singh gave Colonel Van Cortlandt charge of Ms 
eldest son, Prince Partab Singh ; but Van Cortlandt was 
shortly afterwards sent away from Lahore on military 
duty, and during his absence the Maharaja and Partab 
Singh were murdered by the Sindhanwalia sardars, as is 
related by Colonel Gardner. 

When the first Sikh war with the British broke out 
Van Cortlandt was on leave at Mussoorie, and not being 
allowed to return to Lahore, proceeded to Ferozepur. 
Finally he was employed with the British army as Poli- 
tical Agent, and in that capacity was present at the 
battles of Ferozeshah and Sobraon. After the war Van 
Cortlandt returned to the Sikh service with the rank of 


general, and was made governor of the province of Dera 
Ishmail Khan. 

On the outbreak at Multan, which was the first symptom 
of the second Sikh war, General Van Cortlandt loyally 
supported Lieutenant (afterwards Sir) Herbert Edwardes, 
and took an honourable part in the gallantly fought 
actions of Kinari and Sadusam. It deserves mention 
that Mrs Van Cortlandt showed herself on this, as on 
other occasions, the fit wife of a soldier suppressing by 
her own vigour and courage an incipient mutiny. 

On the annexation of the Panjab in 1849 General Van 
Cortlandt was transferred to the British service, and was 
employed in a civil capacity ; but on the outbreak of the 
Indian Mutiny the General again drew the sword, raised a 
field force in the district in which he was employed, and 
with it rendered valuable service, fighting several suc- 
cessful actions with the rebels. For this service General 
Van Cortlandt was made a Companion of the Bath. 

Particular importance was attached to the conduct of 
Van Cortlandt's force, as it was then considered doubtful 
if the Sikhs, so recently conquered, were to be trusted. 
However, the old soldiers of the two regiments (the Suruj 
Mukhi and Katur Mukhi) which Van Cortlandt had long 
commanded in the Panjab remained staunch. 

General Van Cortlandt's last civil post was that of 
Commissioner of Multan, where he remained till his 
retirement in March 1868. 

He survived his retirement twenty years, dying in 
London on March 15, 1888, at the age of seventy-four. 



Colonel Matthew William Ford, whose melancholy fate 
will presently be related, entered the English army as 
ensign in the 8th West India Regiment in the year 1803. 
He became a lieutenant in the 70th Regiment in the fol- 
lowing year, and captain in the same regiment in 1812. 
He remained eleven years in this rank, serving succes- 
sively in the 70th, 7th Fusiliers, and 1st Royals, from 
which regiment he exchanged to the half-pay list of the 
24th Light Dragoons. 

In 1823 he became paymaster of the 16th Regiment, 
and leaving the British service in 1837, entered the Sikh 
army towards the end of that year or early in 1838. He 
is shown by the Khalsa Durbar Acquittance Rolls to 
have drawn pay at 800 rupees per mensem, in the latter 

There are occasional references to Colonel Ford in 
books and magazines of the period, and it is recorded that 
the regiment of the Khalsa army which he commanded 
was one of those which lined the streets of Lahore at the 
funeral of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 

On the occasion of the mutiny of the Sikh army during 
the reign of Maharaja Sher Singh, recorded by Gardner, 
Colonel Matthew Ford was one of the victims. He was 
plundered by his men of everything that he possessed, 
even to the ring on his finger, and so maltreated that he 
died at Peshawar, which place he barely contrived to 
reach alive. He is said to have been an estimable and 
very amiable man. 



The fate of this officer was even worse than that of 
Colonel Ford. I have been able to discover nothing 
concerning his antecedents, and but a brief statement that 
he entered the Sikh service in the year 1835. The Khalsa 
Durbar Acquittance Eolls bear that his pay was 500 
rupees per mensem, and he is shown in Gardner's list of 
the European officers as employed in the infantry branch. 

At the time of the mutiny of the Sikh army under 
Maharaja Sher Singh, Colonel Foulkes was, however (it is 
stated by Steinbach), stationed at Mandi, in command of 
a large body of cavalry, where he fell a victim to the 
ferocity of his men. 

Colonel Foulkes, who was universally beloved, was 
warned of his peril and urged to escape, but, with a spirit 
worthy of his English birth, he resolved to remain at his 
post and take the consequences. During the night he was 
attacked by the Sikh soldiers, who cut him down, and 
with demoniacal ferocity threw him on a blazing fire 
before life was extinct. 


This officer, .who is said to have been the best drill- 
instructor in the Sikh army, was for a considerable time 
in the service of Eanjit Singh, but unfortunately quar- 
relled with both Sikhs and Europeans, and being also of 
very intemperate habits, was eventually compelled to 
leave the Panjab and seek employment in Afghanistan. 

While travelling thither, by way of Sind, Argoud fell 


in with a small party of wayfarers, who afterwards became 
famous. These were Alexander Burnes and his com- 
panions Wood and Lord, who were proceeding from 
Bombay to Kabul, and had reached Bhawalpur on the 2nd 
May 1837. Captain Wood, in his delightful ' Journey to 
the Source of the Oxus,' tells the tale of the encounter so 
amusingly that I present the narrative precisely as he 
wrote it : 

" While here, we had an amusing visitor in the person 
of a Monsieur Argoud. He had quarrelled with Eanjit 
Singh and his countrymen in the Panjab, and was pro- 
ceeding to join Dost Muhammad Khan of Kabul. 

"We were at dinner when the Frenchman arrived, 
but no sooner was a European announced than Captain 
Burnes ran out to bring him in, and before many minutes 
had elapsed Monsieur Argoud had taken wine with every 
one at table. 

"The poor man's failing was soon apparent, for he 
proceeded to beat the tattoo with his elbows on the table, 
and as a tenor accompaniment he made a knife vibrate 
between its under surface and his thumb. It was really 
done very cleverly, and the performance being highly 
applauded, the complaisant Frenchman knew not when 
to desist. Fatigue, sleep, and wine at length got the 
mastery, and we saw him safely to bed. 

"Next morning at an early hour our guest was astir, 
roaming up and down the courtyard till he chanced to 
stumble on Lord, engaged in dissecting and stuffing birds. 

"Watching him for some time, he exclaimed, 'Quelle 
patience!' and with a shrug of the shoulders passed 
into Captain Burnes's room. 

" That officer was not yet dressed, on which Monsieur 


Argoud called out, ' Why, sare, the battle of Wagram was 
fought before this hour, and you are still in dtshdbilU. 
Vill you take vine vith me ? ' ' No/ replied Captain 
Burnes ; ' I never take wine before breakfast, but I shall 
order you some claret, as your countrymen, I am aware, 
like light wine in the morning.' 'Then, sare,' replied 
Argoud, ' you insult me, you refuse to take vine vith me, 
and I demand de satisfaction.' 

" He ran out, and soon reappeared armed with a rapier, 
and asked Captain Burnes to send for his small-sword; 
but the latter thought that, considering the shortness of 
their acquaintance, he had already sufficiently humoured 
this fiery little Frenchman, and Monsieur Argoud was 
politely requested to continue his journey, which he ac- 
cordingly did that same evening. 

" This unfortunate gentleman had many good points in 
his character, but they were unknown to us at the time 
of his first visit. As a soldier and drill-officer he was 
the first in the Panjab; but his drunken habits and 
violent temper made him disliked by his brother- 

" At Kabul in October following we fell in with him 
a second time, so that his journey from the Indus 
had occupied him fully five months. Whilst on the 
road his dislike to Mussulmans had nearly cost him his 
life. It was only spared on his repeating the Kulmah 
or Mahomedan creed. 

"Immediately on his arrival being known to us, 
Captain Burnes sent him a kind note, inquiring if 
he could be of any service to him; but the good- 
hearted Frenchman was so ashamed of his conduct 
at Bhawalpur, and so oppressed by this unexpected 


return, that he could not be persuaded to visit us, and 
on his failing to obtain employment from Dost Muham- 
mad Khan, he set out for Peshawar without our having 
met him. 

"We, however, learned that the day previous to his 
departure he had been employed in moulding leaden 
bullets, and that he had sworn to be revenged on 
the Mussulmans for the ill-treatment on his former 

" The cause of Monsieur Argoud's failure in obtaining 
service was his ignorance of the Persian language. 

"Dost Muhammad Khan was partial to him, and 
though regretting his attachment to the bottle, offered 
him a regiment. 

" Unfortunately for the Frenchman, the interpreter 
took advantage of his ignorance of the language, and in 
reply to a question on Argoud's qualifications for com- 
mand, reported as his answer that if the Amir wanted a 
drummer, he could not suit himself better. The French- 
man required but little pressing to beat a tattoo, and the 
result was that he got his discharge that evening, and 
next day the interpreter (a brother adventurer) obtained 
the regiment." 

Sir Alexander Burnes adds to the above account that 
"Benoit Argoud was a red-hot Eepublican; his father 
had been killed at the battle of Wagram. He reached 
Kabul by way of the Bolan Pass and Kandahar no easy 

I can only add to the above the information that 
Argoud not only found his way back to the Panjab from 
Afghanistan in 1838, but that he actually returned to 
Kabul in 1839, as appears from the following letter to 


Sir Claude Wade, which has been kindly lent to me by 
MrC. F. Wade:- 


KABUL, 12th August 1839. 

TEES AIMABLE COLONEL, A terrible destiny has again 
brought me to this savage country, and no better off than 
on the first occasion. 

I found myself at Calcutta quite without money, and it 
was therefore impossible for me to return to France. I 
returned to Kurnal, where I was deceived by false 
rumours. I set out for Kandahar, but on arriving there 
I found that King Shuja-al-Mulk was prevented, by 
treaty with Great Britain, from employing foreigners. 
Colonel Burnes truly treated me more like a father than 
a stranger ; he is a most worthy man, and I shall never 
forget him. 

I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you soon. 

Agre"ez, Monsieur le Colonel, 1'assurance de la parfaite 
consideration avec laquelle j'ai 1'honneur de vous saluer, 


We may hope that the generosity of Burnes and Wade 
provided Argoud with a passage to " la belle France," at 
any rate, he appears no more in Afghanistan or the 


When Colonel Canora entered the service of Eanjit 
Singh I do not know, nor is there any record of the early 
days of his service in the Panjab, nor of his previous life. 
The story of his death is, however, an honourable one. 


In the year 1848 Canora was serving in the province of 
Hazara, in command of a battery of artillery. The troops 
in this province were notoriously mutinous, and Sardar 
Chattar Singh, the governor, shared in their disaffection, 
and even encouraged it. On the 6th of August Colonel 
Canora, an American by birth, described to me by 
General Sir James Abbott as " a rude, uncultured man, 
but brave and loyal," was ordered by Chattar Singh to 
bring his guns out of the fort of Harripur, and to encamp 
on the open ground outside the city. This, Colonel 
Canora, who suspected the treasonable intentions of 
Chattar Singh, refused to do, unless with the sanction of 
Captain Abbott, the British Commissioner in Hazara. 
Sir James Abbott, in a letter to me, thus relates the 
sequel : 

" Canora replied that the guns had been posted by me, 
and begged permission to refer to me previous to altering 
their position ; and immediately despatched a letter to me, 
asking what he was to do. 

" The sardar sent a company of infantry to storm his 
guns. Canora ordered his men to load them with double 
charges of grape, and to fire. The men, overawed, refused. 
He seized and applied the port-fire ; the guns burnt 
priming they had not been loaded. Canora stood at 
bay, pistol in hand. An armed servant of the sardar 
crept behind him and shot him through the back ; then, 
cutting off his head, carried it to Chattar Singh and 
received from him a reward of 100. 

" The Eesident, Sir Frederick Currie, declared that it 
served him right; but I pronounced it murder, and the 
Governor-General and his Council backed my verdict. 

" I raised a rude monument to Canora's memory, with 


an inscription, on the spot where he fell. A small pension 
was allotted to his family." 

So died a brave and determined soldier in the perform- 
ance of his duty. 

The rebellion of Chattar Singh was followed by that of 
his son Sher Singh, and the results were the second Sikh 
war and the consequent annexation of the Panjab. 


All who love to read romances of real life should know 
the strange story of George Thomas, the Irish sailor who 
by sheer courage and enterprise rose to be a reigning 
sovereign. His story may be found in the work by Mr 
Herbert Compton, ' The European Military Adventurers 
of Hindostan.' 

Colonel Jacob Thomas, who commanded a najib, or 
foreign (i.e., non-Panjabi) regiment in Eanjit Singh's army, 
was the son of George Thomas, but a man of a very 
different character. 

Sir Claude Wade and his officers found Jacob Thomas 
and his regiment at Peshawar in March 1839, and Barr, 
the historian of the party, describes Thomas as " a dull 
and heavy man." Thomas was quite unable to exercise 
authority over his regiment, which mutinied on the 14th 
April, and turned Thomas and his adjutant out of their 
camp. As a mark of contempt for Thomas they inverted 
his chair on the spot where he usually sat. Sir Claude 
Wade informed the regiment that they could no longer 
remain with his troops ; but how the matter ended is not 
recorded, nor have I found any further mention of Colonel 



This individual is mentioned by Gardner as one of 
Eanjit Singh's officers, but I have found no other mention 
of him in connection with the Panjab. Sir Alexander 
Burnes and his companions found him, however, serving 
under the name of Eattray, as commandant of Fort Ali 
Masjid in the Khaibar Pass. This was in September 
1837, soon after the battle at Jamrud, a few miles distant, 
in which the Sikhs had been defeated by the Afghans. 

Captain Wood describes Eattray as " an ill-conditioned, 
dissipated-looking Englishman, slipshod, turbaned and 
robed in a sort of Afghan deshabilU having more the 
look of a dissipated priest than a military man. His 
abode was a cave in the mountain, from which he 
and his hungry followers levied blackmail on the passing 

" The Sikh fortress of Jamrud depended for water on 
the stream that runs through the Khaibar, and the chief 
occupation of the young lieutenant - colonel, for so he 
styled himself, was to stop the supply, and again to permit 
it to flow on being bribed to do so." 

Wood amusingly describes Eattray's attempt to man- 
oeuvre his corps, which speedily resulted in a cudgel 
attack by the lieutenant-colonel on his men. Before the 
day was over he had modestly requested a loan of 50 
to defray the expenses of the march to Kabul, and, by the 
simple process of dividing his men into guards on the 
mission, succeeded in inducing Burnes to supply them all 
with food. 

Soon afterwards, during the stay of the mission at 
Kabul, Colonel Leslie, alias Eattray, changed his name 


for the second time and his religion with it. He de- 
clared himself a convert to the Muhammadan faith, 
and took the name of Fida Muhammad Khan, much 
against the wish of Dost Muhammad Khan, who thought 
him a disgrace to any creed, and expressed in strong 
terms the contempt he felt for men who could change 
their religion to improve their fortune. 

The Khaibar commandant, says Wood, was altogether 
a singular character, void of all principle, but clever 
and well informed. 

His biography, which he wrote at the request of Sir 
Alexander Burnes, is said to have afforded another proof 
of how often the real events of life exceed in interest 
the wildest conceptions of fiction. I have not been able 
to discover this biography, if it ever was published, but 
some of my readers may possibly be able to inform me 
about it. 


An officer of a very different stamp was Colonel 
Frangois Henri Mouton, who was born on the 17th 
August 1804, and entered a French cavalry regiment 
as a volunteer at the age of eighteen. Four years later 
Mouton was a " garde de troisieme classe," ranking as 
a sub -lieutenant in the royal body-guard. In October 
1838 Mouton was a captain of Spahis of three years' 
standing, and finding himself unemployed, obtained per- 
mission to live in India for three years. This he did 
at the suggestion of General Ventura, who was about 
to return to the Panjab from leave of absence. Captain 
Mouton, who was accompanied by his charming and 


courageous wife, accompanied General Ventura to India, 
travelling from Bombay by the most direct road to 
Lahore, that by Ajmir and Hansi. 

Colonel Mouton was employed as a commandant of 
cavalry, and having entered on a second period of ser- 
vice, he and Madame Mouton narrowly escaped death 
in the mutiny of the Sikh army during the reign of 
Maharaja Sher Singh. Nothing deterred, Colonel Mouton, 
who had visited France in 1844, returned to India in the 
month of September of that year, and remained in the 
Pan jab until the outbreak of the first Sikh war. 

The official record of his services states that Colonel 
Mouton returned to France in July 1846, and in the 
April following was restored to full pay. 

Colonel Mouton received the decoration of the Legion 
of Honour in 1848, and was promoted to the grade of 
"officer" in 1856 for services in the Crimean campaign, 
for which he received also the Order of the Medjidis of 
the 4th class. The gallant colonel was finally placed en 
retraite on account of length of service in January 1865, 
and died in Algiers in November 1876. 


Another gallant soldier was Colonel Hurbon, a Spanish 
officer, who was employed as an engineer. He is said to 
have been the first man in the assaults on the fortress of 
Lahore during its siege by Maharaja Sher Singh, and 
Gardner states that Hurbon planned the earthworks at 
Sobraon. Cunningham, the historian of the Sikhs, who 
was himself an engineer, says that the lines showed no 


trace whatever of scientific skill or of unity of design. In 
his opinion Colonel Hurbon's influence and authority did 
not extend beyond a regiment or a brigade. 

Colonel Hurbon is chiefly interesting as having been 
the only European officer who actually served with the 
Sikh army against the British. 


Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Steinbach commanded an 
infantry regiment in the Sikh army, and wrote a little 
book about the Panjab. In the mutiny of the Sikh army 
in 1843 Colonel Steinbach narrowly escaped with his life. 
It is related that the men of his regiment adopted a most 
unpleasant method of showing their dislike and contempt 
for him. 

He subsequently entered the service of Maharaja Gulab 
Singh, and commanded his army at the time of the second 
Sikh war. 


Auguste de la Font was aide-de-camp to G-eneral 
Ventura, and in that capacity was in attendance on the 
General at Peshawar in 1839. When Ventura was pre- 
vented by the intrigues which followed the death of Eanjit 
Singh from proceeding to Kabul in command of the 
Muhammadan contingent of the Khalsa army, Captain 
de la Font acted as staff officer to Colonel Wade. In this 
capacity he rendered good service both in action at the 
taking of Fort Ali Masjid, and subsequently in aiding to 


keep the peace between the Khalsa contingent and 
Colonel Wade's somewhat unruly force. 

At the siege of Lahore (described by Colonel Gardner) 
De la Font is said to have nearly gained access to the 
fortress by mining, when the operations were brought to 
a termination by Dhyan Singh. 


This gentleman, described as " a respectable officer," 
after serving in Eanjit Singh's army, entered the service 
of the Nawab of Bhawalpur, who gave him command of 
a regiment of regular infantry. 

Captain M'Pherson served with the Bhawalpur con- 
tingent in Sir Herbert Edwardes's campaign against 
Multan, and was killed at the head of his regiment at the 
battle of Sadusam on July 1, 1848. He was buried on 
the following morning with military honours. 


These gentlemen are mentioned by Masson the traveller 
as commanding regiments in the Sikh army. They are 
included in Gardner's list, but there is no further infor- 
mation concerning them. 

Mr Campbell is very probably identical with the gal- 
lant officer of that name who raised Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk's 
Hindustani regiment, and was deserted by the Shah at 
Kandahar on the occasion of his defeat by Dost Mu- 
hammad. Mr Campbell's conduct was most gallant : 


he was severely wounded, and was succoured by Dost 
Muhammad, whose service he entered. It is stated that 
his daughter is still living at Kabul. 

Mr Garron may stand for Carron, a secret agent of the 
British Government, and a man of strange adventures. 

Of the remaining officers but few particulars are to be 

Messrs Alvarine (23), Hommus (24), and Amise (25) 
died at Lahore at different periods. Hest (26), the Greek 
officer, was murdered in the streets of the same city. 
Captain De la Eoche (27) was killed there by a fall from 
his horse. 

Dubuignon (28), described as an estimable young man, 
was in the service of the Begum Sumroo. There he was 
picked up by General Ventura, who was visiting India for 
the good of his health. Ventura treated him with great 
kindness, and eventually married him to his own sister- 

John Holmes, No. 29 on the list, and the last of whom 
any particulars were given, was a man of mixed parentage. 
He was a worthy old soldier, and passed for a Christian, 
at Peshawar, when Sir Herbert Edwardes was there, though 
he had more than one wife: John Holmes did good ser- 
vice with Edwardes and Van Cortlandt in the advance on 
Multan in 1848, and was eventually murdered by some of 
his own men. His family sent in a claim for compensa- 
tion to the Indian Government, in which were specified, 
among other dependants, two mothers. 





1. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, died June 27, 1839. 

2. it Kharrak Singh (son of No. 1), deposed, and subse- 

quently poisoned, November 5, 1840. 

3. it Nao Nihal Singh (son of No. 2), killed, Nov. 5, 1840. 

4. Maharani Chand Kour (widow of No. 2 and Regent), murdered 

by order of No. 5, June 1842. 

5. Maharaja Sher Singh (son of No. 1), murdered by No. 15, Sep- 

tember 15, 1843. 

6. Maharaja Dhulip Singh (son of No. 1), deposed, March 29, 1849. 


7. Kashmira Singh (son of No. 1), killed by the Sikh army, July 


8. Peshora Singh (son of No. 1), murdered, August 1844. 

9. Partab Singh (son of No. 5), murdered by No. 15, Sept. 15, 1843. 

10. Chet Singh (Minister to Kharrak Singh), murdered by No. 11, 

October 8, 1839. 

11. Raja Dhyan Singh (Prime Minister), mur-' 

dered by No. 15, September 15, 1843, 

12. Raja Gulab Singh, afterwards Maharaja 

of Jammu and Kashmir, 

13. Raja Suchet Singh, killed by the Sikh 

army, March 1843, 

14. Hira Singh (son of No. 11), killed by the Sikh army, December 

21, 1844. 

15. Ajit Singh, Sindhanwalia, ) brothers, killed by the Sikh army, 

16. Lehna Singh, Sindhanwalia, ) September 1843. 

17. Pandit Julia (Secretary to No. 14), killed by the Sikh army, 

December 21, 1844. 

18. Jawahir Singh (uncle of No. 6), killed by the Sikh army, Sep- 

tember 21, 1845. 

19. Maharani Jindan (mother of No. 6), banished. 

the Dogra brothers. 


' Abode of Snow, the,' by Andrew 

Wilson, quoted, 280. 
' Adventures of an Officer, ' by Sir 

Henry Lawrence, referred to, 

Afghanistan, the kingdom of, 54 

et seq. 

Afghans or Pathans, the, 55. 
Aga Beg, 47, 49, 51, 60. 
Ahmad Khan, 54. 
Ajit Singh, 245 et seq. 
Akalis or Immortals, the, 171, 199 

et fn., 235 et fn., 257, 299. 
Akas, the, 147, 148. 
Alai valley, the, 146. 
Al-Biruni, 99. 
Allard, General, 185 et fn., 300, 


Aral Sea, crossing the, 45. 
Arb Shah, nom de voyage of Colonel 

Gardner, 37, 45. 
Argoud, Captain, 341-345. 
Asp-i-Dheha, or flying horse, the, 

90 et seq. 

Astrakhan, 22, 43. 
Attar Singh, 245 et seq. 
Avitabile, General, 172 et fn., 176 

et fn., 178 et fn., 185, 264, 316- 

Aylmer, Mr, Colonel Gardner's 

fellow-traveller, 19. 

Badakshan, 7, 107, 108, 110. 
Bajaur, 164, 166, 173, 177. 
Bannuite tribe, the, 184, 190, 196. 

Barakzai chiefs of Peshawar, the 

three, 179, 189, 190. 
Barakzais, the, 55. 
Bhai Ram Singh, 263. 
Bolor, 52 note on the name, 99. 
Bolor Kash, 137. 
Botha, Mrs, daughter of Colonel 

Gardner, 279. 
Bride, a race for a, 141. 
British and Sikh armies, grand 

review of, 243. 
Bull, Sir John, of England, letter 

from John Bull of India to, 282 

et seq. 
Burial, mode of, in Kafiristan, 

Burnes, Sir Alexander, 4, 159. 

Campbell, Mr, one of Ranjit 
Singh's white officers, 352. 

Canora, Colonel, 345. 

Carmichael-Smyth, Colonel, 208, 

Cave, a wonderful, in Badakshan, 

Chet Singh, 215, 217. 

Chitral, 7, 157. 

Cockerell, Lieutenant, 101. 

Cooper, Frederick, C.B., 1 in- 
terviews Colonel Gardner at 
Srinagar, 2-4. 

Court, General, 178 et fn., 180, 
185, 325-329. 

Crystal hookah, incident of a, 60 
fn., 161. 



"Dal Khalsa," or army of God, 

the, 301. See afeo'Khalsa army. 
Dallerwitz, M., 20, 24. 
De la Font, Captain, 351. 
Defence of Lahore, the, 231 et seq. 
Delaroche, M., 43. 
Dhulip Singh, 259, 274. 
Dhyan Singh. See Raja Dhyan 


Diwan Dina Nath, 263. 
Dogra brothers, the, cruel scheme 

of, 212 et seq. terms of peace 

arranged by, 237. 
Dogras, the, 215 et fn., 228 et seq. 
Dost Muhammad Khan, 51, 53, 58, 

62, 63 et seq. passim. 
Dubuignan, M., 353. 
Dunchu or Dunchai, 151, 154. 
Durand, Sir Henry, 10, 165, 280. 

Earthquake at Srinagar, effects of 

a, 156. 
Eastern justice, anecdotes of, 204 

et seq. 
Edgeworth, Mr, abstract of Colonel 

Gardner's travels by, 6. 
Edwardes, Sir Herbert, 191 fn., 

Elias, Ney, 8, 99, 100. 

Faizabad, 107, 108 fn. 

Fakir Azizuddin, 186 et fn., 187, 


Fathi Jang, 55. 
Ferozeshah, the battle of, 266. 
First Sikh war, the, 263 et seq. 
Flying horse, tradition regarding 

a, 91. 

Ford, Colonel, 340. 
' ' Fouj Khas," or model brigade of 

the Khalsa army, the, 178 fn., 

185 fn., 305. 
Foulkes, Colonel, 341. 
"Francesco Campo," or French 

division of the Sikh army, the, 

185, 217. 

Gardner, Colonel Alexander, par- 
entage and boyhood of, 13 et 
seq. sets out for Astrakhan, 
19 leaves Astrakhan for Herat, 

24 proceeds to Khiva, 28 et 
seq. returns to Astrakhan, 43 
enters the service of Habib- 
ulla Khan, at Kabul, 59 et seq. 
marries an Afghan lady, 64 
murder of his wife, 74 again 
sets out on his wanderings, 81 
et seq. joins the holy standard, 
169 settles at Peshawar, 175 
enters the service of Maha- 
raja Ran jit Singh at Lahore as 
colonel of artillery, 182 et seq. 
becomes commander of artil- 
lery to Raja Dhyan Singh, 191, 
214 marries a native wife, 191 
fn., 244 fn. transfers his ser- 
vices to Gulab Singh, 256 et 
*eq., 277 his last years, 278. 

Gardner, Dr, 13 et seq. death of, 

Garron, or Carron, Mr, one of 
Ranjit Singh's white officers, 

Gateway of Lahore, defence of the, 

Gem, a remarkable, 132. 

Ghakkar tribe, the, 188. 

Ghaur-i-Pir Nimchu, 84. 

Ghazis, prowess of the, 188. 

Ghorian, 25, 26. 

Gilgit valley, the, 7, 156. 

Girishk, Colonel Gardner's im- 
prisonment at, 162. 

Gold, washing river-sand for, 126. 

Golden fleeces, the value of, 127. 

"Gordana," Sikh name for Col- 
onel Gardner, 183, 278. 

Govind Singh, 297. 

Griffin, Sir Lepel, 4, 186 fn., 211, 

Grums, the tribe known as, 147. '', 

Gulab Singh, 193 et fn., 204, 208, 
228, 242, 254 et seq. passim 
appointed Maharaja of Kashmir 
and Jammu, 275, 277. 

Gurkhas, forcing the Sepoy cap on 
the, 200. 

Habib-ulla Khan, 53, 56, 57, 59, 

61 et seq. passim. 
Hardinge, Sir Henry, 274. 



Harlan, Dr, 178 et fn., 183, 202, 

Hazaras, the, 29. 

Hazrat Imam, 81. 

Herat, 25. 

Hindu Kush, a journey over the, 
28 et seq., 90. 

Hindustani fanatics, or Indian fol- 
lowers of Syad Ahmad, the, 172 
et fn. 

Hira Singh, 212. 

' History of the Reigning Family 
of Lahore,' by Colonel Car- 
michael - Smyth, extract from, 
regarding character of Gulab 
Singh, 208 et seq. referred to, 

Holmes, John, one of Ran jit 
Singh's white officers, 353. 

Honigberger, Dr, 202. 

Hurbon, Colonel, 268, 350, 

Hwen-Thsang, 99. 

Imam-ud-din, 277, 278. 
Inderab, 9, 52, 88. 

Jalalabad, 240, 243. 

Jammu, the army contingent of, 
191, 214 Gulab Singh ap- 
pointed Maharaja of Kashmir 
and, 275, 277 death of Col- 
onel Gardner at, 291. 

Jawahir Singh, 252, 259 murder 
of, 261. 

Jey Ram, 105, 113, 138, 145, 156. 

Julien, M., 20. 

Kabul, 161, 163, 240, 244. 

Kafir Ghesh Durrah Pass, the, 111. 

Kafiristan, 111, 112, 159. 

Kafirs, the, 34, 110, 146. 

Kameh or Kafir- Ab river, 160. 

Kandahar, 161. 

Karakoram Pass, the, 155. 

Kashgar, original inhabitants of, 

Kashmir, Gulab Singh made Ma- 
haraja of Jammu and, 275, 277. 

Keiaz tribe, the, 141, 150. 

Khalsa army, the, 199, 275, 278, 

Khalzais, the, 31 et fn., 32 et seq. 
Kharrak Singh, 214, 220, 222 

the cremation of, 223. 
Khilti race, the, 85. 
Khiva, 40. 

Kipchaks, a camp of the, 47, 51. 
Kirghiz encampment, visit to a, 

Kirghiz tribes, the, 129, 130 et 

fn., 136, 140, 153 beauty of 

the women of, 130 et fn. 
Kirghiz wedding, a, 135 et seq. 
" Koh-i-nur," the, 230, 237. 
Kohistan campaign, the, 56 et seq. 
Kokcha river, the, 102, 105. 
Koran, novel use for the, 173. 
Kunduz, 28. 

Lahore, 178, 229, 265, 274, 298. 

Lai Singh, 263, 267. 

Lawrence, Sir Henry, 179, 241 et 
fn., 243, 245, 271, 273, 274, 

Leh, 155. 

Lehna Singh, 245 et seq. 

Leslie, Lieut. -Colonel, alias Rat- 
tray, 348. 

' Life of a Soldier of the Olden 
Time : An unwritten Page of 
History,' by Sir Henry Durand, 
quoted, 10. 

" Lion of the Pan jab, the." See 
Ranjit Singh. 

Mahan Singh, 297. 

Maharaja Ranjit Singh. See 

Ranjit Singh. 

Maharani Chand Kour, 227. 
Maharani Jindan, 259, 261, 263, 


Mahmud Shah, 54. 
" Manjha " country, the, 230 et fn. 
Marriage ceremony, curious, among 

the Keiaz, 149. 
Metcalfe, Lord, 199, 299. 
Mian Udam Singh, 194 et fn. 
Mir Alam Khan, 164, 166, 168, 

Mir AH Shah, or the Syad, 105, 

107, 114, 115, 119, 138, 145. 
Misr Lai Singh, 263. 



' Monograph on the Oxus,' by Sir 
Henry Rawlinson, quoted, 7, 

Mouton, Colonel, 349. 

M'Pherson, Captain, 352. 

Nanak, 297. 

Nao Nihal Singh, 194 fn., 195, 

216, 222 et seq. tragic death 

of, 225. 

Napier, Sir Robert, 273. 
Nimchu Kafirs, the, 82 et fn. 

Oriental duplicity, a striking ex- 
ample of, 269. 

Paddle-boat, General Ventura con- 
structs a, for Maharaja Ranjit 
Singh, 202 et seq. 

Paindah Khan, 177. 

Pamir region, 5, 7, 8, 9 cross- 
ing the, into Eastern Turkestan, 
123 et seq. 

Panchthar, 172. 

Pandit Julia, 251 et seq. death 
of, 257. 

Panjab, the, 176 et fn. Colonel 
Gardner's journey to, 177 et seq. 
his settlement and adventures 
in, 182 et seq. the Lion of, 
see Ranjit Singh. 

Partab Singh, 245, 247. 

Parwan, 66 et fn., 69, 73. 

Pathans or Afghans, the, 55. 

Peshawar, 175, 176 final con- 
quest of, by the Sikhs, 188. 

Pir-i-Nimcha, 104. 

Polo, Marco, 100. 

Raj Kour, 298. 

Raja Dhyan Singh, 168, 179, 180, 

181, 191 et fn., 192 et seq. pas- 
sim murder of, 248. 

Raja Gulab Singh. See Gulab 

" Ranbir" regiment, Colonel Gard- 
ner receives command of the, 

Rani Jindan, 252, 263, 272, 273. 

Ranjit Singh, 173, 176efn., 180, 

182, 199 et seq. passim Euro- 

pean officers of, 295 et seq. 
list of characters in Panjab his- 
tory from the death of, to the 
British annexation, 354. 

Ranjit Suchet Singh, 194 et fn., 

Raverty, Captain, 160. 

Rawlinson, Sir Henry, 7, 124 fn., 

Robber gang, some members of a, 
116 et seq. 

Robertson, Sir George, 160. 

Rossaix, M., 20. 

Ruby mines of Shighnan, a visit 
to the, 134. 

Russian service, Colonel Gardner's 
experiences of, 22 et seq. 

Sada Kour, 298 et fn. 

Salt, value of, in Central Asia, 


Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, 192. 
Sardar Muhammad Akbar Khan, 

Sati of Raja Dhyan Singh's widow, 

the, 249. 

Segrave, Captain, 281. 
Shah Bahadur Beg, 142, 145. 
Shah Duri Duran, 54. 
Shah Shujah, 54. 
Shah Zaman, 54. 
Shakh Dara valley, the, 124. 
Sheep-tails, snow - preserved, 76, 


Sheheid Ghaur-i-Zaruth, 110. 
Sher Singh, 228, 234, 238, 246. 
Shighnan valley, the, 123. 
Siah Posh Kafirs, the, 33. 
Sialkot, Colonel Gardner's grave 

at, 291. 
Sikh -Afghan war of 1836, the, 

184 et seq. 

Sikh deputation, remarkable re- 
sults of a, 271 et seq. 
Sikh war, the first, 263 et seq. 
Sindhanwalia family, the, alliance 

of the Dogra family with, 217 

defection of, 234, 245. 
Slave-dealers, a party of, 35. 
Slave- markets of Turkestan, the, 




Smyth, Colonel Carmichael-, 208, 

Sobraon, events after the battle 

of, 270. 

Srinagar, 155, 156. 
St Xavier, Gardner sent to a Jesuit 

school at, 16. 
Steinbach, Colonel, 351. 
Strathnairn, Lord, 280. 
Sturzky, M., 24, 25, 41, 42, 44. 
Suchet Singh, 254 heroic death 

of, 255. 
Sultan Muhammad Khan, 173, 

"Swapping" news, an interesting 

case of, 244. 

Syad Ahmad, 166 et seg. 
Syad, the. See Mir Ali Shah. 

"Talleyrand of the Panjab, the," 


Tej Singh, 263, 267, 277. 
Therbah, the faithful servant of 

Colonel Gardner, 35, 42, 46, 

96, 114, 156, 162, 164. 
Therbahs, the, 33 et seq. 
Therman Khan, 34. 
Thomas, Colonel, 347. 
Turkoman marauders, a party of, 


Ura-tube, 46, 60. 
Urd Khan, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 

Usbuk Beg, 87. 
Uskumbak, 151. 
Ustum valley, the, 150. 

Van Cortlandt, General, 338, 339, 
Ventura, General, 178 et fn., 180, 

183, 185, 202, 264, 300, 304- 


Wazirabad, 178. 

Waziris, the, 196. 

White officers, the, of Maharaja 
Ranjit Singh, list of, 295 
some account of, 297 et seq. 

Wholesale murder, a striking in- 
stance of, 247. 

Wild, General, 241. 

Wilson, Andrew, author of ' The 
Abode of Snow,' 280. 

Wolves, attack by a pack of, 115. 

Women of Kafiristan, beauty of 
the, 124 et fn. 

Wood, Captain John, 130 fn. 

Yak, herds of, 152, 153 tail of 
the, held in high estimation in 
India, 153. 

Yamunyar river, the, 151, 154 
et fn. 

Yarkand, 154. 

Younghusband, Captain, 100. 

Yule, Sir Henry, 7, 100. 

Zaruth Nao, 106, 108. 





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ROUSSEAU, . Henry Grey Graham. ") , 
ALFRED DE MUSSET, . . C. F. / Tl ^' 
Oliphant. } Jan - 



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HOMER : ILIAD The Editor. 

HOMER : ODYSSEY, .... The Editor. 

HERODOTUS, G. C. Swayne. 

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XENOPHON Sir Alex. Grant. 

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SOPHOCLES C. W. Collins. 

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OVID, Rev. A. Church. 



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