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was not a woman of condition. She belonged to the Kuzzilbash tribe, and by the other wives of her lord-high-born Dourani Ladies-was regarded with contempt. It is related by General Harlan that by an honorary or devotional vow • of his mother he was consecrated to the lowest menial service • of the sacred cenotaph of Lamech. ...This cenotaph is known • in the colloquial dialect of the country by the appellation of Meiter Lam. In conformity with the maternal vow, 5. when the young aspirant became capable of wielding a brush, • he was carried to Meiter Lam by his mother, and instructed ' to exonerate her from the consequences of a sacred obligation, • by sweeping, for the period of a whole day, the votive area • included within the precincts of the holy place enclosing ' the alleged tomb of the ante-diluvian, the father as he is • termed of the prophet Noah.” At a later period, the boy attached himself to his enterprising brother, Futteh Khanbecoming his personal attendant, first in the character of Abdar or water bearer, and afterward in the higher office of húkah-bardar, or bearer of the great man's pipe. His ministrations appear to have been incessant. He was always in the Wuzír's presence, following his every movement and often watching him when wrapt in sleep.*
This is the history of the boyish life of Dost Mahommed in which we would fain repose our belief. A neglected younger brother, slighted by powerful relatives because the child of a woman of inferior condition, but his high spirit not crushed by contumely-patiently biding his time, dreaming of the future, and only lacking opportunity to show the strength of his mind and the temper of his courage—such a picture we may look upon with pleasure. There is another and a darker one. Among the twenty brothers of Dost Mahommed, was one named Summund Khan. Profligate among the profligate, his life was one of debauchery most revolting. His vices were of that dark hue, which though not unknown at Oriental Courts, in Christian countries is viewed with abhorrence even by the most licentious. The extreme beauty of the young Dost Mohammed is said to have attracted the attention of the profligate Nawab; and the boy soon found himself the most favored of the many youthful minions who polluted his brother's house. The story is not wanting in probability. Uneducated, neglected, contaminated by the all-surrounding
• Mohan Lal says, “ this promising young man was in attendance upon him at all times, and never went to sleep till Futteh was gone to his bed. He stood before • him all the day with his hands closed, a token of respect among the Affghans. It • was not an unusual occurrence, that when Futteh Khan was in his sleeping room • Dost Mahommed Khan stood watching his safety.”
debauchery-evil influences of every kind assailing him, the boy may have fallen a victim to the wickedness of men, and yet excite rather pity than loathing.
From this horrible pollution he was soon rescued. The Othos of the East are not always sunk in sloth and effeminacy. His was no woman's nature. Whilst yet a boy he had all the daring resolution—the impetuous courage of manhood. His first achievement as a man was one unhappily but too characteristic of Affghan manhood—it was an act of deliberate murder. He had long sought an opportunity of recommending himself to the especial favor of his powerful brother-long sought an opportunity of showing the “sterner stuff," of which he was made. The Wuzír happened one day, in durbar at Peshawur, to express some apprehensions of the designs of a personal enemy, whom he named; and to indicate, by some indirect allusions, the satisfaction he should feel, if the man were removed from a proximity to the court, which seemed to threaten so much danger. The words sunk deep into the mind of young Dost Mahommed-then a stripling of fourteen —who was in attendance on his brother; and brooding over them, he left the durbar, mounted his horse, and had scarcely struck into the street, when he found himself face to face with the object of the Wuzir's hatred. Dost Mahommed was armed with a rifle ; both parties were mounted-he had but to raise the weapon and rid his brother at once of a dangerous enemy. The resolution was formed in an instant. It was broad day; they were in the public streets: the townsmen were passing to and fro, and the man, whom he had marked as his victim, was attended by a band of followers. The lionhearted stripling saw all this ; but no personal fears could turn him aside from the task he had set himself; he raised his rifle and fired. The enemy of Futteh Khan fell a corpse at his horse's feet, and Dost Mahommed rode home to announce to his brother, the death of his dangerous rival. The suddenness of the act must have paralysed the followers of the murdered man; for, the youthful assassin escaped in the midst of the confusion which the daring act created in the streets of Peshawur. From this time, his rise was rapid. Various are the roads, which led to Fame and Fortune. In the East, cruelty and lust are the darling vices of the great. Whatever ministers to these brutal passions, is sure to meet with favor in the sight of the magnates of the land. Dost Mahommed had now approved himself a hero.
That he did not pay the penalty of this murderous act—that the relatives of the man he had slain, did not, in accordance with national usage and in fulfilment of the duties of Affghan consanguinity, demand blood for blood, we must attribute to the immense power of Futteh Khan, who during the reign of the indolent and licentious Mahmoud, was the virtual monarch of Affghanistan! He was protected, indeed, by something nearly akin to that
sealed commission of a King, Which kills and none dare name the murderer. He was the brother, and now the favorite of Futteh Khan the Warwick of the East—the King-maker of Affghanistan.
From the period of the accession of Shah Mahmoud to the date of Mr. Elphinstone's mission to Affghanistan, in 1809, the country appears to have been almost incessantly rent by intestine convulsions. The strife between Shah Mahmoud and Shah Sujah was distinguished by the alternating successes of the two brothers ; first one, then the other was uppermost; the war of succession deluged the country with blood, and ended in the dispersion of the royal family. Dum singuli preliantur, universi vincuntur. Seven years of warfare between the Suddozye brothers prepared the way for the rise of the Barukzyes. Mahmoud Shah was weak and unprincipledbut he was a puppet in the hands of Futteh Khan, and as such, his party was a strong one. The grand error of Shah Zemaun's life had been his treatment of Sarfraz Khan. His brother Shah Sújah appears to have been equally unfortunate in his failure to propitiate Futteh Khan, the powerful son of a powerful father. But the latter had an enemy nearer home, in the son of Shah Mahmoud—the prince Kamran, subsequently well known as the ruler of Herat, who accomplished the destruction of the powerful Wuzír.
We need not follow in detail, the intricate history of Affghan politics, throughout the early years of the present century. Much has been written on the subject; but, for the most part, with such an utter contempt for the value of dates, that the student who would endeavour to derive from these varied narratives, a clear, comprehensive, chronological view of the annals of Suddozye warfare is pretty sure to be fairly bewildered. It is enough for us, that Dost Mahommed Khan followed the fortunes of his warlike brother and at an early age was renowned as one of the most distinguished of the chivalry of Affghanistan. That whilst yet in his teens, he was a warrior of no mean repute, is certain; but, making every allowance for eastern precocity, we still find it difficult to believe, that he could have performed the various exploits ascribed to him
during the life time of Futteh Khan, if the date of his birth be correctly fixed at so recent a period as the year 1793. From his very boyhood, he was accustomed to a life of adventure, and being trained to arms and familiar with scenes of battle, he early acquired the power of handling considerable bodies of troops, and was at once, after his kind, a skilful leader and a dashing soldier, when yet scarcely a man. He was bold, reckless, and it is to be feared, wanting in those qualities which most command respect. His scruples were few; his errors were many; and, as he often acknowledged, in after life, his youthful career was stained by many acts not to be looked back upon, without shame and contrition.
It was one of these errors—to use no stronger wordwhich led, it is supposed, to the inhuman treatment to which Futteh Khan was subjected by the Suddozyes. The Dost accompanied his brother on an expedition against Herat; the place was taken, and the young warrior, to use the language of Mr. Vigne “ signalised himself, not in action, but in the Zenana of Feroz-úd-dín, which he forcibly entered, and, amongst * other pranks gave chase to Tokya Begum, daughter of • Taimur Shah and sister to Shah Mahmoud, pursued her ' into a bath, where she had taken refuge, tore off by force ' from her person the Bund-i-pajama or waist-band of her 'trowsers, which was studded with very valuable pearls and
escaped with his prize to his brother in Kashmir. Futteh * Khan wrote to Mahommed Azim Khan, telling him to seize • Dost Mahommed, and a guard was placed over him ; but
before any further steps were taken, news arrived that Futteh • Khan had been blinded by Kamran, son of Mahmoud. The • insulted Begum sent her dress, torn and bandless to her
cousin Kamran, at Herat, who forthwith followed Futteh • Khan, took him prisoner as he returned from Khorassan, ' where he had been defeated by the Persian prince, Ali Mirza, ' and on the principle which considers that what is done by ' one man is done by his family, put out Futteh Khan's eyes, 'to avenge the insult offered by Dost Mahommed to his own cousin."* What followed is well known. Enraged by so gross an outrage on a member of the Suddozye family, alarmed at the growing power of the Barukzyes, and further irritated
Mohan Lal says, that the lady was sister of the Shai-zadah Kamran ; but it is obvious that if she was the daughter of Taimur Shah, and sister of Shah Mahmoud (Kamran's father) she was neither the sister, nor the cousin, but the aunt of the Prince. The Dost appears to have acted throughout recklessly and unscrupulously. He massacred the palace-guard; seized Feroz-úd-dín ; plundered the palace; and violated the Harem. On hearing that his conduct at Herat had given offence to Futteh Khan, he fled to Kashmir, where his brother Azim Khan was employed ; and there, Azím Khan, instructed by Futteh Khan, seized him.
by the resolute refusal of Futteh Khan to betray his brothers, who had effected their escape from Herat, Kamran and his father, Shah Mahmoud, agreed to put their noble prisoner to death. They were then on their way from Kandahar to Kabul. The ex-minister was brought into their presence; and again called upon to write to his brothers, ordering them to surrender themselves to the Shah. Again he refused, alleging that he was but a poor blind captive; that his career was run; that he had no longer any influence; and that, if he had, he could not consent to betray his brethren. Exasperated by the resolute bearing of his prisoner, Mahmoud Shah ordered the unfortunate Wuzír--the king-maker to whom he owed his crown, to be put to death before him ; and there, in the presence of the Shah and the Shah-zadah, Futteh Khan was by the attendant courtiers, literally hacked to pieces. His nose, ears, and lips were cut off ; his fingers severed from his hands; his hands from his arms, his arms from his body; limb followed limb, and long was the horrid butchery continued before the life of the victim was extinct. Futteh Khan raised no cry; offered no prayer for mercy. His fortitude was unshaken to the last. "He died, as he had lived, the bravest and most resolute of men-like his noble father, a victim to the perfidy and ingratitude of princes. The murder of Sarfraz Khan shook the Suddozye Dynasty to its base. The assassination of Futteh Khan soon made it a heap of ruins.
From this time, the rise of Dost Mahommed was rapid. He had the blood of kindred to avenge. The ingratitudethe cruelty of Mahmoud and his son were now to be signally punished by the brother of the illustrious sufferer. Azim Khan, who ruled at Kashmir counselled a course of forbearance; but Dost Mahommed indignantly rejected the proposition; and declaring that it would be an eternal disgrace to the Barukzyes not to chastise the murderers of the Wuzír, asserted his willingness to march upon Kabul, at the head of an army of retribution. Azím Khan, liking neither to enter personally upon so perilous an undertaking, nor to appear, in such a juncture, wholly supine, presented the Dost with three or four lakhs of rupees to defray the charges of the expedition—a sum, which was exhausted long before the sirdar neared Kabul. But in spite of every obstacle, Dost Mahommed Khan reached Kúrd-Kabul-two marches from the Capital; and there encamped his army.
The Shah-zadah, Jehangír, the youthful son of Kamran, was then the nominal ruler of Kabul: but the management of affairs was entrusted to Atta Mahommed Khan-a man of