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says, "he was bought by me to desert Haidur Khan at Ghazni, and • came to the late Sir Alexander Burnes: his services were
appreciated by Lord Keane and by Major Thomson, the
engineer officer, in the capture of that fort, and rewarded by 'a pension of five hundred rupees.” Here it is obvious that Mohan Lal, Esquire, thinks that this Judas-making, of which there was vastly too much in Affghanistan, was a very honorable occupation, and the success, which attended his efforts to corrupt the Affghan chiefs, to raise up a plentiful harvest of the blackest treachery, a jaunty feather in his cap. If there be one thing, more than another, in connexion with our ill-omened occupation of Affghanistan, which we would fain bury in utter oblivion, it is this villainous system of corrupting—or as Mohan Lal calls it “ buying”—our way to victory which honorable men thought it no dishonor, in those days, to encourage. When, at a later period, the treachery of the Affghans told, with such dire effect, upon our discomfited army, and all India rang with execrations of the blood-stained traitors, few paused to think of the lessons in treachery, which the Affghans had learnt from British agents -few paused to count the traitors which we ourselves had made-to take account of the treasure we had expended in the encouragement of the blackest perfidy. What wonder that the treachery, which contributed so "largely to our first successes in Affghanistan, should have conduced to our ultimate discomfiture ?
The Gods are just and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us. That Mohan Lal, Esquire, regarded the corruption of an Affghan in the light of a very creditable achievement there is no room to doubt. This confusion of right and wrong in the author's mind-this strange boule-versement of the moral sense—it is not very refreshing to contemplate ; but it may be accepted as at least, some guarantee, however unintentional, for his candour. He betrays the secrets of the mission with the air of a man who is proclaiming deeds, which it would be invidious to conceal -he consigns his masters to infamy with all the self-satisfied confidence of a subordinate who is rendering them some notable service. Of these blunders we cannot complain. A cleverer attaché than Mohan Lal would have known better when to be communicative and when to hold his tongue—but his book would have been comparatively worthless. It is because the present writer is so utterly wanting in discretion, that his volumes are worth anything at all.
We had purposed to have given a few specimens of Mohan Lal's style, which he assures us is Persian, and which is cer
tainly not English-but we think that we shall better carry out the objects of this journal by taking advantage of the present opportunity to compile from the different authorities —more or less trust worthy-at our command, a memoir of the eventful career of Dost Mohammed, which if not entirely free from error, will we trust, be as close an approximation to the truth, as can be attained, in the absence of all authentic records of the varied incidents of the Amír's life. Much is, necessarily, mere tradition, and must be received with liberal allowances for the exaggerations of oriental retailers of court-gossip, through whom the greater number of the anecdotes, which illustrate the biography of the Amír, have been received. We may, sometimes, be tempted, as we proceed, to throw into a note, an original passage from Mohan Lal's volumes.
Dost Mohammed Khan is the son of Poyndah Khan, and the grand-son of Hadji Jamal Khan, Barukzye. The latter was in his days, a noble of high repute, and chief of the Barukzve tribe. On his death, Taimur Shah, who then ruled in Affghanistan, bestowed with due regard to primogeniture, the dignity of the chiefship upon Rahimdad Khan, the eldest of the four sons of the deceased Hadji
. But this man had not the qualities necessary to control or conciliate his tribe. He was sordid and morose. He shut himself up in his house; seldom associated with his equals without offending them, or with his inferiors without injuring them. He wanted courtesy
- he wanted hospitality; he had a bad temper and a bad heart. The Barukzyes rose up against him and appealed to the King. Taimur Shah responded to the appeal; Rahimdad Khan was degraded; and the second brother, Poyndah Khan became chief of the tribe.
Poyndah Khan was a man of a widely different character and temperament. He was liberal and chivalrous—hospitable to his equals, affable to his inferiors, faithful to his sovereign ; a brave soldier and a popular chief. He appears first to have distinguished himself by joining an expedition sent to coerce a recusant Governor of Kashmir; and exhibiting on this occasion, consummate gallantry in the field. The refractory Governor was beaten at all points; and the leader of the expedition on his return to Kabul, brought the distinguished services of the Barukzye chief to the notice of his sovereign, who conferred new honours upon him, appointed him to offices of emolument and trust, and bestowed upon him many signal marks of personal favor and friendship.
When Prince Abbas rebelled against his father, Taimur
Shah selected Poyndah Khan to command the expedition against the insurgent hosts; and the Barukzye chief, with characteristic energy, put himself at the head of his troops, and moved down upon Salpúrah, where the rebels had taken up a strong position. The river flowed between him and the enemy, but disregarding such an obstacle, he rode down to the water's edge and plunged into the stream, calling upon his men to follow him. The energy and devotion of the chief filled his soldiers with enthusiasm and they followed him to a man. The whole party arrived in safety on the opposite side of the river; and at once proceeded to the attack. The rebels were ignominiously defeated ; and Poyndah Khan returned in triumph to his sovereign. New honors were lavished upon him, and the title of Sarfraz (or “ the exalted") was bestowed upon him, in consideration of his glorious achievements.
His services were soon again in requisition. A disturbance on the Usbeg frontier so alarmed the Shah, that he had determined on quitting the capital and flying to Herat, when Poyndah, (now Sarfraz) Khan implored his sovereign not to betray his apprehensions, but to retain his right place in the regal palace, and trust to that energy and skill which had before been so serviceable to him. Taimur Shah consented to remain in Kabul; and Sarfraz Khan set out for Balkh. Here the diplomacy of the Barukzye chief was as effectual as before his gallantry had been. He returned to Kabul, without striking a blow ; but opposition to the Dourani sovereign was at an end.
His reputation, after this statesmanlike achievement, continued rapidly to increase.
Taimur Shah died in 1793. There was a disputed inheritance. Prince Abbas had his adherents; others supported the claims of Mahmud ; but a stronger party, headed by Sarfraz Khan, who, it is said, had been won over_by the favorite queen of Taimur Shah, sided with Prince Zemaun. Zemaun was the successful candidate. In no small measure, did he owe his elevation to the influence of Sarfraz Khan; and the Barukzye chief, for a time, was even a greater favorite with Shah Zemaun, than with his predecessor. *
Mohan Lal here takes occasion to observe, “ As soon as Dost Mahommed Khan gained distinction and became chief of Kabul, he stamped the following verse on • his coin, and this honoured and gave prominence to the name of his affectionate • father :
Simo tila he shams o qamar medahad na ved
Vaq te ravag sikhai Poyndah Khan vasid. “ Silver and gold give the happy tidings to sun and moon that the time, has arrived for the currency of Poyndah Khan's coin." “ It would certainly be wonderful if Sarfraz Khan could hear with his own cars that his enterprizing
But the favorites of Kings are ever surrounded by peril. Shah Zemaun, who made the great mistake of his life, when he elevated Wuffadar Khan to the Wuzírship, was induced by the minister to suspect the fidelity of the man, to whom he owed his throne. The wuzír poured poison into the ears of the Shah. The overthrow of Sarfraz Khan was accomplished. The wiles of the false minister prevailed, and the favorite of two monarchs was disgraced. The strong-minded Barukzye chief was not one to remain quiet under the injustice that had been done him. He had been suspected without cause ; he now gave cause for suspicion. He conspired with other powerful chiefs to destroy Wuffadar Khan and to depose Shah Zemaun. The conspiracy was discovered; and the leaders were seized. An officer was sent to the house of Sarfraz Khan, charged with the apprehension of the rebel chief, and was received by his son, the celebrated Futteh Khan. The youth alleged that his father was absent and undertook to summon him. He then presented himself before Sarfraz Khan, warned him of his danger, and offered to assassinate the officer and seize the guard. The foul proposition was rejected. Sarfraz Khan went out; and surrendered himself to the representative of the king. On the following morning he was executed ; and the other conspirators shared his fate.
Sarfraz Khan died leaving twenty-one sons, of whom Futteh Khan was the eldest ; and Dost Mahommed the twentieth.f The former, on the death of his father, fled to Ghireck but was soon compelled to abandon his sanctuary and fly from the pursuing wrath of his enemies. “ These,” says Mohan Lal, “ were the days in which the descendants and family of • Poyndah Khan suffered most miserably. They were beg
son, Dost Mahommed, had become as celebrated as one of the kings, and that
the ambassadors of the Russian, the Persian, and the Turkistan Governments • waited in his Court. It happens seldom in this sad and changing world that
parents are alive to derive pleasure from the prosperity of their promising sons; ' and if they ever happen to be alive, still when the child has gained dignity, it is
to be regretted that he seldom pleases them entirely, by performing his filial duties according to their expectation.'
• Mohan Lal seems to assume the innocence of the alleged conspirators. He says, that they were all unjustly massacred. That the injuries they had received at the hands of the minister incited them to rebellion is true ; but that they did actually conspire against their sovereign is not to be denied.
+ Mohan Lal, determined that there should be no mistake about the matter, says—“ If I did not mention that they had different mothers, it might puzzle the
reader consider that so many children were born from one mother." He adds, “ I must safely say, that the mother of Dost Mahommed was the favorite • wife of Sarfraz Khan). She accompanied him in the various campaigns, and would
not allow him to rise early and march long after sunrise. For this she was • blessed by the troops and camp followers who did not like to start earlier in « cold."
'ging from morning to night for pieces of bread. Many were • prisoners and others had taken shelter in the mausoleum of • the late Ahmad Shah, with the view of gaining food, which
was daily distributed for charity's sake." But their trials were only for a season. The Barukzye brothers soon emerged from the clouds, which had environed them. There was no power in the Douraní empire which could successfully cope with these strong and determined spirits.
In Affghanistan, revenge is a virtue. The sons of Sarfraz Khan had the murder of their father to avenge ; blood cried aloud for blood, and the appeal was not made in vain. Futteh Khan had fled into Persia and there leagued himself with Mahmoud, the brother of Shah Zemaun. The ambition of this prince failure had not extinguished.
His prospects at this time were gloomy in the extreme ; but the arrival of Futteh Khan, whose extraordinary energy of character had gained him the highest reputation among his countrymen, inspired the exiled prince with new courage ; and he resolved, under the direction of the son of Sarfraz Khan, to strike another blow for the throne of Kabul.
With a few horsemen they entered Affghanistan, and raising the standard of revolt were joined by thousands of their countrymen. The result is well known. Shah Zemaun and his detested Wuzír made but a feeble stand against the irresistible energies of Futteh Khan. The Shah was seized, the eyes of the unfortunate monarch were punctured with a sharp lancet, and he was cast a blind and hopeless prisoner into the Balla Hissar. Wuffadar Khan and his brother were executed; the revenge of the Barukzyes was accomplished, and their triumph complete.
At this period (the first year of the present century) Dost Mahommed was a boy. According to Mohan Lal he was then twelve years of age. This statement must be received with caution. It is alleged, upon good authority, that Dost Mohammed, was born in the year 1793. If this assertion be correct, on the ascension of Shah Mahmoud, he was only seven years old. We should be sorry to stake our character for accuracy on any statement relative to the precise year on which the Amír was born ; but we may question whether he has lived fifty-eight years in the world. We feel inclined to accept neither statement, but rather to believe that Dost Mahommed was born between the two dates indicated-1788 and 1793.
The early years of Dost Mahommed were years of absolute servitude. His mother though much beloved by Sarfraz Khan,