Page images
PDF
EPUB

Khan, the founder of the Talpúr house, who was then on the Musnud, by Abdúl Hussan, a native agent deputed for that purpose. No difficulty appears to have arisen: Ibrahim Shah (before alluded to), the wazir or prime minister, on the part of his master, granted every preliminary; and Abdul Hussan instructs the Bombay government to send up a gentleman who will be received with greater consideration than during the time of the Kaloras. He was to bring with him large investments of China ware, metals, and woollen cloths of various colours, to prove that his mission was merely commercial; and every pains was to be taken to prevent any suspicion to the contrary. Abdúl Hussan, in his reports, expatiated on the kindness he received, and described the mission of Ismael Shah, son of Ibrahim Shah, to assist in the required arrangements. The Talpúrs themselves also sent agents to Bombay, to purchase various articles of use or trade; and the government at that place showed every attention to these, in return for the consideration evinced to their agent at the Hyderabad court. Enclosed in Abdúl Hussan's reports were letters from Futteh Allí Khan, the prince, to the governor of Bombay, J. Duncan, Esq., confirming all that had been said by Abdúl Hussan, in these terms:-"Assure yourself, honourable Sir, that I am equally disposed, with yourself, to renew this happy intercourse; and sensible of the advantages my country will derive, I shall

study to give every encouragement to those who pass through, as well as those who like to reside here; and you may despatch one of your agents here with the fullest and most unguarded confidence. The former factory at Tattah shall be delivered over to your agents; and I give you my most solemn assurances that I will increase nothing but my affection towards them." Ibrahim Shah and Ghúllam Alú Talpúr add letters of their own to the Bombay governor; and shortly after Mr. Nathan Crow, of the Bombay civil service, and a highly capable public servant, was selected for the particular and important duty of conducting the mercantile and political interests of the British government with the jealous and newly-formed power of the Tulpúrs, and arrived in Sindh shortly after with full powers to carry on the duties assigned him. The home authorities perfectly concurred in the policy of re-establishing a connexion with Sindh; and Mr. Crow for some time continued at this port, dividing his position between Tattah and Shah Bunder or Karrachi. The commercial advantages were overrated. The native traders of the country were indefatigable in their exertions to interrupt an arrangement which interfered so vitally with their interests. Intrigues of the most annoying kind were continually set on foot, and as frequently baffled by the admirable temper and conduct of the British representative, until, in 1800, when Mr. Crow, after attending at

the Hyderabad court, and reporting to his government the highly satisfactory results of his personal interviews with the princes, who had vouched in the most solemn manner for his being fully sustained against the designs of certain parties who had spread reports to the disadvantage of the British, representing their designs as being of the most dangerous tendency to the Talpúr state, though concealed under the pretence of trade; suddenly received an order to leave Karrachi, and to repair to Tattah, to which place his transactions were to be confined. This order was couched in the most uncivil tone; and directed the governor and guards of the fort to use force in case of any hesitation on the part of the British representative. Mr. Crow being in a position only to obey, proceeded as directed, in the hope, moreover, of still being able to stem the torrent of opposition and intrigue which was setting in so strong against him. His servants were attacked on the road, rudely handled, and nearly all his papers lost. Shortly after his arrival at Tattah he received a further order to leave the country forthwith, ten days being only allowed for that purpose, with a plain intimation that either personal violence would result from any delay beyond that period, or that the Amirs would not be responsible if it occurred. It being evident that the public interests and honour could no longer be supported, Mr. Crow obeyed the order, which was issued by Ibrahim Shah, who hypocri

U

[ocr errors]

tically enough represented that his influence with Futteh Allí to secure the resident's interests, and to prevent his departure, had become unavailing. The ostensible reason given by the Sindhian court for this violent and unauthorised proceeding was an order from Zeman Shah, the Affghan monarch, but with greater probability may be traced to the result of Tippú's intrigues, coupled with the very strong party in Sindh against the British influence, which was destructive to those of the trading community, an effect which might have been foreseen. The Mahommedan feeling at that period was certainly very strong. The Champion of the Faith, as Tippú styled himself, had roused the cry for Islam against the threatened conquest of India by the infidels, throughout every part of Asia; and the Affghan court, as well as the Sindhian, had acknowledged it; there is every reason to believe, therefore, that this, in the first instance, and the determined opposition of interested parties, conduced to seal the fate of British influence in Sindh. No notice appears to have been taken by the authorities of those days of the outrage committed, even to a slight remonstrance and demand for explanation: new conquests in the south had, it is presumed, satisfied all doubts and fears; and the Sindhian question, commercially or politically, became of minor importance. The arrogance of the Talpúrs, however, rose in proportion; and when, in 1809, it was deemed necessary, for the greater stability

of our Indian empire, and to thwart the designs of Napoleon, to send embassies to Persia, Caubúl, and Sindh, the latter was met by the most inflated pretensions; and had to surmount almost unconquerable difficulties of etiquette and distrust, arising from the very haughty tone assumed by the Sindhian chiefs, the result of our patient endurance of their former insults. The whole of the events connected with this mission, and which are now of additional interest, are graphically given by one who accompanied Mr. Hankey Smith, the British representative* to the Sindhian court, and was present during the whole of the tedious and trying negotiations, which ended in the treaty bearing date 22d August, 1809, between the British government and their highnesses Mirs Ghúllam Allí, Kurrum Allí, and Múrad Allí, (the surviving brothers of Futteh Allí, who died in 1801,) of four articles, and styled a "Treaty of Friendship between the Honourable East India Company and the Government of Sindh." The first article provides for eternal friendship between the British government and the amirs above named; the 2d, enmity shall never appear between the two states; 3d, interchange of friendly embassies to continue; and, 4thly, the government of Sindh promises not to allow the establishment of the tribe of French in Sindh. In 1820 Mir Ismael Shah, the Wazir,

*See "Pottinger's Biluchistan."

« PreviousContinue »