A ball from an assassin, who had concealed himself behind a tree, wounded him in the hand and killed his horse.
Continuing Nadir Shah Captures Delhi,
our selection from History of Persia by Sir John Malcolm published in 1815. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in eleven easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Nadir Shah Captures Delhi.
This treaty was cemented by an alliance between the daughter of the ruler of Bokhara and the nephew of his conqueror; and after its conclusion a great number of Tartars were, with the concurrence of their own monarch, enrolled in the Persian army, whose commander probably esteemed the services of these hardy warriors as of more consequence to the peace of his own dominions and the fulfilment of his future views of ambition than all the wealth he had brought from India.
The arms of Nadir were next directed against the kingdom of Khaurizm, which is situated to the westward of Bokhara, and stretches along both banks of the Oxus to the shores of the Caspian Sea. The Prince of this country, whose name was Ilburz, neither merited nor received such human treatment as Abul Fyze Khan. He had committed frequent depredations upon the Persian territories; and, conceiving that the strength of his fortresses would secure him from vengeance, he resolved on resistance. The King of Bokhara had sent a mission to advise him to submit to the arms of Nadir: he not only treated this friendly counsel with disdain, but, in violation of laws which the most savage nations respect, he slew those through whom it was conveyed. This conduct greatly irritated the monarch of Persia, who, after he had defeated his army and made him prisoner, doomed him and twenty of his chief officers to death. The possessions of Ilburz were bestowed upon Taher Khan, a cousin of the sovereign of Bokhara, and consequently a direct descendant of the celebrated Genghis.
When the winter of this year was far advanced, Nadir marched to Khelat, to which place he continued from his most early years to be much attached. He had directed that its fortifications should be improved, that a palace should be built, and that aqueducts should be constructed to improve the fertility of its fields. He had also ordered that all his treasures should be carried thither; and a peaceful retirement to this cherished spot, after the toils and dangers of war were at an end, was one of the most innocent of those dreams which amused the fancy of this indefatigable conqueror.
After a short residence at Khelat Nadir proceeded to Mushed, which he made the capital of his empire; and during three months that he remained in this city his time was passed in constant festivities. Five monarchs had been subdued in five years. The empire of Persia had not only been rescued from a foreign yoke, but its limits had been extended as far as the Oxus to the north and the Indus to the east; and the hero by whom all this had been accomplished promised his exulting subjects that the Turks should soon be driven from the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates; but honor required that, before any other expedition was undertaken, Nadir should revenge the blood of his brother, Ibrahim Khan, who had been slain in an attack of the Lesghis.
When the army was on its march to Daghestan an event occurred which cast a dark cloud over all the fair prospects that dawned upon Persia, and exhibited in the strongest view the miserable condition of those empires whose fate hangs upon the disposition and talents of a despotic sovereign. An advanced corps, chiefly composed of Afghans, had, by their extraordinary valor, gained the greatest advantages over the Lesghis; and Nadir was hastening by the way of Mazandaran to their support, when, pursuing his march through one of the forests in that country, a ball from an assassin, who had concealed himself behind a tree, wounded him in the hand and killed his horse. The Prince, Reza Kuli, who was near him, galloped toward the spot from which the shot had been fired; but neither his efforts nor those of his guards that aided him could succeed in the attempts to seize the fugitive, who, favored by the thickness of the wood, effected his escape. He was afterward taken; and the historian of Nadir asserts that he was the agent of a chief of a barbarous tribe who cherished a secret resentment against the conqueror.
This accident, though it made a deep and indelible impression upon the mind of Nadir, did not prevent his proceeding to attack the Lesghis; but he never engaged in an enterprise of more hazard. These mountaineers defended themselves with the most desperate bravery; and the rugged nature of the whole country of Daghestan, which they inhabit, made it almost impossible to subdue them. The bravest troops of the Persian army were worn out with the fatigue of this harassing war; and the preparations which the Russians began to make at Astrakhan, though dictated by a fear that Nadir meant to invade their country after he had subdued the Lesghis, gave the latter every encouragement to persevere in their resistance; and the Persian monarch was compelled to retire from this expedition with very partial success and very great loss.
Nadir had, from the day on which his life was attempted, entertained suspicions of his eldest son, Reza Kuli. He summoned him to his presence. The Prince instantly obeyed, and was on his arrival made prisoner and deprived of sight. A respectable European writer, who went to Persia two years after this event, asserts that the assassin who fired at Nadir in the wood of Mazandaran was employed by the prince Reza Kuli; who, he informs us, though brave and able, was violent and oppressive. He had, this author asserts, on hearing that Nadir was dead when on his expedition to India, declared himself king, and at the same time put the unfortunate Shah Tamasp, who was confined at Subzawar, in Khorasan, to death. The same writer assures us that Nadir, though convinced of the guilt of his son, addressed him in the mildest and most human terms, and offered him complete pardon if he would only confess his crime and promise repentance; but that the fierce youth rejected this offer, and said he gloried in the attempt he had made to rid the world of a tyrant, and provoked his fate by the coarsest abuse of his father and sovereign. It is probable that this author received the account which he has given of this transaction from some person who was desirous of palliating the guilt of a reigning tyrant; but we are compelled to refuse our credit of this statement.
We want to take this site to the next level but we need money to do that. Please contribute directly by signing up at https://www.patreon.com/history