The greatest expectation was excited in Persia at the prospect of the return of their victorious monarch.
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.
When on his march from India he was informed that several of the most valuable crown-jewels had been secreted by some of his followers, he made this a pretext for searching the baggage of every man in his army, and appropriating all the jewels that were found to himself. The soldiers murmured, but submitted; and their not resisting this despotic act is an extraordinary proof of the subordination which he had established. He was, however, in general kind and liberal to his troops: he had given to each man a gratuity of three months’ pay at the fall of Kandahar; he gave them as much more after the victory of Karnal; and they received a still greater bounty before he marched from Delhi.
The troops of Nadir, we are told, suffered much in their retreat from India by the intense heat to which they were exposed. Their passage over the rivers of the Punjab and the Indus was delayed by accidents to the temporary bridges which he had constructed, and in one instance by the threatened attack of the mountaineers of Kabul, whose forbearance the proud conqueror did not disdain to purchase; and when we consider the nature of the country through which he had to pass, the immense train of baggage with which his army was accompanied, and the danger that might have arisen from the slightest confusion, we cannot blame the prudence with which he acted upon this occasion.
The greatest expectation was excited in Persia at the prospect of the return of their victorious monarch. The inhabitants of that country had already felt the benefit of his triumphs. He had commanded that all taxes should be remitted for three years: and they began to anticipate scenes of unheard-of joy and abundance. The most exaggerated reports were circulated of the vast riches which their sovereign and his soldiers had acquired; and all conceived that Nadir was disposed to enjoy himself, from the number of artificers and musicians which he brought from India. Curiosity, too, was eager to behold the train of elephants which attended his march. That noble animal had become a stranger to the plains of Persia; and the natives of that country were only familiar with its shape from seeing its figure represented in the sculpture of ancient times. Sanguine minds were led, by a natural association of ideas, to believe that their present ruler was the destined restorer of their country to its former glory; and the conqueror was hailed, at his return, as a hero whose fame had eclipsed that of a Sapor or a Nushirwan.
The soldiers of Nadir were, we are informed, after the expedition to India, most anxious for repose; but that Prince was too well acquainted with the consequences of this indulgence to permit them to enjoy it. He had, after he passed the Indus, led them through the deserts of Sind to the attack of a feudatory chief, who had established himself in the government of that province. This ruler had courted Nadir Shah when he first threatened the invasion of India, as he deemed such a measure favorable to his views of independence; but when his possessions were made over to the Persian monarch he changed his policy; and, lodging all his treasure and property in the fortress of Amerkote, made a feeble attempt at opposition; but his capital was taken and plundered, and he was compelled to surrender himself to the mercy of the conqueror; who, however, satisfied with his submission and the possession of his wealth, restored him to the government of the province, which he agreed henceforth to hold as a tributary to the crown of Persia.
After this expedition Nadir marched to Herat, where he made a proud display of the jewels and plunder he had acquired in India; among which the most remarkable was the celebrated throne of the Emperor of Delhi, made in the shape of a peacock, and ornamented with precious stones of every description. This gorgeous exhibition took place on June 4, 1740; and on that day and several others the court, army, and populace were amused with pageants, shows, and entertainments of every kind; but Nadir, though satisfied that this public celebration of triumph was calculated to raise his fame with his subjects and to gratify the vanity of his soldiers, appears always to have dreaded the danger of inaction. He moved his army from Herat; and after meeting his son, Reza Kuli, and bestowing valuable presents upon him and the other princes of his family, he moved toward Bulkh, where he had ordered preparations to be made for his crossing the Oxus to punish the sovereign of Bokhara, who, unmindful of his established alliance, had taken advantage of his absence in India to make inroads into the province of Khorasan.
The motives which induced Nadir to proceed upon this expedition were soon apparent. He had no desire to extend the boundary of his empire in a direction where he knew it could not be maintained, but he wished to visit upon the inhabitants of this part of Tartary those calamities which they were in the annual habit of inflicting upon the frontier provinces of Persia. Abul Fyze Khan, who was the ruler of the Usbegs at this period, boasted a lineal descent from Genghis; but he appears to have inherited none of the spirit of his great ancestor. He was terrified into submission at the approach of Nadir, and sent his vizier to deprecate the wrath of that monarch. The minister was well received, but told that his master must immediately surrender if he desired to save himself from destruction and his country from ruin. While these negotiations were carried on the Persian army advanced by rapid marches to Bokhara, and on August 23d, five days after they had crossed the Oxus, encamped within twelve miles of that capital, where his short expedition was brought to a close by the personal submission of Abul Fyze Khan, who, attended by all his court, proceeded to the tents of Nadir Shah, and laid his crown and other ensigns of royalty at the feet of the conqueror, who assigned him an honorable place in his assembly; and a few days afterward restored him to his throne on the condition that the Oxus should remain, as it had been in former periods, the boundary of the two empires.
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