He intended to put out the eyes of his deposed brother, Mahmud, but was dissuaded from it by his mother and Zaman Shah, who now pointed out to him the place where he had concealed the great diamond. Mahmud made his escape from prison, raised a party, drove out his brothers, and once more ascended the throne. The two brothers sought an asylum in the Honourable Company’s territories; and have from that time resided at an out frontier station of Ludiana, upon the banks of the Hyphasis, upon a liberal pension assigned for their maintenance by our Government. On their way through the territories of the Sikh chief, Ranjit Singh, Shuja was discovered to have this great diamond, the Mountain of Light, about his person; and he was, by a little torture skilfully applied to the mind and body, made to surrender it to his generous host. Mahmud was succeeded in the government of the fortress and province of Herat by his son Kamran; but the throne of Kabul was seized by the mayor of the palace, who bequeathed it to his son Dost Muhammad, a man, in all the qualities requisite in a sovereign, immeasurably superior to any member of the house of Ahmad Shah Abdali. Ranjit Singh had wrested from him the province of Peshawar in times of difficulty, and, as we would not assist him in recovering it from our old ally, he thought himself justified in seeking the aid of those who would, the Russians and Persians, who were eager to avail themselves of so fair an occasion to establish a footing in India. Such a footing would have been manifestly incompatible with the peace and security of our dominions in India, and we were obliged, in self-defence, to give to Shuja the aid which he had so often before in vain solicited, to enable him to recover the throne of his very limited number of legal ancestors.
1. Nadir Shah was crowned king of Persia in 1736, entered the Panjab, at the close of 1738, and occupied Delhi in March 1739. Having perpetrated an awful massacre of the inhabitants, he retired after a stay of fifty-eight days, He was assassinated in May 1747.