The reigning prince, Mirza Secunda Jah, ascended the throne in 1803, and has never been more than a few miles from the city of Hyderabad since the commencement of his reign. His government is absolutely despotic in theory ; but, in point of fact, his power is loud) limited by circum stances. He takes little direct interest in the minuti? of the executive, which is managed almost entirely by one or other of his ministers, according as their factions prevail, or as they may be able to carry along with them the support of the Company's resident. The influence of the East In dia Company's government is paramount in the councils of that of their ally, and all great political points are carried with considerable facility ; yet, on some late trifling occa sions, a lively jealousy has been manifested. While the officer, who had been appointed to conduct the grand tri gonometrical survey, was approaching Hyderabad, he had fixed small flags on some points for directing his observa tions. This gave rise to repeated complaints; as if, in taking a few triangles, he had been taking possession of the country. The political intercourse is carried on by means of a resident, who has a superb mansion on the north-cast side of the capital across the river. His suite consists of lirst and second assistants, a surgeon, and the officers of an escort of two companies of Bengal native in fantry. The present Nizam was entertained at the resi dency on the occasion of paying him his army's share of the Seringapatam prize money, which had been laid out in splendid specimens of English and Chinese manufactures. His Highness was a little alarmed on this occasion, by the aGidental firing of a few thousand rockets which happened to lie pointing towards the spectators, but by which for tunately no person near himself was wounded. The enter tainment was concluded by laying before him a superbly mounted sabre, which had been sent by Louis XVI. to Tippoo Sultan.
It is difficult to say what is, and what is not, to be reckon ed revenue under so irregular a government. Although a very large proportion of the whole produce of the soil be claimed as its share ; yet so much of this is stopped for the expenses of collection and payment of sebtmdee, or local troops, and so much is diverted into bye channels, that the sum which finally reaches the treasury is in many cases very small. The produce of the estates granted for milita ry service should be reckoned as part of the revenue, were it not that the service is seldom performed. When lands are not granted to Jaghiredars for specific purposes, the common mode of collection is by Tahood, a farm, in which case any person may make an offer for a lease of a district ; and that person is generally preferred who proposes the largest advance of ready money to the minister. Little in quiry is made into the methods which he may use to reim burse himself ; and he may do nearly as he pleases, pro vided he keeps good understanding at court. Sometimes, however, complaints are listened to, if there exist a hope of squeezing a further sum from the fears of the contrac tor; or it there be a wish to get rid of him, to make way fur some other who may have offered a sum of ready mo ney, or a larger portion of his expected profits. The other mode is by Amaunee, and is seldom resorted to, unless when a district is in such a rebellious state that no person can be found to larm it. Some military chief is then turn ed into it to collect what he can, and to account to govern ment for the amount. This, however, is a last resource, as all Indians, whether Mussulrnans or I lindoos, are adepts at making up accounts so as to suit their own interests.
The army of the Nizam, in consequence of the protec tion afforded by the British troops against _the invasions of the Mahrattas, is now on a very inefficient tooting. A list of its great officers and their troops, would be merely an enu meration of persons holding estates and emoluments under a nominal agreement to perform services, which they are scarcely expected to fulfil. This is quite true, as far as re gards the great military jaheridars and risaldars, or cavalry officers, who hold valuable districts in their immediate pos session ; but there are many corps of mutinous and ill-paid infantry, who have hard service in the collection of the re venue, which the oppressive nature of the government, and the consequent bad faith and turbulence of the zemindars, render extremely difficult. These troops are distributed
to the different collectorships, as occasion may require. With the exception of a few corps patronised by the Com pany's resident, none of them are either regularly paid, or decently equipped ; and many battalions have not one-tenth of their arms in a serviceable state.
By a supplementary article in the treaty between the Ni zam and the Company's government, it was agreed, that all the forts in the Hyderabad dominions should, in time or a joint war, be open to the British. Of these fortresses, the most important are that of Dowlatabad,* and of Golconda. The former, particularly, the most singular perhaps in the world, is situated on a high conical hill, which has it sides pared away perpendicularly in such a manner, that it would now be represented by a whipping-top set upon its head. There is a fortified tower on the plain, through which a passage lies to a tunnel in the bowels of the mountain, af fording an ascent to the conical surface above, and opening to the day near the edge of the precipitous side. This up per opening is covered by an iron grating, on which a fire is kept burning when any danger is apprehended. Even after overcoming this obstacle, an enemy would still be re quired to advance in a path exposed to the whole fire of the fort on the summit. In this fort are lodgments cut in the solid rock for the garrison and their provisions. The fort of Golconda, about five miles west from Hyderabad, though very strong in some places, is, by a strange ar rangement, most assailable on the side, which at the same time commands all the others. In a piece of broken ground, on the north-west side of the fort, are situated, in an irregu lar manner, the tombs of the Kootub Shahy kings, which are of such solid masonry, that they would afford bomb proof lodgment for several battalions, though some of them are within battering-distance of the walls. In the lifetime of the late Nizam ul Moolk, the garrison used to make a great show of watchfulness and jealousy of any armed par ty approaching their walls; and, on one occasion, actually fired on some ladies and gentlemen, who were amusing themselves in looking at the tombs. Sonic years ago, a de tachment of the Company's troops with a convoy of provi sions having halted near them, the Killidar, or command ant, sent out a message to the officer in charge, desiring him to remove his encampment to a greater distance, and threatening that the guns on the works would be used to enforce compliance. The officer replied verbally, that he would not decamp until the next morning ; and, pointing to a line of spirit carts, added, that if a single shot were fired at him from the fort, lie was ready to return the com pliment. The regularity or his line of carriages, and their compact form, made them be mistaken for so many mor tars and battering guns, and immediately produced a more conciliatory tone, with quiet possession of the ground.
A great part of the province is occupied by Jaghire dars, some of whom are military officers in the service of the Nizam, as already mentioned ; and the rest arc Hindoo Rajahs or Zemindars, whose ancestors have long possessed their estates, and over whom the Nizam exercises a very uncertain and undefined authority. As Hyderabad is one of the few remaining Mogul governments, a greater pro portion of Mahommedans are to be found among the higher and middle classes of the inhabitants; but the great mass of the lower classes are still IIindoos in the proportion of above ten to one. In the colder season of the year, the lower classes use a coarse woollen blanket made in the country, while the higher ranks wear shawls and quilted silks. A few of the noblemen and military chiefs clothe themselves in broad cloth, as a piece of fashionable luxury ; and the regular infantry, as well as the troops of the principal Jaghiredars, are dressed in Bri• tish red cloth.