“All due praise be rendered to the glory of the Almighty, and the munificence of your majesty, which is conspicuous as the sun and moon. Although I, your well-wisher, have separated from your sublime presence, I am nevertheless zealous in the performance of every bounden act of obedience and loyalty. My ardent wishes and strenuous services are employed to promote the prosperity of the Kings, Nobles, Mimes, Rajahs, and Roys of the provinces of Hindustan, and the chiefs of Iran, Turaun, Rum, and Shan, the inhabitants of the seven climates, and all persons travelling by land and by water. This my inclination is notorious, nor can your royal wisdom entertain a doubt thereof. Reflecting therefore on my former services, and your majesty’s condescension, I presume to solicit the royal attention to some circumstances, in which the public as well as private welfare is greatly interested.
“I have been informed that enormous sums have been dissipated in the prosecution of the designs formed against me, your well-wisher; and that you have ordered a tribute to be levied to satisfy the exigencies of your exhausted treasury.
“May it please your majesty, your royal ancestor Mahomed Jalal-ud-Din Akbar, whose throne is now in heaven, conducted the affairs of this empire in equity and firm security for the space of fifty-two years, preserving every tribe of men in ease and happiness, whether they were followers of Jesus or of Moses, of David or Mahomed; were they Brahmins, were they of the sect of Dharians, which denies the eternity of matter, or of that which ascribes the existence of the world to chance, they all equally enjoyed his countenance and favour: insomuch that his people, in gratitude for the indiscriminate protection he afforded them, distinguished him by the appellation of Juggut Gooroo (Guardian of Mankind).
“His majesty Mahomed Noor-ul-Din Jehanghir, likewise, whose dwelling is now in paradise, extended, for a period of twenty-two years, the shadow of his protection over the heads of his people; successful by a constant fidelity to his allies, and a vigorous exertion of his arm in business.
“Nor less did the illustrious Shah Jehan, by a propitious reign of thirty-two years, acquire to himself immortal reputation, the glorious reward of clemency and virtue.
“Such were the benevolent inclinations of your ancestors. Whilst they pursued these great and generous principles, wheresoever they directed their steps, conquest and prosperity went before them; and then they reduced many countries and fortresses to their obedience. During your majesty’s reign, many have been alienated from the empire, and farther loss of territory must necessarily follow, since devastation and rapine now universally prevail without restraint. Your subjects are trampled under foot, and every province of your empire is impoverished; depopulation spreads, and difficulties accumulate. When indigence has reached the habitation of the sovereign and his princes, what can be the condition of the nobles? As to the soldiery, they are in murmurs; the merchants complaining, the Mahomedans discontented, the Hindus destitute, and multitudes of people, wretched even to the want of their nightly meal, are beating their heads throughout the day in rage and desperation.
“How can the dignity of the sovereign be preserved who employs his power in exacting heavy tributes from a people thus miserably reduced? At this juncture it is told from east to west, that the emperor of Hindustan, jealous of the poor Hindu devotee, will exact a tribute from Brahmins, Sanorahs, Joghies, Beragies, Sanyasees; that, regardless of the illustrious honour of his Timurean race, he condescends to exercise his power over the solitary inoffensive anchoret. If your majesty places any faith in those books, by distinction called divine, you will there be instructed that God is the God of all mankind, not the God of Mahomedans alone. The Pagan and the Mussulman are equally in His presence. Distinctions of colour are of His ordination. It is He who gives existence. In your temples, to His name the voice is raised in prayer; in a house of images, where the bell is shaken, still He is the object of adoration. To vilify the religion or customs of other men is to set at naught the pleasure of the Almighty. When we deface a picture, we naturally incur the resentment of the painter; and justly has the poet said, presume not to arraign or scrutinize the various works of power divine.
“In fine, the tribute you demand from the Hindoos is repugnant to justice: it is equally foreign from good policy, as it must impoverish the country: moreover, it is an innovation and an infringement of the laws of Hindostan. But if zeal for your own religion hath induced you to determine upon this measure, the demand ought, by the rules of equity, to have been made first upon Ramsingh, who is esteemed the principal amongst the Hindus. Then let your well-wisher be called upon, with whom you will have less difficulty to encounter; but to torment ants and flies is unworthy of an heroic or generous mind. It is wonderful that the ministers of your government should have neglected to instruct your majesty in the rules of rectitude and honour.”