The ancient Mogul Empire embraced almost as much of India as is controlled by the British today, and extended westward into Europe as far as Moscow and Constantinople. It was founded by a young warrior known as Timour the Tartar, or Tamerlane, as he is more frequently called in historical works. He was a native of Kesh, a small town fifty miles south of Samarkand, the capital of Bokhara, which was known as Tartary in those days. This young man conquered more nations, ruled over a wider territory and a larger number of people submitted to his authority than to any other man who ever lived, before or since. His expansion policy was more successful than that of Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar or Charles V. or Napoleon, and he may properly be estimated as one of the greatest if not the very greatest and most successful soldier in all history. Yet he was not born to a throne. He was a self-made man. His father was a modest merchant, without wealth or fame. His grandfather was a scholar of repute and conspicuous as the first convert to Mohammedanism in the country in which he lived. Timour went into the army when he was a mere boy. There were great doings in those days, and he took an active part in them. From the start he seems to have been cast for a prominent role in the military dramas and tragedies being enacted upon the world's wide stage. He inherited a love of learning from his grandfather and a love of war as well as military genius from some savage ancestor. He rose rapidly. Other men acknowledged his superiority, and before he was 30 years old he found himself upon a throne and acknowledged to be the greatest soldier of his time. He came into India in 1398 and set up one of his sons on a throne at Delhi, where his descendants ruled until the great Indian mutiny of 1857 - 460 years. He died of fever and ague in 1405, and was buried at Samarkand, where a splendid shrine erected over his tomb is visited annually by tens of thousands of pilgrims, who worship him as divine.

Babar, sixth in descent from Timour, consolidated the states of India under a central government. His memoirs make one of the most fascinating books ever written. He lived a stirring and a strenuous life, and the world bowed down before him. His death was strangely pathetic, and illustrates the faith and the superstition of men mighty in material affairs but impotent before gods of their own creation. His son and the heir to his throne, Humayon, being mortally ill of fever, was given up to die by the doctors, whereupon the affectionate father went to the nearest temple and offered what he called his own worthless soul as a substitute for his son. The gods accepted the sacrifice. The dying prince began to recover and the old man sank slowly into his grave.

The empire increased in wealth, glory and power, and among the Mogul dynasty were several of the most extraordinary men that have ever influenced the destinies of nations. Yet it seems strange that from the beginning each successive emperor should be allowed to obtain the throne by treachery, by the wholesale slaughter of his kindred and almost always by those most shameful of sins - parricide and ingratitude to the authors of their being. Rebellious children have always been the curse of oriental countries, and when we read the histories of the Mogul dynasty and the Ottoman Empire and of the tragedies that have occurred under the shadows of the thrones of China, India and other eastern countries, we cannot but sympathize with the feelings of King Thebaw of Burma, who immediately after his coronation ordered the assassination of every relative he had in the world and succeeded in "removing" seventy-eight causes of anxiety.

Babar, the "Lion," as they called him, was buried at Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and was succeeded by Humayon, the son for whom he gave his life. The latter, on Sunday, Dec. 14, 1517, the day that Martin Luther delivered his great speech against the pope and caused the new word "Protestant" - one who protests - to be coined, drove Sikandar, the last of the Afghan dynasty, from India. When they found the body of that strenuous person upon the battle field, the historians say, "five or six thousand of the enemy were lying dead in heaps within a small space around him;" as if he had killed them all. The wives and slaves of Sikandar were captured. Humayon behaved generously to them, considering the fashion of those times, but took the liberty to detain their luggage, which included their jewels and other negotiable assets. In one of their jewel boxes was found a diamond which Sikandar had acquired from the sultan Alaeddin, one of his ancestors, and local historians, writing of it at the time, declared that "it is so valuable that a judge of diamonds valued it at half the daily expenses of the entire world." This was the first public appearance in good society of the famous Kohinoor, which, as everybody knows, is now the chief ornament in the crown of Edward VII., King of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India. It is valued at L880,000, or $4,400,000 in our money. Queen Victoria never wore it. She had it taken from the crown and replaced by a paste substitute. This jewel thus became one of the heirlooms of the Moguls, who lived in such splendor as has never been seen since or elsewhere and could not be duplicated in modern times.

In the winter of 1555 Humayon was descending a stairway when his foot slipped and he fell headlong to the bottom. He was carried into his palace and died a few days later, being succeeded by his son, a boy of 13, who in many respects was the noblest of the Moguls, and is called in history Akbar the Great. He came to the throne in 1556, and his reign, which lasted until 1605, was almost contemporaneous with that of Queen Elizabeth. In reading his history one is impressed by the striking resemblance between him and the present Emperor of Germany. Beiram, who had been his father's prime minister, and whose clear intellect, iron will and masterful ability had elevated the house of Tamerlane to the glory and power it then enjoyed, remained with the young king as his adviser, and, owing to the circumstances, did not treat him with as much deference and respect as Akbar's lofty notions considered proper. The boy endured the slights for four years, and when he reached the age of 17 there occurred at the court of the Moguls an incident which was repeated several centuries later at Berlin, but it turned out differently.

Beiram, like Bismarck, submitted to the will of his young master, surrendered all insignia of authority, and started on a pilgrimage to Mecca, but before he left India his chagrin and indignation got the better of his judgment and he inspired an insurrection against the throne. He was arrested and brought back to Delhi, where, to his surprise, he was received with the greatest ceremony and honor. According to the custom of the time, nobles of the highest rank clothed him with garments from the king's wardrobe, and when he entered the royal presence Akbar arose, took him by the hand and led the astonished old man to a seat beside the imperial throne. Beiram, realizing the magnanimity of his boyish master, fell upon his knees, kissed the feet of the king, and between sobs begged for pardon. The king conferred the greatest possible honors upon him, but gave him no responsibility, and Beiram's proud and sensitive soul found relief in resuming his pilgrimage to Mecca. But he never reached that holy place. He died on the way by the hand of an Afghan noble, whose father, years before, he had killed in battle.

You must remember Akbar, because so many of the glories of Indian architecture, which culminate at Agra and Delhi, are due to his refined taste and appreciation for the beautiful, and I shall have a good deal to say about him, because he was one of the best men that ever wore a crown. He was great in every respect; he was great as a soldier, great as a jurist, great as an executive, broad-minded, generous, benevolent, tolerant and wise, an almost perfect type of a ruler, if we are to believe what the historians of his time tell us about him. He was the handsomest man in his empire; he excelled all his subjects in athletic exercises, in endurance and in physical strength and skill. He was the best swordsman and the best horseman and his power over animals was as complete as over men. And as an architect he stands unrivaled except by his grandson, who inherited his taste.

Although a pagan and without the light of the gospel, Akbar recognized the merits of Christianity and exemplified the ideals of civil and religious liberty which it teaches, and which are now considered the highest attribute of a well-ordered state. While Queen Elizabeth was sending her Catholic subjects to the scaffold and the rack, while Philip II. was endeavoring to ransom the souls of heretics from perdition by burning their bodies alive in the public plazas of his cities, and while the awful incident of St. Bartholomew indicated the religious condition of France, the great Mogul of Delhi called around his throne ministers of peace from all religions, proclaimed tolerance of thought and speech, freedom of worship and theological controversy throughout his dominions; he abolished certain Hindu practices, such as trials by ordeal, child marriage, the burning of widows and other customs which have since been revived, because he considered them contrary to justice, good morals and the welfare of his people, and displayed a cosmopolitan spirit by marrying wives from the Brahmin, Buddhist, Mohammedan and Christian faiths. He invited the Roman Catholic missionaries, who were enjoying great success at Goa, the Portuguese colony 200 miles south from Bombay, to come to Agra and expound their doctrines, and gave them land and money to build a church. His grandson and successor married a Catholic queen - a Portuguese princess.

But notwithstanding the just, generous and noble life of Akbar, he was overthrown by his own son, Selim, who took the high-sounding title Jehanghir, "Conqueror of the World," and he had been reigning but a short time when his own son, Kushru, endeavored to treat him in the same manner. The revolt was promptly quelled. Seven hundred of the supporters of the young prince were impaled in a row, and that reckless youth was conducted slowly along the line so that he could hear the dying reproaches of the victims of his misguided ambition. Other of his sons also organized rebellions afterward and "the conqueror of the world" had considerable difficulty in retaining his seat upon the throne, but he proved to be a very good king. He was just and tolerant, sober and dignified and scrupulous in observing the requirements of his position, and was entirely subject to the influence of a beautiful and brilliant wife.

His successor was Shah Jehan, one of the most interesting and romantic figures in Indian history, who began his reign by murdering his brothers. That precaution firmly established him upon the throne. He, too, was considered a good king, but his fame rests chiefly upon the splendor of his court and the magnificent structures he erected. He rebuilt the ancient City of Delhi upon a new site, adorned it with public buildings of unparalleled cost and beauty, and received his subjects seated upon the celebrated peacock throne, a massive bench of solid gold covered with mosaic figures of diamonds, rubies, pearls and other precious stones. It cost L6,500,000, which is $32,500,000 of our money, even in those times, when jewels were cheap compared with the prices of today. In 1729 Nadir Shah, the King of Persia, swooped down upon India and carried this wonder of the world to his own capital, together with about $200,000,000 in other portable property.

There are many good traits in the character of Shah Jehan. Aside from his extravagance, his administration was to be highly commended. Under his rule India reached the summit of its wealth and prosperity, and the people enjoyed liberty and peace, but retribution came at last, and his sons did unto him as he had done unto his father, and much more also. They could not wait until he was ready to relinquish power or until death took the scepter from his hand, but four of them rebelled against him, drove him from the throne and kept him a prisoner for the last eight years of his life. But scarcely had they overthrown him when they began to quarrel among themselves, and Aurangzeb, the fourth son, being the strongest among them, simplified the situation by slaughtering his three brothers, and was thus able to reign unmolested for more than half a century, until he died in 1707, 89 years old. His last days were embittered by a not unnatural fear that he would suffer the fate of his own father.

From the time that the Emperor Aurangzeb climbed to the throne of the Moguls upon the dead bodies of his father and three elder brothers, the glory and power of that empire began to decay. He reigned forty-nine years. His court was magnificent. At the beginning his administration was wise and just, and he was without question an able, brave and cultured king. But, whether as an atonement for his crimes or for some other reason, he became a religious fanatic, and after a few years the broad-minded policy of religious liberty and toleration, which was the chief feature of the reign of his father and his grandfather, was reversed, and he endeavored to force all of his subjects into the Mohammedan faith. He imposed a heavy head tax upon all who did not profess that faith; he excluded all but Moslems from the public service; he deprived "infidels," as they were generally termed, of valuable civil rights and privileges; he desecrated the shrines and destroyed the sacred images of the Hindus, and prohibited the religious festivals and other features of their worship. The motive of this policy was no doubt conscientious, but the effect was the same as that which has followed similar sectarian zeal in other countries. The history of the world demonstrates that religious intolerance and persecution always destroy prosperity. No nation ever prospered that prohibited freedom of worship. You will find a striking demonstration of that truth in Spain, in the Balkan states and in the Ottoman Empire, in modern times without going back to the Jews and other ancient races. The career of Aurangzeb is strikingly like that of Philip II. of Spain, and his character was similar to that of Louis XIV. of France, who was his contemporary. Both were unscrupulous, arrogant, egotistical and cruel kings; both were religious devotees and endeavored to compensate for a lack of morals by excessive zeal in persecuting heretics, and in promoting what they considered the interests of their church; and both created disaffection and provoked rebellion among their subjects, and undermined the power and authority of the dynasties to which they belonged.

It is needless to review the slow but gradual decay of the Great Mogul Empire. With the adoption of Aurangzeb's policy of intolerance it began to crumble, and none of his successors proved able to restore it. He died in 1707, and the throne of the Moguls was never again occupied by a man of force or notable ability. The history of the empire during the eighteenth century is merely a record of successive failures, of disintegration, of successful rebellions and of invasions by foreign foes, which stripped the Moguls of their wealth and destroyed their resources. First came the Persians; then the Afghans, who plundered the imperial capital, desecrated tombs and temples, destroyed the fortresses and palaces and left little but distress and devastation when they departed. One by one the provinces separated themselves from the empire and set up their own independence; until in 1804 the English took possession of the remnant and have maintained their authority ever since.

Within the wall of the great citadel at Delhi, for reasons of policy, the English allowed the great Mogul to maintain a fictitious court, and because the title continued to command the veneration of the natives, at state ceremonies the nominal successor of Timour the Tartar was allowed to sit upon a throne in the imperial hall of audience and receive the homage of the people. But the Moguls were not allowed to exercise authority and were idle puppets in the hands of their advisers until the great mutiny of 1857 brought the native soldiers into the palace crying:

"Help, oh King, in our Fight for the Faith."

It is not necessary to relate the details of that awful episode of Indian history, but it will do no harm to recall what we learned in our school days of the principal incidents and refer to the causes which provoked it. From the beginning of the British occupation of India there had been frequent local uprisings caused by discontent or conspiracy, but the East India Company, and the officials of the British government who supported it, had perfect confidence in the loyalty of the sepoys - the native soldiers who were hired to fight against their fellow countrymen for so much pay. They were officered by Englishmen, whose faith in them was only extinguished by assassination and massacre. The general policy and the general results of British administration have been worthy of the highest commendation, but there have been many blunders and much injustice from time to time, due to individuals rather than to the nation. A weak and unwise man in authority can do more harm in a year than can be corrected in a century. Several so-called "reforms" had been introduced into the native army; orders had been issued forbidding the use of caste marks, the wearing of earrings and other things which Englishmen considered trivial, but were of great importance to the Hindus. Native troops were ordered over the sea, which caused them to lose their caste; new regulations admitted low-caste men to the service; the entire army was provided with a new uniform with belts and cockades made from the skins of animals which the Hindus considered sacred, and cartridges were issued which had been covered with lard to protect them from the moisture of the climate, and, as everybody knows, the flesh of swine is the most unclean thing in existence to the pious Hindu. All these things, which the stubborn, stupid Englishmen considered insignificant, were regarded by the sepoys as deliberate attacks upon their religion, and certain conspirators, who had reasons for desiring to destroy British authority, used them to convince the native soldiers that the new regulations were a long-considered and deliberate attempt to deprive them of their caste and force them to become Christians. Unfortunately the British officers in command refused to treat the complaints seriously, and laughed in the faces of their men, which was insult added to injury, and was interpreted as positive proof of the evil intentions of the government.

This situation was taken advantage of by certain Hindu princes who had been deprived of power or of pensions previously granted. Nana Sahib, the deposed raja of Poona, was the leader, and the unsuspecting authorities allowed him to travel about the country stirring up discontent and conspiring with other disloyal native chiefs for a general uprising and massacre, which, according to their programme, occurred in northern India during the summer of 1857. If the British had desired to play into the hands of the conspirators they could not have adopted a policy more effective in that direction. Utterly unconscious of danger and unsuspicious of the conspiracies that were enfolding them, they relieved city after city of its guard of English troops and issued arms and ammunition in unusual and unnecessary quantities to the sepoys, at whose mercy the entire foreign population was left.

The outbreak occurred according to the programme of Nana Sahib, who proved to be a leader of great ability and strategic skill, and in nearly every city of northern India, particularly at Delhi, Lucknow, Cawnpore and other places along the Ganges, men, women and children, old and young, in the foreign colonies were butchered in cold blood. In Agra 6,000 foreigners gathered for protection in the walls of the great fort, and most of them were saved. Small detachments of brave soldiers under General Havelock, Sir Henry Lawrence, Sir Colin Campbell, Sir Hugh Rose, Lord Napier and other leaders fought their way to the rescue, and the conspiracy was finally crushed, but not without untold suffering and enormous loss of life.

On the evening of May 11, 1857, about fifty foreigners, all unarmed civilians, were brought into the palace at Delhi, and by order of Bahander Shah, the Mogul whom the mutineer leaders had proclaimed Emperor of India, were thrust into a dungeon, starved for five days and then hacked to pieces in the beautiful courtyard. The new emperor, a weak-minded old man with no energy or ability, and scarcely intellect enough to realize his responsibilities, pronounced judgment and issued the orders prepared for him by the conspirators by whom he was surrounded. But retribution was swift and sure. A few weeks later when the British troops blew in the walls of the palace citadel after one of the most gallant assaults ever recorded in the annals of war, the old man, with two of his sons, fled to the tomb of Humayon, who occupied the Mogul throne from 1531 to 1556, as if that sanctuary would be revered by the British soldiers.

This tomb is one of the most notable buildings in India. It stands on the bank of the Jumna River, about five miles from the present city of Delhi. It is an octagonal mass of rose-colored sandstone and white marble, decorated with an ingenuity of design and delicacy of execution that have never been surpassed, and is crowned by a marble dome of perfect Persian pattern, three-fourths the diameter of that of St. Paul's Cathedral of London, and almost as large as that of the Capitol at Washington. In this splendid mausoleum, where twelve of his imperial ancestors sleep, the Last of the Moguls endeavored to conceal himself and his sons, but Colonel Hodson, who commanded a desperate volunteer battalion of foreigners whose property had been confiscated or destroyed by the mutineers, whose wives had been ravished and whose children had been massacred, followed the flying Mogul to the asylum he sought, and dragged him trembling and begging for mercy from among the tombs.

Hodson was a man of remarkable character and determination and was willing to assume responsibility, and "Hodson's Horse," as the volunteer battalion was called, were the Rough Riders of the Indian mutiny. He took the aged king back to Delhi and delivered him to the British authorities alive, but almost imbecile from terror and excitement. The two princes, 19 and 22 years of age, he deliberately shot with his own revolver before leaving the courtyard of the tomb in which they were captured.

This excited the horror of all England. The atrocities of the mutineers were almost forgotten for the moment. That the heirs of the throne of the great Moguls should be killed by a British officer while prisoners of war was an offense against civilization and Christianity that could not be tolerated, although only a few weeks before these two same princes had participated in the cold-blooded butchery of fifty Christian women and children. There was a parliamentary investigation. Hodson explained that he had only a few men, too few to guard three prisoners of such importance; that he was surrounded by fifty thousand half-armed and excited natives, who would have exterminated his little band and rescued his prisoners if anyone of their number had possessed sufficient presence of mind and courage to make the attempt. Convinced that he could not conduct three prisoners through that crowd of their adherents and sympathizers without sacrificing his own life and that of his escort, he took the responsibility of shooting the princes like the reptiles they were, and thus relieved the British government from what might have been a most embarrassing situation.

Hodson was condemned by parliament and public opinion, while the bloodthirsty old assassin he had captured was treated as gently and as generously as if he had been a saint. Bahandur Shah was tried and convicted of treason, but was acquitted of responsibility for the massacre on the ground that his act authorizing it was a mere formality, and that it would have occurred without his consent at any rate. Instead of hanging him the British government sent him in exile to Rangoon, where he was furnished a comfortable bungalow and received a generous pension until November, 1862, when he died. Bahandur Shah had a third son, a worthless drunken fellow, who managed to escape the consequences of his participation in the massacre and accompanied him into exile. He survived his father for several years and left a widow and several children at Rangoon, including a son, who inherited his indolence, but not his vices. The latter still lives there on a small pension from the British government, is idle, indifferent, amiable and well-liked. He goes to the races, the polo games and tennis matches, and takes interest in other sports, but is too lazy to participate. He has married a Burmese wife and they have several children, who live with him in the bungalow that was assigned to his grandfather when he was sent to Burma forty-five years ago, and, judging from appearances, it has not been repaired since. Although he is perfectly harmless, the Last of the Moguls is required to report regularly to the British commandant and is not allowed to leave Burma, even if he should ever desire to do so.