A Journey through the Kingdom of Oude, Volumes I & II
by William Sleeman
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Yours very truly, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To F. J. Halliday, Esq. Secretary to Government, Calcutta.

Mr. Maclagan is a Lieutenant of Engineers, and lives in Edinburgh.


Lucknow. 10th April, 1852.

My Lord,

In September 1848, I took the liberty to mention to your Lordship my fears that the system of annexing and absorbing native States—so popular with our Indian service, and so much advocated by a certain class of writers in public journals—might some day render us too visibly dependent upon our native army; that they might see it, and that accidents might occur to unite them, or too great a portion of them, in some desperate act. My only anxiety about Burmah arises from the same fears. Our native army has been too much petted of late; and they are liable to get into their heads the notion that we want them more than they want us. Had the 38th been at first ordered to march to Aracan, they would, in all probability, have begged their European officers to pray Government to permit them to go by water.

We committed a great mistake in not long ago making all new levies general service corps; and we have committed one not less grave in restricting the admissions into our corps to high-caste men: and encouraging the promotion of high-caste men to the prejudice of men equally deserving but of lower caste. The Brahmins in regiments have too much influence, and they are at the bottom of all the mischief that occurs. The Rajpoots are too numerous, because they are under the influence of the Brahmins, and feel too strong from their numbers.

We require stronger and braver men than the Madras Presidency can afford, with all their readiness for general service. The time may not be distant when England will have to call upon India for troops to serve in Egypt; and the troops from Madras, or even from Bombay, will not do against Europeans. Men from Northern or Western India will be required, and, in order to be prepared, it would be well to have all new corps—should new corps be required—composed of men from the Punjaub or the Himmalayah chain, and ready for any service. Into such corps none but Seiks, Juts, Goojurs, Gwalas, Mussulmans, and Hillmen should be enlisted. Too much importance is attached to height, merely that corps may look well on parade. Much more work can be got out of moderate sized than tall men in India. The tall men in regiments always fail first in actual service—they are fit only for display at reviews and on parades: always supposing that the moderate-sized men are taken from Western and Northern India, where alone they have the strength and courage required.

No recruit should henceforward be taken except on condition of general service; and by-and-by the option may be given to all sipahees, of a certain standing or period of service, to put their names down for general service, or retire. This could not, of course, be done at present. No commanding officer can say, at present, what his regiment will do if called upon to aid the Government in any way not specified in their bond. They have too commonly favourites, who persuade them, for their own selfish purposes, that their regiments will do anything to meet their wishes, at the very time that these regiments are watching for an occasion to disgrace these favourites by refusal. I have known many occasions of this. None but general service corps or volunteers should be sent to Burmah from Bengal during this campaign, or we shall hazard a disaster. There are, I believe, several that your Lordship has not yet called upon. They should be at hand as soon as possible, and their present places supplied by others. In the mean time, corps of Punjaubies and Hillmen should be raised for general service. Not only can no commanding officer say what his corps will do under circumstances in which their religion or prejudices may afford a pretext for disobedience, but no officers can say how far their regiments sympathise with the recusant: or discontented, corps, and are prepared to join them.

In case it should ever be proposed to make all corps general service corps, in the way I mention, a donation would, of course, be offered to all who declined of a month's pay for every year of past service, or of something of that kind. A maximum might be fixed of four, five, or six months. It would not cost much, for but few would go. I must pray your Lordship to excuse the liberty I take in obtruding my notions on this subject, but it really is one of vital importance in the present state of affairs in India, as well as in Europe.

With great respect, I remain, &c., (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To the Moat Noble The Marquis of Dalhousie, K.T. Governor-General of India, Calcutta.



In the year 1832 or 1833 the want of bamboos of large size, for yokes for artillery bullocks, was much felt at Saugor and the stations of that division; and the commissariat officer was authorised to form a bamboo grove, to be watered by the commissariat cattle, in order to supply the deficiency for the future. Forty beegas, or about twenty acres of land, were assigned for the purpose, and Government went to the expense of forming twelve pucka-wells, as the bamboos were planted upon the black cotton-soil of Central India, in which kutcha- wells do not stand. The first outlay was, therefore, greater than usual, being three thousand rupees. The establishment kept up consisted of one gardener, at five rupees a month, and two assistants at three rupees each. The bamboos were watered by the artillery bullocks and commissariat servants.

In a few years the bamboos became independent of irrigation, and no outlay has since been incurred upon them. The bamboos are now between forty and fifty feet high, and between four and five inches in diameter. They are used by the commissariat and ordnance departments at Saugor, but are not, I believe, required for yokes for the artillery bullocks.

There is a grove of sesum trees near the Lucknow cantonments formed in the same way, but with little or no outlay in irrigation. The trees were planted, and all the cost incurred has been in the people employed to protect them from trespass. In a dryer climate they might require irrigation for a few years. Groves of saul, alias sukhoo trees, might be formed in the same manner in the vicinity of all stations where there are artillery bullocks; and the bullocks themselves would benefit by being employed in the irrigation. The establishments kept up for the bullocks would be able to do all the work required.

The complement of bullocks for a battery of 6 guns, 6 waggons, and 2 store carts, is 106. The number yoked to each gun and waggon is 61, [transcriber's note, should be 6], and to each cart 4, leaving a surplus of 26 for accidents. There would, therefore, be always a sufficient number of bullocks available for the irrigation of such groves where such a battery is kept up. These bullocks are taken care of by 4 sirdars and 59 drivers; and an European sergeant of artillery is appointed as bullock-sergeant to each battery, to superintend the feeding, cleaning, &c. &c. The officer on duty sees the bullocks occasionally, and the commanding officer sometimes. Such groves might be left to the care of the commandant of artillery at small stations, and to the commissariat officer at large ones.

At every large station there might be a grove of sesum, one of sakhoo, and one of bamboos, each covering a hundred acres; and at all stations with a battery, three groves of the same kind, covering each twenty acres or more. For the convenience of carriage by water, such groves might be formed chiefly in the vicinity of rivers, or in that of the places where the timber is most likely to be required; but no battery should be without such groves. The men and bullocks would both benefit by the employment such groves would give them. The men, to interest them, might each have a small garden within the grove which he assists in watering.

Such groves would tend to improve the salubrity of the stations where they are formed, and become agreeable and healthful promenades for officers and soldiers. In most stations, kutcha-wells, formed at a cost of from 20 to 50 rupees, would suffice for watering such groves. They might be lined, like those of the peasantry, by twisted cables of straw and twigs; and the men who attend the bullocks might be usefully employed in weaving them, as all should learn to make fascines and gabions. Willows should be planted near all the wells, to supply twigs for making the cables for lining the wells, and the manure of the artillery draft-bullocks should be appropriated to the groves.

[Submitted to the Governor-General through the Private Secretary, in March, 1852, with reference to a conversation which I had with his Lordship in his camp.]


Lucknow, 23rd August, 1852.

My Lord,

Permit me to offer my congratulations, not only on the success which has hitherto attended your Lordship's arrangements in Burmah, but on the very favourable impression which that success has made upon the Sovereign and people of England. It has enabled you to show that the war is not with the people of Burmah, but with a haughty, insolent, and incompetent Government, with whom that people has no longer any sympathy; and that, should circumstances render the annexation of any portion of its territory necessary, the people of that portion would consider the measure a blessing, and be well pleased to live in harmony under the efficient protection of the new rule.

They are not in any way opposed to us from either religions or political feelings, for they seem to consider Christianity as a branch only of their own great system of Buddhism, which includes almost half of the human race; and they are evidently weary of the political institutions under which they now live, and which have ceased to afford them protection of any kind. In the annexation of Pegu—should it be forced upon your Lordship—there would be nothing revolting to the feelings of its people or to those of the people of England; on the contrary, both would be satisfied, after the disposition the people of Pegu have manifested towards us, that the measure was alike necessary to their security and to the honour and interest of our Government.

Nor do I think that there would be any ground to apprehend that the resources of the territory taken would not, after a time, be sufficient to defray the costs of the establishments required to retain and govern it. Among the people of Pegu we should find men able and willing to serve us faithfully and efficiently in both our civil and military establishments, and the drain for the maintenance of foreigners would not be large. I have heard the mental and physical powers of the men of Pegu spoken of in the highest terms by persons who have spent the greater part of their lives among them; and a country which produces such men cannot be generally insalubrious. This early demonstration has enabled your Lordship to ascertain and expose the determination of the Government of Ava not to grant the redress justly demanded for wrongs suffered, so as to enlist on our side the sympathy of all civilized nations, and at the same time to discover the real weakness of the enemy and the facilities offered to us, in their fine rivers, for the use of our strong arm—the steam navy. Not a single "untoward event" has yet occurred to dispirit our troops, or give confidence to the enemy, or to prejudice the people of Burmah against us: and there certainly is nothing in this war to make us apprehend "that our political difficulties will begin when our military successes are complete." It is not displeasing to perceive the strong tendency to an early onward move, while your Lordship has so prudent a leader in General Godwin to restrain it within due bounds.

I remain, &c., (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To the Most Noble The Marquis of Dalhousie, K.T. Governor-General of India. Calcutta.


Lucknow, September, 1852.

My Lord,

The longer the present King reigns, the more unfit he becomes to reign, and the more the administration and the country deteriorate. The State must have become bankrupt long ere this, but the King, and the knaves by whom he is governed, have discontinued paying the stipends of all the members of the royal family, save those of his own father's family, for the last three years; and many of them are reduced to extreme distress, and without the hope of ever getting their stipends again unless our Government interferes. The females of the palaces of former sovereigns ventured to clamour for their subsistence, and they were, without shame or mercy, driven into the streets to starve, beg, or earn their bread by their labour. This deters all from complaining, and they are in a state of utter dismay. No part of the people of Oude are more anxious for the interposition of our Government than the members of the royal family; for there is really no portion more helpless and oppressed: none of them can ever approach the King, who is surrounded exclusively by eunuchs, fiddlers, and poetasters worse than either; and the minister and his creatures, who are worse than all. They appropriate at least one-half of the revenues of the country to themselves, and employ nothing but knaves of the very worst kind in all the branches of the administration. The King is a crazy imbecile, who is led about by these people like a child, and made to do whatever they wish him to do, and to give whatever orders may best suit their private interests. At present, the most powerful of the favourites are Decanut od Doula and Husseen od Doula, two eunuchs; Anees od Doula and Mosahib od Doula, two fiddlers; two poetasters, and the minister and his creatures. The minister could not stand a moment without the eunuchs, fiddlers, and poets, and he is obliged to acquiesce in all the orders given by the King for their benefit. The fiddlers have control over the administration of civil justice; the eunuchs over that of criminal justice, public buildings, &c. The minister has the land revenue; and all are making enormous fortunes. The present King ought not certainly to reign: he has wilfully forfeited all right to do so; but to set him aside in favour of his eldest, or indeed any other son, would give no security whatever for any permanent good government A well-selected regency would, no doubt, be a vast improvement upon the present system; but no people would invest their capital in useful works, manufactures, and trades, with the prospect of being handed over a few years hence to a prince brought up precisely in the same manner the present King was, and as all his sons will be. What the people want, and most earnestly pray for is, that our Government should take upon itself the responsibility of governing them well and permanently. All classes, save the knaves, who now surround and govern the King, earnestly pray for this—the educated classes, because they would then have a chance of respectable employment, which none of them now have; the middle classes, because they find no protection or encouragement, and no hope that their children will be permitted to inherit the property they may leave, not invested in our Government securities; and the humbler classes, because they are now abandoned to the merciless rapacity of the starving troops, and other public establishments, and of the landholders, driven or invited into rebellion by the present state of misrule. There is not, I believe, another Government in India so entirely opposed to the best interest's and most earnest wishes of the people as that of Oude now is; at least I have never seen or read of one. People of all classes have become utterly weary of it. The people have the finest feelings towards our Government and character. I know no part of India, save the valley of the Nurbuddah, where the feeling towards us is better. All, from the highest to the lowest, would, at this time, hail the advent of our administration with joy; and the rest of India, to whom Oude misrule is well known, would acquiesce in the conviction, that it had become imperative for the protection of the people. With steamers to Fyzabad, and a railroad from that place to Cawnpore, through Lucknow, the Nepaul people would be for ever quieted, with half of the force we now keep up to look after them; and the N. W. Provinces become more closely united to Bengal, to the vast advantage of both. I mentioned that we should require a considerable loan to begin with; but I think that an issue of paper money, receivable in Oude in revenue, and payable to public establishments in Oude, might safely be made to cover all the outlay required to pay off odd establishments and commence the new work. Little money goes out of Oude, and the increased circulating medium, required for the new public works and new establishments, would soon absorb all the paper issued. It might be issued at little or no cost by the financial department of the new administration. Though everybody knows that the King has become crazy and imbecile, it would be difficult to get judicial proof that he is so, where the life and property of every one are at his mercy and that of the knaves who now govern him. His every-day doings sufficiently manifest it. There is not the slightest ground for hope that he will ever be any other than what he now is, or that his children will be better. There are too many interested in depriving them of all capacity for a part in public affairs that they may retain the reins in their own hands when the children come of age to admit of their ever becoming better than their father is. I have not lately made the reports which Lord Hardinge directed the Resident to make periodically, but shall be prepared to resume them whenever your Lordship may direct. I suspended them on account of hostilities with Burmah. I have printed eighteen copies of the establishments, as they are and were last year, and as I proposed for the new system. I shall not let any one have a copy till your Lordship permits it, and they are all at your disposal if required. This, and the "Substantive Code," are the only papers connected with Oude, except the Diary that I have had printed, or shall have printed, unless ordered by you.

I remain, with great respect, Your Lordship's obedient servant, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

P.S.—I believe that it is your Lordship's wish that the whole of the revenues of Oude should be expended for the benefit of the royal family and people of Oude, and that the British Government should disclaim any wish to derive any pecuniary advantages from assuming to itself the administration.

(Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To the Most Noble The Marquis of Dalhousie, K.T. Governor-General, &c. &c. &c.


Lucknow, 21st September, 1852.

My Dear Sir,

I will reply to the queries contained in your letter of the 16th instant to the best of my recollection. I was in Calcutta in January, 1838, when the late Dyce Sombre was there, and about to embark for England. I had seen a good deal of him at Sirdhanah, in March 1836, soon after the Begum Sumroo's death, and he afterwards spent a short time with me at Mussoorie, and consulted me a good deal on the subject of a dispute with his father.

Colonel James Skinner and Dr. Drener were, I believe, executors to his will. Colonel Skinner was at Delhi, and Dr. Drener had either gone home or was going, I forget which, and Dyce Sombre asked me to consent to become one of his trustees, for the conduct of his affairs in this country. I consented, and I think the circumstance was inserted in a codicil or memorandum added to his will or deed; but my recollection on this point is not distinct.

I had, however, nothing to do with the conduct of his affairs in this country until the death of Colonel James Skinner, which took place in December, 1841, when Mr. Reghilini, the overseer or agent at Sirdhanah, got my sanction to the outlay for establishments, &c. At this time I corresponded with Dyce Sombre, and continued to do so until his affairs were thrown into Chancery. I then sought a lawyer's opinion as to my proper course, and refused to give Mr. Reghilini any further orders. The opinion was, "that my only safe course was to do nothing whatever in the conduct of his affairs;" and I never afterwards did anything. I never heard of any Colonel Sheerman, and his name may have been inserted by mistake for mine; but I was then (1838) only a major, and was not promoted until 1843. I never heard of any desire on the part of Dyce Sombre, or the Begum Sumroo, to found a college other than as an appendage to the Sirdhanah church, nor of his having given the residue of his property for the purpose; at least, I have no recollection of having heard of such desire. I always hoped, and expected, until I heard of his marriage, that he would return and reside at Sirdhanah.

Dyce Sombre always spoke to me of Mrs. Troup and Mrs. Soloroli as his sisters: he regarded them alike as such, and so did the Begum Sumroo. I always understood them to be the children of the same mother; but the question was never mooted before me, and I have always heard that Mrs. Troup was very like Dyce Sombre in appearance, and that Mrs. Soloroli was not so.

Mr. Reghilini, who is, I believe, still at Sirdhanah, may know whether a Colonel Sheerman was appointed executor or not. Dr. Drener must know. The notes which passed between me and Dyce Sombre, after he left India, were on the ordinary topics of the day, and were destroyed as soon as read. I have none of them to refer to, nor would they furnish any confirmation on the matter in question if I had.

Believe me, yours, very truly, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

Charles Prinsep, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, Calcutta.


To Messrs. Molloy, Mackintosh, and Poe, Calcutta.

Dear Sirs,

In reply to your letter of the 16th instant, I enclose the copy of a letter addressed by me on the 21st ultimo to Mr. Charles Prinsep, in reply to similar queries. To what I stated in that letter I can add but little.

Dyce Sombre always spoke to me of Mrs. Soloroli and Mrs. Troup as his sisters, and of the former as the eldest of the two; and Mrs. Troup spoke of Mrs. Soloroli as her eldest sister. They were always treated by the Begum Sumroo as his sisters; and when Dyce Sombre went to England I think he left the same provision for both in addition to what they had received from the Begum.

I was introduced to Mrs. Troup by her husband as an old friend on my way back from Mussoorie in November, 1837, but I did not see Mrs. Soloroli, though she and her husband were at the same place, Sirdhanah, at that time. They both lived under the curtain, secluded from the sight of men, after the Hindoostanee fashion, as long as they remained in India, I think; and I was introduced to Mrs. Troup as a friend of the family, whom all might require to consult. Her husband only was present during the interview. Dyce Sombre had left the place for Calcutta. I never heard a doubt expressed of their being sisters by the same mother and father till the new will came under discussion at the end of last year.

I may refer you to pages 378 and 396 of the second volume of a work by me, entitled "Rambles and Recollections," in which you will find it mentioned that the grandmother of Dyce Sombre died insane at Sirdhanah in 1838. She must have been insane for more than forty years up to her death. Her son Zuffer Yab Khan was a man of weak intellect, and he was the father of Dyce Sombre's mother, of whom I know nothing whatever.

Dyce Sombre, showed no symptoms of derangement of mind while I knew him; but he inherited from his grandmother a predisposition to insanity, which I apprehended might become developed by any very strong feelings of excitement; and I urged him to return and settle at Sirdhanah, when he had seen all he wished to see in Europe.

He saw a good deal of English society in India, and understood well the freedom which English wives enjoy in general society; but I doubted whether he could ever thoroughly shake off his early predilections for keeping them secluded. It would, I thought, be always to him a source of deep humiliation to see his wife mix with other men in the manner in which English married ladies are accustomed to do. Since his affairs were put into Chancery I have always felt persuaded that this must have been the principal "exciting cause" acting upon the predisposition derived from his grandmother, which led to it. I have never had the slightest doubt that he suffered under an aberration of mind upon this point, though he never mentioned the subject in any of his short letters to me from England, nor did he in any of them show signs of such aberration.

Believe me, yours, faithfully, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

26th October, 1852.


Lucknow, 28th October, 1852.

My Dear Sir James,

Your letter of the 6th ultimo reached me by the last mail, and I trust we shall see your hopes of an early renewal of the Charter with few alterations realised. I entirely concur with you in opinion that the power of recall is indispensable to the due authority of the Court; and was much surprised to find Maddock opposed to it. Many thinking men at home have been of opinion that the Ministers would secure for the Queen the nomination of a certain number to the Direction, on the ground that many of the best men from India are deterred from becoming candidates by the time and pledges required in the canvass. The late elections, however, seem to have come in time to increase the Jealousy of ministerial influence, and prevent such a measure.

Hostilities with Burmah have prevented my making public periodical reports to Government about Oude affairs since I submitted my Diary. I took the liberty to send, through my London agents copy to yourself and the Deputy Chairman. Things have not improved since it was written. The King is as regardless of his high duties and responsibilities as ever: he is, indeed, an imbecile in the hands of a few fiddlers, eunuchs, and poetasters, and the minister, who is no better than they are, and obliged to provide for all these men out of the revenues and patronage of the country, and sundry women about the Court, also, to secure their influence in his favour.

The King contrives to get the stipends of those immediately about him, and of his mother, brothers, and sisters, paid out of the revenues; but is indifferent about those of his more distant relatives, and hardly any of them have had any stipends for the last two and even three years. Those who happen not to have a little Company's paper given to them by former Sovereigns, or pensions guaranteed by our Government and paid out of our Treasury, are starving, and pray for the day when our Government may interpose in the administration. The expenditure is much above the income, and the reserved treasury is exhausted; but the King has his jewels and some personal property in Government notes, derived from his father and grandmothers. He thinks himself the best of kings and the best of poets, and nothing will induce him willingly to alter his course or make room for a better ruler or better system.

If our Government interpose, it must not be by negotiation and treaty, but authoritatively on the ground of existing treaties and obligations to the people of Oude. The treaty of 1837 gives our Government ample authority to take the whole administration on ourselves, in order to secure what we have often pledged ourselves to secure to the people; but if we do this we must, in order to stand well with the rest of India, honestly and distinctly disclaim all interested motives, and appropriate the whole of the revenues for the benefit of the people and royal family of Oude. If we do this, all India will think us right, for the sufferings of the people of Oude, under the present system, have been long notorious throughout India; and so have our repeated pledges to relieve the people from these sufferings, unless the system should be altered. Fifty years of sad experience have shown to us and to all India, that this system is incapable of improvement under the present dynasty; and that the only alternative is for the paramount power to take the administration upon itself.

Under the treaty of 1801, we took one-half of the territory of Oude, and that half yields to us above two crores of rupees; though, when taken, it was estimated at one hundred and thirty-three lacs. The half retained by the Oude Sovereign was estimated at the same; but it now yields to the Sovereign only one crore. The rest is absorbed by the knaves employed in the administration and their patrons at Court. All that is now so absorbed would come to the Treasury under us, and be employed in the maintenance of efficient establishments, and the construction of useful public works; and we should have ample means for providing for all the members of the royal family of Oude.

We should derive substantial benefit from the measure, without in any degree violating our declaration of disinterestedness. We now maintain five regiments of Infantry, and a company of Artillery, at a cost of from five to six lacs a-year. We maintain the Residency and all its establishments at a cost of more than one lac of rupees a- year. All these would become fairly chargeable to the Oude revenues under the new administration; and we might dispense with half the military forces now kept up at Cawnpore and Dinapore on the Ganges, as the military force in Oude would relieve us from all apprehension as to Nepaul.

Oude would be covered with a network of fine macadamised roads, over which the produce of Oude and our own districts would pass freely to the benefit of the people of both; and we should soon have the river Ghagra, from near Patna on the Ganges, to Fyzabad in Oude, navigable for steamers: with a railroad from Fyzabad, through Lucknow to Cawnpore, to the great benefit of the North-West Provinces and those of Bengal.

Were we to take advantage of the occasion to annex or confiscate Oude, or any part of it, our good name in India would inevitably suffer; and that good name is more valuable to us than a dozen of Oudes. We are now looked up to throughout India as the only impartial arbitrators that the people generally have ever had, or can ever hope to have without us; and from the time we cease to be so looked up to, we must begin to sink. We suffered from our conduct in Scinde; but that was a country distant and little known, and linked to the rest of India by few ties of sympathy. Our Conduct towards it was preceded by wars and convulsions around, and in its annexation there was nothing manifestly deliberate. It will be otherwise with Oude. Here the giant's strength is manifest, and we cannot "use it like a giant" without suffering in the estimation of all India. Annexation or confiscation are not compatible with our relations with this little dependent state. We must show ourselves to be high-minded, and above taking advantage of its prostrate weakness, by appropriating its revenues exclusively to the benefit of the people and royal family of Oude. We should soon make it the finest garden in India, with the people happy, prosperous, and attached to our rule and character.

We have at least forty thousand men from Oude in the armies of the three Residencies, all now, rightly or wrongly, cursing the oppressive Government under which their families live at their homes. These families would come under our rule and spread our good name as widely as they now spread the bad one of their present ruler. Soldiers with a higher sense of military honour, and duty to their salt, do not exist, I believe, in any country. To have them bound to us by closer ties than they are at present, would of itself be an important benefit.

I can add little to what I have said in the latter end of the fourth chapter of my Diary (from p. 187*, vol. ii.), on the subject of our relations with the Government of Oude; and of our rights and duties arising out of those relations. The diaries political, which I send every week or fortnight to the Government of India, are formed out of the reports made every day to the Durbar, by their local or departmental authorities. The Residency News-writer has the privilege of hearing these reports read as they come in; and though the reports of many important events are concealed from him, they may generally be relied upon as far as they go. The picture they give of affairs is bad enough, though not so bad as they deserve.

[* Transcriber's note. From the text "By the treaty of 1801 we bound ourselves......."—to the end of the chapter IV in vol. ii]

There are so many worthless and profligate people about the Court, interested in smothering any signs of common sense and good feeling on the part of the heir apparent to the throne, in order to maintain their ascendancy over him as he grows up, that he has not the slightest chance of becoming fit to take any part in the conduct of public affairs when he comes of age. The present King has three or four sons, all very young, but it is utterly impossible for any one of them to become a man of business; and it would be folly to expect any one of them to make a better Sovereign than their father. He is now only twenty-eight or twenty-nine years of age; but his understanding has become quite emasculated by over-indulgencies of all kinds. He may live long, but his habits have become too inveterate to admit of his ever becoming better than he now is or fit to be intrusted with the government of a country.

I shall recommend that all establishments, military, civil, and fiscal, be kept entirely separate from those of our own Government, that there may be no mistake as to the disinterestedness of our intentions towards Oude. The military establishments being like Scindiah's contingent, in the Gwalior state, or the Hydrabad contingent in the Nizam's. I estimate the present expenditure at, civil and fiscal establishments, and stipendiaries, 38 lacs. Military and police, 55. King's household, 30. Total, 123 lacs. Establishments required for an efficient administration—civil and fiscal—at 22 lacs. Military, 26 lacs. Families and dependents of former Sovereigns, 12 lacs. Household of the Sovereign, his sons, brothers, and sisters, 15 lacs. Total, 75 lacs.

This would leave an abundant store for public works, military stores, contingent charges, pension establishments for the civil and military officers employed under us, &c. To pay off all the present heavy arrears of stipends, salaries, to provide arms, ammunition, and stores, and to commence upon all the public works, our Government would have either to give or guarantee a loan; or to sanction the issue of a certain amount of paper money, to circulate exclusively in Oude, by making it receivable in the Oude Treasuries in taxes.

The revenues would be at once greatly increased, by our taking for the treasury all that is now intercepted and appropriated by public officers and Court favourites for their own private purposes, by our making the great landholders pay a due portion of their assets to the state, and by our securing the safe transit of raw produce and manufactured goods to their proper markets.

By adopting a simple system of administration, to meet the wishes of a simple people, we should secure the goodwill of all classes of society in Oude; and no class would be more pleased with the change than the members of the royal family themselves, who depend upon their stipends for their subsistence, and despair of ever again receiving them under the present Sovereign and system.

I hope a happy termination of the present war with Burmah will soon leave Lord Dalhousie free to devote his attention to Oude affairs. As far as I am consulted, I shall advocate, as strongly as may be compatible with my position, the measures above described, because I think they will be found best calculated to benefit the people of Oude, to meet the wishes of the home Government, and to sustain his Lordship's own reputation, and that of the nation which he represents throughout our Eastern empire.

You are aware of some of the difficulties that I have had to contend with, in carrying out important measures beneficial to the people, and honourable to the Government of India; but in no situation in life have I ever had to struggle with so many as here, in pursuing an honest and steady course of policy, calculated to secure the respect of all classes for the Government which I represent. Such a scene of intrigue, corruption, depravity, neglect of duty, and abuse of authority, I have never before been placed in, and hope never again to undergo; and I have had to contend with bitter hostility where I had the best right to expect support. I have never yet failed in the performance of any duty that Government has intrusted to me, and, under Providence, I hope that I shall ultimately succeed in the performance of that which I have committed to me here.

Lucknow is an overgrown city, surrounding an overgrown Court, which has, for the last half century, exhausted all the resources of this fine country; and so alienated the feelings of the great body of the people that they, and the Sovereign, and his officers, look upon each other as irreconcileable enemies. Between the city, the pampered Court and its functionaries, and the people of the country beyond, there is not the slightest feeling of sympathy; and if our troops were withdrawn from the vicinity of Lucknow, the landholders and sturdy peasantry of the country would, in a few days, rush in and plunder and destroy it as a source of nothing but intolerable evil to them.

Though I have written a long letter, I may have omitted many things which you wished me to notice. In that case I must rely upon your letting me know; and in the mean time, I shall continue to write whenever I have anything to communicate that is likely to interest you.

Believe me, dear Sir James, Yours very faithfully, W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Sir James Weir Hogg, Bart. &c. &c. &c.

P.S. By treaty, we are bound to keep up a certain force near the capital for the protection of the Sovereign; and we should be obliged, till things were quite settled under the new system, to retain the brigade we now have of our regular troops in the cantonments, which are three miles from the city.



Lucknow, 20th November, 1852.

My Dear Sir James,

To be prepared for accidents, I deem it right to send a duplicate of the letter which I sent to you by the last mail, addressed to the care of my London agents, Messrs. Denny and Clark, Austin Friars. I have nothing new or interesting to communicate from Oude. The Burmese war seems likely to divert the Governor-General's attention from Oude and Hydrabad affairs for some time to come; and the death of the Duke of Wellington, and probable changes in the ministry at home, may prevent him from venturing upon any important change in the Oude administration when that war closes.

The war is an "untoward event," arising from a very small cause; and it should prevent our ever guaranteeing British subjects in countries where we have no accredited agents to conduct our relations with the Government. All such subjects, and all the subjects of our European and American allies, should in future be made to understand that they enter such countries entirely upon their own responsibility. Without some such precaution we must always be liable to be involved in war with bordering countries by adventurers of one land or another; and as war is almost always followed by annexation or confiscation, our Indian empire, like that of the Romans, must soon sink from its own weight. The people will think that we are perpetually seeking pretexts for war in order to get new territories, and the general or universal impression will be dangerous.

When the public press of England abuse those who have to conduct the present war for delay, they do not sufficiently consider our ignorance of the state of the rivers and of the military resources of the country in which it was to be carried on when we entered upon it. We did not know that the rivers were navigable, nor did we know how they were defended; nor did we know what forces Burmah could muster, nor how they were distributed. It was not intended to commence the war till after the rains, when it would be safe to move troops over the country; for it was not reasonable to suppose that the Government of the country could be so haughty and insolent without military force to support its pretensions, and we have often had sad experience of the danger of underrating the power of an enemy. The object of the earlier movement was merely to secure some points of support, at which to concentrate our forces as they came up, and not to advance at once on the capital or into the country at a season when no troops could move by land.

Our strong arm was, no doubt, the steam flotilla; but it would have been madness in us, with our ignorance of the rivers and resources of the country, to have calculated upon conquering Ava by steamers alone. With what we now know, people may safely say that General Godwin has failed to make all the use he might of the flotilla, as Lord Gough failed to make all the use he might of his "strong arm," the artillery, in the battles of the Punjaub; but Lord Gough was not ignorant of the country in which he had to operate, nor of the resources of the country he had to contend with. According to previous calculations, the war ought not to have begun till this month. The earlier movement has, however, been of great advantage—it has taught us what the rivers and resources of the country are; and, what is of still more importance, what the people and their feelings towards their Government and ours are. It is manifest that they fully appreciate the value of the protection which the people, under our rule, enjoy; and that they have neither religious nor political feelings of hostility towards us; and that the people of Pegu, at least, would hail the establishment of our rule as a blessing.

You were so kind as to express a wish to see my son. He is now with his regiment, the 16th Lancers, in Ireland, and has lately obtained his Lieutenancy. He will be twenty years of age in January. I will make known to him your kind wish, and doubt not that he will pay his respects when he visits London.

Believe me, My Dear Sir James, Yours very faithfully, W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Sir James Weir Hogg, Bart, &c. &c. &c.

P.S.—In page 217, line 4, vol. i., of my Diary, the printer has put "months" for weeks. Pray do me the favour to have this corrected.—W. H. S.


My Lord,

Your Lordship's wishes in regard to the papers on Oude affairs shall be strictly attended to. They are locked up in my box, and no one shall see them. I had no wish to print any but those I mentioned in my last letter, and they are locked up with the others, which I have not looked at since I left your Lordship's camp; the Diary, excepted.

Things in Oude are just as they were; and the King's ambition seems to be limited to the reputation of being the best drum-beater, dancer, and poet of the day. He is utterly unfit to reign; but he is himself persuaded that no man can be more fit than he is for anything, and he will never willingly consent to make over the reins of Government to any one. It would be impossible to persuade him to abdicate even in favour of his own son, much less to resign his sovereignty in perpetuity. If our Government interpose, it must be by the exercise of a right derived from the existing relations between the two Governments, or from our position as the paramount power in India.

Of this your Lordship will have to consider and decide when your mind is relieved from Burmese affairs, which appear to be drawing very quietly to a close. I shall not write publicly about Oude affairs generally till I have your Lordship's commands to do so. The Diary will continue to be transmitted regularly; but the Periodical General Report will be suspended.

Mr. Bushe remained a few days at Lucknow. He has since seen Agra, Bhurtpoor, and other places, and is now on his way back to Calcutta, well pleased with his tour.

With great respect, Your Lordship's obedient Servant, W. H. SLEEMAN.

To the Most Noble The Marquis of Dalhousie, K.T., Governor-General of India.


Lucknow, 2nd January, 1853.

My Dear Sir James,

I enclose two sets of Tables of Errata for the Diary, and must pray you to do me the favour to have one set put into the two volumes of the copy you have, and the other sent to the Deputy-Chairman for insertion in his copy. I did not take the liberty to send a copy to the President of the Board of Control, but if you think I should do so, I will.

The King of Oude is becoming more and more imbecile and crazy, and his servants continue more and more to abuse their power and neglect their duty. The King, every day manifests his utter unfitness to reign, in some new shape. He, on several occasions during the Mohurrum ceremonies which took place lately, went along the streets beating a drum tied round his neck, to the great scandal of his family and the amusement of his people. The members of his family have not been paid their stipends for from two to three years, and many of them have been reduced to the necessity of selling their clothes to purchase food. All classes, save the knaves who surround him, and profit by his folly, are become disgusted with and tired of him.

I do not interfere, except to protect our pledges and guarantees; and to conduct the current duties of the Residency in such a manner as to secure the respect of all classes for the Government which I represent. While the present King reigns, or has anything whatever to do with the Government, no interference could produce any substantial and permanent reform. The minister is a weak man and a great knave; but he has an influence over his master, obtained by being entirely subservient to his vices and follies, to the sacrifice of his own honour; and by praising all that he does, however degrading to him as a man and a sovereign.

Though the King pays no attention whatever to public affairs or to business of any kind, and aims at nothing but the reputation of being the best dancer, best versifier, and best drummer in his dominions, it would be impossible to persuade him that any man was ever more fit to reign than he is. Nothing would ever induce him willingly to abdicate even in favour of his own son, much less to make him willingly abdicate in perpetuity in favour of our Government, or make over the conduct of the administration to our Government. If, therefore, our Government does interfere, it must be in the exercise of a right arising out of the existing relations between the two States, or out of our position as the paramount power in India. These relations, under the Treaty of 1837, give our Government the right to take upon itself the administration, under present circumstances; and, indeed, imposes, upon our Government the duty of taking it: but, as I have already stated, neither these relations nor our position, as the paramount power, gives us any right to annex or to confiscate the territory of Oude. We may have a right to take territory from the Nizam of Hyderabad in payment for the money he owes us; but Oude owes us no money, and we have no right to take territory from her. We have only the right to interpose to secure for the suffering people that better Government which their Sovereign pledged himself to secure for them, but has failed to secure.

The Burmese war still prevents the Governor-General from devoting his attention to Oude and Hyderabad. In the last war we did not march our armies to the capital because we were not prepared to supply a new Government for the one which we should thereby destroy; and insurrection and civil war must have followed. Our conduct in that was wise and benevolent. When we moved our armies to Rangoon this time, we upset one Government without providing the people with another. The Governor-General could not provide for the Civil Government, because he could not know that the Government of Ava would force us to keep possession of any portion of its dominions; and taking upon ourselves the civil administration would compromise the people, should he have to give them up again to their old rulers. The consequence has been great suffering to a people who hailed us as deliverers. The folly of supposing that any country can be taken by steamers on their rivers alone has now become sufficiently manifest. The Governor-General has however, adopted the best possible measures for securing ultimate good government to Pegu. It would have been more easily effected had they been taken earlier, but this circumstance prevented.

There is a school in India, happily not yet much patronised by the Home Government nor by the Governor-General, but always struggling with more or less success for ascendancy. It is characterised by impatience at the existence of any native State, and its strong and often insane advocacy of their absorption—by honest means, if possible—but still, their absorption. There is no pretext, however weak, that is not sufficient, in their estimation, for the purpose; and no war, however cruel, that is not justifiable, if it has only this object in view. If you know George Clerk or Mr. Robertson, both formerly Governors of our North-West Provinces, they will describe to you the school I mean. They, I believe, with me, strongly deprecate the doctrines of this school as more injurious to India and to our interest in it, than those of any other school that has ever existed in India. Mr. George Campbell is one of the disciples of this school.—See the 4th chapter of his "Modern India." The "Friend of India" is another, and all those whom that paper lauds most are also disciples of the same school. The Court of Directors will have to watch these doctrines carefully; and I wish you would speak to George Clerk and Mr. Robertson about them. They are both men of large views and sound judgment.

Believe me, My Dear Sir James, Yours sincerely, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Sir James Weir Hogg, &c. &c. &c.


Lucknow, 12th January, 1853.

My Dear Sir James,

I wrote to you on the 23rd October, 20th November, and the 2nd of this month; I mention this lest any of my letters miscarry; of the first letter I sent a duplicate on the 2nd, but I shall not send duplicates of the last two, or of this. I now write chiefly to call your attention to a rabid article in the "Friend of India," of the 6th of this month, written by Mr. Marshman, when about to proceed to England, to become, it is said, one of the writers in the London "Times." Of coarse, he will be engaged to write the Indian articles; and you will find him advocating the doctrines of the school mentioned in my last letter of the 2nd of this month. I consider their doctrines to be prejudicial to the stability of our rule in India, and to the welfare of the people, which depends on it. The Court of Directors is our only safeguard against these Machiavellian doctrines; and it may be rendered too powerless to stem them by the new arrangements for the Government of India. The objects which they propose for attainment—religion, commerce, &c.—are plausible; and the false logic by which they attempt to justify the means required to attain them, however base, unjust, and cruel, is no less so. I was asked by Dr. Duff, the editor of the "Calcutta Review," before he went home to write some articles for that journal, to expose the fallacies, and to counteract the influences of the doctrines of this school; but I have for many years ceased to contribute to the periodical papers, and have felt bound by my position not to write for them. Few old officers of experience, with my feelings and opinions on this subject, now remain in India; and the influence of this school is too great over the rising generation, whose hopes and aspirations they tend so much to encourage. Mr. Elphinstone, Mr. Robertson, and George Clerk will be able to explain their danger to you. India must look to the Court of Directors alone for safety against them, and they will require the exertion of all its wisdom and strength.

Mr. Robertson will be able to tell you that, when I was sent to Bundelcund, in 1842, the feelings of the people of that province were so strongly against us, under the operation of the doctrines of this school, that no European officer could venture, with safety, beyond the boundary of a cantonment of British troops; and their servants were obliged to disguise themselves in order to pass from one cantonment to another. In a brief period, I created a feeling entirely different, and made the character of British officers respected and beloved. In the Gwalior territories the same result was obtained by the same means. However impulsive on other occasions, Lord Ellenborough behaved magnanimously after his victories over the Gwalior troops; but in sparing the State, he acted, I believe, against the feelings of his Council, amongst whom the doctrines of the absorbing, annexing, and confiscating schools prevailed; and the "Friend of India" condemned him, though the invasion was never justified, except on the ground of expediency. Had I, on these occasions, adopted the doctrines of the absorbing school, I might have become one of the most popular and influential men in India; but I should, at the same time, have rendered our rule and character odious to the people of India, and so far have injured our permanent interest in the country. I mention all this merely to show that my opposition to the doctrines of this school is not new, nor in theory only, but of long standing and practice, as far as my influence has extended. I deem them to be dangerous to our rule in India, and prejudicial to the best interests of the country. The people see that these annexations and confiscations go on, and that rewards and honorary distinctions are given for them, and for the victories which lead to them, and for little else; and they are too apt to infer that they are systematic, and encouraged, and prescribed from home. The native States I consider to be breakwaters, and when they are all swept away, we shall be left to the mercy of our native army, which may not always be sufficiently under our control. Such a feeling as that which pervaded Bundelcund and Gwalior in 1842 and 1843, must, sooner or later, pervade all India, if these doctrines are carried out to their full extent; and our rule could not, probably, exist under it. With regard to Oude, I can only say that the King pursues the same course, and every day shows that he is unfit to reign. He has not the slightest regard for the duties or responsibilities of his high position; and the people, and even the members of his own family, feel humiliated at his misconduct, and grow weary of his reign. The greater part of these members have not received their stipends for from two to three years, and they despair of ever receiving them as long as he reigns. He is neither tyrannical nor cruel, but altogether incapable of devoting any of his time or attention to business of any kind, but spends the whole of his time with women, eunuchs, fiddlers, and other parasites. Should he be set aside, as he deserves to be, three courses are open: 1. To appoint a regency during the minority of the heir-apparent, who is now about eleven years of age, to govern with the advice of the Resident; 2. To manage the country by European agency during the regency, or in perpetuity, leaving the surplus revenue to the royal family; 3. To confiscate and annex the country, and pension the royal family. The first plan was prescribed by Lord Hardinge, in case of accident to the King; the second is what was done at Nagpore, with so much advantage, by Sir Richard Jenkins in 1817; the third is what the absorbing school would advocate, but I should most deprecate. It would be most profitable for us, in a pecuniary point of view, but most injurious, I think, in a political one. It would tend to accelerate the crisis which the doctrines of that school must, sooner or later, bring upon us. Which course the Governor-General may prefer I know not.

Believe me, My Dear Sir James, Yours very faithfully (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN

To Sir James Weir Hogg, Bart., &c. &c. &c.


Lucknow, 12th January, 1853.

My Dear Sir,

I shall send you by this mail a copy of my Diary under cover, addressed, as you suggest, to Mr. Secretary Melvill. It is coarsely bound, as I could find no good binder here. I printed eighteen copies, and have sent one to Government, in Calcutta, for itself, and one for the Court of Directors; one to the Governor-General, and one each to the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman. I have also sent one to a brother, and one to each of my five children. All to whom I have sent it of my family have been enjoined to consider it as private and confidential, and they will do so. Government may publish any portion of it they please. A memorandum of errata has been added to the copy to be sent to you.

Over and above what you justly observe as to the cultivation and population not being much diminished, and the State not having incurred any public debt, I may mention the fact noticed, I believe, somewhere in the Diary, that the landed aristocracy of the half of Oude, reserved in 1801, has been better preserved than that of the half made over to us. Had they not combined generally against the Government, they would all have been crushed ere this, as ours have been. This makes me mention a school of too much influence in India, of whose doctrines I have a great abhorrence. They are best expounded by the so-called "Friend of India," in the last number of which (6th January, 1851) there is a rabid article on the subject worthy of your perusal, and that of all men interested in the welfare of India and the stability of our rule over it. It is in the true Machiavellian spirit, which justifies, or would persuade the world to justify, every means, however base, dishonest, and cruel, required to attain any object which they have persuaded themselves to be desirable for ourselves. This school is impatient at the existence of any native principality in India, however related to or dependent upon us. Mr. George Campbell is a disciple of this school, almost as rabid as the "Friend of India," as you will see in the fourth chapter of his book on "Modern India." If Mr. Marshman is to write the Indian articles for the "Times," as reports give out, you will see these doctrines advocated in that influential journal. The Court of Directors is the only safeguard of India, and of our stability in it, against those doctrine which, in my opinion, tend strongly to the injury of both; and its power may be rendered too powerless to shun them.

Believe me, My Dear Sir, Yours sincerely, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Colonel Sykes, Director Hon. East India Company, London.

P.S.—I have felt much interested in the geology of Central and Southern India; and if you have seen any satisfactory account of the origin of the stratum which caps the basaltic plateau, shall feel obliged if you will point it out to me.


Lucknow, 24th April, 1853.

My Dear Sir,

By the last mail I received from a friend in London two articles, whose merits had been much canvassed at the clubs, one from the London "Times," of the 9th February, and the other from the "Daily News," a Manchester paper. The "Times" article must have been written by Mr. J. Marshman, or one of the most rabid members of the school of which he is the great organ, and whose chief characteristic is impatience at the existence of any native territorial chief or great landholder in India. The other article is a reply to it, and generally supposed to have been written by Sir George Clerk. I feel quite sure that it was written either by him or by Mr. T. C. Robertson, who preceded him in the government of our North-West Provinces. The article from the "Times" has been noticed in most of the Indian papers—the "Friend of India," April 7th, 1853, and the "Englishman," 15th April. But I have not seen that in the "Daily News" noticed in any Indian papers, though admirably written. I intended to send it to you, but have mislaid it. I think you can advocate the cause it adopts more consistently, more powerfully, and more wisely than any other editor now in India. I hope you will do so; for I consider the doctrines of the "Times" disgraceful to our morality, and dangerous to the stability of our rule. As I consider the welfare of the people of India to depend upon the stability of our rule, I am very anxious to see the fallacies of the atrocious doctrines which endanger it ably exposed. In no publication are these fallacies more obvious or more numerous than in Mr. George Campbell's "Modern India," chapter fourth, with, perhaps, the exception of the "Friend of India." With the "Friend," the theory of confiscation and annexation has become a disease, and he cannot praise or even tolerate any public officer or statesman who is not known to be a convert to the doctrines of this school.

I forget the date of the "Daily News" in which Sir George Clerk's article appeared, but it was immediately after the article appeared in the London "Times" of the 9th February. I hope you will give the article a prominent place in your paper, for it really deserves to be printed in letters of gold. Though I feel that the character of our nation, and our safety in India, are compromised by the open avowal of such atrocious doctrines in our leading journals, still the orders against officers in political employ writing in the papers are so strict, that I dare not attempt to expose the fallacies on which they are based, or express the indignation which they excite in me, in any public paper. To my superiors, and in the discharge of my public duties, I shall never cease to express my abhorrence of such doctrines, for I look upon them as worse than any that Machiavelli ever wrote.

Believe me, Yours very sincerely, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To G. Buist, Esq.

P.S.—Of course, this note will be considered as confidential.

(Signed) W. H. S.


Lucknow, 24th April, 1853.

Dear Sir,

An article in your paper of the 15th instant, on the subject of the international law of India, has interested and pleased me much. It has reference to an article in the London "Times" of the 9th February last; and I write to invite your attention to an article which appeared in the "Daily News," a Manchester paper, in reply to it, written by Sir G. Clerk, lately Governor of Bombay. Both these articles have been much discussed at the London clubs, and the morality of the "Daily News" article has been very favourably contrasted with that of the article in the "Times." The article in the "Times" is supposed to have been penned by Mr. J. Marshman himself, or by one of the most rabid members of the school whose Machiavellian doctrine he advocates.

These doctrines are considered by some of our wisest statesmen to be as dangerous to the stability of our rule in India as they are disgraceful to our morality; and as these statesmen consider the well-being of the people of India to depend upon that stability, they are always glad to see their fallacies exposed and their iniquities indignantly denounced by the moat able and steady of our public journalists. I hope you will be able to find the able article in the "Daily News" to which I refer, and consent to give it a prominent place in the "Englishman." It was sent to me by a friend in London, but I have, unfortunately, mislaid it. This note will, of course, be considered as confidential.

Yours sincerely, W. H. SLEEMAN.

To W. C. Harry, Esq.


Lucknow, 5th June, 1853.

My Lord,

I have read with great interest in the English journals your Lordship's able Minute on the Burmese war, and am glad that it has been published, as it cannot fail to disabuse the public mind at home, and bring about a reaction in the feeling of the people excited by some very unfair articles in the London "Times." I attributed these articles to the Napiers, who, however talented, are almost always wrong-headed.

I am persuaded that the new Sovereign will acquiesce in your possession of Pegu, and that he would not have ceded it by treaty under any circumstances. The old Sovereign might have done it, though at great risk, but the new Sovereign could not dare to do it.

Our own history affords us instances enough of powerful ministers anxious, for the public good, to get rid of conquered, but expensive and useless possessions, but deterred from proposing the measure by the dread of popular odium, which ambitious and factious rivals are always ready to excite.

There is one argument against the advance which I do not think that your Lordship has urged with the force of the rest. While the new Sovereign remains undisturbed in the rest of his dominions he will maintain his authority over them, and do his best to prevent our new frontier from being disturbed, knowing that we can advance to his capital and punish him if he does not. But, were he to be driven from his capital, all the rest of his dominions would soon fall into a state of anarchy, and our frontiers would soon be disturbed by leaders of disorderly bands, anxious to carve out principalities for themselves, and having no other means than plunder to maintain their followers. For the acts of such men we could hold no one responsible, after we had driven their Sovereign from his capital to the hills and jungles; and half a century might elapse before order could be restored. In the mean time, wealth would be growing up within our border to invite their aggression, while they would become poorer and poorer from disorders, and more and more anxious to seize upon it.

With regard to an advance upon Amarapoora, it will not be difficult after the rains, if circumstances render it necessary. The Madras cattle are much better for hard work and all climates than those of Bengal, and sufficient could be collected for the occasion by sea. Your Lordship's reasons for not trusting to steamers alone are unanswerable, and it seems impossible for a land and river force to act jointly. In this, we almost realize the contest between the winds and the moschettoes before the court of the genii in the Arabian tale: when the winds appeared, the moschettoes could not, and when they appeared, the winds could not. For the prestige of our own name in the rest of India, to advance to the capital and then give the rest of the country to the Sovereign might, perhaps, be the best; but for the security of our new acquisition, and that of the people of the rest of Burmah, it would certainly be better to stay where we are. The benefits of our rule might, by degrees, be imparted to that of the rest of Burmah. The Government would be obliged to treat their people better than they have done in order to keep them.

Here everything still is what I have described it to be so often; that is, as bad as it can be. The King is the same, and the officers and favourites whom he employs are the same. I shall not write public reports on the state of affairs till I learn that your Lordship wishes it, which will be, I conclude, when you have carried out your arrangements in Burmah.

The terrible war of races in China, to which I have been looking forward for some years, seems to be coming slowly on. I wrote to Sir H. M. Elliot about it some two or three years ago, and recommended him to write a better life than we have of Jungez Khan, in order to show what the Tartars now really are. When he led his swarms of them over China, Central Asia, and a great part of Europe, they worshipped the god of war; they now worship the god of peace: but there are millions of Lamas in Tartary who would change their crosiers for the sword at the call of a kindred genius, and are now impatient to do so, and prophesying his advent, just at the time that the rebels threaten the capital of China and the extinction of the Tartar dynasty. That dynasty will throw itself upon Tartary, and a new one will be raised by the successful leader.

Your Lordship's faithful and obedient servant, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To the Most Noble The Marquis of Dalhousie, K.T., Governor-General.


Lucknow, 24th June, 1853.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 20th instant perplexes me a good deal. I have no place in my own office to offer you, and I never recommended any one for employment to the King. You cannot, according to rules laid down for our guidance, act as an advocate in any case before the Resident or his assistants. All landholders in Oude, except the few whose estates are included in what is called the Hozoor Tuhseel, transact their business through the Amils, Chuckladars, and Nazims of districts, and have nothing to do directly with the Durbar at Lucknow. Having nothing to do with their affairs, I cannot have anything to say with the employment by them of wakeels, or advocates. They, the landholders, generally employ native wakeels, who are willing to bear a good deal of ill-treatment on the part of Durbar officials for the sake of very small salaries. Your situation as a wakeel on their part would be ill remunerated and exceedingly humiliating.

If the son of Ghalib Jung has offered to introduce you to the minister, and to assist in getting employment for you at Lucknow, he must, I think, do so in the hope of being able to make use of you in some intrigue; for those only who can aid in such intrigues are fostered and paid at Lucknow. Honest men can get nothing, and find no employment about the Court. If you secure employment about the Court, I cannot hold any communication with you. I should compromise myself by doing so. In your situation, I would rather be a section writer in Calcutta, or at Agra, than hold any employment in the Oude Durbar that you can get by honest means. One of the tasks imposed on you would be, I conclude, to praise bad persons and things, and abuse good, in the newspapers. This, of course, you would not do, and you would be punished accordingly. I strongly advise you to have nothing to do with Oude at present.

Yours very truly, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To G. Norton, Esq., Azimgurh.


Lucknow, 11th August, 1853. My Dear Sir,

Your brother, the late Lieut.-Colonel Ouseley, was a valued friend of mine. Before his appointment as Governor-General's Agent of the south-eastern frontier districts, he had for many years held the civil charge of different districts in the Sangor and Nerbudda territories. I had for many years the civil charge of districts bordering on those under his charge, and abundant opportunity of seeing how much he had made himself beloved, and the character of his Government respected, by the manner in which he conducted the duties confided to him.

When I became Commissioner over those territories in 1844, I passed through the districts which had so long been under his charge, and I can honestly say that I have never known a man who had made himself more beloved and revered by the people. Thousands of happy families were proud to acknowledge that they owed all their happiness to the careful and liberal revision of the settlement of the land-revenue made by him, in which he had provided for the interests of the higher and middle classes connected with the land, while he secured the rights of the humblest.

I visited at the same time the districts of those territories which bordered upon his then charge of the south-east frontier, and communed with many people from that quarter. They all spoke of him as beloved and respected by all classes as much in his then charge as he had been in his old one. In a country where it is the duty of every Englishman to make the character of his Government and his nation respected and beloved, one cannot but feel proud to hear a countryman and fellow-labourer spoken of by tens of thousands of respectable, contented, and happy people as your brother was and still is. I know no part of India where the people of all classes and all grades are so attached to our character and our Government as that of the Saugor and Nerbudda territories, and I believe that no man did more to establish that fine feeling than your brother.

Your brother's temper was warm, and he was not always happy in putting his thoughts and feelings to paper. Hence arose occasional misunderstandings with his official superiors. But while those superiors were men who could understand and appreciate his noble nature, such occasional misunderstandings never led to serious consequences. In the bitterness of his anguish, after his removal from the south-east frontier, he wrote to me; and it was most painful to me to feel that I was not in a position, or in circumstances, to advocate his cause, and describe the value of such a man as the representative of the Government and the national character among a wild and half-civilized people like those over whom he had been placed. I think it was on the representation of the late Mr. Launcelot Wilkinson, one of the most able and estimable members of the India Civil Service, that he was sent to the south-east frontier. He had seen his value in the Saugor and Nerbudda districts while he was political agent at Bhopaul, which bordered on the districts under your brother's charge.

It has been to me a source of much regret that I have not had it in my power to aid his son in getting employment in India.

Believe me, Yours very truly, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Major Ouseley, &c. &c.


Lucknow, 14th September, 1853.

Dear Sir,

The King of Oude will certainly not assist you to get up a newspaper at Lucknow; and you will certainly be disappointed if you come in expectation of such assistance from him. If you can get into his service in any other capacity, I am not aware of any objections to it, but as I have already told you and many others, I cannot recommend any one for employment under him. The humiliations to which honest and respectable Christians have to submit in his service, from the jealousies of influential persons about the Durbar, are such as few can or ought to submit to; and I certainly would not advise any one to enter such a service. Under whatever pledge or whatever influence they might enter it, their tenure of office and their pay would be altogether precarious, and the Resident would be unable to assist them in retaining the one or recovering the other.

Yours faithfully, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To G. Norton, Esq.

P.S.—The King of Oude and his family are in no danger from the British Government, on whose good faith they repose. I only wish that his honest and industrious subjects were as safe from the officers whom he employs in all branches of the administration, and from whom they are nowhere safe I fear.

(Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.


Lucknow, 27th September, 1853.

My Dear James,

Under the circumstances you mention, I see but one course open to you; and that is, to recommend to the Government of Bombay to do as Lord William Bentinck did in the Bengal Presidency under similar circumstances, appoint a special Commissioner for the trial of offenders under Acts XX.[sic] of 1836, and XXIV. of 1843; or for the revision of trials under these Acts, conducted by Sessions' Judges.

The first would be the best if feasible; but the second would do, since the Sessions' Judges seem now to be disposed to give their aid to Government in putting down the evil, and the Sudder Judges do not. Formerly, I believe, the Sudder Judges were so disposed, and the Sessions Judges not. In my reply to the Government of Bombay, you will see reference made to Lord William's appointment of Mr. Stockwell as special Commissioner. He was at the time Commissioner of the Allahabad division, and the work was imposed upon him in addition to his other duties.

If the Bombay Government does not think it has authority to appoint such a special Commission, they may apply to the Legislative Council to pass an Act authorising the Government of every Presidency to appoint such a Commission when circumstances may render it necessary.

This will be better and safer than to frame and enforce new rules of evidence for the guidance of existing Judicial Courts. The one would be for a special emergency, and temporary; and Government would not be very averse to it; but the other they certainly would not venture upon, particularly at this time. A great fuss would be made about it here and at home; and lawyers are too influential in both places.

You can show that there is no alternative—that this system of crime must be left to prosper in the Bombay Presidency, where alone it now prevails, or such a Commission must be appointed; and as the Acts and the machinery for giving effect to them have succeeded in putting it down in all the rest, it would be hard to leave the people of Bombay exposed to all the evils arising from the want of such a special Commission. Such Commissions have been adopted to relieve the people from the hardships of the resumption laws, which affected but a small portion of the community; and you hope it would not be considered unreasonable in you to propose one for the relief of the whole community; for the life and property of no family will be safe an hour, if these classes of offenders by hereditary profession are assured that they may carry on their trade with impunity, as they must be if your agency be withdrawn, and all the prisoners be released.

If you make a forcible representation to the Bombay Government in this strong case, they will adopt the measure if they have the power, or ask the power from the supreme Government; and I think the supreme Government will give it. I would say a special Commission for the trial of commitments under XXX. of 1836, and XXIV. of 1843, or a special Commission for the revision of trials under these Acts, as may seem best to Government; but you can say that you think the first would answer the purpose best in the Bombay Presidency. You may offer to run down to Bombay and submit your views to the Government in Council if required. They would not think it necessary, but would be pleased with the offer. Where men are committed on the general charge, it has always been thought necessary to show that the gang committed a murder or a robbery, though it is not so to show what part the prisoners took in them. If your assistant has not done this, he has failed in a material point. He should be very cautious in dealing with whole classes. The fault of our Bombay assistants has always been a disposition to make offenders of whole classes, when only some of the members are so.

You must make your best of the present case—show the necessity of the remedy clearly, and urge it respectfully without pretending to find fault with the Judges; merely say that their interpretation of the laws of evidence laid down for their guidance, however conscientious, forms an insurmountable obstacle to the conviction of offenders by hereditary profession, whose system has been founded upon the experience of their ancestors in the most successful modes of defeating these laws, and the technicalities of ordinary Judicial Courts. This is, I think, all that I can say on the subject at present. The Moncktons leave us this evening, and Amelie intends to set out for the hills on the 6th proximo.

Yours affectionately, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Captain J. Sleeman.


Lucknow, 28th September, 1853. My Dear James,

On further consideration, I think that you should say nothing about the second proposal of a special Commissioner to revise the trials of offenders tried by Sessions Judges. You should suggest the first proposal of a special Commissioner to try all prisoners committed for trial under Acts XXX. of 1836, and XXIV. of 1843, and perhaps also XI. of 1841. See my Printed Report, page 357.

You may mention that such Commissioner should be required to submit his sentences for the consideration and final orders of Government, as all political officers did till March, 1835; or merely for the information of Government, as political officers did after that time.

On the 23rd of March, 1835, the Secretary to the Government of India forwarded to the Resident of Lucknow, for his guidance, the copy of a letter addressed on that date to the Agent of the Governor-General in the Saugor and Nerbudda territories, requesting that he would carry into execution his sentences on Thugs, and not make any reference to Government for confirmation, but merely submit to Government abstract statements of sentences; but desiring that the sanction of the King of Oude should be required before any capital sentence was carried into effect. No capital sentence was from that time passed. As all prisoners will be tried on the general charge, no capital sentence will ever be passed by the special Commissioner, and the Bombay Government may be disposed to give him the same orders. But the Governor in Council at Bombay will be the best judge of that.

Lord Falkland may possibly be deterred by apprehensions that late events may have altered the tone of feeling at home towards him; but I am persuaded that he would be glad to carry this measure into effect. I will send you a copy of the Government letter to the Resident here; and you may get from the agent's office a copy of that sent on the same date to him, though you may not readily find that office under the new arrangements. You will, I think, have a strong case, and I wish you success in it.

Yours affectionately, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Captain Jas. Sleeman.


Lucknow, 4th November, 1853.

My Dear Malcolm,

I should recommend for the Baee a money stipend for life of five thousand rupees a-month, with the understanding that if she adopted a child she would have to provide for him out of her savings from this stipend, and out of her private property. All the Rajah's private property, save what he may will away to others, will of course be left to her, to be disposed of as she may think fit. But this stipend should be independent of those to be continued to the stipendiaries of the Rajah. There are several who have nothing else to depend on but the stipends which they now receive from the Rajah; and it must be borne in mind that they have no longer Bajee Rao, Benaek Rao, the Jhansi and Saugor chief, to go to. This will be the last of the Brahmin dynasties founded in that part of the world by the Peshwas. Our Government should therefore be liberal in taking possession of the estate as an escheat.

The Mahratta language in accounts should at once be done away with; but out of the revenues of the estate, Government should found a good school for English and Hindoo, and Persian; and, above all, for a very good hospital and dispensary, under well educated and tried surgeons, native and European, capable of throwing out branches.

All the public officers of the Rajah should have stipends or employment, or both, in proportion to their period of service and respectability. If they take employment the stipends should be deducted from their salaries while in office, as in our own service.

In the case of the Baee Regent at Saugor, we continued a small part of her pension to her adopted son,—one thousand rupees a-month,—to enable him to provide for her non-pensioned dependents. We took the management long before her death, and left her only a private lady, with a large pension of, I think, eight thousand rupees a-month; besides pensions—too large—to the family of her manager, Benaek Rao: this will be unnecessary at Jhansi. All the large hereditary landholders of the Jhansi estate should have liberal settlements at fixed rates. They are all from the landed aristocracy of Bundelcund, and should be treated with consideration. The first settlement of the land revenue should be very moderate. The lands will lose the most valuable market for their produce in the breaking up of the Court and establishment of the Rajah at the capital, and yield less money, &c., than before. This must be borne in mind.

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