A Journey through the Kingdom of Oude, Volumes I & II
by William Sleeman
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17     Next Part
Home - Random Browse




IN 1849—1850;




Resident at the Court of Lucknow


LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY, Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty. 1858.

[Transcriber's note: The author's spelling of the names of places and people vary considerably, even within a single paragraph. The spelling of place names in the text varies from that shown on the map. The author's spelling is reproduced as in the printed text.]


My object in writing this DIARY OF A TOUR THROUGH OUDE was to prepare, for submission to the Government of India, as fair and full a picture of the real state of the country, condition, and feeling of the people of all classes, and character of the Government under which they at present live, as the opportunities which the tour afforded me might enable me to draw.

The DIARY must, for the present, be considered as an official document, which may be perused, but cannot be published, wholly or in part, without the sanction of Government previously obtained.*

W. H. SLEEMAN. Lucknow, 1852.

* This permission was accorded by the Honourable Court of Directors in December last.

[Transcriber's note: Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official by W. H. Sleeman 2nd Ed. 1915, p.xxxvi notes that the date of the permission was not December 1851, but December 1852.]


Biographical Sketch of Major-General Sir W. H. Sleeman, K.C.B.


Private correspondence preceding the Journey through the Kingdom of Oude


Departure from Lucknow—Gholam Hazrut—Attack on the late Prime Minister, Ameen-od-Dowla—A similar attack on the sons of a former Prime Minister, Agar Meer—Gunga Sing and Kulunder Buksh—Gorbuksh Sing, of Bhitolee—Gonda Bahraetch district—Rughbur Sing—Prethee Put, of Paska—King of Oude and King of the Fairies—Surafraz mahal


Bahraetch—Shrine of Syud Salar—King of the Fairies and the Fiddlers—Management of Bahraetch district for forty-three years— Murder of Amur Sing, by Hakeem Mehndee—Nefarious transfer of khalsa lands to Tallookdars, by local officers—Rajah Dursun Sing— His aggression on the Nepaul Territory—Consequences—Intelligence Department—How formed, managed, and abused—Rughbur Sing's management of Gonda and Bahraetch for 1846-47—Its fiscal effects—A gang-robber caught and hung by Brahmin villagers—Murder of Syampooree Gosaen—Ramdut Pandee—Fairies and Fiddlers—Ramdut Pandee, the Banker—the Rajahs of Toolseepoor and Bulrampoor—Murder of Mr. Ravenscroft, of the Bengal Civil Service, at Bhinga, in 1823.


Legendary tale of breach of Faith—Kulhuns tribe of Rajpoots—Murder of the Banker, Ramdut Pandee, by the Nazim of Bahraetch—Recrossing the Ghagra river—Sultanpoor district, State of Commandants of troops become sureties for the payment of land revenue—Estate of Muneearpoor and the Lady Sogura—Murder of Hurpaul Sing, Gurgbunsee, of Kupragow—Family of Rajahs Bukhtawar and Dursun Sing—Their bynama Lands—Law of Primogeniture—Its object and effect—Rajah Ghalib Jung—Good effects of protection to Tenantry—Disputes about Boundaries—Our army a safety-valve for Oude—Rapid decay of Landed Aristocracy in our Territories—Local ties in groves, wells, &c.


Recross the Goomtee river—Sultanpoor Cantonments—Number of persons begging redress of wrongs, and difficulty of obtaining it in Oude— Apathy of the Sovereign—Incompetence and unfitness of his Officers— Sultanpoor, healthy and well suited for Troops—Chandour, twelve miles distant, no less so—lands of their weaker neighbours absorbed by the family of Rajah Dursun Sing, by fraud, violence, and collusion; but greatly improved—Difficulty attending attempt to restore old Proprietors—Same absorptions have been going on in all parts of Oude—and the same difficulty to be everywhere encountered— Soils in the district, mutteear, doomutteea, bhoor, oosur— Risk at which lands are tilled under Landlords opposed to their Government—Climate of Oude more invigorating than that of Malwa— Captain Magness's Regiment—Repair of artillery guns—Supply of grain to its bullocks—Civil establishment of the Nazim—Wolves—Dread of killing them among Hindoos—Children preserved by them in their dens, and nurtured.


Salone district—Rajah Lal Hunmunt Sing of Dharoopoor—Soil of Oude— Relative fertility of the mutteear and doomutteea—Either may become oosur, or barren, from neglect, and is reclaimed, when it does so, with difficulty—Shah Puna Ata, a holy man in charge of an eleemosynary endowment at Salone—Effects of his curses—Invasion of British Boundary—Military Force with the Nazim—State and character of this Force—Rae Bareilly in the Byswara district—Bandha, or Misletoe—Rana Benee Madhoo, of Shunkerpoor—Law of Primogeniture— Title of Rana contested between Benee Madhoo and Rogonath Sing— Bridge and avenue at Rae Bareilly—Eligible place for cantonment and civil establishments—State of the Artillery—Sobha Sing's regiment— Foraging System—Peasantry follow the fortunes of their refractory Landlords—No provision for the king's soldiers, disabled in action, or for the families of those who are killed—Our sipahees, a privileged class, very troublesome in the Byswara and Banoda districts—Goorbukshgunge—Man destroyed by an Elephant—Danger to which keepers of such animals are exposed—Bys Rajpoots composed of two great families, Sybunsies and Nyhassas—Their continual contests for landed possessions—Futteh Bahader—Rogonath Sing—Mahibollah the robber and estate of Balla—Notion that Tillockchundee Bys Rajpoots never suffer from the bite of a snake—Infanticide—Paucity of comfortable dwelling-houses—The cause—Agricultural capitalists— Ornaments and apparel of the females of the Bys clan—Late Nazim Hamid Allee—His father-in-law Fuzl Allee—First loan from Oude to our Government—Native gentlemen with independent incomes cannot reside in the country—Crowd the city, and tend to alienate the Court from the people.


Nawabgunge, midway between Cawnpoor and Lucknow—Oosur soils how produced—Visit from the prime minister—Rambuksh, of Dhodeeakhera— Hunmunt Sing, of Dharoopoor—Agricultural capitalists—Sipahees and native offices of our army—Their furlough, and petitions— Requirements of Oude to secure good government. The King's reserved treasury—Charity distributed through the Mojtahid, or chief justice—Infanticide—Loan of elephants, horses, and draft bullocks by Oude to Lord Lake in 1804—Clothing for the troops—The Akbery regiment—Its clothing, &c.,—Trespasses of a great man's camp in Oude—Russoolabad and Sufeepoor districts—Buksh Allee, the dome— Budreenath, the contractor for Sufeepoor—Meeangunge—Division of the Oude Territory in 1801, in equal shares between Oude and the British Governments—Almas Allee Khan—His good government—The passes of Oude—Thieves by hereditary profession, and village watchmen— Rapacity of the King's troops—Total absence of all sympathy between the governing and governed—Measures necessary to render the Oude troops efficient and less mischievous to the people—Sheikh Hushmut Allee, of Sundeela.



This distinguished officer, whose career in India extended over a period of forty years, and whose services were highly appreciated by three Governors-General—Viscount Hardinge, the Earl of Ellenborough, and the Marquess of Dalhousie—evinced by their appointing him to the most difficult and delicate duties—was the son of Philip and Mary Sleeman, and was born at Stratton, Cornwall, 8th August, 1788. In early years he evinced a predilection for the military profession; and at the age of twenty-one (October, 1809), through the good offices of the late Lord De Dunstanville, he was appointed an Infantry Cadet in the Bengal army. Thither he proceeded as soon as possible, and was promoted successively to the rank of Ensign, 23rd September, 1810; Lieutenant, 16th December, 1814; Brevet-Captain, 24th April, 1824; Captain, 23rd September, 1826; Major, 1st February, 1837; Lieutenant-Colonel, 26th May, 1843; Colonel, 24th November, 1853; and obtained the rank of Major-General 28th November, 1854.

Early in his career he served in the Nepaulese war. The value of his talents soon became known, and in 1816, when it was considered necessary to investigate a claim to property as prize-money arising out of that war, Lieutenant Sleeman was selected to inquire into it. The report was accordingly made by him in February 1817, which was designated by the Government as "able, impartial, and satisfactory."

In 1820 he was appointed junior Assistant to the Agent of the Governor-General at Saugur, and remained in the Civil Department in the Saugur and Nerbudda territories, with the exception of absence on sick certificate, for nearly a quarter of a century. Here he manifested that, if he had been efficient in an inferior position, he was also an able administrator in a superior post. He distinguished himself so much by his activity in the suppression of the horrible practice of Thuggism, then so prevalent, that, in 1835, he was employed exclusively in the Thuggee Department; his appointment in the Saugur and Nerbudda districts being kept open, and his promotion going on. The very valuable Papers upon Thuggism submitted to the Governor-General were chiefly drawn up by Sir William Sleeman, and the department specially commissioned for this important purpose was not only organised but worked by him. In consequence of ill-health, however, at the end of 1836, he was compelled to resign this appointment; but on his return to duty in February 1839, he was nominated to the combined offices of Commissioner for the Suppression of Thuggee and Dacoity.

In 1842 he was employed on a special mission in Bundelcund, to inquire into the causes of the recent disturbances there, and he remained in that district, with additional duties, as Resident at Gwalior, from 1844 until 1849, when he was removed to the highly important office of Resident at the Court of Lucknow. Colonel Sleeman held his office at Gwalior in very critical times, which resulted in hostilities and the battle of Maharajpore. But for a noble and unselfish act he would have received this promotion at an earlier period. The circumstance was this: Colonel Low, the Resident at that time, hearing that his father was dangerously ill, tendered his resignation to Lord Auckland, who immediately offered the appointment to Colonel Sleeman. No sooner had this occurred, however, than Colonel Low wrote to his Lordship that, since he had resigned, the house of Gaunter and Co., of Calcutta, in which his brother was a partner, had failed, and, in consequence, every farthing he had saved had been swept away. Under this painful contingency be begged to place himself in his Lordship's hands. This letter was sent by Lord Auckland to Colonel Sleeman, who immediately wrote to Colonel Low, begging that he would retain his situation at Lucknow. This generous conduct of Colonel Sleeman was duly appreciated; and Lord Auckland, on leaving India, recommended him to the particular notice of his successor. Lord Ellenborough, who immediately appointed Colonel Sleeman to Jhansi with an additional 1000l. a-year to his income.

Colonel Sleeman held the appointment of Resident at Lucknow from the year 1849 until 1856. During this period his letters and diary show his unwearied efforts to arrive at the best information on all points with regard to Oude. These will enable the reader to form a just, opinion on the highly-important subject of the annexation of this kingdom to British India. The statements of Colonel Sleeman bear inward evidence of his great administrative talents, his high and honourable character, and of his unceasing endeavours to promote the best interests of the King of Oude, so that his kingdom might have been preserved to him. Colonel Sleeman's views were directly opposed to annexation, as his letters clearly show.

His long and arduous career was now, however, fast drawing to a close. So early as the summer of 1854 it became evident that the health of General Sleeman was breaking up, and in the August of that year he was attacked by alarming illness. "Forty-six years of incessant labour," observes a writer at this date, "have had their influence even on his powerful frame: he has received one of those terrible warnings believed to indicate the approach of paralysis. With General Sleeman will depart the last hope of any improvement in the condition of the unhappy country of Oude. Though belonging to the elder class of Indian officials, he has never been Hindooized. He fully appreciated the evils of a native throne: he has sternly, and even haughtily, pointed out to the King the miseries caused by his incapacity, and has frequently extorted from his fears the mercy which it was vain to hope from his humanity."

Later in the year. General Sleeman went to the hills, in the hope of recruiting his wasted health by change of air and scene; but the expectation proved vain, and he was compelled to take passage for England. But it was now too late: notwithstanding the best medical aid, he gradually sank, and, after a long illness, died on his passage from Calcutta, on the 10th February, 1856, at the age of sixty-seven.

His Indian career was, indeed, long and honourable his labours most meritorious. He was one of those superior men which the Indian service is constantly producing, who have rendered the name of Englishman respected throughout the vast empire of British India, and whose memory will endure so long as British power shall remain in the East.

It is well known that Lord Dalhousie, on his relinquishing the Indian Government, recommended General Sleeman and two other distinguished officers in civil employment for some mark of the royal favour, and he was accordingly nominated K.C.B., 4th February, 1856; of which honour his Lordship apprised him in a highly gratifying letter.

But, however high the reputation of an officer placed in such circumstances—and none stood higher than Sir William Sleeman, not only in the estimation of the Governor-General and the Honourable Company, but also in the opinion of the inhabitants of India, where he had served with great ability for forty years, and won the respect and love particularly of the natives, who always regarded him as their friend, and by whom his equity was profoundly appreciated—it was to be anticipated, as a matter of course, that his words and actions would be distorted and misrepresented by a Court so atrociously infamous. This, no doubt, he was prepared to expect, The King, or rather the creatures who surrounded him, would at all cost endeavour to prevent any investigation into their gross malpractices, and seek to slander the man they were unable to remove.

The annexation of Oude to the British dominions followed, but not as a consequence of Sir W. Sleeman's report. No greater injustice can be done than to assert that he advised such a course. His letters prove exactly the reverse. He distinctly states, in his correspondence with the Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie, that the annexation of Oude would cost the British power more than the value of ten such kingdoms, and would inevitably lead to a mutiny of the Sepoys. He constantly maintains the advisability of frontier kingdoms under native sovereigns, that the people themselves might observe the contrast, to the advantage of the Honourable Company, of the wise and equitable administration of its rule compared with the oppressive and cruel despotism of their own princes. Sir William Sleeman had profoundly studied the Indian character in its different races, and was deservedly much beloved by them for his earnest desire to promote their welfare, and for the effectual manner in which, on all occasions in his power, and these were frequent, he redressed the evils complained of, and extended the AEgis of British power over the afflicted and oppressed.



THE following Narrative of a "Pilgrimage" through the kingdom of Oude was written by the late Major-General Sir William Sleeman in 1851 (while a Resident at the Court of Lucknow), at the request of the Governor-General the Marquess of Dalhousie, in order to acquaint the Honourable Company with the actual condition of that kingdom, and with the view of pointing out the best measures to be suggested to the King for the improvement and amelioration of the country and people.

So early as October, 1847, the King of Oude had been informed by the Governor-General, that if his system of rule were not materially amended (for it was disgraceful and dangerous to any neighbouring power to permit its continuance in its present condition) before two years had expired, the British Government would find it necessary to take steps for such purpose in his name. Accordingly on the 16th September, 1848, the Governor-General addressed the following letter to Sir William Sleeman, commissioning him to make a personal visit to all parts of the kingdom:—

"Government House, Sept. 16, 1848.

"My Dear COLONEL SLEEMAN,—It was a matter of regret to me that I had not anticipated your desire to succeed Colonel Sutherland in Rajpootana before I made arrangements which prevented my offering that appointment to you. I now regret it no longer, since the course of events has put it in my power to propose an arrangement which will, I apprehend, be more agreeable to you, and which will make your services more actively beneficial to the State.

"Colonel Richmond has intimated his intention of immediately resigning the Residency at Lucknow. The communication made by the Governor-General to the King of Oude, in October, 1847, gave His Majesty to understand that if the condition of Government was not very materially amended before two years had expired, the management for his behoof would be taken into the hands of the British Government.

"There seems little reason to expect or to hope that in October, 1849, any amendment whatever will have been effected. The reconstruction of the internal administration of a great, rich, and oppressed country, is a noble as well as an arduous task for the officer to whom the duty is intrusted, and the Government have recourse to one of the best of its servants for that purpose.

"The high reputation you have earned, your experience of civil administration, your knowledge of the people, and the qualifications you possess as a public man, have led me to submit your name to the Council of India as an officer to whom I could commit this important charge with entire confidence that its duties would be well performed. I do myself, therefore, the honour of proposing to you to accept the office of Resident at Lucknow, with especial reference to the great changes which, in all probability, will take place. Retaining your superintendency of Thuggee affairs, it will be manifestly necessary that you should be relieved from the duty of the trials of Thugs usually condemned at Lucknow.

"In the hope that you will not withhold from the Government your services in the capacity I have named, and in the further hope of finding an opportunity of personally making your acquaintance,

"I have the honour to be, "Dear Colonel Sleeman, "Very faithfully yours, "DALHOUSIE."

"To Colonel Sleeman, &c., &c."

Immediately on receipt of this despatch, Sir William proceeded to make the necessary inquiry. Doubtless the King (instigated by his Ministers and favourites, who dreaded the exposure of all their infamous proceedings) would have prevented this investigation, which, he was aware, would furnish evidence of gross mal-administration, cruelty, and oppression almost unparalleled; but Sir William Sleeman was too well acquainted with the character of the people of the East to be moved either by cajolery or menaces from the important duty which had devolved upon him.

Sir William Sleeman's position as Resident enabled him to ascertain thoroughly the real state of Oude; and the great respect with which he was universally received manifests the high opinion entertained of him personally by all ranks. The details he has given of the prevailing anarchy and lawlessness throughout the kingdom, would scarcely be believed were they not vouched for by an officer of established reputation and integrity. Firmness united to amenity of manner were indeed the characteristics of Sir William in his important and delicate office at such a Court—a Court where the King, deputing the conduct of business to Ministers influenced by the basest motives, and who constantly sacrificed justice to bribery and low intrigues, gave himself up to the effeminate indulgence of his harem, and the society of eunuchs and fiddlers. His Majesty appears to have been governed by favourites of the hour selected through utter caprice, and to have permitted, if he did not order, such atrocious cruelties and oppression as rendered the kingdom of Oude a disgrace to the British rule in India, and called for strong interference, on the score of humanity alone, as well as with the hope of compelling amendment.

The letter addressed by Lord Dalhousie to Sir William Sleeman expresses the desire of the Governor-General that he should endeavour to inform himself of the actual state of Oude, and render his Narrative a guide to the Honourable Company in its Report to the Court of Directors. The details furnish but too faithful a picture of the miserable condition of the people, equally oppressed by the exactions of the King's army and collectors, and by the gangs of robbers and lawless chieftains who infest the whole territory, rendering tenure so doubtful that no good dwellings could be erected, and land only partially cultivated; whilst the numberless cruelties and atrocious murders surpass belief. Shut up in his harem, the voice of justice seldom reached the ear of the monarch, and when it did, was scarcely heeded. The Resident, it will be seen, was beset during his journey with petitions for redress so numerous, that, anxious as he was to do everything in his power to mitigate the horrors he witnessed, he frequently gives vent to the pain he experienced at finding relief impracticable.

The Narrative contains an unvarnished but unexaggerated picture of the actual state of Oude, with many remedial suggestions; but direct annexation formed no part of the policy which Sir William Sleeman recommended. To this measure he was strenuously opposed, as is distinctly proved by his letters appended to the Journal. At the same time, he repeatedly affirms the total unfitness of the King to govern. These opinions are still further corroborated by the following letter from his private correspondence, 1854-5, written when Resident at Lucknow, and published in the Times in November last:—

"The system of annexation, pursued by a party in this country, and favoured by Lord Dalhousie and his Council, has, in my opinion, and in that of a large number of the ablest men in India, a downward tendency—a tendency to crush all the higher and middle classes connected with the land. These classes it should be our object to create and foster, that we might in the end inspire them with a feeling of interest in the stability of our rule. We shall find a few years hence the tables turned against us. In fact, the aggressive and absorbing policy, which has done so much mischief of late in India, is beginning to create feelings of alarm in the native mind; and it is when the popular mind becomes agitated by such alarms that fanatics will always be found ready to step into Paradise over the bodies of the most prominent of those from whom injury is apprehended. I shall have nothing new to do at Lucknow. Lord Dalhousie and I have different views, I fear. If he wishes anything done that I do not think right and honest, I resign, and leave it to be done by others. I desire a strict adherence to solemn engagements, whether made with white faces or black. We have no right to annex or confiscate Oude; but we have a right, under the treaty of 1837, to take the management of it, but not to appropriate its revenues to ourselves. We can do this with honour to our Government and benefit to the people. To confiscate would be dishonest and dishonourable. To annex would be to give the people a government almost as bad as their own, if we put our screw upon them. My position here has been and is disagreeable and unsatisfactory: we have a fool of a king, a knave of a minister, and both are under the influence of one of the cleverest, most intriguing, and most unscrupulous villains in India."

Major Bird, in his pamphlet "Dacoitee in Excelsis," while endeavouring to establish a case for the King of Oude, has assumed that Sir William Sleeman was an instrument in the hands of Lord Dalhousie, to carry out his purpose of annexing Oude to British India. The letters, now first printed, entirely refute this hasty and erroneous statement. Major Bird has, in fact, withdrawn it himself in a lecture delivered by him at Southampton on Tuesday, the 16th of February, 1858.

It will be seen that Sir W. Sleeman's "Diary" commences on December 1, 1849. To preserve chronological order, the letters written before that date are prefixed; those which refer to a later period are added at the end of the narrative.



Camp, 20th February, 1848.

My Dear Sir,

I thank you for your letter of the 10th instant, and am of opinion that you may be able to make good use of Bhurut Sing under judicious management, and strict surveillance; but you do not mention who and what he is—whether he is a prisoner under sentence, or a free agent, or of what caste and profession. Some men make these offers in order to have opportunities of escape, while engaged in the pretended search after associates in crime; others to extort money from those whom they may denounce, or have the authority and means to arrest. He should be made to state distinctly the evidence he has against persons, and the way he got it; and all should be recorded against the names of the persons in a Register. Major Riddell is well acquainted with our mode of proceedings in all such cases, and I recommend you to put yourself in communication, as soon as possible, with him, and Mr. Dampier, the Superintendent of Police, who fortunately takes the greatest possible interest in all such matters. I have no supervision whatever over the officers of the department employed in Bengal; all rests entirely with Mr. Dampier. You might write to him at once, and tell him that you are preparing such a Register as I suggest; and if he is satisfied with the evidence, he will authorise the arrest of all or part, and well reward Bhurut Sing for his services.

Believe me, My Dear Sir, With best wishes for your success, Yours sincerely, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Capt. J. Innes, Barrackpoor.


Camp, 20th February, 1848. My Dear Colonel Sutherland,

There are at Jubulpore a good many of the Bagree decoits, who have been sentenced as approvers, by the Courts of Punchaet, in Rajpootana, to imprisonment for very short periods. Unless they are ordered to be retained when these periods expire, on a requisition of security for their future good behaviour, they will make off, and assuredly return to their hereditary trade. The ordinary pay of the grades open to them in our police and other establishments, will not satisfy them when they find that we have no hold upon them, and they become more and more troublesome as the time for their enlargement approaches.

I send you copies of the letters from Government of the 27th June, 1839, from which you will see that it was intended that all professional decoits who gave us their services on a promise of conditional pardon, should have a sentence of imprisonment for life recorded against them, the execution of which was to be suspended during their good behaviour, and eventually altogether remitted in cases where they might be deemed to have merited, by a course of true and faithful services, such an indulgence. In all other parts, as well as in our own provinces as in native states, such sentences, have been recorded against these men, and they have cheerfully submitted to them, under the assurance that they and their children would be provided with the means of earning an honest livelihood; but in Rajpootana it has been otherwise.

By Act 24, of 1843, all such professional gang-robbers are declared liable to a sentence, on conviction, of imprisonment for life; and everywhere else a sentence of imprisonment for life has been passed upon all persons convicted of being gang-robbers by profession. This is indispensably necessary for the entire suppression of the system which Government has in view. Do you not think that in your Courts the final sentence might be left to the European functionaries, and the verdict only left to the Punchaets? The greater part of those already convicted in these Courts will have to be released soon, and all who are so will certainly return to their trade; and the system will continue in spite of all our efforts to put it down. I have just been at Jubulpore, and the bearing of the Bagree decoits, sent from Ajmeer by Buch, is quite different from that of those who have had a sentence of imprisonment for life passed against them in other quarters, and is very injurious to them, for they get so bad a name that no one will venture to give them service of any kind. Do, I pray you, think of a remedy for the future. The only one that strikes me is that above suggested, of leaving the final sentence to the European officers.

I need not say that I was delighted at your getting the great Douger Sing by the means you had yourself proposed for the pursuit—sending an officer with authority to disregard boundaries.

Yours sincerely, (Signed) W. S. SLEEMAN

To Col. Sutherland.


Jhansee, 4th March, 1848.

My Lord,

I had the gratification to receive your Lordship's letter of the 7th of January last, at Nursingpore, in the valley of the Nerbudda, where I commenced my Civil career more than a quarter of a century before, and where, of all places, I should have wished to receive so gracious a testimonial from such high authority. I should have earlier expressed by grateful acknowledgments, and prepared the narrative so frequently called for, but I was then engaged in preparing a Report on Gang-robbery in India, and wished first to make a little more progress, that I might be able to speak more confidently of its ultimate completion and submission to Government. In a less perfect form this Report was, at the earnest recommendation of the then Lieut.-Governor N.W.P., the Honourable T. Robertson, and with the sanction of the Governor-General Lord Auckland, sent to the Government press so long back as 1842, but his Lordship appeared to me to think that the printing had better be deferred till more progress had been made in the work of putting down the odious system of crime which the Report exposed, and I withdrew it from the press with little hope of ever again having any leisure to devote to it, or finding any other person able and willing to undertake its completion.

During the last rains, however, I began again to arrange the confused mass of papers which I found lying in a box; but in October I was interrupted by a severe attack of fever, and unable to do anything but the current duties of my office till I commenced my tour through the Saugor territories, in November. I have since nearly completed the work, and hope to be able to submit it to Government before the end of this month in a form worthy of its acceptation.

I am afraid that the narrative of my humble services will be found much longer than it ought to be, but I have written it hastily that it might go by this mail, and it is the first attempt I have ever thought of making at such a narrative, for I have gone on quietly "through evil and through good report," doing, to the best of my ability, the duties which it has pleased the Government of India, from time to time, to confide to me, in the manner which appeared to me most conformable to its wishes and its honour, satisfied and grateful for the trust and confidence which enabled me to do so much good for the people, and to secure so much of their attachment and gratitude to their rulers.

Permit me to subscribe myself, with great respect, Your Lordship's faithful and obedient humble servant,

(Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Lieut.-General the Right Hon. Henry Viscount Hardinge, &c. &c. &c.


Jhansee, 4th March, 1848. Dear Sir,

Lord Hardinge, in a letter dated the 7th of January last, requested me to make out a narrative of my humble services in India, and to send it under cover to you, as he expected to embark on the 15th, before he could receive it in Calcutta. I take the liberty to send my reply with the narrative, open, and to request that you will do me the favour to have them sealed and forwarded to his Lordship.

Believe me, dear Sir, Yours very faithfully, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To J. Cosmo Melvill, Secretary to the East India Company, India House, London.


Jhansee, 28th March, 1848.

My Dear Elliot,

The Court of Directors complain that decoit prisoners are not tried as soon as they are caught, but they know little of the difficulties that the officers under me find in getting them tried, for political officers have, in truth, had little encouragement to undertake such duties, and it is only a few choice spirits that have entered upon the duty con amore. General Nott prided, himself upon doing nothing whatever while he was at Lucknow; General Pollock did all he could, but it was not much; and Colonel Richmond does nothing. There the Buduk decoits, Thugs, and poisoners, remain without sentences, and will do so till Richmond goes, unless you give him a fillip. If you tell him to apply for an assistant to aid him in the conduct of the trials, and tell him to nominate his own, he may go to work, and I earnestly pray you to do something, or the Oude Turae will become what it had for ages been before we cleaned it out. Davidson was prevented from doing anything by technical difficulties, so that out of four Residents we have not got four days' work.

You will soon get my Report, and it will be worth having, and the last I shall make on crime in India.

If Hercules had not had better instruments he could not so easily have cleared out his stable; but he had no "Honourable Court" to find fault with his mode of doing the thing, I conclude. The fact is, however, that our prisoners are pretty well tried before they get into quod. Mr. Bird will be delighted at the manner in which he is introduced in my first chapter, and many another good officer well pleased.

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

To H. M. Elliot, Esq., Secretary to the Government of India, Calcutta.

Jhansee, 29th March, 1848.

My Dear Maddock,

I hope you will not disapprove of the resolution to which I have come of resigning the charge of the Saugor territories, now that tranquillity has been restored,—the best possible feelings among the people prevail, and the object you had in view in recommending Lord Ellenborough to confide that charge to me has been effected,—or of the manner in which I have tendered my resignation. Were I longer to retain the charge, I should be subjected to humiliations which the exigencies of the public service do not require that I should at this time of life submit to, and I shall have enough of labour and anxiety in the charge that will still remain to me. If an opening for Sir R. Shakespear could be found, his salary might be saved by my residence being transferred to Gwalior. If either Hamilton or I were to be removed to some other post, it would be well to reduce Gwalior and Indore to political agencies, under the supervision of an agent, as in Rajpootana, with Bundelcund added to his charge. The latter of these two measures has, you know, been under consideration, and was, I think, proposed by Sutherland when you were at Gwalior with Lord Auckland. Had the Lieutenant-Governor known more of the Saugor territories when he wrote the paper on which Government is now acting, he would not, I think, have described the state of things as he has done, or urged the introduction of the system which must end in minutely subdividing all leases, and in having all questions regarding land tenures removed into the civil Courts, as in the provinces. It is the old thing, "nothing like leather." I shall not weary you by anything more on this subject. I hope a good man will be selected for the charge. The selection of Mr. M. Smith as successor to Mr. Brown was a good one. My letter will go off to-day, and be, I trust, well received. I am grieved that Clerk has been obliged to quit his post; he has been throughout his career an ornament to your service, but his friends seem all along to have apprehended that he could not long stand the climate of Bombay. I am anxious to learn how long you are to remain in Council.

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

To the Hon. Sir T. H. Maddock, &c. &c. &c.

Jhansee, 2nd April, 1848.

My Dear Elliot,

Till I this morning got the public letter, which will go off to-day, I never heard one word about Shakespear's intention or wish to go to the hills, and only thirteen days remain. The orders of Government as to his locum tenens cannot reach me by the 15th, when he is to leave, and I shall have to put in some one to take charge, as there is a treasury under his management.

If Government wish to take Major Stevens from the Byza Bae, and give him some other employment, he might be sent to act for Captain Ross; but I know nothing of his fitness for such an office.

I believe you know Captain Ross, and I need say nothing more than what I have said in my public letter. If he be sent to Gwalior, I hope a good officer may be sent to act for him in Thalone, for the duties are very heavy and responsible. Blake will do very well, and so would his second in command, Captain Erskine, of the 73rd, who is an excellent civil officer. I must pray you to let me have the orders of Government on the subject as soon as possible.

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

P.S.—I should consider Major Stevens an able man for a civil charge, but have never seen him.

(Signed) W. H. S.

To H. M. Elliot, Esq., &c. &c.


Jhansee, 6th May, 1848.

My Dear Maddock,

Your kind letter of the 21st ultimo had prepared me for the public one of the 28th, which I got yesterday from Elliot, and I wrote off at once, to say simply that I should be glad to suspend or to withdraw the application contained in my letter of the 29th of March, as might appear best to Government; and that I should not have made it at all, had I apprehended that a compliance with it would have been attended with any inconvenience.

With the knowledge I have acquired of the duties of the several officers, and the entire command of my time here at a quiet place, and long-established methodical habits, I can get through the work very well, though it becomes trying sometimes. Arrears I never allow to accumulate, and regular hours, and exercise, and sparing diet, with water beverage, keep me always in condition for office work. I often wish that you could have half the command of your hours, mode of living, and movements, that I have. However, they will soon be much more free than mine. I am very glad that you have the one year more for a wind up; and hope that good fortune will attend you to the last. You say nothing, however, about your foot. The papers and letters from home have just come in. I hear that Lord John is very unwell, and will not be able to stand the work many months more, and that Sir R. Peel is obliged to be cupped once a-week, and could not possibly take office. Who is to take helm in the troubled ocean, no one knows. I am glad that Metternich has been kicked out, for he and Louis Philippe are the men that have put in peril the peace and institutions of all Europe. I only wish that the middle class was as strong in France as it is in England; it is no doubt infinitely stronger than it was; while the lower order is better than that of England, I believe, for such occasions. They have good men now in the provisional Government—so they had in 1788; and, like them, the present men will probably be swept away by the mob. They are not, however, likely to be embarrassed by other nations, since the days of Pitt and George III. are passed away, and so are the feudal times when the barons could get up civil wars for their own selfish purposes. There are no characters sufficiently prominent to get up a civil war, but the enormous size of the army is enough to create feelings of disquiet. It is, however, officered from the middle classes, who have property at stake, and must be more or less interested in the preservation of order.

The Government has no money to send to Algiers, and must reduce its strength there, so that Egypt is in no danger at present; were it so, we should be called upon to defend it from India, and could well do so. It is evident that the whole French nation was alienated from Louis Philippe, and prepared to cast off him and all his family, though, as you say, I do not believe that there was anywhere any design to oust him and put down monarchy. Had he thrown off Guizot a little sooner, and left some able military leaders free to act, the emeute would have been put down; but those who could have acted did not feel free to do so: they did not feel sure of the king, while they were sure of the odium of the people. I am not at all sorry for the change. I am persuaded that it will work good for Europe; but still its peace and best institutions are in peril at present. We are in no danger here, because people do not understand such things; and because England is in a prouder position than ever, and will, I trust, retain it.

Lord Grey seems an able man at home, but he is, I believe, hot- headed, and Lord Stanley is ten times worse; he would soon have up the barricades in London. Lord Clarendon seems a safe guide, but Peel is the man for the time, if he has the stamina. Lord Palmerston has conducted the duties of his office with admirable tact of late; and much of the good feeling that prevails in Europe towards England at present seems to arise from it. Amelie begs to be most kindly remembered; she is here with her little boy—two girls at Munsoorie, and two girls and a boy at home.

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

To the Hon. Sir T. H. Maddock, &c. &c. &c.


Jhansee, 14th May, 1848.

My Dear Weston,

I have been directed by Government to name an officer whom I may consider competent to superintend the suppression of Thuggee in the Punjaub, where a new class has been discovered, and some progress has been made in finding and arresting them. I have, in reply, mentioned that I should have Captain Williams, of the 29th, and Captain Chambers, of the 21st; but their services might not be considered available, since the prescribed number of captains are already absent from their regiments, and, in consequence, I have you. I know not whether you will like the duties; if not, pray tell me as soon as possible.

The salary is 700 rupees a-month, with office-rent 40, and establishments 152. The duties are interesting and important; and so good a foundation has been laid by Larkins and the other local authorities, and all are so anxious to have the evil put down, that you will have the most cordial support and co-operation of all, and the fairest prospect of success. But you will have to apply yourself steadily to work, and if you have not passed, you should do so as soon as possible. I do not see P. opposite your name, and Government may possibly object on this ground. Let all this be entre nous for the present.

If you undertake the duties, you will have to go to Lodheeana, seeing Major Graham at Agra, on the way, to get a little insight into the work.

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

P.S.—You will be in the most interesting scene in India, and need be under no apprehension about the permanency of the appointment.

To Lieut. Weston, &c. &c.

Jhansee, 18th May, 1848. My Dear Maddock,

Things are not going on so well as could be wished in the Punjaub; and it appears to me that we have been there committing an error of the same kind that we committed in Afghanistan—that is, taking upon ourselves the most odious part of the executive administration. In such a situation this should have been avoided, if possible. There is a kind of chivalry in this—if there is anything odious to be done, or repugnant to the feelings of the people, a young Englishman thinks he must do it himself, lest he should be thought disposed to shift off a painful burthen upon others; and he thinks it unbecoming of us to pay any regard to popular feeling. Of course, also, the officers of the Sikh State are glad to get rid of such burthens while they see English gentlemen ready to carry them. Now, it strikes me that we might, with a little tact, have altered all this, and retained the good feelings of the people, by throwing the executive upon the officers of the Sikh State, and remaining ourselves in the dignified position of Appellate Courts for the redress of grievances inflicted by these officers in neglect of duty or abuse of authority. Our duty would have been to guide, control, and check, and the head of all might have been like the sovereigns of England—known only by his acts of grace.

By keeping in this dignified position we should not only have retained the good feelings of the people, but we should have been teaching the Sikh officers their administrative duties till the time comes for making over the country; and the chief and Court would have found the task, made over to them under such a system, more easy to sustain. In Afghanistan we did the reverse of all this, and became intolerably odious to the mass of the people; for they saw that everything that was harsh was done by us, and the officers of the King were disposed to confirm and increase this impression because they were not employed. The people of the Punjaub are not such fanatics, and they are more divided in creed and caste, while they see no ranges of snowy mountains, barren rocks, and difficult passes between us and our reinforcements and resources; but it seems clear that there is a good deal of excitement and bad feeling growing up amongst them that may be very mischievous. All the newspapers, English and native, make the administration appear to be altogether English—it is Captain This, Mr. That, who do, or are expected to do, everything; and all over the country the native chiefs will think, that the leaving the country to the management of the Sirdars was a mere mockery and delusion.

We should keep our hands as much as possible out of the harsh and dirty part of the executive work, that the European officers may be looked up to with respect as the effectual check upon the native administrators; always prepared to check any disposition on their part to neglect their duty or abuse their power, and thereby bring their Government into disrepute. Of course, the outrage at Mooltan must be avenged, and our authority there established; but, when this is done, Currie should be advised to avoid the rock upon which our friend Macnaghten was wrecked. We are too impatient to jump down the throats of those who venture to look us in the face, and to force upon them our modes of doing the work of the country, and to superintend the doing it ourselves in all its details, or having it done by creatures of our own, commonly ten times more odious to the people than we are ourselves.

It is unfortunate that this outrage, and the excitement to which it has given rise, should have come so quickly upon Lord Hardinge's assurances at the London feast, and amidst the turmoil of popular movements at home. It has its use in showing us the necessity of being always prepared.

Baba Bulwunt Row tells me that he has got a letter from you in the form of Khureela, and claims one from me on that ground. Shall I comply? We have avoided this hitherto, as the Pundits put him up to claim everything that the Bae's family had, not even omitting the Thalone principality; and hints have been dropped of a mission to England, if the money could be got. I wish to subdue these pretensions for his own sake, that he may not be entirely ruined by temptations to expensive displays. He has now got the entire management of his own affairs, and is a sensible, well-disposed lad. He was never recognised as the Bae's successor by Government or the Agent, nor was he written to on the Bae's death. Cunput Row Bhaca was the person addressed in the letter of condolence. His son has run through all he has or can borrow, and is in a bad way. Moresor Row has the reputation of being very rich, though he pleads poverty always. The whole of the Saugor territories, save Mundla, have benefited by two very fine seasons, with great demand for land produce, and the people are happy. I have asked for reductions in Mundla, to save the little of tillage and population that has been left. The whole revenue is a mere trifle in such a jungle as you know it to be, and when once the people go off, there is no getting them back. Deer destroy the crops upon the few fields left, tigers come to eat the deer, and malaria follows, to sweep off the remaining few families.

I must not prose any longer at present. Amelia often talks of you, and begs to be kindly remembered.

Ever yours sincerely, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To the Hon. Sir T. H. Maddock, &c. &c. &c.


Jhansee, 28th May, 1848. My Dear Maddock,

I yesterday sent off by Dawk Bangy an elaborate Report on Dacoits by hereditary profession, and on the measures adopted by the Government of India for their suppression, and hope it will reach Calcutta before the rains set in heavily. Government may be justly proud of the good which it shows to have been effected for the people of India in the course of a brief period; and I am glad that you have for this period been a member of it. There is much in the Report to interest the general reader, but much of what is inserted would, of course, have been left out by any one who had to consult the wishes of such readers only.

At this time last year I had not the slightest hope of ever being able to lay such a Report before Government; for I never expected to find leisure in my present office, and could not carry the requisite records with me, if driven away by sickness, to where I might find it. The papers lay mouldering in an old box, to which I had consigned them in 1840, when I withdrew them from the press, under the impression that Lord Auckland thought that the exposition of the terrible evil ought not to appear till more progress had been made in its suppression; as G. Thompson and other itinerant orators would be glad to get hold of them to abuse the Government. The Report is infinitely more interesting and complete than it could have been then, and may bid defiance to all such orators.

If printed, it will take from 400 to 450 pages, such as those of the late Report on the Indian Penal Code, and be a neat and useful volume for reference. I began it in the rains last year, but was stopped short by a fever, and unable to continue it till I set out on my tour. Three-fourths of it was written in the intervals between the morning's march and breakfast-time during my tour through the Saugor territories.

The tables of dacoitees ascertained to have been committed by the dacoits described, and of the conditionally pardoned offenders, will follow, and be found useful for reference, but should not, perhaps, be in the same volume with the text of the Report; of that, however, I leave Government to judge. I thank God that I have been able to place before it so complete and authentic a record of what has been done to carry out its views.

Ever most sincerely yours, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To the Hon. Sir T. H. Maddock, &c. &c. &c.

Jhansee, 15th August, 1848.

My Lord,

As it is possible that the letter which I addressed to your Lordship on the 6th of March last, and sent open to Mr. Melvill, the Secretary at the India House, may have miscarried; I write to mention that I sent it, lest it might be supposed that I was insensible of the kindness which induced your Lordship to write to me before leaving India. The work which made me delay so long to reply to that letter is now being printed in Calcutta, under the authority of Government; and, as it contains much that is curious and entertaining, and honourable to our rule in India, I trust at no distant day to have the honour of presenting a copy to your Lordship.

Amidst events of such absorbing interest as are now taking place every day in Europe, India cannot continue long to engage much of your thoughts; for, with the exception of the little outbreak at Mooltan, tranquillity prevails, and is likely to do so for some time. There has been delay in putting down the Mooltan rebels, but the next mail will, I hope, take home news of the work having been effectually done. This delay seems to have arisen from a notion that troops ought not to be employed in the hot winds and rains; but when occasion requires they can be employed at all times, and the people of India require to be assured that they can be so. It has not, I think, been found that troops actually employed in the hot winds and rains lose more men than in cantonments, at least native troops.

It was, I think, your Lordship's intention that, in the Lahore state, we should guide, direct, and supervise the administration, but not take all the executive upon ourselves, to the exclusion of all the old native aristocracy, as we had done in Afghanistan. This policy has not, I am afraid, been adhered to sufficiently; and we have, probably, less of the sympathy and cordial good-will of the higher and middle classes than we should otherwise have had. But I am too far from the scene to be a fair judge in such matters.

The policy of interposing Hindoo native states between us and the beggarly fanatical countries to the north-west no wise man can, I think, doubt; for, however averse our Government may be to encroach and creep on, it would be drawn on by the intermeddling dispositions and vainglory of local authorities; and every step would be ruinous, and lead to another still more ruinous. With the Hindoo principalities on our border we shall do very well, and trust that we shall long be able to maintain them in the state required for their own interests and ours.

I wish England would put forth its energies to raise the colony of New Zealand, the queen of the Pacific Ocean; for the relations between that island and India must some day become very intimate, and the sooner it begins the better. I am very glad to find by the last mail that the French have put their affairs into better hands—those of practical men, instead of visionaries.

Believe me, with great respect, Your Lordship's obedient, humble servant, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Lieut.-General the Right Hon. Henry Viscount Hardinge, G.C.B., &c. &c. &c.


Jhansee, 22nd August 1848.

My Dear Sir Erskine,

I thank you for kindly sending me a copy of your Address to the Native Youth at Bombay and their Parents, and should have done so earlier, but it has been in circulation among many of my friends who feel interested in the subject. Whatever may be thought of the question as to where we should begin, all concur in acknowledging the truth of your conclusions as to the value and use of the knowledge we wish to impart, and in admiring the language and sentiment of your Address.

There are some passages of great beauty, which I wish all persons could read and remember; and I do not recollect ever having seen one that has pleased me more, for its truths and elegance, than that beginning, "But if a manufacturing population." That which begins with—"The views, young men, as to the true object and ends to be attained," is no less truthful and excellent.

It is unfortunate that the education which we have to supplant in India is so blended with the religion of the people, as far as Hindoos are concerned, that we cannot make progress without exciting alarm. Had a nation, endowed with all the knowledge we have, come into Europe in the days of Galileo and Copernicus, and attempted to impart it to the mass of the people, or to the higher classes only, the same alarm would have been raised, or nearly the same. We must be content with small, or slow progress; but there are certain branches of knowledge, highly useful to the people, that are finding their way among them from our metropolitan establishments, and working good.

I might better have said, that had we come into Greece when Homer was the Bible of the people, with all our astronomy, chemistry, and physical science generally, and our literature, blended as it is with our religion, we should have found our Greek fellow-subjects as untractable as the Hindoos or Parsees. The fact is, that every Hindoo, educated through our language in our literature and science, must be more or less wretched in domestic life, for he cannot feel or think with his family, or bring them to feel or think with him. The knowledge which he has acquired satisfies him that the faith to which they adhere, and which guides them in all their duties, ceremonies, acts, and habits, is monstrous and absurd; but he can never hope to impart to them this knowledge, or to alienate them from that faith; nor does he himself feel any confidence in any other creed: he feels that he is an isolated being, who can exchange thoughts and feelings unreservedly with no one. I have seen many estimable Hindoos in this state, with minds highly gifted and cultivated, and with abilities for anything. For such men we cannot create communities, nor can they create them for themselves: they can enjoy their books and conversation with men who understand and enjoy them like themselves; but how few are the men of this class with whom they can ever hope to associate on easy terms! It is not so with Mahommedans. All the literature and science in the world has no more effect on their faith than on ours; and their families apprehend no alienation in any member who may choose to indulge in them; and they indulge in them little, merely because they do not find that they conduce to secure them employment and bread.

I think it would be useful if we could get rid of the terms education, civilization, &c., and substitute that of knowledge. It would obviate much controversy, for the greater part of our disputes arise from the vagueness of the terms we use. All would agree that certain branches of knowledge are useful to certain classes, and that certain modes are the best for imparting them. The subject is deeply interesting and important; but I must not indulge further.

Believe me, My Dear Sir Erskine, With great respect, Yours very faithfully, (Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Sir Erskine Perry, Chief Justice, Bombay.


Jhansee, 24th September, 1848.

My Lord,

I feel grateful for the offer contained in your Lordship's letter of the 16th instant, and no less so for the gracious manner in which it has been conveyed, and beg to say that I shall be glad to avail myself of it, and be prepared to proceed to take charge as soon as I am directed to do so, as I have no arrears in any of my offices to detain me, and can make them over to any one at the shortest notice, with the assurance that he will find nothing in them to perplex or embarrass him.

I shall do my best to carry out your Lordship's views in the new charge; and though I am not so strong as I could wish, I may, with prudence, hope to have health for a few years to sustain me in duties of so much interest.

I hope your Lordship will pardon my taking advantage of the present occasion to say a few words on the state of affairs in the north- west, which are now of such absorbing interest. I have been for some time impressed with the belief that the system of administration in the Punjaub has created doubts as to the ultimate intention of our Government with regard to the restoration of the country to the native ruler when he comes of age. The native aristocracy of the country seem to have satisfied themselves that our object has been to retain the country, and that this could be prevented only by timely resistance. The sending European officers to relieve the chief of Mooltan, and to take possession of the country and fort, seems to have removed the last lingering doubt upon this point; and Molraj seems to have been satisfied that in destroying them he should be acting according to the wishes of all his class, and all that portion of the population who might aspire to employment under a native rule. This was precisely the impression created by precisely the same means in Afghanistan; and I believe that the notion now generally prevalent is, that our professed intentions of delivering over the country to its native ruler were not honest, and that we should have appropriated the country to ourselves could we have done so.

There are two classes of native Governments in India. In one the military establishments are all national, and depend entirely upon the existence of native rule. They are officered by the aristocracy of the country, chiefly landed, who know that they are not fitted for either civil or military office under our system, and must be reduced to beggary or insignificance should our rule be substituted for that of their native chief. In the other, all the establishments are foreign, like our own. The Seiks were not altogether of the first class, like those of Rajpootana and Bundelcund, but they were so for the most part; and when they saw all offices of trust by degrees being filled by Captain This and Mr. That, they gave up all hopes of ever having their share in the administration.

Satisfied that this was our error in Afghanistan, in carrying out the views of Lord Ellenborough in the Gwalior State, I did everything in my power to avoid it, and have entirely succeeded, I believe; but it has not been done without great difficulty. I considered Lord Hardinge's measures good, as they interposed Hindoo States between us and a beggarly and fanatical country, which it must be ruinous to our finances to retain, and into which we could not avoid making encroachments, however anxious the Government might be to avoid it, if our borders joined. But I supposed that we should be content with guiding, controlling, and supervising the native administration, and not take all the executive upon ourselves to the almost entire exclusion of the native aristocracy. I had another reason for believing that Lord Hardinge's measures were wise and prudent. While we have a large portion of the country under native rulers, their administration will contrast with ours greatly to our advantage in the estimation of the people; and we may be sure that, though some may be against us, many will be for us. If we succeed in sweeping them all away, or absorbing them, we shall be at the mercy of our native army, and they will see it; and accidents may possibly occur to unite them, or a great portion of them, in some desperate act. The thing is possible, though improbable; and the best provision against it seems to me to be the maintenance of native rulers, whose confidence and affection can be engaged, and administrations improved under judicious management.

The industrial classes in the Punjaub would, no doubt, prefer our rule to that of the Seiks; but that portion who depend upon public employment under Government for their subsistence is large in the Punjaub, and they would nearly all prefer a native rule. They have evidently persuaded themselves that our intention is to substitute our own rule; and it is now, I fear, too late to remove the impression. If your Lordship is driven to annexation, you must be in great force; and a disposition must be shown on the part of the local authorities to give the educated aristocracy of the country a liberal share in the administration.

One of the greatest dangers to be apprehended in India is, I believe, the disposition on the part of the dominant class to appoint to all offices members of their own class, to the exclusion of the educated natives. This has been nobly resisted hitherto; but where every subaltern thinks himself in a condition to take a wife, and the land opens no prospect to his children but in the public service, the competition will become too great.

I trust that your Lordship will pardon my having written so much, and believe me, with great respect, your Lordship's obedient humble servant,

(Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

P.S.—The Commander-in-Chief has asked me, through the Quartermaster- General, whether any corps can be spared from Bundelcund. I shall say that we can spare two regiments—one from Nagode, whose place can be supplied by a wing of the regiment at Nowgow, and one from Jhansee, whose place can be supplied from the Gwalior Contingent, if your Lordship sees no objection, as a temporary arrangement.

(Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To the Right Hon. the Earl of Dalhousie, &c. &c. &c.


Lucknow, 30th January, 1849.

My Dear Elliot,

A salute of twenty-one guns had been fired here by the King for the sadly dear victory over Shere Sing, and another has been fired to-day for the fall of Mooltan. The King continues very ill, but no danger seems to be apprehended. The disease is accompanied by very untoward secondary symptoms, which are likely ultimately to destroy him, and render his life miserable while it lasts. How much of these symptoms he derives from his birth, and how much from his own excesses, is uncertain.

The impression regarding the minister, mentioned in my last note, was from a talk with him while he was, it seems, under the influence of fever. In later conversations he has been more lucid; but he is a third-rate man, and quite unequal to the burthen that the favour of the King has placed upon him. That favour will, however, be but of short duration, for the King is said to have expressed great distrust in his capacity to do any of the things he promised, more especially to collect the immense arrears of revenue now due.

I am preparing tables of the revenue and expenditure, and of the machinery in all branches, and hope soon to submit a clearer view of the state of things than Government is in the habit of getting on such occasions; but I have to wade through vast volumes of correspondence to ascertain what has been said and done in the questions that will come under consideration, to conduct current duties, and to become acquainted with the people in my new field, European and native.

I want to ask you whether I could, with any prospect of success just now, propose a plan which I have much at heart in the Thuggee and Dacoity Department. The Lieutenant-Governor, I feel assured, will advocate it. Major Graham is about to obtain his regimental majority, with a certain prospect of soon obtaining the command of his regiment, which will give him twelve hundred a-month. I am anxious to retain him; for his services have been, and would continue to be, of vast importance to the North-West Provinces. I should like to propose that he be made superintendent of Thuggee and Dacoity in those provinces upon a salary of, say eleven hundred rupees a-month. I would at the same time propose that the Shahjehanpoor office, lately under Major Ludlow, be done up, and the duties confided to the assistant-magistrate, with a small establishment, he to receive an extra salary, say, one hundred rupees a-month. The same with regard to the Azimghur office, now under Captain Ward, who could be sent to Rajpootana. Elliot is not suited well to the work, according to those who have seen most of him and of it; and you might be able to put him to some other for which he is fitted. Should you think it desirable to retain him in Rajpootana, Captain Ward may for the present remain where he is; and the saving from the Shahjehanpoor office will more than cover the increase for Major Graham. Pray let me know as soon as you can whether such a proposal would be likely to be well received. Graham's services have been and will be most valuable to all the local authorities at and under Agra.

I suppose the fate of the Punjaub is sealed, for though the Governor- General might wish to spare it, the home authorities and the home people will hardly brook the prospect or the chance of another struggle of the same kind, particularly if the Afghans have really joined the Seiks under Chutter Sing. The tendency to annexation, already strong at home, will become still stronger when the news of our late losses arrive. They indicate a stronger assurance of national sympathy on the part of the chiefs and troops opposed to us than was generally calculated upon. The fall of Mooltan will have relieved the Governor-General's mind from much of the anxiety caused by the inartistic management of the Commander-in-Chief.

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

To H. M. Elliot, Esq., &c. &c.


Lucknow, 7th March, 1849.

My Dear Elliott,

I may mention what has been the state of feeling at Lucknow regarding the state of affairs in the Punjaub, though it has become of less interest to the Governor-General now that so decided a victory has crowned his efforts. During the whole contest the Government five per cent. notes have been every day sold in my office at par, and I question whether this can be said of the offices in Calcutta. One day during the races, on the King's firing a salute for victory, the European gentlemen talked about it at the stand with many of the first of the native aristocracy. They said that the Seiks could not fight as they were fighting unless there had been some general feeling of distrust as to our ultimate intentions with regard to the Punjaub which united them together; and that this feeling must be as strong with the Durbar and those who did not fight as with those who did. I was not present, as I did not attend the races; but I found the same opinion prevailing among all with whom I conversed. But all seemed to be perfectly satisfied as to the utter hopelessness of the struggle, as evinced by the great barometer of the Government paper.

I suppose Dost Mahomed's force in Peshawur will have proceeded in all haste to the Khyber on hearing of the defeat of their friends, and that General Gilbert's fine division will find none of them to contend with; and that Gholab Sing will be glad of an occasion to display his zeal by keeping Shore Sing and his father out of the hills.

The river Indus will, I suppose, hardly be considered so safe a boundary as the hills; for if any danger is to be apprehended from the west, it would not be safe to leave the enemy so fine a field to organize their forces upon after emerging from the difficult passes. Well organized upon that field, a force could cross the river anywhere in the cold and hot seasons; and the revenue of that field would aid in keeping up a force that might in the day of need be used against us. It was a great error committed by Lord Hastings in allowing the Nepaulese the fertile portion of the Jurac, which then yielded only two lacs of rupees, but now yields thirteen, and will, ere long, yield twenty. Without this their military force would have been altogether insignificant; but it is not so now.

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

To H. M. Elliot, Esq., &c. &c.

Lucknow, 20th March, 1849.

My Dear Elliot,

The King continues much the same as when I last wrote. Under skilful treatment he might soon get well; but the prescriptions of his best native physicians are little attended to, and he has not yet consented to consult an European doctor. He could not have a better doctor than Leekie, and the natives have great confidence in him; but his Majesty has not expressed any wish to see or consult him. If he did so, the chances are one hundred to one against his taking his medicine.

I do not like to write a public letter on the subject, but am anxious to know the Governor-General's wishes as to whether any new engagements should be entered into in case of the King's decease, and with whom.

The instructions contained in your letter of the 16th August, 1847, referred to in my last, will be carried out; but the Governor-General may wish to have the new arrangements recorded in a former treaty, the heads of the royal family consenting thereto, as at Gwalior, when the regency was appointed. I have no copy of the treaty made at Lahore, where the regency was appointed.

I should think it desirable to give the members of the regency each distinct duties, so that he may feel responsible for them, and take a pride in doing them well. One should be at the head of the Revenue Department, and another at the head of the Judicial and Police, each having a deputy; and the Resident, as president, should have a deputy. These would be sufficient for a regency, and could form a court, or council, to deliberate and decide about measures of legislation and administration.

The mother of the King would be the best person to consult upon the nomination of the members in the first instance; but neither she nor any other female of the royal family should have any share in the administration.

All important measures adopted by the Council should be submitted for the consideration of the Governor-General; and no member of the Council should be removed without his Lordship's consent. No important measure adopted by the Council, and sanctioned by the Governor-General, should at any future time be liable to be abolished or altered without the sanction of our Government previously obtained through the Resident.

On the heir-apparent attaining his majority, every member of the regency who has discharged his duties faithfully should have for life a pension equal to half the salary enjoyed by him while in office, and be guaranteed in the enjoyment of this half by the British Government.

The measures thus adopted during the minority would form a code for future guidance, and tend at least to give the thing which Oude most wants—stability to good sales, and to the machinery by which they are to be enforced.

The King's brother—a very excellent man, who was Commander-in-Chief during his father's life-time, but is now nothing—might also be consulted with the mother of the King in the nomination of the regency, and made a party with her to the new treaty.

These are all the points which appear to me at present to call for instructions.

The harvests promise to be abundant, but the collections come in slowly, and the establishments are all greatly in arrear. I don't like to write publicly on these subjects, because it is almost impossible here to prevent what is so written from getting to the Court; but the Governor-General's instructions were sent to me in that form without the same risk.

(Signed) W. H. SLEEMAN.

To H. M. Elliot, Esq., &c. &c.


Lucknow, 23rd March, 1849.

My Dear Elliot,

It will perhaps be well to add to the regency, in case of the King's death, a controller of the household, making three members of equal grade, and to have no deputy for the Resident, or President of the Regency. It may also be well to add the mother of the heir apparent to the persons to be consulted in the selection of the members of the regency, though she is a person of no mark or influence in either public or private affairs at present.

The mother of the present King, his brother, the mother of the heir- apparent, and the young heir-apparent himself will be enough to have a voice in the selection.

I conclude that it will be the Governor-General's wish that the heir- apparent should be placed on the throne immediately after the death of his father, for the slightest hesitation or delay in this matter would be mischievous in such a place as Lucknow. As soon as this is done, I can proceed to consult about the nomination of the regency. The members will, of course, be chosen from among the highest and most able members of the aristocracy present at the capital, and they can be installed in office the day they are chosen. I do not apprehend any confusion or disturbance; but measures must be adopted immediately to pay up arrears due to the establishments, and dismiss all that are useless.

The, King is not worse—on the contrary, he is said to be better; but the hot season may be too much for him. His present state, with a minister weak in body and not very strong in mind, is very unsatisfactory. Fortunately the harvest is unusually fine.

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

To H. M. Elliot, Esq., &c. &c.


Lucknow, 8th May, 1849. My Lord,

Dr. Bell, has relieved Dr. Leekie from his charge, and I am glad that so able and experienced a medical officer has been appointed to it by your Lordship, for he will have the means of doing much good here if he can secure the confidence and esteem of his native patients. The way has been well paved for him by Dr. Leekie, who, in professional ability, large experience, and perfect frankness of character, is one of the first men I have met; and I regret exceedingly that the King has never manifested any wish to consult him or any other European physician.

Being anxious that both Dr. Leekie and Dr. Bell should have an opportunity of seeing the King, and forming some opinion as to his state of health, I proposed that his Majesty should receive them at the same time with Captain Bird on his taking leave previous to his departure for Simla. As it is usual for the residency surgeon to wait on his Majesty when he first enters on his charge and when he quits it, I knew that such a proposal would not give rise to any feelings of doubt or uneasiness, and he at once expressed his wish to see them. Yesterday, about noon, all three went to the palace, and sat for some time in conversation with the King. They found him much better in bodily health than they expected, and in the course of conversation, found no signs of any confusion of ideas, and are of opinion that in the hands of a skilful European physician he would soon be quite well. His Majesty is hypochondriac, and frequently under the influence of the absurd delusions common to such persons; but he is quite sane during long intervals, and on all subjects not connected with such delusions.

When in health, the King never paid much attention to business, and his illness is, therefore, less felt than it would have been in the conduct of affairs; but it is nevertheless felt, and that in a very vital part—the collection of the revenue. The expenses of Government are about one hundred (100) lacs a-year; and the collections this year have not amounted to more than sixty (60), owing to this illness, and to a deficiency in the autumn harvests. All establishments are greatly in arrears in consequence; and the King has been obliged to make some heavy drafts upon the reserved fund left him by his father. I only wish none had been made for a less legitimate purpose. The parasites, by whom he has surrounded himself exclusively, have, it is said, been drawing upon it still more largely during the King's illness, under the apprehension of a speedy dissolution. The minister is a weak man, who stands somewhat in awe of these musicians and eunuchs, who have no fear of anybody but the Resident, whom it is, of course, their interest to keep as much as possible in the dark. As soon as his Majesty gets stronger, I shall see him more frequently than I have yet done, and be better able to judge of what prospect of amendment there may be while he reigns. If he ever conversed with his male relations, or any of the gentlemen at the capital worthy of his confidence, I should have more hope than I now have.

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

To the Right Hon. The Earl of Dalhousie, K.T., Governor-General of India.


Lucknow, 11th June, 1849. My Dear Elliot,

It will be desirable to have at least the wing of a regiment sent as soon as possible to Jhansee. Bukhut Sing, who was allowed to escape after having been surrendered to Ellis at Kyrma, has been since allowed to get too much a-head. He is aided by the Khereecha people openly; and secretly, I fear, by some of the Powar Thakoors of Gigree under the rose. There are four small fortified places between thirty and forty miles west of Jhansee, and not far from the Sinde, held by Powar Thakoors, who are a shade higher in caste than the Bondeylas; and, in consequence, all the principal chiefs take their daughters in marriage. They are needy, and as proud as Lucifer, and will always eke out their means by robbery if they can. The Jhansee chief cannot keep them in order without our aid. While I was there, they did not venture to rob after the surrender of the Jylpoor man in September, 1844; and the Hareecha and Hyrwa people ventured only to send a few highwaymen into the Gwalior state west of the Sinde river.

The Powar places I mean are Jignee, Odgow, and Belchree. There was a fourth near them just as bad, called Nowneer; but the Thakoors of that place are all well disposed towards the Jbansee chief, and are obedient. All are in the Jhansee state. If the marauders are pressed with energy and sagacity, they will be soon put down; and you may rely upon the native chiefs not supporting them, though, from their marriage connection, they may afford them an asylum secretly when fugitives.

Who the Gwalior men are that are plundering I know not; but they are men of no note, and, if pressed skilfully and rigorously in time, will soon be put down. The chiefs may all be relied upon, I believe. They are mere gangs of robbers; and you know how easily a fanatic or successful robber may collect a body for plunder in any part of India, where the danger of pursuit is small. Had they been dealt with properly at first, they would never have got a-head so far: time has been lost, and they will now give trouble, particularly at such a season. The evil will be confined to the tract west of Jhansee occupied by these Powars. The chiefs are to the east, north, and south of Jhansee; and the marauders would be allowed to enter their estates. The Governor-General need not feel uneasy about them. The Nurwar chief was always needy, and disposed to keep and shelter robbers. His few villages were resumed on his death last year, and his widows pensioned; but some of his relations are, I conclude, among the marauders. There is a wild tract west of the Sinde in the Gwalior territory, to which the marauders will fly when hard pressed in the Jhansee state.

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

To H. M. Elliot, Esq., &c. &c.


Lucknow, 18th June, 1849.

My Dear Elliot,

I was writing the last sentence of a long Report on Oude affairs when your note came in. There are some parts that will amuse, some that will interest, and the whole gives, I believe, a fair exposition of the evils, with a suggestion for the best remedy that I can think of. It is the formation of a Board, consisting of a President and two members nominated by the King, subject to the confirmation of the Governor-General, and not to be dismissed without his Lordship's previous sanction. This Board to make the settlement of the revenue proposed when Lord Hardinge was here, and to have the carrying it out.

This Board will be a substitute for the Regency, but not so good. The King is well in body; and, unless he will abdicate, we cannot get the minority for the Regency. I think, upon the whole, the Governor- General will think the Report worth reading, and the remedy worth considering. It will bring little additional trouble on Government, but a good deal on the Resident, who will require to have had much administrative experience.

Things are coming fast to the crisis, in which I must be called upon to advise and act, a thing which the fiddlers and eunuchs dread. I can't trust the Report in the office, and the hand may not be so legible as I could wish.

The Court is very averse to the appointment of a successor to Wilcox; and it is with reluctance they have kept on the native officers who go on with the work. I told them either to keep them on or to pension them. I don't think a successor should be urged upon them in the present state of beggary to which they are reduced. Nobody sees any use in it, while there are a vast number of useful things neglected for want of funds; as to the instruments, the Court care nothing about them, knowing nothing of their value; and would, no doubt, be glad to give them to any establishment requiring them.

The minister, singers, and eunuchs are all now sworn to be united; but this cannot last many days. The "pressure from without," in the clamour for pay, will soon upset the minister; but they will find it difficult to get another to undertake the burthen of forty or fifty lacs of balance, and a score of fiddlers and eunuchs as privy councillors. Something must be done to unthrone these wretches, or things will be worse and worse. The best remedy that occurs to me is to interpose an authority which they dare not question, and the King cannot stultify; and if the King objects, to tell him that he must abdicate in favour of his son. This, of all courses, will be the best, and give no trouble; things would go on like "marriage bells," without any trouble whatever to the Governor-General and your secretariat.

I am glad that the Punjaub Board goes on well. It is a scene of great importance and interest. The only way to get the confidence and affection of men is to show that we confide in them; and I don't think we need fear Seik soldiers while we treat them, and govern the country well.

We were very anxious about Mrs. Elliot for many days, for the accounts from Simla were bad; but she is now, I am told, quite restored. I have suffered much less than I expected: I recovered much sooner. The doctors tell me that I should have had no right to expect an earlier recovery had I been twenty years younger.

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

To H. M. Elliot, Esq., &c. &c.


Lucknow, 24th July, 1849. My Lord,

I have to-day written to Lord Fitzroy Somerset to request that he will do me the favour to have the name of my only son placed, if possible, upon his Grace the Commander-in-Chiefs list of candidates for commissions in Her Majesty's Dragoons. He was sixteen years of age on the 6th of January last, and is now prosecuting his studies under the care of Mr. C. J. Yeatman, Westow Hill, Norwood, Surrey, five miles from London.

He is an amiable and gentlemanly lad, and will, I trust, be able to qualify himself to pass the examination required; and my agents in London will be prepared to lodge the money for his commission when available. He is my eldest child, and will have to take care of four sisters when I am taken from them, as I must be ere long; and I am anxious to place him in the position from which he can do so with most advantage. I could wish to have had him placed in the Bengal Civil Service. But I have no personal friend in the direction, and no good that I may have had an opportunity of doing for the people and government of India can be urged as a claim to any employment for my child.

Having carried out your Lordship's policy successfully over a large and interesting portion of India, and to the advantage, I believe, of many millions of people, you will not, I think, be offended at my soliciting your Lordship's protection for my only son. He will stand in need of it, since I know no other that I can solicit for him; and though my name might be of some use to him in India, it can be of none in England. With a view to his taking care of his sisters, I could wish him to be in a regiment not likely to come to India. General Thackwell tells me that the regiments most likely to come to India soon are the 6th Dragoons, 9th Hussars, and 12th Lancers. Perhaps your Lordship might be willing to speak to Lord F. Somerset, or even to his Grace the Duke himself, in favour of my son, who will be proud at any time when commanded to attend your Lordship. I have the misfortune to have been with some of the most inefficient sovereigns that ever sat upon a throne, with deficient harvests last year, and a threat of still more deficient ones this year; and with a Government so occupied with the new acquisitions of the Punjaub as to be averse to interfere much with the management of any other portion of the country.

I remain, your lordship's most obedient, humble servant,


To the Right Hon. Gen. Viscount Hardinge, G.C.B., &c. &c. &c.


Lucknow, 24th July, 1849.

My Lord,

May I, request that your Lordship will do me the favour to have the name of my only son, Henry Arthur Sleeman, placed upon his Grace the Commander-in-Chiefs list of candidates for a commission in one of her Majesty's Dragoon regiments?

He was sixteen years of age on the 6th of January last; and he is now prosecuting his studies under the care of Mr. C. J. Yeatman, at Westow Hill, in Surrey, five miles from London, who will be instructed to have him prepared for the examination he will have to undergo. My agents, Messrs. Denny, Clark, and Co., Austin Friars, London, will be prepared to lodge the money, and to forward to me any letters with which they may be honoured by your Lordship. My rank is that of Lieut.-Colonel in the Honourable East India Company's service, and present situation, that of Resident at the Court of his Majesty the King of Oude.

I have the honour to be, Your Lordship's obedient, humble servant, W. H. SLEEMAN.

To Lieut.-General Lord Fitzroy Somerset, G.C.B., Military Secretary to his Grace the Commander-in-Chief, Horse Guards, London.

Lucknow, August 1849.

My Lord,

1. I will answer your Lordship's queries in the order in which they are made.

2. The King, as I shall show in my next official report, is utterly unfit to have anything to do with the administration, since he has never taken, or shown any disposition to take any heed of what is done or suffered in the country. My letters have made no impression whatever upon him. He spends all his time with the singers and the females they provide to amuse him, and is for seven and eight hours together living in the house of the chief singer, Rajee-od Dowla—a fellow who was only lately beating a drum to a party of dancing- girls, on some four rupees a-month. These singers are all Domes, the lowest of the low castes of India, and they and the eunuchs are now the virtual sovereigns of the country, and must be so as long as the King retains any power. The minister depends entirely upon them, and between them and a few others about Court everything that the King has to dispose of is sold.

3. To secure any reform in the administration, it will be necessary to require the King to delegate all the powers of sovereignty to the Board. This he can do, retaining the name of Sovereign and control of his household; or abdicating in favour of his son the heir apparent, to whom the Board would be a regency till he comes of age. If the alternative be given him, and he choose the former, it should be on the condition, that if his favourites continue to embarrass the Government, he will be required to submit to the latter. Oude is now, in fact, without a Government: the minister sees the King for a few minutes once a week or fortnight, and generally at the house of the singer above named. The King sees nobody else save the singers and eunuchs, and does not even pretend to know anything or care anything about public affairs. His sons have been put under their care, and will be brought up in the same manner. He has become utterly despised and detested by his people for his apathy amidst so much suffering, and will not have the sympathy of any one, save such as have been growing rich by abusing his power.

4. The members of such a Board as I propose, invested with full powers, and secured in office under our guarantee during good conduct, would go fearlessly to work; they would divide the labour; one would have the settlement of the land-revenue, with the charge of the police; the second would have the judicial Courts; and if the Board be a regency during the minority, the control of the household; the third would have the army. Each would have the nomination of the officers of his department, subject to the confirmation of the whole Board, and the dismissal would depend upon the sanction of the whole or two-thirds, as might be found expedient. If the sanction of all three be required. Court influence may secure one vote, and impunity to great offenders. Neither of the three would be liable to be deprived of his office, except with the consent, or on the requisition of the Governor-General; and this privilege they would value too highly to risk it by neglect or misconduct. The King's brother—a most worthy and respectable, though not able man—might be a member, if agreeable to the King.

5. The abuses they would have to remedy are all perfectly well understood, and the measures required to remedy them are all simple and obvious: a settlement would be made with the landholders, based upon past avowed collections; they would be delighted to bind themselves to pay such an assessment, as they would escape from the more than one-third more, which they have now to pay, in one form or another, to contractors and Court favourites; the large landholders, who are for the most part now in open resistance to the Government, would rejoice at the prospect of securing their estates to their posterity, without the necessity of continually fighting for them.

6. The army would soon become efficient: at present every man purchases his place in it from the minister and the singers and eunuchs, and he loses it as soon as he becomes disabled from wounds or sickness. The only exceptions are the four regiments under Captain Burlow, Captain Bunbury, Captain Magness, and Soba Sing, lately Captain Buckley's; in these, all that are disabled from wounds or sickness are kept on the strength of the corps, and each corps has with it a large invalid establishment of this kind unrecognized by the Government. They could not get their men to fight, without it. These regiments are put up at auction every season, and often several times during one season; the contractor who bids highest gets the services of the best for the season or the occasion; the purchase- money is divided between the minister and the Court favourites, singers, &c. These are really efficient corps, and the others might soon be made the same. The men are as fine-looking and brave as those of our, regular infantry, for Oude teems with such men, who have from their boyhood been fighting against contractors under the heads of their clan or families.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17     Next Part
Home - Random Browse