Thug Or A Million Murders by Colonel James L. Sleeman Preface

CHAPTER XIV. THE PRICE OF VICTORY

FROM 1809 till 1840, a period of thirty-one years, Sleeman had spared no effort to deal with Thuggee, and had he been content to rest upon his laurels, he would already have done far more than falls to most men in a long lifetime. But he was not of that kind, nor was higher authority satisfied to allow such a valued and trusted servant of State to remain at his post, once it became evident that Thuggee had received its death blow, and that the mopping-up process was but routine work which could be entrusted to less experienced men. In India at that time one of the most difficult and most coveted posts in the gift of the Government was the Residentship of Lucknow, an appointment which carried with it the responsible and anxious task of advising and endeavouring to control the depraved King of Oudh and his equally dissolute Court, whose misgovernment of the kingdom of Oudh is now historic. Only the best were fitted for such responsibility, and Sleeman's reward for his success in defeating Thuggee was to be offered this appointment in 1841, which had become vacant owing to the resignation of Colonel Low. It was accepted with gratitude, and Sleeman was preparing to take over his new duties when Colonel Low became involved in the failure of his bank and lost the whole of his savings. With many a lesser man such a catastrophe would have excited nothing more than an expression of regret on the part of one who had succeeded to one of the "plums" of Indian service, but immediately Sleeman heard of this loss, moved by a generous impulse, he approached Colonel Low and begged him to retain his appointment--an action worthy of a great man, and an offer most gratefully accepted. Having thus forfeited his right to the Residentship of Lucknow, Sleeman's reward--as if he had not already had his full share of peril--was to be given special duty in Bundelkhand, where his experience was required in order to suppress grave disorders in that province. Later he was promoted to be British Resident at Gwalior, an appointment which was to bring him additional fame, for during the troubles which were to culminate in the battle of Maharajapore, fought on agth December, 1843, he was busily employed in hazardous work and was actually in Sindhia's camp, attempting negotiations with the enemy, when the battle commenced, fortunately succeeding in making his escape and receiving this rare Star.

In 1848 the Residency at Lucknow again fell vacant, and Lord Dalhousie, Governor-General of India, offered it to Sleeman in the following terms:

"Mr dear colonel sleeman,

"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 a special 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 of 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,

"I have the honour to be, dear Colonel Sleeman, "Very faithfully yours,

"dalhousie."

Although Sleeman was still to control the measures required to keep Thuggee from again bursting into flame, it was necessary for someone else to act as Assistant Superintendent to the Thuggee Department which he had established and controlled at Jubbulpore. By this time there was scarcely a criminal in India, Thug or otherwise, who had not learned to fear the name of Sleeman, and the Government in its search for a suitable successor were doubtless guided by this fact when it appointed to this office his nephew, afterwards Colonel James Sleeman, C.B., who had performed most distinguished service in the Thuggee Department almost from the start of its operations. It was fortunate that he was available, for Sir William's only son, Henry Arthur, born in 1833 in a tent near Saugor --unknowingly erected over Thug graves--was then a Lieutenant in the i6th (Queen's) Lancers, and far too young to have been employed in such responsible duty.

Four years later, in 1852, when Sleeman was Resident at Lucknow, Lady Login relates this amusing story in her "Recollections":

"When it was decided that the Maharajah (Duleep Singh) was to be allowed to go to England, we proceeded by slow stages towards Barrackpore, where Lord Dalhousie offered him the use of his country house. We stopped a few nights at Lucknow where we were invited to the Palace and a special investiture given to my husband, the King insisting on my accepting a pair of diamond bracelets and a ring as a souvenir. Colonel Sleeman was then Resident and was exceedingly interested in Duleep Singh and very anxious that he should understand that he was of the same race as the man of Kent! Colonel Sleeman was an ardent ethnologist, and had satisfied himself that the Jats of the Punjab and the Juts of Jutland (a race of Hengist and Horsa) were originally the same, and came from about Kashgar and the Caspian. He was celebrated, too, as the man who put down 'Thuggee,' the devotees of Kali, who murdered to do her honour; and many a time have I been left on the verandah with a number of venerable and mild-looking convicts from the gaol (the guard, of course, within call), who entertained me with tales of how they enticed their victims, and obligingly illustrated with a handkerchief how they strangled them in their sleep, while my husband and Colonel Sleeman took measures of their crania to make casts for the medical ethnological museums. There is a story to the effect that, as these skulls were only numbered and my husband included a cast of their guardian's (Sleeman's) head as well, the savants at home pitched on this last as the one that showed the most undoubtedly ferocious criminal propensities!"

A photograph of actual Thugs in captivity giving an exhibition of how they strangled is shown at the beginning of this book.

The remainder of Sleeman's official life in India was spent as Adviser to the King of Oudh and British Resident at Lucknow; his Residency, with its noble buildings and pretty park to be the scene, in 1857, of that historic siege of the Indian Mutiny.

These years were devoted to ceaseless and hopeless endeavours to reform the dissolute King's administration and to relieve the sufferings of his grievously oppressed subjects. It might be thought that the immense strain of the work he had accomplished in grappling with Thuggee would have entitled him to a more peaceful employment, while many would have contented themselves by attempts to get this depraved monarch to realise his responsibilities. But the cry of a tortured people penetrated the thick walls of Sleeman's Residency, and he responded to it with all the fire and zeal that had characterised his former work for India, both in peace and war.

Not content with hearsay evidence, he determined to make a personal tour of the whole of Oudh, and on ist December, 1849, began that remarkable journey, lasting for six weeks, so admirably described in his book, "Diary of a Tour Through Oudh." This contained a full report upon the exactions, extortions, tortures, anarchy, and inj'ustice prevailing, and, as may be imagined, surrounded as he was by Court spies, it was of the utmost importance that its publication should be kept private. And yet many copies of this Diary were required, in order that those concerned with the Government of India might become fully acquainted with the whole sordid story. To-day the typewriter would solve the problem, but in 1850 the solution was found in a small "Parlour" press, which "Thuggee" Sleeman purchased and had installed with the utmost secrecy in a cellar of the Residency--that same cellar which seven years later, was to offer shelter to the English women and children from the shot and shell of the mutineers, and in which Jenny Brown was to dream of the sound of approaching bagpipes so accurately. And in this cellar we may imagine this great Resident at Lucknow, with the lives of millions of unhappy people depending upon his success, spending every spare hour in superintending the setting of the type and the preparation of a Report which ran into some 40,000 words. It was no modest effort, although the work of an amateur, and the copy of this Report, now so rare, in the author's possession is indicative of the immense care with which it was both compiled and printed, and its two volumes contain a story comparable only to Thuggee in its hideousness. Its Preface speaks for itself:

"My object in writing this 'Diary of a Tour Through Oudh' 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. In order to facilitate the perusal I have had the Diary printed at my own expense, in a small parlour press which I purchased, with type, for the purpose.

"I may, possibly, have succeeded in this my object; but I can hardly hope that anyone unconnected with the Government of India generally, or with that of Oudh in particular, will ever find much to interest or amuse him in the perusal of the diary of a tour without adven-ures through a country so devoid as Oudh is of commerce and manufactures, of works or ornament or utility, and above all of persons, places and things associated in the mind of the reader with religious, poetical, or historical recollections.

"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."

Printing this Diary was slow work, for he was a busy man, encompassed by a host of enemies, and secrecy always entails delay. His memorable tour ended in January, 1850, but it was 1852 before this strange effort of the publishing art saw the light. It would not be wrong to say that this book, published by a British Resident under such peculiar conditions, was destined to confirm Lord Dalhousie in his determination to annex Oudh, but it would be unfair to Sleeman's memory not to add that he himself was opposed to such annexation, consistently .advocating reform of the administration in its stead. Oudh supplied a large percentage of recruits for the native army at that time, and Sleeman feared that annexation would result in a mutiny. That his fears were well-founded was soon proved, for scarcely had he left India than Oudh was annexed, and a year later the Indian Mutiny occurred.

The following extract from "India, Its Administration and Progress," by Sir John Strachey, G.C.S.I., published in 1903, will show, better than any words of the author, the enormous difficulties which Sleeman had to contend against in Oudh:--

"There has been, but only in recent years, a marked and satisfactory improvement in the administration of the Native States. To this I shall refer again, but as lately as 1883, Sir Lepel Griffon, than whom no one could at that time speak with greater personal knowledge, declared that, although there were many honourable exceptions, the Native States of India were for the most part 'a wilderness of oppression and misrule.' This conclusion was that of all those most competent to judge, and it was certainly my own.

"I think it useful to refer to the former condition of some of these States, because it cannot be doubted that if the vigilance of the British Government were relaxed that condition would often become no better than it was not long ago. It is to our intervention before misrule became altogether insufferable that many of these States owe their continued existence. Without going back to more distant times, when all conditions were different, if we examine the history of the principal Native States during the greater part of the latter half of the past century, we can hardly find a single case in which the record was one of uninterrupted tranquillity and fairly good administration. From time to time there was a just and benevolent chief, but sooner or later came almost always the same story; our interference for the protection of the people against this ruler became inevitable. Even within the last few years it has sometimes become necessary for the British Government to assume the administration of the State, and on several occasions the chief has been deposed because he was guilty of atrocious crimes.

"I will give some instances in which interference has been inevitable, and as the first of them I will take the annexation of Oudh. Although this is now an old story, for the Native Government ceased to exist in 1856, it is still an instructive example of what has happened in a time not very distant, and I wish to refer to it for another reason. We will sometimes hear the annexation of Oudh quoted as one of the iniquitous proceedings of the British Government, and as an illustration of its lust of dominion.

"General Sleeman, the representative of our Government in Oudh, gave from personal observation a description of the country at that time, and its accuracy has never been called in question. I will give some account, often in his own words, of his report.

"Oudh is naturally one of the richest countries in India, as large as Holland and Belgium together, with a population at the present time of nearly 13,000,000. Government in Oudh, deserving the name, there was none. The King did not pretend to concern himself with any public business. His ambition was limited to that of being reputed the best drum-beater, dancer, and poet of the day. Sometimes he might be seen going in procession through the streets of Lucknow, beating the drum tied round his neck. Singers, fiddlers, poets, eunuchs, and women were his only associates. The Prime Minister, 'a consummate knave,' after keeping an enormous share for himself and his creatures, distributed the revenues and patronage of the country. The fiddlers controlled the administration of civil justice; that of criminal justice was made over to the eunuchs; each of the King's favourites had authority over some court or office through which he might make a fortune for himself. The minister kept the land revenue, and 'employed none but knaves of the worst kind in all branches of the administration.' Every office was sold, commands in the army were put up to auction every season, or oftener, and the purchase money was divided among the minister, the singers, the fiddlers and the eunuchs. The principal singer had two regiments at his disposal. The minister was as inaccessible as the King himself. Petitions and reports were usually made over by him, if he gave any orders at all, to the commander-in-chief, who was an infant, to the King's chamberlain, or footman, or coachman, chief fiddler, eunuch, barber, or any person uppermost in his thoughts at the time. Courts of justice were unknown, except as affording means of extortion to the judges. The charge of the so-called police throughout the country was sold to the highest bidders. There was only one road that deserved the name in Oudh, made for the benefit of English travellers from Lucknow to Cawnpore, a distance of about forty miles. The atrocities that went on throughout the country would pass belief, if the evidence of the truth were less complete. I will give a few illustrations, taken from General Sleeman's narrative. " The districts of Bahraich and Gonda have an area of more than 5,000 square miles, and they now contain more than 2,000,000 inhabitants. Shortly before General Sleeman's visit, a man called Raghubar Singh was their local Governor, (with large bodies of the King's troops and of his own armed retainers at his disposal. In two years his extortions and crimes had reached such a point, that these districts, which had once been in a flourishing condition, and noted for their fertility, had become for the most part uncultivated. The English officer deputed by the Resident to inquire into the facts reported that 'villages completely deserted in the midst of lands devoid of all tillage everywhere meet the eye; and from Fyzabad to Bahraich he passed through these districts, a distance of eighty miles, over plains which had been fertile and well cultivated till Raghubar Singh got charge, but now lay entirely waste, a scene for two years of great misery, ending in desolation.'

"The Raja of Bondi was one of the principal landholders in this part of Oudh; his estates contained some three hundred villages. He objected to the extortionate demands of Raghubar Singh, and this was the consequence. Parties of soldiers were sent out to plunder and seize all the respectable residents they could find. They sacked the town of Bondi, pulled down the houses of the Raja, and those of his relations and dependents; and, after looting all the towns and villages in the neighbourhood, they brought in 1,000 captives of both sexes and all ages, who were subjected to every sort of outrage until they paid the ransom demanded. The Raja escaped, but his agents and tenants were horribly tortured. Soon afterwards, detachments of soldiers were again sent out to plunder; 15,000 men and 500 women and children were brought in as prisoners, with 80,000 animals. All were driven off pell-mell through the rain for three days. The women were driven on by the troops with the butt-end of their muskets; many of the children were trodden to death. The prisoners were tied up and flogged and tortured, red-hot ramrods thrust into their flesh, their tongues pulled out with hot pincers. Many perished from torture and starvation. The women and children were all stripped of their clothing. For two months these atrocities continued. Similar horrors went on in other parts of Bahraich, and not very many years ago the English officer in charge of that district reported that its population would at that time have undoubtedly been much larger but for the former atrocities of Raghubar Singh. General Sleeman tells us that no single person concerned in these crimes was ever punished.

"There were in Oudh 250 forts in the possession of the great landholders, with 100,000 men, maintained to fight among themselves, or against the Government. General Sleeman's two volumes are filled with descriptions of the enormities that were going on, almost under his own eyes, of open war, of villages attacked and plundered, of horrible murders and outrages.

"'Every day,' he writes, 'I have scores of petitions delivered to me by persons who have been plundered of all they possessed, had their dearest relations murdered or tortured to death, and their habitations burnt to the ground by gangs of ruffians, under landlords of high birth and pretensions, whom they had never wronged or offended. In these attacks neither age, nor sex, nor condition are spared.'

"In General Sleeman's narrative I have found hardly anything to relieve the uniformity of his terrible story except this:--'In the most crowded streets of Lucknow, Europeans are received with deference, courtesy, and kindness. The people of the country respect the British Government, its officers, and Europeans generally. Though the Resident has not been able to secure any very substantial or permanent reform in this administration, still he has often interposed with effect in individual cases, to relieve suffering and secure redress for grievous wrongs. The people of the country see that he never interposes except for such purposes, and their only regret is that he interposes so seldom, and that his efforts when he does so should be so often frustrated or disregarded. In the remotest village or jungle in Oudh, as in the most crowded streets of the capital, a European gentleman is sure to be treated with affectionate respect, and the humblest European is as sure to receive protection and kindness, unless he forfeits all claim to it by his misconduct.'

" For many years one Governor-General after another had gone on protesting against the atrocities of which some illustrations have been given. At last came 'the great Proconsul' Dalhousie. He knew that since the British Government, without moving a soldier or spending a rupee, had absolute power to put an immediate end to these abominations, it was on the British Government that the responsibility really rested for suffering them to continue. There was only one complete remedy, and Lord Dalhousie applied it by declaring the whole of Oudh to be British territory. There was one defect only in his most wise and righteous action: he was too merciful to the miserable King and to the demons who had been destroying one of the most populous and fertile countries of India. There could be no greater contrast than that presented by Oudh under Native and under British government: it is now as peaceful as any part of England: life and property are safe, and justice is honestly administered."

Even the most bigoted opponent of British rule in India would find it difficult to make out a case against it after reading the foregoing. Of its truth there can be no question, for when the author, over thirty years ago, was stationed in Oudh many Indian gentlemen still survived who lost no opportunity of testifying to the miracle which had been wrought in the condition of Oudh, largely owing to his grandfather's revelations. The gratitude of these men, who had experienced both forms of government, was at times embarrassing to a young officer. When the author revisited India in 1929, all these old friends had passed to their last account, but their descendants whom he met were equally sure of the benefits which British government had brought to Oudh in particular and India in general. Indian judges of the High Courts and Rajahs professing both the Mohammedan and Hindu religions, assured him that rulings laid down by General Sir William Sleeman on points in Indian law were still referred to and accepted as unbiased and correct. What higher testimony could be desired?

Sleeman's efforts to suppress crime and to improve the faulty administration of Oudh, naturally aroused most bitter resentment on the part of its debauched King, who, deputing business of State to ministers influenced by the basest motives, sacrificed justice to bribery and low intrigues, and gave himself up to the effeminate indulgence of his harem, or to the society of eunuchs and fiddlers. The wretched people of Oudh, neglected, tortured, and plundered, found in Sleeman a champion who did all that was possible to rectify these evils, with the inevitable result that on several occasions attempts were made on his life by those who feared exposure. He encountered these dangers with his accustomed bravery and coolness and was not for an instant diverted from his purpose, continuing his self-sacrificing labours to improve the lot of a harshly treated people.

But Sleeman had now been in India for forty-seven years without a break, ever since he had left his Cornish home as a boy of nineteen: years of strenuous effort mostly spent in the hot Plains, at a time when it was customary for the European to return home for a year's leave in every four of service, and Nature was at long last to demand the price of such heroism. Powerful as his constitution had been, great his determination, and immense the importance of his work, almost half a century spent in India had written Finis to his splendid career. He had by this time-completed six years as British Resident at Lucknow, and it was in that historic Residency that the ultimatum was delivered to him by his medical officer, later to become one elf the heroes of the siege, Sir Joseph Fayrer, Bt. Forty-six years later the author was privileged to hear from Sir Joseph's lips the story of his grandfather's last tragic days as Resident. Apparently Sleeman proved as stubborn an invalid as he had been a Thug-hunter, and resolutely refused to give up his work, although his state of health was very grave. Vainly Sir Joseph tried to prevent him wrestling with mighty problems which, to the fittest man, would have been harassing and difficult, until at last the day arrived when no amount of will-power could compel the execution of his task. It then fell to Fayrer's lot to make it clear to Sleeman that his Indian service was over--for ever. As may be imagined, this opinion, true though it was, was quite unacceptable, and in the silence of his Residency --so soon to be the target for mutineer guns--Sleeman prepared to continue work, preferring to die at his post than to give up before his duty to Oudh was completed. But that indomitable spirit had received a summons which no man can evade, and Fayrer had to break the news to his beloved chief that his life was even then drawing to a close. Accepting this verdict with characteristic courage, and thanking Fayrer with a brave smile, Thuggee Sleeman then laid down the reins of office for the last time. Few Englishmen have given forty-seven years' continuous service to India; none can have had them filled with greater peril or with such triumphant success, and he might well have been content to lay down the heavy burden carried for so long. But to men of his type the sunset of life must always come with a sense of uncompleted ness, and the days remaining to him were to be the saddest of his life. Not that he feared the end, but he knew that he was leaving Lucknow at a time when his great experience, knowledge and influence were of the utmost moment.

If ever a life was sacrificed upon the altar of Empire, it was Sleeman's, dedicated as it was to the good of a people more accustomed to be maltreated than helped, and so used to extortion and injustice as to be indifferent to the safety of their own lives. In Oudh he had fought against pathetic resignation, corruption in high native quarters, bribery, jealousy, ignorance, and open and concealed hostility, having already suppressed the most devilish organisation of murder ever known. Sadly and slowly he proceeded to Calcutta, an ill and crippled man with a battered body but a gallant soul, his last days in the country he had served so nobly and well being lightened by the following letter from the Governor-General, Lord Dal-housie:

"Barrackpore Park,

"January gth, 1856. "Mv dear general sleeman,

"I have heard to-day of your arrival in Calcutta, and have learnt at the same time with sincere concern that you are still suffering in health. A desire to disturb you as little as possible induces me to have recourse to my pen, in order to convey to you a communication which I had hoped to be able to make in person.

"Some time since, when adjusting the details connected with my retirement from the Government of India, I solicited permission to recommend to Her Majesty's gracious consideration the names of some who seemed to me worthy of Her Majesty's favour.

"My request was moderate--I asked only to be allowed to submit the name of one officer from each Presidency. The name which I selected from the Bengal Army was your own; and I ventured to express the hope that Her Majesty would be pleased to mark her sense of the long course of able and honourable-service through which you have passed, by conferring upon you the Cross of a Knight Commander of the Bath.

"As yet no reply has been received to my letter--but as you have now arrived at the Presidency, I lose no time in making known to you what has been done; in the hope that you will receive it as a proof of the high estimation in which your services and character are held, as well by myself as by the entire community of India. "I beg to remain,

"My dear General, "Very truly yours,

"dalhousie."

Sleeman's reply is typical of the man, wracked as he was at the time by suffering which was to end with death exactly a month later:

32, Chowringee, Calcutta.

nth January, 1856. "Mv lord,

"I was yesterday evening favoured with your Lordship's most kind and flattering letter of the gth inst., from Barrack-pore.

"I cannot adequately express how highly honoured I feel by the mention that you have been pleased to make of my services to Her Majesty the Queen, or how much gratified I am by this crowning act of kindness from your Lordship, in addition to the many favours I have received at your hands during the last eight years.

"Whether it may, or may not be my fate to live long enough to see the honourable rank actually conferred upon me, which you have been so considerate and generous to ask for me, the letter now received will, of itself, be deemed by my family as a substantial honour, and it will be preserved, I trust, by my son, with feelings of honest pride, at the thought that his father had merited such a mark of distinction from so eminent a Statesman as the Marquis of Dalhousie.

"My right hand is so crippled by rheumatism that I am obliged to make use of an amanuensis to write this letter, and my bodily health is so much reduced that I cannot hope to be able before embarking for England to pay my personal respects to your Lordship.

"Under these unfortunate circumstances, I now beg to take my leave of your Lordship; to offer my unfeigned and anxious wishes for your health and happiness, and with every sentiment of respect and gratitude to subscribe myself, "Your most faithful and obedient servant,

"W. H. sleeman, Major-General."

The actual recommendation of Lord Dalhousie is dated the zoth September, 1855, and is here quoted:

"There is no task more grateful, no duty more imperative, for one who is about to lay down high authority and power, than the endeavour to obtain their due reward for those who, under his command have well and truly served the State.

"The time of my departure is already so near at hand that I shall venture now to bring under the notice of the Hon. Court of Directors, the names of those officers whose individual labours have, in my judgment, done most of late years for the honour and welfare of this Indian empire. I earnestly trust that the Honourable Court will be pleased to reward my endeavours to obtain for each of these distinguished men some mark of grace and favour from the Crown. From the Presidency of Bengal I have the honour to recommend Major-General William Henry Sleeman. General Sleeman, after nearly fifty years of service, is about to retire from active employment. In the course of his service he has borne a large share in important political questions and in the administration of civil affairs. He long held a high and responsible office in the Saugor and Nerbudda territories. From this he was transferred by me to the Residency of Lucknow in consideration of his proved abilities and of his high character. These were fully sustained by the manner in which he discharged the irksome duties of that thankless and repulsive office. But it is upon his connection with the extirpation of the infamous system of Thuggee that the reputation of General Sleeman is chiefly founded. The wide prevalence and the horrible results of that system are well known in Europe, and in the East. It is to the acuteness and determination of General Sleeman that the British Government owes the unravelling of its secret organisations, and the execution of the measures which were found efficacious for its detection and punishment. It is to him that we owe the right to boast that Thuggee has already become almost unknown throughout the East, whilst his suggestions have devised throughout the means whereby the numerous descendants of imprisoned Thugs have been restored to society and rescued from the influence of a murderous superstition."

Alas, this high mark of approval and the well-merited reward were not to be enjoyed, indeed, he was never destined to hear of its bestowal, for on February ist, 1856, less than a month following the receipt of Lord Dalhousie's letter, Thuggee Sleeman sailed from Calcutta in the Monarch. But he was never to see again the Cornish home he loved so dearly, for ten days later, on the I2th, his gallant soul passed to its last account when his ship was off the Island of Ceylon, his body being buried at sea just six days after he had been granted the dignity of a K.C.B. The extract from the log of the Monarch--a log now in the author's possession--on the day in question, reads as follows:

"Sunday, Feb. loth, 1856. Courses SW.6.W. Unsteady

breeze and fine. 3.45 a.m. Departed this life Major-General

William Henry Sleeman.

"7.30 a.m. Tacked ship. 10.30 a.m. Mustered Ship's

company and performed Divine Service on the quarter

deck.

"Monday, Feb. nth, 1856. Courses E.N.E. Light and fine

throughout.

"6.30 a.m. Committed the body of deceased to the deep

with the usual ceremonies."

Remembering the deep interest shown by Her Majesty Queen Victoria in all matters connected with India, it is probable that, had Sir William lived, a Baronetcy would have been his. But neither Royal favour nor the plaudits of the multitude were really in keeping with a life of such self-sacrifice and abnegation, and there is something curiously fitting in that his last resting-place should be a lonely ocean grave, so close to the land to which he had devoted his life and energies.

That keen and splendid brain, the master-mind of the suppression of Thuggee, would function no more; the conqueror of that age-old religion of murder, the saviour of millions of human lives had ceased to be, and India had claimed yet another Englishman who had given of his best to her service. Few have done more for Empire than Major-General Sleeman and his gallant little band, who, like David and Goliath, finally overthrew the Giant Murder after a battle lasting almost a quarter of a century; and yet to-day, search England or India as you may, no memorial exists to their memory, while even Thuggee itself remains unknown to the majority of their fellow-countrymen. It is forgetfulness such as this which elevates war, and its attendant bestialities, to a pedestal in the eyes of youth, while relegating the deeds of mightier men to obscurity. Were merit, indeed, to count, half the memorials of the civilised world would be scrapped and their places taken by those of men and women, now unknown, who have contributed far more to human happiness. And so the conquerors of Thuggee rest in unknown graves, their heroism, self-sacrifice and super-human labours for the cause of civilisation forgotten.

Such is fame! And yet, if there was one feature peculiarly characteristic of these men, it was their modesty. They were specially selected for their pluck and character, as men who could be depended upon to hold on when most would give up, and who would work for conscience sake and not for applause or reward. This being so, there is something curiously fitting in the fact that these few Englishmen, who toiled in the vineyards of Thuggee and bore the heat and burden of most ghastly days, should be thought less deserving of remembrance or of a place in history than the poet or artist. And yet, since art enriches life, surely the suppression of Thuggee deserves a place in artistic achievement, bringing in its train, as it did, safety and happiness to millions of the human race.

Close to that land where he worked out his destiny, the ocean bed his tomb, and the gratitude bf a people saved from murder and oppression as his monument, "Thuggee" Sleeman awaits the last roll call.

CHAPTER XV. THE AFTERMATH