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taken anxiety in public officers to gain a not only so, but that Thugghee existed to a good name with the government by making great extent in those districts, at the very time it appear that crime does not exist, occurred that Mr. Elliot was assuring government that in the district of Chupra in 1827. Two men no such crime occurred.-(p. 244 of App. were murdered by a gang of Thugs, who, Many of the English magistrates were almost immediately after, got drunk and actuated by the same feelings. Some would quarrelied. Four of them in consequence not allow that Thugghee could exist in gave information against the others, who their districts, and even within this year were arrested with the property of the mur. were excessively indignant at such statedered men in their possession ; these were ments being made by the officers employed committed for trial, and the four first allowed in the suppression of this crime: they were to turn King's evidence. The state of the perfectly astounded, when men dispatched case is as follows:--There was, first, the evi- by those officers proceeded to dig up the dence of the approvers : second, the deposi. bodies of persons recently murdered in va. tion of the wives of the men, who swore to rious places, sometimes within a short disthe property found; and thirdly, the men ac. tance of the police functionary's residence. cused of being Thugs could give no satis. Others admitied that such a thing might factory account of themselves. The defence occur occasionally; while a few boldly and was merely a denial, and an assertion that openly stated what they had discovered, and the property claimed by the widows was gave much valuable information. Our limits their (the prisoners') own. The judgment do not permit us to add extracts from the given will scarce be credited by our readers. official papers: we must, therefore, refer î'he prisoners were released; the approvers our readers to various letters from Mr. and the police were severely punished for Wright, a Madras magistrate.—(See Ap. perjury and for oppression ; government was pendix V. in Captain Sleeman's book.) led to believe that no such crime as Thug. But even if all the English magistrates ghee existed in that part of the country; and in India had been aware of and cordially the magistrale, Mr. Pringle, who had been co-operated wish each other, they would active in apprehending many Thugs, and had have effected little towards the suppression reported the same, received a severe repri. of Thugghee. The ordinary tribunals and mand.
modes of proceeding, which answered in One fact yet remains to be mentioned, some degree for the detection and punishwhich will show the difficulties of the case. ment of ordinary offenders, were of little 112 judge, Mr. Elliot, ordered the property avail against Thugs. Except in the rare which
vas claimed by the widows to be re. instance of a gang being apprehended with tained in yurt, while all the rest of the prop. stolen property in possession, which the erty found on the prisoners was returned to relations of the murdered persons were thein. Now, for hom was the above to be there to identify, the only witnesses who retained ? It could by belong to any third could ever be brought against them were person, but either to the prisoners or to the some of their own fraternity; and the evi. murdered men. If the judge disbelieved the dence of men whose preliminary siep must whole story for the prosecution, aut deemed be to confess themselves the most ruthless the prisoners innocent, he should herę re-villains in existence, is naturally received stored to them this property along with he with distrust, of which the case commemo. rest that was found upon them, and whicis rated by Mr. Pringle is a memorable examthey claimed as their own. If he believed pie and doubtless may plead for the judge. the statement of the widows, that those things For larther particulars we refer our readers belonged to their husbands, then must the to pages 200, 221, 257, 262, of the text of prisoners have been punished as the murder our author , and to Appendixes K. and L., ers, and the property would have been given in some of which they will find that the into the widows. 'This little fact is one of those formers were punished, though not to the which either show a strange perversion of same extent as in Mi. Pringle's case. judgment, or denote a vacillation of mind Such being the Englista mode of proceed. indicating that the judge himself felt that all ing, it is no wonder that approvers and inwas not right in the orders he gave.* The formers were slow to come forward; for no truth of all that was stated on the part of the sooner did they lose the protection of our prosecution has since been fully proved by functionaries, than they were murdered by depositions of other Thug approvers; and their accomplices. The dilatoriness and No mention of this order to retain that por- which the subordinate police and court offi
linefficiency of our courts; the great power tion of the property is to be found in Capt. Slee. man's book. We derive it from a statement cers possess to disguise the real merits of publicly made by Mr. Pringle.
case; the influence which the Thugs
contrived to obtain over these by means of country, some of which were hundreds of bribes; the few instances in which stolen miles asunder. Numbers of them, perhaps property or bodies were discovered; all the greater part, were residents of foreign conspired to increase the difficulty under states over which our magistrates had no which the ordinary magistrates laboured in control; and, although the British governdetecting the perpetrators of this crime. ment might have requested the co-operation But even where the bodies were found in of the different princes, little or no good wells, which was a common way of dispos. would have been effected. Even a system ing of them when in a hurry or likely to of Thug police, such as has now been be disturbed, in the Doab, Onde, and other established, if confined to our own provin. parts, the owner of the ground and his cez, could have been of no permanent use. neighbours generally burried them as quick- The Thugs would have emigrated for the ly as possible that the police officers might time to the native states, and although the know nothing of the matter; and if these crime might for a while cease in our own did become acquainted with the circum- territories, as soon as the special Thug po. stance, a bribe would usually prevent their lice was abolished, those miscreants would reporting it to the niagistrate. The farmers all have returned and prosecuted their trade and others had just grounds for what they as vigorously as ever. did, owing to the strange mode in which Occasionally when a gang, residents of the English Government conducts its police a foreign territory, were arrested, and moral affairs. In such cases as those now men-proof against them was sirong, but legal tioned the common practice is to summon to proof, according to our own system, failing; court the owners of the neighbouring lands, if the government made them over to their and many of the neighbours ;-at a dis- own native chief in the hope that he would tance, perhaps, from len to eighty miles, prinish them, this usually ended in their beand to fine them severely as a matter of ing released by paying a sum of money, course, if they could not produce the per- sometimes without. On the other hand, petrators of the murders.
when our subjects were apprehended on a But even when an insulated gang was Thug expedition in a native state, they actually brought to justice, it was but a drop sometimes contrived, by flattering English in the ocean towards the suppression of prejudices, to obtain the protection of our Thugghee;-nor would, nor will anything functionaries. The established creed of the effect this, but a general system, which government is the superior excellence of shall be in operation all over India. Dif their own administration, and the blessings ferent magistrates might receive informa- enjoyed by their native subjects; and they tion which, if it were combined and com- descant largely on the tyranny and
opprespared together, might prove of the greatest sion in all native states. This is well known value, but which becomes useless when to our native dependents and officials, who frittered away among separate officers, who play their part accordingly. With many of have no communication with each other. them the Thugs maintained a good under. The whole business too was so little under. standing, and when any of those wretches, stood, that few could bring themselves to cre- residents of our territories, were arrested dit the extent of such an organized system by a native chief, a pitiable story was pre. of murder. Although sufficient was known, sented to some English functionary of “poor so far back as 1810, to induce the comman- innocent British subjects on a trading expeder-in-chief to issue a general order to the Jition," or something of the sort, having native soldiery who went on leave, urging been confined by a tyrannical chief, in order them to take bills on the different treasuries to extort money from them. Of course, a for the amount of their savings, instead of due proportion of compliments and flattery carrying cash for fear of being robbed on the of the English was mixed up with the road, yet year after year passed, and men representation, and this would produce, ofdid join their corps: but it was always sup- ten without the slightest inquiry, a strong posed they had deserted, and little suspicion letter from the English functionary to the apparently was entertained of their being native chief on the injustice of his proceed. murdered, which however, was since dis- ings, and generally ensured the release of covered to have been the case in almost the Thugs.-(See Appendix, p. 417.) every instance. The scattered residences Things had gone on in this way for of the Thugs was another obstacle, and ren- years, chequered occasionally by the vigordered them much more difficult to deal with ous aitempt of some individual functionary than ordinary criminals, who inhabit the to eradicate the evil, but without any solid same locality. The members of a single benefit
. The most notorious of these efforts gang often came from different parts of the I was an attack made by Messrs. Halbed and
Stockwell, in the year 1812, on the strong “These arrests were attended by a combihold of a large body of Thugs, in the pro. nation of circumstances, so fortunate, that a vince of Sindouse, in the Gualior territory. man might consider them as providential They had formed a large village there, without exposing himself to the charge of #hence they issued annually on their ex- whose feelings were of any importance to
superstition. The feelings of every one cursions, and paid a regular tribute to that the cause, from the Governor-General Lord state for their protection. Many were killed; Williain Bentinck, and Sir Charles Metcalfe, but the greater part, being driven away, Vice-President in Council, to the humblest scattered themselves all over India, joining individual, seemed to be deeply and sim ulother gangs or forming new ones wherever taneously interested in promoting its sucthey went: so that the enterprize, from not
cess."-See being followed up on a system of iuforma
Of all these gangs, some of the members, tion derived from some of those who were frightened at what had already occurred, captured, actually in its results produced turned approvers, in order to save them. more evil than good.
selves; but the evidence of these men, in par. The next event which occurred, and ticular of a Brahmin approver, named Fer. which ultimately laid the foundation of the ringhea, was perfectly astounding, and laid successful measures that have been since open a scene of barefaced villainy whicl pursued, was the arrest of a gang of a hun. could scarcely be credited: nevertheless, dred and fifteen, near Jubulpoor, in 1823; it
every statement hitherto made by them, and was accomplished by the following means. by others, have been corroborated. A noted leader of Thugs, named Kulian,
Captain Sleeman observes :was in the Jubulpoor gaol. Seeing the proof strong against him, he offered to turn informer
" When I was in civil charge of the district to save himself; and was promised his life in of Nursingpoor, in the valley of the Nerbud. the event of his doing good service. He ac- dah, in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824, no or. cordingly desired his brother, Motee, to ac. dinary robbery or theft could be committed company the first large gang he should meet, without my becoming acquainted with it ; travelling in that direction; to note well the nor was there a robber or a thief of the ordimurders and places where the bodies should ter 'I had not become acquainted in the dis.
nary kind in the district, with whose charac. be buried : and, as the gang approached Ju. charge of my duties as magistrate; and if bulpoor, to give information to Mr. Molony, any man had then told me that a gang of as. agent to the governor-general. The gang sassins by profession resided in the village of which Motee joined was that of Dhunnee Kundelce, not four hundred yards from my Khan: he strictly fulfilled his instructions, court ; and that the extensive groves of the and caused the apprehension of the whole ;
village of Mundesur, only one step from me this has been already related ; and also how of the greatest beles, or places of murder in
on the road to Saugor and Bhopal, was one Dhupnee Khan contrived to persuade Mr. Mo- all India ; and that large gangs from Hindus. lony to order their release. In despair at tan and the Deccan used to rendezvous in this, Motee followed the gang, and, by dint of these groves; remain in them for many days frightening some of them with assurances of together every year, and carry on their speedy re-apprehension, persuaded a few to dreadful trade along all the lines of road return with him to Mr. Molony, and declare that pass by and branch off from them, with what they really were. On this additional
the knowledge and connivance of the two evidence, a large police force was sent after had been planted; I should have thought him
landholders, by whose ancestors these groves the gang, and succeeded in capturing a hun. a fool or a madman : and yet, nothing could dred and three, who were safely lodged in have been more true. The bodies of a hungao!. Mr. Malony unfortunately died soon dred travellers lie buried in and around the after this: his successor apparently did not groves of Mundesur; and a gang of assasknow how to proceed in the case, until Mr. sins lived in and about the village of Kunde. F. C. Smith took it up in 1830, shortly after lee while I was magistrate of the district, and his appointment as governor-general's agent Poona and Hyderabad."-See p. 22.
extended their depredations to the cities of at Jubulpoor; seventy.five were convicted;
“When Feringhea, a Thug leader of some the others having died in gaol, excepting note, for whose arrest government paid five some who were made informers.
hundred rupees, was brought in to me at Sau. Another considerable gang was appre gor, in December, 1830, he told me, that, if hended in the same territories in 1826 by his life were spared, he could procure the Captain Wardlow, employed there is a civil arrest of several large gangs, who were in Fe. officer; a third by Captain Sleeman, in Bho bruary to rendezvous at Jeypoor, and propal, in the beginning of 1830; and a fourth disposed to doubt his authority upon a point
ceed into Guzerat and Candeish. Seeing me by Major Borthwick, political agent of Ma- of so much importance, he requested me to hidpoor :
put him to the proof; to take him to the vil.
lage of Seloda, which lay two stages from, 1830, Mr. Smith wrote to government, and Saugor on the road to Seronge, and through intimated the necessity of some such plan: which I was to pass in my tour of the but the eyes of the latter had been opened, district, of which I had received the civil and before the receipt of Mr. Smith's discharge, and he would show me his abilities and inclination to give me correct informa- patch, a letter from government, dated 8th tion. I did so, and my tents were pitched, October, was addressed to him, requesting where tents usually are, in the small' mango his opinion on the subject. In reply, he sub. grove. I reached them in the evening; and, mitied a plan, of which the following is an when I got up in the morning, he pointed out outline. three places, in which he and his gang had 1st. That an officer, to be termed superdeposited, at different intervals, the bodies of intendent of operations against Thugghee, three parties of travellers, A pundit (priest) should be appointed, with power to send out among the ropes of my sleeping-tent; a ser parties to apprehend those against whom he jeant and four seapoys, murdered in 1824, lay might have information in any part of the under my horses ; and four Brahmin carriers country. of Ganges-water, and a woman murdered 2d. The superintendent to commit all soon after the pundit, lay within my sleeping. whom he deems guilty for trial, before the tent. The sward had grown over the whole, gevernor-general's agent in the Saugor and and not the slightest sign of its ever having Nerbudda territories. been broken was to be seen. The thing seemed to be incredible ; but after examining
3d. Lists to be made out against all upon attentively a small brick terrace close by,and whom suspicion rests, and sent to the differthe different trees around, he declared himself ent English functionaries. prepared to stake his life upon the accuracy
4th. The residents at native courts also to of his information. My wife was still sleep- give their assistance. ing over the grave of the water-carriers, un. The draught likewise contains several conscious of what was doing or to be done. I ininor provisions regarding the search for assembled the people of the surrounding vil. dead bodies ; rewards to those who deserve lages, and the police officer and his men, who resided in the village of Korac, close by, and such a mark of approbation; penalties for put the people to work over the grave of the harbouring Thugs; prevention of abuses by serjeant. They dug down five feet, without approvers; and other clauses not worth enu. perceiving the slightest signs of the bodies or merating here, although highly useful in prac. of a grave. All the people seenied delighted tice. to think that I was become weary like them. The suggestions were, however, but pár. selves, and satisfied that the man was de. tially adopted by government, for unforturanged ; but there was a calm and quiet confidence about him that made me insist nately Lord William Bentinck, at that time upon their going on: and at last we came at the head of affairs, was not in the habit of upon the bodies of the whole five, laid out indulging in a general or comprehensive precisely as he had described. My wife, view of any question ; and his mind, while in still unconscious of our object in digging, had India, was chiefly occupied in the minor de. repaired to the breakfast tent, which was tails of government and the consideration of piiched at some distance from the grove; and petty economical retrenchments. Captain
now had the ropes of the tent removed, and Sleeman was, in January, 1831, removed to the bodies of the pundit and his six compa: Saugor district authorized to act as superin. nions in a much greater state of decay were exhumed from about the same depth, and tendent, to send out parties for the arrest of from the exact spot pointed out. The wa-Thugs, and proceed as above proposed ; ter-carriers were afterwards disinterred, but he was still expected to perform all his and be offered to point out others in the duties as civil officer of the Saugor district, neighboring groves; but I was sick of the without any additional pay, such being Lord horrid work, and satisfied with what he had William Bentinck's system. Still under so already done. The gangs which were con; able and indefatigable an officer as Captain centrating upon Jey poor were pursued, and the greater part of them taken, and
Fering. Sleeman much benefit occurred, and numerhea's life was spared for his services.”
ous arrests were made; but it soon became
evident, from the extensive nature of the The disclosures made by these different Thug operations, that more aid must be approvers, and the information given, threw granted. Accordingly, in January, 1832, open so fine a field for a general plan of another officer was appointed to take charge operations, that the matter was warmly ta- of the revenue and civil duties of the Saugor ken up by Mr. Smith, agent to the governor- district, over which Captain Sleeman then general, and Captain Sleeman, district offi- presided, leaving to the latter only the magis. cer of Nursingpoor, each zealously co-ope iracy department; thus allowing him more rating with the other. On the 21st September, leisure to devote to Thug aflairs. Three
junior officers were appointed his assistants, All this is registered in the office of the geneand detached to apprehend such Thugs as ral-superintendent, and lists of those to be apthey could obtain information of.
prehended are sent to the different subordi. Still, the more that was done the more nate officers, who are all provided with apseemed requisite to do. Every arrest brought provers and guards. These officers also to light new combinations and associations of take the depositions in full of all whom they these professed assassins, and discovered may apprehend, copies of which are sent to new scenes in which their dreadful trade was the general-superintendent. It is obvious at work. It was obvious that nothing but a that when depositions, thus taken almost si. general system, undertaken by a paramount multaneously from different people hundreds power, strong enough to bear down all oppo. of miles apart, who have had no means of sition by interested native chiefs, could ever collusion, and none of them expecting to be eradicate such well-organized villainy; and apprehended, agree in describing the same the other members of government at length scenes and the same actors, it is obviously succeeded in persuading Lord William Ben- next to impossible to refuse belief. But antinck that it was incumbent upon a govern. other test is applied. When a Thug is ar. ment calling itself enlightened to take the rested, he is brought direct to the officers' re. lead in so good a work; and that a moderate sidence, and placed in a row between uncon. expense would be well bestowed in suppress. cerned people. The approvers, who have ing an association which was causing the an- been detained at the stations, are then sent nual murder of some thousands of his fellow for singly, and required to point out any increatures. In prosecution of the extended dividual of the party whom they may know. system of operations, Captain Sleeman was If they all fix upon the same individual, and in January, 1835, relieved altogether from their statements also agree with those previ. ordinary civil duties, and appointed superin- ously made by others, it is impossible that tendent; and several additional officers were better evidence can be had. nominated to act under him in various parts We mention this, because we are aware of the country.
that a prejudice has gone forth against the Jubulpoor, the residence of the agent to mode of conducting both the previous investhe governor.general in the Saugor and Ner. tigations and the sessions part of the business budda territories, was appointed Captain in Thug trials. That a man who has only Seeman's head-quarters. All Thugs ap- seen or heard the latier should have some prehended within those territories Jeypoor, suspicions is not surprising; for the whole Hyderabad, Nagpoor, and other contiguous evidence of events long past is given so glib. native states are tried by the agent at -Jubul- ly, that it appears to bear strong marks of poor. Those of Oude and Indore by the fabrication. But in fact the sessions part of residents of those courts ; and such as have the business is the least to be relied on: if committed crimes in what are called our re- that were alla man had before him to enable gulation provinces, are tried by the officers him to form his judgment, few Thugs would who are there. stationed. Operations have have been punished : before the trials come lately extended into Bombay, Madras, the on, the approvers have all been brought toeastern parts of Bengal, and the north gether; have had opportunities of seeing the westernmost parts of the Indian continent; prisoners, and of fabricating what tales they and there is no doubt that, to ensure complete please. But this they dare not do; they success it will be necessary to nominate ad. know well that what passes in the sessions, ditional superintendents as well as subordi- though the actual trial, yet serves chiefly to nate officers for each of these divisions : to inspect the papers and operations of the subwhich should be added functionaries specially ordinate officers, in order to ascertain that appointed for the trial of those committed. all has been correctly conducted ; and that
The success of the combined operations in reality, the previous proceedings form the has been beyond hope; and if properly fol. evidence mainly relied upon. The whole lowed up, it will be almost impossible for a association of Thugs is, in fact, different from Thug to remain at large. The mode of pro- that of any other known villains in existence. ceeding is, to take the deposition of those Their system is such, that they are beyond who turn approvers, wherever this may hap- the reach of the ordinary tribunals of the
These men are then required to country, and a special system must be put in give, to the best of their recollection, a full force against them. That some petty abuses account of every expedition on which they have been committed, we allow. . Money has have been, mentioning the dates of every occasionally been extorted from people, un. one, and the detail of every murder; togeth- der threat of accusing them of being Thuys; er with the names of those who had formed and others, though innocent, have suffered a the gangs, their residence, caste, &c., &c. temporary imprisonment. But there is no
pen to be.