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We might hope, too, that their religious prejudices would be greatly weakened : an act of liberality, and even of bare justice, like this, would do Christianity credit in their eyes. Let them enquire into the principles of public policy and of private right—let them look into history for guiding and warning examples—let them discuss, compare, and judge on public matters, and act together on common interests, and they will not long remain content without a freer system, and a holier faith ; happily, that freer system, and that holier faith, are at their doors.
It is incumbent on those who attempt to lead public opinion, to found their projects, when it may be so, on principles which will bear extension, which however expanded in application, shall always remain true. India, as to internal matters, like all other countries, must, in time, govern itself: the step now proposed will help to prepare her for so doing ; but it is not on this remark we wish to dwell. As to matters of federal import, or mutual difference, is it not greatly to be desired that nations should be habituated to mutual consultation ? Let India now be admitted to this first step in constitutional government, and let her be further admitted as she may bear and require it, and it is little likely she would seek a separation from us. The principle may be applied in other directions, however widely our colonies may stretch ; and long after local, internal, and temporary matters, may have been remitted by common consent to the controul of their separate legislatures, the representative officers of these great communities would remain a body, holding together in fraternal harmony, the distant ends and varied tribes of half the confederated earth. If happily, England should gather in her Capital such a congress of infant nations, we might hope that it would not only be protected (for, alas ! worldly force will yet awhile intrude) by the strongest arm among the nations, but that it would grow in stature and in wisdom, cherished by the sympathies, and consulted by the experience of that public opinion, which, with all its faults, is farther advanced, better to be relied on, and more likely to improve, than any other in the world.
Leaving, however, these distant views, let us look to immediate and practical doings. India needs and must have great improvements : the public opinion of India is not strong enough to effect them; that of England is very much uninterested and uninformed. A vague, but very useful impression is already produced, that something ought to be done. What is now wanted is the proposal of a measure at once just, definite, and practicable ; a change easily defended, not too great, and yet containing the germ of all future improvements. We think that as to politics, this is that measure, and that public attention in England would fix on it, and carry it;-carry it, not without a struggle ; but that very struggle would be greatly for India's good,
CONFESSIONS OF AN INDIAN GANG ROBBER.
(Continued from poge 357, Vol. 5.) About ten or twelve years ago, I left my home, at Humeerpore, in Kurrowlee, at the head of a gang of thirty, and we proceeded in the disguise of Brinjaras for a month. When any one asked whither we were going, we replied, that we were in the employ of the commissariat, and were going for a supply of grain. At a place, three coss from Dewaleea, we rested, and were told by Hurchunder, one of our spies, that two camels, laden with specie, and two with Cashmere shawls had come up from Ajmere, on their way to the Neemuch cantonments, and were then resting at Dewaleea. On hearing this, I set out with twenty of my men, at about nine at night, and reached Dewaleea a little before midnight. The gates of the city were well shut, but close to the wall, and not very far from the gate, grew a tree.
Whether it was a Neem or Peepul, I do not distinctly recollect. Two or three of our party ascended the wall by it, and going inside, opened the door, and let in the rest. About sixty yards from the gateway, the treasure party had taken
their lodgings in some shops, and the camels were tied before the doors. The men were all asleep, except two, who were standing sentries, but whether these two were the policemen of the place, or part of the escort, I know not. We attacked the party, and possessed ourselves of what they had. We found that two of the camels loads consisted of grain, and the other two of fine cloths. We took up the four bundles of cloths, and retreated. A great noise was made by the people in pursuit, but we got back safely to our bullocks, and cramming the cloths into their housings, we pushed on as fast as we could toward home. *
The Budhuks are called Bagoorras in Jeypore, Gwalior, and Kurrowlee, and they move in the disguise of Sepahees (native soldiers). Ganges water carriers, Brinjaras and Alukramies, when they go on their dacoitee expeditions. They occasionally take bags of money from the money changers when their funds fall short in their distant expeditions, or when the party. becomes too small for dacoitee. In the rains they can be taken at their homes, but in the cold weather they set out on their expeditions as soon as they find the omens favourable, and then they are not easily traced. If you could seize some of their spies, who are at every place of much resort on the look out, they might be made to point out the gang to which they belong. While going on their enterprises, they commonly move on very slowly, waiting information from their spies, and they make signs along the roads
* The accuracy of this account, also, is confirmed by the correspondence with Major Sleeman on the subject.
with stones, clods, and their feet, that their friends may know where to find them. Any one who knows these signs would be able to bring a guard of the police upon them. We sometimes rob on the high roads, as well as commit dacoitees.
About Oodeepore, Kishungurh, and Joudpore, in the provinces of Malwa and Marwar, the Budhuks are called Bowrees, and they thieve and cut into tents, but do not commit dacoitees. Ostensibly, they act as chowkedars and village policemen, but when any leader goes from the other parts to commit dacoitees, they readily join him. They, some of them, go upon camels sixty or eighty miles at a stretch to commit a theft, and return with the property at the same rate, pretending to be respectable merchant travellers. The eastern Budhuks make friends of some people within a moderate distance of the place to be attacked, and get their aid in the dacoitee. Their spear-heads and arms remain concealed with such people, and are taken out when required. About Delhi, the Budhuks commit thefts, and take off the gold and silver ornaments of women and children at fairs with great dexterity. They cut into tents and houses, but never of themselves commit dacoitee. If a gang comes their way they join it. We do not call them Budhuks but Deliewallas. They go about to the different fairs and other large assemblages of people, in parties of from ten to twenty, and bring home sometimes a booty of from twenty to twentyfive thousand rupees.
The Budhuks of Gwalior and Oude, commit dacoitee, and when they are taken they are stanch to the oath of secrecy, give in false names, and deny their guilt, and thereby get released.
About fifteen years ago, I entered upon my sixth expedition. On this occasion, a hundred Budhuks, under different leaders, all in the disguise of Bridjaras, proceeded from their homes in Gwalior, Kurrowlee, and Jeypore, towards Chittore, but the parties moved off without concerting any plan with each other. Runjeet, Huttesing, and myself, were the principal leaders, and our six spies fell in with each other on the road and settled that it would be to the advantage of all to act together. When they had determined upon this, two of them remained out, and fonr returned to the gang, and reported the arrangements. On hearing this, each gang sent two of its members into each of the other two gangs as envoys, to see that nothing was done without their gang sharing in it. We went on and waited at a place about seven coss from Humeergurh, where we three leaders determined in the usual mode the rate of the shares of our respective parties, in any booty that we might take. We sent on four spies on the road to Neemuch, and two on that to Ajmere, to look out for prizes, and two Hurkarus towards each of the following places, to keep a look out, and report
what the spies might direct; Chitore, Humeergurh, and Bheelwara. In fifteen days, the Humeergurh Hurkarus returned, and reported on the part of the spies, that a great convoy of goods was at Humeergurh on its way from Hyderabad to Joudpore. Sixty of us ate our dinners in haste, armed ourselves, and set out, leaving all the rest with the bullocks. We reached Humeergurh about eleven o'clock at night, and assembled at the place indicated by the spies, who there met us, and told us that there were thirty or forty ponies laden with goods, lodged in the Humeergurh bazaar. We got over the walls of the town, and arranging ourselves on some level ground inside, we advanced and attacked the parties in charge of the goods with our swords. We took the whole, and breaking open the gates of the wall from the inside with our axes, made good our retreat to a place a coss distant. divided the booty so as to move faster, and on reaching the bullocks we put
it upon them, and moved off towards home. At the third stage we halted to rest ourselves, and distributed the plunder. Runjeet got two shares and a quarter, I got two shares, and Huttesing got one. The whole property taken, was not worth more than two thousand five
After the division, we all returned to our respective homes. No one on our side was either killed or wounded, but whether any were killed on the merchants side I know not.
Some were certainly wounded, for our swords were set in motion. The auspices were taken in the usual way, and the torches were lighted; but I forget who carried them on this occasion. The booty consisted of cloths, gold, and silver bullion, and ornaments, and we carried the whole of it upon our shoulders till we reached the bullocks.
About thirteen years ago I left Kotree in the cold season, on an expedition towards Oodeepore. I had forty-two men with me in the disguise of Brinjaras, and one hundred and fifty bullocks, and as usual, we had three Brahmins with us to manage our negotiations with the police and custom-house officers. We were for three months wandering about in search of something worth taking, and at last encamped on the side of the road near Gungapore in the Oodeepore territory. Eight ponies belonging to Marwaree merchants here passed us, loaded with goods, on their way from the Dukhun towards Joudpore. As soon as we saw them, I took Gheesa Jemadar, Sookeea and Hurchunda, and went on with the merchants towards the town of Sampore, which was twelve coss distant from Gungapore, telling the gang to follow slowly with the bullocks. We told the travellers that we had a party of bullocks before, and were going on fast to overtake them. On reaching a rivulet about three coss from Sampore, we ascertained that the people with the ponies had resolved to rest the night in that town, and we sent back onr two followers, Sookeea and Hurchunda, to the gang, with
orders that they should leave the bullocks at a place three coss from the rivulet, under charge of some of the less active, and push on to the rivulet where we would meet them, after our reconnoisance of the resting-place of the ponies.
We went on with the ponies to Sampore, and they put up in the bazaar at four shops, two ponies to each shop. There were about twenty or five-and-twenty men with the ponies; mere merchants and shopkeepers, armed only with swords. After seeing them safely lodged, we went back to the rivulet, where we found our party all ready. Leaving the high road, we took them by bye-paths, that they might not be seen, and missing the road, we went to another town of considerable size, but quite unknown to us. Here we sat down to consult upon what was to be done. The night was far advancing, and some of the party got angry, and returned to the bullocks. I, Gheesa, Rama, and ten followers proceeded towards a light we saw in the dis
On approaching it, we found some people pressing sugar-cane in a mill; and Rama, who was familiar with the dialect of the people of that part, advanced and said, that he was carrying the Joudpore Rajah's post bags, and had lost the road to Sampore. One man pointed out a good road for wheeled carriages, and bid him keep upon it, and it would conduct him to the fort and tank of Sampore. We went on and reached the tank and fort about midnight. Here we deliberated upon our plan of attack, and had just determined, as our party was very small, to attack only one of the shops, in which the ponies had put up, when on the bank of the tank where the people of the town were in the habit of burning their dead, we saw several small flames suddenly spring up. This we thought a very bad omen, and felt sure, that if we went on to the attack, one or other of us would be killed. But, still, as we had told our friends, when they left us, that we would not like them return empty handed, and we were ashamed to return to them without doing something; no omen, however bad, would have deterred us. We advanced upon the shop without our torches. It was so dark, that when we got inside, and began to flourish our swords, we could not distinguish each other. Gheesa got a severe cut across the wrist from one of our swords, and in consequence, we stopped only to take up two bags of the property. We made a litter for Gheesa with two of our spears, and our cloaks thrown over them, and on this four of the party carried him off. At half a mile off, the road passed under a large Banyan tree, and as the four men carried him along under the tree, the spirit of the place fell upon him, and the four men who carried him fell down with the shock. They could not lift him up again, so much were they frightened, and four other men were obliged to lift high
British Friend of India Mag. Vol. VI. No. 32.