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army of fixty thousand men, led on by the Shah in person, and the princes of the blood, compared with the detached bodies already described. Hence it would appear that this nation is not so formidable as they have been represented, and in all probability they never will be formidable when opposed by regular. troops,
The Seiks are armed with a spear, matchlock, and scymetar. Their method of fight. · ing, as described by Mr. Thomas, is singular :.
after performing the requisite duties of their religion by ablution and prayer, they comb their hair and beards with peculiar care ; then mounting their horses, ride forth towards the enemy, with whom they engage in a continued 1kirmish, advancing and retreating until man and horse become equally fatigued. They then draw off to some distance from the enemy, and meeting with cultivated ground, they permit their horses to graze of their own accord, while they parch a little gram for themselves; and after satisfying nature by this frugal repast, if the enemy be near, they renew the skirmishing. Should he have retreated they provide forage. for their cattle, and endeavour to procure a meal for themselves,
Seldom indulging in the comforts of a tent, whilst in the enemy's country, the repast of a seik cannot be fupposed to be either sumptuous or elegant. Seated on the ground with a mat spread before them, a bramin, appointed for the purpofe, ferves out a portion of food to each individual, the cakes of flour which they eat during the meal serving them in the room of dishes and plates. *
The feiks are remarkably fond of the flesh
* Does not this circumstance recall our ideas to the situation of Æneas and his companions, shortly after their landing on the coast of Italy? The condition of Æneas exhibits a specimen of primeval simplicity of manners among the Romans, no less singular than the coincidence of cuftoms existing in Punjab at the present day appears. strikingly interesting. ,
Consuintis hic forte aliis, ut vertere morsus
. Virg. Æn. lib. 7
of the jungle hog, which they kill in the chace: this food is allowable by their law. They likewise eat of mutton and fish ; but these being deemed unlawful the bramins will not partake, leaving those who chuse to transgress their institutes to answer for themselves. In the city or in the field the feiks never smoke tobacco": they are not, however, averse to drinking spirituous liquors, in which they sometimes indulge to an immoderate excess; and they likewise freely take opium, bang, and other intoxicating drugs. In their convivial parties each man is compelled to drink out of his own vefsel.
Accustomed from their earliest infancy to a :: life of hardship and difficulty, the seiks despise
the comforts of a tent; in lieu of this, each - horseman is furnithed with two blankets, one for himself and the other for his horse. These blankets, which are placed beneath the saddle, with a gram bag and heel ropes, comprize, in, time of war, the baggage of a seik. Their cooking utensils are carried on tattoos. Confidering this mode of life, and the extraordinary rapidity of their movements, it cannot be
matter of wonder if they perform marches, which, to those who are only accustomed to European warfare, must appear almost incredible.
The Seiks, among other customs singular in their nature, never suffer their hair or beards to be cut: consequently, when mounted on horseback, their black flowing locks and halfnaked bodies, which are formed in the stoutest and most athletic mould, the glittering of their arms, and the size and fpeed of their horses, render their appearance imposing and formidable, and superior to most of the cavalry of Hindoostan.
In the use of their arms, especially the matchlock and fabre, they are uncommonly expert; some use bows and arrows. In addition to the articles of dress which have been described in recent publications * of the times, Mr. Thomas mentions that the arms and wrists of the Seiks are decorated with bangles of gold, filver, brass, and iron, according to the circum
* Consult the History of Shah Aulun.
stances of the wearers; but among the chiefs of the respective tribes, the horse-furniture, in which they take the greatest pride (and which, with the exception of the inlaying of their fire-arms, is their luxury), is uncommonly splendid; for, though a seik will ' scruple to cxpend the most trifling sum on his food or clothing, he will spare no expence in endeavouring to excel his comrades in the furniture of his horse, and in the richness and brightness of his armour; a circumstance which appears to bear no inconsiderable resemblance to the customs of the ancient Spartans.*
Considerable similarity in their general cuftoms may be traced with those of the Jauts. Though these in some districts apparently vary, the difference is not material; and their permitting an interchange of marriages with the Jauts of the Dooab and Harrianah, amounts almost to a conclusive proof of their affinity of origin.
The Seiks allow foreigners of every defcrip. tion to join their standard, to fit in their com
* See Cornelius Nepos, and Pausanias.