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· These journeys are moreover performed with accuracy and exactness. Departing at night from a fixed or given point, and often steering different courses, by the aid of the signs abovementioned, they will, after a march of thirty, forty, and even fifty coss, return to the spot from whence they sat out, and, with the exception of rain or cloudy weather, scarce ever deviate from their point of destination. Should they be pressed for provisions on their journey, or have consumed their ordinary stock, a bullock or calf, belonging to the party, is killed, roasted, divided, and eaten on the spot; and at the conclusion of this primitive meal, the company resume the journey with their accustomed alacrity.*
We have hitherto seen the faireft side of the character of this extraordinary people... Candour requires us to state that they are cruel in their nature, favage and ferocious in the highest degree; that they have an utter abhorrence
* Are not these traits the Scythian characteristics ? and do we not in the foregoing description recognise the pastoral lives of the Nomades of antiquity ?
of all the usages of civilized life, are thieves from their birth, and scruple not, in their predatory incursions into the neighbouring diftricts, though unresisted, to add murder to robbery.
This thievish spirit may be said to have reached even the throne itself, as the Rajah has not been ashamed to declare, in Mr. Thomas's hearing, that he willingly participated in the spoils thus collected by his own subjects. This fact was ascertained by Mr. Thomas from the Rajah himself, during a residence of two months in his camp: in other respects, à good and humàné character. The Rajah spoke without the least appearance of shame of the depredations committed by his subjects. When it was remarked that the soil and climate of his country were sufficiently fertile to supply the wants of the inhabitants by the honest labours of the plough, he replied, that the small number of Rajpoots in his service, compared with the mass of the country people, did not allow him to restrain the latter in those unlawful acts, as any interference with so old and established a
custom would, in all probability, proye subverfive of his own authority.
A people fo enterprising must, no doubt, appear formidable to their enemies; yet if their utter contempt of subordination, and the weakness of their means of defence be duly considered ; that they are a tumultuous rabble, void of order and discipline, it is matter of wonder that some of the neighbouring nations have not taken advantage of their weakness, and prevented this nest of banditti from interrupting their tranquillity. In their wars, or rather their depredations with the adjoining countries, they have been in general successful, and the territories of Sahib Sing, Loll Sing, and Baug Sing, chiefs of eminence among the Seiks, have frequently suffered by the inroads of this daring people, and been moreover not unfrequently compelled to purchase peace.
To these may likewise be added the coun. try of the Balooches, west of the Sutledge ; the district of Hurrianah ; and the province of Beykaneer; all which have in turn sustained
cheir ravages, and by which means, more than two thousand villages, which were once populous, highly cultivated, and produced a reve. nue of from twenty to thirty lacks of rupees, have now become a barren waste.
Another trait in the character of the Batties, is their permitting their women to appear in public unveiled, and without any species of concealment, though common in other parts of India. On the contrary, with the exception of the wives of their chiefs, who are in general Rajpoots, the females are universally admitted to move about in company with the men, tending their flocks and herds, and, like the Scythians of old, traversing from place to place in search of forage and water.
“ At th' approach of night, « On the first friendly bank he throws him down, “ Or rests his head upon a rock till morn, “ Then rises fresh, pursues his wonted game; « And if the following day he chance to find “A new repast, or an untasted spring, ^ Blesses his stars, and thinks it luxury. *
, * See Addison's Cato
The Batties are of the Mahomedan religion. In common with other Mussulmans, they are fond of tobacco, to excess; and whether on horseback in the field, at the plough, or in their domestic avocations, are never seen without the hook ha.
It has been remarked that this people can bring into the field from twenty to thirty thousand men, but they are ill-armed, and without discipline.
The revenues of the Battie Prince arise chiefly from the plunder acquired by the incursions of his subjects into the neighbouring states, though it is difficult to ascertain the exact receipts, but they do not in general amount to more than ten lacks of rupees.
The trade of the Batties is very circumscribed, with the exception of the sale of their surplus grain, ghee, and cattle of different kinds: they have little interference with other states, and that chiefly with the petty merchants of Nohur and Behadra already mentioned, and with whom alone they hold a correspondence