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to detail the rise and formidable character of the Pindaries; who are in fact the reliques of the cavalry originally belonging to the Mahratta states, but, in consequence of the overthrow of their regular sovereign, have confederated in bands of independent warriors. A clear idea of their nature and force is thus given in the fifth chapter :
• The name of Pindarie may be found in Indian history as early as the commencement of the last century; several bands of these freebooters followed the Mahratta armies in their early wars in Hindostan, and they are mentioned by Ferishta as having fought against Zoolfeccar Khan, and the other generals of Aurengzebe. One of their first and most distinguished leaders was a person named Ponapah, who ravaged the Carnatic and took Vellore early in the reign of Sahoojee. This chief is said to have been succeeded by Chingody and Hool Sewar, who commanded fifteen thousand horse at the battle of Paniput, and under whom the Pindarie system would seem to have assumed a more regular form. They were divided into Durrahs, or tribes, commanded by Sirdars or chiefs; people of every country, and of every religion, were indiscriminately enrolled in this heterogeneous community, and a horse and sword were deemed sufficient qualifications for admission. A common interest kept them united; the chiefs acquired wealth and renown in the Mahratta wars, they seized upon lands which they were afterwards tacitly permitted to retain, and transmitted with their estates the services of their adherents to their descendants.
• Heeroo and Burran are subsequently mentioned as leaders of the Pindaries; and in order to distinguish the followers of Tuckojee Holkar from those of Madajee Scindiah, they were henceforward denominated the Scindiah Shahee and the Holkar Shahee. Dost Mohummud and Ryan Khan, the sons of Heeroo, are still powerful chiefs ; but in an association which is daily augmented by the admittance of strangers, it is natural to suppose that influence will not be confined to hereditary claims, and that men of superior genius and enterprise will ultimately rise to the chief command. This is accordingly found to be the case, and Seetoo, who is now the most powerful of all the Pindarie leaders, was a few years ago a person of no consideration. It is only of late that these banditti have become really formidable, and they may now be looked upon as an independent power, which, if properly united under an able commander, would prove the most dangerous enemy that could arise to disturb the peace and prosperity of India.
• The climate and hardy habits of these plunderers render tents or baggage an unnecessary incumbrance ; each person carries a few days' provision for himself and for his horse, and they march for weeks together, at the rate of thirty and forty miles a day, over roads and countries impassable for a regular army. They exhibit a striking resemblance to the Cossacks, as well in their customs as in the activity of their movements. Their arms are the same, being a lance and a sword, which they use with admirable dexterity; their horses, like those of the Cossacks, are small, but
extremely extremely active ; and they pillage, without distinction, friends as well as foes. They move in bodies seldom exceeding two or three thousand men, and hold a direct undeviating course until they reach their destination, when they at once divide into small parties, that they may with more facility plunder the country, and carry off a larger quantity of booty; destroying, at the same time, what they cannot remove. They are frequently guilty of the most inhuman barbarities, and their progress is generally marked by the smoking ruins of villages, the shrieks of women, and the groans of their mutilated husbands. At times they wallow in abundance, while at others they cannot procure the common necessaries of life; and their horses, which are trained to undergo the same privations as their masters, often receive a stimulus of opium when impelled to uncommon exertion. Night and the middle of the day are dedicated to repose; and recent experience has shewn us that they may be surprised with effect at such hours. Fighting is not their object, they have seldom been known to resist the attack even of an inferior enemy; if pursued, they make marches of extraordinary length, and if they should happen to be overtaken, they disperse, and re-assemble at an appointed rendezvous; or if followed into their country, they iminediately retire to their respective homes. Their wealth and their families are scattered over that mountainous tract of country which borders the Nerbudda to the north. They find protection either in castles belonging to themselves, or from those powers with whom they are either openly or secretly connected. They can scarcely be said to present any point of attack, and the defeat or destruction of any particular chief would only effect the ruin of an individual, without removing the evil of a system equally inveterate in its nature, and extensive in its influence.
• The most powerful of the Pindarie chiefs are Kurreem Khan, Cheetoo, (or Seetoo, as he is often called,) and Dost Mohummud. There are, however, several subordinate chiefs, who are the commanders of dhurrahs, or tribes, and acknowledge a tacit obedience to one or other of the three great leaders before mentioned.
• Kurreem Khan is descended from an ancient Mahomedan family: his early youth was spent in the service of Holkar, which he subsequently quitted for that of Dowlut Row Scindiah ; his character and enterprising spirit soon increased the number of his adherents, he enlarged his possessions, partly by grants from Scindiah, and partly by usurpations from the Rajah of Berar and Nabob of Bhopaul, whose dominions he alternately invaded and ravaged. He possessed himself of several fortresses, and at the termination of the Mahratta war, his power was such as to excite the fears and jealousy of Scindiah, who caused him to be treacherously seized and confined at Gwalior. Here he lingered some years in prison; after which, having obtained his release by the payment of a ransom, he resumed his former habits, returned amongst his companions, and, in a short time, became as powerful as he had been before. Scindiah, unable to crush him by open force, had once more recourse to treachery, and taking advantage of a quarrel
between Kurreem and Seetoo, assisted the latter, who having overthrown Kurreem in a pitched battle, compelled him to Ay for refuge to Ameer Khan, who made him over to Toolsa Bhye, the widow regent of the Holkar family. Kurreem has since escaped, or rather been liberated, and is now at the head of his dhurrah, which amounts to about five thousand horse, and is cantoned near Barseim, in Bhopaul. It is rumoured that he is about to be reconciled to Scindiah, but after what has passed, they can have no confidence in each other.
• Cheetoo, who is at present the greatest of all the Pindarie chiefs, enjoys the confidence and favour of Scindiah. He has lately acquired extensive influence; the numbers of his followers daily continue to increase, and, by a late account, he was said to be at the head of twenty thousand, horse, a small corps of bad infantry, and a train of twenty ill served guns. He possesses the forts and districts of Sutwass, which run along the northern branch of the Nerbudda to the south of Oujein, and nearly opposite Hindia.
• Dost Mohummud, the son of Heeroo, is entitled from his birth to hold the chief place over all the Pindarie tribes. This person is, however, inferior to Cheetoo, and the troops subject to his command may amount to between ten and twelve thousand horse, a small body of infantry, and a few guns. A party of the adherents of Dost Mohummud, commanded by his brother Wausil Khan, invaded our provinces, and there is every reason to believe, that they were accompanied by some of the troops of Scindiah. Their camp is at Bagrode, a short distance to the north-east of Bilseih, a district in Bhopaul.
· The Holkar branch of the Pindaries is far less formidable than that of Scindiah. Their chief leader is a person named Kawder Buksh; those of inferior note Tookoo and Sahib Khan ; and their united strength may be computed at nearly five thousand horse. They are generally cantoned in the vicinity of Kunool and Sohundra.
• The Pindaries may probably amount altogether to between thirty and forty thousand horse; but in a community so subject to constant fluctuations, it is impossible to form any accurate idea of their number, which must vary from day to day according to the caprice of individuals, and the condition of the adjoining countries. Throughout the greater part of the territories of the native powers in central India, the husbandman is seldom permitted to reap the fruits of his labours ; his fields are laid waste, his cottage reduced to ashes, and he has no alternative but that of joining the standard of some lawless chief. Thus the numbers of the Pindaries may be said to increase in the same ratio, as the means of subsistence diminish; hunger goads them on to the work of destruction, and they rejoice in anticipation of the spoils of wealthy countries, Were they permitted to continue their merciless depredations without molestation, the peninsula of India would in time become a desert, and the few inhabitants that survived the general wreck, a band of savage and licentious robbers. The pastoral tribes of Arabia and Turkey, although sufficiently prone to pillage, where
an occasion may offer, are not impelled by such motives of imperious necessity as the predatory horse of Hindostan; their slender numbers cover extensive countries, and when their flocks have exhausted the pasture of one plain, they move with their families into another. The Pindaries are, on the contrary, confined to a tract of waste land which has become the general rendezvous of every vagabond and outlaw, and whence they issue in desperate bands, in search of the necessaries of life. Some analogy may at first appear to exist between their usages and those of the early Mahrattas under Sevajee, but on reflection we should discover an essential difference in many important points. The adherents of Sevajee were warmed by a strong patriotic feeling, they were all of the same religion and country, and were in fact the long oppressed inhabitants of an ancient kingdom, recovering their rights by the expulsion of a depraved and declining government of strangers. The Pindaries are a mere collection of vagrants from various countries and of different castes and religion, brought together from an inability of otherwise procuring the means of subsistence, divided amongst themselves, and ready at all times to desert their leaders, and enter the service of any prince or state who may support them.
The natural progress of the British government to order and stability could not long be found compatible with the toleration of such internal enemies, and has accordingly led to hostilities, which have now happily terminated in the suppression of so irregular and anarchic a force. extension of security, and a corresponding growth of civilization, may with confidence be anticipated to overspread the provinces lately desolated by these predatory banditti. The unity and consolidation of British authority, though accomplished at the expence of numerous dynasties of rightful sovereigns, is certainly conducive in Hindostan to the instruction of the population, to the establishment of better principles of legislation, to the protection of more various religions, to the introduction of European arts of life, to the extension of commercial intercourse, to the foundation of tanks, aqueducts, and canals of irrigation, and to the progressive accumulation of those engines and monuments of prosperity which retail, as it were, among the people the beneficence of the supreme power. It is still a common prejudice, that a multiplicity of petty governments favours local prosperity and individual liberty: but an expanded view of the history of the human race rather supports the opinion that conquests, which consolidate under a single and stable authority vast tracts of empire, are more conducive to the progress of the whole towards a liberal freedom, a diffusive opulence, and a wise superintendence.
A great ART. XIII. The Emigrant's Directory to the Western States of
North America ; including a Voyage out from Liverpool; the Geography and Topography of the whole Western Country, according to its latest Improvements ; with Instructions for descending the Rivers Ohio and Mississippi ; also, a brief Account of a new British Settlement on the Head-Waters of the Susquehana, in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). By William Amph. lett, formerly of London, and late of the County of Salop, now Resident on the Banks of the Ohio River. Crown 8vo.
pp. 280. 6s. Boards. Longman and Co. 1819. THE He present small volume appears on perusal to contain the
most impartial account of the Western States of North America that we have yet seen.
The author, disclaiming all intention of offering advice on the subject of emigration to the American continent, confines himself to a description of the country; and he does not appear to be one of those speculators who have land to sell, and are therefore interested in recommending any one particular state.
The first fiftyseven_pages are occupied with a description of the voyage from Liverpool to Philadelphia ; a part of the volume from which we expected little instruction or entertainment: but we were very agreeably disappointed, the author having contrived to delineate the circumstances of the passage in so perspicuous a manner that we absolutely felt ourselves on board, suffering all the inconveniences and enjoying the few amusements which it presented. Impressed with various reflections on leaving a country to which he appears much attached, he every where speaks of it with affectionate regret; and we involuntarily sympathize with his anxieties on removing a young family to a distant and untried land. After a short description of a storm, he adds :
· The rush and the roar increase; and we go to our hammocks with little prospect of repose.
• What man, who has a family of helpless children in such a situation, but must feel most sensibly alive to every distant idea of danger; to behold them, unconscious of any danger, sleeping soundly in their hammocks, while the gaping waters are dashing in hideous sport around their frail coverings? What man but must then severely question himself whether he has done right, without their consent, to expose them to such hazard of a dreadful and untimely death, and must feel doubtful whether any circumstances, short of absolute and dire necessity, can justify him in such a perilous undertaking ?'
Again he says, towards the conclusion of the voyage, Probably no man ever brought a family of young children across the Atlantic without repenting of his undertaking during