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determination to perform it, at whatever sacrifice ;-in deep humility in his estimate of himself, and genuine candour in judging of others ;-in sterling integrity, noble independence, and constant cheerfulness ;-in holy zeal for the glory of God, and generous concern for the happiness of his fellow Christians,--the subject of this Memoir exhibited an example which his fellow Christians and fellow Missionaries of all denominations will do well to imitate. -May we all follow him as he followed Christ!
Let the friends of the Mission rise from the perusal of the Memoir of their beloved labourer, with increased attachment to its god-like objects. He must reign.' God will famish all the idols of the heathen.' Juggernauth shall be destroyed, and, in process of time, in the scenes of this horrid idolatry, shall a Christian church assemble. Lord ! hasten the change in its time!
II.-Remarks on the Religious Persuasion and Sanguinary
Practices of the Thugs. Induced by the belief, that an examination of the phenomena attending the tenets of this extraordinary race may prove beneficial to the cause of religion, I have committed the following remarks to paper, and crave to the subject the attention of your readers. Viewed as a body of the most deliberate murderers probably the world has ever seen, whose secrecy and dexterity have long defied the efforts made for their suppression by the few Governments which have been so disposed, and whose sanguinary depredations have for ages rendered the greater part of India insecure to the traveller, this class of people must be an object of vast interest to those in authority as well as to the philanthropist. To him especially whose inquiries are directed towards the hearts of men, the moral structure which has thus held them together is a subject worthy of the most serious consideration.
The Thugs form a fraternity closely and wonderfully knit together, containing in its ranks both Moosulmans and Hindoos ; and of the latter, almost all tribes, from the highest Brahmun to the lowest of the mixed classes : these, while engaged on expeditions, continue to observe all the distinctions of cast, yet great unity and fellow-feeling are for the most part preserved amongst them. They issue from their homes in small parties, under different leaders or jummadars, who support them when necessary, and guide their movements ; and the several parties so formed, when united into one great whole, used formerly to act under the orders of a superior officer, denominated soobadar, until the system of things resulting from the supremacy of the British Government rendered dangerous the assumption of this title, and latterly even the moving
about in bodies of any considerable extent. The several offices of strangler, grave-digger, &c. are allotted according to the reputed fitness of individuals ; and the spoil is shared by each in proportion to the importance of his rank and denomination. The particulars, however, of their proceedings on these points it is not my object here to detail.
As the common desire for plunder was the primary cause which associated together this heterogeneous body, so their common worship of the goddess Dévee is the mysterious link which has to the present day preserved their union. The wonderful adaptation of the means to the end in view, as evinced by its unexampled success during a series of ages, must, I think, render it a matter of regret that the satanic sagacity which first devised this engine has not been recorded in the annals of history; but it may not be uninstructive to listen to the account, which the Thugs themselves give of their origin and their allegiance to the above named divini
It happened, that in the first ages of the world, Dévee was seated on a mountain in the form of a beautiful female : a malignant spirit or dana seeing her, sent persons to bring her to him ; all of whom she immediately destroyed ; on observing which the dana proceeded in person with his followers to seize her. His attendants Dévee speedily succeeded in putting to death ; but it being the nature of the dana, that from a single drop of his blood a thousand similar spirits arise, she was obliged to adopt the method of strangling him : after she had completed this, she delivered the roomal or handkerchief with which she had performed the deed to a Moosulman, with instructions how he was to go forth and destroy mankind under her auspices* ; avoiding only the murder of women, blind persons, lepers, and otherst; applying to her to know the proper season at which to set out and at which to return ; and consecrating always a portion of his spoils to her. With this primary delegate others, both Hindoo and Moosulman, were gradu
* The use of a handkerchief more effectually obviates all suspicion. Any species of cord, however, will answer the purpose; and a numerous class of Thugs belonging originally to the Dehlee territory, who go about as bunjarahs, operate with a piece of rope from the trappings of their bul. locks. But whatever be the material selected, it is thus applied ;—the ends are wrapped round the fingers and palms of each hand, so as at last to leave about three inches only loose between the two. This completed, it is thrown over the head of the victim, bringing the slack portion over the throat, and the knuckles acting as levers at the back of the neck. The facility, rapidity, and efficacy with which the deed is effected is truly surprising.
+ Lest the curious reader should desire to know the entire classes thus exempted, they are as follows:-women, blind persons, lepers, maimed of hand or nose, Bruhmacharees, Dhobees, Télees, Burhiëes, Mehturs, Syüds, and Hat'heewans.
ally associated, until in progress of time the fraternity comprised within its number members of almost all classes of the community.
To this divinity there is a temple dedicated at Bindachul near Mirzapoor, where the Thugs consecrate a portion of their spoils to their protectress. Here thousands of goats are annually sacrificed at the festivals of Non-Doorga, in the months of Chật and Kooár ; and yet scarce a drop of blood (the Thugs confidently assert) is ever spilled, being reserved by this sanguinary deity for herself to feast on; neither has a fly (they state) ever been seen within the precincts of the temple, either within or without doors*. Numerous votaries are said to have cut out their tongues, and otherwise mangled, or even destroyed themselves, as offerings at the shrine ; and to have been speedily restored to life, or their amputated members, by the power of the gratified goddess. After ages of unvaried success, the Thugs have at length been reduced by the efforts of Government to a state of the greatest discomfituret ; which, however, they themselves attribute to the displeasure of their goddess, whom they have offended by unsanctified practices. In the days of their purity they assert that the bodies
* I regret that I have not myself had an opportunity of personally ascertaining the origin or truth of these assertions; but I have no doubt others may be able to procure and furnish information on this point.
+ The prevention of this horrible system of murder may surely be said, after so many years of impunity, to have been beyond the reach of the ununit ed efforts of individuals. So great is the skill and secrecy of these mur. derers, that a gang has been known to settle itself on the outskirts of a village for days, murdering and burying on the spot every person they could induce to join them, and the villagers wholly ignorant of the fact, until the bodies have been dug up in their presence after a long interval, by parties sent by Government for the purpose. In our own provinces, notwithstanding the greater attention paid by us to the security of the traveller, the Thugs have found even a more favourable field for the prosecution of their trade than in the native states, from the circumstance of persons going about unarmed. Government has, however, at length entered upon the question with vigour, and sanctioned an organized system for its suppression, similar in character to that formerly contemplated by the office of Superintendant of Police, but extending to all parts of India infested by the Thugs. Already, through the co-operation of the British local authorities and the native chieftains, the most important and gratifying results have been produced. Entire distrust has been infused into their ranks; those who have hitherto escaped seizure, though (with a few exceptions) forced by necessity to continue their wonted occupation, operate in constant fear, and consequently with greatly diminished success; the Zumeendars and others on whom they formerly relied for an asylum for their families, during their absence, and a hearty welcome on their return, have begun to sicken of a proceeding which brings on them trouble without adequate advantage; and all would seem to indicate that a continuance of the same measures must, with the blessing of the Almighty, extirpate this formidable race of murderers from the face of the land.
of their victims were, immediately on their leaving them, carried off by Dévee, and that no instance ever occurred of their being afterwards discovered. On one occasion, however, a slave (to them forbidden property) was sent back to the spot of a murder, for something left behind; here he encountered Dévee performing her wonted office; on which she refused thenceforth to officiate, and left it to themselves to adopt measures for the concealment of their slaughtered victims. In latter times, as the followers of the profession have become more numerous, necessity has compelled them to neglect the observance of appointed times and seasons, and in fact all the rules laid down for their observance. Devee has in consequence entirely forsaken them, and left them to the avenging hand of their superior powers.
On the above I would offer a few remarks ; and would solicit to them the attention of the many intelligent Hindoos who now adorn the metropolis and other places ; not that any remarks of mine are to be considered of peculiar value, but with a view to induce them to reflect whether the subject be not one that peculiarly concerns them.
That evil-disposed persons are to be found in all regions of the earth no one can doubt ; and it is to be feared, that to whatever perfection the art of government may hereafter arrive, some few at least will always remain who obtain their subsistence at the expense of other's rights. But how comes it that here has been established* a distinct fraternity of murderers, many of them of natur
* I would here observe, with reference to a remark lately made by the correspondent of a daily paper, that the indiscriminate application of capital punishment to these misguided creatures would not appear to be a measure of good policy. The principle of “retribution” has no doubt long since given way in the science of penal jurisprudence to the juster one of “pre
still, increasing experience shews that a code must be defective unless the moral turpitude of the criminal and the odium in which he is held by the community be taken into consideration. As regards the latter of these, I have in a subsequent part stated the disposition of the people to be far from universally inimical to the Thugs; and as regards the former, the institution of castes, and an idea prevalent among them, that a person born or initiated into Thugee cannot prosper in any other avocation, in a great measure, oblige the son to follow the occupation of the father; which in many cases he does, I am fully satisfied, entirely in opposition to the dictates of nature. In as far as concerns the grand object of "prevention" I would observe, that by the measures which have been resorted to an almost universal disposition has been brought about on the part of those seized to disclose their own and their associate's crimes : this is by far the most power. ful engine that could be obtained, and could not, I am satisfied, have been secured to any extent had they not been inspired with the conviction that, though under the scrutiny of a powerful and stern tribunal, their circum. stances were viewed with lenience and just consideration. It were, perhaps, too Utopian even for the advocates of the penitentiary system to observe, that the promise of impunity with a means of subsistence would,
ally amiable dispositions, following a species of murder quite peculiar to themselves ; who, handing down their occupation from father to son, have continued for generations to be guided by laws laid down with revolting deliberateness, and during this period have preserved intact their individuality and their bond of union ? If we compare this with other efforts of evil combination in any age or part of the world, and consider also their own sentiments on the subject, I think we shall be constrained to allow that this phænomenon could only have resulted from the incorporation of religion with the system; and how, I would next inquire, comes religion to have been thus prostituted ? I will leave others to answer whether it could have been so in a country not practising the worship of idols*. There are, I know, many Hindoos of devout disposition, who strive to worship one Supreme God; and look upon these representations as mere indexes by which to call to mind and adore his several attributes. Such will of course hold the profanation above described in entire abhorrence ; and, direful as I consider the effects of this species of worship to be, I would not willingly offend them by harsh expressions. I would urge them, however, to reflect whether results of the nature above described be not the natural consequence of this idol-worship. Though a few superior spirits may, in spite of it, keep themselves pure from ascribing to the Deity gross or evil properties, where will history furnish an instance of the mass of a people having done so? While the Deity is viewed at a distance, and estimated only according to the comprehension we are able to form from his works, moral and physical, (nothing being here said of Revelation,) he must be regarded with a degree of reverence which forbids such imputations ; but when familiarized to a vulgar mind by a representation made with hands which he is taught to worship, all, even the
now that terror has been infused into their ranks, be by far the speediest method of exterminating this race; yet there can be no doubt that the holding out this prospect to such as make themselves useful immensely accelerates the object in view, I would further remark, that the extirpation of the Thugs ought to be viewed as a specific object, apart from general measures for the prevention of crime. They are quite a peculiar body, and in as far as I am aware, an infinitely greater curse than the other designa tions of marauders who infest India ; and the mystic bond which unites them once broken, we might reasonably hope that the minister of Satan would not be permitted again to rear such an edifice.
* The circumstance of the fraternity containing nominal Moosulmans affords, I conceive, a confirmation of this opinion : for these exhibit the phænomenon of the followers of the only true God and his prophet, worshipping the goddess Dévee with the same zeal as their Hindoo neighbours ; an anomaly which could hardly have taken place, had not that worship and the mysterious influence connected with it been essential to the existence of this confederate body.