DUNLOP'S KHAKEE RESSALA H—TATLEIt'S THREE MONTHS AT PATNA. * MAY 1857
found Mr. Dunlop a Magistrate and Collector, or Deputy-Commissioner in the Province of Meerut, but taking holiday in the Himalayas on sick leave, with a 'companion, Lieu- tenant Speke, who afterwards fell at Delhi. They sported away in happy ignorance of all worldly- disturbances fill the 31st of the month, when they heard of the mutiny, and at once determined to return to duty. Rapidly reaching Delhi by any means that offered, Mr. Dunlop found his chief in the besieging camp, and was soon sent off to Meerut to resume his regulardu- ties. The old general in command at Meerut was, as the world knows not of the most prompt activity ; the natives of the district Were still slower in the work of paying up taxes. Money was wanted; and as it could not be got without some power more po- tent than a civil process, and the reply to all applications for mili- tary aid under all circumstances and to all persons was "not a man available," Mr. Dunlop determined with permission to raise a volunteer force of cavalry to perform various duties in con- nexion with preserving order in the district. The band was a singular medley. Officers "out of war," civilians "out of place," had gathered into Meerut. These, with other Europeans, formed the corps, which was officered by soldiers of some regimental rank, the commandant being a major ; but the pervading soul was their founder. The majority had little military experience' and they had to begin with drill. But all could ride, some of them were crack shots, others capital swordsmen, and they all had the cou- rage of their race. A little time brought them into sufficient dis- cipline, and admirably they fulfilled their duties. They might do things irregularly, recklessly, rashly; but they did them gal- lantly and thoroughly, with some of the military precautions of old hands, but more of the buoyant gayety of holyday-makers. They were, perhaps, actuated by the principle that "the wolf never inquires how many. the sheep be , '; and clearly exasperated by the atrocities that had been perpetrated around them. This is Marked by Mr. Dunlop in the sketches of a few of his comrades.
"The first of our Khakees in rank was, of course, the Major-Command- ant. The effect which the atrocities committed by the rebels had on the minds of their former well-wishers was typified in his ease. His portly figure, merry black eye' mildness of manner, and uniform kindness to the natives, had given him among the Sepoys of his own regiment the name of the Rajah Sahib.' But I have seen him almost frenzied, by the loss of near and dear relatives, look with horror on the entire race, and advocate a retribution which would overwhelm the avengers as well as the former vic-
tims, leaving us neither life nor possession. •
" Of the civilians composing the corps, one of the most conspicuous, though but a trooper in the Ressalah, held the rank of Civil and Sessions Judge of one of our most important districts. He much resembled Albert Smith's Mr. Ledbury, but aged and experienced, with a high forehead, spectacles, patriarchal beard, and a good-natured gentleness of temper. A known reluctance to punish had characterised him in former official life ; but the hardening effects of the mutinies, and the habit which makes a _Service and Adventure with the Khakee Kessalah, or Meerut Volunteer Horse awing the Mutinies of 1857-58. By Robert Henry Wallace Dunlop, B.C.S. Pub- lished by Bentley. Our Crisis; or Three Months at Patna during the Insurrection of 1857. By W. Twer, late Commis. sioner of Patna. Published by Thacker and Co., Calcutta. second nature, may be judged of by a scene which occurred in one of our expeditions.
While the Khakees dismounted were forcing their way into a village of rebel Goojurs, one of the latter, who, on the first alarm of an attack, had failed in reaching the village, was found perched high up on a neighbour- ing tree and telegraphing to a distant Goojur township for assistance, we
being already opposed to four or five times our own numbers. The short carbines of the volunteer troopers failed once or twice in taking effect on the signaller, who, on finding his position and employment observed, com- menced a tirade of the foulest vernacular abuse against his assailants.
will soon stop that noise, my friend,' mildly remarked Mr. —, and at the same time quietly raising his rifle, a ball from its unerring groove whistled through the body of the Goojur, who fell with a leaden sound from the tree- top. • •
" We had a right good representation of the fox-hunters of England, in the _joint magistrate of Meerut, commonly called the Squire,' whose Mel- torn= equipment, and easy seat on horseback, stood him III good stead during our dours. A khakee mess was soon got up, which did much to ren- der our anxious lives more comfortable. Our manner and countenance, when news arrived, were of course closely scanned by our Mussulman table- servants, whose opinions as to the advisability, or otherwise, of quitting our service, would naturally be regulated by the way in which we prospered under our dangers. I have known a despatch, the disasters recorded in which quite prostrated one old officer, picked up and read out aloud by a youngster, amidst shouts of applause from the members of the mess, every fresh loss calling for a renewed cheer, in the fierce determination not to let the native attendants at least chuckle over our depression. A burst of laughter followed the speech of the reader, who, in allusion to the claret- mug circulating round the table, exclaimed, Well, my lads, when the worst comes to the worst, we will finish with a mug of laudanum.'" The principal portion of the book is of course devoted to the doings of the corps : how they scoured the country, and occasion.- ally with the assistance of the regular soldiery, carried villages, cut up parties of the enemy, encountered and defeated rebellious chiefs, restored order, and induced the settlement of taxes. But the exploits of the Khakee Ressalah are not the only topics of the book. Mr. Dunlop's sketch of his rapid journey from the Hima- layas to Delhi presents a good idea of the disturbed state of the country at the outbreak of the mutiny ; and a very sorry picture of the weakness and panic cowardice displayed by the Europeans at Simla—the only place we believe throughout the mutiny where mere helplessness and fear was exhibited, though in several cities want of promptitude and decision was displayed. Of the siege of Delhi we have slight, though interesting glimpses, and several hints in reference to civil and military matters. As regards the former, Mr. Dunlop adopts an opinion of Lord Ellenborough, that all our home nominations should be to the army ; the force, or in- deed reason of which we do not perceive even with the recom- mendatory exposition. Mr. Dunlop differs from Mr. Raikes as to the cause of the mutiny, attributing it to a Mahometan plot; though the evidence he offers is limited and. inconclusive. The martial hints are derived from the author's own experience in the "trade of war," and one of them relates to personal defence
"They can parry a cut well but never attempt to parry the thrust. A regular llindoostanee sower has no chance against a good English fencer. I saw two of our party lose their horses from desperate sword-cut wounds, inflicted by a swordsman, who sprang up in a sugar-cane field; but this was from bad management on their part. Instead of putting spurs to their horses and riding straight at him with the thrust, they turned short round, avoiding the cuts themselves, but got their horses so injured they had to be
destroyed. * * "For a horseman it is advisable, as a general rule, that he should use his revolvers for footmen, and his sword for mounted enemies. An active foot- man is generally more than a match for a swordsman on horseback, if light- ing at the time, though numbers are cut up with facility as soon as they turn and fly. This last is partly attributable to the native idiosyncrasy in apa- thetically yielding, when they have no chance, which I have before alluded to. Very much of course depends upon your horse, and a brute that won't stand fire should never be mounted as a charger. A native cannot cope with a good fencer using the small sword, but will very likely beat him if he keeps to cutting only. There are few, however, who understand fencing; and it is advisable for such to have a light steel arm-guard made to suit the outside of the arm from the elbow to the wrist, with a slight raised catch at the elbow, and the other end projecting well out to save the fingers. Such a guard is easily fastened on by two broad leather-straps to the arm. * * "As it is concealed by the sleeve of the coat, and as a good native swords- man could cut through the unprotected arm and cleave the skull with fa- cility, he does not check or change his blow on seeing the arm raised. But at the same moment that he discovers from the jar to his wrist, that you must have had some iron under your sleeve,' he finds that he has himself got something similar transfixing his own body.
"On horseback it is usual for two opponents to close sword-arm to sword- arm ; but when using the guard, it is better, after approaching in the usual way on nearing your adversary, to incline your horse a little to the right, so as to pass on his left. The cut any native will give is probably No. 1, or No. 6, either of which is easily received on the left arm, of course dropping the rein, and giving a cross point at the same time."
It is curious how, in this varied world, farce alternates with tragedy. The most pitiful or the most terrible incidents are fol- lowed or accompanied by the most ludicrous. Amid the horrors of mutiny, massacre, battle, and the assault of Delhi, there went on something akin to the comical scenes of a mixed drama when Jack or Pat are represented in "foreign parts." The stories it will be seen are apropos to a suggestion for employing Europeans
in the police force to arrest Europeans.
"It is to be hoped that, as the number of our European community in- creases, a much larger proportion of Europeans will be employed in our subordinate police-offices. As it is, the native policemen being much too afraid of the fists of any drunken European to arrest without wounding him, and as of course in such times it would not do to permit them the use, as they always wish, of deadly weapons, the magistrates and district officers are often obliged to undertake ordinary executive duties better suited to private A 1 of the Metropolitan or other police ; they alternate, in fact, be- tween governing a province or acting as common constables.
"My assistant, young E. 0—, had, on one occasion, to go out to Bird - hanah and bring back a soldier of the 60th Q. Rifles, who had installed himself at that place as a self-elected proconsul, had compelled the native officials to clear out a house for him, levied contributions from the bunyas, [grain dealers,] and passed his time in expatiating on his own elevated po- sition, and parading about the bazaar, when half drunk, to the mortal ter- ror of the bunyas. He was delivered over to the commanding officer of his corps, but escaped again shortly afterwards from custody. At ten o'clock one night, some time after the capture of Delhi, I was called on by the teh- sildar, who is head of the native police in his own division to report that a public conveyance running between Delhi and Meerut lied been stopped near the former place, by a drunken European, who insisted on getting in, to the great alarm of two native passengers by the vehicle. He remained quiet for some time but then commenced a personal assault on one of the passen- gers, whom he quickly ejected, the other abandoning his seat of his own word. The European then ordered the coachman to drive on, expressing limself, so far as the driver could make out, perfectly indifferent as to the direction in which they went. When within five miles of Meerut, he dis- missed the coachman also, preferring to drive his own conveyance. The tome being an old stager, took him straight to his stables, where he was found by the coachman, who followed on foot, dead drunk, inside of the palkie gharrie. "The usual plan is to make over such characters to the Brigade-Major, but it is not always easy to arrest them for the purpose ; and as it was then late, I ordered the Tehaildar to look the fellow up in some strew, room in the Tehsil till morning, his intoxication rendering him helpless. 'This was duly done ; but at two o'clock I was awoke by an urgent express from the Tehaildar, to the effect that the Feringhee had grown furious, and was ex- pected shortly to kick his way through the door of his cell. It was evident he could not have been so drunk as at first supposed. Having no agency fitted for the duty, I hurried down myself, and found a brawny European soldier of the 2d Company's Fusiliers, with a most Donnybrook appearance, and considerably intoxicated. He would not then' however, let me know his name or regiment. I tried reasoning with hinaat first, offering him the choice of remaining where he was till the morning, or . going at once before the Brigade-Major, telling him that he should not be released until I had learnt what had become of the Dawk travellers. Neither alternative suited him; and so refusing to do either, he swore that if restrained at all, he would take some one's life before he left.
"One only of the Chuprassies on foot, and four of my Sikh guard on horseback, had remained to see the door cf his cell opened, the others having a ludicrous dread of its occupant. After conversing rationally some time, he suddenly flew at the unfortunate footman dealing him a blow on the face, and started oft; pursued by myself. The footman, unfortunately com- ing in his way, was collared ; and as I had not the usual baton with which such a character would receive an anodyne application on the head from a London policeman, I had to take my fnend by the throat, and commence a simple trial of strength between a sober man and a tipsy one. The Sikhs, however, promptly dismounted, and, coming to my assistance pinioned the culprit hand and foot. He howled and struggled like a wild assistance, but was marched off vi et erode to the Brigade-Major's, indulging in a torrent of abuse, and exhibiting considerable fertility of resource in the variety, and to me at least, novelty of his invectives. At one time, in contradistinction to the social position which he was pleased to ascribe to me, he announced 'himself to be an Irishman, one of the finest soldiers in creation. Och ! we're the pride of the world, we are ' he said. This gratifying re- flection appeared to mollify him considerably, ierably, but the flattering unction was so frequently applied, that it began to lose its effect, and he returned with renewed vigour to execration and abuse. As I would do nothing but smile blandly at the confidential communications as to his personal opinion of my eyes, limbs, and relations, with which he favoured me, he tried the effect of translating his select sentences into not very select Hindoostani, for the information and improvement of the natives around, and I was glad to -deposit him in the quarter-guard of H. M. 6th Dragoons, to be disposed of the military authorities."
"Improved," the Indian mutiny would assuredly do one thing; inspire the historian and the reader of history with greater tole- ration as regards the severities practised in former and less milder-mannered times. Who that remembers the public feeling on the arrival of the news of the massacres, especially the atrocity of Cawnpore, can much wonder at the feeling against the Irish for the massacre of 1641, or the way in which it was avenged. Don John of Austria has been accused of barbarity for having at the battle of Lepanto displayed the head of the Turkish admiral as an ensign at the mast-head ; and defended by the barbarity of his times. Yet the Khakee Rewash used the head of some petty potentate for a similar purpose.
"We carried a small silken union-jack as the banner of the Volunteers, and on this occasion an ensign also, in the shape of Bah Mull's gory head stuck on a long spear. This last was necessary, to prove to the country- people, who knew the sternly resolute features of the old ruffian well, that their leader was really dead."
The novelty and peculiarity of the service gives a degree of novelty to the book. This quality is farther heightened by the style which is easy, vigorous and free-spoken, but dashed occa- sionally by a touch of egotism.
The little work of Mr. W. Tayler, the late Commissioner of Patna, primarily entitled Our Crisis, is an importation from Cal- cutta. It contains an account of the apprehensions felt by the European residents at Patna from the news of the mutinies around them, and their observation of the suspicious bearing of the natives in the city ; who became at times what is now vul- garly called " cheeky. ' It also describes the anxieties of the au- thor, and the means he took by the arrest of certain natives, the • punishment of conspirators, and sundry precautions to prevent an outbreak. As Mr. Tayler's duties constantly kept him in com- munication with General Lloyd at Dinapore, and he frequently visited the station, he informs his readers of the doings there ; but the only matters of any moment are the confused and ill- managed embarkation of the force sent in pursuit of the muti- neers, and their return after their defeat and heavy loss. "Still, no one doubted that the brave band, which steamed off on the 29th under the animating cheers of the spectators, would do their work, as Knglish soldiers ever do, and bring back the besieged in safety. " Accordingly, the next day, I went up with my wife and daughters to welcome the victorious force, with the rescued garrison. After several hours of anxious expectation, the steamer hove in sight ; as she neared the shore every breath was held in excitement ; an unusual stillness first at- tracted the notice of the spectators ; no waving hats, no cheers, no sign of exultation. Down they came, steamer and flat, dull, quiet, and ominous ; all seemed to feel the weight of some heavy disaster, and when the ve made for the hospital, instead of coming onwards to the usual mooringe,st feeling became certainty.
"Never had I witnessed—God grant I never may witness—so harrowine a scene, too dreadful to forget, far too dreadful to attempt to describe witi any minuteness."
The want of the publication is action. Beyond the rather tricky arrest of three Wahaba Moulvees or religious leaders, (who were invited to council and then detained,) and the putting doyen of an outbreak by force of which we only hear' the narrative is occupied by projects, rumours, movements that lead to nothing, and by suspected or possibly real plots ; but which are either net developed by proofs, or the plotters escape. No doubt persons exposed to threatening through intangible dangers may feel as much as those who have to meet the visible peril; while the res- ponsible officer may suffer less anxiety from the evil which pre.. seats itself in a definite form, than from that which comes before the mind in indefinite apparitions. But feelings or frights that end in comparatively nothing do not excite the interest of the reader in their narration, especially if they resemble those of which he has read a good deal before. The people at Patna were perhaps in more real danger than those at Agra, of whose terrors Colonel Bouchier speaks so slightingly ; but the danger is never apparent to the reader. The best parts relate to indications of native character ; of this the bearing of a man condemned to death as the leader of the outbreak already alluded to is a good example.
"Peer All himself was a model of the desperate and determined fanatic; repulsive in appearance, with a brutal and sullen countenance, he was calm, self-possessed„ and almost dignified, in language and demeanour.
"After capital sentence had been pronounced upon him, I sent for him, (as I generally did with such criminals,). and questioned him in my plume room, in hopes of eliciting some further information regarding the plot. "Heavily fettered, his soiled garments stained deeply with blood from a wound in his side, confronted with myself and several other English gone. men, the last hope of life departed, not for a moment did he betray agim. tion despondency, or fear. "'On being asked whether he could do anything to make it worth while to spare his life, he answered with supreme coolness and some contempt, There are some eases in which it is good to save life, others in which it is better to lose it.' He then taunted me with the oppression I had exercised, and concluded his speech by saying, 'You may hang me, or such as me, every. day, but thousands will rise in my place, and your object will never be gained.' "After this defiance, he joined his manacled hands, and said, with the utmost politeness, as if he was on the beat of terms with himself, the world, and me, I have something to ask." Well, what is it ? speak." My house ? " It will be razed to the ground.' 'My pro.perty.?" It will be confiscated.' 'My children,' and here for the first time his voice faltered and his tone betrayed emotion. On my asking him where his children were, he said they were in Oude and all/ could tell him was, that, under the circumstances of that countey, it was impossible to make either guess or promise in regard to them.
"He then salaamed, respectfully rose on -the order being given, and walked out unmoved, and, to all appearance, unconcerned. "I have dwelt at some length on the description of this man, because he is the type of a class, with many of whom we have in this country to deal— men whose unconquerable fanaticism renders them dangerous enemas, and whose stern resolution entitles them, in some measure, to admiration and re- spect."
Notwithstanding Mr. Tayler's exertions, and judged by the event successful exertions, he has been displaced. This would appear to have been owing to an order of his for outpost officers to abandon their stations and concentrate on Patna. In the ease of Gya the order was accompanied by a permission to abandon the treasure if necessary to preserve lives. By an unlucky combina- tion of circumstances Gya and the treasure were at first aban- doned; but the officer in charge afterwards returned, and was able by the fortunate arrival of an escort to carry the money to Calcutta. With only one side of the case before us, and that not completely stated, (for we hear of secret hostility and of a narra- tive printed for private eirculation among the author's friends,) we cannot offer an opinion upon the matter. Neglect, incapacity and weakness, should beyond all question be subject to removal, but it seems harsh, and is indeed, impolitic, to punish a mere error of judgment in a detail, when the main business has been successfully conducted.