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AZIMOOLAH KHAN-CAUSES OF THE MUTINY.
the native races were distinguished were to When Lord Canning succeeded Lord Dalbe degraded and obliterated by the unsparing housie as governor-general, the native armiers domination of the British conquerors.
It had increased to an overweening number as should be noted, too, that many of the Sepoys compared with the European force. Each of were men of caste, rank, intelligence, and am- the three presidencies, Bengal, Madras, and bition, and that they would not be slow to Bombay, had its own army, and united they take advantage of any opportunity for self- amounted to 300,000 men, of whom only aggrandizement. The question perhaps was, 43,000 were British. Had that opportunity arrived? The English, The army of Bengal recruited from the people it was known, had been engaged in an ex- of Rajpootna and from Oudh, the annexation hausting war with the other great nation of of which had caused much dissatisfaction and the north,—the Russia of which the Afghans, uneasiness, was the most dangerous in case of at all events, had heard much. At the same revolt, and perhaps the most likely to become time there had been another war in Burmah; a disaffected. It consisted of 118,600 natives third was going on in Persia; and troops were, and 22,600 European soldiers. The cavalry it was said, about to be despatched to China, was chiefly composed of Mohammedans, and to where the governor had defied British author- the instigations of bitter and bigoted Moity. Was it not reasonable to suppose that hammedans, among other causes, the mutiny the strength of so small a country as Britain was afterwards attributed. The infantry was would be exhausted by these repeated and formed from the most warlike and highcontinuous efforts? There were in some quar- spirited of the Hindoos, belonging, it was ters direct intimations that this was the case, believed, to the pure Brahminical caste, and for had not an agent of Seereek Dhoondoo they were therefore more likely to regard Punth, or as he was familiarly called Nana with silent, but none the less decided, distrust Sahib, of Bithoor, the adopted son and suc- the annexation of the kingdom, which they cessor of Prince Bajee Rao, Peishwa of Poonah, suspected might only precede the suppression, been to London to endeavour to make good or at least the disregard, of those religious the claim to a pension which the East India distinctions which they held to be of sacred Company had granted to the prince when he importance. Here were enough elements of was dethroned, but which Lord Dalhousie had danger to make a mutiny probable at any refused to continue to his son in defiance of moment. Only a spark was wanting to kindle the national customs, which conferred on the the materials into a flame. It was not long adopted child all the rights of heirship. This before the spark fell, and the flame leaped up agent, Azimoolah Khan, had been to Constan- and spread into a conflagration. The abolitinople, had been to the Crimea, had been the tion of suttee,—the influence of the European lion of London drawing-rooms, and had inter- teaching, and of the doctrines of Christianity, preted what he had seen and heard as sigus in abolishing many of the more superstitious of impending disaster to the power and author- observances, even among those who still proity of England. Azimoolah Khan, the quiet, fessed to retain their former religion,-the insinuating, handsome young Mohammedan changes made in the laws of succession and the agent, had his tale to tell when he returned inheritance of landed property,--and finally, home, not only of the conquests which his the annexation of Oudh, and the consequent manner and appearance had achieved among abolition of the old rule of brigandage and English ladies in fashionable assemblies, but rapine, exercised by a number of fierce and about the wane of British influence and the tyrannical chieftains, sufficed to produce deep coming decay of British dominion in the East. dissatisfaction among the influential natives It was this smooth snake who afterwards who were interested in maintaining the old played his part with the bloodthirsty mur- order of things. The Mohammedans occuderers at Cawnpore, where he also mercilessly pied themselves in fomenting an insurrection struck down helpless women and children. under the pretence that they were anxious to re-establish the ancient rule under the King of natives that the new cartridges were to be Delhi, a feeble old man upwards of eighty soaked in unclean grease, and for a highyears
age, whose sons were ready to assert class Hindoo, or even a Mohammedan, to place their claims and to take an active part in the in his mouth anything so defiling would have revolt.
been abominable. Not a single cartridge It will, of course, be seen that the inevit- had been issued to the troops at this time, able influence of better government, greater and when it was known that so much anfreedom, and the teachings of a higher religion tipathy had been expressed on account of in abolishing slavish customs, as well as in the greasy matter used in their construction, destroying degrading superstitions, differs none were supplied, though at the same time essentially from the effects of that contemp- it was denied that the fat of cows or pigs had tuous disregard which does not scruple need- been used. Of course it may be said that lessly to outrage opinions and observances, those in authority should have been well acthat, however absurd they may appear to be, quainted with the Hindoo caste and the imare yet part of a widely spread, or even a portance which the Brahmins attached to national, social, and religious organization. The keeping themselves undefiled. The mistake main body of Sepoys of Oudh were believed of proposing to use cartridges which were preto have held their allegiance to the British pared with any kind of grease, when the men government, while only the legitimate intlu- were compelled to put them into their mouths ences inseparable from the new rule were in that they might bite them before loading their operation, and until the numerous and busy rifles, was either inexcusable folly and ignorpromoters of sedition succeeded in persuading ance, or a specimen of that indifference to them that not only was their nationality and which reference has been made. The greased their religion to be superseded, but that by an cartridges were not issued; but unhappily the act of immediate outrage their caste was to be suspicious Asiatic temper was aroused, and derided, and their most sacred obligations ready to flash out on the least sign of the defiled.
hated thing against which cunningly devised It would be impossible to determine at what warnings had been circulated with extraorparticular moment this representation wrought dinary rapidity. Some cartridges made at the mutiny; but the authors of it were not Semapore differed slightly in the colour of slow to seize with adroit alacrity on one par- the paper from those formerly used, and at ticular occurrence to which they pointed as Barrackpore where these were given out disthe first attempt to ruin the Brahminical content began to manifest itself. The men caste, and to make those who held it worse were assured that the difference in colour was than pariahs-excommunicated and accursed. not the effect of grease, that not a particle of
The introduction of the Enfield rifle made fat of any sort had been used in their manuit necessary to use a new kind of cartridge, in facture, and that there was not the slightest the manufacture of which some kind of grease desire to insult or to change the religion of or oil had to be used in order to render it the native soldiers. To allay suspicions a effective. How this was made known it would chemical examination of the cartridges was be useless to conjecture, but it was said that in ordered in order to prove that they were in the course of some dispute between a Mo- no way defiled with the unclean substance; hammedan and a Brahmin, the latter referred but the emissaries of the conspiracy were still to his caste, when the former retorted, “Your busy in the ranks, and on the 25th of Februcaste, indeed! the English government will ary, 1857, a regiment of men on parade resoon make you bite cartridges greased with cow fused to receive their ammunition. The same and pig fat, and what will become of your night they broke open the huts where their caste then?” Whether this was one of the arms were piled, took possession of the rifles inventions of the time matters little. It is and ammunition, and carried them to their certain that the report spread among the lines. The colonel summoned the cavalry
THE PUNJAUB_THE BROTHERS LAWRENCE.
and artillery, and going to the parade ground these rumours, and warning the natives against called
upon the men to lay down their being led astray by false representations. arms; this was done and the insurgents dis- It was well that we had such a man as Lord persed. The mutinous regiment was after- | Canning for governor-general — calm, brave, wards ordered to Barrackpore, whither they self-possessed, and ready. It was well, too, were taken by British cavalry and artillery, that Lord Canning himself had such adminisEuropean troops having been sent for from trators in the Punjaub as the two Lawrences Barmah. Two days before the regiment was -Sir John, afterwards Lord Lawrence, who tinally disbanded at Barrackpore, a private had been from his youth in the civil serSepoy named Mungal Pandy, who seemed to vice of the East India Company; and his have intoxicated himself to fury with a copious brother, the gallant Sir Henry, who was the dose of " bhang," came suddenly on parade military member of a board of three apwith a loaded musket and fired at the adju- pointed by Lord Dalhousie on the annexation tant. He missed his aim and the lieutenant of the province. Sir John Lawrence was tried to seize him, but was wounded in the afterwards named Chief Commissioner of the hand by a sword which the Sepoy brandished. | Punjaub, and he may be said by his wise and The sergeant-major, who went to the assist- prompt action to have saved it at the very ance of the lieutenant, was also wounded, and beginning of the mutiny. At the time of the liis life was only saved by the help of another outbreak there were in the presidency only Sepoy, who was afterwards rewarded for his three European regiments at Burmah and good conduct. Mungal Pandy was tried by three at Peshawur, the eastern and western court-martial and hanged, a sentence which extremities of the empire. In the Punjaub, he acknowledged to be a just punishment for which absorbed the greater proportion of the his having obeyed the counsel of evil advisers. forces, there was a regiment at Lahore, and The name of Mungal Pandy was remembered one at Sealkote, Ferozepore, Jallundur, Umfrom the circumstance that as he was the first ballah, and Rawul Pindee; while the greater actively hostile mutineer, the European soldiers portion of the artillery was also in the Punbestowed the title of Pandies on those Sepoys jaub territory with a large local army of Punwho afterwards revolted, and the term be- jabees and Sikhs. came a common designation.
There were three European regiments at The mutiny spread with alarming rapidity. Simla, in the hills, and two at Meerut, a town In Futtyghur, a chowkejdar or village police- on an affluent of the Ganges, 35 miles northman had been seen to run up to another and west of Delhi, with a population of about give him two chupatties or little cakes of salted 29,000; but in Oudh, a country just forcibly unleavened bread. He ordered the man to annexed and swarming with a hostile popuwhom he gave them to make ten more and lation, there was only one.
There was a give two to each of the five nearest chowkejdars regiment at Agra, and one at Calcutta; with the same order. In this way the cakes but Delhi, a place inhabited by bigoted were distributed, the whole district was in Mohammedans, surrounded by strong fortificommotion and the excitement spread to other cations, and containing both military stores places. It was evident that the chupatties and treasures, was left unprotected by any were intended as mysterious signals, the mean- European regiments, though there were three ing of which was unknown except to the in- regiments of native infantry and a batitiated, and perhaps only intended to keep up tery of native artillery in cantonments on the excitement and expectation. All this time high ground about two miles north of the reports had been spread that the greased car- city. On the 10th of May at Meerut, which tridges were for the purpose of debasing the about 38 miles from Delhi, eighty-five men Hindoos, and forcing them to abandon their of the native cavalry were brought up on parreligion. On the 16th of May the governor- ade to be tried by court-martial for refusing general issued a proclamation contradicting to fire with the cartridges that had been supplied to them, which were of the same kind without opposition, and immediately began to as those they had been using for several attack with swords and carbines every Euromonths. These men were sentenced to ten pean whom they met. After several civil years' imprisonment, and were marched off officers had been killed, notice was sent to the chained and handcuffed to the jail. The brigadier, and a regiment of native infantry European troops at Meerut consisted of de- with two guns was marched down from the tachments of the 60th Rifles, 6th Dragoon cantonment. It passed through the Cashmere Guards (carabineers), and the Bengal artillery, Gate in good order, but once in the city it met who were posted about 3 miles from the some of the mutineers, and instantly the Sepoys native camp. The court-martial was held on of which it was composed ran to the side of a Saturday, and on the next evening (that of the road and left the officers to the fire of the Sunday) the native regiments suddenly rose enemy. All the officers were shot down, and in furious mutiny, fired upon their officers, and the regiment then joined the mutinous Sepoys, marched off to the jail to release the prisoners. who were drunk with bhang, in the work of The prison was set on fire, and above 1000 carnage, riding up to their victims at full convicts set free. These with the rabble of gallop and shooting them without mercy. the town joined the mutineers and committed A crowd of residents in great terror made horrible atrocities on the European residents- their way to the Flagstaff Tower in front of the ladies and little children being stripped, mur- cantonments. A company of native infantry dered, and their bodies hacked and slashed was stationed there, and a large party of ladies with swords. Nearly every European house and gentlemen with several officers who were was attacked, and a great number of officers well armed went up to a round tower which were killed. The alarm first reached the commanded the road. But the regiment there troops when they were preparing for church was also mutinous. The explosion of a magaparade, and they immediately marched on the zine in the city was the signal for them to native lines and poured in a fire of grape
and rush to arms and join the insurgents. The musketry. One regiment of native infantry best chance was for the Europeans to make an and the cavalry which was also stationed there effort to escape, and most of the ladies got fled towards Delhi; and though the cara- away in conveyances escorted by the gentlebineers pursued them and cut many of them men on horseback, the larger part of them down a large number escaped. Had they reaching Kurnaul, while others sought a refuge been all killed the mutiny might have been at Meerut. But elsewhere within the walls less terrible and would have been sooner sup- of Delhi, the scene was one of horror. The pressed. But the night was dark, the insur- aged king was at the palace, and many Eurogents set fire to the bungalows, and the women peans had fled thither to claim his protection. and children required immediate protection. With his knowledge and in the presence of The 11th Native Infantry took no part in the his two sons they were brutally cut down or mutiny, but they remained neutral except in shot-ladies being stripped and forced to the matter of protecting their own officers. walk about naked before they were hacked They neither helped to prevent the station to pieces, their infants having been tossed on being burned, nor interfered when women and the points of bayonets before their eyes. The children were being hacked to pieces or were mutiny had now grown to a wild frenzied lust frantically seeking for some place of conceal- for blood. No cruelty seemed too horrible ment. On Monday morning the 11th of May, for the Sepoys to perpetrate. The English the Sepoys of the 3rd Light Cavalry who had officers who stayed with their regiments as an escaped from Meerut reached the walls of act of duty, and strove to restrain them from Delhi, and these were but the forerunners of joining in the revolt, were mostly shot down the great army of insurgents, which afterwards or stabbed to death. In a fortified bastion came from all quarters to the city ready for near the Cashmere ce, a number of Euroany outrage. They entered the gates of Delhi peans, mostly women and children, had sought MEERUT-DELHI-LAHORE.
shelter, and it was supposed that the native scending the ladders, after which the enemy troops would protect thein; but the wretches appeared in great numbers on the top of the only waited till the place was filled with these walls, where an incessant fire was kept up on defenceless refugees, upon whom they began them by the two gunners, Buckley and Scully, firing when there were no means of escape. who loaded and handled their guns with steady Some few of the poor creatures got away precision, firing round after round as long as by dropping down into the ditch from a a shot remained, though the Sepoys kept up a bastion of the tower, and with the help of volley of musketry within forty or fifty yards. two or three of the officers escaped to the When the last round was fired Lieutenant bushes and the jungle, whence they were Willoughby gave the order for exploding the afterwards rescued by an escort of cavalry magazine, and Scully immediately obeyed by from Meerut. In a house near the great firing the trains. A terrificexplosion took place, mosque of Delhi a number of Europeans had and those who escaped from beneath the ruins taken refuge, and as they had no water to rushed out through the sally-port on the river drink, they begged to be taken to the palace. front, Lieutenant Willoughby being so seriThe rebels swore that if they would lay down ously wounded that he died shortly afterwards, their arms, water should be given them, and but the two other lieutenants surviving. Delhi that they should be taken in safety to the could then only be retaken by the operations king. They did so, and were immediately of a besieging army determined to force a seized, placed in a row, and shot without mercy.
On the 11th of May news of the mutiny at The principal magazine in Delhi was under Meerut reached Lahore. Sir John Lawrence the care of Lieutenants Willoughby, Forest, was away at Rawul Pindee, in the upper part and Raynor. Directly they heard of the of the district, but Mr. Robert Montgomery, revolt, these officers ordered the gates to be the judicial commissioner, was a man capable closed and barricaded, while inside the gate of acting on an emergency. Not a moment leading to the barrack were placed two six- was to be lost in keeping the mutiny out of pounders, loaded with grape, beside which the Punjaub, which was the direction from stood gunners with lighted matches in their which the insurrection must be stamped out; hands ready to fire. The principal gate of the while the loss of it would have been more magazine was defended by two guns with than a disaster, and might have resulted in at chevaux de frise on the inside, and two six- least the temporary paralysis of our ability to pounders commanding the gate, and a small cope with the enemy, and the possible necesbastion in the vicinity. Within sixty yards sity for slowly reconquering a large part of of the gate were three more six-pounders, and India infected by the rebellion. The first a howitzer which could be so managed as to act thing to be done was to recapture Delhi, and upon any part of the magazine in its neigh- with such a force as would effectually defeat bourhood. Arms were given to the native and punish the insurgents. The immediate troops who were inside the magazine, but they question was: Had the native soldiers at received them so reluctantly that it was evi- Meean Meer, a large military cantonment fiveor dent they only wanted an opportunity to six miles from Lahore, already been tampered join the mutineers. These arrangements had with till they were ready for revolt? Nobody scarcely been made when guards from the could tell, and it was necessary to act with palace came and demanded possession of the decision. The probabilities were that messages magazine in the name of the King of Delhi. of sedition might have reached those regiNo answer was given to this summons, and ments, and though there was a danger of soon afterwards scaling-ladders were placed driving them to rebellion by harshly assuming against the wall. The troops inside immedi- that they were already disaffected, there was ately clambered up the sloped sheds of the a still greater risk in leaving them in a magazine, and joined the insurgents by de position to spread the revolt through the