Imatges de pÓgina
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his authority, it is frequently set at nought, and is, indeed, rarely more than nominal, except in the hour of peril in the field. Policy and address are therefore required to goveru the lawless and licentious multitude, and couciliation, as well as artifice, are indispensable qualifications in a lubbreea. The hope of plunder is the only inducement to follow him, and so long as he can lead the way to booty his instructions are willingly listened to, and his orders punctually obeyed. The farther be advances into an enemy's country the more firmly consolidated does his sway become. His followers feel their dependence upon him for immediate safety, and, perhaps, for their eventual return to their own country. Should ihe danger increase the lubbreea is clothed with dictatorial power, and the most blind subjection takes place of merely nominal subordination; but, the trial over, the Pindarry speedily relaxes into individual responsibility, and almost ceases to be a member of the cominunity.

The tract of country to which the Pindarries are principally confined is of a wild and barren description; and it will readily be conceived that such a people, recruited as they are by fugitives, vagabonds, and outlaws from other parts, are not likely to improve it much by cultivation. Want is the natural consequence of this state of things, and in addition to their long-established propensities, necessity often compels them to issue forth in desperate bands in search of the means of subistence. When an enterprizing leader has determined on a plundering expedition he sends vakeels to the neighbouring thokdars to engage them in his interest, and to reconcile, for the moment, any private animosities which may exist ainong them. Having formed his league he appoints a time and place of meeting. He then developes his ultimate designs, and points out the districts which he means to invade. Those who approve of the plan join the confederacy, while those who do not acquiesce in its expediency, or doubt its success, are at liberty to withdraw and consult their own inclinations either by remaining at rest, or by seizing another opportunity to carry on their favourite vocation.

The mode of conducting their marches is in general as follows. When the lubbreea is ready to move he mounts his horse, without making any one acquainted with his intention, and, proceeding to some distance, he causes his trumpet to be sounded." On the ivstant every man quits his employment, whatever it may be, and prepares to follow with the utmost speed. The lubbreea moves in front, accompanied by his standard and trumpets. He waits for nobody, but allows them to join him as well as they can, and by this method he keeps his troop in a constant state of readiness. This

they they are the better enabled to be, as the climate and their hardy habits render tents or baggage an unnecessary incumbrance. Each person carries merely a few days' provision for himself, and provender for his horse, and thus they travel for weeks together, at the rate of thirty or forty miles a day, over roads and countries impassable for a regular force. They usually march about half an hour after day-break, and continue in motion till wear noon, when they halt for two or three hours; they again move forward, stopping to refresh at sunset; at nine at night they change their ground, and again at twelve, removing about two or three coss each time: each of these balts is denominated a 'tull,' and when they think much precaution necessary they sometimes make even a third change of position during the night.

This perpetual change of position confuses their pursuiers ; and the suddenness with which they appear in a place diametrically opposite to that in which they were last seen, and in a contrary direction to their apparent line of march, gives an air of magic to their motions, or inspires a belief that they are more numerous and in separate bodies, when in truth they form but one toll; yet their coinmon marches are only about five or six coss a day, and their longest seldom exceed fifteen or sixteen. From the extended manner in which these expeditious are performed, they cover an immense space of ground; their line is frequently more thau a coss in breadth, and nearly as much in depth, so that their multitude appears incalculable and always accumulating, as they carry off young lads from the villages in their route, whom they compel to assist in the care of their cattle. In this way they collect a vast quantity of spoil of every kind, though the objects of their greatest cupidity are horses; these they seize wherever they meet them, and not only mount their followers and load their booty, but have sometimes two or three led for each individual in the camp. Many stories are current in India of their adroitness in stealing these animals, and it has happened that the best guarded piquets of the cavalry, in pursuit of them, have in the morning missed several horses, which the Pindarries had found means to purloin from their stakes within a few yards of the sentinels during the night. To accomplish this exploit, which obtains great eclat among their companions, the robbers crawl upon their bellies like serpents, stopping whenever the face of the sentinel is towards them, and pushing on when his back is turned ;- having reached the horse, ihey cut the cords by which he is contined, and placing their own black limbs in such a position as not to be distinguishable from his, they back him out as near the piquets as possible without discovery, watch their opportunity to mount, and suddenly gallop off among the bushes ihrough paths with which they are acquainted,

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taking taking the chance of the random shot which the startled soldier discharges after thein.

Their bivouack at night offers a singular contrast to the stillness of a disciplined army, with its brief, solemn, and regular interruptions. When it is difficult to keep together on account of the darkness, they are continually calling to each other by name, and, from the noise occasioned by their clamour, the general direction of the march is easily kept. If the lubbreea changes his course he sounds bis trumpet, and the word is also passed from one to another; so that although much confusion ensues, they never so completely disperse but that they can again upite in a short time.-Should they be attacked at such a moment, it is sauve qui peut; they fly at full speed towards every point of the compass, and trust to chance to bring them together again ; yet, with great apparent disorder, there is still some degree of regularity among them, and some general principles by wbich they shape their conduct. Each · thok' has its distinguishing · luggee' or standard, and proceeds in as organized a state as circumstances admit; and though a thok sometimes separates from a lubbur, individuals seldom abandon their thok. The buzzacks, or divisions, headed by some resolute and aspiring man, detach themselves in bodies of ten and twenty, and scour the country to the extent of six or seven coss, either in advance or on the Banks of the lubbur. Wheu altacked, they invariably endeavour to lead their adversaries into an ambush, or draw them, inadvertently, upon the main body; their practice being never to fight unless under great advantage.-- Flight is accounted no disgrace with them; but when the rear is hard pressed, the most courageous and best mounted volunteer to defend it. Should the toll,' however, be dispersed, by defeat or otherwise, the lubbreea's trumpet is sounded to keep the fugitives together; and, as this signal may not reach the ears of the more distant parties, he sets fire to some stock of straw or stubble, as an indication of the spot where he is posted, and a rallying summons to his men. It sometimes happens that individuals lose the toll for several days; but, such is their acuteness, from long custom, that they will readily discover the track of their party, when those unacquainted with their habits would be utterly at a loss.

When the lubbreea arrives at the place where he intends to take up bis quarters, he fises his standard in the ground and dismounts; those behind immediately begin to collect forage as the signal for a general halt:--every one passes beyond the leader, who is thus left in the rear of the whole. The men of each thok keep as close together as possible, and in this respect resemble the highland clans of Scotland, as they are all either kinsmen, friends, or dependents of the thokdar. No other kind of order is observed in their encampment—no guards are posted, no scouts sent out-but the lubbreea is expected to watch for the safety of ail'; which, as he cannot do by personal observation, he resorts to the frequent tulls or changes of position already noticed. So insufficient a precaulion exposes them to be surprized; and recent experience has shewn, that, both during their mid-day halts and night encampments, they are extremely liable to be taken unawares and effectually assailed. It is, however, generally in their advance, and when free from apprehension that they scatter themselves so widely over the face of the country. In their retreat they proceed more compactly, and, if pursued, make marches of an extraordinary length. As their object is not fighting, but plunder, they have seldoin been known to resist the attack of even an inferior evemy; and, if they are overtaken, they disperse, and re-assemble at some appointed rendezvous; or, if followed into their own country, through all their windings and doublings, and endless tulls, they immediately retire to their respective homes. They find protection either in the Vindhya mountains, in castles belonging to theinselves, or from those Mahratta powers with whom they are openly or secretly connected; of these Scindiah and Holkar are the chief-to the former the most formidable branch of the Pindarries is attached, and not unfrequently exercises over his affairs an ascendancy, like that of the Roman soldiery, or the Strelitzes and Janizaries of modern times.

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In all their expeditions the majority are mounted on a sinall, strong, and extremely active race of horses, on which they bestow the utmost care, especially in regard to their food, giving them the best of every kind of grain they can procure, raw: though in a period of distress, these animals are trained to undergo the same privations as their masters. It is a common opinion that the Pindarries give their horses large quantities of opium, to enable them to bear the fatigue to vbich they are constantly exposed; but this appears, from the best information that we can obtain, an erroneous idea. The prisoners universally state that such is not their practice. After a very laborious march, and when their catile are mucho tired, those who have the means give them a small quantity, (about half a tola,) made into a ball with some flour and a little ginger, or some other stimulant. This is the only occasion when opium is administered, except in cases of illness. Gram is seldom given, as they think it liable to disagree with their small cattle, unless boiled.

Their usual pace is between a walk and a trot; they very rarely gallop. Like the Arabs, by constant practice, they acquire a perfect management of their steeds, but make no study of horsemanship as a science. In the day-time they take off the saddles, but never unsaddle during the night; on the contrary, they always sleep G G3

with the bridles in their hands, and are in this respect ever prepared for battle or flight, or rather for the latter, since, on the slightest alarm, they spring on their horses, and are out of sight in an instant. It may be observed that they breed few horses themselves, but either procure them in their incursions, or are supplied by the Mahrattas from the large herds reared in Malwa. The proportion of these different sources of mounting their cavalry may be approximated by stating that, in the party commanded by Buksoo, which entered the Deccan in 1816, amounting to between two thousand and two thousand five hundred, there were not more than one thousand of the best description of horses, the remainder being a breed of hardy galloways. The speed of his horse is the great security of a Pindarry; while he possesses that animal no danger appals him, and it is therefore almost the sole object of his regard; nothing argues greater negligence, nothing carries with it greater disgrace than the loss of his horse, on which it is figuratively imagined he should always be mounted: no success can afterwards wipe away the reproach.

The arms of the Pindarry are a lance or a spear and a sword, which he wields with admirable dexterity, though not exercised in that art; they are nevertheless fully sensible of the great advantage to be derived from the use of fire-arms, but very few of them carry matchlocks, on account of the inconvenience resulting from their weight. They feel their inequality in this respect, and, from their fear of musketry, seldom venture to attack a place so defended.

Having from the work before us, and from more full, and recent information of our own, on which we can perfectly rely, described the mode of warfare, the habits, and arms of this extraordinary race of men, we shall now proceed to take a more distinct view of the moral and physical qualities of the men themselves, and add a brief biography of their chiefs.

The Pindarries seem to possess several of those qualities which we most prize in a soldier--courage, and confidence in their leader to follow him through the greatest perils, strength of body to undergo the utmost privations and fatigues, and fortitude to endure them without repining. Unremitted exercise invigorates their limbs, and enables them to sustain hardships under which stronger men would perish. Their manner of life, ever various and esposed to risk, inspires them with a promptitude to act decisively in the most trying moments; and in situations where others would tamely surrender from despair, they find a resource in their invincible spirit, and hope of safety by flight. At times they wallow in abundance, while at other times they are destitute of common necessaries ; but they do not sink in despondency. On the contrary we may form some idea of their personal intrepidity and con

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