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Title: My Experiences in Manipur and the Naga Hills
Author: Johnstone, James Johnstone, chevalier de, 1719-1800
Language: English
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                             MY EXPERIENCES
                       MANIPUR AND THE NAGA HILLS

                              By the late
                   Major-General SIR JAMES JOHNSTONE

                      With an introductory memoir


                    Sampson Low, Marston and Company
                          St. Dunstan's House
                    Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.C.

                               I DEDICATE

                      THESE PAGES TO THE MEMORY OF

                                My Wife,

                    IN MANIPUR, AND THE NAGA HILLS,
                        AND WHO, HAD SHE LIVED,
                      OUR EXPERIENCES THAN I HAVE
                            BEEN ABLE TO DO.


When I first brought my wife out to India in 1873, I was struck by
the comments she made on things which had so long been part of my
daily life. I had almost ceased to observe them. Every day she noted
something new, and her diary was so interesting that I advised her
to write a book on her "First Impressions of India," and she meant
to do so, but never had time. Had she lived, this would have been a
pleasure to her, but it was otherwise ordained. I feel now that I am
in some way carrying out her wishes, by attempting a description of
our life in India, though I am fully sensible that I cannot hope to
achieve the pleasant chatty style in which she excelled.

I have also striven to give a fair record of the events with which I
was connected; and perhaps, as they include a description of a state
of things that has passed away for ever, they may not be devoid of
interest. I am one of those old-fashioned Anglo-Indians who still
believe in personal government, a system by which we gained India,
solidified our rule, and made ourselves fairly acceptable to the
people whom we govern. I believe the machine-like system which we have
introduced and are endeavouring to force into every corner of India,
till all personal influence is killed out, to be ill-adapted to the
requirements of these Oriental races, and blighting in its effects. Not
one native chief has adopted it in its integrity, which is in itself
a fair argument that it is distasteful to the native mind; and we may
be assured that if we evacuated India to-morrow, personal rule would
again make itself felt throughout the length and breadth of the land,
and grow stronger every day. I have always striven to be a reformer,
but a reformer building on the solid foundations that we already find
everywhere in India. Wherever you go, if there is a semblance of
native rule left, you find a system admirably adapted to the needs
of the population, though very often grown over with abuses. Clear
away these abuses, and add a little in the way of modern progress,
but always building on the foundation you find ready to hand, and
you have a system acceptable to all.

We are wonderfully timid in sweeping away real abuses, for fear of
hurting the feelings of the people; at the same time we weigh them
down with unnecessary, oppressive, and worrying forms, and deluge the
country with paper returns, never realising that these cause far more
annoyance than would be felt at our making some radical change in a
matter which, after all, affects only a minority. Take, for instance,
the case of suttee, or widow-burning. It was argued for years that
we could not put it down without causing a rebellion. What are the
facts? A governor-general, blessed with moral courage in a great
degree, determined to abolish the barbarous custom, and his edict
was obeyed without a murmur. So it has been in many other cases,
and so it will be wherever we have the courage to do the right
thing. An unpopular tax would cause more real dissatisfaction than
any interference with bad old customs, only adhered to from innate
conservatism. The great principle on which to act is to do what
is right, and what commends itself to common sense, and to try and
carry the people with you. Do not let us have more mystery than is
necessary; telling the plain truth is the best course; vacillation
is fatal; the strongest officer is generally the most popular, and
is remembered by the people long after he is dead and gone.

Personal rule is doomed, and men born to be personal rulers and a
blessing to the governed, are now harassed by the authorities till
they give up in despair, and swim with the stream.

The machine system did not gain India, and will not keep it for us;
we must go back to a better system, or be prepared to relax our
grasp, and give up the grandest work any nation ever undertook--the
regeneration of an empire!

The House of Commons has to answer for much. No Indian administration
is safe from the interference of theorists. To-day it is opium that
is attacked by self-righteous individuals, who see in the usual, and
in most cases harmless, stimulant of millions, a crying evil; while
they view with apparent complacency the expenditure of £120,000,000
per annum on intoxicating liquors in England, and long columns in
almost every newspaper recording brutal outrages on helpless women
and children as the result.

Then the military administration is attacked, and in pursuance of
another chimera, an iniquitous bill is forced on the Government
of India calculated to produce results, which will probably sap
the efficiency of our army at a critical moment. So it goes on,
and it is hardly to be wondered at that the authorities in India
give up resistance in sheer disgust, knowing all the while that,
as the French say, le deluge must come after them.

It may be said, "What has all this to do with Manipur and the Naga
Hills?" Nothing perhaps directly, but indirectly a great deal. The
system which I decry carries its evil influence everywhere, and Manipur
has suffered from it. I describe the Naga Hills and Manipur as they
were in old days. I strove hard for years to hold the floods back from
this little State and to preserve it intact, while doing all I could
to introduce reforms. Now the floods have overwhelmed it, and if it
rises again above them it will not be the Manipur that I knew and
loved. May it, in spite of my doubts and fears, be a better Manipur.



Introduction                                                         xix

Chapter I.

    Arrival in India--Hospitable friends--The Lieut.-Governor--Journey
    to the Naga Hills--Nigriting--Golaghat--A panther reminiscence--Hot
    springs--A village dance--Dimapur--My new abode                    1

Chapter II.

    Samagudting--Unhealthy quarters--A callous widower--Want of
    water--Inhabitants of the Naga Hills--Captain Butler--Other
    officials--Our life in the wilds--A tiger carries off the
    postman--An Indian forest--Encouragement                          12

Chapter III.

    Historical events connected with Manipur and the Naga
    Hills--Different tribes--Their religion--Food and customs         22

Chapter IV.

    Value of keeping a promise--Episode of Sallajee--Protection
    given to small villages, and the large one defied--"Thorough"
    Government of India's views--A plea for Christian education in
    the Naga Hills                                                    37

Chapter V.

    Visit Dimapur--A terrible storm--Cultivation--Aggression by
    Konoma--My ultimatum--Konoma submits--Birth of a son--Forest
    flowers--A fever patient--Proposed change of station--Leave
    Naga Hills--March through the forest--Depredation by
    tigers--Calcutta--Return to England                               45

Chapter VI.

    Return to India--Attached to Foreign Office--Imperial assemblage at
    Delhi--Almorah--Appointed to Manipur--Journey to Shillong--Cherra
    Poojee--Colonel McCulloch--Question of ceremony                   54

Chapter VII.

    Start for Manipur--March over the hills--Lovely scenery--View of
    the valley--State reception--The Residency--Visitors              60

Chapter VIII.

    Visit the Maharajah--His ministers--Former revolutions--Thangal
    Major                                                             69

Chapter IX.

    Manipur--Early history--Our connection with it--Ghumbeer
    Singh--Burmese war                                                78

Chapter X.

    Ghumbeer Singh and our treatment of him--Nur Singh and
    attempt on his life--McCulloch--His wisdom and generosity--My
    establishment--Settlement of frontier dispute                     88

Chapter XI.

    My early days in Manipur--The capital--The inhabitants--Good
    qualities of Manipuris--Origin of valley of Manipur--Expedition
    to the Naga Hills--Lovely scenery--Attack on Kongal Tannah by
    Burmese--Return from Naga Hills--Visit Kongal Tannah              95

Chapter XII.

    Discussions as to new Residency--Its completion--Annual
    boat-races--Kang-joop-kool--Daily work--Dealings with the
    Durbar                                                           104

Chapter XIII.

    Violent conduct of Prince Koireng--A rebuke--Service
    payment--Advantages of Manipuri system--Customs
    duties--Slavery--Releasing slaves--Chowbas' fidelity--Sepoy's
    kindness to children--Visit to the Yoma range                    112

Chapter XIV.

    An old acquaintance--Monetary crisis--A cure for breaking
    crockery--Rumour of human sacrifices--Improved postal
    system--Apricots--Mulberries--A snake story--Search after
    treasure--Another snake story--Visit to Calcutta--Athletics--Ball
    practice--A near shave                                           122

Chapter XV.

    Spring in Manipur--Visit Kombang--Manipuri orderlies--Parade of
    the Maharajah's Guards--Birth of a daughter--An evening walk in
    the capital--Polo--Visit to Cachar                               131

Chapter XVI.

    Punishment of female criminals--A man saved from execution--A Kuki
    executed--Old customs abolished--Anecdote of Ghumbeer Singh--The
    Manipuri army--Effort to re-organise Manipur Levy--System
    of rewards--"Nothing for nothing"--An English school--Hindoo
    festivals--Rainbows--View from Kang-joop-kool                    138

Chapter XVII.

    Mr. Damant and the Naga Hills--Rumours on which I act--News
    of revolt in Naga Hills and Mr. Damant's murder--Maharajah's
    loyalty--March to the relief of Kohima--Relief of Kohima--Incidents
    of siege--Heroism of ladies--A noble defence                     147

Chapter XVIII.

    Restoring order and confidence--Arrival of Major Evans--Arrival
    of Major Williamson--Keeping open communication--Attack on
    Phesama--Visit to Manipur--General Nation arrives--Join him at
    Suchema--Prepare to attack Konoma--Assault of Konoma             161

Chapter XIX.

    Konoma evacuated--Journey to Suchema for provisions and ammunition,
    and return--We march to Suchema with General--Visit Manipur--Very
    ill--Meet Sir Steuart Bayley in Cachar--His visit to Manipur--Grand
    reception--Star of India--Chussad attack on Chingsow--March to
    Kohima and back--Reflections on Maharajah's services--Naga Hills
    campaign overshadowed by Afghan war                              175

Chapter XX.

    Visit Chingsow to investigate Chussad outrage--Interesting
    country--Rhododendrons--Splendid forest--Chingsow and the
    murders--Chattik--March back across the hills                    182

Chapter XXI.

    Saving a criminal from execution--Konoma men visit me--A
    terrible earthquake--Destruction wrought in the capital--Illness
    of the Maharajah--Question as to the succession--Arrival of
    the Queen's warrant--Reception by the Maharajah--The Burmese
    question                                                         190

Chapter XXII.

    March to Mao and improvement of the road--Lieutenant
    Raban--Constant troubles with Burmah--Visit to Mr. Elliott
    at Kohima--A tiger hunt made easy--A perilous adventure--Rose
    bushes--Brutal conduct of Prince Koireng--We leave Manipur for
    England                                                          198

Chapter XXIII.

    Return to Manipur--Revolution in my absence--Arrangements for
    boundary--Survey and settlement--Start for Kongal--Burmese will
    not act--We settle boundary--Report to Government--Return to
    England                                                          208

Chapter XXIV.

    Return to India--Visit to Shillong--Manipur again--Cordial
    reception--Trouble with Thangal Major--New arts introduced       216

Chapter XXV.

    A friend in need--Tour round the valley--Meet the Chief
    Commissioner--March to Cachar--Tour through the Tankhool
    country--Metomi Saraméttie--Somrah--Terrace cultivators--A
    dislocation--Old quarters at Kongal Tannah--Return to the valley
    --A sad parting                                                  223

Chapter XXVI.

    More trouble with Thangal Major--Tit-for-tat--Visit to the Kubo
    valley--A new Aya Pooiel--Journey to Shillong--War is declared--A
    message to Kendat to the Bombay-Burmah Corporation agents--Anxiety
    as to their fate--March to Mao                                   236

Chapter XXVII.

    News from Kendat--Mr. Morgan and his people safe--I determine to
    march to Moreh Tannah--March to Kendat--Arrive in time to save
    the Bombay-Burmah Corporation Agents--Visit of the Woon--Visit
    to the Woon                                                      244

Chapter XXVIII.

    People fairly friendly--Crucifixion--Carelessness of Manipuris--I
    cross the Chindwin--Recross the Chindwin--Collect provisions--Erect
    stockades and fortify our position--Revolt at Kendat--We assume the
    offensive--Capture boats and small stockades--Revolt put down--Woon
    and Ruckstuhl rescued--Steamers arrive and leave                 251

Chapter XXIX.

    Mischief done by departure of steamers--Determine to establish the
    Woon at Tamu--The country quieting down--Recovery of mails--Letter
    from the Viceroy--Arrive at Manipur--Bad news--I return to
    Tamu--Night march to Pot-thâ--An engagement--Wounded--Return to
    Manipur--Farewell--Leave for England                             260

Chapter XXX.


    The events of 1890-1                                             271


These experiences were written in brief intervals of leisure, during
the last few months of the author's busy life, which was brought to
a sudden close before they were finally revised. Only last March when
his nearest relations met at Fulford Hall to take leave of the eldest
son of the house, before he sailed for India, the manuscript was still
incomplete, and Sir James read some part of it aloud. His health had
suffered greatly from over-fatigue in the unhealthy parts of India,
in which his lot had been chiefly cast, but it was now quite restored
and a prolonged period of usefulness seemed before him.

Improvements on the farms on his estate, a church within reach of his
cottagers, to be built as a memorial to his late wife, and the hope
of being once more employed abroad, probably as a colonial governor,
were all plans for the immediate future, while the present was
occupied with the magisterial and other business (including lectures
on history in village institutes), which fill up so much of an English
country gentleman's life. He had saved nothing in India. What the
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal wrote in 1872 of his early work at
Keonjhur, applied to everything else he subsequently undertook:
"Captain Johnstone's schools, twenty in number, continue to flourish,
attracting an average attendance of 665 children. Captain Johnstone's
efforts to improve the crops and cattle of Keonjhur have before been
remarked by the Lieutenant-Governor. His sacrifices for this end and
for his charge generally, are, His Honour believes, almost unique." [1]
But in 1881 by the death of his late father's elder brother, he
inherited the Fulford estate on the boundaries of Worcestershire and
Warwickshire, as well as Dunsley Manor in Staffordshire. The old Hall
at Fulford, a strongly built, black and white, half-timbered erection
of some centuries back, had been pulled down a few years before,
and Sir James built the present house close to the old site. It was
here that he was brought back in a dying state on June 13th, 1895,
about 10 A.M., after riding out of the grounds only ten minutes
before, full of life and energy. No one witnessed what occurred;
he was a splendid horseman, but there was evidence that the horse,
always inclined to be restive, had taken fright on passing a cottager's
gate and tried to turn back, and that, as its master's whip was still
firmly grasped in his hand, there had been a struggle.

He was engaged to assist the next day at the annual meeting of the
Conservative and Unionist Association at Stratford-on-Avon. The Marquis
of Hertford, who presided, when announcing the catastrophe in very
feeling terms, spoke of the excellent work that Sir James Johnstone
had done for the Unionist cause in Warwickshire. At Wythall Church
(of which he was warden) the Vicar alluded, the following Sunday, to
"the striking example he had set of a devout and attentive worshipper."

A retired official who had been acquainted with him in India for
over thirty years, wrote on the same occasion to Captain Charles
Johnstone, R.N.: "Your brother was a type of character not at all
common, high-principled, fearless, just, with an overwhelming sense
of duty, and restless spirit of adventure. It is by characters of
his type, that our great empire has been created, and it is only if
such types continue that we may look forward and hope that it will
be maintained and extended."

Although the family from which Sir James Johnstone sprang is of
Scottish origin, his own branch of it had lived in Worcestershire
and Warwickshire for nearly a century and a half. "It has taken a
prominent part in the social and public life of the Midlands, and
has produced several eminent physicians." [2] He was the eleventh in
direct male descent from William Johnstone of Graitney, who received
a charter of the barony of Newbie for "distinguished services" to
the Scottish crown in 1541. A remnant of the old Scottish estates was
inherited by his great-grandfather, Dr. James Johnstone, who died at
Worcester in 1802, and who, being the fourth son of his parents, had
left Annandale at the age of twenty-one to settle in Worcestershire
as a physician, but who always kept up his relations with Scotland,
and meant to return there in his old age. His anxiety to secure this
estate--Galabank--in the male line, really defeated his purpose; for
he bequeathed it to his then unmarried younger son, the late Dr. John
Johnstone, F.R.S., whose daughter now possesses it, to the exclusion of
his elder sons who seemed likely to leave nothing but daughters. One
of these elder sons was Sir James's grandfather, the late Dr. Edward
Johnstone of Edgbaston Hall, who had married the heiress of Fulford,
but was left a widower in 1800. Dr. Edward Johnstone was remarried
in 1802 to Miss Pearson of Tettenhall, and of their two sons, the
younger, James, born in 1806, practised for many years as a physician,
and was President of the British Medical Association when it met
in Birmingham in 1856. His eldest son, the subject of this notice,
was born in a house now pulled down in the Old Square, Birmingham,
on February 9th, 1841. Brought up in the midst of the large family of
brothers and sisters, whose childhood was passed between their home
in the Old Square and their grandfather's residence at Edgbaston Hall,
where they spent the summer and autumn: he used also to look back with
particular pleasure on his visits to his maternal grandfather's country
house, where he first mounted a pony. His mother was his instructor,
except occasional lessons from the Rev. T. Price, till at the age of
nine he entered King Edward's Classical School, of which his father
was a governor. The head master at that time (1850), was the Rev. (now
Archdeacon) E. H. Gifford, D.D., and in the school list for 1852,
Johnstone senior is placed next in the same class to Mackenzie (now
Sir Alex.), the present Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal.

In 1855, young James Johnstone went to a military college in Paris,
which was swept away before 1870, with a great part of the older
portion of the city. After a year and a half in Paris he was
transferred to the Royal Naval and Military Academy, Gosport, and
a few months later qualified for one of the last cadetships given
under the old East India Company. Without delay he proceeded to
India, which was at that period distracted by the Indian Mutiny,
so that his regiment the 68th Bengal Native Infantry, consisted only
of officers attached to different European regiments, or acting in a
civil capacity. With the 73rd (Queen's Regiment) he marched through
the country, and was actively employed in the suppression of the
insurgents, after which he was stationed for some time in Assam where
he also saw active service. There, in 1862, he met with the accident
he alludes to on pp. 3 and 20. It came in the course of his duty, as
the population of a village which had been disarmed had sent to the
nearest military post to ask for assistance against a tiger (panther),
causing destruction in the neighbourhood; but he was very much hurt,
and the weakening effects of this accident, seem to have predisposed
him to attacks of the malaria fever of the district, from which he
frequently suffered afterwards.

His next post was at Keonjhur, where there had been an outbreak
against the Rajah by some of the hill-tribes and the chief insurgent
had been executed. Lieutenant Johnstone was appointed special
assistant to the superintendent of the Tributary Mehals at Cuttack,
in whose official district Keonjhur lies. The Superintendent wrote
to the Lieutenant-Governor (Sir William Grey) of Bengal in 1869:
"Captain Johnstone has acquired their full confidence, and hopes
very shortly to be able to dispense with the greater part of the
Special Police Force posted at Keonjhur. He appears to take very
great interest in his work, and is sanguine of success." The same
official when enclosing Captain Johnstone's first report, wrote:
"It contains much interesting matter regarding the people, and shows
that he has taken great pains in bringing them into the present
peaceable and apparently loyal condition," and a little further on,
when describing an interview he had with the Rajah: "From the manner
in which he spoke of Captain Johnstone, I was exceedingly glad to
find that the most good feeling exists between them." He also adds,
apropos of a recommendation that the Government should pay half the
expense of the special commission instead of charging it all on the
native state: "Nearly one half of Captain Johnstone's time has been
occupied in Khedda (catching wild elephants) operations, which have
been successful and profitable to Government, and totally unconnected
with that officer's duty in Keonjhur." [3]

A year later the superintendent (T. E. Ravenshaw, Esq.) reports:
"Captain Johnstone, with his usual liberality and tact, has clothed
two thousand naked savages, and has succeeded in inducing them to wear
the garments;" and again, "Captain Johnstone's success in establishing
schools has been most marked, and there are now nine hundred children
receiving a rudimentary education.... Captain Johnstone has very
correctly estimated the political importance of education and
enlightenment among the hill people, and it is evident that he has
worked most judiciously and successfully in this direction." And again:
"In the matter of improvement of breed of cattle, Captain Johnstone
has, at his own expense, formed a valuable herd of sixty cows and
several young bulls ready to extend the experiment.... Captain
Johnstone's experiments on rice and flax cultivation have been
very successful" (two years later this is attributed to his having
superintended them himself). The official report sums up, "Of Captain
Johnstone I cannot speak too highly; his management has been efficient,
and he has exercised careful and constant supervision over the Rajah
and his estate, in a manner which has resulted in material improvement
to both."

Subsequently, when Captain Johnstone was on leave in England, the
Keonjhur despatches show that he sent directions that the increase of
his herd of cattle should be distributed gratis among the natives. They
were at first afraid to accept them, hardly believing in the gift.

"Keonjhur," says the Government report of India for 1870-1, "continues
under the able administration of Captain Johnstone, who, it will be
remembered, was mainly instrumental in restoring the country to quiet
three years ago."

Captain Johnstone was too good a classic not to remember the Roman
method of conquering and subduing a province; and as far as funds
would permit, he opened out roads and cleared away jungle. But he
suffered again from the malaria so prevalent in the forest districts
of India, and took three months' furlough in 1871, which meant just
one month in England. Although he had lost his father in May, 1869,
and his absence from home that year gave him some extra legal expense,
he would not quit his work till he could leave it in a satisfactory
state; yet the Lieut.-Governor of Bengal (Sir George Campbell) twice
referred to this furlough as being "most unfortunate," particularly
as it had to be repeated within a few months. The superintendent
wrote from Cuttack in his yearly report to the Lieut.-Governor:
"Captain Johnstone's serious and alarming illness necessitated his
taking sick leave to England in August, 1871. He had only a short
time previously returned from furlough, and with health half restored,
over-tasked his strength in carrying out elephant Khedda work in the
deadly jungles of Moburdhunj."

In the spring of 1872, Captain Johnstone was married to Emma Mary
Lloyd, with whose family his own had a hereditary friendship of
three generations. Her father was at that time M.P. for Plymouth,
and living at Moor Hall in Warwickshire. Their first child, James,
died of bronchitis when six months old, and they returned to India
a short time afterwards, at which point the experiences begin. Their
second child, Richard, was born at Samagudting, and is now a junior
officer in the battalion of the 60th King's Own Royal Rifles, quartered
in India. The third son, Edward, was born at Dunsley Manor, and two
younger children in Manipur.

Manipur, to which Colonel Johnstone was appointed in 1877, was
called by one of the Indian secretaries the Cinderella among
political agencies. "They'll never," he said, "get a good man to
take it." "Well," was the reply, "a good man has taken it now." The
loneliness, the surrounding savages, and the ill-feeling excited by
the Kubo valley (which so late as 1852 is placed in Manipur, in maps
published in Calcutta) having been made over to Burmah, were among the
reasons of its unpopularity. Colonel Johnstone's predecessor, Captain
Durand (now Sir Edward) draws a very glaring picture in his official
report for 1877, of the Maharajah's misgovernment; the wretched
condition of the people, and the most unpleasant position of the
Political Agent, whom he described as "in fact a British officer under
Manipur surveillance.... He is surrounded by spies.... If the Maharajah
is not pleased with the Political Agent he cannot get anything--he is
ostracised. From bad coarse black atta, which the Maharajah sells him
as a favour, to the dhoby who washes his clothes, and the Nagas who
work in his garden, he cannot purchase anything." Yet, well knowing all
this, Colonel Johnstone readily accepted the post, confident that with
his great knowledge of Eastern languages, and of Eastern customs and
modes of thought, he should be able to bring about a better state of
things, both as regarded the oppressed inhabitants and the permanent
influence of the representative of the British Government. Whether
this confidence was justified, the following pages will show.




    Arrival in India--Hospitable friends--The
    Lieutenant-Governor--Journey to the Naga
    Hills--Nigriting--Golaghat--A Panther reminiscence--Hot springs--A
    village dance--Dimapur--My new abode.

I left England with my wife on November 13th, 1873, and after an
uneventful voyage, reached Bombay, December 9th. We proceeded at once
to Calcutta, where some of my old servants joined me, including two
bearers, Seewa and Keptie, wild Bhooyas from the Cuttack Tributary
Mehals, whom I had trained, and who had been with me for years in
all my wanderings, in that wild territory. Thanks to the kindness of
my friends the Bernards (now Sir C. and Lady Bernard), we spent only
a day at an hotel, and remained under their hospitable roof till we
left Calcutta.

My old appointment in Keonjhur had been abolished, and I had to wait
till another was open to me. I had several interviews on the subject
with the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, Sir G. Campbell. Finally it
was decided that I should go to Assam (then about to be made into a
Chief Commissionership) and act as Political Agent of the Naga Hills,
while the permanent official--Captain Butler--was away in the Interior,
and subsequently on leave. I knew a large part of the district well,
as one of the most malarious in India, and when asked if I would take
the appointment, said, "Yes, I have no objection, but just hint to
the Lieutenant-Governor that unless he wants to kill me off, it may
be better policy to send me elsewhere, as the Medical Board in London
said, I must not go to a malarious district, after the experience
I have had of it in Keonjhur." The Secretary conveyed my hint, and
when I next saw him, said, "The Lieutenant-Governor says, that is
all stuff and nonsense." Later on Sir G. Campbell asked if my wife
would go with me. I quietly replied that she would go anywhere with me.

Finally, on December 30th, we left Calcutta, and after a night in the
train, embarked in one of the I. G. S. N. Co.'s steamers at Goalundo,
for Nigriting on the Burrhampooter, where we had to land for the Naga
Hills. The steamers of those days, were not like the well-appointed
mail boats now in use. The voyage was long, the steamers uncomfortable,
and the company on board anything but desirable. All the same, the
days passed pleasantly, while we slowly wended our way up the mighty
river, amid lovely and interesting scenery all new to my wife, to
whom I pointed out the different historic spots as they came in view.

We halted at Gowhatty for the night, and early in the morning I swam
across the river for the second time in my life, a distance of about
three miles, as the current carried me in a slanting direction.

At last we reached Nigriting, and were landed on a dry sandbank five
or six miles from the celebrated tea gardens of that name, and the
nearest habitations. Fortunately, I had brought a tent and all things
needful for a march; and my servants, well accustomed to camp life,
soon pitched it and made us comfortable, and my wife was charmed with
her first experience. We had a message of welcome from Mr. Boyle,
of Nigriting Factory, and the next day went to his house in canoes,
whence we set out for Golaghat.

It was to Nigriting that I was carried for change of air nearly
twelve years before, when, in April, 1862, I was desperately wounded
in an encounter with a large panther near Golaghat, where I had been
stationed. I then lived for a week or so in a grass hut on a high
bank, and the fresh air made my obstinate wounds begin to heal. Thus it
happened that all the people knew me well, and I was long remembered by
the name of "Baghé Khooah" literally the "tiger eaten," a name which I
found was still familiar to every one. Loading our things on elephants,
and having a pony for my wife, and a dandy (hill litter) in case she
grew tired, we set off for Golaghat, and had a picnic luncheon on the
way. How delightful are our first experiences of marching in India,
even when we have, as in this case, to put up with some discomfort;
the cool, crisp air in the morning; the good appetite that a ten-mile
walk or ride gives; the feeling that breakfast has been earned, and
finally breakfast itself; and such a good one. Where indeed but in
India could we have a first-rate meal of three or four courses, and
every dish hot, with no better appliances in the shape of a fireplace,
than two or three clods of earth? Often have I had a dinner fit for
a king, when heavy rain had been falling for hours, and there was no
shelter for my men, but a tree with a sheet thrown over a branch.

We breakfasted at a place called "Char Alleé" and the march being
long (nearly twenty miles), the sun was low long before reaching
Golaghat. As we passed some road coolies, I began a conversation with
the old Tekla (overseer) in charge, and asked him if he could get me
a few oranges. He said, "Oh no, they are all over." He then asked me
how I came to speak Assamese so well. I said, "I have been in Assam
before." He said, "Oh yes, there have been many sahibs in my time,"
and he named several; "and then long ago there was a 'Baghé Khooah'
sahib, I wonder where he is now?" I looked at him and said, "Ami Baghé
Khooah" (I am the Baghé Khooah). The old man gazed equally hard at
me for a moment and then ran in front of me and made a most profound
obeisance. Having done this, he smilingly said, "I think I can find
you some oranges after all," and at once ran off, and brought me some
for which he refused to take anything. The good old man walked about a
mile farther before he wished me good-bye; and my wife and I went on,
greatly pleased to find that I was so well remembered.

We did not get to Golaghat till long after dark, and pitched our tent
on the site of the lines of my old detachment, which I had commanded
twelve years before. What a change! Trees that I had remembered as
small, had grown large, and some that were planted since I left,
already a fair size.

In the morning we received a perfect ovation. People who had known me
before, crowded to see me and pay their respects, many of them bringing
their children born since I had left. All this was pleasant enough and
greatly delighted my wife, but we had to proceed on our way, and it
is always difficult to get one's followers to move from a civilised
place, where there is a bazaar, into the jungle, and henceforth our
road lay through jungle, the Nambor forest beginning about five miles
from Golaghat. At last coolies to carry my wife arrived, and I sent
her on in her "dandy" with her ayah, charging the bearers to wait
for me at a village I well knew, called "Sipahee Hoikeeah." The men
replied, "Hoi Deota" (Yes, deity [4]) and started. The elephants
were a great difficulty, and it was some hours before I could get
off, and even then some had not arrived. However, off I started,
and hurried on to "Sipahee Hoikeeah" so as not to keep my wife
waiting, but when I reached the spot, I found to my amazement that
the village had ceased to exist, having, as I subsequently learned,
been abandoned for fear of the Nagas. I hurried on in much anxiety,
as my wife did not speak Hindoostani, and neither ayah nor bearers
spoke English. At last I caught them up at the Nambor hot springs,
called by natives the "Noonpoong" where we were to halt.


Camping Out.

[Page 6.

The Noonpoong is situated in a lovely spot amidst fine forest. The
hot water springs out of the ground, at a temperature of 112 degrees
and fills a small pool. It is similar in taste to the waters
of Aix-la-Chapelle, and is highly efficacious in skin diseases,
being resorted to even for the cure of severe leech bites, which
are easily obtained from the land leech infesting all the forests
of Assam. Fortunately some of our cooking things, with chairs and a
table arrived, also a mattress, but no bed and no tent. We waited
till 9 P.M., and finding that no more elephants came up, I made
up a bed for my wife on the ground under a table, to shelter her
from the dew, but while sitting by the camp fire for a last warm,
we heard the noise of an elephant, and saw one emerging from the
forest. Fortunately he carried the tent which was quickly pitched,
and we passed a comfortable night.

The hot springs are not the only attraction of the neighbourhood, as
about two miles off in the forest, there is a very pretty waterfall,
not high, but the volume of water is considerable, and it comes down
with a thundering sound heard for some distance. The natives call it
the "phutta hil," literally "rent rock." The Nambor forest is noted
for its Nahor or Nagessur trees (Mesua Ferma) a handsome tree, the
heart of which is a fine red wood, very hard and very heavy, and quite
impervious to the attacks of white ants. Europeans call it the iron
wood of Assam. It is very plentiful in parts of the forest between
the Noonpoong and Golaghat, and also grows in the lowlands of Manipur.

The next morning we set out for Borpathar, a village with a fine sheet
of cultivation on the banks of the Dunseree, and took up our quarters
in the old blockhouse, which had been converted into a comfortable rest
house. Here again we received a perfect ovation, the people, headed by
my old friend Hova Ram, now promoted to a Mouzadar, coming in a body,
with fruit and eggs, etc., to pay their respects. The population had
sadly diminished since my early days, the people having in many cases
fled the country for fear of Naga raids.

The march having been a short one, all our baggage had time to come
up. In the evening the girls of the village entertained us with one
of their national dances, a very pretty and interesting sight. After
a good night's rest we again started, our march lying through the
noble forest, where buttressed trees formed an arch over the road,
showing plainly that Gothic architecture was an adaptation from
nature. I had never marched along the road since it was cleared; but
I was there in 1862, in pursuit of some Naga raiders, when it would
have been impassable, but for elephant and rhinoceros tracks. Even
then I was struck by its great beauty, and now it was a fairly good
cold weather track.

We halted at Deo Panee, then at Hurreo Jan, and Nowkatta, and on the
fourth day reached Dimapur, where we found a comfortable rest house,
on the banks of a fine tank about two hundred yards square. This,
with many others near it, spoke of days of civilisation that had long
since passed away, before the Naga drove the Cacharee from the hills he
now inhabits, and from the rich valley of the Dunseree. Near Dimapur
we passed a Meekir hut built on posts ten or twelve feet high, and
with a notched log resting against it, at an angle of about seventy
degrees by way of a staircase, up which a dog ran like a squirrel
at our approach. The Meekirs occupy some low hill ranges between the
Naga hills and the Burrhampooter.

The country round Dimapur is exceedingly rich, and everywhere bears
the marks of having been thickly populated. It is well supplied
with artificial square tanks, some much larger than the one already
referred to, and on the opposite bank of the river we crossed to reach
our halting place, are the remains of an old fortified city. Mounds
containing broken pottery made with the wheel, abound, though the
neighbouring tribes have forgotten its use. At Dimapur, in those days,
there were three or four Government elephants and a few shops kept by
"Khyahs," an enterprising race of merchants from Western India.

The ruined city is worth describing. It was surrounded originally by
solid brick walls twelve feet in height and six in thickness, the
bricks admirably made and burned. The walls enclosed a space seven
hundred yards square; it was entered by a Gothic archway, and not far
off had a gap in the wall, said to have been made for cattle to enter
by. Inside were tanks, some lined with brick walls, and with brick
steps leading to the water. Though I carefully explored the interior,
I never saw any other traces of brickwork, except perhaps a platform;
but I found one or two sacrificial stones, for offerings of flowers,
water and oil. One corner of the surrounding wall had been cut away
by the river. The enclosure is covered with forest. Near the gateway
are some huge monoliths, one eighteen feet in height. All are covered
with sculpture, and some have deep grooves cut in the top, as if to
receive beams. It is difficult to conjecture what they were brought
there for, and how they were transported, as the nearest rocks from
which they could have been cut, are at least ten miles away. If the
Assam-Bengal Railway passes near Dimapur as is, I believe, arranged,
this interesting old city wall will probably be used as a quarry for
railway purposes, and soon none of it will remain. Alas, for Vandalism!

History tells us little about the origin of Dimapur, but probably it
was once a centre of Cacharee civilisation, and as the Angami Nagas
advanced, the city wall was built, so as to afford a place of refuge
against sudden raids. It is a strange sight to see the relics of a
forgotten civilisation, in the midst of a pathless forest.

On our march up, we frequently came upon the windings of the river
Dunseree. At Nowkatta it runs parallel for a time with the road, and
we took our evening walk on its dry sandbanks, finding many recent
traces of tigers and wild elephants. From that time till we finally
left the hills, the roar of tigers and the trumpeting of elephants
were such common sounds, that we ceased to pay attention to them, and
my wife, though naturally timid, became devoted to the wild solitude
of our life.

At Dimapur we enjoyed the luxury of fresh milk, which, of course,
the forest did not supply. The night was delightfully cold, and the
next morning crisp and invigorating, and we set off at an early hour,
for our last march into Samagudting.

For the first eight miles our road was through a level forest country,
with the exception of a piece of low-lying grass land, and at a place
called Nichu Guard the ascent of the hill commenced. This entrance of
the gorge through which the Diphoo Panee river enters the low lands is
very beautiful, the stream rushing out from the hills over a pebbly
bottom, and it was a favourite encamping ground for us in our later
marches. Now, we had not time to halt, so hurried on. The road up the
hill was in fair condition for men and elephants, but did not admit
of wheeled traffic, had there been any carts to use. We accomplished
the ascent, a distance of four miles, in about two hours, obtaining
several lovely views of the boundless forest, on our way.

The vegetation on the hill itself had been much injured by the
abominable practice hillmen have, of clearing a fresh space every two
or three years, and deserting it for another, when the soil has been
exhausted. This never gives it time to recover. At last we reached
the summit, and took possession of the Political Agent's house, a
large bungalow, built of grass and bamboo, the roof being supported by
wooden posts, on the highest point of the hill. A glance showed me that
the posts were nearly eaten through by white ants, and that the first
high wind would level it with the ground. It had been built by a man
who never intended to stay, and who only wanted it to last his time.

Later in the day, I took over the charge from Mr. Coombs, who was
acting till my arrival, and thus became, for the time, chief of the
district. My staff consisted of Mr. Needham, Assistant Political Agent,
and Mr. Cooper, in medical charge, the usual office establishment,
and one hundred and fifty military police. Most of these, together with
Captain Butler, for whom I was acting, were away in the Interior with
a survey party. Mr. Coombs left in a day or two, and I then occupied
his bungalow lower down the hill, and in a more exposed position, so
as to allow of the larger house being rebuilt. Besides the Government
establishment, we had a fair-sized Naga village on the hill, and
just below the Political Agent's house. These people had long been
friendly to us, and were willing, for a large recompense, to do all
sorts of odd jobs, being entirely free from the caste prejudices of
our Hindoo and degenerate Mussulman fellow-subjects.


    Samagudting--Unhealthy quarters--A callous widower--Want of
    water--Inhabitants of the Naga Hills--Captain Butler--Other
    officials--Our life in the wilds--A tiger carries off the
    postman--An Indian forest--Encouragement.

My first impressions of Samagudting, were anything but favourable. It
was eminently a "make-shift place." It had been occupied by us as
a small outpost, from time to time, between 1846 and 1851, but it
was never fit for a permanent post of more than twenty-five men,
as the water supply was bad, there being no springs, and only a few
water holes which were entirely dependent on the uncertain rainfall. A
small tank had been constructed, but it was 500 feet below the summit,
so that water was sold at an almost prohibitive rate. All articles
of food were scarce, dear and bad, wood was enormously dear, and to
crown all, the place was unhealthy and constantly enveloped in fog.

Samagudting [5] ought never to have been occupied, and would not
have been, had the Government taken ordinary precautions to verify
the too roseate reports of an officer who wished to see it adopted
as the headquarters of a new district, as a speedy road to promotion,
and subsequent transfer to a more favoured appointment. The report in
question which, among other things, mentioned the existence of springs
of water, that existed only in imagination, having once been accepted
by the authorities, and a large expenditure incurred, it became a
very invidious task for future Political Agents to unmask the affair,
and proclaim the extreme unsuitability of Samagudting for a station.

Many other good and healthy sites were available, and I believe that
our dealings with the Nagas were greatly retarded, by the adoption
of such an unsuitable post. As it was, having made our road over the
hill, it was necessary to climb an ascent of over two thousand feet,
and an equal descent, before entering the really important portion
of the Angami Naga country. I at once saw that the right entrance
lay by the Diphoo Panee Gorge, and I recommended its adoption. I
began to make this road during the Naga Hills Campaign of 1879-80,
and it has since been regularly used.

Having said all that there was to say against Samagudting, it is
only fair to mention its good points. First, though never so cold in
the winter, as the plains, the temperature was never so high in the
hot and rainy seasons; and when the weather was fine, it was very
enjoyable. The views from the hill were magnificent. To the south,
the Burrail range, from which a broad and undulating valley divided
us. To the west, a long stretch of hills and forests. To the east,
the valley of the Dunseree, bordered by the Rengma and Lotah Naga
hills, a vast forest, stretching as far as the eye could reach,
with here and there a large patch of high grass land, one of which
many miles in extent, was the Rengma Putha, a grand elephant catching
ground in old times, where many a noble elephant became a victim to
the untiring energy of the Bengali elephant phandaits or noosers,
from the Morung. [6] To the north, the view extended over a pathless
forest, the first break being the Doboka Hills. Behind these, a long
bank of mist showed the line of the Burrhampooter, while on clear
days in the cold weather, we might see the dark line of the Bhootan
Hills, with the snowy peaks of the Himalayas towering above them. [7]
Altogether, it was a sight once seen, never to be forgotten.



[Page 14.

There was a footpath all round the hill, which, after a little
alteration of level here and there, and a little repairing, where
landslips had made it unsafe, was delightful for a morning or evening
walk or ride. As my wife was fond of botany, she found a subject of
never-ending interest in the many wild flowers, ferns, and climbing
plants, and soon grew accustomed to riding along the edge of a dizzy

Our private establishment consisted of ten or twelve servants in all,
including a girl of the Kuki tribe, named Bykoout, who assisted the
ayah; a very small establishment for India. Servants in Assam are
bad and difficult to keep. Most of mine were imported, but, with the
exception of my two faithful Bhooyas, Seewa and Keptie, and a syce
(groom), by name Peewa, they were all soon corrupted, though some had
been with me for years. Seewa once said to me, "The influence here
is so bad, that we too shall be corrupted if we stay long." Seewa was
quite a character. One day I got a letter from one of his relations,
asking me to tell him that his wife was dead. I remembered her well;
it was a love match, and she had run away with him. I feared it would
be such a blow, that I felt quite nervous about telling him, and put it
off till the evening, when, with a faltering voice, I broke the news as
gently as I could. Instead of the outburst of grief I had looked for,
he quietly asked, "What did she die of?" I said, "Fever." He replied,
"Oh, yes, I thought it must be that. Will you write and see that all
her property is made over to my brother, otherwise some of her people
may steal it?"

The state of things at Samagudting was very discouraging. I resented
seeing the Government and the establishment being charged famine prices
for everything, by the Nagas and Khyahs; also the general squalor which
prevailed, and which I felt need not exist. It was the inheritance
of the hand-to-mouth system in which everything had been commenced
in early days. However, my wife set me an example of cheerfulness,
and I made up my mind to remedy all the evils I could. First, the
supply system was attacked, and I made arrangements with some old
Khyah friends at Golaghat, to send up large supplies of rice and
other kinds of food, and as the season advanced, I encouraged such of
the military police as could be spared to take up land at Dimapur,
and cultivate. For ourselves, I bought two cows at Borpathar, and
established them at Nichu Guard, whence my gardener brought up the milk
every day. In a short time we were more comfortable than could have
been expected, and there was the additional satisfaction of seeing
that the arrangements for cheaper food for the establishment proved
successful. Water was the standing difficulty; we had to depend upon
the caprice of the Naga water-carriers, and frequently my wife's
bath, filled ready for the next morning, had to be emptied in the
evening to provide water for cooking our evening meal! Sometimes I
got clean water for drinking from the Diphoo Panee, otherwise what
we had was as if it had been taken from a dirty puddle. The want
of water prevented our having a garden near our house; we had a few
hardy flowers, including the shoe-flower--a kind of hibiscus--roses,
and passion-flower. Such vegetable-garden as we had was at Nichu Guard,
where the soil was good, and water plentiful.

Our house was watertight, and that was the best that could be said
for it. It was thatched, with walls of split bamboos and strengthened
by wooden posts; there were no glass windows, and the doors and
shutters were of split bamboo tied together; the mud floor was also
covered with thin split bamboos, and had to be swept constantly,
as the dust worked through. We had one sitting-room, a bed-room,
bath-room, pantry, and store-room, the latter full of rats. Snakes
occasionally visited us, and a day or two after we had settled in,
a cat rushed in while we were at breakfast, jumped on my knee and
took away the meat from my plate, and bit and scratched me when I
tried to catch her. My dressing-room was the shade of a tree outside,
where I bathed Anglo-Indian camp fashion, substituting a large hollow
bamboo for the usual mussuk, or skin of water.

We arrived at Samagudting on January 23rd, 1874, and by the beginning
of February felt quite old residents; hill-walking no longer tired me,
and we had made acquaintance with all the Nagas of the village, and of
many others, and were on quite friendly terms with "Jatsolé," the chief
of Samagudting, a shrewd far-seeing man, with great force of character.

I have mentioned the Burrail range, and the valley separating
us. Besides Samagudting there were two other villages on our side,
Sitekima, on the opposite bank of the Diphoo Panee Gorge, and
Tesephima, on outlying spurs of Samagudting. I say Samagudting,
as it has become the common appellation, but correctly speaking it
should be Chumookodima.

On the side of the Burrail facing us, were villages belonging to
a tribe we call Kutcha Nagas, a race inferior in fighting power to
the Angamis, but not unlike them in appearance, though of inferior
physique. These villages were formerly inhabited by Cacharees. [8]

On February 4th, I had a letter from Captain Butler, saying that
he would be at Kohima in a day or two, and asking me to meet him
there. He said that three of the police would be a sufficient escort. I
accordingly took three men, and started on the 6th, marching to Piphima
twenty-one miles, and the next morning another twenty-one into Kohima,
two very hard marches. I was glad to renew my acquaintance with Butler,
whom I had known when he first landed in India in 1861, and I was in
Fort William, studying for my Hindustani examination. He was a fine
manly fellow, admirably fitted to conduct an expedition, where pluck
and perseverance were required. Here, I also met Dr. Brown, Political
Agent of Manipur, and Captain (now Colonel) Badgley and Lieutenant
(now Colonel C.B.) Woodthorpe, R.E., of the survey, also Lieutenant
(now Major V.C.) Ridgeway, 44th N.I., I spent a pleasant evening,
discussing various subjects with Captain Butler, and early on the
8th started on my return journey.

Captain Butler had done the whole forty-two miles into Samagudting
in one day, and I determined to attempt it, and succeeded, though
the last 2000 feet of ascent to my house was rather hard, tired as I
was. My wife did not expect me, but I had arranged to fire three shots
from my rifle as a signal, if I arrived at any time by night; this I
did about 500 feet below my house, and I at once saw lanterns appear
far above me, and in a quarter of an hour, or twenty minutes, I was
at my door. The sound of firing at 9 P.M. created quite a sensation
among the weak-nerved ones on the hill, but it was good practice for
the sentries to be kept on the alert. Ever after, three shots from
a rifle or a revolver, were always my signal when I neared home,
and often in after years were they heard in the dead of night, when
I was thought to be miles away. My wife used to say that it kept the
people in good order, never knowing when to expect me. I think it did.

Life was never monotonous. I took long walks, after our morning
walk round the hill, to inspect roads and bridges--a very important
work. Then I attended Cutcherry (the court of justice) and heard cases,
often with a loaded revolver in my hand, in case of any wild savage
attempting to dispute my authority; then I finished off revenue work,
of which there was little, and went home, had a cup of tea, visited
hospitals and gaol, if I had not already done so; and afterwards
went for an evening walk with my wife, round the hill or through
the village.

Sometimes duty took me to the plains, and we had a most delightful
march to the Nambor hot springs, when I arranged to have a rest
house built at Nowkatta, between Dimapur and Hurreo Jan. We reached
the last place, just after a dreadful catastrophe had occurred. The
rest house was raised on posts, six feet above the ground. One night
when the man carrying the dak (post) had arrived from Borpathar,
he hung up the letter bag under the house on a peg, and having had
his evening meal, retired to rest in the house with one or two other
travellers. Suddenly a huge tiger rushed up the steps, sprang through
the open door, and seizing one of the sleepers, bounded off into
the forest with him. One of my police who was there snatched up his
rifle, pursued the tiger and fired, making him drop the man, but life
was extinct, and when we arrived, there was a huge bloodstain on the
floor, at least a yard long. Strange to say, the letter bag was on one
occasion carried off by a tiger, but afterwards recovered, uninjured
save by tooth marks. The policeman was promoted for his gallantry.

The day after leaving Hurreo Jan, we met a party of Rengma Nagas coming
to see me, with some little presents. They were the men who helped to
kill the panther, that wounded me in 1862, [9] and they brought with
them the son of one of their number, who was killed by the infuriated
beast, a fine lad of fifteen; needless to say, that I rewarded these
friendly people, whom I had not seen for twelve years. We halted a
day or two at the springs, as I had to visit Golaghat on business,
and unfortunately missed seeing a herd of wild elephants caught, a
sight I had wished my wife to see. She did see the stockade, but the
elephants had been already taken out. I hope farther on to describe
an elephant drive.

I do not know a more agreeable place to halt at than the hot springs
in former days. In cold weather before the mosquitoes had arrived
it was perfect rest. A little opening in the tall dark forest, in
the centre some scrub jungle, including fragrant wild lemons and
citrons, with the pool in the midst; a babbling stream flowed all
round the opening, on the other side of which was a high bank. The
bathing was delightful, and could be made quite private for ladies,
by means of a cloth enclosure, well known to the Assamese by the name
of "Âr Kapôr." Then the occasional weird cry of the hoolook ape, and
the gambols of numerous monkeys in the tall trees on the high bank,
gave plenty of interest to the scene, had the general aspect of the
place failed in its attractions.

Soon after our return to headquarters, the survey party arrived
from the interior of the hills, and after a few days' rest, departed
for their summer quarters. Captain Butler then started for England,
and Mr. Needham came in to Samagudting.

Thus left in charge for a considerable period, I felt justified
in doing more than I should have done, had my stay only been of
a temporary nature, and I went most thoroughly into all questions
connected with the hills and their administration. My long experience
in charge of a native state full of wild hill tribes, and my personal
knowledge of many of the Naga and other wild tribes of Assam (a
knowledge that went back as far as 1860), were a great help to me,
as I was consequently not new to the work. The eastern frontier had
always been to my mind the most interesting field of work in India,
and now it was for me to learn all I could.


    Historical events connected with Manipur and the Naga
    Hills--Different tribes--Their religion--Food and customs.

Shortly after my arrival at Samagudting, I received a cheering letter,
just when I most needed it, from my old friend Wynne, then Acting
Foreign Secretary, saying, "Don't be too disappointed at not receiving
a better appointment than the Naga Hills. You will have plenty of
good work to do, and you will increase your already very extensive
knowledge of wild tribes." It was the last letter I ever received
from him, as cholera quickly carried him off, and I lost in him one
of the kindest friends I ever had, one who had constantly interested
himself in my work, and given me advice. Such a friend would have been
invaluable now. Our position in the Naga Hills was an anxious one, and
can only be properly realised by knowing the course of previous events.

Our first acquaintance with the Nagas practically began in 1832, when
Captain Jenkins and Lieutenant Pemberton escorted by Rajah Ghumbeer
Singh's Manipur troops, forced a passage through the hills with a view
to ascertaining if there were a practicable route into Assam. They
came viâ Paptongmai and Samagudting to Mohong Deejood. There is every
reason to believe that the Manipuris in former days did penetrate
into the Naga Hills, and exacted tribute when they felt strong enough
to do so. All the villages have Manipur names in addition to their
own. But during the period of her decadence, just before and during
the Burmese War of 1819-25, any influence Manipur may have possessed
fell into abeyance. At that time it was re-asserted, and Ghumbeer Singh
reduced several villages to submission, including the largest of all,
Kohima, at which place he stood upon a stone and had his footprints
sculptured on it, in token of conquest. This was set up in a prominent
position, together with an upright stone bearing carved figures and
an inscription.

The Nagas greatly respected this stone and cleaned it from time to
time. They opened a large trade with Manipur, and whenever a Manipuri
visited a Naga village he was treated as an honoured guest, at a time
when a British subject could not venture into the interior without
risk of being murdered.

Even up to the Naga Hills campaign of 1879-80, the Nagas regarded
Manipur as the greater power of the two, because her conduct was
consistent; if she threatened, she acted. One British subject after
another might be murdered with impunity, but woe betide the village
that murdered a subject of Manipur. A force of Manipuris was instantly
despatched, the village was attacked, destroyed, and ample compensation
exacted. The system answered well for Manipur; many of the Nagas began
to speak Manipuri, and several villages paid an annual tribute. Still,
up to 1851, we considered that we had some shadowy claim to the hills,
though we never openly asserted it.

I may as well give a short account of the different tribes inhabiting
the Naga Hills district when I took charge. The oldest were--


Their origin is obscure. They are first met with in the north-east
portion of the Assam Valley between the Muttuk country and Sudya. Round
the last in the vast forests, there are numerous ruins ascribed by the
people to the Cacharee Rajahs, built of substantial brickwork. I have
not seen any sculptured stonework, but it may exist. The traditions
give no clue to their original home, which was probably in Thibet. From
the neighbourhood of Sudya they penetrated down the valley, leaving
buildings and remnants of their tribes here and there, notably in
the Durrung district. The main body were, for a time settled in the
neighbourhood of Dimapur, and the country lying between it and Doboka,
the Cachar district, but when they arrived or how long they stayed we
have no means of ascertaining. They occupied the first two or three
ranges of the Burrails and stoutly contested possession with the
Naga invaders, and after they had been dispossessed made a gallant
attempt to retrieve their affairs by an attack on Sephema. They
entered the hills by the Diphoo gorge and constructed a paved road
up to the neighbourhood of Sephema where they would probably have
succeeded in their operations, but that the Sephema Nagas, skilful
then as now, in the use of poison, poisoned the waters and destroyed
a large portion of the invaders; the rest retreated to Dimapur, and
eventually left the neighbourhood and settled in Cachar, to which they
gave their name. There are still a good many Cacharees on the banks
of the Kopiti, in the neighbourhood of Mohung-dee-jood. They are a
fine hardy race, and in my time the Naga Hills police was largely
recruited from them. Under Captain Butler they did good service,
and would have gone anywhere when led by him. [10] The Cacharees were
governed formerly by a race of despotic chiefs.


The Kukis are a wandering race consisting of several tribes who
have long been working up from the South. They were first heard
of as Kukis, in Manipur, between 1830 and 1840; though tribes of
the same race had long been subject to the Rajah of Manipur. The
new immigrants began to cause anxiety about the year 1845, and
soon poured into the hill tracts of Manipur in such numbers, as to
drive away many of the older inhabitants. Fortunately, the political
agent (at this time Lieutenant afterwards Colonel McCulloch) [11]
was a man well able to cope with the situation. Cool and resolute,
he at once realised and faced the difficulty. Manipur in those days,
owing to intestine quarrels, could have done nothing, and the Rajah
Nur Singh gladly handed over the management of the new arrivals to him.

Seeing that the Kukis had been driven north by kindred but more
powerful tribes, and that their first object was to secure land for
cultivation; McCulloch, as they arrived, settled them down, allotting
to them lands in different places according to their numbers, and where
their presence would be useful on exposed frontiers. He advanced them
large sums from his own pocket, assigning different duties to each
chief's followers. Some were made into irregular troops, others were
told off to carry loads according to the customs of the state. Thus
in time many thousands of fierce Kukis were settled down as peaceful
subjects of Manipur, and Colonel McCulloch retained supreme control
over them to the last. So great was his influence, that he had only
to send round his silver mounted dao (Burmese sword) as a kind of
fiery cross, when all able-bodied men at once assembled at his summons.

Colonel McCulloch's policy of planting Kuki settlements on exposed
frontiers, induced the Government of Bengal to try a similar
experiment, and a large colony of Kukis were settled in 1855 in
the neighbourhood of Langting, to act as a barrier for North Cachar
against the raids of the Angami Nagas. The experiment answered well
to a certain extent, and would have answered better, had we been
a little less timid. The Kukis are strictly monarchical, and their
chiefs are absolutely despotic, and may murder or sell their subjects
into slavery without a murmur of dissent. Their original home cannot
be correctly ascertained, but there seem to be traces of them as
far south as the Malay peninsula. They are readily distinguishable
from the Nagas, and are braver men. Their women are often very fair,
and wear their hair in a long thick plait down the back. The men are
mostly copper coloured, and have often good features.


The tribe we call Kutcha Nagas, very much resemble the Angamis,
though of inferior physique. They are closely allied to the Nagas
in Manipur, as well as to the Angamis, and probably were pushed in
front of the latter from the Northern North-East, as the Kukis were
forced in by the pressure of stronger tribes to their South. They
have always been less warlike than their powerful neighbours, though
they could be troublesome at times.


A strong built, hardy, active race, the men averaging 5 feet 8 inches
to 6 feet in height, and the women tall in proportion. In colour they
vary from a rich brown to a yellowish or light brown. They have a
manly independent bearing, and are bred up to war from their earliest
years. While the Kukis are monarchists, the Nagas are republicans,
and their Peumahs, or chiefs, are elected, and though they often
have great influence, they are in theory, only primus inter pares,
and are liable at any time to be displaced. Practically they often
remain in office for years, and are greatly respected.

Where the Angamis came from must be uncertain till the languages
of our Eastern frontier are scientifically analysed. The late
Mr. Damant, a man of great talent and powers of research, had
a valuable paper regarding them in hand, but it perished in the
insurrection of 1879. The probability is, that they came originally
from the south-eastern corner of Thibet.

Some of the Maories of New Zealand reminded me of the Angamis. The
well-defined nose is a prominent characteristic of the last,
as it is of some of the inhabitants of Polynesia. The people of
Samagudting--that is, the adults in 1874--told me that they had come
from the north-east, and were the seventh generation that had been
there. When they first occupied their village, the site was, they
said, covered with the bones and tusks of elephants which had come
there to die.

Had I lived longer among the Nagas, I should have liked to have made
deeper researches into their language and past history; as it was,
all my time was taken up with my active duties, and I had not a moment
to spare.

Their dress is a short kilt of black cotton cloth, ornamented, in
the case of warriors, with rows of cowrie shells. They have handsome
cloths of dark blue and yellow thrown over their shoulders in cold
weather. Their arms are spears and heavy short swords, called by the
Assamese name of dao; helmets and shields of wicker work (used chiefly
to cover the more vulnerable parts of the body) and sometimes clothed
with skins of tigers or bears. They have also tails of wood decorated
with goats' hair dyed red. The warspears are plain; the ornamental
ones are covered with goats' hair dyed red, and are sometimes used in
battle. Their drill is of a most complicated style, and requires much
practice. An Angami in full war paint is a very formidable-looking
individual. They are divided into many clans. Several clans often
inhabit one village, and it frequently happened that two clans thus
situated were at deadly feud with each other.

Blood feuds were common among all the hill-tribes, but the system
was carried to excess among the Angamis. Life for life was the rule,
and until each of the opposing parties had lost an equal number,
peace was impossible, and whenever members of one village met any
belonging to the other, hostilities were sure to result. Sometimes
an attempt was made to bring about a reconciliation, but then it
frequently happened that the number of slain to the credit of each
were unequal. Mozuma and Sephema might be at war, and Mozuma killed
five, whereas Sephema had killed only four. Sephema says, "I must
kill one more to make the balance, then I will treat for peace,"
so war continues. Some day Sephema has a chance, but kills two
instead of the one that was required; this gives her the advantage,
and Mozuma refuses to treat. So it goes on interminably. The position
of a small village at war with a large one, was often deplorable as
no one dared to leave the village except under a strong escort. I
once knew a case of some Sephema men at feud with Mozuma, hiring two
women of the powerful village of Konoma to escort them along the road
as thus accompanied no one dare touch them.

Once at Piphima, when my assistant Mr. Needham was encamped there,
parties from two hostile villages suddenly met each other and rushed
to arms. He was equal to the occasion and stopped the combat. I made
it a criminal offence to fight on our road called the "Political Path,"
and it was generally respected as neutral ground.

No Angami could assume the "toga virilis," in this case the kilt
ornamented with cowrie shells, already described, until he had slain
an enemy, and in the more powerful villages no girl could marry a man
unless he was so decorated. The cowrie ornaments were taken off when
a man was mourning the death of a relation.

To kill a baby in arms, or a woman, was accounted a greater feat
than killing a man, as it implied having penetrated to the innermost
recesses of an enemy's country, whereas a man might be killed anywhere
by a successful ambush. I knew a man who had killed sixty women and
children, when on one occasion he happened to come upon them after
all the men had left the village on a hunting expedition.

Every Naga who was able to murder an enemy did so, and received great
commendation for it by all his friends. Later, when I was in Manipur,
I had a pleasant young fellow as interpreter. He often took my boys
out for a walk when he had nothing else to do, and was a careful,
trustworthy man. Once I asked him how many people he had killed (he
wore the cowrie kilt, a sure sign he had killed some one). A modest
blush suffused his face as if he did not like to boast of such a good
deed, and he mildly said, "Two, a woman and a girl!"

The Angamis when on friendly terms are an agreeable people to deal
with, polite, courteous, and hospitable. I never knew any one take
more pains or more successfully not to hurt the susceptibilities of
those they are talking to, indeed they show a tact and good feeling
worthy of imitation. My wife and I soon knew all the villagers well,
and often visited them, when we were always offered beer, and asked to
come into their verandahs and sit down, and just as we were leaving,
our host would search the hen's nests to give us a few eggs. The beer
we never took, but many Europeans like it and find it wholesome. It
is made of rice and has rather a sharp taste. Their houses are large
substantial structures built of wood and bamboo thatched with grass,
and the eaves come low down. Houses with any pretensions always
have verandahs. Besides the houses, there are granaries, often at
a distance for fear of fire. The Angamis bury their dead in and
about their villages, and for a time, decorate them with some of the
belongings of the deceased. Naturally they strongly object to the
graves being disturbed, and in making alterations I was careful not
to hurt their feelings.

The more powerful villages in the interior of the hills have a large
area of cultivation on terraces cut out of the hillside, and carefully
irrigated. Some of the terraces go up the hillsides to a great height,
and show considerable skill in their formation. On these terraces
lowland rice is grown and is very productive. Some of the smaller
outlying villages like Samagudting have only ordinary hill cultivation,
where upland rice is grown. The terrace land used to be greatly valued,
and was often sold at prices equal to £22 to £25 per acre!

The Angamis, in common with most hill-tribes that I have come across,
have a vague indefinite belief in a supreme being, but look on him as
too great and good to injure them. They believe themselves also to be
subject to the influence of evil spirits, whom it is their constant
endeavour to appease by sacrifices. Every misfortune is, as a rule,
ascribed to evil spirits, and much money is spent on appeasing them,
the usual way being to offer fowls, of which the head, feet, and
entrails are offered to the demon, with many incantations. The other
parts are eaten by the sacrificer.

All kinds of animals are readily eaten by the Angamis, and those dying
a natural death are not rejected. Dogs' flesh is highly esteemed. When
a man wants to have a delicate dish, he starves his dog for a day to
make him unusually voracious, and then cooks a huge dish of rice on
which he feeds the hungry beast. As soon as the dog has eaten his
fill, he is knocked on the head and roasted, cut up and divided,
and the rice being taken out, is considered the bonne bouche. The
Manipur dogs are regularly bred for sale to the hill-tribes, Nagas
included, and a portion of the bazaar, or market, used to be allotted
to them. I have seen a string of nineteen dogs being led away to be
strangled. Poor things, they seemed to realise that all was not well.

The Naga women are not handsome but very pleasant-looking, and
many of the girls are pretty, but soon age with the hard toil they
have to perform; working in the fields and carrying heavy loads up
endless hills. They have plenty of spirit and can generally hold
their own. They do not marry till they are nearly or quite grown
up. Divorce can be easily obtained when there is an equal division of
goods. Often a young man takes advantage of this, and marries a rich
old widow, and soon divorces her, receiving half her property, when he
is in a position to marry a nice young girl. The tribal name of the
Angami Nagas is "Tengima." Naga is a name given by the inhabitants
of the plains, and in the Assamese language means "naked." As some
of the Naga tribes are seen habitually in that state, the name was
arbitrarily applied to them all. It is the greatest mistake to connect
them with the snake worshippers, "Nag Bungsees" of India. Neither Nagas
or Manipuris, or any tribes on the eastern frontier, are addicted to
this worship, or have any traditions connected with it, and any snake,
cobra (Nag) or otherwise, would receive small mercy at their hands. The
slightest personal acquaintance with the Assamese and their language,
would have dispelled this myth for ever.

The Nagas are skilful iron-workers and turn out very handsome
spears. Their women weave substantial and pretty coloured cloths,
and every man knows enough of rough carpentering to enable him to
build his house, and make pestles and mortars for husking rice. They
make rough pottery, but without the potter's wheel.

After Ghumbeer Singh's Expedition, our next dealings with the Angamis
were in 1833, when Lieut. Gordon, adjutant of the Manipur Levy,
accompanied the Rajah of Manipur with a large force of Manipuris into
the Angami hills. On this occasion, Kohima and other villages were
subdued, as already stated, and an annual tribute exacted by Manipur.

So far as the British territories were concerned, Naga raids went
on as usual, but nothing was done till early in January 1839, when
Mr. Grange, sub-Assistant Commissioner of the Nowgong District,
was despatched with a detachment of the First Assam Sebundies (now
43rd Goorkha Light Infantry), fifty men of the Cachar Infantry,
and some Shan Militia, with orders to try and repress these annual
outrages. His expedition was ill supplied, but fortunately returned
without any severe losses. His route lay through North Cachar to
Berrimeh; thence, viâ Razepima to Samagudting and Mohung Deejood;
beyond gaining local knowledge there was no result, except perhaps
to show that a well-armed party could march where it liked through
the hills.

In December 1839, Mr. Grange again visited the hills, and, excepting
1843, an expedition was sent into the hills every year till 1846
when a post was permanently established at Samagudting. None of these
expeditions had any really satisfactory result. The Angamis submitted
to our troops at the time, and directly we retreated, murder and the
carrying off of slaves re-commenced. The establishment of the post
at Samagudting had the effect of improving our relations with the
people of that village; and Mozuma was always inclined to be friendly;
beyond this nothing was accomplished.

In August 1849, Bog Chand Darogal, a brave Assamese who was in charge
of Samagudting, was murdered by one of the clans of Mozuma, owing
to the rash way in which he interfered in a dispute with another
clan, which latter remained faithful to us, and thus led to another
expedition on a large scale. Finally, in December 1850, a large force
was sent up with artillery. Kohima, which had sent a challenge, was
destroyed on February 11th, 1851. In this last engagement over three
hundred Nagas were killed, and our prestige thoroughly established. We
might then, with great advantage to the people and our own districts,
have occupied a permanent post, and while protecting our districts
that had suffered so sorely from Naga raids, have spread civilisation
far and wide among the hill-tribes. Of course we did nothing of the
kind; on such occasions the Government of India always does the wrong
thing; it was done now, and, instead of occupying a new position,
we retreated, even abandoning our old post at Samagudting, and only
maintaining a small body of Shan Militia at Dimapur. The Nagas ascribed
our retreat to fear, the periodical raids on our unfortunate villages
were renewed, and unheeded by us; and finally, in 1856, we withdrew
the detachment from Dimapur and abandoned the post.

After that, the Nagas ran riot, and one outrage after another was
committed. In 1862 the guard and village of Borpathar were attacked
and, one Sepoy and thirteen villagers killed and two children carried
off as slaves, but no notice was taken; it was not till 1866 that,
wearied out by repeated outrages and insults, we determined to
establish ourselves in the hills, and once for all put down raiding.

A kind of vague boundary between Manipur and the Naga Hills had been
laid down in 1842, by Lieutenant Biggs on our part, and Captain Gordon
on the part of the Durbar, but in 1851, when utterly sick of Naga
affairs, we determined on a policy of non-intervention, permission in
writing was given to the Durbar to extend its authority over the Naga
villages on our side of the border. This must be remembered later
on. Failing any intention on our part to annex the hills, it would
have been good policy to have re-organised the Manipur territory,
and to have aided the Maharajah to annex and subdue as much as he
could under certain restrictions. Had this been done we should have
saved ourselves much trouble. Personally, I would rather see the
Naga Hills properly administered by ourselves, but the strong rule
of Manipur would have been far better than the state of things that
prevailed for many years after 1851.


    Value of keeping a promise--Episode of Sallajee--Protection given
    to small villages, and the large ones defied--"Thorough Government
    of India" views--A plea for Christian education in the Naga Hills.

Almost from the day I took charge, I let it be known that I was,
as natives say, "a man of one word," and that if I said a thing,
I meant it. If I promised a thing, whether a present or punishment,
the man got it; and if I refused any request, months of importunity
would not move me. This rule saved me much time and worry; instead
of being pestered for weeks with some petition, in the hope that my
patience would be worn out, I simply said Yes, or No, and the people
soon learned that my decision was final. Later on, during the Naga
Hills campaign, I found that my ways had not been forgotten, and this
made dealing with the people much simpler than it might have been.

A certain number of the villages kept one or two men, as the case
might be, constantly in attendance on me to represent them. These were
called delegates, and received ten rupees each per mensem. I gave the
strictest orders to these men not to engage in their tribal raids,
but to remain absolutely neutral. Sephema had two delegates, Sejile
and Sallajee by name, and, one day, it was reported to me that the
last had joined in a raid by his village on Mozuma, and I instantly
summoned him to attend and put him on his trial for disobeying a lawful
order. Some wise-acres in the place shook their heads, and doubted if
I were strong enough to punish, or the advisability of doing so; but
I held that an order must be obeyed, otherwise, it was no use issuing
orders, also, that this was an opportunity of making an example. Of
course it was an experiment, as no one had been punished before for
a similar offence, and I well knew that resistance on his part would
mean that to assert my authority I must attack and destroy Sephema,
but I felt the time had come for vigorous action, and was prepared to
go through with it. I tried Sallajee, found him guilty, and sentenced
him to six months' imprisonment in Tezpore jail. In giving judgment,
I said, "You have not been guilty of a disgraceful offence, therefore,
I do not sentence you to hard labour, and shall not have you bound or
handcuffed like a thief; but, remember, you cannot escape me, so do
not be foolish enough to run away from the man in charge of you." I
then sent him in charge of two police sepoys through one hundred miles
of forest, and he underwent his imprisonment without attempting to get
away. Right thankful I was that my experiment succeeded. Sallajee lived
to fight against us, during the campaign in the Naga Hills in 1879-80.

The orders of the Government of India were strictly against our
responsibilities being extended. We took tribute from Samagudting,
but it was the only village we considered as under our direct rule,
and that only so long as it suited us. Before leaving Calcutta, the
Foreign Secretary said to me emphatically, when I urged an extension
of our sway--"but those villages (the Angami Nagas) are not British
territory, and we do not want to extend the 'red line.'"

However, Government may lay down rules, but as long as they are not
sound, they cannot be kept to by artificial bonds, and sooner or later
events prove stronger than theories. The fact is, that no Government of
late years had ever interested itself in the Eastern Frontier tribes,
except so far as to coax them or bribe them to keep quiet. The Abors
on the banks of the Burrhampooter had long been paid "blackmail,"
and any subterfuge was resorted to, that would stave off the day of
reckoning which was nevertheless inevitable.

As regards the Nagas, this timidity was highly reprehensible. We had
acquired such a prestige, that the least sign of vigorous action on
our part was sure to be crowned with success, so long as we did not
make some foolish mistake.

The people in the hills knew that we objected to the system of raiding,
and could not understand why, such being the case, we did not put it
down, and ascribed our not doing so to weakness, wherein they were
right, and inability wherein they were wrong. The less powerful
villages would at any time have been glad of our protection, and
one of the most powerful--Mozuma, was anxious to become subject to
us. Offers of submission had been made once or twice, but no one liked
to take the responsibility of going against the policy and orders
of the Government. At last an event occurred which brought things
to a crisis, and forced us either to adopt a strong policy, or make
ourselves contemptible by a confession of weakness, and indifference.

Towards the end of March 1874, a deputation came to me from the
village of Mezeffina begging for protection against Mozuma, with whom
they had a feud, and from whom for some reason or other they daily
expected an attack. They offered to become British subjects and pay
revenue in return for protection. I considered the matter carefully,
and before I had given my decision, crowds of old people, and women
carrying their children, came in asking me to save their lives. I at
once decided to grant their request, and promised them what they asked,
on condition that they paid up a year's tribute in advance. This they
at once did, and I immediately sent a messenger to proclaim to Mozuma
that the people of Mezeffina were British subjects, and to threaten
them or any one else with dire vengeance if they dared to lay hands
on them. Our new subjects asked me and my wife, to go out and receive
their submission in person, an invitation which we accepted, and next
day a large number of men turned up to carry my wife, and our baggage,
and that of our escort, consisting of twenty men.

The Mezeffina men rested for the night in Samagudting, and early on
the following morning we started, and reached the village in good
time, where we were received with great demonstrations of respect. We
spent the night there, and then were conveyed back to Samagudting,
after a very pleasant visit.

I did not underrate the grave responsibility that I incurred in
going against the policy of Government, but I felt it was utterly
impossible that I, as their representative, could quietly stand by,
and see a savage massacre perpetrated, within sight of our station of
Samagudting. There is no doubt that this would have speedily followed
had I sent the people away without acceding to their wishes. Of course,
I might have used my influence with Mozuma to prevent a raid in this
particular instance, but that would have been giving protection, and,
I argued, if we give protection, let us get a little revenue to help
to pay for it. Why should all the advantage be on one side? Besides
a half-and-half policy would never have succeeded. "Thorough" should
be the motto of all who deal with savage and half-civilised races;
a promise to refer to Government is of little avail when people are
thinking of each other's blood. Action, immediate action, is what
is required. A failure to realise this, brought on later the Mozuma
expedition of 1877-78, in which a valuable officer lost his life.

Besides the obvious objections I have pointed out, any attempt to make
terms in favour of one village after another by negotiations with
their adversaries, would have involved us in so many complications,
that it would probably have ended in a combination against us.

I reported the matter to Government, and before I could receive any
answer, the village of Sitekima which had a feud with Sephema came
in and asked for the same favour to be accorded to it, as had been
granted to Mezeffina. I accordingly took them over on the same terms,
and again issued a proclamation calling on all people to respect
their rights as British subjects.

Soon after I heard from the Chief Commissioner of Assam, directing
me to take over no more villages without a reference. However, this
could not be, there was no telegraph in those days, and the tide in
favour of asking for our protection had set in in earnest, and must be
taken at the flood. "Vestigia nulla retrorsum" there was no retreat;
and having acted according to my judgment for the best interests of
the State, I felt bound to take further responsibility on myself,
when necessary. Accordingly when the little village of Phenina applied
for protection and offered revenue, I at once acceded, and accepted
their allegiance as British subjects, with the result that they were
left in peace by their powerful neighbours, and had no more anxiety
as to their safety. Phenina was followed by several other villages,
to whom I granted the same terms.

The Mozuma Nagas were always an intelligent set of men, and liked
to be in the forefront of any movement. Seeing the part that other
villages were taking, they came forward and offered to pay revenue,
if we would establish a guard of police in their village, and set up
a school for their children to attend. This was a question involving
a considerable expenditure of money, and as they were not in need of
protection, I felt that I could not accede to their request without
further reference, but I sent on the proposal to Government with a
strong recommendation that it should be adopted. The consideration of
it was put off for a time, and when very tardily my recommendation
was accepted, the Mozuma people had, as I predicted, changed their
minds. Such cases are of constant occurrence. When will our rulers
take the story of the Sibylline books to heart?

The question of education generally, was one that greatly
interested me, my success in Keonjhur [12] in the tributary Mehals
of Orissa, where I had introduced schools, having been very great. In
combination with other suggestions, I strongly urged the advisability
of establishing a regular system of education, including religious
instruction, under a competent clergyman of the Church of England. I
pointed out that the Nagas had no religion; that they were highly
intelligent and capable of receiving civilisation; that with it
they would want a religion, and that we might just as well give
them our own, and make them in that way a source of strength, by
thus mutually attaching them to us. Failing this, I predicted that,
following the example of other hill-tribes, they would sooner or later
become debased Hindoos or Mussulmans, and in the latter case, as we
knew by experience, be a constant source of trouble and annoyance,
Mussulman converts in Assam and Eastern Bengal, being a particularly
disagreeable and bigoted set. My suggestion did not find favour with
the authorities, and I deeply regret it. A fine, interesting race
like the Angamis, might, as a Christian tribe, occupy a most useful
position on our Eastern Frontier, and I feel strongly that we are not
justified in allowing them to be corrupted and gradually "converted"
by the miserable, bigoted, caste-observing Mussulman of Bengal, men who
have not one single good quality in common with the manly Afghans, and
other real Mussulman tribes. I do not like to think it, but, unless we
give the Nagas a helping hand in time, such is sure to be their fate,
and we shall have ourselves to thank when they are utterly corrupted.

The late General Dalton, C.S.I., when Commissioner of Chota Nagpure,
did his utmost to aid Christian Mission among the wild Kols; his
argument being like mine, that they wanted a religion, and that
were they Christians, they would be a valuable counterpoise in time
of trouble to the vast non-Christian population of Behar. In the
same way it cannot be doubted, that a large population of Christian
hill-men between Assam and Burmah, would be a valuable prop to the
State. Properly taught and judiciously handled, the Angamis would
have made a fine manly set of Christians, of a type superior to most
Indian native converts, and probably devoted to our rule. As things
stand at present, I fear they will be gradually corrupted and lose the
good qualities, which have made them attractive in the past, and that,
as time goes on, unless some powerful counter influence is brought to
bear on them, they will adopt the vile, bigoted type of Mahommedanism
prevalent in Assam and Cachar, and instead of becoming a tower of
strength to us, be a perpetual weakness and source of annoyance. I
earnestly hope that I may be wrong, and that their future may be as
bright a one as I could wish for them.


    Dimapur--A terrible storm--Cultivation--Aggression by Konoma--My
    ultimatum--Konoma submits--Birth of a son--Forest flowers--A fever
    patient--Proposed change of station--Leave Naga Hills--March
    through the forest--Depredation by tigers--Calcutta--Return
    to England.

Once more before the weather began to be unpleasantly hot, we went
down to Dimapur that I might inspect the road and a rest house being
built at Nowkatta. Dimapur though hot, was pleasant enough in the
evening, when I used to row my wife about on the large tank in a
canoe which just held us both. We could see a few feet below the
surface, the remains of the post set up when a tank is dedicated to
the deity. This post is usually many feet above the water, but here
it had rotted away from age. On a tree close to the rest house I shot
a chestnut coloured flying squirrel.

One sultry afternoon I rode out alone to Nowkatta. About half-way
I was stopped by a sudden storm, one of the most terrific I have
ever seen; the wind howled through the forest, and the trees swayed
to and fro literally like blades of grass. As the storm increased,
trees were torn up by the roots right and left, and some that were
very firmly rooted were shattered in pieces. Many of these trees
were 80 to 120 feet in height, and large in proportion, but the
wind was so high that I never heard the sound of the crash. I hardly
expected to escape being crushed by a falling tree, and nothing but
the extreme activity of my pony, a little Manipuri, saved me. I was
at length enabled to get on to Nowkatta, but as I returned, I had
much difficulty in making my way through the masses of fallen trees
which formed an obstacle often six feet in height, and I could only
pass them by penetrating the dense underwood, and riding round one end.

I returned to Dimapur later than I expected and drenched by the
soaking rain. Next day we went back to Samagudting very glad to
be again in a cooler atmosphere. We both paid for our visit to the
lowlands in a sharp attack of intermittent fever. Luckily, my wife
speedily recovered; but it told on my system, already saturated with
malaria and was the forerunner of constant attacks.

Except for its unhealthiness, Dimapur was a nice place, and, if
properly opened out, and cultivated, the country would be far more
salubrious. For this reason I advocated families being induced to
settle there as cultivators; and I had a scheme for establishing a
Police Militia Reserve in that district. I thought that a certain
number of the Naga Hills police might with advantage be discharged
every year and enlisted as reserve men, liable to serve when needed
in case of trouble; a reduced rate of pay to be given to each man,
and a grant of land to cultivate. I believe the system would have
worked well, but it was not sanctioned.

An incident occurred in the month of August which might have proved
serious. A native of a Kutcha Naga village within sight of Samagudting
came to complain that, while gathering wild tea-seed for sale, he
had been driven off by a Konoma Naga. Konoma, though not the most
populous village, had long been considered the most powerful and
warlike in the hills, and a threat from one of its members was almost a
sentence of death to a man from a weak village. The Merema clan also,
one of the worst in the hills for lawless deeds, had never made its
submission to Captain Butler, though it had on one occasion to his
predecessor. On hearing the man's complaint, I at once sent off a
message by a Naga calling upon the chiefs of Konoma to come in to me,
and also to cease molesting their neighbours; but the man returned,
saying that they refused to come in, and intended to do as they liked
with the tea-seed, as it was theirs. This was more than I could put up
with, and I selected a particularly trustworthy man, a naik (corporal)
in the police named Kurum Singh, [13] who knew the Naga language, and
would, I was convinced, speak out fearlessly, and deliver my message. I
sent him off at once to Konoma to call upon the head-men to come in
without delay, and make their humble submission to me within a day
and a half of receiving the summons, failing which I would attack and
destroy their village. Kurum Singh left, and I felt rather anxious,
as Konoma contained five times as many warriors as I had police all
told, and it occupied a strong position; however, I felt I had done
my duty. It was a great satisfaction when Kurum Singh returned,
saying that the chiefs were coming in, and they did so within the
stipulated time, and made their submission and presented me with a
large state spear as a token of it. They also humbly apologised and
promised never to molest that Kutcha Naga village again; and when I
spoke of the Queen, begged me to write to her and say, that she must
not believe any idle tales against the Konoma men, as they would be
her humble servants. It was a satisfactory ending to what might have
been a troublesome business. The state spear now ornaments my hall.

On the 23rd June, my wife presented me with a son, and he being the
first child of pure European parentage born in the hills, the Nagas
of Samagudting took great interest in the baby, and old Yatsolé the
Péumah, said he should be their chief and named him "Naga Rajah." The
friendly women and girls from the village constantly came to see
him. We liked the hills and the people, and the work so much that we
both felt we could willingly have passed our lives among them. All
the same, our accommodation was really most wretched, and food was
bad and scarce, and water scarcer. As the rainy season advanced the
place grew more and more unhealthy, and having a baby to attend to,
my wife never left Samagudting. I continued to go down to Dimapur
occasionally, and sometimes rode out with my friend Needham to inspect
the path that was being cut to Mohung Deejood and a rest house being
built at a place in the forest on that road, called Borsali. It was
pleasant to have a companion during a long lonely ride. Needham was an
indefatigable worker, and always ready for a dash. He made a capital
frontier officer, and has since greatly distinguished himself on the
N.-E. Frontier.

Towards the end of August, the Vanda Cærulea orchids began to come
into flower. There was a magnificent plant of them in a large old tree
on the summit of the hill, indeed the most splendid specimen of their
kind that I ever saw; but wild flowers, many really beautiful, were
generally procurable, especially a small snow-white flower rather like
a periwinkle that grew in the jungle on a small ever-green bush. Ferns,
including maidenhair, were very plentiful, and we made collections
of them in our morning and evening walks. These walks often led us
past stray huts, and once my wife was asked to come into one and
prescribe for a sick Naga woman. We both entered it and finding that
the woman had fever, we told her husband to keep her cool and quiet,
and promised some medicine. When we again went to see her, the hut,
about nine feet by seven feet in size, was full of little fires on the
floor, over which several Nagas were drying strips of flesh from an
elephant that had been killed a few miles away. The temperature must
have been about 110 degrees, so little wonder that the poor woman was
no better. The husband said she would not take her medicine, and when
in our presence he attempted to give it she hit him on the head; yet he
wore the warrior's kilt, so had taken at least one life. When my wife
sat down by her and gave her the medicine she took it readily. Towards
the end of the rainy season many were laid low by fever. Natives of
other parts of India until thoroughly acclimatised, suffer greatly
from the diseases peculiar to jungle districts, and our servants were
not exceptions to the rule. Once acclimatised, a Hindoostani seems
able to stand anything. It used to be said in my regiment, the 1st
Assam Light Infantry Battalion, now 42nd, that Hindoostani recruits
spent their first three years' service in hospital! I am sure that
something of the same kind might have been said of those who came to
the Naga Hills before the headquarters were removed to Kohima.

Captain Butler, recognising the unsuitableness of Samagudting for
a station, had recommended the removal of the headquarters to Woka,
in the Lotah Naga country, and about sixty-three miles from Kohima. I
spoke to him on the subject, and pointed out the superior advantages of
Kohima as a central position, dominating the Angami Naga country. He
quite agreed with me, but said he had advocated Woka as being nearer
the plains, nearer water carriage, and altogether a more comfortable
situation, especially for the officers. I went into the whole subject
most carefully, and before leaving the Naga Hills I thought it right to
record my opinion in a memorandum to the Government of Assam. This I
did, pointing out as forcibly as I could the very superior advantages
of Kohima, and urging most strongly that it should be adopted as our
headquarters station in the Naga Hills. As I was only the officiating
agent, I could not expect my views to carry as much weight as Captain
Butler's, but convinced as I was, I was bound to state them. The
question was not settled for some years when Kohima was the site
selected, and it has ever since been the headquarters station.

I had never got over the attack of fever I had in April, and as
the rainy season advanced, and we were for days together enveloped
in mist, I had constant attacks, with other complications, and as
Captain Butler was coming out in November, and the doctor strongly
recommended me to go to England again, I determined to apply for
leave. My friend Needham had gone on leave to Shillong, so I could
not think of starting till he returned. He was due at Samagudting
early in November, and I prepared to leave then. It was with most
sincere regret that we made arrangements for starting. We had got
used to the discomforts of the place and had been very happy there
and liked the people, and felt that they liked us; the cold weather
too was just beginning and everything around us looked beautiful.

I had determined to march straight through the forest to Doboka, and
thence take boat down the Kullung river to Gowhatty. It was a dreadful
march to undertake, along a mere track untraversed by any European for
years, but my wife liked the idea of it, and it was shorter than the
route viâ Nigriting. On November 6th, we reluctantly said "good-bye"
to all our kind friends at Samagudting and marched to Dimapur, where
we halted next day to get all our things into order. Some of the
chiefs of Samagudting accompanied us so far on our way and bade us a
sorrowful adieu on the 7th. One old fellow took quite an affectionate
farewell of our baby Dick. When I saw him again in 1879, he was blind,
and one of his pretty little girls was dying.

We marched through dense forest on the 8th to Borsali, my wife
riding and carrying the baby in her arms, there being no other mode
of progression along such a bad road. On the 9th after seven hours'
actual marching, we reached Mohung Deejood, a place prettily situated
on the banks of the Jumoona river with the last speck of the Rengma
Hills standing out in high relief behind the village, but at some
distance from it. Next day we again had a tiring march of eleven hours,
including a halt for breakfast at a place called "Silbheta" where
there are splendid waterfalls, and did not reach our halting place,
Bokuleea, till 6 P.M. The last two marches had been through a country
devastated by tigers which had literally eaten up the population; each
day we passed deserted village sites. At Bokuleea we made rafts and
floated down the river to Doboka, which we reached on November 13th.

Doboka is situated close to the hill of the same name and was
a prominent object from Samagudting. There we took boats, and
travelled in them down the Kullung river. We reached the junction
with the Burrhampooter at daybreak on November 17th, and Gowhatty
at midday. I was most thankful to see my wife and child safe in the
Dak Bungalow after what was for delicate people a perilous journey,
though an interesting and enjoyable one, through a country hardly ever
traversed by European officials, and never by women and children. After
a few days at Gowhatty to rest ourselves, we departed by steamer for
Goalundo, arriving there early on November 29th, and immediately left
for Calcutta, which we reached the same evening and went to stay with
our kind friends the Rivers Thompsons, with whom we had travelled
out to India in 1873. Glad as we were to be in civilised quarters
once more after all our wanderings, we could not help regretting the
kindly genial people we had left, and the beautiful scenery of the
forest and mountain land, where we had lived so long and so happily.

On arrival in Calcutta, I went before the Medical Board, but not liking
to go to England again so soon, I applied for three months' leave
to visit the North-West Provinces for change of air, and we visited
Benares, Lucknow, Cawnpore, and other towns. I do not attempt to
describe them, as it has been often done by abler pens than mine. The
after symptoms of malaria increased, and it was vain to prolong my stay
in India in the hope of a cure. The Medical Board said my appearance
was sufficient without examination, so we left Calcutta by the next
steamer, going by "long sea" to avoid the fatiguing journey across
India to Bombay. After unusually rough weather in the Mediterranean
and off the coast of Spain, we landed at Southampton, on March 9th,
at 9 P.M., and went on to London next morning.


    Return to India--Attached to Foreign Office--Imperial assemblage at
    Delhi--Almorah--Appointed to Manipur--Journey to Shillong--Cherra
    Poojee--Colonel McCulloch--Question of ceremony.

Malaria, and all the evils that follow in its train, are more easily
acquired than got rid of. Possibly two years in England, including
four visits to Carlsbad, which high medical authorities seem to
consider, and very justly, a sine quâ non, might give a man a good
chance if he never again visited a malarious district, otherwise,
my own experience shows me that two years are nothing. Every time I
have gone before a Medical Board in London, preparatory to returning
to duty, their last charge has been, "You must never again go to
a malarious district!" Medical Boards propose, and Government and
circumstances dispose.

I stayed at home in a high and healthy part of the Midlands, and left
for India again in October. I arrived in Calcutta in November, where
I again suffered from malarious symptoms; but I soon got better,
and was attached to the Foreign Office, at my own request, extra
attachés being required for the Imperial Assemblage.

I had the good fortune to see the whole of that gorgeous pageant,
the like of which this generation will probably never witness again,
under the most favourable auspices; and though I had on an average
eighteen hours' work out of each twenty-four, I was well repaid by
being able to take part in it. I met many old friends, and also became
acquainted with Salar Jung, Maharajahs Scindiah and Holkar, Sir Dinkur
Rao, Madhava Rao, and several other now historical celebrities. The
Viceroy's reception-tent at night was a grand sight, filled with
gallant soldiers, European and native, and great statesmen.

Among the new arrivals was the Khan of Khelat, an intelligent but
savage-looking chief, with eyes all about him. I was being constantly
deputed to carry polite messages from the Viceroy to different chiefs
and celebrities and to meet them at the railway stations. Among those
whom I met were the envoy from the Chief of Muscat, also the Siamese
Ambassador and his suite, a highly intelligent and sensible set of
men. I remember well the rough-and-ready way in which the younger
Siamese officers looked after their luggage and effects. They were
provided with a handsome set of tents, and all dined together at
one table in European fashion, in the most civilised way, with the
British officer attached to them.

I stayed at Delhi till the assemblage broke up, and after a few days
in Calcutta with the Foreign Office, went to Bombay to meet my wife,
who, with our two boys, arrived there on February 2nd. We at once set
out on our way to Almorah in the Himalayas, where I was permitted to
reside for a year and compile Foreign Office records.

We were delayed at Moradabad for a few days, as the passes were covered
with snow. At last we started, and found Nynee Tal deep in snow, and
the lake frozen. Next day we marched across the track of an avalanche,
and the following afternoon reached the Almorah Dak Bungalow, or
rest house. The ground was covered with snow, and the cold intense,
the bungalow draughty and very uncomfortable. After a few days we got
into a house, which Sir H. Ramsey, who was then out on duty in the
district, had kindly taken for us, and I dived deep into my records,
consisting of early documents relating to Assam and the Singpho tribes.

As the weather grew warmer, Almorah became very pleasant. I pined
for active work, but our stay here gave my wife experience in the
mode of life in India, for which she was afterwards very thankful,
and she obtained hints on housekeeping subjects from other ladies,
which were a help to her later on. Life in the Naga Hills was of
course very different to what it is in more civilised parts of India.

The Foreign Office had my name down in their list for an appointment. I
could have gone to Manipur when I landed in Calcutta, but was not
well enough. In July, I had a telegram to say that Lieut. Durand,
who had lately been appointed, was ill, and must be relieved. Would
I go? I at once replied in the affirmative, and off we started on
July 16th. It was very short notice, but changing quarters at short
notice is part of an Indian official's life, and the prospect of
work was delightful to me. We had a trying journey down to Calcutta,
as the rains had not begun in the North-West Provinces, and the heat
was tremendous. However, we arrived none the worse for it, and stayed
for a day or two with our kind friends, the Medlicotts.

As Colonel Keatinge, the Chief Commissioner of Assam, wished to see
me before I went to Manipur, I was ordered to join at Shillong, so
we proceeded by rail to Goalundo, one night's journey from Calcutta,
and thence by river steamer to Chuttuk, on the Soorma, where we
changed into country boats, and proceeded up a smaller river and
across great jheels or shallow lakes, often passing for miles through
high grass growing in the water, which hid us from everything, till we
reached a place called Bholagunj, situated on a river rapidly becoming
narrower, where we again changed, this time into small canoes, the
only conveyances that could take us up the rapids, with which the
river abounds.

From Chuttuk we had come through a country mostly covered with grass
jungle, twelve to fifteen feet in height; now we passed through
forest scenery, very lovely fine trees, with festoons of creepers
and flowers overhanging the stream. At last we reached Thuria Ghât,
where the ascent of the hills commenced, and there we halted for the
night in the Dak Bungalow, or rest house. Most places situated as
Thuria Ghât is, would be deadly on account of malaria, but it seems
to be an exception, and, as far as I have seen, healthy.

Knowing the servant difficulties in the province of Assam, we had
brought servants with us from Almorah, men who had implored us to
take them. When I consented to do so I voluntarily raised their wages
from fifty to eighty per cent. above what they had been receiving,
but with the exception of a Dhobee (washerman), and a bearer (a
compound of housemaid and valet), they all became corrupted by the
other servants they met at Shillong, and who spoke of Manipur in
very disparaging terms, so before going farther I let them go, as
they demanded an enormous increase of wages.

The Dhobee Nunnoo, and the bearer Horna, stuck to me to the very last,
and proved admirable servants. It was fortunate that we had servants,
as there were none at Thuria Ghât rest house; as it was, we managed
very well, and were prepared to march in the morning before the coolies
were ready to take up our luggage. We had a tiring march up the hill
to Cherra Poojee; my wife and the children were in baskets on men's
backs, but I was on foot and felt the march in the intense heat to be
very fatiguing, though we halted to rest half-way. However, when we
reached the plateau of Cherra Poojee, 4000 feet above Thuria Ghât,
the cool air speedily set me right, and we all enjoyed the scenery,
hills, plains, waterfalls in abundance, deep valleys, and the lowlands
of Sylhet, covered with water, as far as the eye could reach. We had
a comfortable bungalow to rest in, and a cool night at last.

Next day we marched to Moflung, 6000 feet above the sea, and then to
Shillong, where for the next few days we were hospitably entertained by
the Chief Commissioner, Colonel (now General) Keatinge, V.C., C.S.I.,
who kindly sent a carriage to meet us on the road. As Colonel Keatinge
wished me to remain at Shillong for a time, and meet Mr. Carnegy,
political officer in the Naga Hills, who was coming there later on,
I arranged to stay, and took a house; so we settled down comfortably
till the early part of October--a very pleasant arrangement for us
instead of facing the intense heat of the Cachar Valley in August. It
gave me a good opportunity of looking over the records of the Chief
Commissioner's office, where I found much relating to Manipur, but
I fear that it was lost when the Record Office was burnt down some
years ago, the copies also having been destroyed in Manipur during
the rebellion of 1891. At last the day for leaving came, and we packed
up our things and prepared once more to set off on our travels.

Before leaving, I paid several visits to Colonel McCulloch, who, since
retiring from the service, had established himself at Shillong, and
asked his advice on many points, and learned much from him regarding
Manipur. He very kindly gave his opinion freely on all questions,
telling me where some of my predecessors had failed, and pointing out
the pitfalls to be avoided. He added to all his kindness by writing
to the Maharajah, and telling him that, from what he had seen of me,
he was sure it would be his fault if we did not get on together.


    Start for Manipur--March over the hills--Lovely scenery--View of
    the valleys--State reception--The Residency--Visitors.

Lowremba Subadar, an excellent old fellow, formerly in the service
of Colonel McCulloch, was sent to Shillong to be in attendance
on me, and of course to find out all he could about me and report
the result. Before I left, he sent a note to the Maharajah of my
requirements in the way of coolies, etc., for our long journey of
ten days between Cachar and Manipur, and I also intimated that, as
the representative of the British Government, and as one who well
knew what was due to me as such, I should expect to be received with
proper ceremony.

This was a point on which I laid much stress, as my experience had
taught me that in a native state so tenacious of its dignity and
ancient customs as Manipur, my future success depended in a great
measure on my scrupulously requiring all that I was entitled to, and
as much more as I could get. It had been a complaint against one of
my predecessors that he had been discourteous, and I determined that
the Manipuris should not have to complain of me on that score, and in
my letters I took care to be as courteous and considerate as possible.

On former occasions it had been the custom for a new political agent
to enter the capital unattended, and to call on the Maharajah the
next day, the latter repaying the visit a day later. This I did
not consider sufficient, and I determined that he should come out
to meet me in state. When Colonel McCulloch returned to Manipur the
second time, this had been done, Colonel McCulloch being an old and
intimate friend of the Maharajah. I quoted this as a precedent. I
tried in vain to get the Foreign Department to back up my request,
but could not induce them to interfere on my behalf, so I took the
responsibility on myself, and sent a formal demand to the Maharajah
to send a high officer--a major commanding a regiment--to meet me on
the road, and to meet me himself in state at a suitable distance from
the capital. The result will be described.

All being ready we left Shillong, my wife, nurse and children on men's
backs as before, for Cherra Poojee, where we arrived the second day;
thence, on the third day, we went to Thuria Ghât, on by boat viâ
Bholagunj, to Sylhet and Cachar. We reached Cachar on October 17th,
after passing the historical fort of Budderpore, where a battle was
fought with the Burmese in 1825, and settled down in the bungalow
of our kind friend Major Boyd who was away. Our coolies arrived on
October 18th, and we again packed our things and prepared to depart
on our final march.

We left Cachar for Manipur on October 20th, my wife and the nurse and
boys in "doolies," a kind of tray four feet long by two in width,
with sides and ends eight inches in height, supported by two long
poles running along the bottom of each side, and slung at each end
to loose bars of wood carried on men's shoulders. The passenger sits
inside as best he can, and there is a light matting roof thrown over
to protect him from the weather. To begin with, it is an uncomfortable
and shaky conveyance, but in time one gets accustomed to it.

Our baggage was carried mostly on men's backs, each load varying from
sixty to seventy pounds in weight. Altogether we had, I daresay, one
hundred coolies, as everything we required for a ten days' journey had
to be carried, in addition to personal baggage and stores for our use
on arrival. I had provided a tent in case of need, but did not use it,
as rude huts were provided for us at all the stages along the road. Our
first halt was at Luckipore, in British territory, and, as usual,
the first march was the most trying; for servants, coolies, etc.,
have to learn each other's ways. I had an escort of one hundred men
of the 35th Native Infantry, under a subadar, as it was expected that
I might have to go on an expedition soon after my arrival, and these
men had their own special coolies, so we were a large party altogether.

We halted at Luckipore, as I have said, a few miles from the Hoorung
Hills and at Jeree Ghât. Next day we left British territory and entered
Manipur, where we found some huts built for our accommodation. At Jeree
Ghât the really interesting part of the journey commenced; thence, till
Bissenpore in the valley of Manipur is reached, the traveller marches
day after day over hills and across rivers. The first day from Jeree
Ghât we crossed the Noon-jai-bang range, the summit of which is 1800
to 1900 feet above the sea from whence a fine view of the next range,
Kala Naga or in Manipuri, Wy-nang-nong, is obtained. The road which
was made under the superintendence of Captain (afterwards Colonel)
Guthrie, of the Bengal Engineers between 1837 and 1844, at the joint
expense of the British and Manipuri Governments, the former paying
the larger share, was excellent for foot passengers and pack animals,
but not wide enough and too steep for wheeled traffic on a large scale.

After descending from Noong-jai-bang we halted on the banks of the
Mukker river amidst splendid forest, and next day ascended the Kala
Naga range and halted on the crest close to a Manipuri guard house
at a height of 3400 feet.

From this spot a magnificent view of the plains of Cachar is
obtained, and in fine weather, far beyond them the Kasia hills in the
neighbourhood of Cherra Poojee may be descried. The scene at sunset
is sometimes magnificent. In the foreground the dark forests, and in
the far distance a huge bank of golden clouds with their reflection
in the watery plain, and a mingled mass of colours, green fields,
purple, crimson, red and gold, all mixed up in such a way as no
painter would ever attempt to copy. As the sun sinks those colours
change and re-arrange themselves every minute in quick succession,
and when at last night closes in, the impression left on the mind is
one of never-ending wonder and admiration.

From Kala Naga to the Barâk river is a very stiff descent, calculated
to shake the knees of an inexperienced hill-walker, and many is the
toe-nail lost by the pressure of one's boots. Here as at the Mukker
and other rivers farther on, the Barâk is crossed by cane suspension
bridges, which vibrate and move at every step. In the dry season
these rivers are crossed by very cleverly constructed bamboo pontoon
bridges, but when the rainy season has commenced, they become raging
torrents, which nothing but a fish could live in, and but for the
suspension bridges, all communication with the outer world would be
cut off. The bridge over the Eerung river was one hundred yards in
length, and like all the others, was, when I first went to Manipur,
constructed entirely of cane and bamboo, and could by great exertions,
be finished in three days. During my period of office, wire ropes
were substituted for the two main cables on which all rested, and the
strength of the bridges greatly increased thereby. It was an important
part of my duty to see that both roads and bridges were kept in order.

Our march was interesting but uneventful. We started after breakfast
and generally reached our halting place in time for a late luncheon
or afternoon tea. Wherever we halted we had a hut to live in,
generally in some picturesque spot, one day giving a splendid view
of hill and valley with nothing but forests in view, on another we
were perched on a hill overlooking the beautiful Kowpoom valley,
a sheet of cultivation. At last, on the ninth day after crossing
the Lai-metol river, and ascending the Lai-metol, we had our first
view of the valley of Manipur [14] spread out like a huge map at our
feet. Seen as it was by us at the end of the rainy season, and from a
height of 2600 feet above it, is a vast expanse of flat land bordered
by hills, and mostly covered with water, through which the rice crops
are vigorously growing. To the south the Logtak lake is visible, with
several island hills in it, while far away to the north-east might be
seen the glittering roofs of the temples of Imphal, the capital. It
requires time to take in the view and to appreciate it. In the dry
season it looks very different with brown, dried-up hills in the
place of green.

The valley of Manipur possesses a few sacred groves, left, according to
the universal aboriginal custom, throughout all parts of India that I
have visited, for the wood spirits, when the land was first cleared;
but no natural forest. These groves are little isolated patches of
forest dotted here and there; the villages have plenty of planted
trees, many of great antiquity, and from the heights above they have
the appearance of woodland covered with grass. Besides this, all is one
sheet of cultivation or waste covered with grass. It was once entirely
cultivated, that is, before the Burmese invasion of 1819, when the
population of the valley, was from 500 to 1000 per square mile.

We halted to rest on the summit of the Lai-metol, and then descended,
passing sometimes under a kind of wild apple tree with very
eatable fruit, and once through a lovely grove of oak trees, called
"Oui-ong-Moklung," and then, still far below us, saw some elephants
sent for us by the Maharajah. These elephants were posted at Sebok
Tannah, [15] a police station where the ground begins to grow level,
and a mile farther brought us to Bissenpore, where there was a rude
rest house. Here we halted for the night.

I have mentioned my demand that I should be met with proper
ceremony. It was of course stoutly resisted, every argument founded
on old custom, etc., being used against it. However, I stood firm, and
absolutely refused to go beyond Bissenpore, till the Maharajah gave me
an assurance that he would do all I required. In the end he gave in,
and a day before reaching that place, his uncle met me on the road with
a letter saying that all should be done as I wished. This official,
by name Samoo Major, became a great friend of mine, and remained so
till I finally left; he is, alas, I believe, now a prisoner in the
Andamans, having been supposed to be implicated in the rising in 1891.

The next day we left Bissenpore in good time, and marched the seventeen
miles to the capital, halting half-way at Phoiching, where I was
met by some officials. Farther on, some of still higher rank came
to greet me, and finally, at the entrance to the capital, I was met
by the Maharajah himself, surrounded by all his sons. A carpet was
spread with chairs for him and myself, we both of us having descended
from our elephants, advanced and met in the centre of the carpet,
and having made our salutations (a salute of eleven guns was fired
in my honour), we sat and talked for two minutes. We then mounted,
the Maharajah's elephant being driven by his third son, the master
of the elephants; and we rode together through the great bazaar,
till our roads diverged at the entrance to the fortified enclosure
to the palace, where we took leave of each other, and he went home,
and I went to the Residency, which I reached at four o'clock, my wife
and children having made a short cut.

The Residency then was a low and dark bungalow built of wattle
and daub, and thatched. It had one large room in the centre, and a
bedroom on either side with a small semicircular room in front and
rear of the centre room; there was one bathroom (I speedily added
more), and verandahs nearly all round. There were venetians to the
windows, but no glass, and the house was very dark and very full of
mosquitoes. However, all had been done by the Residency establishment
to make the place comfortable, and we were too old travellers and
too accustomed to rough it, to grumble. The house might be rude and
uncomfortable, but some of my happiest days were spent in it. The
building was at the end of a garden, with some nice mango, and other
trees here and there, and had a little more ground attached to it,
but we were on all sides surrounded by squalid villages and filthy
tanks and cesspools, and the situation was very low, though well
drained. Our English nurse grumbled incessantly, but we had engaged
in advance, a nice pleasant Naga woman, named Chowkee, to help her,
and soon made everything right for the night, but the mosquitoes were
terrible, and though my life has been spent in countries swarming
with them, I give Manipur the palm, it beats all others!

No European lady or children of pure blood had ever before been
seen in Manipur, and at first there was great excitement wherever
we went, all the population turning out to look at us. By degrees
they became accustomed to the novelty, but still occasionally people
from distant villages coming to the capital stopped to stare. Every
now and then my wife had visits from strange old ladies, often from
the Kola Ranee, the widow of the last Rajah of Assam, and by birth a
Manipuri princess, daughter of Rajah Chomjeet, and first cousin of
the Maharajah Chandra Kirtee Singh. Once an old woman of 106 years
of age, with a daughter of 76, were visitors, and once or twice some
other relic of a bygone age called on us. Among the latter was old
Ram Singh, the last survivor of Wilcox's famous survey expeditions in
Assam, in 1825-26-27-28. Wilcox was one of the giants of old, men who
with limited resources, did a vast amount of work among wild people,
and said little about it, being contented with doing their duty. In
1828, accompanied by Lieutenant Burton, and ten men belonging to the
Sudya Khamptis (Shans), he penetrated to the Bor Khamptis country, far
beyond our borders, an exploit not repeated till after our annexation
of Upper Burmah. Ram Singh had a great respect for his former leader,
and loved to talk of old days.


    Visit to the Maharajah--His minister--Former revolutions--Thangal

After a day's rest I paid a visit to the Maharajah, having first
stipulated as to my proper reception. I was received by the Jubraj
(heir apparent) at the entrance to the private part of the palace,
and by the Maharajah a few paces from the entrance to the Durbar room
(hall of reception), and conducted by him to a seat opposite to his
own, with a table between us, his sons and officials being seated on
either side. I read the Viceroy's letter, informing the Maharajah of
my appointment, and, after a short conversation, during which my age
was asked (a question invariably put to European officers by Manipuris
of rank), I took my leave, and was escorted back to the place where
I was met on my arrival. I was favourably impressed by what I saw,
but I at once realised that I was on no bed of roses, and that I would
have to make a good fight to obtain and maintain my just influence with
the Durbar. The Maharajah had undoubtedly grievances against us, and I
felt that it was folly and injustice not to acknowledge these. At the
same time, he and his ministers had on some occasions taken advantage
of this state of affairs to behave in an unseemly way, and for this a
sharp rebuke had to be administered. The natural sense of injustice
is strong in mankind, and I saw that chafing under slights they had
received, and often magnifying them, it was necessary for me first to
acknowledge these, and try as far as possible to make amends, and then
to come down on them very sharply for having forgotten their position.

The Maharajah returned my visit, and we had one or two interviews
when we discussed affairs. I pointed out the extreme gravity of
resisting the British Government in any way, and we soon became
very friendly. Colonel McCulloch's introduction had been a great
advantage to me, and every one was inclined to give me credit for good
intentions, at the same time that every effort was made to restrict
my authority and influence.

The Maharajah was a rather thick-set man of about five feet five
inches in height and forty-five years of age. In India he would have
been called fair. He had the features of the Indo-Chinese race, and the
impassive face that generally goes with them, but which is often not so
marked in the Manipuris. He was far the ablest man in his dominions,
and a strong and capable ruler. He had a great taste for mechanical
arts of all kinds, and a vast fund of information which he had acquired
by questioning, for he questioned every one he met. English scientific
works were explained to him, and his researches extended even to the
anatomy of the human body, of which he had a very fair knowledge. He
had a taste for European articles, and owned a large assortment. He had
glass manufactured in his workshops, and once sent me a petroleum lamp,
every portion of which was made by his own artificers. His rule, for
such a strong man, was mild as compared with that of his predecessors,
and he thoroughly realised that his prosperity depended on his loyalty
to the British Government. At the same time, he was most tenacious
of his rights, and earnestly desired to preserve his country intact,
and to give us no excuse for annexing it.

The fear of tempting us to annex was so great that, once when I
thought of growing a little tea for my own consumption, he was much
agitated. I, as a matter of courtesy, first sent to ask him if he
had any objection to my growing a little, and, in reply, he sent an
official to beg me not to think of it. This man said, "The Maharajah
will supply you with all the tea you want free of cost, but begs you
not to think of growing it." The officer went on to explain, that
it was feared that, if I successfully demonstrated that tea could
be grown in Manipur tea planters would come up, and there would be a
cry for annexation! Certainly our annexation of the Muttuk country in
1840 justified the suspicion, and we cannot blame people for having
long memories.

The Jubraj, or heir apparent, was an amiable young man of twenty-six or
twenty-seven, with a pleasant smile which was wanting in his father. He
was of a weak character, although possessing some ability. Like
his father, he could speak Hindoostani, but both were ignorant of
English. Backed up and influenced by an honest and capable Political
Agent, he would probably have made an excellent ruler, and, had we
done our duty by him, he might now be at the head of a flourishing
little state, instead of having died an exile in Calcutta.

The next son, Wankai Rakpar, afterwards known as the "Regent" during
the recent troubles, was an ignorant, uncouth boor, who knew no
language but his own, and was quite unfitted for any responsible work;
he took little part in public affairs. The third known as Samoo Henjaba
(Master of the Elephants), was a clever, pleasant, sensible young man,
said by Thangal Major, no mean judge of character, to be the ablest
of the ten sons of the Maharajah. He died during my tenure of office.

The fourth son, Kotwal Koireng, who afterwards acquired an infamous
reputation as the "Senaputtee," was always a bad character, cruel,
coarse, and low minded. From early childhood he was given to foul
language, and was absolutely dangerous when he grew up. His mother
had been unfaithful to the Maharajah, who used to say that the son
was worthy of her. Colonel McCulloch had always disliked him as a boy.

None of the other six sons of the Maharajah were in my time mixed up
in public affairs, so I need not describe them, except that Pucca
Senna was the champion polo player, though not otherwise worthy of
notice. The practical ministers were Bularam Singh, or Sawai Jamba
Major, and Thangal Major. They were both faithful adherents of the
Maharajah, although the first who had once had much influence had
married the daughter of the former Rajah Nur Sing. He was nominally
the first in rank, but Thangal Major was rapidly gaining ground,
and viewed with increasing favour by the Maharajah.

I quote the following description of the Government of Manipur from an
article I wrote for The Nineteenth Century, by kind permission of the
editor. "The government of Manipur has always been a pure despotism
tempered by assassination and revolution. While he occupies the throne
the rajah is perfectly absolute. A minister may be all powerful,
and all the princes and people may tremble before him; for years he
may practically rule the rajah; but he is after all a cipher before
his sovereign, a single word from whom may send him into exile, make
him an outcast, or reduce him to the lowest rank. Yet with all this
power an obscure man may suddenly spring up, as if from the ground,
to assert himself to be of the blood royal, and gathering a large
party round him place himself on the throne. All this happened not
unfrequently in days gone by, when many were the rajahs murdered
or deposed. History tells us of rajahs being deposed, re-elected,
and deposed again."

There can be no doubt that in old days the people benefited by the
system of constant revolutions, as a rajah was obliged to keep in touch
with his subjects if he wished to occupy the throne for any length of
time, and many concessions were made to gain a strong following. The
average intelligence of the Manipuris being higher than that found
among the cultivators of many other native states, the people knew
what reforms to ask for, and often insisted on their being granted.

Nothing can be harder on the people of a native state, than for the
paramount power to hold a ruler on the throne with a firm grasp,
and protect him against internal revolution, and at the same time to
refrain from insisting on needful reform.

Chandra Kirtee Singh's long reign and strong government, were in many
ways a great benefit to the people, because he was a man of sound
sense, and though selfish and unscrupulous, naturally of a kindly
disposition, a fact proved by the few executions that took place in his
reign. In his earlier years he had the benefit of Colonel McCulloch's
good advice, enforced by his great influence. All the same there
can be no doubt that a little more interference judiciously applied,
would have vastly improved the state of affairs during the time he
occupied the throne. Of course an individual Political Agent might
bring about improvements in the administration, but these all rested
on his personal influence and lasted only while he remained. Had the
Government of India stepped in and exerted its authority they would
have been permanent.

Bularam Singh was a typical Manipuri in face and had good manners,
but he had no force of character, and gradually yielded to his more
able colleague. He was generally known as the Toolee-Hel major, i.e.,
the major or commander of the Hel regiment.

Thangal Major was a remarkable character, and had a chequered
history. His uncle had saved the life of Rajah Ghumbeer Singh (Chandra
Kirtee Singh's father), then a child, when his older brother Marjeet
attempted the murder of all his relations. Thangal Major was one of
the props of the throne when Ghumbeer Singh ascended it. He had been
introduced at Court at an early age, and accompanied the Rajah in
an expedition against the village of Thangal inhabited by a tribe
of Nagas. He was given the name Thangal in memory of the event. He
accompanied the old Ranee with her infant son Chandra Kirtee Singh
into exile, when she fled after attempting the Regent Nursing's
life while he was engaged in worship in the temple of Govindjee in
1844; had stayed with him and carefully watched over his childhood
and youth. When in 1850 the young Rajah came to Manipur to assert
his rights, Thangal accompanied him and greatly contributed to his
success. This naturally made him a favourite, and his bold, active,
energetic character always brought him to the front when hard or
dangerous work had to be done. For a time he fell into disfavour,
but Colonel McCulloch, recognising his strong and useful qualities,
and the fact that he was an exceedingly able man, interceded for him
with the Maharajah, and he again came to the front. In person he was
short and thickset, darker than the average of Manipuris, with piercing
eyes and rather a prominent nose, a pleasant and straightforward but
abrupt manner, and, though a very devoted and patriotic Manipuri,
was extremely partial to Europeans. He knew our ways well, and soon
took a man's measure. He was acquainted with every part of Manipur,
and, though ignorant of English, could point out any village in
the state, on an English map. In fact, he had studied geography in
every branch to enable him to defend the cause of Manipur against
the survey officers who were suspected by the Manipuris of wishing
to include all they could within British territory. He knew all our
technical terms such as "watershed" in English, and had gained much
credit for enabling the survey to carry on their work in 1872, when
the patriotic but ill-judged zeal of an older officer, Rooma Singh,
nearly brought about a rupture. Thangal Major's knowledge of us and
our customs, as well as of our moral code, was astonishing. He realised
the power of the British Government, and though he would resist us to
the utmost in the interests of Manipur, nothing would have induced
him to join in any plot against our rule in India. When I say that
he was unscrupulous and capable of anything, I only say that he was
what circumstances and education had made him, and would make any
man under similar conditions. He had not the polish of a native of
Western India, and had not had the advantage of English training that
many ministers in other states have. The internal administration of
Manipur had never been interfered with by us, and Thangal Major was
the strong able man of the old type. A strong and capable political
agent might do well with him, but a weak one would soon go to the
wall. He commanded the Toolee Nehah, and was often called by that
title, but was better known as Thangal Major.

One of my predecessors had quarrelled with Thangal Major, and this
had led to recrimination, and very unseemly conduct on the part of the
Durbar. This conduct I had rebuked as directed, but it was a question
as to how Thangal Major was to be dealt with. I was authorised to
demand his dismissal from office, and for some time he had not been
received by my two immediate predecessors. I made careful inquiries,
and feeling convinced that there was a good deal to be said on
Thangal's side, and that by careful management I should be able to
keep him well in hand, I sent for him. The old man, he was then sixty,
having been born in 1817, came in a quiet unostentatious way, and after
a severe rebuke, and receiving an ample apology from him, I forgave
him, and restored him to the position of minister in attendance upon
me; and thenceforth I saw him daily, generally for an hour or two.

In addition to the Minister, two Subadars, Lowremba and Moirang,
were placed in attendance on me, but as time went on, and I and the
Durbar became friends, we transacted business in a friendly way,
through any one.


    Manipur--Early history--Our connection with it--Ghumbeer
    Singh--Burmese war.

Manipur consists of about 8000 square miles, chiefly hills surrounding
a valley 650 square miles in extent. This valley from north to south
is about 35 miles, and from east to west 25. The capital Imphal,
as it formerly existed, was a large mass of villages looking like a
forest from the neighbouring heights, and covering about 15 square
miles. Every house was in the centre of its own well-planted garden,
and every garden contained a few forest trees. The census of 1881 gave
the population of the capital as 60,000, that of the rest of the valley
an equal number, while the hills were estimated to have 100,000. It
was only in the capital that pure Manipuris lived, except the soldiers
in the military posts which were scattered all over the country.

The valley itself is 2600 feet above the sea, and the hills rise
on an average to an equal height above it, though here and there
some of the distant peaks are 10,000 to 12,000 feet in height. Thus
Manipur contains within its borders a variety of climate from almost
tropical, to a greater cold than that of England. The heat is never
very excessive in the valley, and for eight months in the year it is
most enjoyable. Foreigners suffer much from bronchial affections,
doubtless owing to the waterlogged soil, but these complaints are
not more prevalent among the native population than elsewhere, and
if sanitary laws were properly observed, the valley might be a most
healthy place and the population would rapidly overflow.

The capital is almost intersected by the 25th parallel north latitude,
and 95° east longitude, and is 132 miles by road from Silchar, the
capital of Cachar, and 70 from Tamu in the Kubo valley. The valley of
Manipur forms the centre of a chain of valleys, viz., Cachar, Manipur,
and Kubo, connecting Bengal with Burmah proper. The sides of the
hills facing the valley of Manipur are generally covered with grass
or scant jungle which rapidly dries up as the cold season advances,
but when once the crest is passed, a fine forest is reached; except
where the hill-tribes have destroyed it, to raise one crop and then
let it relapse into grass and scrub. Alas, I have seen noble oak
forests laid low and burned for this purpose. It is an abominable
custom, and nothing can justify our permitting it where we hold
sway. That it is not necessary is shown by the Angamis and some of
the Tankhool tribes, who though they do occasionally indulge in this
wasteful cultivation are quite independent of it, as they terrace
their hillsides and cultivate the same tract for generations. The
forests of Manipur are plentifully supplied with fine timber trees;
several varieties of oak and chestnut exist, and many others unknown
in England such as Woo-Ningtho, an excellent timber said to resist the
ravages of white ants; wang, which can be worked in its green state
as it never warps; teak, etc. Fir trees are found in abundance to the
south, east, and north-east of the valley, and bamboos of many kinds,
including the giant, are plentiful.

Rhododendrons and wild azaleas of several kinds, as well as many
species of brilliant orchids, add greatly to the beauty of the forests,
and in some parts tree ferns are abundant. I know nothing more lovely
in the world, than some of the forest scenery of Manipur with its
solemn stillness.

The early history of Manipur is lost in obscurity, but there can be
no doubt that it has existed as an independent kingdom from a very
early period. In the days when the Indian branch of the Aryan race
was still in its progressive and colonising stage, this district
was repeatedly passed over by one wave after another of invaders,
intent on penetrating into the remotest parts of Burmah. We have no
means of ascertaining what government it had before the year 700 A.D.,
but it is believed that a monarchy prevailed at that era. About the
year 1250 A.D., a large Chinese force invaded the country, and was
signally defeated; all who were not killed being made prisoners. These
taught the Manipuris silk culture, and a number of them were settled
at Susa Rameng in the valley, where they have still descendants. The
Chinese also taught the art of brick-making, and erected two solid
blocks of masonry in the palace, between which the road to the Lion
Gate passed. These blocks were levelled with the ground by the Burmese
invaders, but rebuilt on the old foundations by Ghumbeer Singh.

Manipur in old days possessed a famous breed of ponies, larger and
better bred than the so-called Burmese ponies that come from the Shan
states. On these ponies were mounted the formidable cavalry that
in the last century made Manipur feared throughout Upper Burmah,
and enabled her rulers on more than one occasion, to carry their
victorious arms within sight of Ava, where their Rajah Pamheiba erected
a stone pillar to commemorate the event. The cavalry used the regular
Manipuri saddle protecting the legs, and were armed with spears and
two quivers of darts. These darts in a retreat were grasped by a loop
and swung round in a peculiar way, when the shaft formed of peacock
feathers with an iron head suddenly became detached, and flying with
great force inflicted a fatal wound wherever it struck. A skilful
man could throw them with great precision.

The territories of Manipur varied according to the mettle of its
rulers. Sometimes they held a considerable territory east of the
Chindwin river in subjection, at other times only the Kubo valley,
a strip of territory, inhabited, not by Burmese, but by Shans, and
lying between Manipur proper and the Chindwin. Again they were driven
back into Manipur proper. For the greater part of the last century,
the Kubo valley unquestionably belonged to Manipur, and it was never
in any sense a Burmese province, being, when not under Manipur,
a feudatory of the great Shan kingdom of Pong.

In the middle of the last century one of those extraordinary men who
appear from time to time in the East, destined to shine like a blazing
meteor, imparting exceeding brilliancy to their country, and then as
suddenly vanishing, so that it returns to its original obscurity,
appeared in Burmah. His name, Along Pra, has been corrupted by us
into Alompra, by which he is always known. He speedily raised Burmah
to a commanding position. The kingdom of Pong was overthrown and
its territories mostly annexed, Pegu was conquered, our district of
Chittagong threatened, and Siam forced to relinquish several coveted
possessions. The war fever did not die with Alompra, and in 1817 and
1819 Assam and Manipur were respectively invaded, internal dissensions
having bred traitors, who, in both countries, made the path of the
invaders easy. But the master spirit was gone, and when we appeared
upon the scene, they could make no efficient stand. Had we then marched
to Ava, the Burmese Empire would have collapsed like a house of cards,
and the events of 1885 been anticipated by sixty years. As it was, we
did not realise our strength and the Burmese weakness, and contented
ourselves with annexing Assam and Cachar and protecting Manipur.

It is not very evident what the religion of Manipur was in early days,
but we see no trace of Buddhism. Probably, whatever the belief in
early years when the people may have been affected by the intermittent
stream of Aryans passing through, for many centuries no religious rites
were used before the recent rise of Hindooism, further than to appease
evil spirits, as is the custom of the surrounding tribes. There can be
little doubt that some time or other the Naga tribes to the north made
one of their chiefs Rajah of Manipur, and that his family, while, like
the Manchus in China and other conquerors, adopting the civilisation
of the country, retained some of their old customs. This is shown in
the curious practice at the installation of a Rajah, when he and the
Ranee appear in Naga costume; also that he always has in his palace
a house built like a Naga's, and wherever he goes he is attended by
two or three Manipuris with Naga arms and accoutrements. I once told
a Manipuri what I thought on the subject, and he was greatly struck
by it, and admitted the force of what I said.

Towards the middle of the last century, for some reason or other,
a great Hindoo revival took place in the East of India. Assam was
once Hindoo but had long become Buddhist under its Ahom kings,
and now became converted to Hindooism, by Brahmins from Bengal. All
difficulties were smoothed over, and converts were made by tens of
thousands. It is to be regretted that it was so, as these "converts"
quickly deteriorated. The easy conquest of Hindooised Assam by the
Burmese, when Buddhist Assam had successfully resisted a powerful army
sent by Arungzebe from India and composed largely of recruits from
Central Asia, seems proof of it, if all other evidence were wanting.

The process of conversion in Manipur began a generation later than in
Assam, and proceeded on somewhat different lines, but it was not less
effective, and was still going on at a late date. It had not the same
deteriorating effect, for the Rajahs assumed to themselves a position
greater than that of High Pontiff, and could at any time by their
simple fiat have changed the religion of the country and degraded
all the Brahmins, in fact all admissions to the Hindoo pale from the
outer world of unorthodoxy were made by the Rajah himself. Sometimes
the inhabitants of a village were elevated en masse from the level
of outcasts, to that of Hindoos of pure caste, but more often single
individuals were "converted." A man belonging to a hill-tribe, for
instance, could, if the Rajah chose, at any time receive the sacred
thread of the twice-born castes, and on payment of a small sum of money
be admitted as a Hindoo and was thenceforth called a Khetree. [16]
This privilege was not accorded to Mussulmans. I once asked a Manipuri
why they received hill-men and not Mussulmans, both being Mlechas, [17]
according to Hindoo theory. He said it was because the hill people had
sinned in ignorance, whereas Mussulmans knew the evil of their ways.

Of course, every one who knows anything of Hindooism is aware that
theoretically a man must be born a Hindoo, and that proselytism
is not admitted. Practically, however, this rule is ignored on the
eastern frontier, and all along it from Sudya down to Chittagong,
where conversions are daily taking place. I remember villages in
Assam where caste was unknown thirty-five years ago, but where now the
people live in the odour of sanctity as highly orthodox and bigoted
Hindoos. Strange to say, the pure Hindoos of the North-West Provinces
acknowledge the pretensions of these spurious converts sufficiently so
as to allow of their drinking water brought by them. It is probably
easier to take the people at their own valuation than to carry water
one's self from a distance when tired. By the religious law of the
Hindoos, it is forbidden to eat or drink anything touched by one of
another tribe.

Our first relations with Manipur date from 1762, when Governor
Verelst of the Bengal Presidency--with that splendid self-reliance and
large-mindedness characteristic of the makers of the British Indian
Empire, men who acted instead of talking, and were always ready to
extend our responsibilities when advisable--entered into a treaty with
the Rajah of Manipur. As this treaty came to nothing, practically our
connection with the little state really dates from 1823. It had been
invaded by the Burmese in 1819, and its people driven out or carried
off into slavery in Burmah. The royal family were fugitives.

At that time Sylhet was our frontier station, and our relations with
the Burmese, who were at the highest pitch of their power, were
daily becoming more strained. On our side of the frontier we were
ably represented by Mr. David Scott, agent to the Governor-General,
and preparations were being made for the inevitable struggle. One
day a young Manipuri prince waited on Mr. Scott and asked leave
to raise a Manipuri force to fight on our side. He was short and
slight, and of indomitable courage and energy, and the agent to
the Governor-General recognising his ability, allowed him to raise
500 men. These were soon increased to 2000, cavalry, infantry and
artillery. Two English officers, Captain F. Grant and Lieutenant
R. B. Pemberton, were attached to the force, thenceforth called the
Manipur Levy, to drill and discipline it.

In 1825 a general advance was made all along our line, Cachar was
invaded and subdued, and we essayed to pursue the enemy into Manipur
and thence into Burmah, but our transport arrangements failed. Hitherto
we had been accustomed to wars in the arid plains of India, and our
military authorities did not realise the necessities of an expedition
into the eastern jungles. Hence, camels and bullocks were sent to
dislocate their limbs in the tenacious mud and swamps of Cachar,
and when the advance into Manipur was desired, our regular troops
were powerless. At this crisis the Manipur Levy showed its immense
value. The men could move lightly equipped without the paraphernalia
of a regular army, and advance they did, and with such effect that in
a short time not only was Manipur cleared, but the enemy driven out
of the Kubo valley. Later on, Ghumbeer Singh was recognised as Rajah
of Manipur, and the Kubo valley was included within his territories.

Manipur at this time contained only 2000 inhabitants, the miserable
remnants of a thriving population of at least 400,000, possibly
600,000, that existed before the invasion. Ghumbeer Singh's task was to
encourage exiles to return, and to attempt to rebuild the prosperity
of his little kingdom. He was a wise and strong though severe ruler,
and though he owed his throne greatly to his own efforts, he to the
last retained the deepest feelings of loyalty and gratitude to the
British Government, promptly obeying all its orders and doing his
utmost to impress the same feeling on all his officers.

As is always the case, though we had carried all before us in the
war, we began to display great weakness afterwards. We had an agent,
Colonel Burney, at Ava, and the Burmese who were not disposed to be
at all friendly, constantly tried to impress on him the fact that
all difficulties and disputes would be at an end if we ceded the
Kubo valley to them, that territory belonging to our ally Ghumbeer
Singh of Manipur. Of course the proposal ought to have been rejected
with scorn, and a severe snub given to the Burmese officials. The
advisers of the Government of India, however, being generally officers
brought up in the Secretariat, and with little practical knowledge of
Asiatics, the manly course was not followed. It was not realised that
a display of self-confidence and strength is the best diplomacy with
people like the Burmese, and with a view to winning their good-will
we basely consented to deprive our gallant and loyal ally of part
of his territories. An attempt was made to negotiate with him, but
Major Grant said, "It is no use bargaining with Ghumbeer Singh,"
and refused to take any part in it. He was asked what compensation
should be given, and he said 6000 sicca rupees per annum.

When Ghumbeer Singh heard the final decision he quietly accepted
it, saying, "You gave it me and you can take it away. I accept your
decree." The proposed transfer was very distasteful to many of the
inhabitants, including the Sumjok (Thoungdoot) Tsawbwa, [18] but they
were not consulted. The Kubo valley was handed over to the Burmese
on the 9th of January, 1834, and on that day Ghumbeer Singh died in
Manipur of cholera. Perhaps he was happy in the hour of his death,
as he felt the treatment of our Government most severely.


    Ghumbeer Singh and our treatment of him--Nur Singh and
    attempt on his life--McCulloch--His wisdom and generosity--My
    establishment--Settlement of frontier dispute.

Ghumbeer Singh did much for Manipur during his comparatively short
reign. He made all the roads in his territory safe, and subdued the
different hill-tribes who had asserted their independence during
the troubles with Burmah. Imphal, the old capital, had not been
re-occupied, though the sacred spot where the temple of Govindjee
stood was cared for; but a new palace had been built at Langthabal
at a distance of three and a half miles from Imphal where several
fine masonry buildings were erected, and a canal dug for the annual
boat races. Langthabal [19] was deserted in 1844 and the old site
re-occupied, and in my time, the buildings at Langthabal were
picturesque ruins, having been greatly injured by time and the
earthquakes of 1869 and 1880. Ghumbeer Singh left an infant son,
Chandra Kirtee Singh who was two years of age at his father's death
and a distant cousin, Nur Singh, was appointed Regent. Contrary to all
precedent, the Regent was loyal to his charge and governed well and
ably for the infant prince, in spite of constant attempts to overthrow
his government. In 1844, the Queen-Mother wishing to govern herself,
attempted to procure Nur Singh's murder as he was at prayers in the
temple. She failed and fled with her son the young Rajah Chandra
Kirtee Singh to British territory. The Regent then proclaimed himself
Rajah with the consent of all the people. The Manipur Levy had been
maintained up till 1835 when the Government of India withdrew their
connection from it, and ceased to pay the men. Major Grant left
Manipur, and Captain Gordon, who had been adjutant since 1827, was
made Political Agent of Manipur. Captain Pemberton had long since
been on special survey duty.

Captain Gordon died in December 1844. He was much liked and long
remembered by the people whom he had greatly benefited, among other
ways by introducing English vegetables, and fruits. He was succeeded
by Lieutenant (afterwards Colonel) McCulloch.

Rajah Nur Singh died in 1850, and was succeeded by his brother
Debindro, a weak man, quite unfit for the position. In 1850, young
Chandra Kirtee Singh invaded the valley with a body of followers,
Debindro fled, and he mounted the throne without opposition. Up to
this time the Government of India had always acknowledged the de facto
Rajah of Manipur, and revolutions with much accompanying bloodshed
were common. Now, however, McCulloch strongly urged the advisability
of supporting Chandra Kirtee Singh, and he received authority to
"make a public avowal of the determination of the British Government
to uphold the present Rajah and to resist and punish any parties
attempting hereafter to dispossess him." The Court of Directors of
the East India Company, in a despatch dated May 5th, 1852, confirmed
the order of the Government of India and commented thus: "The position
you have assumed of pledged protector of the Rajah, imposes on you as
a necessary consequence the obligation of attempting to guide him,
by your advice, but if needful of protecting his subjects against
oppression on his part; otherwise our guarantee of his rule may be
the cause of inflicting on them a continuance of reckless tyranny."

These words of justice and wisdom were steadily ignored by successive
governments. On no occasion did the Government of India ever seriously
remonstrate with the Rajah, or make a sustained effort to improve
his system of administration. The East India Company's order became
a dead letter, but the resolution to uphold Chandra Kirtee Singh
bore good fruit, and during his long reign of thirty-five years no
successful attempt against his authority was ever made, and he on
his part displayed unswerving fidelity to the British Government.

I have already mentioned the great work that Colonel McCulloch
accomplished with regard to the Kukis. This added to his long
experience, gave him great influence in the State, and when he
retired from the service in 1861, it was amidst the regrets of the
whole people. Able, high-minded, respected, and having accomplished
a task few could even have attempted, he left without honour or
reward from his Government. How many men of inferior capacity,
and quite without his old-fashioned single-minded devotion to duty,
are nowadays covered with stars! When he left he made every effort
to hand over his vast power and influence intact to his successor,
and to smooth his way as much as possible. Had the Government of
India exercised the slightest tact and discretion in the selection of
its agent, he might have carried on the good work so ably commenced,
and brought Manipur by rapid strides into the path of progress. As it
was it would have been difficult to find an officer more unfitted to
succeed Colonel McCulloch than the one selected; he was soon involved
in difficulties, and after a troubled period was ordered by Government
to leave at three days' notice. For a time the agency remained vacant,
but the Rajah applied for another officer, and Colonel McCulloch was
requested by the Government to quit his retirement, and again assume
charge. He did so, and was received with acclamations by Rajah and
people, the whole State turning out to meet him. His first effort was
to restore the confidence forfeited by the late political agent, and
everything went on as smoothly as ever; but, towards the end of 1867,
he finally retired, staying on a few days after his successor's arrival
to post him up in his work. This time it would have been thought that
some judgment would be shown in the selection of an officer for the
post; but the next political agent was eminently unfitted and for
some years before his death in 1876, was on very indifferent terms
with the Durbar.

During the brief period that elapsed between the last event and my
taking charge, two different officers held the post.

My Government establishment consisted of a head clerk, a most excellent
man, Baboo Rusni Lall Coondoo; a native doctor, Lachman Parshad;
native secretary and Manipuri interpreter; Burmese interpreter;
Naga interpreter; Kuki interpreter; and latterly six chuprassies,
i.e., orderlies or lictors. As for private servants we had three Naga
girls, a Mugh cook and assistant, who could turn out a dinner equal to
any of the London clubs for one hundred people at a couple of days'
notice, and under him I had four young Nagas learning their work,
as I was determined to do more for my successors than my predecessors
had done for me, viz., teach and train up a staff of servants so as
to save the necessity of importing the scum of Calcutta. I had an
excellent bearer, Horna, as I have already stated, and under him were
two or three Nagas; washermen, syces, gardeners, water-carriers,
etc., made up the number. All my interpreters, chuprassies, and
servants, I clothed in scarlet livery which made a great impression,
and gradually the air of squalor which prevailed when I arrived began
to disappear. I had charge of a Government Treasury from which I used
to pay myself and the Government establishment. The currency of the
country was a small bell-metal coin called "Sel," of which 400 to
480 went to the rupee, also current, but copper pice were not used,
and all Manipuri accounts were kept in "Sel."

At this time the Naga Hills were still under a political officer
whose actual jurisdiction was limited to the villages which had paid
tribute to me, as already described. He was supposed to exercise a
certain influence over many of the large villages, but the influence
was lessened by the feeling entertained by the Nagas that our stay
in the hills was uncertain, and that for all practical purposes the
Manipuris were the power most to be reckoned with, and from our
point of view it was very desirable that our headquarter station
should be removed to Kohima. A dispute with Mozuma, due chiefly to
our vacillating conduct, was now going on, but its chiefs would not
accept our terms, and an expedition to coerce them was in preparation
in which I was to take part. Mr. Carnegy was political officer, a man
of ability and determination, and very pleasant to deal with. During
the dispute with Mozuma, the other villages held aloof, thinking Mozuma
was able to hold its own, and waiting to see which side gained the day.

Burmah was still under its native rulers. There were constant frontier
disputes going on between it and Manipur, but that state of things
was chronic.

To the south of Manipur, the Chin and Lushai tribes were quiet.

There was a long standing boundary dispute between Manipur and the
Naga Hills. The boundary had been most arbitrarily settled by us
when the survey was carried out, so far as a certain point, beyond
that it was vague. Manipur claimed territory which we certainly did
not possess, and which she had visited from time to time, but did not
actually hold in subjection. Other portions, as I afterwards proved,
were occupied by her, though the fact had not been ascertained. Over
and over again efforts had been made to bring the Durbar to terms,
but without success. I determined to grapple with the question at
once. I took a map and drew a line including all that I thought Manipur
entitled to, in the neighbourhood of the Naga Hills, and advised the
Maharajah to accept the arrangement on the understanding that when I
visited the country claimed further eastward, I would recommend the
Government of India to allow him to retain all that he actually held in
his possession. This was agreed to by him and confirmed by Government,
and I believe that substantial justice was done to both parties.

I should like to have seen Manipur get more, as a set-off against our
unjust treatment in former years, but as we were sure eventually, to
occupy all the Naga Hills, it was necessary to make such an adjustment
as would not injure British interests in the future.


    My early days in Manipur--The capital--The inhabitants--Good
    qualities of Manipuris--Origin of valley of Manipur--Expedition
    to the Naga Hills--Lovely scenery--Attack on Kongal Tannah by
    Burmese--Return from Naga Hills--Visit Kongal Tannah.

The first few weeks in Manipur were taken up in making acquaintance
with the place and people, and doing all that was possible to disarm
the fears of the Durbar. Never was there one so suspicious. At
first all my movements were watched, and wherever I went spies,
open or secret, followed; however, I encouraged it to the utmost,
and told the officials to inquire into everything I did, and they
very soon saw that there was no necessity for special espionage,
though all my acts were still noted and reported. Several little
difficulties cropped up regarding British subjects, and required some
care in dealing with them. In one case, a man had taken upon himself
to intrigue with some of the Nagas under Manipur, and urged them to
declare themselves British subjects, and in another, a man had robbed
the Maharajah. In both instances the Durbar had acted foolishly and
precipitately, though under much provocation. However, I turned both
men out of the country, with orders never to return.

The question of British subjects and their rights was one that gave
me much trouble for years. Judging by a decision of the High Court
of Calcutta that all the descendants of European British subjects
were European British subjects, I insisted on all descendants
of British subjects being considered as such, and subject to my
jurisdiction. After a long struggle I carried my point, and it very
greatly strengthened my position.

A few more words about the capital and the Manipuris may not be
amiss. Imphal, as has been said, [20] covered a space of fifteen
square miles. On the north side it touches on some low hills, called
Ching-mai-roong, and running westward is bounded by a shallow lake,
which is partly enclosed by a continuation of the hills, here called
Langol, on which grows a celebrated cane used for polo sticks. Then,
running south, it is intersected by several roads, notably the road
to Silchar, which enters the capital at a place called Kooak-Kaithel
(i.e. crow bazaar). Here it is bounded by rice cultivation. Going
farther south, and sweeping round in an easterly direction, it is
bounded by the Plain of Lang-thabal, at one extremity of which lies
the old capital; here two rivers intersect it. And going farther east,
it is bounded by the lower slopes of a hill rising 2500 feet above the
valley. Then turning to the northward and crossing two rivers, we come
again to the place from which we started. The want of the town was a
good water-supply; there were one or two fair-sized tanks, or ponds,
as they would be called in England, and the afore-mentioned rivers,
of which the water is not improved by receiving the ashes of the
dead burned on their banks. Beyond this, all the water obtainable was
derived from small ponds, one or more of which was to be found in every
garden enclosure. The ground on which the capital stands must at one
time have been very low, probably a marsh, and it has been artificially
raised from time to time by digging these tanks; every raised road,
too, meant a deep stagnant ditch on either side. The people are not
sanitary in their habits, and when heavy rain falls the gardens are
flooded, and a fair share of the accumulated filth is washed into
the drinking-tanks, the result being frequent epidemics of cholera.

The Manipuris themselves are a fine stalwart race descended from an
Indo-Chinese stock, with some admixture of Aryan blood, derived from
the successive waves of Aryan invaders that have passed through the
valley in prehistoric days. It may be this, or from an admixture of
Chinese blood, but certainly the Manipuris have stable and industrious
qualities which the Burmese and Shans do not possess. Since then the
race has been constantly fed by additions from the various hill-tribes
surrounding the valley. The result is a fairly homogeneous people of
great activity and energy, with much of the Japanese aptitude for
acquiring new arts. The men seem capable of learning anything, and
the women are famous as weavers, and in many cases have completely
killed out the manufacture of cloths formerly peculiar to certain
of the hill-tribes, over whom the Manipuris have obtained mastery
by superior intellect. They are always cheerful, even on a long and
trying march, and are good-humoured under any difficulties and never
apparently conscious of fatigue. They are very abstemious, and live
chiefly on rice and fish, which is often rotten from preference. Though
rigid Hindoos outwardly, they have a curious custom by which a man
of low caste, marrying a high-caste woman, can be adopted into her
tribe, the exact reverse of what prevails in India, where a woman of
high caste marrying a low-caste man is hopelessly degraded and her
children outcasts.

It is impossible for those who have marched much in the hills with
Manipuris to avoid liking them. Their caste prejudices, though rigid,
give no trouble to others. Hungry or not, they are always ready to
march, and march all day and all night, if necessary. Still, the
Indo-Chinese races exceed even the ordinary Asiatic in reserve and
sphinx-like characteristics, and the Manipuris are an inscrutable
set. I had many intimate friends among them, yet, on the whole,
prefer the pure Hindoo.

What is now the valley of Manipur was evidently once a series of
valleys and ranges of hills, between the higher ranges which now border
it and converge to the south. The rivers now flowing through the valley
then flowed through it like the Barak, Eerung, and others, at a much
lower level. One of the great earthquakes, to which these regions are
so subject, closed the outlet and raised a permanent barrier; thus
a lake was formed, and in the course of ages the alluvium brought
down by the streams filled it up to its present level leaving the
Logtak Lake in its lowest part, a lake which has constantly lessened
and is still lessening in size. The crests of the sunken ranges are
still to be seen running down the valley, and mostly parallel to the
bordering ranges, such are Langol, Langthabal, Phoiching, Lokching,
and others. Sometimes a river, as at a place called "Eeroce Semba,"
runs at the base of a hill, and cuts away the alluvium, showing the
solid rock. This alluvium forms one of the deepest and richest soils
in the world.

I have referred to the proposed expedition to the Naga Hills, to aid
the troops there in the operations against the powerful village of
Mozuma. In order to take part in this expedition I had brought up one
hundred men of the 35th Native Infantry, from Cachar, and I started
from Manipur on December 3rd, 1877, having sent on the 35th and a
Manipuri force of over three hundred men under the Minister Bularam
Singh. I rode out the first day to Mayang Khang, a distance of forty
miles, where I caught up my men. I passed Sengmai at a distance of
thirteen miles on the border of the valley, and up to which the road
is flat, and soon entered a broken country, first grass, then scrub,
then forest. The road lay over a succession of spurs of the Kowpree
Hills which run down into a very narrow valley, and was as bad as
can be imagined--very steep ascents and descents. At last we reached
Kaithemabee, the second stage, and fourteen miles from Sengmai. It
is exceedingly picturesquely situated, having a splendid view of the
Kowpree range, here rising to over 8000 feet. The outpost is situated
on a high bank overlooking a stream, and beyond it a splendid rolling
slope of grass extending for miles.

All this part of the country is covered with beehive-shaped cairns,
built of well-selected stones. They are said to have been made by
the Köereng Nagas, formerly a very powerful race, whose miserable
remnants now inhabit the neighbouring hills. Farther on the bee-hives
end suddenly, and a region of monoliths is entered. Probably both
monoliths and bee-hives were erected to commemorate great events
in the lives of the builders, the death of a chief, the birth of
a son, the giving of a great feast when a bison, or possibly many,
were killed. Monoliths are common, and exist all over the Naga Hills
and among the Kolarian and Dravidian tribes, as well as all over
Europe. Cairns also are common, but the beehive-shaped cairns are,
I believe, unique, and found only in Manipur and in this neighbourhood.

I reached Mayung Khang at 4 P.M., having an hour before crossed the
watershed, all the streams south of it falling into the tributaries of
the Chindwin Irrawaddy, all to the north running into the tributaries
of the Ganges and Burrhampooter.

Mayung Khang is a highly undulating grassy slope, the Kowpree rising
to nearly nine thousand feet in the west, while after crossing a small
stream a lower range closes it in on the east. We halted there for
the night close to a monolith, and the next day marched to Mythephum.

Mythephum or Muphum (lit. Manipuri settlement) was a small military
post, and we encamped below in a wide valley among recently cut
rice fields, with a river rushing by us. The place is so named from
having been a Manipuri settlement, in the old days before the Burmese
invasion. High hills rose above us on all sides, the valley running
in and out among them and following the course of the stream. To
our north, and at a distance of a mile or two, was the once powerful
village of Muram, still populous but submissive. I had a small but
most comfortable straw-built hut, and well remember how delightful the
early morning was next day, when I had breakfast at sunrise and saw
my thermometer at thirty-two degrees. Only those accustomed to great
heat realise the delights of a low thermometer. Mythephum is over
4000 feet above the sea, and being a low valley is often extremely
cold. Sometimes in winter the stream is for a day quite choked by
blocks of ice, and I have seen the thermometer at twenty-six degrees,
150 feet above the valley, which probably meant eighteen degrees at
the lowest level on the grass.

It was my intention to march on Mozuma by a track which would avoid
the powerful villages of Viswema, Kohima, Jotsuma and Konoma, and
enable me to attack the enemy in the rear. Half-way I was delayed
by receiving no letter from Mr. Carnegy, with whom I had to act in
concert, and this prevented me from reaching the scene of operations,
as I received the startling news that the Manipuri outpost of Kongal
Tannah on the borders of the Kubo valley had been attacked on December
14th by a party of men sent by the Rajah of Sumjok or Thoungdoot,
and eight men killed. This threw the whole population of Manipur into
a state of commotion, and the Maharajah begged me to return at once,
and I felt it my duty to do so, as my chief work was to protect Manipur
and its interests. I therefore returned to Manipur on December 17th,
leaving my party on the frontier, where they remained some time longer,
the Nagas being unwilling to submit; and making overtures instead to
the Maharajah Chandra Kirtee Singh. He sternly declined their offers,
and threatened that if they did not speedily yield to the British
authorities, he would send a large force to our aid.

The Naga Hills Campaign of that year had no further interest for
Manipur, and it had a sad ending for us, as Mr. Carnegy was accidently
shot by a sentry.

The "Kongal outrage," as it was thenceforth called, was so serious and
so evidently premeditated, that a most thorough inquiry was needed. It
took some time to collect evidence as wounded men had to be brought
in, and it was the end of the month before I was able to proceed to
the spot. At last I started and crossed the Yoma range of hills for
the first time. What a lovely march it was and what an anxious one,
as I left my wife not at all well, and no one but an ignorant and
not very sweet-tempered English nurse to look after her. However,
duty must come first, and off I started, posting relays of ponies on
the way to enable me to return quickly when the work was done. Thangal
Major accompanied me.

The first part of our march lay across the valley, and we began the
ascent of the hills at a place called Ingorok. After a wearisome ascent
of 3500 feet and a more gradual one along the crest, we made a rapid
descent of 4000 feet to the Turet river, where we encamped. The river
runs at the bottom of an exceedingly narrow valley, and the ascent on
both sides is one of the most wearisome I have ever made. On a dark
night lights on the hillside above, appear as stars from the bed of
the stream. The scenery was majestic, and the vegetation very fine. The
next day we commenced with a steep ascent of 2500 feet, and ended with
a descent of 3000 feet to the Maghung river. From the Maghung next
morning we started for Kongal Tannah, which we reached in good time.

I carefully examined the place and saw the charred remains of the
murdered men, and many bullets still sticking in the stockade. The
evidence being complete, I turned homewards, and by travelling
incessantly reached Manipur next morning to find that my wife had
presented me with another son, the first pure European child born in
Manipur. It had been an anxious time for me, and I was thankful to
find both her and the baby well. We named the baby Arthur.

I sent a full report of the Kongal case to the Government of India,
and a demand for reparation was made at the Court of Mandalay,
but it was not backed up with sufficient vigour. The outrage was
unprovoked, and nothing less than the execution of the ringleaders,
who were well known, would have satisfied Manipur, and, indeed,
the claims of justice, but though the case dragged on for years, no
redress was ever given. I predicted at the time that failure to do
justice would eventually lead to underhand reprisals on the part of
Manipur, as the Durbar could not understand our Government tolerating
an attack of this kind on a protected state, and naturally ascribed our
forbearance to weakness. I shall have to refer to the case farther on.


    Discussions as to New Residency--Its completion--Annual boat
    races--Kang-joop-kool--Daily work--Dealings with the Durbar.

I have briefly described the old Residency which was rented from
the Heir Apparent. Money had been sanctioned for a new Residency,
to belong to the British Government, but there had been squabbles
for a long time between my predecessors and the Durbar regarding a
suitable site. Also such a building as was required could only be
built with the help of the Durbar whom it was advisable to conciliate.

One of my predecessors wished to build on a small hill called
"Chinga," about a mile from the palace. It was an admirable site,
and had the position of the Political Agent been similar to that in
other Indian States, it could not have been better. But in Manipur, the
representative of the Government of India was regarded by the Maharajah
as a powerful prop and support in case of his throne being attacked,
as was constantly the case in former years. On this ground the Durbar
objected that it was too far off; also that the place was reported
to be the residence of an evil spirit inimical to the Royal family,
so that it was not a convenient spot for the Maharajah to visit. So,
after many acrimonious disputes, the negotiation fell through.

Another Political Agent chose a site called Ching-mai-roong, which
in many ways was very satisfactory, and the Durbar reluctantly
consented to give it, but it was a mile and a half from the palace,
and therefore much out of the way. The question was still in abeyance
when I arrived. As soon as I had time, I discussed the matter with
the Durbar, and found the Maharajah much averse to my removal from
the old site. He said "Where you are now, I can call to you; but if
you go to a distance, I shall be cut off entirely."

I quite saw the advisability of being on the spot, also in what I may
call the fashionable quarter of the town; and, as from a sanitary point
of view, the position was as good as any other, I agreed to stay, on
condition that all the squalid houses and slums in the neighbourhood
were cleared away, dirty tanks filled, and others deepened, and a fine
large space cleared and handed over to me. I further insisted that
I should have all the assistance necessary in building a suitable
Residency. My terms were agreed to, and the work put in hand. I
determined to have a building worthy of the representative of the
British Government, and sacrificed everything to suitable rooms, and
sound construction, so that it was not till the end of 1880 that it
was finished.

I was greatly indebted to my head clerk, Baboo Rusni Lall Coondoo, who
acted as clerk of the works. The result was a charming residence. It
was in the half-timber style of old English houses, modified to suit
the climate, all on one floor, but raised on a solid brick foundation,
which gave a lower storey seven feet in height, thus keeping us high
and dry, the house being approached on four sides by flights of solid
masonry steps. The lower storey was built so as to be shot proof, as I
designed it as a place of retreat from stray shot for non-combatants,
in the event of the Residency being again, as it had been before,
subjected to a cross-fire from contending parties during one of the
many revolutions so common to Manipur. Little did I dream that folly,
and incompetency would ever lead to our being directly attacked!

The large compound, about sixteen acres in extent, was surrounded
by a mud breastwork and ditch, quite capable of being defended, if
necessary, and there were four entrances which I named respectively,
the Great Gate, the Milking Gate, my cows'-shed being close to it,
the Water Gate and the Kang-joop-kool Gate. I made a riding road all
round to exercise ponies, and besides making a splendid kitchen garden,
adding considerably to Colonel McCulloch's, we laid out flower beds,
and had cool shady spots for the heat of the day. Deodars and other
exotic trees were imported by me and throve wonderfully. One large
sheet of water with an island in the centre was cleared, deepened,
and the banks repaired, and as I never allowed a bird to be killed, it
was covered in winter with water-fowls to the number of four hundred
and fifty or five hundred of every kind, from wild geese downwards,
and rare birds took refuge in the trees. In the north-east corner of
the compound were the lines for my escort, with a tank of the purest
drinking water, where formerly squalor and filth had held sway. Finally
I covered most of the large trees with beautiful orchids, so that in
the season we had a blaze of colour. I spared no expense on the garden,
and we were rewarded. Altogether the Residency and its grounds formed
a beautiful and comfortable resting-place.

The new building was also commodious and contained a handsome
Durbar-room for receptions 24 feet square, fine dining and
drawing-rooms, very airy and comfortable bedrooms, etc., with an
office for myself. The pantry was so arranged that cold draughts
of air, so great a drawback in Indian houses in cold weather,
were avoided when dinner was being brought in. The bedrooms had
fireplaces, and the sitting-rooms excellent stoves which in winter
were very necessary. The shot-proof rooms in the basement were not
used, except one for a storeroom, and the one under the verandah of
the Durbar-room, used as a sleeping place by the men of my guard.

The Great Gate was a picturesque half-timber structure, with rooms on
either side, one of which I built specially as a pneumonia hospital,
so it was designed with a view to maintaining an equable temperature,
pneumonia being a great scourge among newly arrived Hindoostani
sepoys. Not long after I left, it was diverted to other purposes,
being considered too good for a hospital!

"With the exception of the Residency, no house when I left Manipur,
was built of brick, partly from fear of earthquakes, partly on
account of expense. The ordinary houses of the people are huts with
wattle and daub or mud walls, those of greater folks the same, but
on a larger scale. Every house has a verandah in front with the main
entrance leading from it, and a little side door on the north side
close to the west end, the houses invariably facing east. The roofs
are all of thatch, with the exception of the Rajah's, which was of
corrugated iron. There were several temples built of brick stuccoed
over. One in the palace had an iron roof, another a gilded one. I
sent some models of these temples and several other buildings to the
Indian and Colonial Exhibition of 1886, every beam and rafter being
represented and made according to scale. The larger of the temples
had bells of a fine deep tone. Some of the approaches to the Rajah's
dwelling-house were made of brick. Formerly the palace enclosure
was entered from the front by a quaint and picturesque old gateway,
not beautiful, but characteristic of Manipur; the old Rajah Chandra
Kirtee Singh substituted for it a tawdry and fantastic structure with
a corrugated iron roof, a structure without any merit, and quite out
of keeping with its surroundings. I remonstrated in vain; shoddy and
vulgar tastes had penetrated even to Manipur, and the picturesque
old building that spoke of bygone ages was doomed; but we who have
destroyed so many fine buildings, have little right to criticise.

"Close to the gateway is the place where the grand stand is erected,
from which the Rajah and his relations view the boat races on the
palace moat. I say 'view,' as in old age, a Rajah sits there all
the time; but in the prime of life he takes part in these races,
steering one of the boats himself. These boat races generally take
place in September when the moat is full, and are the great event
of the year. Every one turns out to see them, the Ranees and other
female relations being on the opposite side of the moat, for in Manipur
there is no concealment of women, while the side next to the road is
thronged with spectators. The boatmen have a handsome dress peculiar
to the occasion, and the whole scene is highly interesting. The boats
are canoes hewn out of single trees of great size, and are decorated
with colour and carving." [21]

The valley of Manipur is hot and steamy in the rainy season, and
Colonel McCulloch built a small hut at a place called Kang-joop-kool,
situated on a spur of the Kowpree range, to the west of the valley
at a height of 5170 feet above the sea. The distance from the capital
was fourteen miles, and four from the foot of the hills, and he lived
there for the whole of the rainy season, except for a few visits to
the capital. His successors till my time did not stay there much,
but I bought a small hut from my immediate predecessor, and pulled it
down, and built a new one far more commodious. I enclosed the land,
and laid out a small garden, and planted a wood of Khasia pines,
the land being quite bare, and in time it became a most charming
place. It was pleasant to leave the ceremonial life at the capital,
where I never walked out without a train of followers clad in scarlet
liveries, and settle down quietly at Kang-joop-kool where we could
roam about the hills as if we had been in England.

I spent little or no time in sporting, my eyes were never very good,
and before I came to Manipur had become so deficient in what oculists
call power of "accommodation," that, though formerly a fairly good
shot, I was then a bad one. In one way this was an advantage, as all
my interests were concentrated on my work, and nothing of greater
interest could have been found. Somehow or other, there was subject
for conversation with State officials and non-officials, to last me
from early morning till night, and fill up every spare moment. My
door was always open, and the guard at the great gate had orders to
let every one pass. All the minor gates were unguarded.

No attempt was made by the Durbar, as in other native states, to
bribe the Residency servants, except in one notable case that happened
before my time. All negotiations were carried on with the Political
Agent direct, and the penurious Manipuris would have thought it waste
of money to bribe his servants. This was a very satisfactory state
of things, and probably saved many unpleasant complications.

In my dealings with the Durbar, I always tried to bear in mind that
I was the representative of the strong dealing with the weak, and
so to ignore little silly acts of self-assertion, such as a native
court loves to indulge in, and childish ebullitions, as unworthy of
notice. Whenever it became necessary for me to interfere, I did so
with great firmness, but always tried to carry the Maharajah and his
ministers with me, and make any desired reform appear to emanate from
him. Except on one occasion, I never experienced any rudeness from
an official.

At the same time when any attempt was made to infringe on the rights of
the British Government or its subjects, I spoke in very unmistakable
language. I think the Durbar gave me credit for good intentions and
appreciated my desire to work with them; of course they tried to get
all they could out of me, and it was a daily, but, on the whole,
friendly struggle between us. I knew perfectly well that to exalt
themselves, the Court party spoke of me behind my back in disparaging
terms, and boasted of what they could do, and of their independence
of the British Government, but I was quite satisfied that they did
not believe what they said, and that in all important matters they
deferred to me on every point, and were always coming to me to help
them out of difficulties. I kept in mind Colonel McCulloch's wise
saying to the Rajah: "I don't care what you say of me, so long as
you do as I tell you."


    Violent conduct of Prince Koireng--A rebuke--Service
    payment--Advantage of Manipuri system--Customs
    duty--Slavery--Releasing slaves--Chowba's fidelity--Sepoy's
    kindness to children--Visit to the Yoma range.

An incident occurred which might have caused some trouble, while
it served to show the violent disposition of Kotwal Koireng, later
known as the Senaputtee. One evening my Naga interpreter reported
to me that an Angami Naga of Kohima had been cruelly assaulted by
that prince, while he was passing along the road to the east of the
palace enclosure. Soon after the man was brought in to me, and an
examination by my native doctor proved that he was suffering from a
severe contusion above the right eye, which might or might not prove
fatal. Now, strictly speaking, the man was not a British subject,
but some day or other he was sure to be one, and we had assumed an
indefinite control over his people. This made me feel that passing
over the offence as one not concerning us, would be to lose prestige
with Manipur, as well as with the Naga tribes, who ought, I felt,
to be assured of my sympathy. I therefore at once sent a strong
remonstrance to the Durbar, claiming the man as a British subject, and
demanding prompt recognition of, and reparation for the outrage. On
further investigation it appeared, that the man was with some of his
friends carrying a large joint of beef on his shoulder just as Kotwal
Koireng was passing, and a few drops of blood fell on the ground;
this enraged the Prince so much that he at once attacked the man
with a thick stick which he carried, and beat him till he was almost
senseless. There was no real provocation, as eating the flesh of cows
that had died a natural death was always allowed, and any dead cow
was at once handed over to the Nagas and other hill-tribes; it was
simply an outburst of temper. The result was, that until the man's
recovery was assured, Kotwal was held in a species of arrest; then
he was released and sent with the Jubraj to make an apology to me;
the man received a sum of money, and the affair ended amicably. I
did not often come across the princes, though sometimes I met them
out riding, and then we were very friendly. Once when I was walking
out, I met one of the younger ones riding in state on an elephant,
he forgot to make the usual salutation. This was reported to the
Maharajah, who sent him with Thangal Major to apologize.

The Manipuris paid very little revenue in money, and none in direct
taxes. The land all belonged to the Rajah, and every holding paid a
small quantity of rice each year. The chief payment was in personal
service. This system known by the name of "Lalloop," and by us often
miscalled "forced labour," was much the same as formerly existed
in Assam under its Ahom Rajahs. According to it, each man in the
country was bound to render ten days' service out of every forty,
to the Rajah, and it extended to every class in the community. Women
were naturally exempt, but, among men, the blacksmith, goldsmith,
carpenters, etc., pursued their different crafts in the Rajah's
workshops for the stated time, while the bulk of the population,
the field workers, served as soldiers, and made roads or dug canals,
in fact executed great public works for the benefit of the state.

The system was a good one, and when not carried to excess, pressed
heavily on nobody. It was especially adapted to a poor state sparsely
populated. In such a state, under ordinary circumstances, where the
amount of revenue is small, and the rate of wages often comparatively
high, it is next door to impossible to carry out many much-needed
public works by payment. On the other hand, every man in India who
lives by cultivation, has much spare time on his hands, and the
"Lalloop" system very profitably utilises this, and for the benefit
of the community at large. I never heard of it being complained of as
a hardship. The system in Assam led to the completion of many useful
and magnificent public works. High embanked roads were made throughout
the country, and large tanks, lakes, appropriately termed "seas," were
excavated under this arrangement. Many of the great works of former
ages in other parts of India are due to something of the same kind.

It was a sad mistake giving up the system in Assam, without retaining
the right of the state to a certain number of days' labour on the
roads every year, as is the custom to this day, I believe, in Canada,
Ceylon, and other countries.

Unfortunately, our so-called statesmen are carried away by false
ideas of humanitarianism, and a desire to pose in every way as the
exponents of civilisation, that is the last fad that is uppermost,
and the experience of ages and the real good of primitive people are
often sacrificed to this ignis fatuus. I hear that "Lalloop" has been
abolished in Manipur since we took the state in charge. We may live
to regret it; the unfortunate puppet Rajah certainly will. Why cannot
we leave well alone, and attack the real evils of India that remain
still unredressed, evils that to hear of them, would make the hair of
any decent thinking man stand on end? We have still to learn that the
native system has much good in it, much to recommend it, and that it is
in many cases the natural outgrowth of the requirements of the people.

Manipur in old days required very little to make it a model
native state of a unique type, and its people the happiest of the
happy. All it required was a better administration of justice, and a
few smaller reforms, also more enlightened fiscal regulations such as
many European states have not yet attained. Given these, no one would
have wished for more. No one asked for high pay; enough to live on,
and the system of rewards already in force from time immemorial,
satisfied all aspirations. The people were contented and happy, and
it should have been our aim and object to keep them and leave them
so. Shall we have accomplished this desirable object when we hand
over the state to its future ruler, that is if it ever does again
come under a Native Government?

One of the standing grievances of the Government of India against
Manipur, was the levying of customs duties on all articles
imported into the state, and on some articles exported to British
territory. These duties supplied almost the only money revenue
the Maharajah had, and also to some extent protected Manipuri
industries. During my tenure of office I did something towards
regulating the system, and in the case of articles not produced in
Manipur, induced the Durbar to lower the rates. In the case of cloths,
however, I strongly advocated the duties being kept up, where, as
in the case of coarse cloths the imports entered into competition
with the excellent manufactures of Manipur, which I wished to see
preserved in all their integrity.

Our system of free trade has done much to injure useful trades in
India, and none more than those in cotton goods. Among an ignorant
people the incentives of cheapness and outward appearance are so great,
that the sudden importation of cheap and inferior foreign goods may
kill out an ancient art, and the people only discover when too late
what they have lost, and then lament having abandoned the really good
for the attractive flimsy article. Thus, in many parts of India,
the beautiful chintzes which were common thirty-five years ago,
are now nowhere to be had, and every year sees the decay of some
branch of manufacture. This was very noticeable in Assam, and the
arts there lost were only kept up in Manipur, owing to its having a
Native Court where tradition and taste encouraged them. Soon after
I went to Manipur, I found that the valley had almost been drained
of ponies by their exportation to Cachar. The ministers consulted me
about it, and I gave my consent to the trade being stopped, and this
was done for years until the numbers had again increased.

On the whole the duties on almost every article were lowered during
my term of office, and the imports largely increased. Indeed, but for
the cumbersome system of levying the custom charges, they would have
been no grievance at all; and as it was they hardly added anything to
the cost of the articles when sold in Manipur, many of which could
be bought for little more than the price paid in Cachar, plus the
charge for carriage.

Slavery of a mild form existed in Manipur, the slaves being hereditary
ones, or people, and the descendants of people who had sold themselves
for debt, their services being pledged as interest for the debt. For
instance a Naga (a very common case), marries a girl of another Naga
village, thereby incurring a debt of forty rupees to the father,
that being the price of a Naga bride. The man not being able to pay,
his father-in-law says, "Sell yourself, and pay me." This is done, and
the man pays the forty rupees and has to work for his master till he
can pay the debt, something being sometimes allowed for subsistence,
or they agree upon a monthly payment, which if not paid is added
to the principal. The wife probably works and supports the family,
and, if the creditor is a fairly good fellow, things go smoothly,
and the debtor never attempts to fulfil his obligations more than
he can help. The law allows a man to transfer his services to any
one who will take up the debt. Here and there great abuses crop up,
and the master takes advantage of the corrupt courts to bind the
slave more and more securely in the chains of debt, and then every
effort is made to escape. I often paid the debts of slaves who came
to me for help and let them work off the money. Once a little girl
named Nowbee came to me. Her mother had sold her to pay her father's
funeral expenses. She stayed with us, working in the nursery for years,
and when I left I forgave her the remainder of her debt which was
unpaid, as, of course, I did with all the others. I once offered to
redeem the mother, who, in turn, had sold herself, but the old woman
declined, as some one told her that we should take her to England,
and she was afraid to go. Sometimes cases of very cruel ill-treatment
came before me, or cases where people had been made slaves contrary
to the laws, and then I made a strong remonstrance to the Durbar,
and insisted on justice. Once or twice I took the complainants under
my protection immediately, and insisted on keeping them. One day a
young man and a small boy came to me for protection: the case was
a bad one, and I at once took them into my service as the best way
of settling the difficulty, the young man as a gardener and the boy
to work in the kitchen and wait at table; both were named "Chowba,"
i.e. big; a name as common out there as John in England. We gave
little Chowba clothes, and he stood behind my wife's chair at dinner,
the first evening crying bitterly from fear. However, he learned his
work, and became an excellent servant. When I went on leave in 1882,
I offered to place him with my locum tenens, but the boy said, "No,
sahib, you have been kind to me; I have broken your things and you have
threatened to beat me, but have never done so; you have threatened to
cut my pay, but have never done so; I will never serve any one but
you!" The poor boy kept his word; he preferred hard toil, cutting
wood and such-like work; but unfortunately died before I returned.

Another bad case I remember, in which a woman complained to me that her
child had been stolen from her house while she was away. I ordered the
child to be brought to me; the poor little thing was only four years
old, and could hardly stand from having been made to walk a great
distance by the man who had stolen her, and whose only excuse was,
that her father, who was dead, owed him nine rupees. I gave her to
her mother, and insisted on the Durbar punishing him. The story was a
sad one. The father of the child, a debtor slave, had been told by his
master to leave his home and go with him, and the man in desperation
attempted to kill his wife and little girl, and then committed suicide.

While in Manipur I did all I could to afford relief in individual
cases. It was a great abuse, but slavery in Manipur must not be put
in the same rank as slavery in Brazil, the West Indies, or Turkey and
Arabia. A thorough reform of the judicial system of Manipur would have
entirely taken the sting out of it. All the same, I wish I could have
abolished it.

My wife's nurse very speedily left us, and we were left to natives
and did much better with them. We always had three or four Naga girls
who did their work well in a rough-and-ready way. Chowbee, Nembee,
and Nowbee, just mentioned, were the best. Chowbee was the wife of
a Naga bearer named Lintoo, and Nembee afterwards married our head
bearer Horna. We engaged a tailor named Suleiman, brother of Sooltan,
one of our chuprassies, as a permanent servant, to do the ordinary
household sewing and mending. My two boys, Dick and Edward, became
very friendly with all the people, and were drilled daily by a naick
(corporal of my escort), and the good-natured sepoys used to allow
themselves to be drilled by the boys. One afternoon, I met these two
walking up the lines with my orderly. I asked what they were going
for, and they replied that the sepoys had not done their drill well
that day, and they were going to give them some more. Whenever a
new detachment came, the boys were formally introduced to the new
native officers and men. As they grew older they learned to ride,
and rode out morning and evening when I went for a walk.

As the Burmese difficulty did not show signs of decreasing, I went out
in February to Kongjang on the Yoma range, to reconnoitre and select
a place for a new stockade, if necessary. At three and a half miles
on my way, I passed Langthabal, the old capital of Ghumbeer Singh,
a pretty place where the cantonment of the Manipur Levy used to be,
and where Captain Gordon was buried under a tree. The ruined palace
lies nestling under a hill, on a spur of which is a magnificent
fir tree; behind the palace a garden run to waste and wood, with
a few ponds, formed an admirable cover for ducks, which I saw in
abundance. After leaving Langthabal, we passed a place called Leelong,
the place of execution for members of the Royal family, who are sewn
up in sacks and drowned in the river. Farther on is a great fishing
weir, where a small lake discharges itself into a river. At last,
after a march of thirty miles, I halted at Pullel, a village of low
caste Manipuris. Next morning we ascended the Yoma range, reaching
Aimole, a village picturesquely situated and inhabited by a tribe
of that name. The head of the village was an intelligent old man,
who remembered Captain Gordon and talked a good deal about him. I
gave him a coat, and the girls and boys of the village got up a dance
for my benefit, the most graceful and modest that I ever saw among
a wild people.

I reached Kongjang in the afternoon, a place very picturesquely
situated, with a fine view of the valley of the Lokchao and the hills
beyond, and of a portion of the Kubo valley. I selected a spot for a
stockade, and, after reconnoitring in the neighbourhood, marched back
next day to Pullel, and thence to Manipur, again passing Langthabal. I
never saw Langthabal without regretting its abandonment, there is
something very charming about the situation, and it is nearer to
Bissenpore on the Cachar road than Imphal; also a few miles nearer the
Kubo valley. It has always had the reputation of being very healthy,
which is not invariably the case with Imphal, and is, if anything,
a little cooler. Before leaving in 1886, I strongly recommended it
as the site for a cantonment, in the event of troops being stationed
in the valley. My recommendation was adopted.


    An old acquaintance--Monetary crisis--A cure for breaking
    crockery--Rumour of human sacrifices--Improved postal
    system--Apricots and mulberries--A snake story--Search after
    treasure--Another snake story--Visit to Calcutta--Athletics--Ball
    practice--A near shave.

We had not been dull in the Naga Hills, still less in Manipur, for
I was always interested in native life. Something to vary one's work
was constantly occurring.

One day some men in Shan costume came and asked me for a pass to enter
Burmah. I inquired who they were, and one said he was the Chowmengti
Gohain. I remembered him fourteen years before, at Sudya, in Assam,
when he was but a boy. He was the son of a Khampti chief, long since
dead. I asked him if he remembered me, and after a minute or two,
he did. I managed to keep up a conversation in Singpho, though I had
not spoken it for many years, and have never done so since. He was
going to Mandalay to marry a daughter to the king.

Time went on fairly smoothly. I was occupied all day long, and used to
talk for hours to the ministers and others who came to see me, while my
wife looked after the house and children, and taught the Naga girls to
knit and sew, and other useful things. When the weather grew too hot,
we migrated to Kang-joop-kool, and enjoyed the change. About this time
much dissatisfaction was caused by speculators in the capital hoarding
"sel," the coin of the country. The usual rate at which they were
exchanged for the rupee was 480 = 1 rupee, but there were occasional
fluctuations; large sums were paid in rupees, but the amount was
always reckoned in sel. Consequently, when the latter were hoarded,
a man having only rupees in his possession found their purchasing
power greatly diminished. On this occasion, almost all the "sel" in
circulation were collected in a few hands and a panic was the result;
the bazaar was in an uproar, and business ceased. I spoke to the
Maharajah on the subject, and represented the very great injury to
the country that would inevitably result if immediate steps were not
taken to rectify the mischief done, and urged him to issue a large
quantity of sel. This he did, and the exchange which had gone down
to 240, at once rose to 400, and at this rate he fixed it, and so it
remained all the time I was in Manipur.

Our Naga boys, though intelligent and willing to learn, were careless
and often worse, as in playing and fighting with each other, they broke
much crockery, and the loss was serious, as it took months to replace
it. I threatened in vain, as I could not bear to make the poor lads
pay. At last, in desperation, I hit upon a remedy; I said that the
next time anything was broken, the breaker should pound it up to a
fine powder with a pestle and mortar, and mix it with water and drink
it. This threat had some effect, but at last one day the old cook
brought up Murumboo, our musalchee (i.e. dishwasher) with a vegetable
dish in pieces, broken, as usual, in play. I said very severely,
"Very well, grind it to powder in a pestle and mortar, and then you
shall mix it with water and drink it." So Murumboo sat for hours in
the sun, pounding away. At last it was reduced to a fine powder, and I
told him to mix it with water and drink it in my presence. Of course,
what I had foreseen, happened, all the other servants headed by the
old cook, Horna and Sultan, came up and humbly begged that he might
be forgiven this time, a request which I graciously acceded to, and
Murumboo went away very penitent. The result was excellent, as for the
future I hardly lost any crockery. Poor Murumboo; he served me well,
and became an excellent cook and got a good place when I finally left.

The summer and autumn passed quietly, except for a rumour that human
sacrifices had been offered up, though no actual complaint was made. I
believe the report to have been true. I had seen enough of countries
where within a few years they had been undoubtedly offered, to know
that such things did occasionally happen among ignorant people, where
appeasing evil spirits is a common custom. I took such precautions
as effectually prevented any recurrence of this horrible practice.

One reform carried out was in our postal arrangements. When I first
arrived, the post, which came in every other day, frequently took eight
days to reach us from Cachar, a distance of 132 miles. By altering
the system, I reduced it to a maximum of four days, though it often
came more quickly, and by constantly hammering at all concerned,
I achieved the triumph of a daily post delivered in less than two
days from Cachar before I left.

Once when riding between Manipur and Kang-joop-kool, I saw, in passing
a small bazaar, a woman selling apricots. I made inquiries about them,
and was told that they had existed from time immemorial, but that they
would give me a violent internal pain if I ate them. I did try them,
raw and cooked, but the statement was quite true, nothing made them
agreeable, and I did suffer pain. They were probably introduced from
China in early days, and having been neglected had degenerated. They
blossom in January. I tried Himalayan apricots, and the trees throve
wonderfully, but could never, while I was in Manipur, learn to blossom
at the right time. They blossomed as they were accustomed to do in
their native country, that is three months too late, and the fruit was
destroyed by the early rains. Perhaps they have by this time adapted
themselves to the climate. I introduced Kabulee mulberries and they
did well, but those in the valley grew long like the Indian variety,
while those at Kang-joop-kool were shaped like the common European
mulberry, and very good to eat.

Another time when out riding in the evening, I witnessed a strange
sight. I was near Kooak Kaithel when I saw a large number of sparrows
assembled on the road in front, and perched on a clump of bamboos near;
others were constantly joining them, and numbers were flying to the
spot from all sides. They first joined the assemblage on the road,
and then flew up to and around the bamboos, which were already covered
with the first-comers. I asked one of my mounted orderlies what it all
meant. He said that a snake was concealed among the bamboos, and that
the birds were come to see him and try and drive him out. Whatever be
the explanation, it was a very interesting sight, and I never at any
time saw such a large number of small birds together. Once when riding
along this same road, but farther on, in company with Thangal Major,
I happened to see a deep hole freshly dug in the side of a hill,
apparently without any object. I asked him what it was dug for, and
he replied that it was probably some refugee returned to the land of
his ancestors, who had dug it, in search for treasure buried during
the Burmese invasion by a relation, who had left an exact description
of the spot as a guide to any of his descendants who might return. He
said that there were many cases of this kind. I used to hear the same
story many years ago in Assam where the truth was never questioned,
and many were the tumuli that bore the marks of having been opened by
searchers "for buried gold." I never knew of an authentic case of the
kind in Manipur, but doubtless old Thangal could tell of many such;
possibly he had shared in the proceeds.

I have just related a story of birds attacking a snake, and I
may as well tell another story in which one of his tribe was the
aggressor. When returning from my cottage at Kang-joop-kool, after
a day spent there in October, I saw an enormous python poised up
on the high embanked road with its head erect, and body and tail in
coils on the slope, ready to spring on some young buffaloes grazing
near; it must have been at the lowest estimate thirty feet long and
of proportionate thickness. I was too near, and riding too fast, to
stop my pony, so gave a loud shout, and urged him to speed, and the
snake turned itself back and fell with a crash into a morass by the
road side, and I saw no more of it. I spoke to Thangal Major about
it, and he told me that pythons were known to exist about the place
where I saw this. I once shot a young one on the Diphoo Panee river,
near Sudya, which measured nine feet, and a sepoy of my old regiment
shot one near Borpathar fifteen feet in length.

Several very deadly snakes abound in Manipur, notably the "Tanglei"
and the "Ophiophagus," a terrible looking creature, eight to twelve
feet in length. No house is safe from snakes, and in the old Residency
one fell from the roof once in my bedroom, from where a few minutes
previously the baby's bassinette had hung, so the child had a narrow
escape. I never dare let the children play alone in the garden for
fear of their being bitten.

The extreme loneliness of Manipur, and the necessity of leaving my
wife and children quite alone sometimes, made me very anxious to get
some trustworthy English nurse for her, but we quite failed in doing
so. In this emergency, one of her sisters volunteered to come out,
which was a great help and relief. As I had to go to Calcutta to see
the Viceroy in December, we asked her to meet us there. We left Manipur
on November 27th, 1878, and returned on January 23rd, bringing her
with us. Kohima was occupied by the Political Agent of the Naga Hills
(Mr. Damant), in November, and before leaving for Calcutta I had some
correspondence with him, and, at his request, sent my escort--then
consisting of Cachar Frontier Police; men, for service qualities in the
hills, far superior to the Native Infantry I had--to his assistance.

In Calcutta, I met Sir Steuart Bayley, who had been lately appointed
Chief Commissioner of Assam, and had interviews with the Viceroy,
Lord Lytton, and the Foreign Secretary, Mr. (now Sir Alfred) Lyall.

Early in 1879, there was some discontent on account of the dearness of
rice, owing to a deficient crop, but there was no real anxiety, as the
stock of rice in hand was sufficient. I remember that during that time
I was rather scandalised at hearing that the old Ranee had gone off to
Moirang on the Logtak lake for change of air, accompanied by a retinue
of over one thousand persons. Many people had been employed for weeks
past in building a little temporary town for their accommodation,
and all for five days' stay. I remonstrated with Thangal Major at
this useless waste of resources at a time when food was scarce, and
told him that he ought to prevent such thoughtlessness. He told me,
and I believe sincerely, that he greatly regretted it, and promised
to use his influence to amend matters, but said what was perfectly
true, that if he gave good advice, there were plenty of people quite
ready to offer the reverse, and contradict his statements. I often
thought what an advantage it would have been, if we had insisted on
all authority being in the hands of one powerful minister responsible
to us. Under a strong man like Chandra Kirtee Singh there would have
been some difficulty in arranging it, but under his weak, though
amiable and intelligent successor, Soor Chandra, it would have been
easy, and would have saved us one of the most painful and disgraceful
episodes in our history.

Almost every day brought some exciting news from the frontier. One
day, an incursion by Chussad Kukies on the Kubo side; another, an
outrage committed by Sookti Kukies. Then a little later a report that
the Muram Nagas were restless. All these reports came to me at once,
and I had to decide what was to be done. Occasionally an expedition
was the result, regarding the conduct of which I gave general
instructions. Sometimes late at night a minister came to me in a high
state of excitement at some outrage on the Burmese frontier, in which,
of course, every one, from the Court of Mandalay downwards, was said
to be implicated. Anything against Burmah was readily believed, and
not without reason, perhaps, judging from past history, and I had,
on the spur of the moment, to decide on the policy to be adopted,
and calm down and convince my impulsive visitor.

Manipur is a great place for athletics, and some fine wrestling is to
be seen there. Athletic sports are regularly held at stated periods,
sometimes for Manipuris, at other times for Nagas. At the last there
are races run by men, carrying heavy weights on their backs. At the
conclusion of these exhibitions of strength and skill, four Manipuris,
dressed in Naga costume, executed a Naga war dance. This I always
thought the most interesting part of the performance, showing as
in many other cases, the tacit acknowledgment of a connection with
the hill-tribes surrounding them. It always reminded me of the
same connection between the Rajahs in the hill tracts of Orissa,
Sumbulpore and Chota Nagpore, and their aboriginal subjects. I am
rather inclined to believe that in the case of Manipur some of the
customs point distinctly to the Rajahs being descended from, or having
been originally installed by, the hill-tribes, as was notably the
case in Keonjhur one of the Cuttack Tributary Mehals. To this subject,
however, I have already referred.

During each cold season, I insisted on the Manipuri troops being put
through musketry practice with ball cartridge, and often attended
for hours together, with the Maharajah, to see how the men acquitted
themselves. Sometimes the firing went on all day, the targets being
erected at one end of the private polo ground in the palace, with a
mountain of rice straw in their rear to catch stray bullets. Sometimes
the bullets went through everything, and one evening, as my wife
and myself with the children, were taking our evening walk, we had
ocular demonstration of this, as a shot passed close to my second
boy's (Edward) head. I spoke to Thangal Major about it, suggesting
that the pile of straw should be made thicker, but only elicited the
reply, "Of course, if you go in the line of fire, you must expect to
be shot." This reminded me of my early days in Assam, when my old
regimental friend Ross shot another friend out snipe shooting. The
latter complained, but all the satisfaction he got from Ross was,
"Well, you must have been in the way."


    Spring in Manipur--Visit to Kombang--Manipuri orderlies--Parade
    of the Maharajah's guards--Birth of a daughter--An evening walk
    in the capital--Polo--Visit to Cachar.

The spring in Manipur is a charming time, the nights are still cool,
though the days are hot, and abundance of flowering trees come into
blossom; among them one that attains a considerable size, called
in Manipuri "Chinghow." It has two kinds, one with pink and the
other white and pink flowers, Out in the hills are wild pears and
azaleas in abundance, and rhododendrons, while here and there are
beautiful orchids. The oak forests too are splendid with the fresh
young leaves, and every hill village has peach trees in flower, so
that it is a delightful season for marching, and one can be out from
morning till night. I took advantage of the fine weather, and early
in April again visited the Yoma range, and went along the road to
Jangapokee Tannah, as far as a place called Kombang, 4600 feet above
the sea. On my way there and back I halted at Haitoo-pokpee, 2600
feet above the sea, where the thermometer at sunrise stood at 55 and
56 degrees respectively; but the day between, when I was at Kombang,
it was 67 degrees at sunrise, the additional elevation raising the
thermometer. I noticed the phenomenon over and over again in Manipur,
and in the cold weather generally found the sunrise temperature lower
in the valley than in the hills. Upland valleys were sometimes colder
than that of Manipur, and now and then to the north I found very great
cold prevailing on high land, as at Mythephum. The day temperature
in the hills was invariably lower than that in the valley, in short,
it was more equable. The road to Kombang was pretty, but the place not
particularly so. The night I was there I heard the loud crackling of
a burning oak forest set on fire to clear the ground for one crop. It
is difficult to speak with patience of this abominable system, which
is gradually clearing the hills in Eastern India, and destroying
valuable timber, while it encourages nomadic habits in the tribes.

Whenever I went on an expedition into the hills, besides the usual
Manipuri Guard in attendance, four or five officers or non-commissioned
officers were told off to accompany me. Jemadars Thamur Singh, Sowpa,
Sundha, Thut-tôt, and Thûrûng were those generally sent, excellent
men who never left me from morning till night, on the hardest
march. Many was the adventure we had together, and any one of them
could march fifty miles on end. They were well known throughout the
hill territory of Manipur. A bugler always formed one of my party,
and it was his duty to sound a lively quick march as we approached
our camp in the evening. Of course, he always got a special reward
from me on my return to headquarters.

One day the Maharajah invited me to attend a review of his regiment
of guards called the "Soor Pultun." I went, and he asked me whether
he should put them through their manoeuvres himself, or let one of
his officers do it. Not wishing him, as I thought, to expose his
ignorance, I suggested the last; but, to my surprise, he conducted
the parade himself very creditably, giving the word of command in
English with great clearness. The men's marching was poor, and the
step not free enough, but otherwise they did well. They were fairly
well up in the Light Infantry exercises of ten years back, and their
drill generally was a slight modification of that of 1859. On this,
as on most occasions, when an invitation was sent by the Maharajah,
it was conveyed by two or three officers of not lower rank than that
of subadar or captain, and generally by word of mouth. If I was away
in camp all communications were by letter, sometimes accompanied by
a verbal message.

On February 28th, 1879, we were gladdened by the birth of a little
daughter. Being a girl, her arrival did not cause as much excitement
as Arthur's, but when she was old enough to be carried out in a small
litter, all the population turned out to see her, and passers-by
would sometimes offer her a flower. How interesting our daily walks
were. Turning to the left, after leaving our gate by the guard-house,
we passed along by the wide moat surrounding the palace, and in which
as has been said the great annual boat races were held. There, might
be seen women washing their babies by the waterside in wooden tubs,
cut out of a single block bought for the purpose. At every step, if
in the evening, we passed or were passed by gaily clad women carrying
baskets of goods to sell in the great bazaar, "Sena Kaithel," i.e.,
Golden Bazaar, assembled opposite the great gate of the palace, the
picturesque structure already alluded to. In this bazaar the women
sat in long rows on raised banks of earth, without any other covering
in the rainy weather than large umbrellas. Here could be bought cloth
of all kinds, ornaments, rice, etc., fowls and vegetables. Dogs were
also sold for food. As a rule, articles of food other than fowls,
were more plentiful in the morning bazaar. Blind people and other
beggars would post themselves in different parts of the market,
and women as they passed would give them a handful of rice, or any
other article of food they possessed. Women are the great traders,
and many would walk miles in the morning, and buy things in the more
distant bazaars to sell again in the capital in the evening. It was
not considered etiquette for men too often to frequent the bazaars,
and few Manipuris did so, but crowds of hill-men were constantly
to be seen there, and it presented a very gay and animated scene,
the contrast between the snow-white garments of Manipuri men, the
parti-coloured petticoats of the women, and the many-coloured clothes
of the hill-men being very picturesque. Opposite the great gateway on
the right-hand side, Royal proclamations were posted up. There, too,
in presence of all the bazaar, offenders were flogged, generally with
the utmost severity. This was, I am sorry to say, rather an attractive
spectacle to foreigners. Going through the bazaar along a fine broad
road, the only masonry bridge in the country was seen crossing the
river, and on the opposite bank the road turned sharp to the left,
and went off to Cachar. Before crossing it, and to the left was a
piece of waste ground with a rather ill-looking tree in it, under
which men were executed. Opposite, and to the right of the road,
was the sight of the morning bazaar. Here I have seen boat-loads of
pine-apples landed, fruit that would have done credit to Covent Garden.

Between the Residency grounds, the "Sena Kaithel" and the great road,
was the famous polo ground, where the best play in the world might be
seen. There was a grand stand for the Royal family on the western side,
and one for myself on the north. Sunday evening was the favourite day,
and then the princes appeared, and in earlier days the Maharajah. In
my time one of the Maharajah's sons, Pucca Sena, and the artillery
major, were the champion players. In Manipur, every man who can muster
a pony plays, and every boy who cannot, plays on foot.

But to continue our walk. Passing the bazaar, we still skirt the
palace, meeting fresh groups and turning sharp round at one of the
angles of the moat, here covered with water lilies, come upon an
exceedingly picturesque temple once shaded with a peepul tree (Ficus
religiosa); this tree was torn off by the great earthquake of June
30th, 1880. Afterwards taking two turns to the right, and one to the
left, and crossing a most dangerous-looking bamboo bridge, we came upon
a piece of woodland on the opposite bank of the stream. This is the
"Mah Wathee," a bit of forest left as it originally was for the wood
spirits. It is now filled with monkeys, which are great favourites
with my children who have brought rice for them which causes great
excitement. But it is soon bedtime for the young monkeys, and the
river being deep, they spring on to the backs of their mothers who
swim across with them in the most human fashion. Saying good-night to
the monkeys, we go homewards, passing Moirang Khung, a tumulus said
to be the site of a battle between the Mungang and Moirang tribes; to
this day a Moirang avoids it. We pass a couple of boys riding jauntily
on one pony, determined to get as much pleasure out of life as they
can. Finally, we reach home in time for a game with the children,
and dinner.

I have alluded to the high esteem in which the game of polo was held in
this, its native home, and of the splendid play that could be seen on
Sundays. I never played myself, much as I should have enjoyed it. Had
I been a highly experienced player, able to contend with the best in
Manipur, I might have done so; but I did not think I was justified,
holding the important position I did, in running the risk of being
hustled and jostled by any one with whom I played: men whom I was
bound to keep at arm's length. Had I done so I should have lost
influence. I could not be hail-fellow-well-met, and though talking
freely with all, I at once checked all disposition to familiarity,
and people rarely attempted it.

Colonel McCulloch, it is true played, but he began life in Manipur
as an Assistant Political Agent, and also did not succeed to office
as I did, when our prestige had dwindled down to nothing.

In September 1879, hearing that Sir Steuart Bayley, Chief Commissioner
and Acting Lieut.-Governor of Bengal, was about to visit Cachar,
I went there to see him, performing the double journey including a
night there, in less than seven days. It was the first time I had
made the march in the rainy season, and I was greatly struck by the
extreme beauty of the scenery which was much enhanced by the number
of waterfalls, that a month later would have been dry. The masses
of clouds and the clearness of the air when rain was not falling,
added greatly to the effect, and I enjoyed the journey till I got
to the low-lying land. There the mud, slush, and great heat were
unpleasant. It was very satisfactory to be able to discuss the affairs
of Manipur with the Chief Commissioner, as though I was not then
directly under him, I was from my position very dependent on him,
and was anxious to hear his views on many subjects.


    Punishment of female criminals--A man saved from execution--A Kuki
    executed--Old customs abolished--Anecdote of Ghumbeer Singh--The
    Manipuri army--Effort to re-organise Manipur levy--System
    of rewards--"Nothing for nothing"--An English school--Hindoo
    festivals--Rainbows--View from Kang-joop-kool.

Manipur professed to follow the old Hindoo laws, and accordingly no
woman was ever put to death, or to very severe punishment. When one was
convicted of any heinous or disgraceful offence she was exposed on a
high platform in every bazaar in the country, stripped to the waist,
round which a rope, one end of which was held by her guard, was tied
and her breasts painted red. A crier at the same time proclaimed her
crime, and with a loud voice called out from time to time, "Come and
look at this naughty woman!"

Exposure on a platform was also a punishment inflicted occasionally
on male offenders. Sometimes it was followed by death. Once I saved a
man from this part of the sentence, his crime being one for which our
law would not have exacted so severe a penalty. Fortunately, I heard
in time, and a message to the Maharajah in courteous, but unmistakable
terms, brought about a remission of the capital portion. The ministers
generally consulted me before carrying out sentence of death. Once in
a case of murder by a Kuki they asked my opinion, so I requested them
to send the man to me that I might examine him myself. This was done,
and as he confessed openly to being guilty, I told them they might
execute him, and as an after-thought said "How shall you put him to
death?" Bularam Singh replied, "According to the custom of Manipur,
in the way in which he committed the murder. As he split his victim's
head open with an axe so will his head be split open." I said "I have
no objection in this case on the score of humanity, but it is not a
pretty mode of execution; some day there will be a case accompanied
by circumstances of cruelty, when I shall be obliged to interfere;
so take my advice, and on this occasion and all future ones, adopt
decapitation as the mode of carrying out a death sentence. You can
do it now with a good grace, and without any apparent interference
on my part to offend your dignity." Old Bularam Singh said, "Oh no,
the laws of Manipur are unalterable, we cannot change; we must do
as we have always done." I said, "Nonsense, my old friend, go with
Chumder Singh (my native secretary and interpreter) and give my kind
message to the Maharajah, and say what I advise, as his friend." In
half-an-hour Chumder Singh returned with an assurance that my advice
was accepted, and from that time decapitation was the form of capital
punishment adopted.

I never knew a case of torture being employed, but otherwise the laws
were carried out with severity. Ghumbeer Singh (reigned 1825-34)
occasionally tore out an offender's eyes, but such things had been
forgotten in the days of his son, and though the Government was
strong, probably there were fewer acts of cruelty than in most native
states. Once when Ghumbeer Singh had lately introduced tame geese
into the country; he gave two to a Brahmin to take care of. It was
reported that a goose was dead. "Tell the Brahmin to eat it," said
the indignant Rajah. The severity of such an order to a Hindoo will be
appreciated, by any one knowing what loss of caste entails. Ghumbeer
Singh's orders were always implicitly obeyed, so I am afraid that
the sentence was carried into effect.

The army consisted of about 5000 men at the outside, in eight regiments
of infantry and an artillery corps. The famous cavalry was a thing
of the past, and many of the infantry were quite unacquainted with
drill. There were eight three-pounder brass guns, and two seven-pounder
mountain guns given as a reward for services in the Naga Hills,
one of which did admirable service in the Burmese war. Most of the
infantry were armed with smooth-bore muskets, some being of the
Enfield pattern. Besides the above, there were about 1000 to 12,000
Kuki Irregulars. A Manipuri military expedition was a strange sight,
the men besides their arms and ammunition carrying their spare clothes,
cooking vessels, food, etc., on their backs. All the same, they could
make long and tiring marches day after day on poor fare and without
a complaint, and at the end of a hard day would hut themselves and
fortify their position with great skill, however great the fatigue
they had undergone. It was a standing rule that in an enemy's country
a small force should always stockade itself, and a Manipuri army well
commanded was then able to hold its own against a sudden attack. On
their return from a successful expedition the troops were greatly
honoured, and the general in command accorded a kind of triumph, and
it was an interesting sight to see the long thin line of picturesque
and often gaily-clad troops, regulars and irregulars winding their
way through the streets and groves of the capital bearing with them
spoils and trophies gained in war. Here a party headed by banners,
there some Kukis beating small gongs and chanting in a monotonous
tone. Finally, after marching round two sides of the palace, they
enter by the great gate, pass between the Chinese walls, and again
between the two lions (so called), and being received by the Maharajah
at the Gate of Triumph, their General throws himself at his feet and
receives his chief's benediction, the greatest reward that he can have.

I realised from the first that it would be an immense advantage
to reconstitute the Manipur Levy, and keep up a permanent force of
800 men under my direct orders, properly paid, armed, clothed and
disciplined. I foresaw that a war with Burmah was a mere question of
time, and wished to have a force ready, so as to enable the British
Government to act with effect at a moment's notice through Manipur,
on the outbreak of hostilities. Regular troops eat no more than
irregular, and are ten times as valuable. My plan was to have 800 men
enlisted, of whom 200 would have come on duty in rotation, according
to the Manipur system, all being liable to assemble at a moment's
notice. Thus a splendid battalion of hardy men could have been formed,
with which I could have marched to Mandalay. Such a force would have
been absolutely invaluable when the war broke out in 1885, men able to
stand the climate, march, fight, row boats, dig, build stockades, in
fact do all that the best men could be called upon to do. However, to
my great disappointment, the idea did not commend itself to Government,
and I never ceased to regret it. I often later on thought of the lives
and money that might have been saved in 1885-86 had we been better
prepared, the cost of the proposed levy would have been trifling.

One part of the Manipuri system ever struck me as very admirable,
and I tried always to encourage it; that was the system of rewarding
services by honorary distinctions. The permission to wear a peculiar
kind of turban, coat, or feather, or to assume a certain title was
more valued than any money reward, and men would exert themselves
for years for the coveted distinction. It is charming to see such
simple tastes and to aspire no higher than to do one's duty and earn
the approval of our fellow-creatures.

One day the two ministers Thangal Major and Bularam Singh came to
see me, accompanied by old Rooma Singh Major. They looked rather
uneasy, and I suspected something was coming out. Presently Thangal
rose and saluted me, and said, "The Maharajah has promoted us to
be generals." I received the intelligence without any enthusiasm,
feeling assured that the act had been dictated by a desire to give
them a more high-sounding title than my military one, I being then
only a lieut.-colonel. It was in fact a piece of self-assertion. Any
one understanding Asiatics will know what I mean, and that I knew
instinctively it was a move in the game against me which I ought to
check. I coldly replied that of course the Maharajah would please
himself, but that I loved old things, old names, and old faces, and
that I had so many pleasant associations with the old titles that I
could not bring myself to use the new ones, and should continue to
call them by the dear old name of Major. I then shook hands with them
most cordially and said good-bye, and they left rather crestfallen,
where they had hoped and intended to be triumphant. I may as well tell
the remainder of the story. Time after time was I begged to address
my three friends as "General," but I was inexorable, and the titles
almost fell into disuse among the Manipuris who had at first adopted
them. Old Thangal once had a long talk about it, and I said plainly,
"I give nothing for nothing: some day when you do something I shall
address you as General." Years passed. I went on leave, and my locum
tenens too good-naturedly gave in, and addressed them as General, and
even induced the Chief Commissioner of the day to do likewise. When
he wrote to me and told me of it, I was naturally not very pleased,
and mentioned it to an old Indian friend, who said, "Well, you will
have to do the same now that the Chief Commissioner has." However,
I was not going to swerve from my word. I returned to Manipur, and one
of the ministers met me on the boundary river. I again greeted him as
"Major Sahib," and immediately the new titles again began to fall into
disuse. I told the Chief Commissioner my views when I next met him,
and he approved, as I said I could not alter my word.

Some time after this I again renewed efforts that I had long been
making for the establishment of an English school in Manipur. The
Durbar naturally objected; wisely from their point of view, they knew
as well as I did that the fact of their subjects learning English would
eventually mean a better administration of justice, and a gradual
sweeping away of abuses. I felt, however, that the time was come,
and I urged the question with great force, and one day said to the
ministers, "You have long wanted to be addressed as 'General,' and I
told you that when you did something worthy of it I should do so. Now
the day that the Maharajah gives his consent to an English school being
established, I shall address you as General." A few days afterwards the
Maharajah's consent was brought. I immediately stood up and shook hands
most warmly with them, saying, "I thank you cordially, Generals." From
that day the question was finally set at rest, after years of longing
on the part of the old fellows. We had always understood each other,
and they felt and respected the part I had taken, and, I believe,
valued their titles all the more from my not having given in at once.

The Rath Jatra Festival, i.e., the drawing of the Car of Juggernaut,
is greatly honoured in Manipur, and every village has its Rath
(car). The Dewali, the feast of lights, is also faithfully kept. Also
the Rathwal, one of the feasts of Krishna, when there are many
dances, and an enormous bird is cleverly constructed of cloth with a
bamboo framework, and a man inside, who struts about to the delight
of the children. The Koli Saturnalia is also duly celebrated; the
red powder "Abeer," is thrown about amongst those who can get it,
and the burning of the temporary shrines lights up the sky at night,
and the holes where the poles stood, are a fertile source of danger to
ponies and pedestrians for weeks afterwards. The Durga Poojah is kept,
but is a feast of minor importance. At the Rath Jatra the number of
people drawn together was enormous, and the white mass could be very
distinctly seen from Kang-joop-kool with a telescope, when the weather
was clear. This view was sometimes obscured by clouds, and often when
staying there did I wake up to see the whole of the valley filled up
with fog, like a vast sea of cotton-wool, stretching across to the
Yoma range of hills many miles away.

Lunar rainbows were not uncommon in Manipur, and I often saw them from
Kang-joop-kool. Often, too, from thence have I seen a complete solar
rainbow, each end resting on the level surface of the valley. Once,
in riding to Sengmai on a misty morning, I saw a white rainbow rising
from the ground; a fine and weird sight it was.

The view over the valley at night from the surrounding hills was
sometimes wonderful. I never shall forget one night in the rainy
season, when the moon was shining brightly in the valley, but obscured
from my view by an intervening cloud; the bright reflection on the
watery plain sent out a long stream of light which brightened up
the glistening temples of the Capelat. This, and the dim hills in
the distance, and the whole amphitheatre enclosed by them lighted
up faintly, while the dark threatening cloud hanging in air between
me and the rising moon, that had not yet apparently reached my level
(I was 2500 feet above the valley, and seemed to be looking down on
the moon), made a picture never to be forgotten.


    Mr. Damant--The Naga Hills--Rumours on which I act--News of
    revolt in Naga Hills and Mr. Damant's surrender--Maharajah's
    loyalty--March to the relief of Kohima--Relief of Kohima--Incidents
    of siege--Heroism of ladies--A noble defence.

In November, 1878, Mr. Damant removed the headquarters of the Naga
Hills District from Samagudting to Kohima, and established himself
there with his party, in two stockades. He had a very ample force for
maintaining his position, but he had not sufficient to make coercing
a powerful village an easy task. He was an able man, with much force
of character, high-minded and upright, and had been greatly respected
in Manipur, where he acted as Political Agent for some months after
Dr. Brown's death. He was also a scholar, and was perhaps the only
man of his generation in Assam capable of taking a comprehensive view
of the languages of the Eastern Frontier, and searching out their
origin. His premature death was an irreparable loss to philology.

With all this he had not had sufficient experience with wild tribes to
be a fit match for the astute Nagas, and was constantly harassed by the
difficulty in the way of securing supplies, which ought to have been
arranged for him, in the early days of our occupation of Samagudting,
by making terms with the Nagas as to providing food carriage. It was
his misfortune that he inherited an evil system. We had been forced
into the hills by the lawlessness of the Naga tribes, and we ought to
have made them bear their full share of the inconveniences attendant
on our occupation, instead of making our own people suffer.

Mr. Damant at first contemplated getting his supplies from Manipur,
through the Durbar, but they objected, it being their traditional
policy to prevent the export of rice for fear of famines, the distance
and cost of transport making the import, in case of scarcity, an
impossibility. I declined to put pressure, as I saw the reasonableness
of the Durbar argument, and I objected to force the hill population
of Manipur to spend their time in carrying heavy loads, to save the
turbulent and lazy Angamis. In September, 1879, however, I heard a
rumour from native sources that Mr. Damant was in great difficulties
and straits for want of provisions, [22] and I wrote and told him
that if it were true, I would make every effort to send him some
supplies, and to help him in every way I could. I did not receive
any answer to this letter, and subsequently ascertained that it had
never reached him.

I knew the Angamis well, and was very anxious about Mr. Damant and
his party, and felt sure that some trouble was at hand.

About this time my wife's health began to give me much anxiety; she
had one or two severe attacks of illness, and was much reduced in
strength. Who that has not experienced it can imagine the terrible,
wearing anxiety of life on a distant frontier, without adequate medical
aid for those nearest and dearest to us. She was better, though still
very weak, when an event occurred that shook the whole frontier.

Early in the morning of October 21st, I received a report from Mao
Tannah, the Manipuri outpost on the borders of the Naga Hills, to the
effect that a rumour had reached the officer there, that the Mozuma
Nagas had attacked either Kohima, or a party of our men somewhere else,
and had killed one hundred men. I have already mentioned my anxiety
about Mr. Damant's position, and there was an air of authenticity
about the report which made me feel sure that some catastrophe had
occurred, and that he was in sore need. I said to Thangal Major,
"We will take off fifty per cent. for exaggeration, and even then the
garrison of Kohima will be so weakened that it is sure to be attacked,
and there will be a rising in the Naga Hills."

I instantly took my resolve and detained my escort of the 34th B.I.,
which had just been relieved by a party of Frontier Police, and was
about to march for Cachar. I also applied to the Maharajah for nine
hundred Manipuris, and sufficient coolies to convey our baggage. He
at once promised them, and I made arrangements to march as soon as
the men were ready; but there was some delay, as the men had to be
collected from distant villages. The next morning, before sunrise,
Thangal Major came to see me, bringing two letters from Mr. Cawley,
Assistant Political Agent, Naga Hills, and District Superintendent of
Police. The letters told me that Mr. Damant had been killed by the
Konoma men, and that he and the remainder were besieged in Kohima,
and sorely pressed by Nagas of several villages. Immediately after
this, the Maharajah himself came and placed his whole resources at
my disposal, and asked me what I would have. I said two thousand men,
and he replied that that was the number he himself thought necessary,
and asked if he should fire the usual five alarm guns, as a signal
to call every able-bodied man to the capital. I consented, and in
ten minutes they thundered forth their summons. Coolies to carry the
loads were the chief difficulty, as they, being hill-men, lived at
a greater distance. I also despatched a special messenger to Cachar
to ask for more troops and a doctor; and I made arrangements for
assisting them on the road. I despatched two hundred Manipuris by a
difficult and little-frequented path to Paplongmai (Kenoma [23]),
to make a diversion in the rear of Konoma, as, from all I heard,
it seemed that the astute Mozuma was not involved. I sent on a man
I could trust to the Mozuma people, to secure their neutrality. I
also sent my Naga interpreter, Patakee, to Kohima, to do his best
to spread dissension amongst its seven different clans and prevent
their uniting against me. I gave him a pony, and told him to ride it
till it dropped under him, and then to march on foot for his life,
and promised him 200 rupees reward if he could deliver a letter to
Mr. Cawley before the place fell. In the letter I begged Mr. Cawley
to hold out to the last as I was marching to his assistance.

One day, about a year before, a fine young Naga of Viswema, a powerful
village of 1000 houses, a few miles beyond the frontier of Manipur and
right on our track, had come to me and asked me to take him into my
service. I did so, thinking he might be useful some day, and now that
the day had arrived, I sent him off to his people to win them over,
threatening to exterminate them if they opposed my march.

I had fifty men of the Cachar Police and thirty-four of the 34th B.I.,
including two invalids, one of them a Naik, by name Buldeo Doobey,
who came out of hospital to go with me, as I wanted every man who could
shoulder a musket. For the same reason I enlisted a volunteer, Narain
Singh, a fine fellow, a Jât [24] from beyond Delhi, who had served
in the 35th B.I., so he took a breach-loader belonging to a sick man
of the 34th. I shall refer to him again. He carried one hundred and
twenty rounds of ball cartridge on his person, three times as much
as the men of the 34th. I sent off my combined escort with all the
Manipuris who were ready under Thangal Major, and stayed behind to
collect and despatch supplies and write official letters and send off
telegrams to Sir Steuart Bayley, and on the 23rd rode out, and caught
up my men at Mayang Khang, forty miles from Manipur. The rear-guard
of the 34th had not come up when I went to bed that night at 11 P.M.

I left my poor wife still very weak and I was thankful that she had her
good sister as a stay and support. Just before leaving, our youngest
boy Arthur held out his arms to be taken. I paused from my work for
a moment and took him. It was the last time I saw him. Sad as was my
parting, I rode off in high spirits; who would not do so when he feels
that he may be privileged to do his country signal service! Besides,
I hoped to find all well when I returned.

We left Mayang Khang on October 24th and marched to Mythephum, twenty
miles along a terribly difficult mountain path, much overgrown by
jungle. It was all I could do to get the 34th along, as they were
completely knocked up. I had a pony which I lent for part of the way
to one of my invalids and so helped him on. I was continually obliged
to halt myself and wait for the stragglers, cheer them up, and then
run to the front again. Narain Singh was invaluable and seemed not
to know fatigue. We reached Mythephum after dark, but the rear-guard
did not arrive till next morning.

At Mythephum I mustered my forces. The Maharajah had sent the Jubraj
and Kotwal Koireng with me (little did I think of the fate in store
for them and for old Thangal [25]) and found that very few Manipuris
had arrived, and almost all of the force with me were so knocked
up that, to my intense disappointment, I had to make a halt. I was
too restless to sit still, so spent the day in reconnoitring the
country. In the evening I had an interview with Thangal Major and
afterwards with the Jubraj. Old Thangal was for halting till we
could collect a large force as he said a large one was required,
and he begged me to halt for a few days. I finally pointed out that
a day's halt might cause the annihilation of the garrison of Kohima,
and said that if the Manipuris were not ready to move, I would go
along with any of my own men who could march. I appealed to the
Jubraj to support me which he did, [26] and for which I was ever
grateful, and we arranged to march next day. I found that the Nagas
of Manipur were infected with a rebellious spirit, and not entirely
to be depended on, and any vacillation on our part might have been
fatal, and would certainly have sealed the fate of Kohima.

We left Mythephum at daybreak on the 26th, and marched as hard as we
could, as I hoped to cover the forty miles to Kohima by nightfall. We
stopped to drink water at the Mao river, which we forded, and to
prevent men wasting time, I drew my revolver and threatened to shoot
any one who dawdled. We ascended the steep hillside, and passing
through one of the villages marched on to Khoijami, a village on the
English side of the border. We had been so long, owing to the extreme
badness of the roads, and the fatigue of the men, that we only reached
it at 3 P.M., so I reluctantly halted for the night.

Here my emissary to Viswema joined me, and told me that he had induced
his fellow-villagers to be friendly, and that presents would be sent. I
sent him back to demand hostages, and the formal submission of the
village, as otherwise I would attack them on the morrow and spare no
one. It was not a time for soft speeches, and I heard rumours that
we were to be opposed next day.

Late in the afternoon some Mao Nagas brought in seven Nepaulee coolies
who had escaped from Kohima the previous day, and wandered through the
jungle expecting every moment to be killed. I gave the Mao men twenty
rupees as a reward. The Nepaulees said that they had been shut outside
the gate of the stockade by mistake, and had hidden themselves and
so got away. They gave a deplorable account of affairs, and said that
there was no food, and that the ammunition was almost all spent, and
that two ladies were in the stockade, Mrs. Damant and Mrs. Cawley. They
stated that Mr. Damant was taken unawares and shot dead, and fifty men
killed on the spot, and that thirty ran away and hid in the jungles,
some saving their arms, others not. Each man had fifty rounds of ball
cartridge. Most of the rifles lost were breech-loaders. The men told
me that early that morning they had seen smoke rising from Kohima,
and thought it might have been burned.

All this made me very anxious, as the men said that Mr. Cawley was
treating for a safe passage to Samagudting. Late in the evening I heard
that a building inside the stockade had been burned by the Nagas, who
threw stones wrapped in burning cloth on to the thatched roofs. The
Nagas in arms were said to number six thousand, and they had erected
a stockade opposite ours from which they fired. The fugitives were
in a miserable state of semi-starvation, and ashy pale from terror,
and seemed more dead than alive when they were brought to me. We slept
on our arms that night, at least such as could sleep, and rose at 3
A.M. in case of an attack, that being a favourite time for the Nagas
to make one.

When ready, I addressed my men, telling them the danger of the
enterprise, but assuring them of its success, and urging them, in
case of my being killed or wounded, to leave me and push on to save
the garrison. I promised the Frontier Police that every man should
be promoted if we reached Kohima safely that night. This promise the
Government faithfully kept.

At sunrise I received two little slips of paper brought by two
Nepaulese coolies who had managed to escape, signed by Mr. Hinde,
Extra Assistant Commissioner, and hidden by them in their hair. On
them was written:--

Surrounded by Nagas, cut off from water Must be relieved at once. Send
flying column to bring away garrison at once. Relief must be immediate
to be of any use

H. M. Hinde. A. P. A. Kohima. 25 x. 79.


We are in extremity, come on sharp Kohima not abandoned.
Kohima not abandoned

H. M. Hinde. A. P. A. 26 x. 79.

After getting these, I could not wait any longer, and, as the Manipuris
were not all ready, I started off at once with fifty of them under
an old officer, Eerungba Polla and sixty of my escort, all that were
able to make a rapid march, and Narain Singh. We carried with us my
camp Union Jack.

I obtained hostages from Viswema and placed them under a guard with
orders to shoot them instantly, if we were attacked, and on our arrival
at the village we were well received. At Rigwema, as we afterwards
discovered, a force of Nagas was placed in ambush to attack us, but
the precautions we took prevented their doing so, and we passed on
unmolested, and soon had the satisfaction of seeing the stockade at
Kohima still intact. A few miles farther, and on rounding the spur of
a hill, the stockade appeared in full view and we sounded our bugles
which were quickly answered by a flourish from Kohima.

We marched on with our standard flying, we reached the valley below,
we began the ascent of the last slope, and forming into as good order
as the ground would allow, we at last gained the summit and saw the
stockade, to save which, we had marched so far and so well, before
us at a distance of one hundred yards.

The garrison gave a loud cheer, which we answered, and numbers of them
poured out. Messrs. Cawley and Hinde grasped my hand, and others of the
garrison formed a line on either side of the gateway, and we marched
in between them. I recognised many old faces not seen since I had left
the Naga Hills in 1874, and warmly greeted them; especially Mema Ram,
a Subadar in the Frontier Police; Kurum Singh, and others. I was told
afterwards that when Mema Ram first heard that I was marching to their
relief, he said, "Oh, if Johnstone Sahib is coming we are all right."

I at once told the officers of the garrison that there could be no
divided authority, and that they must consider themselves subject to my
orders, to which they agreed. I then saw the poor widowed Mrs. Damant,
and Mrs. Cawley who had behaved nobly during the siege. While talking
to the last, one of her two children asked for some water. Her mother
said in a feeling tone, "Yes, my dear, you can have some now." Seldom
have I heard words that sounded more eloquent.

The Manipuris now began to pour in, in one long stream, and were
greeted by the garrison with effusion, and I gave them the site of a
stockade that had been destroyed by Mr. Cawley, in order to reduce the
space to be defended as much as possible, and told them to stockade
themselves, which they did at once. After arranging for the defence
of our position, I sent off a letter to my wife to say that I was
safe, and that Kohima had been relieved, and telegrams to the Chief
Commissioner, and Government of India, to be sent on at once to Cachar,
the nearest telegraph office, informing them of the good news.

It appeared from what Mr. Cawley told me, that on the 14th of October,
Mr. Damant had gone to Konoma from Jotsoma, to try and enforce some
demands he had made. He had been warned several times that the Merema
Clan of Konoma meant mischief, and several Nagas had implored him
not to go, and finding him deaf to their entreaties, begged him to go
through the friendly Semema Clan's quarter of the village. However,
he insisted on having his own way, and went to the gate of the Merema
Clan at the top of a steep, narrow path. The gate was closed, and
while demanding an entrance, he was shot dead. His men were massed
in rear of him, and a large number were at once shot down, while
the others took to flight. Some of the fugitives reached Kohima that
night, and Mr. Cawley at once, grasping the gravity of the situation,
pulled down one stockade, and dismantled the buildings as already
related, concentrating all his men in the other, and making it as
strong as possible. The neighbouring villages had already risen,
and were sending contingents to attack Kohima.

Mr. Cawley had just time to send a messenger to Mr. Hinde, the
extra-Assistant Commissioner at Woka, a distance of sixty-three miles,
ordering him to come in with the detachment of fifty police under
him. These orders Mr. Hinde most skilfully carried out, by marching
only at night, and on the 19th he reached Kohima, thus strengthening
the garrison and making it more able to hold its own, for the number
of the attacking party now greatly increased.

Most fortunately, owing to the zealous care of Major T. N. Walker,
44th R. L. Infantry, there were some rations in reserve for the troops,
which were shared with the non-combatants and police. These he had
insisted on being collected and stored up, when he paid a visit of
inspection to Kohima some months before. But for this small stock
the place could not have held out for two days, but must inevitably
have fallen, as all supplies were cut off during the progress of
the siege. The water was poisoned by having a human head thrown into
it. The Nagas fired at the stockade continually, but made no regular
assault. They seemed to have tried picking off every man who showed
himself, and starving out the garrison. The quantity of jungle that
had been allowed to remain standing all round afforded them admirable
cover, and, as before stated, they erected another small stockade
from which to fire. This they constantly brought nearer and nearer
by moving the timbers.

At length, the garrison wearied out, entered into negotiations,
and agreed to surrender the stockade, if allowed a free passage to
Samagudting. This fatal arrangement would have been carried into
effect within an hour or two, had not my letter arrived assuring them
of help. What the result would have been no one who knows the Nagas can
doubt; 545 headless and naked bodies would have been lying outside the
blockade. Five hundred stands of arms, and 250,000 rounds of ammunition
would have been in possession of the enemy, enough to keep the hills
in a blaze for three years, and to give employment to half-a-dozen
regiments during all that time, and to oblige an expenditure of a
million sterling, to say nothing of valuable lives. [27]

Throughout the siege, Mrs. Damant, and Mrs. Cawley had displayed much
heroism. The first undertook to look after the wounded, and went to
visit them daily, exposed to the enemy's fire. Mrs. Cawley took charge
of the women and children of the sepoys, and looked after them, keeping
them in a sheltered spot. The poor little children could not understand
the situation at all, or why it was that the Nagas were firing.

The casualties would have been more numerous than they were, but that
the Nagas were careful of the cherished ammunition, and seldom fired,
unless pretty sure of hitting. All the same, the situation was a very
critical one, and not to be judged by people sitting quietly at home
by their firesides. It is certainly a very awful thing, after a great
disaster and massacre, to be shut up in a weak stockade built of highly
inflammable material, and surrounded by 6000 howling savages who spare
no one. In addition to that too, to have the water supply cut off,
and at most ten days' full provision; for this was what it amounted
to. It must be also remembered that the non-combatants far out-numbered
the combatants, and that the two officers who undertook the defence
were both civilians. Anyhow, the view taken of it by the defenders is
shown by the fact that they were willing to surrender to the enemy,
rather than face the situation and its terrible uncertainty any longer,
as they were quite in doubt as to whether relief was coming or whether
their letters having miscarried they would be left to perish.

Looking back, after a lapse of fifteen years, and calmly reviewing
the events connected with the siege of Kohima, I think I was right
at the time in describing the defence as a "noble one."


    Returning order and confidence--Arrival of Major Evans--Arrival
    of Major Williamson--Keeping open communication--Attack on
    Phesama--Visit to Manipur--General Nation arrives--Join him at
    Suchema--Prepare to attack Konoma--Assault of Konoma.

Early on the morning of the 28th, I took out all the men I could
collect and set to work to clear away the jungle in the neighbourhood
of the stockade so as to give no covert to enemies. I also did my
utmost to collect supplies. Kohima, with its twelve hundred houses,
was able to give a little, and I sent to distant villages. I also sent
to the head-man of Konoma to ask for Mr. Damant's body. The man at
once sent in the head, but said that the body had been destroyed. A
true statement, I have no doubt, as the head is all the Nagas value,
and the body would have been given up instantly had it existed. His
signet ring, and several other little articles were also sent. The
head was buried with due honours, the Manipuri chiefs drawing up
their men and saluting as the funeral procession passed. The Jubraj,
Soor Chandra Singh, spoke very feelingly on the subject.

The watercourse, which formerly supplied the garrison, had been
diverted, and the only other supply had been, as already stated,
poisoned by a head being thrown into it. My first business was to see
that the water communication was restored, to every one's comfort. Some
of my old acquaintances among the Nagas began to come in, and there
was a great disposition to be friendly.

The next day a sepoy of the 43rd, who had escaped the massacre and
lived in the jungle, was brought in by some friendly Nagas. He was
almost out of his mind, and nearly speechless from terror, and could
not walk, so was carried on the man's back.

I made up my mind to attack Konoma as soon as I could, and the people
knowing this, tried negotiations with my Manipuri allies. So great
was the fear we inspired that at first I believe I could without
difficulty have imposed more severe terms than were obtained later
on after four months' fighting. With Asiatics especially, everything
depends on the vigour with which an enterprise is pushed forward. The
Nagas never expecting an attack from the side of Manipur, were at
first paralysed. All the villages were without any but the most
rudimentary defences, in addition to those which nature had given
them from their position; not one of them could have stood against
a well-directed attack.

I was in the midst of my preparations when, on the 30th October, Major
(now Major-General) Evans, of the 43rd Assam Light Infantry, arrived
with two hundred men, who had come with him from Dibroogurh. I also
received a telegram saying that General Nation was coming up with
one thousand men and two mountain-guns, and might be expected on the
9th November. I was also given strict orders to engage in no active
operations till his arrival. These orders I at first disregarded,
feeling the urgent necessity of instant action before the Nagas had
time to recover from their surprise. However, next day the order was
reiterated so strongly, and in the Chief Commissioner's name, that,
believing that the Government had some special reason for the order,
I accepted it, much to my disappointment, as I felt the urgent
necessity of an immediate advance. Konoma was still unfortified,
and a few days would have sufficed to capture it, and place the Naga
Hills at our feet. As it was, the delay, not till November 9th, but
November 22nd, owing to defective transport arrangements, gave the
enemy time to recover, and when we tardily appeared before Konoma, we
found a scientifically defended fortress, whose capture cost us many
valuable lives. The order, it subsequently appeared, was not issued by
Sir Steuart Bayley, [28] and was altogether due to a misapprehension.

As there was to be no immediate work, I urged Major Evans to take
up his post at Samagudting, where a magazine containing 200,000
rounds of ammunition was very inefficiently guarded; he, however,
left a subaltern, Lieut. (now Captain) Barrett with me, as I wanted
another officer. On their way, some men of the 43rd had shot two
Nagas, one a relation of the chief of the Hepromah clan of Kohima,
a most unfortunate proceeding, and quite uncalled for, as the men were
quietly working in their fields. I was already sufficiently embarrassed
by the promises made by the garrison to the so-called friendly clans
of Kohima, to induce them to be neutral during the siege, and which
I felt bound to keep, and this additional complication added to my
troubles. People situated as the garrison were should make no promises
except in return for real help.

All this time troops and supplies came pouring in from Manipur in
one long thin stream, and the greatest efforts were made to collect
supplies on the spot. I also forced the unfriendly Chitonoma clan of
Kohima to surrender six rifles they had captured, and to pay a fine of
200 maunds of rice. We had been expecting a force of Kuki irregulars
from Manipur; these now arrived, and I had a talk with the chief,
who said: "Our great desire is to attack that village," pointing to
Kohima, "and to kill every man, woman, and child in it!" He looked
as if he meant it.

One day a cat was caught that had given great trouble stealing
provisions, etc., we all wanted to get rid of it, but Hindoos do
not like having cats killed, and I respected their prejudices when
possible, and there were many Hindoos about us, so I said, "I won't
have it killed, unless some one wants to eat it." A Kuki soon came and
asked to be allowed to make a dinner of it, and then I gave my consent,
and our scourge was removed. I once asked a sepoy of my old regiment
why they objected to killing cats. He said, "People do say that if
you kill a cat now you will have to give a golden cat in exchange in
the next world as a punishment, and where are we to get one?"

To keep open communications, I established Manipuri posts in strong
stockades at all the principal villages on the road to the frontier,
and had daily posts from Manipur. To my great distress, I heard that
my youngest boy, Arthur, was ill, and my wife in much anxiety about
him; but I could not leave to help her.

Our forced inaction had, as I anticipated, been misinterpreted by the
Nagas. Some decisive action was much needed, and I attacked the hostile
Chitonoma clan of Kohima, and destroyed part of their village. On the
10th, as a party of men were bringing in provisions from Manipur,
they had been attacked by some of the Chitonoma clan in the valley
below our position. I heard the firing, and ran out of the stockade
with a party to drive off the enemy.

At the gate, a man who had just arrived, put a letter in my hand. I
read it anxiously, it told me that my child was dead. My wife and I
had chosen a spot at Kang-joop-kool where we wished to be buried in
case either of us died, and there she buried him.

We soon cleared out the Chitonoma men, and I found that with the
troops escorting the provisions was Dr. Campbell from Cachar, whose
arrival was very welcome. I remember in connection with him a striking
incident showing the courage of Manipuris in suffering. A man who
had been wounded in an encounter had to have an operation performed
on his arm. Dr. Campbell wanted to give him chloroform as it would be
very painful. But the man refused, saying, "I will not take anything
that intoxicates," and at once held out his arm and submitted to the
knife without flinching!

Every day the delay in the commencement of active operations made the
Nagas more and more confident, and some vigorous action on our part
was absolutely necessary. I heard from spies that our Manipuri post at
Phesama was about to be attacked by the people of the village, who held
nightly converse with emissaries from Konoma. I therefore determined to
punish Phesama, which was not far from Kohima, and on November 11th,
I sent a party of Manipuris and Kukis who destroyed the village in a
night attack, and killed a large number of people. They brought in
twenty-one women and children as prisoners whom the Manipuris had
saved from the Kukis, who would have spared neither age nor sex had
they gone alone.

The next day my old friend Captain Williamson arrived to act as my
assistant, I having been appointed Chief Political Officer with the
Field Force that was being formed. Having now a competent man to leave
in charge, I determined to go to Manipur for a few days, and marched
to Mythephum on the 13th, and rode thence on the 14th to Manipur,
accomplishing the whole distance of over 100 miles in thirty-one
and a half hours. I stayed one day in Manipur and then returned,
reaching Kohima on the 17th.

On November 20th, General Nation having arrived at Suchema, ten
miles from Kohima, Williamson and I left to join him. We were fired
at on the road, but got in safely and found all well and in good
spirits. The troops consisted of 43rd and 44th Assam Light Infantry and
two seven-pound mountain-guns under Lieut. Mansel, R.A. Lieut. (now
Major) Raban, R.E., was engineer-officer and Deputy Surgeon-General
(now Surgeon-General, C.B.) De Renzy was in charge of the Medical
Department. Major Cock, a well-known soldier and sportsman, was
Brigade Major.

On the 21st, the guns arrived on elephants, and feeling sure that
no proper carriage could have been provided for their transport, I
had taken the precaution to bring one hundred Kuki coolies to carry
them. The assault was to be next day. Mozuma remained neutral, and
even gave us a few coolies and guides. [29]

How well I remember the night of the 21st. Williamson and I dined
with the General and all the staff, and poor Cock, great on all
sporting subjects, told us in the most animated way, stories of whaling
adventures when he was on leave at the Cape. He warmed to his subject
and greatly interested us; he was a fine gaunt man of over six feet
in height, and great strength and ready for any enterprise; some of
the Mozuma Nagas knew him and liked him as they had, years before,
been on shooting expeditions with him in the Nowgong jungles. Besides
this we had a surgical address from Dr. De Renzy, who told us what to
do if any of us were wounded. How we all laughed over it, he joining
us. I knew we should have some hard fighting, but we all counted
on carrying everything before us with a rush, and who is there who
expects to be wounded? We are ready for it if it comes, but we all
think that we are to be the exception. It is as well that it is so.

We were under arms at 4.30 A.M. on the 22nd. The first party consisting
of two companies of the 43rd Assam Light Infantry and twenty-eight
Naga Hills Police, under Major Evans and Lieut. Barrett, conducted by
Captain Williamson, who knew the country, were directed to proceed to
the rear of Konoma and occupy the saddle connecting the spur on which
it is built with the main road, so as to cut off the line of retreat.

At 7.30 A.M., the remaining portion of the force marched off. We
all went together to the Mozuma Hill, where Lieut. Raban, R.E.,
was detached with part of a rocket battery, to take up a position on
the hillside and open fire on Konoma, simultaneously with the guns. A
small force was left in Suchema, to which, on my own responsibility, I
added one hundred and ten Kuki irregulars, as I thought it dangerously
small for a place containing all our stores and reserve ammunition. At
the General's request, I had posted a force of two hundred men in a
valley to intercept fugitives, and cut them off from Jotsuma.

After leaving Lieut. Raban, we crossed the valley dividing Mozuma
and Konoma, and when half-way between the hills, Lieut. Ridgeway (now
Colonel Ridgeway, V.C.) was sent with a company of the 44th to skirmish
up to the Konoma hill. The main body with the guns then gradually
ascended to the Government Road. Just before reaching it, we found
a headless Aryan corpse in a stream, it was probably that of a sepoy
of the 43rd, who formed part of Mr. Damant's ill-fated expedition.

After going for a short distance along the road, we found a
place up which the guns could go, and a party of fifty men under
Lieut. Henderson, 44th Assam Light Infantry, was sent ahead to skirmish
up the hillside, the guns carried by my coolies following with the
General and his Staff, including myself. As we ascended the hill,
Colonel Nuttall, with the remainder of the 44th, exclusive of the
gun escort, proceeded along the road, crossing the small valley
that divides the Konoma hill from the ridge of the Basoma hill
which we were ascending, a few hundred yards from where it joins
the main valley, and halted at the foot. After incredible labour,
we succeeded in getting the guns into position at about 1200 yards
distance from the highest point of Konoma, and at once opened fire,
while Lieut. Raban did the same with his rockets which, however, for
the most part fell short over the heads of Lieut. Ridgeway's party,
though once two struck the village. On being signalled, Lieut. Raban
withdrew his rockets and joined us. Meanwhile, the guns had made little
impression on the people, and none on the stone forts of Konoma, but
the 44th were advancing gallantly to the attack up the steep ascent
to the village, a brisk fire being kept up on both sides.

At about 2.30, the position of the guns was changed, and they were
advanced to within eight hundred yards of the works, here one of my
gun coolies was wounded by a shot from the village. The change of
position had little effect, and Lieutenant Henderson's party which
had skirmished along the hillside, effectually prevented the enemy
from evacuating his strong position.

At this time we saw a body of men on the ridge above Konoma, and a
gun and rocket fire was opened on them, but speedily stopped as the
regimental call of the 43rd sounding in the distance, followed by a
close observation with our glasses, led us to the conclusion that it
was the party with Captain Williamson and not the enemy who occupied
the point at which we had directed our fire. Subsequently it was
discovered that the stockade there had been captured and occupied
by the party of the 43rd. After firing a few shots from our new
position, and imagining that the force under Colonel Nuttall was in
full possession of the hill we unlimbered, and, crossing the small
valley before mentioned, we followed Mr. Damant's path up the hill,
entering the village by the gate where he met his death. As we neared
the place where we had last seen Colonel Nuttall's party, ominous
sights met our eyes, dead bodies here and there and men badly wounded,
while sepoys left in charge of the latter told us that the Nagas were
still holding out in the upper forts. After advancing a few paces
further we had to pick our way over ground studded with pangees, [30]
and covered with thorns and bamboo and cane entanglements, exposed
to the fire of the enemy, and passing the bodies of several Nagas
we ascended a kind of staircase, and after again passing under the
Naga fire climbed up a perpendicular stone wall and found ourselves
in a small tower, which, with the adjoining work, was held by a small
party of the 44th. I asked Colonel Nuttall where all his men were, and
he pointed to the handful around him and said, "These are all." The
situation was indeed a desperate one, and I felt that without some
immediate action our power in the Naga Hills for the moment trembled
in the balance. The needed action was taken as the guns had now arrived
under a heavy fire, and they opened on the upper forts at a distance of
eighty to one hundred yards, Lieutenant Mansel and his three European
bombardiers pointing them, fully exposed to the fire of the enemy. I
strongly urged on the General the necessity of making an attempt to
dislodge him before nightfall, and he was about to lead out a party
to the attack when it was deemed more prudent to try the guns from
another point first. After a series of rounds with such heavy charges
that the guns were upset at every shot, the order for the assault was
given, and we all rushed out in two parties, led by nine officers,
viz., General Nation, Colonel Nuttall, Major Cock, Major Walker,
Lieutenant Ridgeway, Lieutenant Raban, Lieutenant Boileau, Lieutenant
Forbes, and myself, with all the men we could collect. The party I was
with, which included the general, Colonel Nuttall, and Major Cock,
attempted to scale the front face of the fort, the other the left,
i.e., on our right. The right column of attack led by Ridgeway and
Forbes advanced splendidly; I seem to hear to this day Ridgeway's
shout of "Chulleao," i.e., "Come along," to his men as he dashed to
the front, and I saw him mounting the parapet.

The Nagas met us with a heavy fire and showers of spears and
stones. One of the spears struck Forbes, and Ridgeway was badly wounded
in the left shoulder by a shot fired at ten paces, and Nir Beer Sai,
a gallant subadar, shot dead. My faithful orderly, Narain Singh, was
also killed. Unfortunately we had no force to support the assaulting
parties and the men began to retire. While this was doing on the
right, our column, the left, was scaling an almost perpendicular wall
in front but unsuccessfully, as those of us not killed were pushed
back by showers of falling stones and earth, and as we alighted at
a lower level the remnants of the right column who were retiring
met us. I tried to rally them, but I was a stranger to them and it
was no use. Lieutenant Raban was equally unsuccessful, the men had
acted gallantly, but our party was too small, and as I had before
predicted the fire was concentrated on the European officers. Major
Cock walked back leisurely to get under cover, and just before he
reached it turned round to take a parting shot. I saw him thus far,
and immediately after heard that he had been shot. Seeing that our
only chance of safety lay in a retreat, I shouted to Mansel to open
an artillery fire over our heads which he did, this saved us. In
another minute, the general, Colonel Nuttall, myself and five sepoys
were the only men left. I suggested to the former that we had better
go too and retire, which we did over the embers of a burning house.

As I retired with the General we found Major Cock mortally wounded,
laid under cover in a sheltered spot; a little farther on under a heavy
fire we met Lieutenant Boileau bringing out a stretcher for him. As
Cock was being carried in, a bearer was shot dead, and Dr. Campbell
took his place and brought him into hospital.

It was a strange situation, as in our retreat we were alternately
exposed to a fire, and quite sheltered. Luckily the place selected
for a hospital was safe, and there a sad sight met my eyes. In the
short period that elapsed between the commencement of the assault
and my return, the hospital had been filled. Young Forbes was on his
back, pale as a sheet, but cheerful. Ridgeway flushed with the glow
of battle on him. "Certamis gaudia," I said, "I hope you are not
much hurt." "Only my shoulder smashed," he said. Colonel Nuttall
was slightly wounded, making four out of nine Europeans. Besides
these were men of the 44th of all ranks, some almost insensible,
others in great pain, some composed, others despondent. Outside lay a
heap of dead. Twenty-five per cent. of the native ranks had fallen,
killed or wounded. Some of my gun coolies were among the latter,
besides one or two killed.

I remember a wounded Kuki who was supporting himself by leaning
against a great vat of Naga beer prepared to refresh the defenders of
the fortress, and by him lay a dead Naga. The Kuki had a dao (sword)
in his hand, and every now and then he fortified himself with a deep
draught of the grateful fluid, and thus strengthened made a savage
cut at the body of his foe.

We had captured all but the highest forts, and a renewed attack with
our small numbers was out of the question, as night was closing in,
and we were very anxious as to the safety of our detached parties
under Evans, Macgregor, and Henderson. [31]

It was determined to remain where we were for the night, and Lieutenant
Raban represented to the General the necessity of fortifying our
position. This duty he and Mansel and I undertook, I bringing my Kuki
coolies to the work, which we accomplished by 7 P.M.


    Konoma evacuated--Journey to Suchema for provisions and ammunition,
    and return--We march to Suchema with General--Visit Manipur--Very
    ill--Meet Sir Steuart Bayley in Cachar--His visit to Manipur--Grand
    reception--Star of India--Chussad attack on Chingsow--March to
    Kohima and back--Reflections on Maharajah's services--Naga Hills
    campaign overshadowed by Afghan War.

General Nation had intended to capture Konoma and return to Suchema
at once, but the stout resistance offered by the Nagas upset all
calculations, and we were thus stranded without warm clothing or
provisions on a bleak spot, 5000 or 6000 feet above the sea. I sent
off some of my Naga emissaries, and induced the neutral men of Mozuma
to go to Suchema and bring the bedding of the wounded men and some food
which was done. With difficulty we got enough water to drink, but there
was none for washing, and when at last we sat down on the ground to
eat our frugal meal, the doctors had to eat with hands covered with
blood, indeed, none of our hands were very presentable. At last, to
our great relief, our detached parties returned one by one. Lieutenant
(now Colonel) C. R. Macgregor, D.S.O., a most gallant and capable
officer, had been out all day with only fifteen men, and inflicted
some injury on the Nagas. He was Quartermaster-General of the force,
and did good service throughout. The accession of numbers was a great
relief, as we now had the means of renewing the attack next day, but
ammunition and supplies were required, and Williamson and I volunteered
to go to Suchema for them next day. The night was very cold, but we
managed to sleep all huddled up together, the dead lying all round us.

Early next morning, Williamson and I started with all our coolies and
an escort of fifty men. We saw no signs of the enemy, but came across
several men of the 43rd who had strayed away from their detachments
in the dark and hidden in the jungles. At Suchema we found all right,
but before we got there, we saw our flag flying over Konoma, showing,
as I had expected, that it had been evacuated during the night. This
event immediately made our neutral friends of Mozuma, our allies, and
they gave us hearty assistance, and we took back an ample supply of
provisions. The Mozuma people told us that the Konoma men had never
contemplated the possibility of being driven out, and that they had
stored up 2000 maunds of rice which had fallen into our hands.

The enemy had retired into some fortified stockades called Chukka on
the main range to their rear, a most difficult position to attack. I
offered the General to carry the guns into position for him if he
cared to assault them, but our loss, especially in officers, had been
so great that he declined, and probably he was right, as the risk
was very great if the enemy stood his ground, so the General decided
to await reinforcements. All the same it was to be regretted that we
were unable to deliver two or three blows in rapid succession.

We left a party at Konoma and marched to Suchema with the wounded,
Ridgeway, with great courage, marching all the way on foot, rather
than endure the shaking of an improvised litter. On the 27th, I
joined a force, with which we attacked and destroyed the unfriendly
portion of Jotsuma, a large and powerful village, and on the 29th,
as there was nothing else to do, made a rapid journey to Manipur with
Lieutenant Raban, that he might survey the road as I wanted the trace
for a cart road cut. We returned on December 4th.

On December 6th, Williamson and I started for Golaghat, to meet
Sir Steuart Bayley. At Samagudting I had a perfect ovation, all
the village turning out to see me, and greeting me warmly as an old
acquaintance. Alas! many were suffering from a disease we called Naga
sores, and several had died. The once lovely place looked desolate and
miserable, almost all the fine trees had been ruthlessly cut down by
one of my successors, in a panic, lest they should afford cover for
hostile Nagas. The place looked so sad that I could not bear to stay
there as I had intended, and left again almost directly. We reached
Golaghat on December 9th, and stayed with the Chief Commissioner and
started again on the 12th, and rode fifty-five miles into Dimapur, but
I was not at all well, indeed had been much the reverse for several
days, bad food and hard work having upset me. We reached Suchema on
the 14th.

Overtures for submission were made by some of the hostile villages,
but I said that an unconditional surrender of all fire-arms must
precede any negotiations. Meanwhile, I grew daily worse, and the
doctors told me that I must go to Manipur for change and quiet,
which, as there was nothing to be done just then, I did, leaving
Captain Williamson in charge of the Political Department.

I reached Manipur on December 22nd, and a day or two's rest did me so
much good that I left again on the 27th, and rode to Mythephum, sixty
miles, but was taken ill on the road, and suffered most dreadful pain
for the last twenty miles, arriving completely prostrated. The next
day, being worse, I sent a message to Manipur, asking for the native
doctor and a litter to be sent to meet me, while I got back as far as
Mayang Khang on my pony, though hardly able to sit upright. I halted
here for the night, but had no sleep, and in the morning started in a
rough litter, but the shaking increased the pain, so that I again tried
riding till I reached Kong-nang-pokhee, twenty miles from Manipur,
where, to my intense relief, I found my doolai and our native doctor,
Lachman Parshad. I reached Manipur at 11 P.M.

Next day, December 30th, I was no better, and as the doctor was very
anxious, not understanding my case, which was acute inflammation,
my wife wrote to Dr. O'Brien of the 44th, asking him to come and
see me. I was laid up till January 17th, and only narrowly escaped
with life, my suffering being aggravated by a deficiency of medicine
in our hospital, and a week's delay in getting it from Cachar. One
day I got out of bed to see Thangal Major on very important business
connected with Konoma, of which some of the inhabitants had tried to
open an intrigue with Manipur. Dr. O'Brien arrived about the 13th,
and left on the 18th, and I was preparing to follow in a few days,
when complications on the Lushai frontier detained me, and then as the
Chief Commissioner was about to come up en route to the Naga Hills,
to present the Maharajah with the order of the Star of India in
recognition of his services, I waited till I could march up with him.

On January 30th, I heard that the Baladhun tea factory in Cachar
had been attacked, and a European and several coolies killed by
the Merema clan of Konoma. Knowing that Cachar was badly off for
troops, I asked the Durbar to send two hundred men to the frontier,
close to the tea factory, to aid the Cachar authorities, and this
was done. On February 6th, I started for Cachar to meet the Chief
Commissioner, reaching that place on the 7th, and marched back with
him, arriving at Manipur on February 20th, where he was received with
every demonstration of respect, the Maharajah turning out with all
his court to meet him at the usual place, and escorting him to the
spot where the road turned off to the Residency.

The Chief Commissioner's visit gave the greatest satisfaction to
every one in Manipur. He stayed five days, during which he had several
interviews with the Maharajah, and held a grand Durbar, at which he
invested him with the star and badge of a K.C.S.I. He also attended a
review held by the Rajah, besides seeing all the sights of the place,
including a game of polo by picked players. In fact the visit was a
thorough success, and the Manipuris often spoke of it with pleasure
years afterwards.

Just before we started for the Naga Hills, I received the news of an
attack by the Chussad Kukis on the Tankhool village of Chingsow, to
the north-east of Manipur, forty-five people were said to have been
killed or carried off; and the excitement was all the greater from
the belief entertained that the attack had been instigated by the
Burmese. I determined, after consultation with Sir Steuart Bayley,
to proceed to the spot myself, and investigate the whole affair;
and it was, therefore, decided that, after escorting him to Kohima,
I should return to Manipur and take up the case. We marched to Kohima,
which we reached on March 1st, and on the 2nd, I returned to Mao,
en route to Manipur, where I arrived on March 5th.

Before leaving the subject of the Naga Hills, I ought to say, that,
it is difficult to over-estimate our obligation to the Maharajah,
for his loyal conduct during the insurrection and subsequent
troubles. According to his own belief, we had deprived him of
territory belonging to him, and which he had been allowed to claim as
his own. The Nagas asked him to help them, and promised to become his
feudatories, if only he would not act against them. The temptation must
have been strong, to at least serve us as we deserved, by leaving us
in the lurch to get out of the mess, as best as we could. Instead of
this, Chandra Kirtee Singh loyally and cheerfully placed his resources
at our disposal, and certainly by enabling me to march to its relief,
prevented the fall of Kohima, and the disastrous results which would
have inevitably followed. It is grievous to think that his son, the
then Jubraj Soor Chandra Singh, who served us so well, was allowed to
die in exile, and that Thangal Major died on the scaffold: while many
others who accompanied the expedition, were transported as criminals,
across the dreaded "black water" to the Andamans.

It was the misfortune of those engaged in the Naga Hills expedition,
that they were overshadowed, and their gallant deeds almost ignored, by
the Afghan war then in progress. Some of the English papers imagined
that the operations in the Naga Hills were included in it, and the
Government of India, which has only eyes for the North-West Frontier,
showed little desire to recognise the hard work, and good service
rendered on its eastern border, amidst difficulties far greater than
those which beset our troops in Afghanistan. The force engaged, hoped
that the capture of Konoma, which was achieved after such hard fighting
and at so great a loss, would have been at least recognised by some
special decoration, but this hope was disappointed, apparently for
no other reason, than that the troops engaged, fought in the east,
and not in the west of India. Kaye, the historian, once said that,
"the countries to the east of the Bay of Bengal, were the grave
of fame." Well did the Naga Hills campaign, prove the truth of his
words. A bronze star was the reward of a bloodless march from Kabul
to Kandahar, but not even a clasp could be spared to commemorate
the capture of Konoma, and those who never saw a shot fired, shared
the medal awarded equally with those who fought and bled in that
bloody fight.


    Visit Chingsow to investigate Chussad outrage--Interesting
    country--Rhododendrons--Splendid forest--Chingsow and the
    murder--Chattik--March back across the hills.

I had not fully recovered my strength after my illness, and besides
there was much to do, so I did not start for Chingsow till the 11th,
when I marched to Lairen, twenty-five miles distant. Near a place
called Susa Kameng, where the hills approach each other very closely,
from either side of the valley, a rampart connects them. It was built
in former days as a barrier against the Tankhools, when they were
the scourge of the neighbourhood.

After leaving Susa Kameng, the valley narrowed for some miles, and
then we crossed a ridge about 1000 feet above it, and finally descended
into a charming little upland valley, which, but for the Kukis, those
terrible enemies of trees and animal life, would be the cherished home
of wild elephants. After crossing this, we again made a slight descent,
and found ourselves close to the camp on a lovely stream. There I
found Bularam Singh, who was to be minister in attendance on me during
my march, that part of the country being under his jurisdiction. The
next day we went on to Noong-suong-kong over a most lovely country,
often 5000 feet above the sea, and with hill villages in the most
romantic situation; and--remarkable sign of the peace produced by
the rule of Manipur--we met large numbers of unarmed wayfarers. This
day we also saw terrace cultivation, in which the Tankhools excel,
and rhododendrons in full flower, a splendid sight. The next day,
after another most interesting march, we halted in a pretty upland
valley, 5100 feet above the sea; the valley was long, and a stream
meandered through it, the banks being clothed with willows and wild
pear trees, covered with blossoms. The hillsides were well-wooded,
the trees being chiefly pines with rhododendrons here and there.

On March 14th, we descended the Kongou-Chow-Ching, and in a village I
saw for the first time shingle roofs. We passed the last fir tree at
5800 feet, and reached the watershed at 7300 feet. At the top of the
pass in a slightly sheltered position, was a solitary rhododendron. The
cold was so great that, though walking, I was glad to put on a thick
great-coat; the winds were exceedingly piercing. Some of the hills
round were denuded of trees, and the hill people said that it was
the severity of the winds that prevented their growth. The view from
the highest point was splendid, on all sides a magnificent array of
hills and valleys. Near to us were some of the most luxuriant forests I
have ever seen, the trees of large size, and many of them with gnarled
trunks, recalling the giants of an English park. Under some of these
trees was a greensward where it would have been delightful to encamp,
had time allowed, but the difficulty of obtaining water limits one's
halting place in the hills. Everywhere on the western face of the hills
pines seemed to stop at 5800 feet; but on the east they rose to 9400!

Four villages, in the Tankhool country, apparently monopolised the bulk
of the cloth manufactures, and different tribal patterns were made to
suit the purchaser. Some of these cloths are very handsome and strong,
and calculated to wear for a long time. But the superior energy of the
Manipuris in cloth weaving, has greatly injured the trade in the hill
villages; in the same way that Manchester and Paisley have injured the
weaving trade in most of India. The Manipuris supply a fair pattern
of the different tribal cloths at a lower price, and thus manage to
undersell those of native manufacture, but the quality is not nearly
so good as in the original. The prices in the hills are decidedly
high. Every village has its blacksmith, but some devote themselves
more especially to ironwork.

We reached Chingsow on March 15th, after a march of twelve miles
that morning, chiefly made up of ascents and descents, some being so
steep that it was with difficulty that we got along. Finally, after
a direct ascent of 4980 feet, followed by a descent of 3600 feet,
we reached our encamping ground below the village which towered
above us. The next day I investigated the case, and found that, as
reported, twenty males and twenty-five females had been murdered. I
saw the fresh graves and dug up one as evidence, the bodies contained
in it were those of a mother and child, and presented a frightful
spectacle with half of the heads cut off, including the scalp, and
both in an advanced state of decomposition. It appeared that a demand
has been made by Tonghoo, the Chussad Chief, that the Chingsow Nagas
should submit to him and pay tribute, but they, of course, refused
as subjects of Manipur. They heard of nothing more till they were
attacked on the morning of the fatal day. The people had just begun
to stir, and some had lighted their fires, when suddenly they heard
the fire of musketry at the entrance of the village. They ran out
of their houses, and the Chussads fell upon them, and the massacre
commenced. The assailants were about fifty in number, and the people
in their terror were driven in all directions, and slaughtered,
some being shot and others being cut down by daos.

While this was going on, some of the men assembled with spears and
advanced on the Chussads, who then retreated firing the village,
and carrying off all the pigs, spears and iron hoes they could lay
hands on. Five Nagas of Chattik came with the Chussads and were
recognised. The village of Chingsow was most strongly situated, even
more so than Konoma, indeed, the same might be said of many villages
in that part of the country, and is entered by long winding paths
cut through the rock, by which only one man at a time could pass,
so that well defended it would be difficult to take. But the fact
was that Manipur having put a stop to blood feuds among its subjects,
had rather placed them at a disadvantage, as they were not quite as
well prepared for an attack as formerly.

After leaving Chingsow, we marched through a pretty country, part of
our way lying along a high ridge with a precipice on one side, and a
deep ravine on the other, and we finally halted in a stream far below
our last camp. Every march was a succession of steep ascents and then
equally steep descents into narrow valleys. It was most exasperating
sometimes to see how needlessly an ascent was made over a high ridge,
when a path of no greater length could have been made round it.

On the 17th, I encamped beside a river where I was visited by many
Tankhools, including children, who crowded round me fearlessly. The
people were a fine race, but almost inconceivably dirty, some of them
seemed grimed with the dirt of years. There were plenty of fine pieces
of terrace cultivation. It was very curious to find that among the
Tankhools there seemed to be a universal belief that they originally
sprung from the "Mahawullee," or sacred grove in Manipur.

On March 18th, we reached Chattik, a fine village on a ridge from
which we had a splendid view, including the Chussad villages. As
I had done all I had come for, and wished to see a new country,
I determined to march back straight to Manipur across the hills. It
was not the beaten track which lay by Kongal Tannah, and no one in
my camp knew it, but I felt sure it could be found, and old Bularam
Singh cheerfully agreed. We started on the 19th, and after passing
a village that had been plundered by the Chussads, we halted after a
sixteen-mile march, during which I was badly hurt by a bamboo which
pierced my leg. On the march we passed some terrible-looking pits,
12 feet deep, and about 3 or 3-1/2 feet wide with sharp stakes at the
bottom. They are meant to catch enemies on the war path, or deer,
and are placed in the centre of the roads and covered lightly. God
help the poor man or animal who is impaled in these horrible pits
and dies in agony, for no one else will.

On the 20th, we halted at Pong, after an interesting but tiring march,
during which we crossed the summit of a high range at 7100 feet,
covered with forest, and small and very solid bamboos. The descent
was through a noble pine forest with trees that must have been two
hundred feet high. It rained heavily, and when we halted I should
have had a miserable night of it but for the care of the Manipuris,
who built me a comfortable hut, and went away smiling and cheerful
to cook their food, though they looked half drowned. Never did I see
men work better under difficulties. Owing to them I had as nice a
resting-place as a man on the march could want, and an hour after I
had an excellent dinner.

We started early next morning, and made a gradual ascent till we
reached Hoondoong, a Tankhool village 5200 feet above the sea. After
that our road lay through a splendid fir forest, with here and there
an avenue of oaks, but from time to time we came across large tracts
of forest that had been laid low and burned. At Hoondoong I saw some
curious graves, high mounds shaped like a large H.

They were outside the village. There were also more and better-looking
women and children than are to be seen in most Tankhool villages. The
men of the Tankhool race are, in physique, quite equal to the Angamis.

In the main street of Hoondoong, there were two rows of dead trees
about twenty feet high, planted in front of the houses, and orchids
were growing on them. The people seemed happy and contented under the
rule of Manipur, and their houses were large and commodious structures.

We reached Eethum Tannah in the valley of Manipur after a terrible
descent, rendered all the more difficult by heavy rain, which made
the narrow path so slippery as to be almost impassable. During the
whole of my long march through a wild country covered with forest
I had, with the exception of the Hoolook monkey (Hylohete) seen no
wild animals, scarcely a bird!

I reached Manipur on March 22nd, having greatly enjoyed my tour in
the hills, and had hardly arrived when Thangal Major came to see me
and talk about the Chussad business. Soon after I sent to Tonghoo,
the Chussad chief, to demand his submission. He did not come himself,
but sent his brother Yankapo. The Manipuris thought this a grand
opportunity to secure hostages, and begged me to allow the arrest
of him and his followers. I severely rebuked them for making such a
treacherous proposal.

I had several interviews with the young chief and his followers who
spoke Manipuri fluently, and admitted that they were subjects of
the Maharajah. This visit eventually led to a better understanding
with the Chussads, and to the submission of Tonghoo himself, who
subsequently became a peaceable subject. For the present, however,
I had to exact reparation for the attack on Chingsow, and for some
months the affair cost me much anxiety.


    Saving a criminal from execution--Konoma men visit me--A terrible
    earthquake--Destruction wrought in the capital--Illness of the
    Maharajah--Question as to the succession--Arrival of the Queen's
    warrant--Reception by Maharajah--The Burmese question.

About this time I heard one morning that a man had been convicted
in concert with a woman of committing a grave offence, and that the
woman had, according to custom, been sentenced to be exposed in every
bazaar in the country, in the way already described. The man had
been sentenced to death, and ordered to Shoogoonoo for execution. As
the offence was not one which our courts would punish with death, I
sent a friendly remonstrance to the Maharajah, and requested that he
might be produced before me, that I might satisfy myself that he was
uninjured. The Maharajah at once consented, and in a few days the man
was brought before me safe and sound, and after having been exposed as
a criminal in several bazaars, he was sentenced with my approval to
a fitting term of imprisonment. I also asked the minister in future,
to let me know for certain when a sentence of death was passed, that I
might advise them, without appearing to the outer world to interfere,
in case they inadvertently condemned a man to capital punishment,
for a crime which our laws would not approve of being visited so
severely. Realising that my object was to save them from discredit,
they at once consented, and I hinted that I would never sanction the
penalty of death for cow-killing.

As I have stated, it had been almost always the custom to refer death
sentences to me. Often and often when I made a remonstrance to the
ministers about any contemplated action of which I disapproved, I was
told that I misapprehended the state of things, and that nothing of
the kind was intended. Of course, I let them down easily, and appeared
satisfied with their assurances. However, neither party was deceived,
they accepted my strong hint in a friendly spirit, and knew well that
I took their denial as a mere matter of form. The result was what I
cared for, and it was generally achieved without friction.

One of the most unpleasant parts of my duty was the perpetual necessity
of saying "No" to the ministers. My great object was to be continually
building up our prestige. Colonel McCulloch had said to me, "Never
make any concession to the Manipuris without an equivalent," and it is
inconceivable how many times in our daily intercourse I had to refuse
little apparently insignificant, but really insidious requests. The
struggle on behalf of native British subjects was long kept up, but
in the end I gained my point, and their rights and privileges were
fully recognised.

Early in June, some men of the Merema clan of Konoma who were
fugitives in a very wild part of the hills of Manipur bordering
on the Naga Hills, came to me, making a piteous appeal for mercy,
saying they would have nothing to do with the Naga Hills officials,
but came to me as their old friend and master in the days when I was at
Samagudting. As they came in trusting to my honour, I would not have
them arrested, but sent them away, telling them that nothing but good
and loyal conduct on their part could win my esteem, and that they
must make their submission and deliver up Mr. Damant's murderers to
the Political Officer in the Naga Hills, before I consented to deal
with them. I also gave orders to the Manipuri troops on the frontier,
to act with the utmost vigour against all Konoma men found within
the territory of Manipur.

Soon after some Lushais visited me, and we settled up a long-standing
dispute between them and Manipur.

The Konoma men continued to give much trouble, and to keep some check
on them, I refused at last to allow any to enter Manipur, except by
the Mao Tannah, and furnished with a pass from the Political Officer,
Colonel Michell. I also arrested one of the supposed murderers,
but the evidence against him was not considered quite satisfactory.

On the morning of June 30th, at 4.45, when we were at Kang-joop-kool
there was a violent earthquake, the oscillations continuing with great
force from north to south, and apparently in a less degree from east to
west for some minutes. Plaster was shaken from the walls, and crockery
and bottles thrown down, and furniture upset. Locked doors were flung
open and the whole house, built of wood and bamboo, shaken as by a
giant hand. Two Naga girls sleeping in my children's room next to the
one my wife and I occupied, sprang up and ran outside, my two boys,
not realising what was up, seemed to think it a good joke. We all got
up and hurried on our things to be ready for an emergency, but I soon
saw that all present danger was over. At 8.50 A.M., there was another
sharp shock, and again about 2 P.M., besides several slighter ones.

In the valley, and especially at the capital, the shocks were of the
utmost violence and the earthquake said to be the worst known with the
exception of the terrible one of January 1869. Many houses built of
wood and bamboo were levelled with the ground, the ruins at Langthabal
greatly injured, and a peepul tree growing over a picturesque old
temple torn off. The old Residency was greatly injured, part being
thrown down, and the fireplace and chimney shaken into fragments,
but still, strange to say, standing. Some houses in the Residency
compound were rendered useless. The great brick bridge on the Cachar
road was cracked and much damage done. The earth opened in several
places. The new Residency, which was nearly finished, and was built
in the old English half-timbered style, was intact.

During the next few days several more shocks occurred, causing much
alarm among the people, who predicted something still worse. The
earthquake was followed by the severest outbreak of cholera that I had
witnessed since a dreadful epidemic in Assam in 1860. There were many
deaths in the palace, and public business was at a standstill. I was
unable to lay any question before the Durbar, as half the officials
were performing the funeral ceremonies of relations. The great bazaar
was closed at sunset, and even then many of the sellers went home
to find their children dead or dying. Everywhere on the banks of
the rivers, and streams, people might be seen performing the funeral
obsequies of relations and lamenting the dead. Amid this trouble, the
attitude of all classes was such as to excite admiration, there were no
cases of sick being deserted and every one appeared calm and collected.

Later on, the cholera attacked my village of Kang-joop-kool, and ten
per cent. of the population died.

Early in the autumn, the Maharajah was taken ill with an abscess
behind the ear, and great apprehensions were entertained for his
life. The whole capital was for weeks in a state of alarm, fearing a
struggle for the throne in case of his death. The four eldest sons,
and also some members of the family of the late Rajah Nur Singh,
had their followers armed so as to be ready to assert their several
claims immediately the Maharajah died, the former were constantly in
attendance on their father night and day. The Maharajah was himself
very anxious about the conduct of his younger sons. As suffocation
might any moment have terminated the invalid's life, I made all
necessary plans, with a view to acting promptly, if required, and,
in conjunction with Thangal Major, arranged so as to secure the
guns and bring them over to the Residency the moment that he died. I
also desired the Jubraj (heir apparent) to come over to me at once,
in the event of the death of his father, that I might instantly
proclaim him and give him my support. I had a most grateful message
from the Maharajah in reply, as also from the Jubraj, who promised
to abide entirely by my instructions. However, the abscess burst,
and the Maharajah recovered, and though a shot imprudently fired
one evening led to a panic when the bazaar was deserted, things soon
settled down again.

As soon as the Maharajah was again able to transact business, he
begged me to write to the Government of India and request that the
Jubraj should be acknowledged by them as his successor. I did so, at
the same time strongly urging that the guarantee should be extended to
the Jubraj's children, so as to preclude the possibility of a disputed
succession on his death. The Jubraj earnestly supported this request,
but the Maharajah preferred adhering to the old Manipuri custom,
which really seemed made to encourage strife. If, for instance, a man
had ten sons, they all succeeded one after the other, passing over
the children of the elder ones, but when the last one died, then his
children succeeded as children of the last Rajah, to the exclusion of
all the elder brothers' children. All the same, if these could make
good their claim by force of arms, they were cheerfully accepted by
the people who were ready to take any scion of Royalty.

The consequence had always been in former days that to prevent
troublesome claims, a man, on ascending the throne, immediately made
every effort to murder all possible competitors. It is obvious that
such a cumbersome system was undesirable, and I held that having once
interfered we ought to set things on a proper and sensible basis, and
that there was no middle course between this and leaving the people to
themselves. Thangal Major, who always greatly dreaded the violent and
unscrupulous disposition of Kotwal Koireng (afterwards Senaputtee),
agreed with me. The Maharajah, however, with a father's tenderness
for his sons, would not advocate my proposal, but still, would have
gladly accepted it. The Government of India judged differently,
and only sanctioned my proposal so far as to allow me to say that
they would guarantee the Jubraj's succession, and maintain him on
his throne. This decision gave great satisfaction.

This year was unpleasantly distinguished by a great deficiency of rain
in the valley, and a corresponding superfluity, though at irregular
intervals, in the hills. For a long time there were apprehensions
of scarcity, while in the hills the rainfall was so heavy that the
Laimetak bridge was washed away and the river rose six feet above its
banks. On one side, a large portion of its pebbly bed was hollowed
out, and much widened, and 80 feet width of solid boulders carried
away. The Eerung rose about 40 feet, and portions of the hill road
were cut away, but the want of steady rain was felt.

By the end of September, the Maharajah was able to transact business,
though, as he was not well enough to visit me, I visited him, that
I might congratulate him on his recovery, and present him with Her
Majesty's warrant, appointing him a Knight Commander of the Star of
India. The papers bearing the Queen's signature were received with a
salute of thirty-one guns, and the Maharajah rose to take it from my
hand, and at once placed it on his forehead, making an obeisance. I
then made a speech to all assembled, expressing my satisfaction at
the Maharajah's recovery, and the gratification it gave me to be the
means of conveying the warrant to him.

Nothing of great importance now occurred, but I was constantly
occupied by the troubled state of the eastern frontier of Manipur
where Sumjok (Thoungdoot) continued to intrigue with the Chussad and
Choomyang Kukis, who were a ceaseless trouble to the Tankhool Nagas,
about Chattik. These intrigues were conducted with a view to gaining
over the latter as subjects. The chief difficulty of Manipur was,
that the boundary had never been properly defined, so neither party
had a good case against the other. Manipur was in possession, but
otherwise everything was unsatisfactory, our failure to settle the
Kongal case having encouraged the Burmese authorities to resistance.


    March to Mao and improvement of the road--Lieutenant
    Raban--Constant troubles with Burmah--Visit to Mr. Elliott
    at Kohima--A tiger hunt made easy--A perilous adventure--Rose
    bushes--Brutal conduct of Prince Koireng--We leave Manipur for

In November, I marched to Mao on the Naga Hills frontier, and arranged
for the improvement of some of the halting places on the way. I also
asked Sir Steuart Bayley, the Chief Commissioner, to allow Lieutenant
Raban, R.E., to visit Manipur, with a view to laying out the line
of a cart road from the Manipur valley to Mao. This arrangement he
sanctioned, and Lieutenant Raban arrived in Manipur on December 30th,
1880. The line from Sengmai was bad throughout, and an exceedingly
difficult one in many places. Thangal Major accompanied us, and
I had induced the Maharajah to open out a narrow road, on being
supplied with the necessary tools. We carefully examined the whole
of the road in detail, and, after deciding on the line to adopt,
cut the trace. It was a matter requiring great skill and patience,
both of which Lieutenant Raban had. He was very ably seconded by the
Manipuris, whose keen intelligence made them good auxiliaries. Often
the line had to be cut along the face of a cliff, but fortunately the
rock was soft, and the work was accomplished without accident. The
way we turned the head of the Mao river, the descent to and ascent
from which I had so often, so painfully accomplished, was a great
success, and did not materially increase the distance, as we saved
it by striking the main path at different points. [32]

In the village of Mukhel near which we passed, we saw a pear tree
three or four hundred years old, and greatly venerated by the
villagers. In the same village I saw a Naga cut another man's hair
with a dao (sword). The operation was performed most dexterously
and neatly, by holding the dao under the hair, and then slightly
tapping the latter with a small piece of wood. The result was that
the hair-cutting was as neatly accomplished as it could have been
by the best London hair-dresser. I asked a fine young Naga why all
his tribe wore a single long tuft of hair at the back? He at once
replied, "To make the girls admire me," and added that without it,
he should be laughed at. This is the only explanation I ever had
of the curious fact that most of the Naga tribes wear a long tuft
behind, like Hindoos. By the third week in January we had laid out
the line of road. Thangal Major approved of most of it, but said,
regarding the piece between Sengmai and Kaithemahee, "I will cut it
as I promised, but who will ever use it?" I differed from him, as
nothing could exceed the tortuous and hilly nature of the old road,
running as it did across one succession of spurs and deep ravines,
one of the most heart-breaking paths I ever went along. Within a
month of its completion the old path was entirely deserted.

My health was beginning to break down entirely. I had been very ill
during and immediately after the Naga Hills Expedition, and during
the last march I was laid up one or two days. My wife had long been
a sufferer, but she did not like to leave me, and I did not like
to leave Manipur while the frontier was disturbed and the Kongal
case unsettled. However, now I felt that we both must have change,
and our children also were of an age to go home.

On my return from looking after the road, fresh complications awaited
me. News came from Chattik of the Sumjok (Thoungdoot) authorities
having again caused dissension and joined with another village in
firing on a Manipuri piquet. This had led to reprisals on the part
of the Manipuris, who attacked and drove out the enemy. All this was
done without our relations with Sumjok being anything but strained,
the act of hostility being unauthorised. The ill-defined nature of
the frontier was such, that neither party could be said to be in the
right or wrong. The Kuki, Chussad, and other frontier villages took
advantage of the state of things to plunder the Tankhools, and the
latter in their turn appealed to Manipur.

I felt that, until something was done to set things on a right
footing, I could not leave. Sir Steuart Bayley was about this time
appointed to Hyderabad, which added to my difficulties, as he was
intimately acquainted with the situation, and of course a change in
the administration necessarily means delay. The Burmese authorities,
knowing what I now do, were always, as I then believed, favourably
inclined to us; the ill-feeling was entirely on the part of Sumjok,
whose Tsawbwa had influence at Mandalay, and was able to prevent
justice being done in the case in which he was so discreditably
concerned. He also took advantage of this influence to carry on the
guerilla warfare he did through the Chussads, who disliked Manipur,
on account of some treacherous behaviour on her part in former years.

As the spring advanced, of course the danger of hostilities became
less. Cæsar said, "Omnia bella hieme requiescunt." The reverse holds
good in India, and on the eastern frontier the fiercest tribes keep
quiet in the rainy season. [33]

In March, I heard that Mr. (now Sir Charles) Elliott, the new Chief
Commissioner, was about to visit Kohima, where he wished to meet
me, and I set off on my way there, arriving on the 19th, being
well received all along the road by the people of the different
villages. I had a long talk with the Chief Commissioner about the
affairs of Manipur, and the necessity for a survey and delimitation of
the boundary between it and Burmah during the ensuing cold weather,
and then returned. The new road had been opened out to such a width,
except here and there--I was able to ride the whole distance.

The weather was lovely, and the rhododendrons near Mao, and the wild
pears, azaleas, and many other flowering trees along my route, made
the long journey a most pleasant one. Let me say here, while on the
subject of the road, that, notwithstanding all the criticisms passed
on it and predictions of its uselessness, it proved of immense,
nay, incalculable value during the Burmese War of 1885-86, and the
sad troubles of 1891. It was throughout of an easy gradient, never
exceeding one in twenty, and, had a bullock train been established,
might have been used from an early date for conveying produce from
Manipur to the stations of Kohima.

This was my last visit to Kohima, a place fraught with so deep an
interest to me, and so many pleasant and painful associations. I shall
always regret that the site chosen by myself and Major Williamson
was not adopted for the new cantonment, which, with the larger
space available, would have admitted of a greater development than
is possible under present circumstances. Still the place will always
possess an undying interest for me, filled as it is with the memory
of events bearing on my work from the early triumphs of old Ghumbeer
Singh, and my predecessor, Lieut. Gordon, to the day when I marched in
at the head of the relieving party, and heard the fair-haired English
child told by her mother that at last she could have water to drink!

On my return to Manipur, I intended to have started for England,
and our passages were taken by a steamer leaving in April. But the
unsettled state of the Burmese frontier forced me to stay till the
rains had set in in the hills. During this spring we had a visitor,
Mr. Hume, C.B., the well-known ornithologist, who spent three months
in studying the birds of Manipur, with the result, I believe, that
very few new species were found.

In April, we had a little excitement to vary the monotony of life,
though to me my work was of such never-ending interest, that I needed
nothing of the kind. On April 13th, the Maharajah sent to tell me
that a tiger had been surrounded, and asked me to go out and help
to shoot it. The place was about fourteen miles from the capital,
and we started early and rode off to a spot a few miles from Thobal.

I took my sister and the two boys with me, my wife staying with
the baby. The tiger had, according to Manipuri custom, been first
enclosed by a long net, about eight feet high, and outside this a
bamboo palisading had been erected, on which the platforms were built
for the spectators. The space enclosed was eighty to a hundred yards
in diameter, and contained grass and scrub jungle, and a log of wood
tied to strong ropes was arranged, so that it might be dragged up and
down to drive the tiger out of the covert. As soon as we were all in
our places this rope was vigorously pulled, with the result that a
tigress, followed by two cubs, sprang out with a loud roar. The Jubraj
was present, and took command of the proceedings, courteously asking
me from time to time what I wished done. After the first charge, the
tiger was not very lively, and this being the case, several Manipuris,
contrary to orders, jumped down into the arena with long and heavy
spears in the right hand, and a small forked stick in the left. With
the latter they held up a portion of the net, which had been allowed
to fall on the ground to shield their faces, if necessary, and with
the right hand poised the spear, shouting to irritate the tiger,
whom others in the stockade tried to drive out by throwing stones.

Roused by this, the infuriated brute charged in earnest at one of the
men on foot, the latter awaited her with the utmost coolness, and, as
she approached, struck her with the spear; the tiger, however, made
good her charge, but the net stopped her, and she rolled over, and
when released, she retreated. This was repeated, both by the tigress
and the cubs, and after a shot or two, the men on foot attacked them
with spears and finished them off.

The whole scene was a very exciting one and a very fine display of
courage and coolness on the part of the Manipuris.

We did not reach home till 10 P.M., but the weather was splendid,
not unbearably hot as it would have been in India so late in the
season. The day was a memorable one to the boys, and I well remember
the astonishment they caused when, stopping at Shillong on their way
home, some one jokingly said, "And how many tigers have you shot?" The
boys gravely replied "Three."

The day was very nearly proving the last to some of us. The two
boys were being carried in a litter, and my sister and I riding on
ponies. On leaving the village where we had halted, we were riding
down a narrow path with only room for one to pass at a time, when,
suddenly, I heard a shout behind me and saw an elephant following
me at a great pace, the mahout (driver) vainly endeavoured to stop
him, he had been frightened by the tiger's dead body and was quite
unmanageable. I called to my sister, who was in front, to ride at
full speed, and I followed as quickly as her pony would allow. It
was a race for life, as, had the elephant gained on us, I, at least,
must have been crushed. Luckily, the mahout recovered his control,
and managed to slacken the pace.

On our way home, we passed bushes of wild roses twenty feet in diameter
and quite impenetrable.

Finally, the tiger was taken to the Maharajah, who had not been well
enough to come, and, next morning, was brought to us and skinned.

I have already alluded to the turbulent character of Kotwal Koireng,
the Maharajah's fourth son, and now, again, I was to have fresh
evidence of it. Early in May, I heard of his having three men so
severely beaten that one had died, and two were dangerously ill. On
investigation, I found that the men had been tied up and beaten on
the back, it was said, for two hours and slapped on the face at the
same time. I questioned the ministers, and practically there was no
defence, and, as I heard that the Maharajah was enquiring into the
matter, I said no more, beyond a warning that a case of murder must
not be passed over.

The Maharajah handed over the case to the Cherap Court [34] for trial,
and, as might be expected, they acquitted Kotwal of the charge of
causing death and found him guilty of injuring the other two. The
Maharajah sentenced him to banishment for a year to the island of
Thanga, in the Logtak Lake, and temporary degradation of caste. As
a sentence of two years' imprisonment had been passed some years
previously in our own territory, for death caused under similar
circumstances, the sentence was not so lenient as might have been
expected. I reported the matter to the Government of India, expressing
my approval of the sentence, under the circumstances, and my verdict
was ratified. I intimated to the Durbar that, should such a thing
occur again, I should insist on his permanent banishment from Manipur.

This I was prepared to carry out myself if necessary. I should
have liked on this occasion to have procured his banishment, but,
in dealing with Native States that in these matters are practically
independent, it is not always well to press matters too far. In old
days, under our early political agents, such an offence would have
passed unnoticed. It was a point gained to have the case investigated
and adjudicated on by the Maharajah, and anything approaching to an
adequate sentence inflicted. Since the troubles in Manipur, I have
seen it stated that the sentence was a nominal one; that it certainly
was not, the prince was banished to Thanga, and if he surreptitiously
appeared at the capital, he did not appear in public, and when I left
Manipur on long leave, early in 1882, was still in banishment.

On May 31st, we all left Manipur on our way to England, and my children
bade adieu to a most happy home. It was a sad parting for most of us,
and though my wife's health and mine urgently required change, we left
the valley with regret, and felt deep sorrow as we took our last look
of it from the adjacent range of hills. We reached Cachar on June 8th,
having halted as much as possible on high ground. The rivers were in
flood, and sometimes there was a little difficulty in crossing. We left
for Shillong on June 9th, and arrived there on the 15th, leaving again
on the 21st for Bombay, from which, on July 5th, we sailed for England.

While at Shillong we were the guests of the Chief Commissioner,
so that I had an ample opportunity of talking over affairs with him,
and it was finally settled that I was to take Shillong on my way back,
and see Mr. Elliott before leaving, to settle the knotty question of
the boundary between Manipur and Burmah on the spot, in accordance
with orders lately received from the Government of India.


    Return to Manipur--Revolution in my absence--Arrangements for
    boundary--Survey and settlement--Start for Kongal--Burmah will not
    act--We settle boundary--Report to Government--Return to England.

I was really not fit to undertake any work in India till my health
was re-established, but could not bear to leave the interests of
Manipur in other hands until the boundary was settled. I felt that
I alone had the threads of the whole affair in my hands, and that I
could not honourably leave my post till I had seen Manipur out of the
difficulty. Thus it came that I left England again on September 7th,
and my devoted wife, far less fit than I was for the trials of the
long journey, accompanied me, as she would not leave me alone.

We reached Shillong on October 18th, 1881, and, after arranging
all matters connected with the boundary settlement with the Chief
Commissioner, started for Cachar, and reached that place on October
25th, leaving again for Manipur next day, and marching to Jeree Ghât,
where we were met by Thangal Major. We made the usual marches, and
reached Manipur on November 4th, the Jubraj coming out with a large
retinue to meet me at Phoiching, eight miles from the capital.

While I was away in the month of June, an attempt at a revolution
had occurred, the standard of revolt having been raised by a man
named Eerengha, an unknown individual, but claiming to be of Royal
lineage; such revolutions were of common occurrence in former days. In
Colonel McCulloch's time there were eighteen. In this case there was no
result, except that Eerengha and seventeen followers were captured and
executed. The treatment was undoubtedly severe, but not necessarily
too much so, as too great leniency might have led to a repetition,
and much consequent suffering and bloodshed.

I had an interview with the Maharajah, who was ill when I arrived,
as soon as he was well enough; and set to work to make preparations
for our march to the Burmese frontier. I intimated my desire to the
Maharajah that Bularam Singh, and not Thangal Major, should accompany
me, as I wished the last to stay at the capital, and also not to let
him appear to be absolutely indispensable.

I had been appointed Commissioner for settling the boundary with
plenipotentiary powers, and Mr. R. Phayre, C.S., who was in the
Burmese commission, and a good Burmese scholar, was appointed as my
assistant. There was also a survey party under my old friend Colonel
Badgley, and Mr. Ogle, while Lieutenant (now Major, D.S.O.) Dun, [35]
came on behalf of the Intelligence Department. Mr. Oldham represented
the Geological Survey. Dr. Watt was naturalist and medical officer,
while Captain Angelo, with two hundred men of the 12th Khelat-i-Ghilzie
Regiment, commanded my escort. Mr. Phayre arrived first, and I sent him
off to Tamu to try and smooth over matters with the Burmese authorities
there. Then my old friend Dun came, soon followed by Dr. Watt, then the
survey party arrived, and Captain Angelo with my escort, and last of
all Mr. Oldham. Never had Manipur seen so many European officers. Some
time was required for necessary triangulations before we could start.

On November 30th, just as the sun was rising, Thangal Major came to
see me, and told me that the Maharajah was very ill and suffering
great pain. While talking, two guns were fired from the palace, when
the old man turned pale, evidently thinking that the Maharajah was
dead. A few minutes after a messenger came to inform us that the guns
merely announced a domestic event, but Thangal Major was nervous and
soon took leave, running away to the palace at a pace that did credit
to his sixty-four years.

On December 1st, Mr. Phayre returned from Tamu, having had a friendly
but unsatisfactory interview with the Phoongyee. The Pagan Woon had
been expected but did not arrive, and the Phoongyee had no authority
to act.

Before starting, the Maharajah visited me in state, and I introduced
all the officers of the party to him. He looked pale and haggard after
his illness, but seemed in good spirits. At last, on December 16th,
we made a move and marched to Thobal-Yaira-pok, and on the following
day to Ingorok, at the foot of the hills. My wife accompanied us, as
I was exceedingly anxious to show the Burmese my peaceful intentions,
and felt sure that the presence of a lady would be a better proof of
my bona fides than any other I could offer. I heard before leaving
the frontier, that had it not been for this, a rupture would have
been certain while our relations were in a state of great tension,
but the fact of my wife being there, convinced the authorities in
the Kubo valley, that I had no idea of hostile action.

I have already described the route to Kongal, and my escort were much
tried by the severity of the marches over such a rough country. The men
had only lately returned from Afghanistan, and were in fine condition,
but they said that the country between Kandahar and Kabul, was nothing
to that between Ingorok and Kongal Tannah. Every day many men were
footsore, and reached camp, hours after me and my Manipuris. There
can be no doubt that for some reason or other the Eastern hills and
jungles are far more trying than those of the North-West frontier.

However, at last we arrived safely at Kongal, and though the Burmese
and Sumjok officials, to whom I had written polite letters asking
them to meet me, did not turn up, the survey work went on merrily.

On the 18th, Colonel Badgley, who had come by an independent route
through the hills, joined my camp, and after a conference we came to
the conclusion that at any rate I was right in claiming the country
occupied by the Chussads and Choomyangs, as Manipuri territory. This
was very satisfactory, as the day before I had been much annoyed by the
Sumjok authorities having prevented some of the former fears coming
to pay their respects to me. The attitude of the Sumjok people was
passively hostile, they refused to join in making out the boundary,
and threw every obstacle in the way of my doing so, but they were
evidently not inclined to be the first to shed blood.

On December 19th, I sent out two unarmed parties to clear some
ground for survey marks, but one of them was stopped by an armed
party of Sumjok men. On hearing this the next day I ordered the
Manipuri subadar in charge, to halt where he was, and I wrote to
the Pagan Woon to complain, and to ask him to order the Tsawbwa to
interfere. On the 21st, I heard that another party had been stopped,
and I asked with regard to them as I had done with the first. That
afternoon I received a civil letter from the Pagan Woon brought by
a Bo (captain), saying that he had orders to conduct negotiations
at Tamu, and was not authorised to come to Kongal Tannah. I wrote a
conciliatory reply urging him to visit us.

On the 22nd of December, I heard that my two parties had been
forcibly driven out by large bodies of armed men. I therefore called
in some Manipuri detachments lest there should be a collision, as
the atmosphere was getting very warlike, and only required a spark
to produce a conflagration. All the population of the Kubo valley
were said to be arming. The Burmese we talked to frankly admitted
if there was a rupture the fault would lie with Mandalay, for not
sending a proper representative to meet me, in accordance with the
request of the Government of India, conveyed months before.

Certainly one false move on our part would have provoked a
rupture. However, everything comes to him who waits. We made every
effort to keep the peace, and while the authorities were opposing
us we kept up a friendly intercourse with all the individual Burmese
and Shans near us, and I carried on negotiation with the Kukis. The
Chussads were inclined to be friendly, but the Choomyangs were still
under the influence of Sumjok. Fortunately Colonel Badgley found that
he could dispense with the two points from whence our men had been
driven, and we discovered a little stream that formed an admirable
boundary line entirely in accordance with the terms laid down in
Pemberton's definition of the boundary.

Further north, I knew the country well myself, and we had now no
difficulty in laying down a definite boundary line about which there
could be no doubt. This was done, and pillars were erected, and the
line marked on the map. Manipur might, according to Pemberton's
statement, have claimed a good deal of territory occupied by
Burmese subjects, but this I refused to allow, as it would have been
interfering with the "status quo," which I desired to preserve. I
called all the Sumjok people I could to witness what I had done,
and they all agreed that what I said was fair, and that the fault,
if any, lay with the Burmese authorities, for not taking part in
the arrangement. This was willing testimony, as none of the people
need have come near me. Even Tamoo, the chief of Old Sumjok, or Taap,
as the Manipuris call it, visited me, and expressed his satisfaction
with what had been done. On Christmas Day, 1881, my wife and I had a
party of seven at our table, an unprecedented sight, and probably the
last time that nine Europeans will ever assemble at Kongal Tannah. My
friend Dun, who had been badly wounded by a pangee (bamboo stake)
had to be carried in.

Before leaving Kongal, I went round all the pillars that had been
erected, and saw that they were intact. Mr. Ogle's party went off to
the north, escorted through the village of Choomyang by Lieutenant
Dun. These people being under the influence of Sumjok, it was a
very delicate business getting through their village without a
rupture. This affair Dun managed with great tact. We left Kongal
on our homeward journey on the 6th of January, but previous to
starting I brought my long-standing negotiations with the Chussads
to a successful conclusion. They agreed to negotiate with me but not
with the Manipuris, and to abide by my decision entirely.

I sent a message to the Choomyangs and other Kukis who had
given trouble, telling them that they were undoubtedly within
Manipur, and that I gave them forty-two days in which to submit,
or clear out, adding, that if at the end of that time they gave any
trouble, they would be treated as rebels and attacked without more
ceremony. Eventually they submitted and became peaceful subjects
of Manipur. As to the great question--that of the boundary--I may
here add that it received the sanction of the Government of India,
and proved a thorough success. Though not noticing it officially,
the Burmese practically acknowledged it, and it remained intact,
till the Kubo valley became a British possession in December 1885.

My wife and I reached Manipur on the 9th of January, having made the
last two marches in one, and next day were joined by Mr. Phayre, who
had come, viâ Tamu. He gave it as his opinion, that the Pagan Woon
was greatly disappointed at having had no authority from Mandalay to
negotiate with me, and described him as a sensible well-disposed man.

I had now to write my report of my mission, and having finished this,
and handed over charge to my successor, I left Manipur with my wife
on the 29th of January, reaching Cachar, where we met Mr. Elliott,
the Chief Commissioner, on 5th of February. We left that evening by
boat, and travelling with the utmost speed possible, with such means
as we possessed, reached Naraingunge, near Dacca, and after waiting
two days for a steamer went to Calcutta, viâ Goalundo, and thence to
Bombay and England, where we arrived in March, both of us very much
in need of a prolonged rest.


    Return to India--Visit Shillong--Manipur again--Cordial
    reception--Trouble with Thangal Major--New arts introduced.

I left for India again in August 1884. I had had but a sad period
of sick leave, as my wife never recovered from her fatigue and
illness, and died in 1883. I was obliged to prolong my leave to make
arrangements for my children.

I took over charge of the Manipur Agency on the 1st October, 1884,
at Shillong, and stayed a few days with the Chief Commissioner. I
left again on 8th October and reached Cachar on the 15th, having
made every effort to push on, and given my boatmen double pay for
doing so. On my way to Cachar, I met people who complained to me of
the way they had been treated in Manipur while I was away, and of the
arrogance displayed by old Thangal Major, who, during my absence, had
become almost despotic. Thangal was an excellent man when kept well
in hand, but he required to be managed with great firmness. During
the Maharajah's increasing illness, a good opportunity was given to
a strong man to come to the front, and Thangal took advantage of
it. On 20th October, I reached Jeeree Ghât, and was received with
great effusion by the Minister Bularam Singh. At Kala Naga on the
22nd, I heard definite complaints against Thangal, a sure proof that
something very bad was going on, as no one would have ventured to
complain without grave provocation. Bularam Singh was Thangal's rival,
so I asked him nothing, knowing well that I should hear as much as I
wanted at Manipur. At Noongha, next day, there were fresh complaints,
the charge being, that men told off to work on the roads were being
used by Thangal to carry merchandize for himself.

At Leelanong, overlooking the beautiful Kowpoom valley, some Nagas
(Koupooees) brought me a man of their tribe who had been carried off
as a boy by the Lushais, and only lately redeemed. He was still in
Lushai costume, and though shorter and fairer, he greatly resembled
one of that tribe, showing what an influence dress has.

On 28th October, I arrived at Bissenpore, intending to march to the
capital next day, but was delayed by an unpleasant circumstance. It
was, as already mentioned, the custom for the Maharajah to meet me
at the entrance to the capital on my arrival, but knowing that he was
not well, I asked the minister to write and say that I did not expect
him to do so, but I would invite the Jubraj to meet me at Phoiching,
half-way between the capital and Bissenpore instead. I also wrote the
same to my head clerk, Baboo Rusni Lall Coondoo, asking him to notify
my wishes to the Durbar, as I felt it extremely likely that were
Bularam Singh alone to write, old Thangal might intrigue and throw
obstacles in the way to discredit him with me and the Durbar. The
minister's letters were not answered, but I heard from Rusni Lall
Coondoo, that he asked to see the Jubraj who had already heard from
Bularam Singh, but he was told that he was ill. After a great deal of
delay an interview was accorded, and though he appeared quite well,
the Jubraj said he was too ill to come, but would send a younger
brother. Feeling sure that there was nothing to prevent his coming,
I sent a message of sympathy, also to say, that I would wait at
Bissenpore till he recovered. I knew perfectly well that all this
story had emanated from Thangal Major's brain, and that I was to be
subjected to inconvenience and want of courtesy, in order to snub his
colleague. He had suffered from a sore foot which prevented his coming
to Jeeree Ghât to meet me and he could not forgive Bularam Singh for
having taken his place. The Jubraj ought to have known better, but
among natives any slight offered to a superior is an enhancement to
one's own dignity, so from this point of view he would gain in his
own estimation.

On the morning of October 30th, as soon as I was dressed, I saw
Thangal Major outside my hut. I heard afterwards that, directly my
decision had been communicated to the Durbar, he had volunteered
to come out, and as he said, bring me in. When we had had a little
friendly conversation, he with his usual bluntness, which I did
not object to, asked me to go in, saying that the Wankai Rakpa [36]
would meet me, the Jubraj being ill. I firmly declined, saying that I
would wait till he recovered. He then assured me that the real cause
was the critical state of the Jubraj's wife. I doubted the truth,
but a lady being in the case, courtesy and good feeling demanded
that I should accept the statement as an excuse, and I therefore
said I would leave, if the Wankai Rakpa and another prince met me
on behalf of the Jubraj. This was at once agreed to, and I therefore
marched off, being met in great state by the two princes, who rode by
my side all the way. As I neared the capital, a vast crowd came out
to meet me, the numbers increasing at every step, and I was received
with every demonstration of respect and sympathy, many of those who
knew my wife showing a delicacy of feeling that greatly moved me. Old
Thangal, when I met him, spoke very kindly on the subject, saying,
"It is sad to see you return alone, and we know what it must be to
you." Numberless were the enquiries by name after all the children. At
last I reached the Residency, where my old attendants were ready
to do all they could for me. It was something like home, old books,
furniture, children's toys, still here and there, and in a corner of
the verandah my little girl's litter, in which she was carried out
morning and evening, but the faces that make home were away.

I mention the foregoing incident regarding the Jubraj, as it is a good
example of the small difficulties connected with etiquette, that one
has to contend with in a place like Manipur. The question is far more
important than it seems. Any relaxation in a trifling matter like this,
seems to Asiatics a sign that you are disposed to relax your vigilance
in graver questions. Indeed, to a native chief, etiquette itself is a
very grave matter, and many terrible quarrels have arisen from it. I
well remember a slight being offered to the Viceroy, because a Rajah
fancied he had not received all the honours due to him.

I found a crop of small difficulties awaiting me in Manipur, the
Durbar, and especially old Thangal, had got out of hand, and had
to be pulled up a little. There were numberless complaints from
British subjects of petty oppression which had to be listened to,
and I felt it rather hard having this unpleasant duty to perform
just after my return; but it was duty, and had to be done, and by
dint of firmness, combined with courtesy, I soon set things right,
but Thangal Major rather resented the steady pressure which I found
it necessary to apply.

Before leaving Manipur in 1881, I had sent off some Manipuris to
Cawnpore to learn carpet making and leather work. When I returned,
these men had long been making use of their knowledge in Manipur,
and I found that first-rate cotton carpets and boots, shoes and
saddles of English patterns, had been manufactured for the Maharajah,
the workmanship being in all cases creditable, and in that of the
carpets most excellent.

I tried to send men to Bombay to learn to make art pottery, and the
Maharajah was at one time anxious about it, but the correspondence
with the School of Art was conducted in so leisurely a manner on
their side, extending over nearly a year, that he got tired of it,
and declined to send the men. I had a little pottery made in Manipur,
which I brought home with me, the only existing specimens of an art
that died out in its infancy.

I had several pieces of silver work made to try the mettle of the
Manipuri silversmiths, one bowl, a most perfect copy of a Burmese
bowl with figures on it in high relief, was beautifully executed,
and still excites the admiration of all who see it.

The Mussulman population of Manipur, was descended from early
immigrants from India, Sylhet, and Cachar, who had married Manipuri
wives; they numbered about 5000, and were rather kept under by the
Durbar, but to nothing like the same extent that Hindoos would have
been under a Mussulman Government. Formerly, they had to prostrate
themselves before the Rajah like other subjects, but they having
represented that this was against their religion, Chandra Kirtee Singh
excused them from doing it, allowing a simple salaam instead. They,
(probably owing to their dependent position), were not such an
ill-mannered and disagreeable set as their co-religionists of Cachar,
and were generally quiet and inoffensive. The headman of the sect
received the title of Nawab from the Rajah. These men had a grievance
to bring forward when I returned, and I procured them some redress.

I visited the Maharajah in due course, and found him better than I
expected, and I took an early opportunity of announcing my return to
the Burmese authorities in the Kubo valley, receiving civil letters in
return. Unfortunately, I found that great soreness still prevailed
in Manipur on account of the non-settlement of the Kongal case,
and I was constantly on the alert lest evil results should follow,
as I always suspected old Thangal of a desire to make reprisals.

When I had a day to spare, I went to see my experimental garden and fir
wood, at Kang-joop-kool, finding everything in a flourishing state,
the wood a tangled thicket, with foxgloves and other English flowers
growing in wild profusion. One morning when walking out, I saw some
prisoners going to work, and as they passed me, one or two looked as
if they would like to speak. I accordingly passed by them again to
give them an opportunity, when a man ran up and complained that he
was imprisoned without any definite period being assigned, a common
practice in Manipur. Another man, whom he called as a witness, spoke
good Hindoostani, and on my enquiring where he learned it, he said
he was a Manipuri from Sylhet. I sent for him directly I got home,
and he came with Thangal Major, and, as he was a British subject,
and the Durbar had no right to imprison him, I sent for a smith, and
had his irons struck off in my presence. I spoke quietly, but firmly
to the Minister, but showed him plainly that I would not stand having
British subjects imprisoned except by my orders. The man's offence
was not paying a debt for which he was security, and the punishment
was just, according to the laws of Manipur, and would have been in
England before 1861.


    A friend in need--Tour round the valley--Meet the Chief
    Commissioner--March to Cachar--Tour through the Tankhool
    country--Metomie--Saramettie--Somrah--Terrace cultivators--A
    dislocation--Old quarters at Kongal Tannah--Return to the valley--A
    sad parting.

On the 26th of November, my old friend Lieutenant Dun (now Major
Dun, D.S.O.), joined me. Knowing I wanted a friend to cheer me
in my loneliness, he had very kindly accepted the permission of
his department to accompany me on a tour through the hills to the
north-east of Manipur. No European was more deservedly popular of
late years among all classes in Manipur, where he had visited me
once or twice before. I felt his kindness deeply, he was always a
charming, genial and highly intellectual companion, and many a long
and tiring march was cheered by his society. On the 2nd of December,
we started on a preliminary tour round the west and south of the
valley, visiting the Logtak lake, with its floating islands, its
island-hill of Thanga, with its orange gardens and place of exile,
and large fishing establishment. When I first arrived in Manipur,
oranges were a rarity. Now, owing to the enterprise of the Maharajah
in planting trees, they were fairly common, and here we were able
to gather them. The orange tree is capricious and all soils will not
suit it, and up to the fifth or sixth year it is always liable to be
attacked by a grub that kills it, after that it becomes hardier. I
never was very successful with orange trees, though I took great
pains with them. From the Logtak lake, we marched to a place called
Thonglel, in the hills, where we were met by all the representatives
of the Kukis in that direction, thence to a place called Koombee,
a settlement of Loees, low-caste Manipuris. Afterwards we marched to
Chairel on the main river into which all the rivers of Manipur flow
before it enters the hills to the south of the valley. After visiting
Shoogoonoo, a frontier post, we returned to the capital, on December
11th, after a very pleasant tour of one hundred and forty-six miles
in nine marching days.

We next marched up the road to the Naga Hills, meeting the Chief
Commissioner, Mr. Elliott, at Mao, and returning with him to Manipur,
where the usual visits were exchanged. After a day or two's halt,
the Chief Commissioner set out for Cachar and I accompanied him to the
frontier at Jeeree Ghât, returning to Manipur by forced marches. The
bridge over the Mukker had been broken by a fallen tree, but the river,
so formidable in the rains, was easily fordable. A short time before
reaching the summit of Kala Naga, a pretty little incident occurred,
which I have never forgotten. Some of my coolies were toiling up the
steep ascent with their loads, when two young Kukis met us with smiling
faces as if something had given them great pleasure. They immediately
made two of the men with me put down their loads, and took them up
themselves to relieve the wearied ones. On my enquiry who they were,
they said they were friends of my coolies and had come to help them. It
was one of the prettiest sights I ever saw, the pleasure the two men
seemed to derive from doing a kind act. Dun and I reached Manipur
on the 10th of January. Soon after my return, in fact before the
evening, a Lushai was brought to me who had been found in the jungle
with his hands tightly fastened together by a bar of iron fashioned
into a rude pair of handcuffs. He appeared to be mad, but harmless,
and had probably been kept in confinement by his own people and had
escaped. I had the irons taken off, and ordered him to be cared for,
but he soon ran off in the direction of his own country.

On the 21st of January, Dun and I set off on our tour through the
Tankhool country. We marched viâ Lairen and Noongsuangkong, already
described. The country had been surveyed, but the surveyors had
taken names of villages given by men from the Naga Hills district,
and they were unrecognisable to the native inhabitants. Much of my
march, after leaving Noongsuangkong, was through a new country,
and a very interesting and lovely country it was. The benefits
of being under a strong government were evident in the peace that
reigned everywhere. The Manipuri language also had spread, and in some
villages seemed to be used by every one, while in others even children
understood it. It was evidently the common commercial language.

On the 26th, we halted on the Lainer river, the large village of
Gazephimi being far above us at some miles distant. It was late in
the afternoon but Dun wanted to see all he could, and accompanied
by some hardy Manipuris started. They all returned in a suspiciously
short space of time, just at nightfall, Dun having astonished every
one by his marching powers. He described the villagers as a surly,
morose set, the description always given of them.

On January 28th we reached Jessami, a fine village of the Sozai tribe;
they much resembled the Mao people. They crowded round us and were
much pleased when we showed them our watches, and allowed them to feel
our boots and socks. Some of the houses were large and well stocked
with rice. One old man took us into his house and showed us a shield
carefully wrapped up in cloth that bore the tokens of his having slain
fifteen people. The village contained no skulls, and our friends told
us that they obeyed orders and killed no one. We enquired about the
snowy peak of Saramettie, which was visible from some point not far
distant, but the people assured us that they had never heard of it.

On the 29th, some Metomi men came in with a young man who acted
as interpreter, he having been captured, and then kept as a guest
in Manipur for some time, to learn the language, by Bularam Singh,
who was the Minister accompanying me. He seemed quite pleased to see
his old host. The Metomi people were a strange set, quite naked,
except for a cloth over the shoulders in cold weather. They are
slighter built than the Angamis and Tankhools. They could count up
to one hundred, and three of their numerals, four, six and seven,
are the same as in the Manipuri language. They wear their hair cut
across the forehead like some of the tribes in Assam. Their patterns
of weaving rather resembled those of the Abors and Kasias, but were
finer. They wore ear-rings of brass wire very cleverly made, the wire
being imported through other tribes.

On the 31st, having heard that I should be well received, Dun and
I started for Metomi, with an escort of Manipuris. We first made a
descent of 2000 feet to the Lainer, which we forded, the water being
knee deep; there were the remains of a suspension bridge for use
in the rainy season. We then ascended for about 1000 or 1500 feet,
till near the village, when I halted my men and sent on my Angami
interpreter, and one of the Metomi men, to ask that a party might
come down to welcome us, as I had reason to think that the villagers
were undecided as to what they should do, and I feared to frighten
them. After waiting a long time, we heard a war-cry, and we all
started to our feet and seized our arms, in case of an attack; the next
minute, however, there was another cry, showing that the people were
carrying loads. Soon after a long line of men appeared, each carrying
a small quantity of rice, and the heads of the village came forward,
presenting us with fowls, and heaped up the rice in front of me. We
then walked on to the village, distant about a mile and a quarter,
along an avenue of pollarded oaks, backed by fir trees. At last,
after passing a ditch and small rampart, we reached the outer gate,
then passed along a narrow path, with a precipice to our right, and a
thick thorn hedge to our left for about eighty yards, as far as the
inner gate, on entering which we found ourselves in the village. We
were then led along a series of winding streets till we came to the
highest part.

This was the most picturesque Naga village I have ever seen, and
reminded me of an old continental town, the ground it covered, being
very hilly, and the houses, constructed of timber with thatched roofs
with the eaves touching one another, built in streets. Sometimes one
side of a street was higher than the other, and the upper side had
a little vacant space railed in, in front of the houses.

The houses were more like those of the Tankhools than the Angamis,
and contained round tubs for beer cut out of a solid block of wood,
in shape like old-fashioned standard churns. The village contained
pigs and dogs, and the houses were decorated with cows' and buffaloes'
horns. We were welcomed in a friendly way, but our hosts did not
seem to like the idea of our staying the night, of which we had no
intention. Our watches and binoculars greatly interested them. We
tried in vain to induce the women to come out, the men saying they
feared lest we should seize them. This seemed very strange, as it was
the only hill village I ever saw where the women had the slightest
objection to appear. As the Manipuris always respect women, it could
not be due to their presence, even had they had experience of them,
which was not the case. On leaving the village, we passed through
a splendid grove of giant bamboos, and then turned into our old path
again. Metomi was said to contain seven hundred houses, but that seemed
to me a very low estimate. We reached our camp near Jessami at 7 P.M.,
narrowly escaping a severe scorching, as some torch-bearers who came
to meet us, set fire to the grass prematurely, and we had to run hard
to escape the flames. I wanted to make a vocabulary of the Metomi
language the next day, but the whole village had a drinking bout,
and every one was incapacitated during the rest of our stay.

We marched to a place called Lapvomai on February 3rd, and next day,
wishing to explore the country beyond, Dun and I, with a picked party
of Manipuris, crossed the ridge above the village, and descending
to the stream below, began the ascent of the great Eastern range,
encamping in a most lovely spot in a pine forest. Every one was
too tired to search for water, so the Manipuris went supperless to
bed. Dun and I had brought a supply, which we shared with our few
Naga followers, the Manipuris being prevented from doing the same,
by their caste prejudices. Early next morning we started up the hill
again, leaving the bulk of our party a mile or two in advance of our
halting place, to search for water and cook. We, with two or three
plucky Manipuris, whom hunger and thirst could not induce to leave
us, pursued our upward path. At last we came on patches of snow, and
in a hollow tree found the remains of a bear which had gone there to
die. After a toilsome ascent, often impeded by a thick undergrowth of
thorny bamboo, we, having long passed the region of fir trees, reached
the summit at 8000 feet, only to find, to our great disappointment,
a spur from the main range blocking our view. As this range might have
taken another day to surmount, and after all be only the precursor
of another, we reluctantly traced our steps backwards, and reached
our party who found water and cooked their food. We witnessed some
amusing instances of rapid eating, on the part of our hungry followers,
who had well deserved their dinner. We then descended to the stream,
and encamped on its banks after being on foot for eleven hours.

Next day, we marched to our old encampment at Lapvomai. On February
7th, we marched to Wallong, passing through lovely scenery, a series
of deep valleys and ravines and high hills, with a splendid view down
the valley of Thetzir and Lainer, and beyond, the junction of the
latter with its north-eastern confluent, we finally encamped close
to a very remarkable gorge. On the 8th, we had another march to the
village of Lusour, where I greatly pleased a woman and some children,
by giving them red cloths, the former would have denuded herself to
put hers on, had I not prevented her. Next morning, before starting,
we had our breakfast in public, and ordered some boiled eggs; the
hill people are supremely indifferent to the age of an egg, and even
seem to think the richness of flavour enhanced by age, so that almost
all brought to us were either addled or had chickens in them. At
least two dozen were boiled before we found one that we could eat,
and as soon as an egg was proved to be bad, there was a great rush
of Tankhools to seize the delicacy, and our bad taste in not liking
them gave great satisfaction.

On February 9th, we reached Somrah, a most interesting but severe march
of eighteen miles. We first crossed a ridge 8000 feet in height, where
among other trees we found a new species of yew--Cephalotaxus. After
reaching the summit, we made a gradual descent along an exceedingly
steep hillside, where a false step would have landed us in the stream
2000 feet below. After this we descended more rapidly, and, crossing
a stream, followed a beautifully constructed watercourse through
some recently cleared land. We traced our way along its windings
for some miles, and then, after another ascent, at last came to a
lovely undulating path through a forest of firs and rhododendrons,
the latter just coming into flower. The path at length, after an
ascent of 200 feet, brought us to the village, a finely built one of
the regular Tankhool type, with over two hundred houses, built with
stout plank walls, and having an appearance of much comfort.

The next day we went to Kongailon, one of the Somrah group, making
a descent of 2000 feet to cross a river, and again ascending 5600
feet. We passed many skilfully constructed watercourses and much
terrace cultivation, indeed, the Somrah villages have the finest
system of irrigation I have ever seen, and the long parallel line of
watercourses on a hillside present a most remarkable appearance. At
Kongailon, we halted a day to explore the country, and receive
deputies from various villages. From the ridge behind the village,
at a height of from 7000 to 8000 feet, there was a fine view of the
Somrah basin--valley it cannot be called; it is a huge basin, the rim
of which consists of hills, having an average height of over 8000 feet,
the villages being on the inner slopes or on bold spurs.

On February 12th, a very severe march took us to Guachan,
a miserable-looking village full of very dirty people, many of
whom were naked, their bodies being covered with a thick coating
of dirt. We had to halt next day to rest the coolies, and to have
a path cleared ahead. On February 14th, we again started, halting
on the Cherebee river, at a height of 4400 feet. On our way, while
passing along a lovely ridge, covered with rhododendrons in flower,
we had a fine view of Saramettie, with its snow cap.

Next day, we marched over Kachao-phung, 8000 feet high, and encamped
on its slopes at 7600 feet. So perverse are the ways of the hill-men,
that the road, a well-used one, was carried within fifty feet of
the summit, though it would have been easy to cross at a much lower
level. We encamped in a primeval forest of huge trees, the branches
of which, moved by the fierce wind that blew all night, waved to and
fro with such a threatening noise as to preclude sleep for a long time.

On the evening of the 12th, one of our coolies was brought to me,
who had dislocated his shoulder. We had no doctor of any kind with us,
and no one who understood how to reduce it. Dun and I tried our utmost,
and I put the poor fellow under chloroform, to relax the muscles and
spare him pain, but, alas! with no result. I tried to induce him to go
to Manipur, and be treated by my native doctor there; but he objected,
and preferred going to his home; so I gave him a present and let him
go, and very sorry we were to see him relinquish his only chance
of getting right again. Every one ought to be taught practically
to reduce a dislocation; I had often heard the process described,
but never seen it done, and my lack of experience cost the poor Naga
the use of his arm. It is one of the saddest parts of one's life
in the wilds of India to meet cases of sickness and injury without
the power to give relief. Simple complaints I treated extensively,
and with great success, but it was grievous to see such suffering in
more complicated cases, and to be unable to do anything. A skilful and
sympathetic doctor has a fine field for good work in such regions. A
sick savage is the most miserable of mortals.

The good points of the Manipuris, as excellent material for
hardy soldiers, were brought out very prominently on these long
marches. No men could have borne the fatigue and hardships better or
more patiently than they did. It quite confirmed me in the opinion
I had long since formed that, taken every way, the Manipuris were
superior to any of the hill-tribes around them. I remember that
when at Jessami, one of the Manipuris, at my suggestion, challenged
any Naga, who liked, to a wrestling match, none would come forward,
though the villagers were a fine sturdy set. It was impossible, also,
to help noticing, as we went along, the very remarkable aptitude the
Manipuris possess for dealing with hill-tribes. The Burmese tried in
vain to subdue the Tankhools, and in one case a force of seven hundred
men, that they sent against them, was entirely annihilated. However,
as the Manipuris advanced, the different tribes, after one struggle,
quietly submitted, and on both occasions when I marched through the
north-eastern Tankhool country, the people were in admirable order,
and behaved as if they had always been peaceful subjects of Manipur.

Next morning, though the thermometer was at thirty-six degrees,
the Manipuris felt the cold so severely from the terrible wind
that had been blowing all night, that they did not attempt to cook
before marching, but started off and hurried down the hill to get
to a warmer region. I never knew the hardy fellows do this before,
and it shows the influence of a piercing wind in making cold felt,
as I have often seen them quite happy on a still night with the
thermometer at twenty-six degrees or lower.

Five more marches brought us to Kongal Tannah, where I encamped on the
ground we occupied in 1881-1882 when I was Boundary Commissioner. On
our way, we received a visit from Tonghoo, the redoubtable Chussad
chief, now a peaceful subject of Manipur, a man of the usual Kuki type,
imperturbable and inscrutable. Next day, I inspected the boundary
pillars I had set up, and found them intact, a satisfactory proof
that the settlement was not unacceptable to either Manipur or Burmah.

We marched back by the old route, encamping as we had done more than
four years before in the deep valleys of the Maglung and Turet. On the
24th, from the crest of the Yoma range, we saw the valley of Manipur
once more at our feet, and in the evening encamped at Ingorok. Next
day, I parted from my friend, I riding into Manipur, and Dun going
north for a few days' more survey of the country. He rejoined me
on March 2nd. Thus ended one of the hardest, but, at the same time,
one of the pleasantest marches I ever made, all the pleasanter for
the society of such a clever and charming companion. We spent one
more week together, and then Dun went back to his appointment in the
Intelligence Department, to my great regret, and I settled down to my
usual routine work, constantly varied by interesting little episodes.


    More troubles with Thangal Major--Tit-for-tat--Visit to the Kubo
    valley--A new Aya Pooiel--Journey to Shillong--War is declared--A
    message to Kendat, to the Bombay-Burmah Corporation Agents--Anxiety
    as to their fate--March to Mao.

During the spring of 1885, I had constant trouble with Thangal
Major; the old man was perpetually doing illegal acts. He had lost
his head during my absence in England, and though treated with every
courtesy, he greatly resented being called to order. Some Mussulmans
had complained to Mr. Elliott about the oppression exercised towards
them, and in my absence Thangal was foolish enough to imprison them. Of
course, I heard of it, and insisted on their release, and this weakened
his authority. Again, he, as "Aya Pooiel," i.e. Minister for Burmese
Affairs, greatly resented our not having settled the Kongal case,
and insisted on the authors being punished. We were very good friends
privately, though I always expected further trouble with him. The
Maharajah's ill health also gave me anxiety, as he was no longer the
active man he once was, and was daily falling more and more under
Thangal's influence.

At last matters came to a crisis. On May 23rd, I received a letter from
the Burmese authorities at Tamu, brought by a deputation reporting that
some murders had been committed by Manipuri subjects, and the next
day when the visitors came to see me, they openly accused the Mombee
Kukis of having done the deed. I felt sure that the outrage had been
carried out at the instigation of Thangal Major, as a set-off against
the Kongal case, and I sent for him. He came to see me on May 25th,
and, when I opened the subject, he assumed rather a jaunty air. I
spoke very gravely, and told him that it was a very serious business,
and that an investigation must take place, and that I wished him, as
Aya Pooiel, to accompany me. He replied in a very unbecoming manner,
and began to make all sorts of frivolous excuses, the burden of his
speech being that, as justice had not been done in the Kongal case,
there was no need to investigate a case brought by the Burmese. I was
very calm, and remonstrated several times, but seeing that it had no
effect, I requested him to leave my presence, which he did. I then
wrote to the Maharajah asking him to appoint Bularam Singh to aid me
in the investigation, also reporting Thangal's conduct, and saying
that I could not allow him to attend on me till he had apologised. The
worst of Thangal's behaviour was, that he spoke in Manipuri, and in
the presence of the Burmese messengers, who understood it, instead of
in Hindoostani which no one but myself understood. Thinking carefully
over the matter, I wrote to the Maharajah on May 26th, requesting
him to replace Thangal in the Aya Pooielship by another officer,
suggesting Bularam Singh, as I did not consider it safe to leave him
in charge of the Burmese frontier.

There was the greatest opposition offered to my request, and the
Maharajah made every effort to evade it. It was currently stated by
people in the Court circle that it would be easier to depose the
Maharajah himself, but I remained firm. Meanwhile, Bularam Singh
was appointed to accompany me, and, on June 8th, I left for Moreh
Tannah, near Tamu, halting the first day at Thobal. Before leaving,
I received an apologetic letter from Thangal, and later he called
on me, and made an ample apology, speaking very nicely. I accepted
the apology personally, quite reciprocating his friendly sentiments,
but told him that, having acted in the way he did, I could not trust
him as Aya Pooiel.

I reached Moreh Tannah on June 13th, and was visited by some
Burmese. The next day, I proceeded to the scene of the murder,
and exhumed two headless bodies, and took evidence regarding the
raid. Before reaching Manipur, I heard through some Kukis the most
convincing proofs that the Mombee people had committed the raid, and
at Thangal Major's instigation. I obtained all the necessary details
later on, but the Burmese war prevented my undertaking an expedition
for the release of some Burmese captives who had been carried away
and sold, though I accomplished it later on.

At Moreh Tannah, I obtained some excellent mangoes, the only ones
free from insects that I ever saw on the eastern frontier, those in
Assam and Manipur being so full of them as to be uneatable when ripe,
though beautiful to look at. Here also I had most unpleasant evidence
of the existence of a plant that has the smell of decomposed flesh. I
imagined that a dead body had been buried under the temporary hut I
lived in, till a Manipuri explained matters to me, and showed me the
plant in question.

I reached Manipur on June 20th, and a day or two after wrote to the
Maharajah, calling to mind my letter respecting the Aya Pooielship, and
again requesting Thangal's removal. The next day the old fellow called,
and we had a very friendly interview, and I explained my reasons for
acting as I had done. He seemed convinced, and rose and seized my hand,
and said, "You are right. I understand thoroughly." He then said he
would cheerfully submit, and went away in an apparently excellent
frame of mind. It is said that after this, his son, Lumphél Singh,
a very bad young man, talked him over and urged him to resist, but,
anyhow, he soon after went to see the Maharajah, and recanted all he
had said to me. However, I was determined to persist, and told the
Maharajah plainly that he must choose between me and Thangal, with the
result that he consented, and the Aya Pooielship was given to another.

This struggle caused me great regret, as Thangal had many good
qualities, and but for his having had his own way too much during my
absence in England, would never have lost his head as he did. However,
there was one good result, as I established very friendly relations
with the Burmese authorities, who saw that I wished to be just,
and this stood me in good stead when the war broke out.

During the whole time that the dispute was going on, I had the support
of the Jubraj, who said I was in the right, and most people, I believe,
thought likewise. All the same it was painful to gain a victory over
one who had worked well with me for years, more especially as I felt
that the weakness of our own Government in not insisting on justice
being done in the Kongal case, had given him some justification in
his own eyes, though this was a plea that I could never admit.

In October 1885, I went to Shillong to see the Acting Chief
Commissioner, Mr. Ward, and as he was intending to march through
Manipur on his way to the Naga Hills, I stayed with him, and we all
left Shillong together on November 4th. We left Cachar on November
12th, and halted that evening at Jeeree Ghât, I on the Manipuri
side of the river, the Chief Commissioner and his following on the
British. A short time before dinner--we were all Mr. Ward's guests--I
received a note from him, directing my attention to a telegram,
and asking me to act on it. The telegram was a startling one, and
was to the effect that war with Burmah was to commence, and that our
troops would pass the frontier on a certain date; that there were
nine European and many native British subjects in the employ of the
Bombay-Burmah Corporation in the Chindwin forests with whom it had
been impossible to communicate, and to ask me to make every effort
to let them know the facts, and to do anything I could to assist
them. The matter was extremely urgent, as, if I remember rightly,
the 25th was the day for the troops to enter Upper Burmah, and every
moment was of the utmost importance.

I thought it over for five minutes, and determined on a course of
action, and set to work at once to follow it out. I knew perfectly
well that with the frontier and all roads so carefully guarded, as
I had seen those in the Kubo valley to be, there was absolutely no
chance of a secret messenger advancing ten miles on Burmese soil,
and I therefore resolved to send my letter through the Kendat Woon
(Governor of Kendat), the great Burmese province of which the Kubo
valley was part. I wrote a letter to the European employés of the
Bombay-Burmah Corporation, giving the message I was asked to transmit,
and urging them to make every effort to accept my hospitality and
protection in Manipur. To this letter I appended Burmese and Manipuri
translations, and put them in an open envelope addressed in the three
languages, hoping and believing that, seeing that the contents were
the same in both languages, which they had the means of understanding,
the Burmese authorities would, on the principle of the Rosetta stone,
assume that I had said the same in English.

This done, I enclosed the envelope in a letter to the Kendat Woon, in
which I told him exactly how matters stood, and that in a short time
Burmah would be annexed, and urging him, as he valued the goodwill of
the conquerors, to make every effort to protect and aid the British
subjects in his province. I asked him to deliver the letter, to which I
had appended translations that he might read what I said, and to bear
in mind that any service he might render would be richly rewarded and
never forgotten, while he might rely on my word as his well-wisher;
that a terrible punishment would befall any one who injured a hair of
the head of a British subject. In addition to this, I wrote letters
to the Burmese authorities at Tamu, with whom I was on friendly terms,
begging them, as they valued their lives, and my goodwill, to forward
the letter to the Woon with all possible speed.

This done, I went to dine with the Chief Commissioner, and when he
asked if I had received his note, I told him I had acted on it. Feeling
that I had done all that I could for the best, I took no further steps
at the time than to issue orders to the Manipuri frontier stations,
to give all aid requisite to fugitives from Burmah, and to make
arrangements for their being entertained in Manipur, should they
arrive in my absence.

I heard afterwards that there was great anxiety in Burmah when it was
known that I had communicated with our isolated countrymen through the
Burmese authorities, it being regarded as likely to seal their fate.

I marched to Mao on the Naga Hills frontier with the Chief
Commissioner, and then returned to Manipur, arriving on the 4th,
and on the 5th heard from Moreh Tannah that a European was being
kept a prisoner at Kendat. I wrote at once to the Tamu Phoongyee,
asking him to use his influence to release him, saying that I was in
a position to march to his aid in case my letter had no effect.

On December 9th, I heard that all the Europeans at Kendat had been
murdered, the Queen of Burmah's secretary having arrived with one
hundred regular troops on a steamer and ordered their execution,
and that forty of the Bombay-Burmah Corporation's elephants and all
their native followers had been arrested.

On December 10th, the news of the capture of Mandalay arrived. It gave
immense satisfaction, and it was said that many of the old people,
who knew what Burmah was, were so pleased that they could not eat
their dinners. The Jubraj visited me to offer his congratulations,
and a salute of thirty-one guns was fired.


    News from Kendat--Mr. Morgan and his people safe--I determine to
    march to Moreh Tannah--March to Kendat--Arrive in time to save
    the Bombay-Burmah Corporation Agents--Visit of the Woon--Visit
    to the Woon.

On December 17th, I at last received a letter from Mr. A. J. Morgan,
the chief agent of the Bombay-Burmah Corporation at Kendat,
acknowledging my letter of November 12th. He told me that three
Europeans, Messrs. Allan, Roberts and Moncur, had been murdered on the
River Chindwin by the Queen's Secretary; that he and Messrs. Ruckstuhl
and Bretto had been protected by the Kendat Woon, and four others by
the Mengin Woon. He said the Chindwin valley was filling with dacoits,
i.e., brigands, and that their position was very precarious. I at
once wrote to the Woon thanking him warmly for the protection he
had accorded to my fellow-subjects, and sent him a pair of handsome
double-barrelled guns, one of them a rifle, as a present, also five
hundred rupees, which I asked him to give to Mr. Morgan.

Feeling certain of the dangerous position of the British subjects at
Kendat, if they were surrounded by disbanded soldiery who had turned
brigands, I determined to march to the frontier, so as to be ready
to give aid, if necessary. I accordingly asked the Maharajah to lend
me 400 Manipuris, and 500 Kukis, and one mountain gun. With these,
and fifty men of my escort of the 4th Bengal Infantry, under Subadar
Baluk Ram Chowby, I marched off on December 19th.

My escort consisted of sixty men of all ranks, but I weeded out
ten as not likely to stand the severe marches we might have to
undertake. I then paraded the remainder and addressed them, saying
that any man who felt himself unfit for service might fall out, and I
should think none the worse of him. All stood fast, and then I said,
"Now, I will not take you, unless you promise me not to fall sick,
till you have escorted me back safely to Manipur." The men gave a
shout of acclamation, and I gave the order to march, and never had I
better, braver or more devoted men under me, or men who bore hardship
and want of all the little comforts of life more cheerfully.

We reached Moreh Tannah, where I had intended to halt and watch events,
on December 23rd, and there I received a letter from Mr. Morgan,
who described the state of things at Kendat as daily getting worse,
and expressed his conviction that if the dacoits reached Kendat,
the Woon would be unable to hold his own; he therefore hoped I might
be able to afford them the aid they so sorely needed, as, unless a
force marched to their assistance speedily, their lives would not
be safe. On hearing this, I determined to march for Kendat at once,
and by the rapidity of our movements overcome all resistance; indeed,
not to allow the Burmese time to think of it. Accordingly we marched
to Tamu, where the authorities at once submitted, and I declared the
country annexed, and reappointed the old officials, pending further
orders, promising my protection to all classes, and calling on the
people to complain at once if any of my followers injured them.

All this done, we marched to Mamo, some miles beyond Tamu, where
we halted in the rice fields attached to the village which was very
strongly stockaded. My camp was at once filled with men, women and
children, all disposed to be friendly and all willing to receive
little presents. It was a pretty feature of the Kubo valley, as of
Upper Burmah generally, and as in Assam formerly, that immediately
on leaving the village cultivation you plunged at once into forest.

My party was not so numerous as I could have wished. The Minister,
Bularam Singh, accompanied me, but the nine hundred men all told,
that I had asked for, were not there, and the supply of provisions
was scanty. I made all my escort take ten days' food per man, with
orders not to touch it, without my direct permission, and I procured
supplies wherever I could, as we went along. I also took a large
supply of money.

As Bularam Singh was holding the appointment formerly held by Thangal,
he had not the knowledge to help him in all petty details that the
other would have had. However, realising more keenly than ever from
my experience at the relief of Kohima, the extreme value of time,
and of rapid strokes, I pushed on at all hazards, trusting to have
my numbers made up.

I had a few first-rate Manipuri officers with me, and my old orderlies,
Sowpa, Thutot, and Sundha. I took my excellent hospital assistant,
Lachman Parshad, and my Manipuri secretary and interpreter, Chumder
Singh, and most of my old chuprassies, who were invaluable. My head
clerk, Rusni Lall Coondoo, was unfortunately on leave, marrying his
daughter, and I greatly missed him.

On the morning of December 24th, we started from Mamo, determined
to reach Kendat next day, though the Burmese said it was absolutely
impossible to do it. I had with me my escort of fifty men of the 4th
B.I., and between three hundred and four hundred Manipuris, the Kukis
not having arrived. The old road had been disused, and our path was
a perfect zigzag. We halted long after sunset at Pendowa on a small
stream, the Nunparoo. The mountain gun did not arrive, and half our
force was not up till midnight. When all the coolies had arrived,
I told them that if we reached Kendat next evening, they should have
buffalo to eat.

The country through which we had passed was not naturally a difficult
one, but there had been no attempt to make it good, and in places it
was very bad, all the more so from the unnecessary number of times that
we crossed the same river. I was much interested to see large numbers
of bullock carts in the villages, such not being used in Manipur.

Next morning, we started early, and soon began to ascend the Ungocking
hills. This seemed endless, one range succeeded another, here and there
we saw coal cropping out of the hillside. After about 12.30 P.M., the
path was alternately along the bed of a stream and over high ridges,
one of those meaningless, winding roads that seem made expressly to
irritate people with no time to spare. At last, in the far distance,
we saw a scarped hill, that was said to be close to Kendat, and cheered
by the sight, we pressed on, but it was hours before we reached the
goal. About 4 P.M., I met a Burmese, who spoke Hindoostani, and gave
me a letter from Mr. Morgan, telling me that he and his party were all
well, and earnestly longing for our arrival. The man told me that he
was the "Hathée Jemadar," i.e., the man in charge of the elephants,
and he accompanied us.

At last, just after sunset we reached the Chindwin river, even then,
in the dry season, six hundred yards wide. We gave a loud cheer and
hoisted the Union Jack; and the "Hathée Jemadar" went over to tell
the Europeans we had come to save, of our arrival. All my escort and
most of the Manipuris marched in with me; every man had done his best
and hearty were the congratulations that passed between us.

We had marched sixty-five miles over a terribly rough country, the
last thirty being quite impassable for even laden mules, in thirty
hours. A havildar of the 4th said, "Sahib, is not our march one of
the greatest on record?" I told him that it was. It was pleasant to
think that we had arrived on Christmas Day. How little my children
in England realised the way I was employed.

In less than an hour Mr. Morgan, who had seen our arrival, came over
accompanied by Messrs. Ruckstuhl and Bretto, his subordinates, all
dressed in Burmese costume, everything they had having been plundered
in the Woon's absence. Mr. Morgan brought over a message from the
Woon to me, saying that he submitted to my authority, and would come
over to-morrow, and tender his formal submission.

Next day he appeared with Mr. Morgan and made his submission. He
was a dignified old man, with a pleasant face expressive of much
character. I thanked him on behalf of Government for his services in
protecting British subjects, and told him that, while assuming charge
of the country on the part of the British Government, I wished him
to remain in office, and conduct the administration pending definite
instructions. I told him that I expected him to maintain order,
and quiet down the country, and promised him any assistance which he
might require to aid him in the endeavour.

After this, I set to work to secure supplies with Mr. Morgan's aid,
so as to be ready for any emergency, and then crossed the river and
called on the Woon and inspected the stockade, a huge enclosure, 420
yards long and 163 wide, with a wall of solid teak logs, 18 feet high,
and none less than a foot square, with strong heavy gates. I returned
to my camp before nightfall, and the mountain gun arrived under the
escort of Gour Duan Subadar. Next day, I heard that the Mengin Woon
had absconded, finding his position untenable.

Had I had a trained levy at my disposal, as would have been the case
had my advice been followed, I could have easily sent a force to
occupy Mengin, and might indeed have marched to Mandalay. As it was,
commanding only irregulars, my position was one of daily anxiety.

The site of Kendat was very picturesque, situated on the high left
bank of the Chindwin, up and down which a view of many miles is
obtained, the reach being there a long one. The stockade contained
the greater part of the official residences, and a good proportion of
the inhabitants, but there were many houses outside, and temples and
phoongyes' residences. Below the town was a large Manipuri village,
inhabited by the descendants of captives taken in the war of 1819-25.

In the rainy season, when the Chindwin is at its height, and 1200 yards
wide, with the long ranges of the Manipuri Hills in the background,
the view is said to be very beautiful. For many miles round Kendat,
to the east of the Chindwin, the country is flat, but studded here
and there with strange-looking hills with scarped sides, that rise
abruptly out of the plains, calling to mind the hill-forests of Central
India. Kendat was well supplied with boats, many of them being most
elaborately carved.

It was a great misfortune that none of the men of my escort understood
the management of boats, a most useful accomplishment on the eastern
side of India, where rivers abound, and one in which the men of the
old Assam regiments used to be proficient.


    People fairly friendly--Crucifixion--Carelessness of Manipuris--I
    cross the Chindwin--Recross the Chindwin--Collect provisions--Erect
    stockades and fortify our position--Revolt at Kendat--We assume
    the offensive--Capture boats and small stockades--Revolt put
    down--Woon and Ruckstuhl rescued--Steamers arrive and leave.

The Burmese were fairly friendly to us, though they did not display
any love for the Manipuris, and the latter showed rather too plainly
that they thought the tables were turned, and that they now had the
upper hand of the Burmese.

In many of the villages along our line of route in the Kubo valley,
we had observed crosses ready for the crucifixion of malefactors,
especially dacoits. These were also to be seen here and there, on
the banks of the river at Kendat, but the Woon afterwards told me
that he rarely crucified offenders and disliked employing torture;
indeed he had the reputation of being a merciful old man. However,
the people at large seemed quite to approve of strong measures, and
knowing what Burmese dacoits are capable of, I hardly wonder. After
I left, the man who introduced himself to me as "Hathée Jemadar"
incautiously surrendered to some dacoits, who first broke the bones
of his legs and arms inch by inch, and then ripped him up!

On the 28th December, I crossed the river with my whole force, and
entrenched myself on the sandbank of the Chindwin. That evening, I
heard from Mr. Morgan, that there was a strong party opposed to the
Woon, and greatly dissatisfied with him for having submitted. Troops
had been expected up the river from the British force at Mandalay, and
their delay encouraged the Burmese to hold up their heads. Next day,
December 29th, the air was full of rumours, and some of the Burmese
Manipuris, I have just alluded to, plied my Manipuris with all sorts
of stories, of a rising against us, on the part of the Burmese. These
stories had a great effect on the Manipuris, and they displayed so
much unsteadiness, and at the same time such gross carelessness,
that I determined to recross the river. I heard too that six men
coming to join me, had been killed, and three wounded on the road,
report said, by Burmese. I laughed at the idea, as I was sure that
the assailants were wild Chins, as the Burmese would not show their
hand prematurely. However, the news spread, and served to dishearten
the men.

On the 30th I transported my whole force to the opposite bank,
it cost me incredible trouble, and I had to superintend the most
petty details myself. I sent over a party to construct a stockade
into which the Manipuris could be penned like a flock of sheep for
the night and which I could enlarge afterwards, and I insisted on
the work being finished that day. It was finished, and last of all
I crossed the river with my escort.

Next day, Mr. Morgan told me that things had quieted down very much
among the Burmese; we did all in our power to collect provisions, and
I enlarged the stockade, improving it from day to day, till it at last
became a commodious and strong defensive building, scientifically
constructed. I occupied a small stockade on a hillock above it,
whence I had a good view, and could overlook the Manipuris. I had a
circle of outlying pickets supplied by the Kuki irregulars with me,
and these were a perpetual safe-guard against surprise during the
long dark nights. We cleared the jungle from round our stockade,
and did all we could to make our position secure.

Still the Manipuris were a constant anxiety, illustrating the
well-known saying, "Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread." Their
carelessness was astonishing. I had the utmost difficulty in
getting them to take the most ordinary precautions. The bravest and
best-disciplined troops in the world would never think of neglecting
every rule of warfare in the way that they did. Fire was a constant
danger, and having no warm clothes, the Manipuris could hardly be
prevented from lighting fires at night, thereby incurring a double
danger, viz., that of setting fire to the stockade, also lighting
up our position and enabling an enemy to fire at us. I was as a rule
eighteen or nineteen hours on foot out of the twenty-four, and during
the five or six allotted to sleep, I generally got up three times,
to see that all was right.

Provisions began to come in, and on the last day of the year, I sent
off 400 coolies to Moreh Tannah for provisions, so as to reduce the
useless mouths, and to lessen the danger from fire. I rebuilt all
the huts of green grass, as less inflammable than dry materials.

On January 1st, evil rumours were again afloat, and I asked the Woon if
he were sure of his position. He replied that he was, and had perfect
confidence that he could keep every one in hand. However, I went on
collecting provisions, and while hoping for the arrival of the troops
expected up the river, prepared for any eventuality. On January 3rd,
large supplies of rice came in. The Issekai, an officer holding the
rank of major, came twice to see me, and all seemed well. Mr. Morgan
was with me all day helping with the rice sellers, but left about 4
P.M. About an hour afterwards, he reappeared with Mr. Bretto, saying
that they had been shut out of the stockade, but that Mr. Ruckstuhl
was detained there. They suspected a rising throughout the country,
as a rumour had just been spread that a Royal prince was about to
arrive at Kendat with 3000 men.

This was bad news, and I begged Messrs. Morgan and Bretto to stay the
night with me. There was no time to be lost; I felt certain that the
country had risen, and that in a few hours our communications would
be cut, so I wrote to Manipur asking the Maharajah to send me 1000
men under Thangal Major at once to Moreh Tannah, to await events,
and 500 to join me at Kendat, also a good supply of provisions. I
telegraphed also to Government saying what had happened, and that
I had taken every precaution, and that they might rely on my doing
all that man could. I asked for no help, feeling that, if, with my
present resources, I could not retrieve my position, I should soon
be past help. I also wrote a few lines home, explaining matters in
case I was killed, with a few last words to my children.

These letters I sent off by swift and trusty men well armed, with
orders to push on with all speed. Having done this, I prepared for
a life-and-death struggle next day.

As the morning broke and the heavy mist began to rise earlier
than usual, we speedily saw the changed aspect of affairs. We
had secured two boats under a guard the night before, but all
besides had been taken from our side of the river. All the people
had left a neighbouring village, but just below us we saw one boat
after another leaving, heavily laden with the inhabitants and their
portable goods. The opposite sandbank too, was occupied in force by
the Burmese, who held our former entrenchment, and one or two small
stockades. By this time also the country in our rear had risen, so
we were completely cut off. The opposite bank was crowded with large
boats, giving every opportunity to the enemy to send a strong party
over to attack us by night, were he so disposed.

Immediate action was necessary, if only to save the British subjects,
and the faithful Woon who had suffered in our cause. The good old
Minister, Bularam Singh, quite lost his nerve, and begged and implored
me to make terms and retreat, as the only means of saving ourselves. I
told him that my very children and friends would despise me, if I,
for a moment, contemplated such a course, and that there was nothing
for it but to fight it out.

"Which man should you respect most?" I said, "one who cringed at
your feet, or one who boldly struck you?" "The man who struck me," he
replied. "Exactly so," I said; "and it is the same with the Burmese. I
intend to strike a hard blow."

I had an ultimatum written in Burmese, demanding the surrender of the
Woon, and his officers, and of all British subjects within two hours,
under pain of my attacking the stockade; this I did, to run as little
risk of injury to the captives, as possible. I had the ultimatum tied
to a bamboo, and sent in a boat to a shallow part of the river, and I
called to a Burmese to take it. This was done. I looked at my watch,
and when the time expired, opened fire on the stockade.

For the first time in my life, I laid a gun. I judged the distance from
the high bank where we stood, to the great stockade, to be 1250 yards,
and the first shell went over it. I lessened the range by 50 yards,
and again fired, and this time struck the stockade fair and well. We
saw and heard the shell explode, and our men raised a loud shout of
triumph. This little success gave the Manipuris renewed confidence. I
lined our bank with picked shots of the 4th B.I., and under cover of
these and the gun, sent two parties across in the boats, with orders
to attack and destroy all the small stockades, and to capture some
boats to convey more of our men across, and to burn all the rest,
so as to prevent the enemy assuming the offensive.

Mr. Morgan, eager for the fray, went as a volunteer and assumed the
natural position of leader. We kept up the fight all day. Shot after
shot struck the great stockade, all the small ones were captured and
burned, the enemy driven from the shore and every boat within sight
either brought over to our side, or sent burning down the river.

Meanwhile, the Burmese had not been entirely passive, they had opened
an artillery fire on us, and one or one-and-a-half-pound shots
began to fall on our side. Old Bularam Singh walked up and down,
notwithstanding this, with the greatest indifference, having now
recovered his spirits, and behaved very well.

By sunset, nothing remained to be captured but the great stockade,
and many were the volunteers, both Hindoostanis and Manipuris who
begged to be allowed to cross once more and attack it. However,
I would not consent, only two men, Messrs. Morgan and Bretto, knew
all the turns and windings of the place, and one false move might
convert our success into a disaster. All the same, I felt terribly
anxious as to the fate of the Woon and of the British subjects.

I went to my hut in the evening, feeling that we had done all we
could. As I passed through the stockade, I was surprised to see the
clever way in which the coolies remaining with us had strengthened it,
by digging deep trenches sufficient to afford a man perfect protection
against rifle fire, even without the stockade.

I rose early on January 5th, after an anxious night, having given
orders for a party to be ready to cross the river with me, to attack
the great stockade; but, just as I left my hut to make a start,
I was met by Mr. Ruckstuhl with irons on his ankles--he had got rid
of the connecting bars--who told me that it had been evacuated. The
facts I learned were as follows.

On the evening of January 3rd, incited by the near approach of three
thousand men and the promised support of the Tsawbwas of Thoungdoot,
Wuntha, Kubo, and six other districts, the bad spirits in the town rose
against the Woon, and put him and his family and chief officials, with
Mr. Ruckstuhl, in irons. It was only by a mistake that Messrs. Morgan
and Bretto were shut out of the stockade and not arrested.

When my ultimatum arrived, the Burmese laughed at the idea of my
doing anything, and when our fire opened on them they were just about
to crucify the Woon and Ruckstuhl. When, however, our attack began
to make an impression on them, and shells burst in the stockade,
especially one in a room where the chief men were deliberating,
they retreated, leaving their prisoners. Mr. Ruckstuhl had hidden
under a hedge, and the Woon and his family were taking refuge in a
Phoongye's house. This was good news and an immense relief to every
one; we felt we had done our work.

I immediately took a party across the river and rescued the Woon,
and took possession of the huge stockade, which would have cost us
many a life to capture, had it been well defended. We took sixteen
guns and a large number of wall pieces, all said to have been wrested
from Manipur in former days.

The Woon's house was apparently intact, but empty, and the town
was deserted. In a house we found a hen on a brood of chickens,
unmoved apparently by all the firing and commotion. I made over
the Woon's house to him again, and I established a Manipuri guard
for his protection. With reference to the guns, I should say that I
did not take them from the stockade on my first arrival at Kendat,
not wishing in any way to lower the prestige of the Woon who had
done us such good service, and who professed himself quite able to
account for them, and to keep the people in order. As events proved,
we were quite able to take them when necessary.

Just as we had finished our work, and Mr. Morgan and I were taking
some food in the afternoon, two steamers came in sight far down the
Chindwin. These proved to be the party sent to rescue the British
subjects at Kendat, under Major Campbell, 23rd Madras Infantry;
and consisted of a company of the Hampshire Regiment and some blue
jackets, and some of the 23rd Madras Infantry, and great was their
disappointment to find that the work had been done before they
arrived. However, had we waited for them, there would have been no
one to rescue on their arrival.

To my intense surprise, I heard that Kendat was to be abandoned, but
no arrangements had been made for carrying away the Native British
subjects. Mr. Morgan would not abandon these and the valuable property
of the Bombay-Burmah Corporation, and elected together with Mr. Bretto
to stay with me. I strongly urged Mr. Ruckstuhl (whose brother, one
of the refugees from Mengin, had been brought up by Major Campbell)
to leave for Rangoon with the steamers, as I thought, after twice
narrowly escaping a violent death, he had better run no more risks. He
took my advice. The steamers left on January 8th.


    Mischief done by departure of steamers--Determine to establish the
    Woon at Tamu--The Country quieting down--Recovery of mails--Letter
    from the Viceroy--Arrive at Manipur--Bad news--I return to
    Tamu--Night march, to Pot-tha--An engagement--Wounded--Return to
    Manipur--Farewell--Leave for England.

We had gained immense prestige by the vigorous way in which we had
put down the revolt, and the people from the neighbouring country
began to come in and make their submission, but the departure of the
steamers was a great blow to it. Of course, the natives attributed
it to fear. Had they stayed, all trouble would have been at an end,
and the country would have quietly settled down. As it was, this
unfortunate retreat again upset the minds of all.

The Chindwin, and the route to it through Manipur, had not been
considered when the campaign was decided on. No part of a country
that it is intended to annex can with safety be neglected, and the
Chindwin valley was a very important part of Burmah.

As I have said before, a properly organised Manipur Levy would have
solved all difficulties at the outbreak of war; failing that, a
force specially devoted to the Chindwin valley, and entering through
Manipur, and aided by local knowledge acquired during many years
on that frontier, might have occupied the province of Kendat before
any time had been given for the spread of lawlessness. It is almost
incredible that, considering the part taken by Manipur, and troops
moving through Manipur during the war of 1885-6, showing the immense
facilities offered by that route, that no inquiry whatever was made
regarding it before the outbreak of hostilities.

I saw plainly that without the certainty of troops and one steamer at
least arriving to reinforce us, it would be unwise to attempt to hold
Kendat so far from our base at Manipur, therefore I made preparations
for escorting all British subjects and property to Tamu, within
the Woon's jurisdiction, advising the latter to establish himself
there for the present, and from that point gradually reconsolidate
his authority. He greatly approved of the suggestion, and I made
arrangements with a view to carrying it into effect.

It was not till the 10th of January that any post arrived from
Manipur. The Kubo valley had risen, it was said, in obedience to
orders received from the Kulé Tsawbwa and a man called the Lay
Kahiyine Oke, and it was reported that we had been annihilated;
but the sight of all the captured guns, which I at once sent to
Manipur, told the people a different tale, and they soon subsided
and returned to their allegiance. I sent out a party to attack and
destroy the house of a hostile chief, east of the Chindwin, and it
was successfully accomplished.

Several letter bags which had been stolen were now given up, and I
issued proclamations to all the neighbouring chiefs calling on them
to remain quiet, and keep their people in order.

Two hundred of the troops I had sent for from Manipur, arrived at
Kendat, and 300 more I ordered to be stationed at different points
on the road. The 1000 men under Thangal Major were directed by me
to return to Manipur. Before leaving Kendat, I sent on the Woon,
with his family and 250 native British subjects, en route to Tamu,
with a strong escort. The road had been much improved during my
occupation of Kendat, and was now passable for lightly laden elephants.

I left some Burmese officials at Kendat with orders to report regularly
to the Woon, and collect taxes due, and having made all arrangements
that I could for the peace of the country, I quitted it, with the
remaining portion of my force, on January 14th, encamping at a place
called Méjong. We reached Tamu on the 17th, where the Woon was well

I had written to the Thoungdoot (Sumjok) Tsawbwa, asking him to come
and see me, but he was nervous, and sent his Minister instead. The
man arrived on the 19th, with a very civil letter from the Tsawbwa,
making his submission. I explained to him that I should hold his
master responsible for the good behaviour of his people, and sent
him to pay his respects to the Woon, which he did. About this time I
received some very complimentary telegrams from Government, thanking
me for what I had done; these being followed by an autograph letter
from the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin.

Being completely worn out with the work and anxiety I had gone through,
so much so, that I could not sleep without a dose of bromide of
potassium, I set off for Manipur, to get a little rest, on the 20th
of January, and reached it, by forced marches, on the 22nd. Mr. Morgan
came with me, and my escort followed two days after. The men had kept
their promise, and not one man had "gone sick" for a day, and they
had always been ready for work; often, since the outbreak on the 3rd
of January, living for days on rice fresh cut from the enemy's fields
by the Manipuris.

I left a strong guard of Manipuris in a stockade at Tamu as a help
to the Woon, and let the Minister Bularam Singh and all the rest of
the party return with me.

Before leaving Tamu, I handed over one or two men, supposed to
be rebels, to the Woon, and gave him authority to execute them,
should he consider it necessary, as an example, saying, however,
that he must, in that case shoot, hang, or decapitate, as we could
not allow painful modes of putting to death.

I found, on arrival at Manipur, that another detachment of the 4th
B.I. had arrived, and I very soon found use for them.

I had hoped to have had some much-needed rest, but on the 24th I
received a letter from the Woon telling me that two of the leading
rebels in the outbreak of the 3rd, who had fled towards Wuntho,
had returned, and were leading about bands of brigands. I heard from
another source that the men I had delivered into his hands had been
released on paying heavy fines, and had joined the rebel leaders. The
Woon had an ample force at his disposal, but, as I saw that another
storm was brewing, I sent off the new detachment of the 4th, towards
Tamu, on the 26th, and followed myself (Mr. Morgan having preceded me)
on the 28th; and on the 30th we marched into Tamu together.

I met the poor old Woon ten miles within the Manipur frontier; he
had evidently lost his nerve and had fled, the ill-treatment he had
undergone, and the narrow escape from crucifixion, were too much for
him. I at once sent him on to Manipur, with orders that he should be
my guest, and marched on.

As we crossed the frontier, the Burmese left the jungles where they
had hidden from the dreaded dacoits, and returned with us to their
villages. Tamu was quiet, the Manipuri guard had stood firm at their
posts, and held the stockade intact, a work Manipuris are admirably
fitted for, and thoroughly to be trusted with. My arrival seemed to
quiet down the valley for many miles, indeed all the inhabitants for
miles round were by the next day pursuing their ordinary avocations,
and the only fear was from the dacoits.

On January 31st, at about 6 P.M., I received a report that a party
of the enemy had hoisted the white flag (the Burmese Royal Standard),
and taken up their quarters at Pot-tha, a disaffected village twenty
miles from Tamu. This was an opportunity not to be lost, and I
prepared to strike a decisive blow. We left Tamu about midnight,
the force consisting of myself and Mr. Morgan, fifty of the 4th
B.I., seventy Manipuris, and fifty Kuki irregulars. We had to march
in single file through the forest, carrying torches to light us,
and a most picturesque sight it was, the long line winding in and
out under the tall trees, which the blaze of the torches lighted up,
producing a very weird effect. We took with us guides from Tamu, and
marched in deep silence, every now and then passing a village opening,
though we generally avoided them, if possible.

At last, just after daybreak, we heard the sound of a musket shot;
our Shan guides said: "This is the place," and instantly evaporated. I
can use no other term; I saw them one moment, the next they had gone,
where I know not. We went on, and after a hundred yards, passed
fortifications just evacuated, and soon after entered the village,
the enemy retiring before us without firing a shot; we rushed on,
and searched the houses. I saw the white standard planted outside a
large house on a platform; I ran up and seized it, close by was a tree
called in Bengali, "Poppeya," the papaw, I believe, of the West Indies,
with a soft trunk. A minute after, while I was looking about to see
if I could observe any of the enemy, a volley was fired, evidently
intended for me, the royal standard in my hand making me a conspicuous
mark. I was not struck (probably just at the moment I moved), but
the tree was, and fell, cut in two by at least twenty musket balls.

I then saw some of the enemy strongly posted, under a house,
built like all in those parts on strong posts, affording excellent
cover. I sprang down from the platform, calling to my scattered men to
follow. One man was ahead of me, and was shot down mortally wounded;
another minute, and I myself was struck by a shot on the left temple,
and almost stunned. I was able to rise, but with the blood streaming
down, not fit to pursue. I called to Mr. Morgan and asked him to head
a party of the 4th B.I. and clear the village, which was done with
great gallantry, the men, when they returned, greatly applauding
Mr. Morgan's courage and dash. Having driven out the enemy who, we
subsequently ascertained, lost seven killed and twenty-five wounded,
we set fire to the village and 10,000 maunds of rice stored there,
i.e., about 360 tons, which, of course, we could not carry away,
and marched back to Tamil which we reached about nightfall carrying
our wounded with us. Besides myself, we had one mortally wounded,
one severely and one slightly. I was able to march back. We took
three prisoners and heard that the enemy, who did not stop till he
had crossed the Chindwin, had a force of 400 to 500 men engaged,
commanded by Boh Moung Schway Lé.

On February 6th, all the principal chiefs of the Kubo valley came
in and made their formal submission to me, promising to remain
quiet and obey the orders of the Tamu Myo Thugee, whom I appointed
to administer the valley till further orders. Next day, I made them
all go to the Pagoda, and swear allegiance to the British Government,
the oath being most solemnly administered by the Phoongyees. I gave
definite instructions to all, and urged them to keep the peace,
and buy, sell and cultivate as usual.

I proclaimed the passes into Manipur open to traders, which gave great
satisfaction to all, and having satisfied myself that everything
was quiet I set out for Manipur to consult Dr. Eteson, the Deputy
Surgeon-General, who was passing through, about my wound. I arrived
by forced marches on February 9th, and found that the sepoy mortally
wounded on February 1st, had died on the 8th.

Dr. Eteson urged me to go to England on sick leave, and I very
reluctantly determined to follow his advice. But, before leaving, I
had the satisfaction of seeing the whole of the Kubo valley in a state
of profound peace for a month and a half. Provisions were no longer
a difficulty. They were freely brought in, and the little luxuries
that Hindoostani troops require over and above what can be bought on
the spot, were taken down by traders. So great was the energy of the
latter, that 2000 buffaloes were exported through Manipur to Cachar
during this short period, and when I finally bade adieu to my friends
at Tamu, Mr. Morgan and I both expected that war was at an end, and
that perfect peace would prevail. It was not our fault that it did not.

Let me here offer a tribute to one who stood by me nobly in the hour
of need, but who, unfortunately, died of cholera at Kulé, after his
return from well-earned leave in England. Morgan was a thoroughly good
fellow all round, a devoted servant of the Bombay-Burmah Corporation,
and one who put their affairs before everything. As gentle and kind
as he was brave, he was a great favourite with the Burmese, and had
evidently much influence with them. He was always in favour of mild
measures, unless strong ones appeared absolutely necessary.

While still in Burmah, I had sent in my despatches to General Sir
H. Prendergast, K.C.B., who commanded the army of invasion, in which I
strongly commended to his notice the admirable services of my escort,
mentioning specially several men whom I thought particularly deserving
of it, though all had done so well, and shown such devotion to duty
and soldier-like spirit, that it was a difficult task to select any
one in particular. General Prendergast forwarded my recommendation
to the Commander-in-Chief, and it was a great satisfaction to me
when I heard afterwards that Baluk Ram Chowby, then Subadar Major
of his Regiment, had received the Order of British India, with the
title of "Bahadur," and that other decorations and promotions had
been bestowed. The detachment of the gallant 4th Bengal Infantry,
took with them, as trophies to their regiment, a standard they had
captured, and also one of the sixteen guns taken at Kendat.

I left the old Woon at Manipur, having strongly recommended him to the
favour of Government. He stood by our people in a dark hour, and saved
them from torture and death. He was of high family, and had fought
against us in 1852. He had the air of a thorough gentleman, and was,
with all his family, most amiable in conversation and demeanour.

Before leaving, I paid one last visit to Kang-joop-kool and saw my
child's grave, [37] and the peaceful scenery and lovely views over
the hills and the broad valley, thinking of the past and its many
memories connected with the place. I paid my last visit to the Rajah,
when I told him that I had strongly urged the restoration to him of
his old possession, the Kubo valley. I visited all the familiar spots
round the capital. I said good-bye to old Thangal, Bularam Singh,
and all my old followers, and, on the 19th of March, bade adieu to
Manipur, which I felt I had raised out of the mire of a bad reputation.

I left it as it had been of yore, a faithful and devoted, though
humble, ally of the British Government to whom it had done transcendent
service. Alas! little did I think of the fate that would befall it
before a few short years had passed by.

My escort turned out to salute me as I left the Residency gate,
and I gave them an address, thanking them for their services. Then
the Subadar Baluk Ram Chowby insisted on their accompanying me for
some distance. When time for them to return, he halted his party,
drew them in line by the side of the road, and presented arms, and as
they did it they gave a loud shout of "Colonel Sahib Bahadûr ke jye,"
i.e. "Vive Monsieur le Colonel Victorieux;" we have no equivalent for
it in English. My heart was too heavy to say much; I said a few words,
and we parted.

As I crossed the summit of the Lai-metol range I gave a last look at
the valley, and saw it no more.

I passed through Shillong, where I was hospitably entertained by the
Chief Commissioner, Mr. Ward, and on reaching Calcutta received a
command to visit Lord Dufferin at Benares. He received me very kindly,
and under his roof I spent a most enjoyable day. I left Bombay on the
9th of April, and reached home on the 28th, thus practically finishing
my active Indian career, after nearly twenty-eight years' service.



    The Events of 1890 and 1891.

When I first began this book it was my intention to have given a
connected account of the Palace Revolution of September 1890, and
that of 1891, against the British Government. Being probably the only
living person in full possession of the whole facts connected with
the startling events that then took place, and the circumstances that
led up to them, and having, moreover, a strong conviction that it
is best for all parties that the truth should be known, I felt that
a fair and impartial statement could do no harm, and might act as
a warning. Further reflection has led me to alter my determination,
and to ask myself the question, "Cui bono?" The Government of India
has shown no desire to make more disclosures than necessary, and it
is not for me, a loyal old servant, to lift the veil.

        "Let the dead past bury its dead."

However much, therefore, I may wish to see the right horse saddled, I
shall for the present, at any rate, avoid criticism as far as possible,
and confine myself to a few general remarks.

Nothing that I can say will undo the past, and all that remains is
to hope for the future.

After I left Manipur fresh disturbances broke out in the Kubo valley,
where I had left all peaceful, prosperous, and contented, and a
considerable strain was put on the resources of Manipur. Had I been
ordered to return I would gladly have done so, but my health was
too bad to make it advisable for me to volunteer my services. [38]
I regret that I did not, as I might in that case have again urged
the claims of Manipur to have the Kubo valley restored to her, as she
had a right to expect that it would be; substantial hopes having been
on at least one occasion held out to her, and her many good services
and constant loyalty entitling her to consideration.

However, it was not to be; and in the summer of 1886 another misfortune
befell her, in the death of Maharajah Chandra Kirtee Singh. Perhaps,
like his father, Ghumbeer Singh, he was happy in the hour of his
death, as he did not live to see the disgrace of his country, and
the ingratitude of our Government to his family.

Now was the grand opportunity for the Government and an able Political
Agent to step in and make the many needful reforms, and introduce
necessary changes, and instil a more modern spirit in keeping with the
times, into the institutions of the country. Did we take advantage of
it? Of course we did not; but, true to our happy-go-lucky traditions,
let one precious opportunity after another pass by unheeded. Year after
year during my period of office had I struggled hard, and carried
on a never-ending fight for influence and prestige, with the strong
and capable old Chandra Kirtee Singh, gaining ground steadily; but
realising that, while I worked, the full advantage would be reaped
by that one of my successors who might chance to be in office when
my old friend closed his eventful life. At such a time, in addition
to the result of my labours, a weaker occupant of the throne would
afford many opportunities such as were not vouchsafed to me, and now
the time had arrived when we might have worked unimpeded for the good
of all classes.

Soor Chandra Singh, the former Jubraj, or heir apparent, succeeded
his father, a good, amiable man, with plenty of ability, but very
weak. He was loyal to the British Government, and had on several
occasions given strong proof of it, and he was much respected by his
own people. Had he been taken in hand properly all would have been
well, but the Government of India seems never to have realised that
excessive care and caution were necessary. The records of the past
plainly showed that the appointment of a Political Agent was always
a difficult one to fill satisfactorily, but no pains seem to have
been at any time taken to find a suitable man; if one happened to be
appointed, it was a matter of chance, and the post seems generally
to have been put up to a kind of Dutch auction. On one occasion I
believe that an officer, who was at the time doing well, and liked
the place, was taken away, and another, who did not wish to go,
sent up, to die within a month of a long-standing complaint. For all
this, of course the Foreign Office must be held responsible, as it
had a long traditional knowledge of Manipur; and though its powers
were delegated to the Chief Commissioner of Assam, it should have
ascertained that that officer was capable of making a good selection,
and had an officer under him fit for the appointment. The work may not
have been of a nature requiring the very highest class of intellect,
but it certainly did require a rather rare combination of qualities,
together with one indispensable to make a good officer, namely,
a real love for the work, the country, and the people. My immediate
successor had these latter qualities, but he died of wounds received
within six weeks of my leaving. [39]

It is to be regretted, also, that the Government of India acts so much
on the principle that the private claims of some of its servants should
be considered before the claims of the State generally, and the people
over whom they are put, in particular. It seems to be thought that
the great object, in many cases, is to secure a certain amount of pay
to an individual, quite irrespective of his qualifications, rather
than to seek out an officer in every way competent to administer
a great province, and satisfy the requirements of its people. I
say this especially with reference to Assam. Few provinces of India
require more special qualities in its ruler, containing, as it does,
many races of different grades of civilisation; the situation being
further complicated by the presence of a large European population of
tea-planters. These, by their energy and the judicious application of a
large amount of capital, have raised it to a great pitch of prosperity,
and they naturally require to be dealt with in a different way to
their less civilised native fellow-subjects.

An officer may be an admirable accountant, or very well able to
decide between two litigants, or, may be, to look after stamps and
stationery; but without special administrative experience, or those
abilities which enable a genius to grasp any subject he takes up,
he cannot be considered fit to be trusted with the government of a
great and flourishing province. His claims as regards pay should not
be allowed to weigh at all with the Government of India; it is unjust
to the people, and would be cheaper to give an enhanced pension than
ruin a province. Yet it cannot be denied that the considerations
I have referred to, do prevail, and that the Manipur disaster was,
in a great measure, due to the system, and that with proper care it
could never have happened.

When I was in Manipur no European could enter the state without
obtaining the permission of the Durbar through the Political Agent, and
the Maharajah, very wisely, did his utmost to discourage such visitors,
unless they were friends of the latter. Orchid collectors, and such
like, were rigorously excluded, wisely, again I say, considering the
havoc wrought by selfish traders with these lovely denizens of the
forests of Manipur and Burmah, and when the Burmese war broke out,
very few were those of our countrymen who had visited the interesting
little state. As for myself I quite sympathised with the Maharajah and
I even said a word on behalf of the Sungai (swamp deer) peculiar to
Manipur and Burmah, and advised him to preserve it strictly. I fear it
must be extinct in Manipur by this time. The Burmese war changed all
this; troops poured through the country, and European officers were
constantly passing to and fro, much to the annoyance of the Durbar. Of
course, a stay-at-home Englishman will hardly understand this, but to
anyone knowing natives of India well, it is self-evident, a European
cannot go through a state like Manipur where suspicion reigns rampant,
and where people are wedded to their own peculiar ways, without causing
a great deal of trouble. All sorts of things have to be provided for
him, and though he pays liberally, some one suffers. The presence
of one or two Europeans constantly moving about would no doubt in
itself be a source of annoyance to the high officials of Manipur,
who would always suspect them of making enquiries with a view to an
unfavourable report to Government. All natives of India are suspicious,
and this remark applies with tenfold force to Manipuris.

It cannot, I fear, be denied, that as a race we are a little careless
of the feelings of others. It is possibly due in a great measure
to our insularity; but, whatever be the cause, it is an undesirable
quality to possess. With a regiment of Native Infantry stationed at
Langthabal to support our authority, our prestige ought to have rapidly
increased; apparently the reverse was the case, and from time to time
incidents occurred, which indicated how events were drifting. On one
occasion some sepoys of the Political Agent's escort were hustled
and beaten by some Manipuris at a public festival, and on another the
man carrying the Government mail bag between Imphal and Langthabal,
was stopped and robbed of the mails. Everything seemed to show that
our position was not what it had been. In former days such things
could not have happened.

Kotwal Koireng had always been a bad character, and had for years
been under a cloud. Had I remained in Manipur I should have turned
him out when the Maharajah his father died, and reported the matter
to Government. He was allowed to remain, and proved the ruin of
the state. His blood-thirsty nature soon showed itself, and he
half-roasted two men after a most cruel flogging, the Maharajah
was asked to turn him out of the state, and would probably have
consented, but just at the time a European sergeant shot a cow, the
sacred animal of the Hindoos, an outrage far exceeding any that our
imagination can paint, and the Rajah in his wrath flatly refused to
punish his brother, while such a fearful crime as cow killing, was
allowed to pass unnoticed. Of course the last was an untoward event,
that should never have occurred. We ought not to allow uncultured
Europeans likely to be careless of native feeling and susceptibilities
to enter a state so full of prejudice and suspicion as Manipur.

Thus events followed one another in rapid succession, signs every
now and then appearing which showed that all was not as quiet as
it seemed. I heard from time to time things that made me uneasy,
as I gathered that Kotwal Koireng, now become Senaputtee or
Commander-in-Chief, had much power and influence, and I felt sure
that he would soon make an attempt to oust his brother, the Maharajah.

At last the attempt was made. In September, 1890, the Maharajah Soor
Chandra Singh was attacked in his palace at night, and driven out. He
fled to Cachar and having petitioned the Government of India for
his restoration, proceeded to Calcutta. The case was a simple one,
a palace revolution had occurred and our nominee whose succession
and whose throne we had guaranteed, had been deposed. The course to
be adopted by Government was as clear as the day, Soor Chandra Singh
should have been restored at once and the usurper severely punished
for insulting the majesty of the British Government. Nothing of the
kind was done. It was decided, on what grounds I know not, to break
our pledged word; the Maharajah was to be exiled with a pittance for
his support; his stupid boorish brother who had been set up as puppet
by the Senaputtee was to be Rajah; while the evil genius of Manipur,
the treacherous Senaputtee, was to be exiled. The Government of India
then ordered the Chief Commissioner of Assam to proceed to Manipur
and carry out their decision, including the Senaputtee's arrest.

It is difficult to say which showed the greatest want of wisdom,
the Government in issuing such an order, or the Chief Commissioner
in accepting such a mission, quite derogatory to one of such high
rank. We all know how it ended. The less said about it the better,
it reflects no credit on us. [40]

With one or two things, however, I am concerned, and one of these
is the sentence on Thangal Major, or General as he was called; in
the correspondence usually ignorantly referred to, as "The Thangal
General," a misnomer, Thangal being a name and not a title. This old
man seventy-four years of age had long almost retired into private
life. He was a devoted follower of Soor Chandra Singh, and hated
the Senaputtee whose evil influence he always feared would wreck
Manipur. This probably made the latter recall him to public life, so
as to keep him under his eye; anyhow, he was by force of circumstances
obliged, however unwillingly, to act as a loyal subject of his own
de facto chief.

I have said so much about the old man, that his character will be
well understood. He was a strong, able, unscrupulous man, not likely
to stick at trifles, and, like most Asiatics of his type, capable
of anything. This does not, however, mean that he was worse than his
neighbours, our characters are made by our surroundings, and in Manipur
the surroundings are not of an elevating nature. Thangal was in many
ways kind hearted, in others ruthless, and for the moment cruel,
his wrath flared up and, except when kept aglow for policy's sake,
soon burned itself out.

When first I heard of the outbreak I made two predictions, both proved
to be true. One of these was that, whoever was guilty, Thangal Major
would be accused. I never did think him guilty by premeditation,
but I knew that, as for so long a time he was the strong head of
the executive, he was not loved, and that to save the Senaputtee,
whom I of course at once pitched upon as the "fons et origo" of the
rebellion, and who like all of the blood royal was looked upon as
semi-divine, he would be accused. I read the evidence published,
which I can quite understand appeared conclusive to the tribunal
before which he was tried; reading between the lines, however, with a
thorough knowledge of Manipur as I was able to do, it gave me quite a
different impression. Knowing the old man so intimately as I did, his
way of talking and his way of acting, I am convinced that he was in no
way a willing accessory to the rebellion, that he in no way connived
at the invitation to our officers to enter the palace at night, and
further that he never suggested or consented to their murder! The
whole proceeding was so totally opposed to his policy that he would
never have sanctioned such an act of folly, to say the least. The
Senaputtee richly deserved all he got and more. An unscrupulous and
selfish butcher by nature he played his cards badly and when he lost,
determined to involve his whole family and loyal dependents in the ruin
which his own insensate folly had brought on him. I quite acknowledge
old Thangal's many faults, but I also remember his good qualities,
and shall ever regret that he came to such an untimely end.

As regards the disposition of the throne I have a word to
say. Recognising as I do the necessity of maintaining the firmness of
our rule and prestige to the utmost, a rule that is of incalculable
benefit to millions, I quite approved of a heavy punishment being
exacted as a terrible warning to all time, when we re-conquered
Manipur. It cannot be denied that we showed unseemly want of nerve when
the news of the disaster arrived. There was no necessity to place Assam
under a military ruler, nor was there any need for such a formidable
muster of troops, at a vast expenditure of money and suffering, to
retrieve a disaster brought about by such an extraordinary want of
courage, nerve, forethought and common-sense. [41] Our position in
Manipur had never been a dangerous one, and even after the murder
of the Chief Commissioner's party the troops in the Residency might
easily have held their own till daybreak, when all opposition would
have collapsed, and the rebels would have fled, leaving our people
masters of the situation.

I have expressed my opinion as to the mistake we made in not restoring
the Rajah before the outbreak of March, and now I ask the question,
why, after the rebellion was put down, we did not do our best to
repair the evil by restoring Soor Chandra Singh to his own? He,
or his infant son, might have been restored, and have been kept in
a state of tutelage as long as necessary, and good government would
have been secured and our pledge to Chandra Kirtee Singh have been
maintained intact. Instead of this, an obscure child, a descendant not
of Ghumbeer Singh, but of Nur Singh, was selected, and the old line cut
off from the succession, and yet three generations had been faithful
to us. Ghumbeer Singh, Chandra Kirtee Singh, and Soor Chandra Singh
all served us loyally, and yet we suffered the last to die of a broken
heart in exile. Well might he exclaim, "And is this the reward for so
many years' service!" For my part I say emphatically, let us beware,
we have not heard the last of Manipur!

My sense of right and justice make me record facts as they strike me,
and yet I cannot help acknowledging as I do so, that the Government
of India is the best government in the world. When has India been
so governed, and what country in Europe has such an able and just
administration? Surrounded by difficulties, material, financial and
political, badgered by ignorant members of the House of Commons,
for ever asking foolish questions and moving foolish resolutions;
the stately bureaucracy plods steadily on with one object in view,
the good of the people. If at times it makes mistakes, who does
not? The greatest General is he who makes fewest mistakes, and,
judged by this standard alone, the Government of India has the first
rank among governing bodies. It has, however, a title to honour which
no one can assail. It is the only instance in history of a body of
foreigners who govern an Empire, not for their own benefit, but for
the benefit of the races committed by Providence to their charge. May
Providence long watch over it!


[1] Resolution. Political Department, No. 87, 1872.

[2] Birmingham Daily Post, June 15, 1895.

[3] Printed official reports.

[4] One of the witnesses at the trial of the Regent and Senaputtee of
Manipur, in 1891, stated that Mr. Quinton was partly induced to enter
the palace from which he never emerged alive, by the Manipuris saying,
"Are you not our deity?"--Ed.

[5] The Assam Administration Report of 1877-8 writes of it as
"notoriously unhealthy, and it had long been proposed to move the
troops to a higher and less feverish spot."--Ed.

[6] When I first went to Assam almost all elephant-catching was done
by noosing.

[7] The country bordering on the Bhootan Dooars in the Ringpore

[8] See subsequent sketch of Naga tribes in Chapter III.

[9] Sir James (then Lieut.) Johnstone headed a party to clear an
Assamese village from a panther that had killed several natives and was
terrifying the district. It retreated into a house which he ordered
to be pulled down, and as his men were thus engaged it sprang from a
window on to his shoulder. With his other arm--the left--he fired at it
behind his back and wounded it sufficiently to make it loose its hold,
and rush off into the jungle, where it was killed in the course of the
afternoon. His arm was terribly injured, and he always considered that
he owed complete recovery of the use of it to the kindness and skill
of an English medical friend who came from a great distance to attend
him. Every one else who was wounded by the same panther died.--Ed.

[10] Captain Butler was struck by a spear from a Naga ambuscade,
near the village of Pangti in the Naga Hills on December 25, 1876. He
died on January 7. He had held the appointment of Political Agent
for seven years, and was the son of Colonel Butler, the author of
'Scenes in Assam' and 'A Sketch in Assam,' the earliest accounts of
that eastern border.--Ed.

[11] "The influence exercised by Colonel McCulloch as a political
agent at Manipur was most beneficial," wrote the Times, April 1, 1891,
"and since his time no one has been more successful than Colonel
Johnstone, who took charge in 1877, and rendered conspicuous service
by raising the siege of Kohima by the Nagas in 1879."--Ed.

[12] As Assist-sup. of the tributary Mehals, Sir James (then
Lieutenant) Johnstone endowed schools at Keonjhur and presented the
Government with some land he had bought for the purpose. When the
Rajah, during whose minority he had managed the affairs of Keonjhur
as political officer, came of age, the agency was abolished for

[13] I rewarded Kurum, and he distinguished himself later on.

[14] The name means beautiful garden.--Ed.

[15] Tannah means outpost.--Ed.

[16] Probably a corruption of Khatyra.

[17] I.e. Unclean.

[18] Mentioned frequently later on. In August, 1891, he was a
fugitive from the British Government, hiding himself on the Chinese

[19] Here a British native regiment was stationed, after Sir
J. Johnstone's retirement, but some time before the troubles of

[20] Quoted by kind permission of editor from my article in Nineteenth

[21] Quoted by kind permission of editor from my article in Nineteenth

[22] It will be seen later on that this rumour was not correct.--Ed.

[23] A different place from Konoma.--Ed.

[24] A Sikh.--Ed.

[25] The Jubraj, who afterwards reigned as the Maharajah Soor Chandra
Singh, died in exile; Kotwal Koireng and Thangal Major were hanged in
August, 1891, by order of the sentence passed upon them for resisting
the British Government.--Ed.

[26] In 1891, the Jubraj, then the ex-Maharajah, brought forward
this fact in his appeal to the British Government, as a reason for
his restoration.--Ed.

[27] The savage mode in which the Nagas conduct their warfare is
vividly described by a correspondent of the Englishman writing from
Cachar, January 28, 1880, after a raid on the Baladhun Tea Gardens
by a band of the same tribe as those of Konoma. He ends with "The
whole was a horribly sickening scene, and a complete wreck; and such
surely as none but the veriest of devils in human form could have

[28] The order came in a telegram purporting to be from the Chief
Commissioner, and by whom really transmitted is a mystery. The
Deputy-Assistant Quartermaster General's Report of this Naga Hill
Expedition states, that after Lieutenant-Colonel Johnstone's Kuki
levies had attacked Phesama, and killed about two hundred of the enemy
in consequence of the loss of some of their own men from an assault
from this village, the Manipuri army performed no other operation in
this war (except as coolies and bringing in supplies, and in this
respect they were invaluable). But he adds, "Colonel Johnstone,
it is understood, was anxious to attack Konoma on his own account
without waiting for General Nation and the troops." Colonel Johnstone
explained in a memorandum that no arrangements had been made by the
military authorities for the carriage of the guns, and that up to
the evening before the attack on Konoma he had received no request
for coolies, but foreseeing some neglect of this kind he had kept
over one hundred reliable Manipuris for the work, and without them
the guns could not have gone into action. As to the rest of his levy,
they had lost three hundred men by sickness, and like all irregulars,
had been injured by the long delay and enforced idleness. They had
also been already fired upon by our troops in mistake for Nagas,
and he feared some unfortunate complication if he brought them again
to the front. But one hundred and fifty at the request of General
Nation were posted in the valley to intercept fugitives, and they did
what they were told. Another force was also left to help to protect
the camp at Suchema. Colonel Johnstone therein states that he felt
confident he could have captured Konoma with his Manipuris alone,
directly after the relief of Kohima. The Konoma men, in fact, offered
to submit on harsher terms to themselves to Colonel Johnstone than
were afterwards wrested from them by General Nation with the loss of
valuable lives, and at a heavy pecuniary cost.--Ed.

[29] I also heard from an old Mozuma friend, Lotojé, that the enemy
intended to concentrate all his fire on the officers, so as to
render the men helpless. I told this to the General and Major Cock,
and strongly advised them to do as I did, and cover their white
helmets with blue turbans to render themselves less conspicuous,
urging the inadvisability of needlessly rendering themselves marks
for the enemy's fire. The General refused, and Cock said he should do
as the General did, so I said no more; admiring their dogged courage,
but wishing that they would take advice.

[30] Sharp stakes of bamboo hardened in the fire.

[31] The official medical report of this campaign gives a deplorable
account of the sufferings of the wounded, and the gangrene which
affected the wounds in consequence of the extremely insanitary
condition of the Naga villages and stockades, where the Naga warriors
had been congregated for weeks expecting the attack--an additional
reason why the immediate pursuit into their strongholds which Colonel
Johnstone had recommended after the relief of Kohima should have been
carried out--failing the acceptance of the harsh terms of peace. See

[32] This was the road along which Colonel Johnstone had marched to
relieve Kohima. The old route from the capital of Manipur to Cachar
was easy enough in comparison.--Ed.

[33] All wars rest in winter.

[34] Chief Court.

[35] Major Edward Dun died on the 5th of June, 1895.--Ed.

[36] Known as Regent during the recent troubles.

[37] "The Senaputtee seemed determined to wipe away all signs of
British connection with the State. Not only were the charred remains
of the Residency still further demolished, but every building in the
neighbourhood, and the very walls of the compound and garden were
levelled, and the graves of British officers were desecrated. The
Kang-joop-kool Sanatorium, twelve miles from the capital, built by
Sir J. Johnstone, was burnt, and his child's grave dug up."--Times'
telegram, May 3, 1891.--Ed.

It appears by the official correspondence that the Senaputtee sent
seven Manipur sepahis to open the child's grave, and scatter the
remains, out of spite to Sir J. Johnstone, whom he knew had wished him
to be banished, and who (on account of the Senaputtee's exceptionally
bad character) would never admit him into the Residency. For this act
the British military authorities had the sepahis flogged.--Nos. 1-11,
East India (Manipur) Blue Books.--Ed.

[38] "Oh! for a moment of Colonel Johnstone's presence at such a
crisis," wrote a British official from Manipur, to the Pioneer, in
1891. "One strong word with the ominous raising of the forefinger,
would have paralyzed the treacherous rebel Koireng (Senaputtee)
from perpetrating this outrage."--Ed.

[39] Major Trotter. He received wounds from an ambuscade, and died
of their effects, July, 1886.--Ed.

[40] "The general history of the Manipur incident," wrote the Times
in a leading article, Aug. 14, 1891, "must inspire mingled feelings
in the breasts of most Englishmen. The policy in which it originated,
cannot be said to reflect credit on the Government of India, while the
actual explosion itself was precipitated by a series of blunders which
have never been explained. There seems to be little doubt that had
the Government of India made up its mind promptly on the merits of the
dynastic quarrel between the dethroned Maharajah and his brothers, the
Senaputtee would hardly have been able to commit the crimes which have
cost him his life. But for five months the Government of India seemed
to accept the revolution accomplished last September in the palace of
Manipur. That revolution was notoriously the work of the Senaputtee,
although he chose, for his own reasons, to place one of his brothers
on the throne. The Government did not indeed assent to the change,
but their local representative does not appear to have taken marked
steps to express his disapproval. He is said to have tolerated and
condoned it to this extent, that he kept up friendly relations with the
new ruler as with the old. On the deplorable mistakes which led up to
the massacre, and made it possible, it is unnecessary to dwell. They
are still unaccounted for, and so many of the chief actors in that
fatal business have perished, that it is more than doubtful whether
we shall ever know exactly to whom they severally were due."--Ed.

[41] Three columns (one alone numbering 1000 strong), were marched
at once on Imphal, which was found deserted. The Regent was the
last of the princes who fled. He released the surviving English
prisoner, and sent him to the British camp to ask for an armistice;
but this was refused until he delivered up the Englishmen already
dead. The Manipuris, then expecting no mercy, opposed the march of
the troops.--Ed.

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