The Corner

Re: Horrifying Fact


The Englishman in question was Sir Charles Napier, who said, “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

Napier was particularly effective at fighting insurgencies, and indeed at composing epigrams about them.  He is reputed to have said, “The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed,” and also that “so perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another.”

Perhaps his most pithy remark however, was his one-word despatch to London following his conquest of Sind.  It read simply, ‘peccavi.’


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