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in general strong and well made ; accustomed from their infancy “ to the most laborious life, and hardest fare, they make marches, " and undergo fatigues that really appear astonishing. It their “ excursions they carry no tents or baggage,' except, perhaps, a - small tent for the principal officer: the reft shelter themselves
under blankets, which serve them also in the cold weather to " wrap themselves in, and which, on a march, cover their faddles.
They have commonly two, fome of them three, horfes each, of * the middle fize, strong, active, and mild tempered. The pro" vinces of Lahore and Moultan, noted for a breed of the best “ horses in Hindoflan, afford them an ample fupply; and indeed
they take the greatest care to encrease it by all means in their
power. Though they make merry on the demise of any of their “ brethren, they mourn for the death of a horse : thus shewing “ their love of an'animal so necessary to them in their professional
capacity. The food of the Sicques is of the coarfest kind, and " fuch as the poorest people in Hindostan use from necessity. “ Bread, baked in ashes, and soaked in a mash made of different « forts of pulfe, is the best dish, and such as they never indulge «« in but when at full leifure ; otherwife, vetches and tares, hastily " parched, is all they care for. They abhor smoaking tobacco, " for what reason I cannot discover ; but intoxicate themselves “.freely with fpirits of their own country manufacture. A cup “ of the last they never fail taking after a fatigue at night. Their “ dress is extremely scanty : a pair of long blue drawers, and a
“ kind of checkered plaid, a part of which is fastened round the
waist, and the other thrown over the shoulder, with a mean turban, form their clothing and equipage. The chiefs are dirtinguished by wearing some heavy gold bracelets on their wrists,
and sometimes a chain of the same metal bound round their “ turbans, and by being mounted on better horses : otherwise, no ". distinction appears amongst them. The chiefs are numerous, « some of whom have the command of ten or twelve thousand ca66 valry; but this power is confined to a small number, the in“ ferior officers maintaining from one to two thousand, and many ļ not more than twenty or thirty horses ; a certain quota of which ” is furnished by the chief, the greater part being the individual property of the horsemen.”
From the spirit of independence so invariably infufed amongst them, their mutual jealousy, and a rapacious roving temper, the Sicques at this day are seldom seen co-operating in national concert, but actuated by the influence of an individual ambition, or private distruít, they pursue such plans only as coincide with these motives. An example of their forces being engaged in opposite interests, has been noticed in the case of Mhah Sing, who succoured the Rajah of Jumbo, against the Sicque party, which had invaded his country. Before the chiefs of the Mountaineers country, at the head of the Punjab, were reduced to a tributary state, severe depredations were committed on them by the Sicques, who plundered and destroyed their habitations, carried off the cattle, and, if 0 0 2
strong and well formed, the male children, who were made converts to the faith of Nanock. But since the
But since the payment of a fixed tribute has been stipulated, which does not amount to more than five
per cent. on the revenue, the Mountaineers are little molested, except when the Sicques have been called in to adjust their domestic quarrels..
The extenfive and fertile territory of the Sicques, and their attachment and application in the midst of warfare to the occupa. tions of agriculture, must evidently produce a large revenue. The districts dependant on Lahore in the reign of Aurungzebe, produced, according to Mr. Bernier, a revenue of two hundred and forty-six lacks and ninety-five thousand rupees ;
* and we are naturally led to suppose, from the industrious skill of the Sicques in the various branches of cultivation, that no great decrease of that amount can have taken place since the Punjab has fallen into their possession.
An extensive and valuable commerce is also maintained in their country, which has been extended to distant quarters of India ; particularly to the provinces of Bengal and Bahar, where many Sicque merchants of opulence at this time reside.' The Omichund who took so active, though unfortunate, a share in the revolution, which the English effected in Bengal, was a Sicque; as
• Two millions four hundred and fixty-nine thousand five hundred pounds fterling, at two shillings for the rupee,
is his adopted son, who is now an inhabitant of Calcutta. Merchants of every nation or sect, who may introduce a traffick into their territories, or are established under their government, experience a full protection, and enjoy commercial privileges in common with their own subjects. At the fame time it must be noticed, that such immunities are granted only to those who remain amongst them, or import wares for the immediate supply of the Sicque markets. But the foreign traders, or even travellers, who attempt to pass through the Punjab, are often plundered, and usually ill-treated. In the event of no molestation being offered to people of this description, the escape is ever spoken of with a degree of joyful surprize, and a thanksgiving is offered to Providence for the singular escape. This conduct, inimical to the progress of civilization, and an impediment to the influx of wealth, proceeds from an extreme jealousy of strangers, added to a rapacity of temper, which make them averse to the encouragement of any scheme in whose success they do not immediately participate.
The Sicques are not rigorous in their ftipulations with the Mahometan proselytes, who, if they abstain from beef's fesh, (which is held in equal abhorrence by the Sicques as by the Hindoos), and perform the more ostensible duties, as burning their dead, and preserving the hair of the head, an indulgent latitude is granted in all the other articles of the creed of Nanock. The Mahometans who reside in the Punjab are subject to occasional oppreslion, and often to the intult of the lower classes of the people;
among whom it is not an uncommon practice to defile tlie places of worship, by throwing in the carcases of hogs and other things held impure by the Musselman law. The Mahometans are also prohibited from announcing their stated tiines of prayer, which, conformably to their usage, is proclaimed in a loud tone of voice. A Sicque who in the chace shall have Nain a wild hog, is frequently known to compel the first Mahometan he meets to carry to his home the body of the animal; and, on being initiated into the rites of their religion, the Sicques will sometimes require a Mahometan convert to bind on his arm the tulk of a boar, that by this act of national impurity, he may the more avowedly testify a red nunciation and contempt of the tenets of his former faith. These facts will sufficiently mark the haughty and insulting demeanor, which, with few deviations, forms a prominent feature in the character of the military Sicques ; but we may also ascribe a certain portion of their severe and contumelious treatment of the Maho. metans, to a remembrance of recent injuries.
The discordant interests which agitate the Sicque nation, and the constitutional genius of the people, must incapacitate them, during the existence of these causes, from becoming a formidable offensive power ; nor are they invested with that species of executive strength which is necessary to advance and establish a distant conquest. In the defence and recovery of their country, the Şicques displayed a courage of the most obstinate kind, and manifested a perseverance, under the pressure of calamities, which bear