Fun_People Archive
23 Apr
Quote of the day - Napier

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 96 12:28:58 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Quote of the day - Napier

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: Duncan Thornton <cmeditor@MTS.Net>
Forwarded-by: (Quote of the day)

Today's quote comes from James Morris's history of the British Empire,
_Heaven's Command_.  George Napier, the conqueror of Sind, faced occasional
resistance to his `abrupt and soldierly methods' of social improvement:

But he was concerned as always for the welfare of the common people ... and
considered himself the sole judge of their needs.  Suttee [widow-burning],
pleaded the Brahmans of Sind, now faced for the first time with reform, was
an immemmorial custom. `My nation also has a custom [Napier replied]. When
men burn women alive, we hang them. Let us all act according to national
custom!'  Wife-killing was perfectly legitimate, it was pleaded for a
convicted murderer, if the wife had angered the husband.  `Well, I'm angry.
Why shouldn't _I_ kill _him?_.'"

[Morris comments that this attitude may have had its birth when Napier had
been sent to the North of England to put down the Chartist rebellion of 1839.]

This good, self-opinionated man, facing the Chartist leaders at a moment
when England seemed on the edge of revolution, had declared his principles
to the angry working-class men before him. He supported sympathetically, he
said, everything they stood for: but if they ever provoked riot and disorder
in pursuit of those honourable ends, by God, he would shoot them all.

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