Page:Young India.pdf/132

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carcasses on the trees.[1] Both sides vied with each other in their cruelties.

The victors have immortalised the reprisals (or say, the iniquities) of the vanquished by building

    patronised by high class authorities, that 'for three months eight dead-carts daily went their rounds from sunrise to sunset to take down the corpses which hung at the cross-roads and market-places,' and that 'six thousand, beings' had been thus summarily disposed of and launched into eternity."

  1. See Kaye and Malleson's History of the Mutiny, vol. II, p. 177. "Already our military officers were hunting down the criminals of all kinds, and hanging them up with as little compunction as though they had been pariah-dogs, or jackals, or vermin of a baser kind. One contemporary writer has recorded that, on the morning of disarming parade, the first thing he saw from the Mint was a 'row of gallowses.' A few days afterwards the military courts or commissions were sitting daily, and sentencing old and young to be hanged with indiscriminate ferocity. On one occasion, some young boys, who, seemingly in mere sport, had flaunted rebel colours and gone about beating tom-toms, were tried and sentenced to. death. One of the officers composing the court, a man unsparing before an enemy under arms, but compassionate, as all brave men are, towards the weak and the helpless, went with tears in his eyes to the commanding officer, imploring him to remit the sentence passed against these juvenile offenders, but with little effect on the side of mercy. And what was done with some show of formality either of military or of criminal law, was as nothing, I fear, weighed against what was done without any formality at all. Volunteer hanging parties went out into the districts, and amateur executioners were not wanting to the occasion. One gentleman boasted of the numbers he had finished off quite 'in an artistic manner,' with mango-trees for gibbets and elephants for drops, the victims of this wild justice being strung up, as though for pastime, in 'the form of a figure of eight.'"

    On mock trials see Holmes' History of the Sepoy War, p. 124. "Officers, as they went to sit on the court martial, swore that they would hang their prisoners, guilty or innocent. . . .Prisoners condemned to death after a hasty trial were mocked at and tortured by ignorant privates before their execution, while educated officers looked on and approved." "Old men who had done us no harm, and helpless women with sucking infants at their breasts felt the weight of our vengeance, no less than the vilest malefactors."