Blowing from a gun
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Blowing from a gun is a method of execution in which the victim is typically tied to the mouth of a cannon and the cannon is fired. George Carter Stent describes the process as follows:
The prisoner is generally tied to a gun with the upper part of the small of his back resting against the muzzle. When the gun is fired, his head is seen to go straight up into the air some 40 or fifty feet; the arms fly off right and left, high up in the air, and fall at, perhaps, a hundred yards distance; the legs drop to the ground beneath the muzzle of the gun; and the body is literally blown away altogether, not a vestige being seen
Blowing people away from guns is a method of execution reported back from 16th century, into the 20th century. The method was utilized by Portuguese and Spanish colonialists in the 16th and 17th centuries, from Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka, as early as 1509), to Mozambique and to South America, for example in Brazil and Chile. Also from the 16th century, the method is attested to have been used by the Mughal emperors on the Indian sub-continent, in Ottoman Turkey, in Algiers, and, possibly, in the Sultanate of Aceh on Sumatra. The Mughals used the method throughout the 17th century and into the 18th, particularly against rebels, while in late 17th century Algiers, at two different occasions of being besieged and bombarded by the French, the Algerians blew the French consuls from one and the same gun in retaliation, in addition to other Frenchmen blown up at the same time.
A number of successor states on the Indian sub-continent continued the Mughal tradition in the 18th and 19th centuries, whether governed by Hindus, Sikhs or Muslims. The practice also spread into 19th century Egypt, Persia and Afghanistan, early 20th century cases being attested in Persia, while the practice is said to have been still in use in Afghanistan until 1930.
Arguably, the nation most well known to have implemented this type of execution is Great Britain in its role as colonial master in India, and in particular, as a punishment for native soldiers found guilty of mutiny or desertion. The British began implementing blowing from guns in the latter half of the 18th century, with the most intense period of use being during the repression of the Great Rebellion of 1857.
- 1 Rituals
- 2 The British in India
- 3 Uses elsewhere
- 4 In fiction
- 5 References
- 6 Bibliography
A commonly reported method of blowing a man from a gun is to tie him in front of the muzzle of the gun, and then have him shot. Loading the cannon with an actual cannon ball is on occasion reported, but more commonly, the use blank cartridge or grapeshot is attested. The following description of the manner of tying up the convicted is from Afghanistan, 7 July 1839, ordered by Shuja Shah, during the campaign against Dost Mohammad Khan
The three men were then tied with ropes to the guns, their backs against the muzzle. The rope, fastened to one of the spokes of the wheel, passed with a knot round the arms, over the muzzle of the gun, round the other arm, and then to the spoke of the opposite wheel, which kept the body fixed.
Although immobilizing a victim in front of a gun before firing the cannon is by far the most reported method, a case from 1596 Istanbul alleges that the victim was actually put into the gun, and executed in that manner. Some reports exist that attest that on occasion, people were fastened to rockets, and blown into the air. This is said to have occurred for a Brahmin under Hyder Ali's reign (1761–1782), and also, in an 1800 treason case, in the Mahratta Empire
Things did not always work out according to plan at such executions; at a mass execution at Firozpur in 1857, there was an order that blank cartridge should be used, but some loaded with grapeshot instead. Several of the spectators facing the cannons were hit by the grapeshot, some had to amputate limbs as a result. In addition, some of the soldiers had not been withdrawn properly, and sustained damages by being hit by whizzing pieces of flesh and bone. In another case, a soldier who were to be shot, managed to fall down just as the shot went off, with the resulting scene taking place:
One wretched fellow slipped from the rope by which he was tied to the guns just before the explosion, and his arm was nearly set on fire. While hanging in his agony under the gun, a sergeant applied a pistol to his head ; and three times the cap snapped, the man each time wincing from the expected shot. At last a rifle was fired into the back of his head, and the blood poured out of the nose and mouth like water from a briskly handled pump. This was the most horrible sight of all. I have seen death in all its forms, but never anything to equal this man's end"
Other reported with shudders how birds of prey circled above the execution place and swooped down to catch human pieces of flesh in the air, while others were nauseated by the dogs loitering about the place of execution, and rushed to the scene to devour some of the "delicacies" spread around as a result of the execution.
The British in India
Blowing from a gun as a method of execution was used, perhaps most well known, by British troops during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The British, however, had a long tradition prior to the 1857 rebellion to execute sepoys found guilty of mutiny or desertion in this manner. According to one historian, the British tradition began in 1760, when the government examined the modes of capital punishments in use. In the district of the 24 Perganas, it was found that the common military mode of capital punishment was flogging to death. Regarding blowing from a gun as an old Mogul punishment, the Government opted for this technique, as being, relative to death by flogging, more deterrent, more public and more humane. Already in 1761, orders were given in Lakhipur "to fire off at the mouth of a cannon the leader of the thieves who was made prisoner, that others may be deterred". Technically, in cases of court-martial, it seems that until 1857, the courts were composed of native officers, rather than British, but, it is added: "although they are presided over, and generally led and ruled, by the superintending officer, whose duty, however, is merely to transcribe the evidence, and assist the native officers with advice and counsel"
In March 1764, a subedar (native officer) thought to entice his troops over to the enemy, and he was court-martialed, and blown from a gun in front of the troops. In September the same year, Major Hector Munro executed 24 (or 25) "ring leaders" who caused a battalion to desert (the desertion being on account of "lack of rewards", "scarcity of provisions" and problems with climate and disease). Approving of the execution, one commenter said: "no disposition to mutiny was thenceforth manifested". In 1775, a commandant Muctoom Sahib incited his men not to embark for Bombay. Muctoom Sahib was blown from a gun, and the men embarked to Bombay without causing more trouble for the British. In 1782, mutinies broke out in Bardhaman and Barrackpore. Three mutineers were sentenced to death by court in Bardhaman, 2 of whom to be blown from a gun, the last to be hanged. In the Barrackpore trials, 4 of the 5 on trial were sentenced to be blown from a gun, while the last was to receive a thousand lashes and "to be drummed out of the cantonments with a rope around his neck". During the Third Anglo-Mysore War (1789–1792), six regiments mutinied over arrears of pay and held their officers confined. When order was restored, two of the most active were blown from guns. Not only mutineers were blown from guns, but also soldiers found guilty of desertion, as is shown from a few cases in 1781 and 1783.
Not only sepoys were executed by being blown from a gun. In 1798, mutiny broke out in the British unit 1st Battalion of the Madras Artillery. One British soldier was condemned to be blown from a gun. This, however, seems to have been exceptional, and one historian says that the soldier Forster is the only European on record for having been blown from a gun by the British authorities.
In 1804, during a military engagement, the troops under Lieutenant Birch's command refused to quit the ground of their encampment. Colonel Burn deemed harsh measures were necessary, convened a courts-martial, and two of the officers involved were blown from guns and 9 others "severely flogged". With full approval of the action, the writer observes:
a measure which, there is every reason to believe, had the best effect, as the corps behaved during the subsequent siege with the greatest steadiness and propriety.
In the 1806 Vellore Mutiny beginning with a night massacre of British officers and soldiers, with many Sepoys killed during the suppression, saw in its aftermath the sentencing of 6 individuals to be blown from the guns In 1812, a plot was discovered at Travancore to kill the European officers, two ring leaders were blown from the guns, several others hung. In 1819, six deserters who had joined the ousted rajah of the annexed Kingdom of Nagpur were apprehended by the British, and were blown from the guns 7 February. In 1832 Bangalore, a conspiracy allegedly designed to exterminate all Europeans was discovered. Out of some 100 implicated, 4 were sentenced to be blown from the guns, two others to be shot.
19 June 1833, Dr. Gilchrist tried to pass a motion at the East India House which would forbid the use of such punishments as flogging and blowing people from guns. The motion was unsuccessful, and Dr. Gilchrist withdrew it.
Sometimes, although a person was condemned to death, he might hope for a pardon or a commutement of the punishment. In 1784, a regiment mutinied over lack of pay. Lieutenant General Laing suppressed the rebels, and ordered 12 to be blown from guns. The last of the twelve was very lucky, however: Bound to the cannon's mouth, he had to endure three times that the fuse burnt out. He then asked Lieutenant General Laing if he was really destined to die in this manner, and Laing chose to pardon him. In 1795 Midnapore, 5 sepoys were in Court Marial condemned to be blown from guns on account of mutiny, 3 others to be hanged. Their cases were appealed, however, and their sentences were commuted to be dismissed from service instead. In the 1824 mutiny at Barrackpore, occasioned by the resentment of sepoys to be shipped to the front in the First Anglo-Burmese War, four days after the bloody suppression of the mutiny, one of the leaders, Bindee Tiwarree of the 47th regiment was found hiding, disguised as a faqir. In the ensuing court-martial, he was condemned to be blown from a gun, but instead, he was hung in chains, and after his death placed in a gibbet for a few months. In 1836, a sepoy was found guilty of having fled before the enemy, and abandoned his European officers. Rungish was condemned to be blown from a gun, but the sentence was commuted into "transportation beyond the sea"
The Great Rebellion
To appreciate the scale and frequency of the executions made by the British during the 1857 insurrection, one may, for example, look at the reports of incidents given in merely a single journal, "Allen's Indian Mail", for the year 1857. The 8 June, two sepoys from the 35th Light Infantry was blown from guns. 10 June, in Ludhiana, Peshawar, some 40 from the 54th regiment were blown from guns. The 13 June, ten sepoys from the 45th Regiment at Firozpur was blown from guns, two hanged. The same day, in Ambala, 10 sepoys from the 54th Regiment suffered the same fate. The 26th of the same month, in Aurungabad, 1 was blown from guns, 1 hanged, and 3 were shot. The 8 July, in Jhelum, it is assumed that captured rebels will be blown away. On the 19th, Aurungabad, 1 was blown away, 2 shot. The 5 September, Settara, 6 were blown away. 17 September, Multan, 1 was blown away, 121 were summarily executed. The 23 September, in Karachi, 1 was blown away, 7 were hanged and 20 deported. (The local body count on court-martialed individuals reached then the numbers of 4 blown away, 14 hanged, 22 deported and 3 beheadings). At the end of October, in Rohilkhand near Agra, 1 was blown away. On 16 November, Bombay, two sepoys from the 10th regiment were blown away.
As an example of official statistics, rather than a collection of newspaper reports, in an 1859 paper to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on the rebellion in the Peshawar Valley in the Punjab, for the period May–September 1857, 523 were recorded executed, of them 459 shot by musketry, 20 hanged (13 for desertion) and the last 44 blown from a gun. Of those 44, 4 were executed on charges of desertion, rather than mutiny An official July–November statistics for the area about Agra says that of 78 who were given capital sentences, two had their sentence commuted into imprisonment, whereas 4 were blown from guns. Another official statistics, this time from Indore states that of 393 sepoys officially punished, 32 were executed, 21 of them by being blown from guns.
The above cases are examples of execution after formal court martial, and does not, therefore, record deaths as occurring during battle or during informal executions or massacres.
Several British were convinced that the sepoy insurgents had blown British women from guns. A specific case, mentioned by several sources, concerns that of Mr. and Mrs. Birch, Mrs. Eckford and Mrs. Defontaine, all of whom were said to have been blown from guns at Fatehgarh
The Rebellion of 1857 was not the last time that British military used blowing from a cannon as an execution method. In 1871, for example, 65 members of the Sikh sect Kukas or Namdhari were executed by the military, by being blown from guns.
In the first half of the 19th century, a number of reports attest that blowing people from guns were used by Egyptian forces. In particular, cases are attested concerned with Egyptian military forays into Arabia, the Sudan and Greece, and also against people resisting to be enrolled in the army.
In 1815, the amateur archaeologist Belzoni met Ibrahim Pasha, son of the ruler Muhammad Ali and noted his fondness for this type of execution. In Arabia 1818, two rebel sheikhs were executed, one by having his teeth drawn and hammered into his skull, the other by being blown from a gun. In 1836, Khurshid Pasha had several Wahhabi opponents in Arabia blown from guns.
Occupying parts of the Sudan, in particular the Kordofan from the 1820s, several local leaders were blown from guns in 1823 and 1824, and in the 1830s, a particularly notorious governor, Muhammad Bey was said often to resort to this type of punishment. One of the stories told about him is that when a farmer came to him and complained that one of the Bey's soldiers had stolen a sheep from him, Muhammad Bey became extremely annoyed at this presumptious peasant, and had him blown from a gun. Another source says that about 20 such stories floated about concerning Muhammad Bey's use of cannons to despatch people he didn't like. In 1837 in Berber, the local governor Abbas Aga had a thief blown from a gun. In the late 1840s, then governor Mustapha Pasha is said to have used the punishment against robbers.
During the Greek War of Independence, Ibrahim Pasha himself was stationed in Greece during the latter half of the 1820s, and was said to use this type of execution quite frequently. Around al-Qurn (where the Valley of Kings is), hundreds of local residents resisted enrollment in the Egyptian army around 1824; several of them were blown from guns as a punishment. In 1832, there was a local rebellion near Luxor, several of the rebels were blown from guns. In 1855, several Arabs sought to avoid enrollment in the army, Ahmed Pasha blew away a number of them, and made slaves out of others.
Algiers and the Barbary States
In 1552, the Turkish adventurer Salih Reis was on his way to conquer Algiers, and on his march, he captured the city, and sultan of Touggourt. The young sultan managed to convince Salih Reis his resistance to Reis had been due to the false counsels of his advisor, and Salih Reis had the advisor promptly blown from a gun. In a 1637 work by Pierre Dan, "Historie de Barbarie et des Corsaires", there is a picture gallery of various alleged execution methods among the corsairs. In the depiction of blowing the person from a gun, the condemned is sitting on top of the cannon with his legs bound fast in front of the muzzle. Writing in 1670, Olfert Dapper mentions a maritime death penalty practiced by the local corsairs; namely that after chopping off the hands and feet of the condemned, the person was lashed to the mouth of a gun, and blown away. In 1683 and 1688, the consuls of France in Algiers were blown from one and the same gun in defiance of the French fleets come to bombard the town. Henceforth, that cannon was called "The Consular". At the 1683 instance, several other Frenchmen were said to have met the same fate as the consul, and in the 1688 case, 48 other Frenchmen are said to have been blown from guns. A century later, in 1783, during the Spanish bombardment of Algiers, the tables were turned, and an Algerian captain and five of his associates were caught, and blown from the guns. In the genealogy chart of the Blood family from Essex, it is recorded that a Thomas Blood (1750–1790) participated in another scuffle between the Spanish and Algiers, was taken prisoner, and blown from a gun.
- Moroccan civil war
In 1906, anarchy developed in Morocco under Sultan Abdelaziz, as his elder brother sought to replace him. In August that year, rebels raided a group of loyalists, looted their cattle, and had 7 of the loyalists blown from guns. Just a few months earlier, the throne pretendent Abd al-Hafid had become sufficiently angered at the mockery of him that a street jester performed during a carnival in Melilla, and had the jester blown from a gun.
- Île de Gorée
On the tiny island Gorée, nowadays a commune in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, the French kept a pen for slaves prior to shipment across the Atlantic. Residing on the island during the 1740s, Antoine Edme Pruneau de Pommegorge witnessed the retribution meted out for a conspiracy hatched among some 500 captives of the Jola people. Two of their chiefs were blown from guns.
- Gold Coast
In 1782, at the Fort Moree close to Cape Coast Castle in modern Ghana Captain MacKenzie blew a deserter from a gun, also by the name of MacKenzie, without giving him a court-martial. The case against Captain Mackenzie came up in 1784 at the Old Bailey, and he was found guilty and condemned to death. The jury recommended mercy, however, and in December 1785, Captain MacKenzie received a royal pardon.
- German Kamerun
At a hearing 1.December 1906 at the Reichstag, the delegates were shocked how German military behaved against the native population. Among other atrocities mentioned, one lieutenant in the colony Kamerun was alleged to have blown away from cannon's mouth three natives suspected of theft.
- Natal province
After a Zulu chief rejected a new tax, a white man sent to collect the tax was assegaied; another white man was also killed. In punishment 12 Zulus were blown from the muzzle of a cannon before an audience that included several chiefs
During Francisco Barreto's 1569–1573 campaign in Monomotapa (Great Zimbabwe), he at one time imprisoned some 50 Muslim individuals, and had them "impaled, blown from mortars, torn apart on tree-trunks, axed or shot". In mid-18th-century Tete, in north-western Portuguese Mozambique, the capital punishment for slaves are said to have been to be blown from guns, and in the first decade of the 19th century, it is reported that an inveterate raider chief was caught by the Portuguese, and blown from a gun.
- South America
In the La Araucana, a poem describing the heroic resistance of the Mapuche people in Chile under Caupolican from 1553 to 1558 against the Spanish, it is said that at one incident, the Spanish blew away from guns 13 native fighters.
In 1618 Brazil, native resistance against the Portuguese was unshaken, although a leader of them, Amaro, was taken prisoner and blown from a gun.
In 1817, Colombia, a merchant boat was assaulted by pirates on the Cabullari (a tributary to the Orinoco), and excepting one person who escaped, everyone was murdered. When a sabre belonging to a missing Colonel McDonald was found among some of those living around the area, several of them were pronounced guilty of piracy and murder, and blown from guns at the fort San Fernando in Santa Marta.
After the 1791 Haitian revolution on then French Saint Domingue, the Europeans found the situation precarious, and in 1794, the British sent a "relief force" to Port au Prince. The French inhabitants were not much pleased, however, and a conspiracy formed against the British. Some 15 conspirators were shot 18 February 1795; one source, long after the event, alleges that a French baker was convicted for having plotted to poison the British garrison, and was blown from a gun.
After the British withdrawal, the Haitian Revolution evolved into the so-called War of Knives, in which the rival leaders Andre Rigaud and Toussaint Louverture fought for supremacy, the latter being the victor. "Captured mulatto leaders were blown from the mouths of cannons; at Port-au-Prince some six hundred Rigaud sympathizers were tied back to back, towed out to sea on barges, bayoneted, and tossed out to the sharks" It seems that under Toussaint, such executions occurred even after Rigaud's power was broken. In one case, some 8 "men of color" were blown from the mouths of guns in front of the church of Gonaïves, and in November 1801, after Toussaint's adopted nephew Hyacinthe Moïse revolted against him, and massacred some 300 "Whites" in the process, Toussaint set up a summary court martial and blew Moïse from the mouth of a gun.
Blowing from a gun as a method of execution has a long and varied history on the Indian sub-continent, and many reports from the mid-18th century and onwards testify for its varied use. The execution method was used during rebellions, and as punishment for a variety of crimes, performed among several native groupings and also, on occasion, in collusion with, or to the benefit to, various European colonial interests, such as the British or the French.
- The Mughal tradition
Several historians note that blowing people from the guns as a method of execution was an "old Mughal punishment" on the Indian sub-continent. Already during the reign of the first Mughal emperor, Babur, his son Humayun, is said to have blown from guns 100 Afghan prisoners 6 March 1526, in one incident of his father's many struggles against the Lodi dynasty. During the latter half of the 17th century, members of the Jat people in Northern India rebelled and raided against the Mughal Empire, and the emperor Aurangzeb is said in one account to have ordered one of their leaders blown from a gun. Purbeel Singh, said to have been the last Hindu chief of Umga, close to Aurangabad in today's Bihar state, was reportedly taken by an unnamed Mughal emperor to Aurungabad, and blown from a gun. The Sikh rebel Banda Singh Bahadur was finally vanquished in 1716 by the emperor Farrukhsiyar, and after his execution, Banda's son was ordered to be "blown to bits by a cannon".
While the above cases are examples of rebels, or military adversaries being blown from guns, the Mughal era also contain a few examples of using this form of execution for other types of perceived crime. For example, in a rather anecdotal story from the times of Jahangir (r.1605–1627 AD), the emperor had six mullahs blown from guns, for having consented to, and given approval of, the forcible abduction and marriage of a Hindu girl to a Muslim officer. In 1714, thieves were a severe annoyance to a marching army; a trap was made, and two thieves caught by the concealed guards were later blown from guns. During a siege in 1719, the problem of deserters was eventually solved for the commander of the Mughal army, by blowing 4 deserters caught in the act from guns, in presence of his troops.
- British and French embroilments, 1752–1760
The Second Carnatic War (1748–54) was a conflict about who was to be the Nawab of the Carnatic, in which the French supported the claimant Chanda Sahib, while the British supported Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah. Some time prior to their defeat at the Battle of Bahur the French had managed to entice the princes of Mysore and the Maratha Empire to secretly defect from the British Alliance. Soon after the battle, the Mysore regent, Nunjeraj, sought by devious means to wrest control from the British of Trichinopoly, by sending two assassins to shoot the British leading officer there, Captain John Dalton The assassins were apprehended prior to the act, Nunjeraj denied all knowledge of the plot and on the solicitation of Murari Rao, the Maratha commander, the assassins were pardoned, but not after having been bound before the mouths of cannons.Just five days later, Nunjeraj tried once again to send in two men to seduce one of the sepoys to betray Dalton, but the soldier was a loyal man, arrested the two and brought them before Dalton. The two men carried upon them instructions for the plot signed by Nunjeraj, and in order to send a stern message to Nunjeraj, Dalton did blow these two from guns. After that, Nunjeraj was unable to find others to try a similar attempt.
The plottings of Nunjeraj/Nanderauze was by no means over, however. In 1754, it was discovered that he had bribed the interpreter for the British at the court of Muhammed Ali, a man called Poniapah, to sow distrust towards the British in general, and in particular, towards the commander of the British sepoy corps, Muhammed Yusuf Khan. The nawab Muhammed Ali had the interpreter promptly blown from a gun.
The Seven Years' War principally fought between European powers, also spread to India, and tensions increased in different native states due to demands of loyalty from the British and French, respectively. The French commander, Thomas Arthur, comte de Lally, was especially infuriated by the recalcitrance of Pratapsingh, the raja of Thanjavur. In 1758, just before Lally sought to force the issue by invading Karaikal, he had six Brahmins blown from guns at Trivalore, for asking suspicious questions, declaring them to be spies for the raja. The raja himself felt obliged at about the same time to blow from a gun a man found guilty of murdering a man and a woman at Trivalore. In 1760, some of Lally's sepoys went on a strike for not having received any pay, and Lally chose at random one of them to be blown away with a cannon, the cannonball hitting the man in his chest.
- Native power struggles, 1760s–1780s
After Siraj ud-Daulah's defeat at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and subsequent execution, Mir Jafar was installed as a puppet ruler by the British as nawab of Bengal. His position was not secure, however, and had at least two men, at different occasions, blown from guns on suspicions of their links by the previous regime. In 1768, some letters implicating Mir Jafar's successor Muhammad Reza Khan in treasonous behaviour came in the possession of the British; they declared those letters as forgeries made by enemies of Reza Khan, and in case had a man blown from guns for having authored such a letter.
In the 1730s, the Hindu Twipra Kingdom evolved into a client state of the Mughal Empire, its local rajas closely supervised, or effectively sidelined by Muslim governors. Around 1765, the governor Shamsher Khan became so universally hated for his oppressions that the Nawab of Decca had him blown from a gun, installing by the aid (and growing dominance of the British) the puppet ruler Krishna Manik from the local dynasty. In 1768, the nawab of Cambay, Muftakhar Khan Nurruddin Muhammed Khan Mo'min Khan II (r. 1743–1783) had the writer Ambha Ram blown from a gun for his too close association with nawab Nuruddin's secretary Aga Rashid, who had purloined considerable sums from taxations. In the wake of the death in early 1775 of the nawab of Oudh, Shuja-ud-Daula, there were several palace intrigues on whom to gain the trust of the new nawab, Asaf-Ud-Dowlah, and of the losing party of courtiers, some 15 individuals were executed or assassinated, one of them by being blown from a gun. Some years thereafter, the historian Tabatabai visited the capital city Lucknow. During his stay, several officers who had tried to desert the nawab's service due to meagre pay were blown from guns.
- Maratha rulers
The Maratha Empire, the predominant native dynasty on the Indian subcontinent in the latter half of the 18th century, used blowing from guns against internal and external enemies, and in its various embroilments against the growing British Empire, this type of execution was utilized, for example against Marathan commanders captured by the British.
In 1774, in the power struggles with the British prior to the Treaty of Surat (the breaches of which led to the First Anglo-Maratha War (1775–1782)), the Marathan commander at a strategically important fort, Bhawanrao Kadam, became the victim of political intrigues, and ended up being blown from a gun by the British.
In the second war against Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, the Marathan commander Hurry Punt Purkhay became aware in 1777 that contingents in his army had been bribed to defect to the enemy, and he had the leading person in that defection blown from a gun.
Private enmities developing into ever more convoluted plots, when one of the antagonists was a favourite of the local governor in the Gwalior State under Mahadaji Shinde whereas the other antagonist was not, led in 1783 to the execution of Rhaman, by blowing him from a gun, at the instigation of the governor's favourite Lullabhy.
Not all cases of blowing from guns in context of the Maratha Empire occurred within the friction zones with external enemies, or that they were approved, or executed, by the central authorities within the Empire. For example, in the successor state of the Maratha Empire, the Baroda State, the ruler, Govind Rao Gaekwad (r. 1793–1800) had for a couple of years prior to his death been at war with a too independent governor, Aba Shelookur. Shelookur was notorious for his cruelties and was reported at one time to have blown from a gun a French soldier of fortune, known by the name Moussa Jan (Monsieur Jean), in order to gain hold of his wealth.
In the infightings of various Maratha chiefs in the 1790s, the Scindia dynasty under Daulat Scindia is reported to have used blowing from guns as one of many execution forms against enemies. During a rebellion in 1798, for example, one Maratha rebel leader was fastened to rockets and blown up, two others were blown from guns, three had their skulls crushed with tent mallets, and two leaders were poisoned. Two years later, in January 1800, on advice of his father-in-law, Daulat had two Brahmins executed on charge of treason, one by being fastened to rockets and blown into the air, the other by being blown from a gun.
The Irish adventurer George Thomas, who deserted from the British Navy in 1781, and went on to become a highly successful general for a Maratha chieftain was faced by a serious mutiny in 1799. He promptly had one of the instigators blown from a gun, and the revolt was quelled.
The Ramoshi people had a reputation for being fearless warriors, and were employed in that capacities by several Maratha states. Some, though, used their position and weapons to plunder the countryside, and to end the depredations of one such band, a leader Hybutty (with attained rank Naik) was blown from a gun in 1806.
From 1803 to 1818, the Khandesh district in west-central India was plagued by the guerilla warfare of the local Bhil people on the one hand, and the indiscriminate slaughter of them by the nominal Maratha authorities on the other hand. The Bhil people had had that reputation for quite som time, for example in 1799, an inveterate robber chief of their tribe, Wallojee, had been blown from a gun. But from 1803 the situation became even worse:
From a high precipitous rock adjoining the fort of Untoor, hundreds of this guilty though unfortunate race were annually hurled to destruction over the perpendicular scarp; and the towns of Dhurumgaum, Chaleesgaum, and Kopurgaum, will long exist in the memory of the tribe, as the sites of the most fearful scenes of indiscriminate slaughter,—where large bodies, assembling under the full pardon of Government, were beset by concealed troops; where the men in hundreds were beheaded or blown from guns; where the women were mutilated and burnt in wells, and where the little children were dashed to death against the stones. Among a nation who consider it disgraceful to forgive an injury, and who bequeath the -blood feud to their heirs, such treatment was not likely to pass unatoned : a deep and implacable hatred was nourishad towards its oppressors, and every opportunity of vengeance was greedily enjoyed with the most savage atrocity.
On the commencement of a siege in May 1818 of a stategic fort close to Nagpur during the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Colonel Adams sent an emissary into the city with what he thought of as favourable terms for surrender. The commander there, however, became highly indignant, and is said to have blown the emissary from a gun as his response to Adams' offer.
Cases of blowing people from guns, or executing them with similar means are noted in this south-western principality under the reigns of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. In a case of religious persecution during Hyder Ali's reign, for example, a Brahmin "was covered from head to foot with sky-rockets and was blown up into the air". At the beginning of Tipu Sultan's reign in 1782, a plot was hatched under a certain Anchi Shamia. With approval of the Sultan's mother, a number of the rebels were blown from guns, the companions of Shamia were impaled, and Shamia himself was loaded with irons and put in an iron cage. In 1784, after the commandant at Mangalore had surrendered that fort to the British, Tipu Sultan became enraged, and had the commandant, and several of the officers blown from guns.
During the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1798–1799), the final conflict between the British and the Mysorean ruler Tipu Sultan, one of the British sepoys, a man called Timnaick, chose to rebel, and became an annoyance for some years. He was caught close to Mangalore in 1801, and was blown from a gun.
- Sikh rulers
During the minority of the Sikh ruler Maha Singh, several victories were scored against Muslim adversaries. Grave reprisals for those on the losing side are noted. In 1775, for example, the son of slain enemy commander Ghulam Muhammad Chetta was blown from a gun.
During the reign of Ranjit Singh (r.1799–1839), founder of the Sikh Empire, capital punishment was rare, it was never ordered by him, nor inflicted by his express permission. However, in distant provinces, he did not interfere with the actions of governors like Avitabile, who set up hanging as a standard punishment for everything from larceny to murder, and like Huree Singh, who summarily decapitated criminals, or had them blown from guns.
The death of Ranjit Singh plunged the Sikh Empire into a state of anarchy and civil war. In 1841, his son Sher Singh emerged as the victor, and he is reputed to have blown several of his opponents/remaining rebels from the mouths of guns. In 1849, a partisan (Shoojan Singh) for the anti-British governor at Multan, Dewan Mulraj, sought to poison the then British loyal commander Sher Singh Attariwalla. Shoojan Singh was blown from a gun.
- Thuggery and banditry
Inveterate robbers, in particular when combined with murder as well, could face being blown from guns. In the reign of Raghoji II Bhonsle at Nagpur (1788–1816), several persons who had "outraged", plundered, even murdered participants of a marriage procession were blown from guns. In 1826, in the Cutch State under Deshalji II, British troops caught a robber chief, Umriah, who had his headquarters in neighbouring Sindh. According to the laws of Cutch, the robbers were to be blown from guns. Of Umriah, it is told:
Though emaciated with confinement and the pain of his wounds, he stepped forward to meet death in this appalling shape with his spirit undaunted; and after seeing some of his companions blown to atoms, resolutely walked up to the instrument of his destruction, to which he declined to be tied, and placing his body to the muzzle, demanded permission to be his own executioner.
An odd case of mistaken identity is said to have occurred when a Thug was blown away from a gun, rather than a Dacoit leader with the same name. (Dacoits denoted "common bandits", whereas "Thug" was reserved for loose networks of murderous robbers who in their own eyes, and those of the public, were closely associated with being devotees of the Indian goddess Kali) The local nawab was used to receive large presents from the Thug leader against turning a blind eye to his activities, but ordering the Dacoit leader to be executed, and learning the that Thug leader had been blown from a gun instead, he sighed, and said "God must have ordained it" In his autobiography, the Muslim nobleman Lutfullah relates that when he was about 10 years old in 1811–1812, a chance encounter showed himself to be a Thug (the man, Juma, sought to impress the little boy with his money, and make him a disciple in his "trade"). Lutfullah managed to get away from Juma, reported him to the local authorities, and Juma was eventually blown from a gun. In a letter published in October 1830, William Henry Sleeman, a police officer instrumental in crushing the thug gangs, notes that one of his informants, "an old man", said that in his youth, he had been in a 50-man strong Thug gang of which, when apprehended, 45 were blown from guns, while five had been pardoned.
- More ordinary crimes
Common criminals of various sorts might also be blown from guns. Muhammed Yusuf Khan, the leader of the British corps of sepoys, in 1756, saw the need to blow five thieves from his troops from guns. The Dher caste in the Gujarat was a low caste similar in social status to the Pariahs. In 1806, a man from the Dher caste was blown from guns, on charges of having poisoned several bullocks and other cattle for the sake of their skins. A rather similar, undaunted spirit towards his execution as that shown by the robber chief Umriah, was provided by a man in Bhooge in 1828, who had been condemned to be blown from a gun, after having beheaded his wife and her mother in the midst of prayers in a temple.
When he came to the place of execution, he appeared even less concerned than any of the spectators, and abused the executioner, in no very measured terms, for not tying a knot in the way he wished it. He then ordered him to desist altogether, for he was a bungler, and where was there any necessity for binding him ? The man desisted accordingly, and the fellow turned about bis face to the cannon, and made a satirical bow to it, as if in mockery, and standing upright, and without fear, saw the match put to the touch-hole, and the next moment was blown to atoms
- Other cases
A case of British favouritism of their own, relative to natives is provided by the events evolving in 1762, in their attitudes towards the conflict between Mr. Mott and Harris Choudry. Harris Choudry had for some time been a preferred merchant for the local government in Bengal, but when Henry Vansittart installed Mir Qasim as the nawab, he permitted, at the same time, a Mr. Mott to obtain the merchant privileges hitherto belonging to Choudry. A violent scuffle over a disputed piece of land occurred between Choudry and Mr. Mott, Choudry was branded as the guilty party and was blown from a gun on orders of the nawab, while governor Vansittart did not even bother to use his influence to secure a fair trial for Mr. Choudry.
In 1779 Thirunavalur, a village in the Tamil Nadu, religious violence erupted between the local Hindus and the Andhra Muslims of the Telugu people, initiated by the destruction of some Hindu idols during a procession. 50 of the Hindus were wounded, 8 killed (and none wounded seriously on the other side). Complaining to the local (Muslim) nawab, the Hindus demanded, amongst other items, that the chief instigator on the Muslim side should be blown away from a gun. The nawab didn't even bother to respond, and the European witness to the events, a German priest and missionary, thought this an opportune moment to tell the Hindus that their gods had no power.
In 1799, during the so-called Polygar Wars, Lieutenant Ogilby, whose tiny force was leading an unsuccessful siege of a fort, was approached by to Polygar princes who affected friendship. Unbeknownst to them, Ogilby was proficien in the Tamil language and overheard them plotting treachery towards the British. Ogilby struck first, had them arrested, and threatened to have them both blown from guns unless the fort yielded. On behest of the arrested chiefs, the fort did, in fact, surrender
In 1804, the Dalawah or Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Travancore, Velu Thampi, acting in concert with the British Resident, set out to quell a mutiny among his Nair troops, occasioned by resentment of Velu Thampi's reduction of their pay. Several of the mutineers were hanged, beheaded or shot, some of them blown from guns.
In 1808, a soldier of fortune, Wuzeer Mohammed, approached the reigning Nawab of Bhopal, Ghans Mohammed, saying he was related to the previous nawab. Ghans Mohammed had, however, relinquished control of Bhopal to the Hindu Kingdom of Nagpur, and in a momentary re-taking of Bhopal that year, Wuzeer Mohammed had several conspirators blown from guns, reproaching Ghans Mohammed strongly for his treachery.
The Valangai and Idangai, or "right-hand" and "left-hand", respectively, were former caste divisions in the Tamil Nadu. Conflicts could flare up between the two groupings, and in order to end one particularly annoying brawl, it is said that "one great captain serving in India" in desperation chose to blow from guns one from each faction.
In July 1855, in the northern state of Awadh, a violent conflict between Sunni Muslims and Hindus broke out over the Hindu temple Hanumangarhi, which the Muslims claimed had originally been a mosque. Several hundred Muslims were massacred close to the temple by the Hindus, and a Sunni Muslim leader, Mawlavi Amir 'Ali, sought to inflame the passions further, by invoking Holy War. Eventually, the Nawab of Awadh put his foot down, and har Amir Ali and some 500 of his followers blown from guns, according a deposition made to the British House of Commons (according to another source, Amir Ali and his followers were "mowed down").
The Portuguese explorer Francisco de Almeida is reported to have blown many individuals from guns at Ceylon, around 1509. During the Dutch siege of Colombo in 1656, the city population endured extreme famine. One woman became so starving that the production of milk stopped, and her infant was dying. She chose to kill it, and eat it. Once the Portuguese general became aware of her act of cannibalism, he ordered her blown from a gun, but in this particular instance, the clergy and the principal citizens dissuaded from carrying out the act.
A number of rulers of Afghanistan during the 19th and even into the 20th century are credited with blowing people from guns as a form of execution. In addition, British occupying forces from 1838–42 blew several individuals from guns in Afghanistan.
- The Durrani Empire and the British in Afghanistan
In 1802, the forces of Mahmud Shah Durrani inflicted a crushing defeat on the Ghilzai tribes, and to discourage further aggression, he ordered one leader and his two sons blown from guns, alongside with building a minaret out of Ghilzai skulls. In 1803, when Shah Shujah Durrani ousted his half-brother Mahmud from power, he revenged himself on an ally of Mahmud, Ashik by blowing him from a gun, for having captured by means of treachery Shujah's and Mahmud's half-brother Zaman Shah Durrani, who had been king of the Durrani Empire prior to having been ousted by Mahmud in 1800. In 1809, Mahmud ousted Shah Shujah, and under Mahmud's second reign, the Durrani Empire gradually dissolved. By the aid of the British occupation forces, Shah Shujah was re-instated as emir of Afghanistan in August 1839, but did not longe survive the disastrous British withdrawal in 1842. In connection with Shah Shujah's short, tumultous reign, a number of people were blown from guns. For example, in June 1839, a raiding partoes of Ghilzais targeted the sepoys of the Bengal Army, and made off with a number of their camels. One of the raiders was caught, and blown from a gun. In July, two other Ghilzais were blown from guns, on account of murder A week or so later, in Kandahar, a citizen tried to murder one of the British sepoys there, and was blown from a gun. The British military presence in Kabul was deeply hated, and in August 1841, a local rushed at a minor British bureaucrat as he was strolling in a bazaar, and the local plunged a knife into the stomach of the Englishman. It is said that the inhabitants of Kabul pulled the murderer eagerly to the mouth of the gun from which he was to be blown, saying he had performed a glorious deed. In September the same year, a rebel chief Akram Khan fighting against Shuja's forces and the British was caught, brought to Kabul, and blown from a gun. A more convoluted situation occurred when the orderly of the chief of Dost Mummad Khan's infantry sent a letter of intrigue to Shuja Shah. In order to prevent the orderly from betraying his master's intrigues, Shuja Shah had him blown from a gun.
- Dost Muhammad Khan and successors
In the 1820s, the Durrani Empire had dissolved in a number of warring and raiding groupings, and the situation did not stabilize until Dost Muhammad Khan rose to prominence, for example by gaining control by the Kabul province around 1826. In the process leading up to this unification, a number of robber chiefs, particularly in the Kohdaman Valley (flanked by the modern Ghorband District) were blown from guns, others threatened by that punishment into "lawfulness". In the period from 1839 to 1842, Dost Muhammad Khan was ousted by the puppet emir of the British, Shuja Shah.
It seems that robbers in particular were punished in this way under Dost Mohammad Khan's reign; Joseph Ferrier, visiting Herat in 1845, witnessed one such execution of an incorrigible robber, alongside the severer punishment of the assassin of a lieutenant; the latter was disembowelled alive, and hung up from the chin with a hook. In January 1857, Dost Muhammad Khan's oldest son, Mohammad Afzal Khan, along with the governor of Balkh and other dignitaries at a banquet were the victims of a large scale food poisoning attempt. The responsible cook was detected, and duly blown from a gun.
After Dost Muhammad Khan's death in 1863, his appointed successor Sher Ali Khan became involved in several struggles of power. One of the greatest was against his nephew, Abdur Rahman Khan, who he managed to defeat in 1869. As one of many acts of reprisals, Sher Ali Khan's son Mohammad Yaqub Khan is said in that year to have blown away from guns over 500 rebels at the fortress of Ghazni
- The Iron Emir, 1880–1901
In 1880, Abdur Rahman Khan became Emir of Afghanistan, and he swiftly gained the nickname The Iron Amir for his perceived brutality/strong rule. For example, one source estimates that on his 20 years on the throne, an average of 5.000 executions a year took place, several by blowing people from guns. For example in December 1889 alone, 24 are recorded as having been blown from guns, many others executed in other ways.
- Habibullah Khan, 1901-1919
The death of The Iron Amir in 1901 did not spell the end of executions by means of blowing from guns in Afghanistan. Shortly after his death, for example, Kabul was plagued by a series of night robberies, obviously well planned, and the robbers were not averse to kill persons who woke and tried to stop them. At last, the gang was apprehended, some 30 in all, whereof 5 were blown from guns. It is stated that it was in particular violent robbers who were executed in this way, in addition to those trying to swindle Government funds, guilty of espionage and so on. In 1904, the two thieves of Prince Inayatullahs waistband and sword were duly blown from guns, along with the suspected murderer of a German engineer. In 1906, a serious mutiny broke out in the army, some of the mutineers were blown from guns, as was the 9 ringleaders in an assassination attempt on Habibullah Khan in November 1913. In 1910, the Minister of Education Dr. Abdul Ghani, was under strong suspicion of being part of a conspiracy, and one of his alleged associates, who had been "indiscreet enough to ask the doctor to prescribe for some ailment" was promptly blown from a gun.
- Tajik reign of terror, 1929
In January 1929, a new cycle of extreme violence broke out in Afghanistan when the Tajik Habibullāh Kalakāni became emir. The British minister Humphreys wrote: "None was safe, houses were pillaged indiscriminately, women were ravished and a reign of terror was established unprecedented in the annals of bloody Afghan history". Political opponents were often blown from guns, or executed in other ways. Habibullah's regime was toppled already in October 1929, and now the Kuhestani Tajiks were persecuted. A New York Times article from 6 April 1930 was headlined with:"Eleven Afghans Blown from Guns at Kabul"
Throughout the 19th century, and slightly into the 20th century, blowing from the guns was an execution method occasionally used in Persia, for a variety of offences.
Around 1807 at the age of 18, the Crown prince Mohammad Ali Mirza Dowlatshah was made governor at Kermanshah, and although his rule was called a mild one, an observer once witnessed that two persons were blown from guns "for some trifling offence, which would not have incurred, even in Turkey, a higher punishment than the bastinado"
In 1824, a Georgian slave girl was blown away for having poisoned her mistress, after winning the Battle of Sarakhs in 1832, the Persian army blew a Jewish slave dealer from a gun and plundered his property, in 1833 Teheran, in restoring order from a minor uprising, one of the rebels was blown from a gun, and the two leaders of a minor rebellion in Shiraz in 1836 (they even proclaimed themselves as kings) were blown from guns. In 1843, a feared robber band under the leadership of Hassan Ali was rounded up, and he and 23 associates were sentenced to be blown away from guns over three days, eight at a time. Other punishments were used as well, and in addition to blowing from a gun. For example in 1850, just before Mr. Binning arrived in Shiraz, some 5 habitual criminals had been beheaded, 1 was blown from a gun, and a last one underwent the punishment of shekkeh.
Adherents of the Bahá'í Faith, and its precursor movement, Babism, have experienced several outbursts of persecution in Persia. In 1852, several were blown from guns, one devotee was blown from a gun in 1892, and in Yazd 1903, a general massacre occurred, with one member of the religion being blown from a gun.
In the first decades of the latter half of the 19th century, blowing from guns remained one of several execution types prevalent in Persia, typically for robbers. By the late 1880s, blowing from a gun was considered a benefit for the convicted as the alternative existing methods of execution that would involve long torment before death. By the first decade of the 20th century, one visitor regarded blowing from guns as "practically punishment(s) of the past", although another noted cases even after the Persian Constitutional Revolution lasting 1905–1907. As late as in May 1912, the Australian newspaper The Barrier Miner could publish a photograph from a recent execution where a man was about to be blown from a gun.
In 1816, the local Raja of Rembau (in the modern southwestern Malaysian state Negeri Sembilan) was expelled by the local chiefs on a number of charges, such as wedding two sisters to the same man, blowing a man from a gun on flimsy evidence, plundering a gun from a local chief and other similar charges of abuse of his powers. The Raja admitted to having blown a man from gun, denying the truth of some of the other charges.
On 23 December 1807, in Bencoolen (modern day Bengkulu in south-western Sumatra), the British East India Company's official Resident Thomas Parr was murdered in his bedroom, his wife sustaining injuries. Troops were dispatched from Bengal, and several of the implicated were blown from guns.
In the Sultanate of Aceh at the north western tip of the island, the sultan in 1810 made great efforts to find the pirates who had plundered the European brig Margaret, and had one of the persons convicted of the crime blown from a gun. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, in his (2012) "Courtly Encounters", has an extended discussion and analysis of the fate of Luis Monteiro Coutinho, a 16th-century Portuguese adventurer who his contemporary, Manuel Godinho de Erédia asserts achieved his "martyrdom" at Aceh, by refusing to renounce Christianity, and was blown from a gun on the sultan's orders in 1583.
- Catholic martyrs
Several Catholic sources mention that certain Huguenot and Calvinist groupings massacred Catholics in the 1560s, occasionally by means of blowing them from guns. In 1562 the Calvinist preacher Theodore Beza arrived in Orleans, and either under him or his followers, spreading across the country, one source claims some 5000 priests in total were murdered, some by being flayed alive, others by being blown from guns and by other methods. In 1570, the Calvinist pirate captain Jacques de Sores captured a vessel with 40 Portuguese Catholics bound for Brazil, including Inácio de Azevedo, and had them, reportedly massacred, one of whom was blown from a gun.
- French Revolution
In the turbulent years after the French Revolution in 1789, some indications exist that people were at times executed by means of cannon. In Nieuwpoort in modern day Belgium, for example, the French reportedly discovered 132 "emigrated persons" and had them shot fortwith, 24 having been bound before the mouths of cannons. To quell the uprising at Lyon in 1793, Joseph Fouché was sent by the revolutionary government. According to Paul Hanson, some 200 were blasted with grapeshot on the paline de Brotteaux outside the city. According to other sources, the procedure was, apparently, as follows: "On 4 December, 60 men, chained together, and 211 more the following day. Grotesquely ineffective, these mitraillades resulted in heaps of mutilated, screaming, half-dead victims, who had to be finished off with sabres and musket fire by soldiers physically sickened at the task." It is through events like this that made Fouché infamous as "The Executioner of Lyons."
Concerning the events at Lyon, readers are strongly advised to seek out peer reviewed literature, since several divergent accounts exist, diverging on numbers executed, the dates when it happened, and the means by which the executions were carried out.
- Greek War of Independence
While Ibrahim Pasha, as noted under "Egypt", seems to have blown from guns Greek insurgents in the last half of the 1820s, that particular practice is attested as early as in 1822. One Greek insurgent, called Nano, boasted of having assisted binding six Turks, one at a time, to the mouth of a gun, and blown them to pieces. Nano's own fate at Patras was hardly less gory:
unable to deny the truth of the before-mentioned facts, which, indeed, would have been useless, as his conduct was notorious, he was condemned by the Pasha to be forced alive into, and fired out of, the largest mortar in the fortress; which sentence the Jews of the place were compelled to carry into execution
- Gilbert Islands
In 1876, on the island Abaiang in the Gilbert Islands group, the main island group in the present Republic of Kiribati, a native shot a British shop-keeper, apparently over a dispute over some hair oil. Some months later, the commander on the HMS Renard managed to catch the murderer, and ordered, upon his own authority, to have the man blown from a gun.
In Flashman in the Great Game, written by George MacDonald Fraser and set during the 1857 Indian Rebellion, Harry Flashman a British Army officer who is impersonating an Indian, is knocked unconscious and captured during a British attack on the camp of Rani Lakshmibai. Flashman is assumed to be an rebel and awakens gagged and tied over the muzzle of a gun. He narrowly manages to avoid execution and has the rebels who were to be executed alongside him freed, an uncharacteristically humane act for a character usually portrayed as a liar, a bully and a scoundrel.
- Havholm (2008), p.77
- Calcutta Review (1851), p.395
- Alden (1996), p.55
- Southey (1822), p.469
- Pierce (1984), p.28
- Sabahuddin, Shukla (2003), p.122
- Boyar, Fleet (2010), p.112
- von Rehbinder (1799), p.676
- Subrahmanyam (2012), p. 143–144
- 17th century case, Afsos (1871), p.64, 18th century case Hazārah (2012), p.54
- Hahn (1858), p.238
- Grant(1870), p.185
- Böttiger (1844), p.583
- "Gentleman's Magazine" (1784), p.554
- Sommer (1824), p.334
- Buckingham (1829), p.102
- Noelle (2012), p.290
- Balfour (1922), p.57
- Cullather, Meyerowitz (2003), p.50
- Long (1869), p. 397–398
- February 1781 Parlby (1822), p.188, May 1783 Baillie (1788), p.490, July 1783 Forbes (1815), p.123, October 1783 Forbes (1815), p.133 November 1783 Baillie (1788), p.468
- Long (1869), p.51Page 224
- Allen's Indian Mail (1857), pp. 465, 466, 502, 549, 601, 731,771, 911
- Atkinson (1842), p. 189–190
- Boyar, Fleet (2010), p.112
- Campbell (1839), p.421
- Duff (1826,3), p.190 and Lal, Prinsep (1831), p.127
- Ball, (1859,3), p.411
- Am Peac Soc (1858) p.23
- "It is a curious fact, and well attested by many persons present, that a number of kites (a bird of prey very common in India) actually accompanied the melancholy party in their progress to the place of execution, as if they knew what was going on, and then kept hovering over the guns from which the culprits were to be blown away, flapping their wings, and shrieking, as if in anticipation of their bloody feast, till the fatal flash, which scattered the fragments of bodies in the air; when, pouncing on their prey, they positively caught in their talons many pieces of the quivering flesh before they could reach the ground! At sight of this the native troops employed on this duty, together with the crowd which had assembled to witness the execution, set up a yell of horror".. The description is from the execution of those found guilty in the Vellore Mutiny in 1806, Blakiston (1829)p.309
- In an 1845 Herat case :"It was a scene that I shall never forget—a horrid spectacle, and touched me to the very heart. The broken limbs of the unfortunate man were scattered in all directions, while his bowels, which had not been thrown to so great a distance, were in an instant devoured by the dogs that were loitering about the spot", Ferrier (1856), p.189
- Long (1869), p.51Page 224 for 17 November 1760 decision, footnote remarking that thief was a carpenter named Nayn
- Anderson (1859), p.39
- at that time, Shuja-ud-Daula, who was defeated by the British in the Battle of Buxar some months later
- Broome (1850), p.435
- For 1764 and 1775 events, Butalia (1998), p.273 Hector Munro's report on 24 executed to the House of Commons may be read here: Adolphus (1840), p.268 In his letter dated 18 September to the East India Company, however, Monro says 25, detailing where they were sent for execution, Long (1869), p. 397–398
- Deerrett (1783), p. 83–85
- Almon (1791), p.637
- February 1781 Parlby (1822), p.188, May 1783 Baillie (1788), p.490, July 1783 Forbes (1815), p.123, October 1783 Forbes (1815), p.133 November 1783 Baillie (1788), p.468
- Butalia (1998), p. 273–274
- Grey, Garrett (1996), p.216 However, a case from 1784 in the cantonment at Arcot says that a mutiny over reduced pay broke out in October among European troops, and that one active serjeant was condemned to be blown from a gun. Baldwin (1785), p.390
- Philippart (1823), p.497
- Rosselli (1974), p.52
- Wilkes (1815), p.310
- Macready (1853), p.236
- Detailed report by Captain Doveton from 1844, Doveton (1844), p.620–624
- Asiatic Journal (1833), p. 174–180
- On achieved rank under Madras governor George MacartneyMunro (1789), p.344
- Munro (1789), p.358
- Seton-Karr (1865), p. 181–185
- Wellington (1868), p.332 and Pogson (1833), p. 30–31
- Asiatic Journal (1837), p.58
- Number executed specified in "Government Records" (1911), p.132
- Allen's Indian Mail (1857), pp. 465, 466, 502, 549, 601, 731,771, 911
- Parl. Great Br. (1859), p.80
- Indian News (1858), p.125
- Shrivastav (1971), p.108
- See, for example, remark by Colonel Mylne, Russell (1859), p.45
- In a letter dated 30 August 1857, received by William Muir working as an intelligence officer, the persons were Mr. Bridges (an indigo planter), his wife, his mother-in-law and their daughter Mrs. Eckford. Muir (1902), p.501
- The Inquirer & Commercial News, Wednesday 7 April 1858, "Phoenix", 10 September 1857, Noel (1859), p.461
- In this case, however, the Viceroy of India, Richard Bourke, Earl of Mayo, disowned the action of Mr. Cowan, who presided over the first 49 executions and dismissed that officer responsible for the mass execution.Knight (2012), p.13 However, this was on basis of a procedural point concerning how the trial under Cowan had been held; Mr. Forsyth, Mr. Cowan's superior, also blew the last 16 from guns, sometime thereafter, but according to requirements of "fair trial". Singh (1995), p. 503–507
- Sommer (1824), p.334
- von Archenholz, Bran (1824), p.96
- Allg. Zeit. (1837), p.161 and Venturini (1839), p.294
- MacMichael (2011), p.391
- Pallme (1843), p.11
- Das Ausland (1862), p.570
- Bowring (1840), p.206
- Brehm (1855), p.308
- Yonge (1863), p.523
- Lushington (1829), p.70
- St. John (1845), p.385
- von Kremer (1863), p.134
- von Rehbinder (1799), p.676 and Morgan (1729) p. 371–372 As Morgan himself notes, his source is "Haedo, my author", that is Fray Diego de Haedo's 1612 work, Topografia e historia general de Argel Probably, however, the real author of that work is Antonio de Sosa, captive in Algiers 1577–81. See, for example, Garces (2005), p. 32–33
- Little (2010), p.17
- Dapper (1670), p.167
- On the consuls Le Vacher and Montmasson in 1683 and 1688, respectively (along with a monk Francois Francillon meeting the same fate), Hahn (1858), p.238 On naming of La Consulaire, Wiseman (1842), p.3
- Lane-Poole, Kelley (1890), p.263
- Kippis (1783), p. 170–171
- THE BLOODS OF ESSEX of Witham, Essex, England
- The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (1906) General News, 30.August 1906
- The St. John Sun (1906), Moorish Pretender Has Terrible Revenge
- This does not seem to have quelled the slaves' desire to escape, though, since they revolted again once on the slave ship, killing seven of the crew, only to be subdued when two hundred and thirty of them were killed. Monthly review (1789), p.628 French original, Pruneau de Pommegorge (1789), Description de la Nigritie
- On incident and following trial, Weekly Entert. (1784), p. 589–594 On royal pardon, Christopher (2011), p.319. Captain MacKenzie was not the only British officer who executed one of his underlings without proper procedure. Also in 1782, on the Isle of Goree, at this time under the British governor Joseph Wall, the governor, in a fit of drunken range ordered a soldier flogged to death. Joseph Wall fled justice, but in 1802, he appeared before the Old Bailey, was found guilty and duly hanged. Christopher (2011), A Merciless Place
- Auckland Star (1907), Horrors from German Colonies
- Gandhi (2006), p.107
- Alden (1996), p.55
- According to the same source, this punishment was only inflicted in cases of rebellion, otherwise, deportation was the most severe punishment Thoman (1869), p.111
- Salt (1814), p. 39–40
- Pierce (1984), p.28
- Southey (1822), p.469
- Vowell (1831), p.50
- On simply 15 shot, see for example, Basket (1818), p.179 Lieutenant Colonel Wilkie supplies the additional detail of the French baker in the 1843 edition of "The United Service Magazine", Wilkie (1843), p.82
- Cited from Hochschild (2006), p.289
- North American Review (1864), p. 599–600 72 others are said to have been shot at the same incident, Heinl (2005), p.77)
- European Magazine (1802), p.151 A detailed account of Moïse's revolt, in which it is merely said he was shot can be found in Brown (1837), p. 44–47
- See, for example, Heathcote (1995), p.105 and Fremont-Barnes (2007), p.79
- Sabahuddin, Shukla (2003), p.122
- Afsos (1871), p.64
- Asiat. Soc. Bengal (1847), p.658
- Hazārah (2012), p.54
- Bakshi (1997), p. 103–104
- Irvine (1922), thieves: p.287 and deserters: p.415
- Richard, J, 13 January 2012 Battle of Bahur, 6 September 1752, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_bahur.html
- Buckland(1906), p.108
- Orme (1763), p.262
- Grose (1766), p.167 and Cambridge(1761), p.102
- Orme(1803), p.321
- Pillai, 1757–59 (2002), p.209
- Pillai, 1760–61 (2002), p.344
- Tabatabai (1789,2), p.92, p.108, p.130
- Muhammad Reza Khan
- Khan (2007), p. 150–151
- Calcutta Review (1869), p.171, Asiatic Society of Bengal (1851), p.556
- Web page Cambay (Princely State)
- Robertson, Thomas (1856), p.77
- Scott (1788), p.67
- Tabatabai (1789,3), p.308
- Grant(1870), p.185
- Sen(1994), p.30
- Duff (1826,2), p.337
- Nairne (1894), p.104
- Forbes (1815), p. 233–235
- Forbes (1856), p.23
- Fraser(1851), p. 161–162
- Lal, Prinsep (1831), p.127
- Francklin (1805), p. 205–206
- Mackintosh (1833), footnote, p. 74–75
- Bombay Geog.Soc. (1836), p.139
- Graham, Thomas (1856), p.209
- Beveridge (1861), p.93
- Campbell (1839), p.421
- Kirmani (1997), p.6
- "Gentleman's Magazine" (1784), p.554
- Philippart (1826), p. 173–174 and p.362
- Smyth (1847), p.10
- Punjab General Report (1854), p.11
- Böttiger (1844), p.583
- Edwardes (1851), p. 522–523
- Jenkins (1827), p.269
- Burnes (1831), p.238
- Sleeman (1836), p.151
- Lutfullah, Eastwick (1858), p. 67–79
- Reprint of Sleeman's letter in Calcutta Magazine (1832), p.507, identification of Sleeman as author in Calcutta Literary Gazette, footnote p.472, reference to insertion of that letter in 7 October 1830 Government Gazette, Parlby (1850), footnote p.158
- Archenholz, Orme (1787), p.154
- Hamilton (1820), p.611
- Edinburgh Literary Journal (1829), p. 348–349
- House of Commons (1803), p.301
- Freylinghausen (1781), p.1304
- Philippart (1823), p. 295–296
- One was given the gruesome fate in being tied to two elephants, whereafter the elephants were made to run in opposite directions, tearing him in two. Menon (1998), p.309
- Malcolm (1822), p.258
- Tyerman, Bennet (1832), p.159
- Parl. Great Br. (1859), p.160 and Cole (1988), p. 244–249
- Calcutta Review (1851), p.395
- Ribeiro, Le Grand (1847), p.138
- Noelle (2012), p.290
- Tate (1911), on treachery p.115, on blowing from a gun, p.121
- Holdsworth (1840), p.77
- Hough(1840), p.151
- New Yorker (1839), p.124
- Asiatic journal (1842), p.226 and Ferrier (1858), p.369
- Buist (1843), p. 280–281
- Lal (1846), p.163
- Masson (1844), p.26 In 1836, it is recorded that Dost Muhammad Khan's son Akbar Khan blew robber chiefs from the gun, Vigne (1840), p.229 Another son of Dost Mohammad Khan, Sher Ali Khan is also credited to having blown people from guns while his father was ruler, this time in 1853, against robber chiefs among the Ghilzai people. Noelle (2012), note In 1860, Sher Ali Khan had a soldier blown from a gun, on charges of desertion and wounding other soldiers in a brawl Allen's Indian Mail (1860), p.923
- Ferrier (1856), p.189
- Lee (1996), p.252
- Maw (1869) p.lv
- Apart from blowing from guns, the source mention as well that people could be bayoneted to death, hanged, crucified, disemboweled, sawn in two, hanged or dragged to death behind horses. Akbarzadeh, Macqueen (2008), p.93 Lord Curzon, visiting Kabul in 1894, narrates the following chilling story about a rapist: "One official who had outraged a woman was stripped naked and placed in a hole dug for the purpose on the top f a high hill outside Kabul. It was in mid-winter; and water was then poured upon him until he was converted into an icicle and frozen alive. As the Amir sardonically remarked: He would never be too hot again" Edwards (1996), p.111
- Lee (1996), p.551. In 1891 Herat, a rebel leader was also blown from a gun, p.580
- Martin (1907), on robber gang, p.49 on different groups targeted for this mode of execution, p.168
- Auckland Star (1904), Blown from Cannon
- New Zealand Herald (1905), To be blown from the mouth of a gun
- The Pittsburgh Press (1906), Ameer had Mutineers Blown from Guns
- Poverty Bay Herald (1913), Plotters blown from cannon
- Feilding Star (1910) Soldier Blown from a Gun
- Letter from Humphreys to the Foreign Secretary from 20 January 1929, cited in Roberts (2003), p.51 and p.61 For the case of Ali Ahmad Khan blown by guns in July 1929, see Lee (1996), p.378
- Cullather, Meyerowitz (2003), p.50
- Buckingham (1829), p.102
- Money(1828), p.144
- Lala (1846), p.183
- Zeitschr. D. Morgenländ. (1848), p.407
- Das Ausland (1836), p.15
- Herzog (1843), p.69
- "In this latter mode of execution; the criminal is hung up by the heels, head downwards, from a ladder or between two posts, and the executioner hacks away with a sword, until the body is bisected lengthways, terminating at the head. The two several halves are then suspended on a camel, and paraded through the streets, for the edification of all beholders.", Binning (1857), p.274 A similar case, some 40 years earlier, from 1811 in Shiraz, one thief was beheaded, another blown from a gun, the last underwent shekkeh. Morier (1818), p.96
- Renan (1866), p.379 Mounsey (1872), p.107 Afnan (2008), p.50
- Afnan (2008), p.124
- Fischer, Dwyer (1990), p.127
- 1880 case of 4 robbers, 4 others crucified and some others "built up in lime". On the latter punishment: "A hole about four feet deep is dug in the ground, into which the miserable wretch is placed, after his hands have been tied firmly behind him. The lime is then poured over him until the mass resembles a huge pillar. In some cases death ensues immediately the region of the heart is covered" Anderson (1880), p.109, 1880 Turcoman robber Stewart (1911), p.395, 1880 Kurdish raiders Jackson (1906), p.101 1887 Incorrigible robber chief in Tabriz Wilson (1896), p.185 1898 reprisal campaign against Tangestani brigands Sykes (1902), p.314
- explorion.net • Travel & Exploration • A Ride to India across Persia and Baluchistan • CHAPTER VII. ISPAHAN – SHIRAZ Wills (1883), p.202, De Windt (1891), p.156
- Sykes (1910), p.84
- Balfour (1922), p.57
- The Barrier Miner, Wednesday 15 May 1912, page 3
- Low,Logan (1850), p.20
- European Magazine (1808), p.154
- Heyne (1814), p.373
- Anderson (1840), p.40
- Eredias own account of the events at Subrahmanyam (2012), p. 143–144
- Weis (1827), p.301
- See for example, Daurignac (1863), p.132 and Vogel (1855), p.234
- Münchner Zeitung (1794), p.682
- Hanson (2003), p. 193.
- See Andress (2005), p.237 and Schom (1997), p. 253–255
- For example, in a 1794 dispatch, concerning Fouche's associate Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois, it is stated that some 2000 or 3000 "unhappy persons" were draged unto the Place de Bellecour and massacred by means of cannons filled with graeshot. The European Magazine (1794), p.80 At About.com (retrieved 2 June 2013), in The Terror 1793–94, it is stated that from 4–8 December 1793 individuals were massacred en masse by cannon fire. Referring to an apparently official communique called "Journal des Guillotines", an 1841 periodical notes that at Lyon, 422 were shot, 404 guillotined and 28 blown from cannon's mouth. Monthly Chronicle (1841), p.108
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