Charles Napier Quotes

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Charles Napier Quotes

A poignant example of what it often takes to bring about an end to a superstitious barbaric act may be seen in the Indian practice of suttee, or the burning of widows. The British government abolished suttee by outlawing it, and followed up by severely punishing transgressors. As the nineteenth-century British commander in chief in India, General Charles Napier, told his charges who complained that suttee was their cultural custom that the British should respect: Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.
— Michael Shermer —

A poignant example of what it often takes to bring about an end to a superstitious barbaric act may be seen in the Indian practice of suttee, or the burning of widows. The British government abolished suttee by outlawing it, and followed up by severely punishing transgressors. As the nineteenth-century British commander in chief in India, General Charles Napier, told his charges who complained that suttee was their cultural custom that the British should respect: Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

— Michael Shermer

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