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  • The Sentiments of Mr. Charles James Napier

    Posted by Joseph Fouche on September 30th, 2011 (All posts by )

    The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on multicultural understanding and tolerance:

    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.

    The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on effective government:

    The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed.

    The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on how to win friends and influence people:

    The human mind is never better disposed to gratitude and attachment than when softened by fear.

    The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on colonialism:

    So perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another.

    The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on self-improvement:

    Success is like war and like charity in religion, it covers a multitude of sins.

    The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on life’s little setbacks:

    Honorable retreats are no ways inferior to brave charges, as having less fortune, more of discipline, and as much valor.

    Not a sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier regarding south Pakistani tourism:



    9 Responses to “The Sentiments of Mr. Charles James Napier”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      Napier was the balls. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I only had to read Mr Napier’s sentiments, especially after reading his comments on the burning of widows, to know we talking about the Raj and to guess approximately when he was alive, although I was off about 50 years – I had him at about 1820-1900.

      Which bring up the hierarchy of morality. The argument can be, and has been, made that may societies were much better off as colonies than self governing states. But doesn’t their right to self determination and self rule supersede that?

    3. Nicholas Says:

      “Which bring up the hierarchy of morality. The argument can be, and has been, made that may societies were much better off as colonies than self governing states. But doesn’t their right to self determination and self rule supersede that?”

      Yes, it does. It doesn’t change the facts though. It’s an interesting mental exercise to consider what India would be like today had the British never colonised it.

    4. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “their right of self determination”

      Be extraordinarily cautious when you speak of a right as belonging to a group. We like to think of a group as a New England town meeting or the citizens of Athens gathered on a hillside voting on a proposition put forth by Demosthenes. But, that is seldom true. Often the right of self determination is floated by a traditional elite that wants to resume its former place on top of the pyramid, or by an ethnic group that wants to despoil another, or by a demagogue who aspires to be a dictator.

    5. Lexington Green Says:

      People like Napier had rock solid cultural confidence.

      They were also hardcore realists about human nature.

      Building a global empire, on the cheap, by bluff and bluster and paid for by the blood and treasure of other people, requires an illusion-free mindset.

      There are many priceless lessons in the words and deeds of the Victorian era empire builders.

    6. Jim Bennett Says:

      It’s also an interesting question as to is entitled to articulate a right to self-determinaton on behalf of a given population, or even to define who is or is not part of said population. In almost every one of the colonial wars of independence of the latter 20th century, large numbers of local people fought on the side of the “colonizing” power; often more than fought for the independence movement. Often they were part of an ethnic group who were afraid of what the ethnic group dominating the independence movement might do after independence; fears that were quite often validated by subsequent experience. Other times the anti-independence forces were ethnically identical to the pro-independence forces.

      This was also true of the American Revolution, of course.

    7. nemo paradise Says:

      “I have Sind?” Very obscure.

    8. Lexington Green Says:

      Obscure? It is one of the most famous quips in all of military history!

    9. dearieme Says:

      The quip was (allegedly) invented by a young woman at Punch.

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