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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sleeman, Sir William Henry

SLEEMAN, SIR WILLIAM HENRY (1788–1856), Indian soldier and administrator, was born at Stratton, Cornwall, on the 8th of August 1788. He was the son of Philip Sleeman, yeoman and supervisor of excise. In 1809 he joined the Bengal army, served in the Nepal War(i8i4-i8i6), and in 1820 became assistant to the governor-general's agent in the Saugor and Nerbudda territories. He is best known for his suppression of the Thugs or religious murderers in India, becoming superintendent of the operations against them in 1835, and commissioner for the suppression of Thuggi and Dacoity in 1839. During these operations more than 1400 Thugs were hanged or transported for life, one of whom confessed to having committed over 700 murders. Detection was only possible by means of informers, for whose protection from the vengeance of their associates a special gaol was established at Jubbulpore. Sleeman was resident at Gwalior 1843-1840, and at Lucknow 1849-1856. He was opposed to the annexation of Oudh by Lord Dajhousie, but his advice was disregarded. He died at sea on his way home on the 10th of February 1856.

See Sir H. Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official (1844; 2nd edition, 1893), and A Journey through Oudh (1858).