Charles James Napier

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Sir Charles James Napier

Sir Charles James Napier (10 August 178229 August 1853) was a British general and Commander-in-Chief in India. The city of Napier, New Zealand, is named after him. He is famous for conquering the Sindh province of British India, now in present-day Pakistan.


  • 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.
    • Napier, William. (1851) History of General Sir Charles Napier's Administration of Scinde, London: Chapman and Hall p. 35 at Retrieved 11 October 2013
  • the great receipt for quieting a country is a good thrashing first and great kindness afterwards: the wildest chaps are thus tamed.
    • The life and opinions of General Sir Charles James Napier, Volume 3, page 34
  • The human mind is never better disposed to gratitude and attachment than when softened by fear.
    • Farwell, Byron: Queen Victoria's Little Wars, p. 29
  • Come here instantly. Come here at once and make your submission, or I will in a week tear you from the midst of your village and hang you.
    • After the Battle of Miani, where most of the Mirs surrendered. One leader held back and was told this by Napier.
    • Farwell, Byron: Queen Victoria's Little Wars, p. 29
  • War is detestable and not to be desired by a nation’, adding, 'It falls not so heavily upon soldiers – it is our calling; but its horrors alight upon the poor, upon the miserable, upon the unhappy, upon those who feel the expense and the suffering, but have not the glory.
    • Shadwell, The Life of Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde. Vol. I, 108.
  • Manchester is the chimney of the world. Rich rascals, poor rogues, drunken ragamuffins and prostitutes form the moral; soot made into paste by rain the physique, and the only view long chimney: what a place! The entrance to hell realised!
    • The life and opinions of General Sir Charles James Napier, Volume 2


  • Peccavi
    • In 1843, after annexing the then-Indian village Miani of Sindh against orders, legend has it that British General Sir Charles Napier sent home a one word telegram, "Peccavi", taking use of its Latin meaning "I have sinned" and the heterograph "I have Sindh." This pun appeared under the title 'Foreign Affairs' in Punch magazine on 18 May 1844. The true author of the pun was, however, Englishwoman Catherine Winkworth, who submitted it to Punch, which then printed it as a factual report.

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