SLEEMAN, William Henry. Stratton, Cornwall 18.8.1788 — at sea 10/25.2.1856. Sir. British Colonial Officer in India. Son of Philip Sl., lost his father in 1798, mother 1818. In 1809 joined the Bengal Army as infantry cadet, was immediately sent to India. From 1820 Ensign, 1814 Lieutenant, in 1814-16 in the Nipal war. Assistant Adjutant-General for the Sagar and Nerbudda Territories, from 1820. 1825 Captain. In 1825-35 Magistrate and District Officer in the future Central Provinces. General Superintendent of the Operations for the suppression of Thagi from 1835 (assisted from 1829), and also of Dakaiti, from 1839. 1837 Major, 1843 Lieutentant-Colonel. Resident at Gwalior, 1843-49, and at Lucknow 1849-56. Advised against the annexation of Oudh; his assasination attempted, 1851. 1853 Colonel, 1854 Major-General. Since 1854 ill, retired and died at sea off Ceylon. Married 1829 Amélie Blondin de Fontenne, seven children.
WHS became famous for his opposition of Satī and his independent opinions of economy, and still more for his determination in the suppressing of the Thags. His Rambles and Recollections is full od descriptions of local customs.
Publications: Ramaseeana, or a Vocabulary of the Peculiar Language used by the Thugs. 1836.
– “History of the Gurkha Mandala Rajas”, JASB 6, 1837, 621ff.
– Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official. 1844, 2nd ed. 1893.
– An Account of Wolves nurturing children in their Dens. Plymouth 1852.
– A Journey through the Kingdom of Oudh in 1849–50. 1858.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; Wikipedia with portrait.