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First four editions published elsewhere. 

Fifth edition (revised) printed for MacmiUan & Co., 189S. 

Reprinted 1904. 


About two years ago Messrs. Macmillan agreed, at my 
request, to take over the publication of this history ; and it 
appeared to me that the time had come for thoroughly 
revising the whole book. In June, 1896, before the re- 
vision had proceeded far, the fourth edition was exhausted : 
but, altliough it was certain that a considerable time must 
elapse before the work could be finished, the publishers 
thought that it would be unwise to print any more copies 
from the old plates ; and indeed it would have been 
hardly fair to offer intending purchasers a reprint while I 
was trying to make the book better worth buying. The 
structure of the work remains unchanged ; and only such 
alterations have been made as appeared necessary. Wher- 
ever I could detect an inaccuracy, I have corrected it : 
wherever the narrative of military operations was deficient 
in lucidity, I have tried to amend it. I have struck out a 
few superfluous sentences, have added what, to my appre- 
hension, was wanting, and have modified judgements which, 
on reconsideration, appeared misleading or unfair. Among 
the more important alterations and additions are those 
which relate to the Afghan war, the battle of Sacheta and 
the events which led up to it, the battle of Chinhat, the 
defence of the Lucknow Eesidency, Havelock's campaign. 
Lord Canning's Oudh proclamation and the vexed question 
of Sir Colin Campbell's responsibility for the protraction of 
the war. On the whole, the text is enlarged by about 


twenty pages ; and several new appendices have also been 

I am sincerely grateful to Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, 
Sir William Olpherts, General McLeod Innes, Colonel de 
Kantzow, and many other officers who, in response to my 
queries, have given me valuable information. Lord Roberts 
kindly lent me, through the medium of Sir Alfred Lyall, 
the revised proof-sheets of the first volume of his Forty-one 
Years in India ; and Colonel Vibart, with equal kindness, 
allowed me to read the revised sheets of his new volume, 
Richard Baird Smith. 

11 DouRO Place, 

Kensington, W. 
November 4, 1897. 

Note. — With reference to the statement on page 101, that 
the Treasury Guard at Meerut " remained faithful to their 
trust" (which is virtually identical with a statement in Kaye's 
History of the Sepoy War, vol. ii., 4th ed., 1880, p. 61), I have 
been informed by Mrs. Muter that her husband, Captain (now 
Colonel) Muter, of the 60th Rifles, "hearing of the mutiny of 
the sepoys, instantly on his own responsibility despatched a 
company of the Rifles to preserve the treasury and the records, 
who arrived just as the native guard had turned out, irresolute 
what course to take. Lieutenant Austin, halting his com- 
pany in their front, ordered them to ground arms, and locked 
them up." 

Decemler 6, 1903. 


Those who may open this book will not, I think, complain 
that it is wanting in detail or in that element of personal 
adventure which could not properly be excluded from a 
History of the Indian Mutiny. But it does not profess to 
give a minute account of what took place at every station 
and in every district in India during the struggle. A 
narrative minute enough, in most of its chapters, to satisfy 
the most curious reader has already been given to the 
world by Sir John Kaye and Colonel Malleson; and there 
is nothing to justify any one in undertaking to write another 
book on the subject on the same scale as that which they 
adopted. The history of the Mutiny, like every other 
history, must indeed be told in detail, if it is to hold the 
interest of readers : but, while the narrator of recent events 
is expected to give a full account of all that are interesting 
in themselves, the writer who appears later in the field 
ought to reserve his detailed narrative for events of 
historical importance. There is, I am sure, room for a 
book which, while giving a detailed narrative of the chief 
campaigns, of the stirring events that took place at the 
various centres of revolt, and of every episode the story of 
which can permanently interest the general reader, and a 
more summary account of incidents of minor importance, 


should aim at completing the solution of the real historical 
problems connected with the Mutiny. I am only too 
conscious how far my performance of this task falls below 
the standard which I have set myself. Still, I hope that 
my attempt may be of use. The whole truth about any 
period of history is never known until many workers have 
sought for it ; and it is possible that a writer who has 
derived almost all his information from original sources may 
succeed in throwing light upon neglected aspects of his 
subject, and in gaining the attention of some who have 
hitherto known nothing of one of the most interesting 
chapters of their national history. Though this book is so 
much shorter than those which have preceded it, my object 
has not been to write a short history or a popular history, 
in the ordinary sense of the term, but simply to write the 
best history that I could ; to record everything that was 
worthy to be remembered ; to enable readers to understand 
what sort of men the chief actors in the struggle were, and 
to realise what they and their comrades and opponents did 
and suffered ; and to ascertain what were the causes of the 
Mutiny, and how the civil population of India bore them- 
selves during its progress. 

As I have found myself unable to agree, on certain 
points, with Sir John Kaye and Colonel Malleson, it is the 
more incumbent on me to say that, if their books had never 
appeared, the difficulty which I have felt in finding my way 
through the tangled maze of my materials would have been 
greatly increased. In some cases, I am indebted solely to 
those books for information which I might have found it 
hard to get elsewhere. To students of military history 
Colonel Malleson's work will always be indispensable. 


In the last appendix' I have given a short critical 
account of the authorities which I have used. 

In conclusion, I desire to express my gratitude to those 
who have helped me by answering queries, or by allowing 
me to read private letters or manuscripts. 

October 8, 188^ 

Note. — A few slight alterations and additions, based partly 
upon notes sent to me by readers who had served in the Mutiny, 
were made in the second edition, and are referred to in the 
preface to that edition. Some of the few items of information 
for which I was indebted to the works of Sir John Kaye and 
Colonel Malleson I have since verified from original sources. 
Others are contained in letters or memoranda from which they 
gave extracts. 


[Words explained in the text are not given here. Nor are those which 
occur once only in the text, as they aru explained in footnotes. The 
words given below have also been explained in footnotes, but are brought 
together for the convenience of readers.] 



Baniya . 

Grain-dealer or money-lender 

Dacoity . 

Gang- robbery. 

Jamadar . 

Native lieutenant. 


Long rows of huts in which 

sepoys lived. 

Nullah . 

A small stream or ditch. 

Raj . 





Native captain. 


Native revenue-collector. 


Native sword. 


Agent, or man of business. 


Map of North- Western and Central India . to face, page 1 

Battle of Cawnpore (July 16, 1857) . . . ,, 290 

Battle of Najafgarh .^ 367 

Delhi ••....... ' 382 

Battle of Cawnpore (Dec. 6, 1857) . '. . ',', 417 

Lttcknow ...... " 44g 

Map of North-Eastern India .... " 460 

Indoke ' " ^SO 

Map of India r;o2 

Map of Gwalior and its Environs . '. \ " .537 

Map to illustrate the Pursuit of Tantia'topi '' f,4i 

iVori'.— As it was necessary to print separate maps of North- Western and 
Worth-Eastern India, in order to avoid having a map too large for easy reference 
1 have given a small map of the whole of India as well, which illustrates especiallv 
chapters .\iii.-xv. 





EUenborough's dealings with 

Administration of the Punjab 


Siudhia. .... 


Lord Dalhousie's annexation 

His recall ..... 


policy .... 


The Sikhs 


Conquest of Pegu 


First Sikh war .... 


Annexation of Oudh . 


Sir Henry Hardinge tries to 

Inani Commission 


maintain the native govern- 

Case of the Nana Sahib 


ment of the Punjab 


Dalhousie's civilising measures 


Henry Lawrence in the Punjab . 


Review of the efi'ects of the first 

Second Sikh war 


century of British rule . 


Annexation of the Punjab. 



The Sepoy Army 

Origin of the sepoy army . 

Qualities of the sepoys tested 

Idiosyncrasies of Bengal sepoys . 

Golden age of the se^^oy army . 

The first mutinies 

Numbers of European officers 
increased. Powers of native 
officers diminished . 

The reorganisation of 1796 

Vexatious orders issued to the 
Madras army .... 

The mutiny at Vellore and its 
results ..... 

Advantages enjoyed by the se- 

The best officers seduced i'rom 
their regiments by the pro- 
spect of staff employ 

Powers of commandants dimin- 

General order of 1824 

The tragedy at Barrackpore 










Pecuniarj' allowances of officers 
reduced ..... 

Abolition of corporal punishment 

Bad effects of the Afghan war . 

Deterioration of discipline . 

Interference with the sepoys' pay 

A succession of mutinies . 

Sir Charles Napier's dispute with 
Lord Dalhousie 

Dalhousie baulked by a native 
reginrent .... 

Dalhousie and the multitude of 
counsellors .... 

Radical defects of the Bengal 
army ..... 

The vital question 

Disproportion between the num- 
bers of European and native 

Reforms urged by Dalhousie 

The native army on the eve of 
Lord Canning's amval . 









FiKST Ykar of Lord Canning's Rule — Outbreak of 

THE Mutiny 

Resignation of Dalhousie. His 
character and jilace among 
Anglo-Indian rulers . . 66 

Lord Canning . . . .67 

The Sujtreme Council 
Affairs of Oudh . 
The Moulvi 
Persian war 




Treaties with Dost Mahomed 

•General Service Enlistment Act 

Grievances of the sepoys . 

Rumoured designs of Govern- 
ment against caste and 
religion .... 

The greased cartridge 

Action of Government 

Colonel Mitchell and the 19th 
Native Infantry 

General Hearscy and the 34 th 

Mungul Pandy . 

Disbanding of the 19th 

Delay of Canning in punishing 
the 34th 

How he acted, and how he ought 
to have acted 

Excitement at Umballa 


The bone-dust fable . 

The chapatties . 
"* Excitement at Delhi . 

Nana Sahila's tour 

Henry Lawi'ence tries to heal 
discontent in Oudh 

Canning hopes that quiet 











Disbandment of the 34th. Com- 
ments of the sepoys . . 94 
Mutiny at Lucknow . . .94 
Opinions of Canning and his 
counsellors thereon . . 96 

Meerut 96 

Delhi 104 

Action of Canning . . .112 
Action of General Anson, the 

Commander-in-Chief . . 113 
His difficulties . . . .114 

Barnes and Forsyth support him 115 
Loyalty of Cis-Sutlej chiefs . 115 
Panic at Simla .... 116 
Correspondence of Anson with 

Canning and John Lawrence . 117 
Hodson's ride .... 118 
Anson's plan of campaign . .118 
His death and character . . 118 
General Barnard marches for 

Delhi 119 

The British at Meerut. Anarcliy 

in the districts . . .120 
Battles on the Hindan . . 121 
Wilson joins Barnard . . 123 

Battle of Badli-ki- Serai . . 124 
93 I The British encamp before Delhi 125 


The North-Westkrn Provinces, Cwalior, and Rajputana 

The North-Western Provinces 
John Colvin 

Agra. .... 
Policy of Colvin 
Mutinies in the Doiib 
Colvin's proclamation 
Disarming at Agra . 
Preparation of the fort for defence 
Colvin's efforts to restore order 
Muzaffarnagar . 
Shahjahanpiu- . 
Bareilly .... 
Khan Bahadur Khan. 
Budaun .... 

Rohilkhand under Mahomedan 



Farukhabad .... 

Siege of Fatehgarh . 

Character of the mutinies and 
disturbances in the North- 
Western Provinces. 

Gwalior, Sindhia, Dinkar Rao, 
and Macpherson 

Folly of the Brigadier at Gwalior, 
and O)' Colvin 

Mutiny at Gwalior . 

Macpherson persuades Sindliia to 
keep his troops inactive at 
Gwalior. .... 

Rajputana .... 

George Lawrence 

His proclamation 

Colvin and Lieutenant Carnell 
secure Ajmere 

Mutinies at Nusseerabad and 
Neemuch .... 










Shortcomings of Colvin, His 
miseries. He tries to do his 
duty ..... 151 

He removes the ■women and 
children at Agra into the fort 153 

The provisional council . .153 

Battle of Sacheta . . . 155 

The British forced to retire into 

the fort . , . . . 156 

Life in the fort .... 158 
Corres])ondence of Macpherson 

with Sindhia .... 159 
Exploits of Dunlop . . .160 

Death of Colviu . . . 161 


Canning's Policy : Events at Calcutta 

Canniugfails to realise thegravity \ 

of the crisis . . . . 162 j 
He rejects the offers of the Cal- 
cutta volunteers, and refuses to ; 
disarm the sepoys at Barrack- | 
pore and Dinapore. . .163 
He plays fast and loose with 

Jang Bahadur . . .166 
Offers of the volunteers accepted 167 
The Gagging Act . . .168 
Disarming at Barrackpore, Cal- 
cutta, and Dum-Dum . . 170 

Panic Sunday .... 170 
Arrest of the King of Oudh . 171 
Sir Patrick Grant . . .172 
Gloomy announcements . . 173 
The Clemency Order . . .173 
The Arms Act . . . . 174 
Canning refuses to establish 

martial law in Bengal . .174 
Arrival of Outram, Peel, and Sir 

Colin Campbell . . .175 
Review of the first year and a half 

of Canning's administration . 175 


Bengal and Western Behar 

Macdonald at Rohni . . .177 
Halliday and Tayler . . . 177 
Dangerous situation of the Patna 

Division . . . .179 
Resources of Tayler . . .179 
His early measures . . .180 

Patna 180 

The 7th of June at Patna . .181 
Affairs in the districts . .181 
Halliday will not believe that 

Patna is in danger . . . 182 
Tayler in vain urges General 

Lloyd to disann . . .182 
His measures for the preserva- 
tion of order . . . .182 
Conspiracy and sedition . . 184 
The nativeswho .supported Tayler 185 

Red tape 186 

Major Holmes . . , .186 

Sliall the Dinapore sepoys be 

disarmed? . . . .187 

JIutiny at Dinapore . . .189 
Kunwar Singh .... 190 
Siege of Arrali .... 191 
Dunbar's expedition for the relief 

ofArrah . . . .192 
The garrison of Arrah still holds 

out 194 

Vincent Eyre . . . .195 
He resolves to relieve Arrah . 196 
Battle of Gujrajganj . . . 197 
Arrah relieved . . . .198 
Eyre follows -ap his success . 198 
Dangers which encomj)assed 

Tayler after Dunbar's failure . 200 
His withdrawal order . . 201 
How Lautoiu- and Jloney acted 

upon it . . . . . 201 




Review of Tayler's conduct . 203 
Halliday dismisses Tayler . . 203 
Subsequent conduct of Halliday 204 

Nemesis .... 
Tayler's struggle for redress 




Benares and Allahabad 

The line between Calcut 

ta and 

Delhi . 

. 208 


. 208 

Frederic Gubbius 

. 210 


. 210 

Mutiny at Azamgarh 

. 210 

James Neill 

. 211 

How he dealt with the railway 

officials at Calcutta 

. 211 

He arrives at Benares 

. 212 

The crisis 212 

Mutiny at Jaunpur. Anarchy 

in the districts . . .214 

Allahabad .... 215 

The mutiny and its consequences 217 
Brasyer saves the fort . .218 
Neill arrives and restores order . 219 
The cholera . . . .221 
AVhat Neill had done, and what 

he hoped to do . . . 221 



Cavvnpore ..... 223 
Sir Hugh Wheeler . . . 224 
His selection of a place of refuge 225 
Reinforcements arrive . . 225 
The treasury placed under the 

charge of the Nana Sahib . 226 
The agony of suspense . . 226 
The mutiny . . . .227 

The siege 229 

The capitulation . . . 236 
The massacre on the Ganges . 237 
Pursuit of the fugitives . . 238 
The Nana proclaimed Peshwa . 240 
The Beebeegurh . . .241 
Last act of the tragedy of Cawn- 
pore 242 



Anxiety of Canning for Oudh . 244 

Henry Lawrence . , . 244 
How he dealt with the population 

and the sepoys . . . 246 

The news from Meerut and Delhi 

arrives ..... 248 

Lucknow ..... 248 

Arrangement of the garrison . 249 
The Residency and the Machi 

Bhawan .... 250 
Behaviour of the people of Luck- 
now and the sepoys . . 252 

Telegram from Cawnpore . . 252 

Unselfish exertions of Lawrence 252 
Martin Gubbins . . .253 
He advises the disarming of the 
sepoys. Lawrence rejects the 

advice ..... 253 

Mutiny of May 30 . . . 254 

Condition of Oudli , . . 256 
Story of the fugitives from Sita- 

pur 257 

Mutinies in the districts . . 259 

Behaviour of the population . 260 



Affairs at Lucknow . 

Failing health of Lawrence 

The provisional council 

The pensioners .... 

Mutinies of the military police . 

Suggestions of Gubbins 

Battle of Chinhat 

Commencement of the siege 

Death of Lawrence . 

Brigadier Inglis 

The position which he had to 

defend . . . . . 
The besieged and the besiegers . 
The siege ..... 
Henry Havelock 
He is chosen to command a 

column for the relief of Cawn- 

pore and Lucknow. 
His preparations at Allahabad . 
Composition of his column 
He marches from Allahabad 
Battle of Fatehpur . 
Battle of Aung .... 
Battle of the Pandu Naddi 
Battle of Cawnpore . 
Havelock at Cawnpore 
]5attle of Undo .... 
Battle of Bashiratganj 
Havelock obliged to retreat 





His correspondence with Neill . 

Second battle of Bashiratganj . 

Havelock again obliged to retreat 

Neill appeals to him for help 

Havelock advances again, and 
fights another battle 

His retreat to Cawnpore and its 
effect ..... 

Battle of Bithiir 

Havelock superseded by Outram 

Character of Outram . 

He goes to join Havelock . 

He leaves to Havelock the glory 
of relieving Lucknow 

Composition of Havelock's aug- 
mented army 

The passage of the Ganges 

Final advance towards Lucknow 

Battle of Mangalwar . 

Battle of the Alambagh 

Havelock's plans for eti'ecting a 
junction with thegarrison over- 
ruled by Outram . 

Feelings of the garrison 

Morning of 25th of September . 

Advance of the column 

Excitement of the garrison 

Street-iighting . . . . 

The welcome . . . . 









The Punjab and Delhi 

State of the Punjab . 

Tne Punjab officers . 

John Lawrence 

News of the seizure of Delhi 

reaches Lahore 
The ball at Meean-meer 
The disarming parade 
Montgomery's circular letter 
Measures taken for the safety 

of Aniritsar, Pliillaur, and 


Mutiny at Ferozepore 
Achievements of the Punjab 

officers on May 13 and 14 . . 
Peshawar . . . . . 

Herbert Edwardes 







Sydney Cotton. General Reed. 

Neville Chamberlain . . 318 
Council at Peshawar . . . 319 
John Nicholson . . .319 

Resolutions of the council . . 321 
State of the Peshawar Division . 323 
Startling revelations . . 323 

Measures of Nicholson . . 324 
The crisis at Peshawar . . 325 
Colonel Spottiswoode . . 326 

The story of the 55th . . 326 
Ajun Khan and the garrison of 

Abazai 328 

Policy of Edwardes and Cotton . 328 
JuUundur and Ludhiana . . 330 
Disarming at Mooltan . . 333 



General policy of the Punjab 

Government .... 333 
Behaviour of the people . . 335 
The Gis-Sutlej States . . 337 

Lawrence's imperial policy . 338 

March of the Guides for Delhi . 339 
British position before Delhi . 339 
Barnard's situation . . . 340 
The proposed coup-de-mrdn , 341 
Encounters with the enemy . 344 
Arrival of Neville Chamberlain 

and Baird Smith . . . 345 
The British communications en- 
dangered .... 346 
Disappointments of Barnard . 346 
His character .... 347 

His death 348 

The question of assault reopened 348 

Wilson 348 

Deeds and sufferings of the 

army ..... 349 
State of affairs inside Delhi . 352 
The Peshawar versus Delhi con- 
troversy . . . .354 
State of the Punjab . , .358 
Jhelum and Sialkot . . . 359 
Measures of Montgomery . . 359 
Nicholson in command of the 

Moveable Column . . . 359 
Battles at the Trimmu Ghat . 360 
Nicholson marches for Delhi . 361 
Cooper and the mutineers of the 

26th 362 

Edwardes and the capitalists of 
Peshawar .... 363 


Troubles on the border . . 364 
Mutiny at Peshawar . . . 364 
Syad Amir and the Mohmands . 365 

The agony of suspense 

Nicholson at Delhi . 

Battle of Najafgarh . 

When shall the assault be de- 
livered ? . . . . 

Wilson's address to the army . 

Failure of the mutineers to con- 
centrate in sufficient strength 
upon Delhi .... 

The siege ..... 

Plan of assault .... 

Examination of the breaches 

Preparations for the assault 

Advance of the columns . 

Operations of the first and second 
columns .... 

Of the fourth column and the 
cavalry brigade 

Attack on the Lahore bastion . 

The Kashmir gate 

Operations of the third colimin 
and the reserve 

Results of the day's fighting 

The debauch of Sept. 15 . 

The exodus .... 

Conduct of the British soldiers . 

Capture of Delhi completed 

Movements of the King 

Hodson ..... 

Hodson and the King 

Hodson and the King's sons 

Death of Nicholson . 









Later Events in the Punjab — ■ Operations consequent on 
THE Fall of Delhi — First Two Campaigns of Sir Colin 

Insurrection in Murree 

Insurrection in Gugera 

Greathed's march through the 
Doab ..... 

Battle of Agra .... 

Hope Grant appointed to com- 
mand Greathed's column 

Operations of Van Cortlandt and 
Showers .... 


Retrospect of affairs in Ri'ijpu- 


tana . . . . . 


Battle of Narniil 



Affairs at Delhi after its recap- 


ture . . . . . 


Results of the fall of Delhi 



Sir Colin Campbell . 
Blockade of the Lucknow garri- 



son . . . . . 




L. Did John Lawrence send the Moveable Column to Delhi 


M. The Assault of Delhi 

N. HoDSON of Hodson's Horse 

0. Brigadier Greathed and the Battle of Agra 

P. Was Holkar Loyal during the Indian Mutiny- ? . 

Q. Did Sir Robert Hamilton direct Sir Hugh Rose to ' proceed 

with the Operations against Jhansi ' ? . 

R. General Innes on Sir Hugh Rose 

S. The Behaa^our of the Talukdars of Oudh during the 


T. Sir Colin Campbell and his Critics .... 

U. Alleged Causes of the Mutiny 

V. The Authorities on which this Book is based . 

W. Discussion on certain Statements challenged by Critics 

OF the First Edition and on others which conflict 

with the Statements of later "Writers . . . . 









Three centuries ago, when the East India Company was still 
unformed, a great part of India submitted to the 
sway of a Mahomedan prince. This ruler, whose Empire""' 
name was Akbar, was the most renowned of the ^^ob. 
descendants of Baber, who, early in the sixteenth 
century, had swept down from the north-west upon Hindustan, 
and founded the Mogul Empire. Unlike Mahomedan con- 
querors in the rest of the world, the Moguls respected the 
religion of their subjects, and established a government which, 
with all its faults, was contentedly accepted by the mass of 

^ As I only profess to give in this chapter such an introductory sketch as may 
help readers to understand the phenomena of the Indian Mutiny, I have not 
tliought it necessary to give specific references to authorities except in a few cases, 
where it seemed possible that my statements might be questioned, and for the 
much-controverted adudnistration of Dalhousie. The chapter, with the exception 
of the part which deals with Dalhousie's adnanistration, is the result of a study, 
extending over several years, of the ordinary and some of the less known works 
on Anglo-Indian history, and nearly completed before I had conceived the idea of 
writing tins book. Those wlio wish to know more about India and Indian history 
than this sketcli can tell them, will do well to build up the skeleton of their know- 
ledge by studying Hunter's India, its Ilistorij, People, and Products ; and after- 
wards to clothe the skeleton with flesh and blood by reading a few good liiographies. 
Many articles in the Calcutta Review, the Cormvallis Correspondence, Wellesley's 
Dispatches, Malcolm's Political History, Sir John Strachey's India, and Sir 
Alfred Lyall's Asiatic Studies, might also be read with profit by those who have 
time to spare. What prevents so many people from reading Anglo-Indian history 
with interest is that they start in complete ignorance of the way in which tlie 
Government was carried on, and of the characteristics of Indian life. Such books 
as I have recommended would help to supply the requisite knowledge. 

15 B 


tlie governed, and won for the person of the emperor, or 
perhaps more truly for the imperial idea, a superstitions 
A^eneratiou Avhich had not perished when the Indian Mutiny 
broke out. The emperors governed their dominions through 
the agency of viceroys, whose provinces were larger than many 
European kingdoms, and who, in their turn, gave the law to 
inferior rulers. Gradually the boundaries of the empire were 
extended until, under Aurano-zeb, it attained its 

1658-170". . . . "-' . 

farthest limits. Yet it was from his accession 
that its decline dated ; for, by a religious bigotry which he had 
not learned from his somewhat lax predecessors, he did his 
best to alienate his Hindu subjects. The Rajputs rebelled 
against the rule to which they had never wholly submitted, 
even Avhen it had humoured their religious prejudices. The 
Marathas, a race of Hindu freebooters, poured down under 
their great leader, Sivaji, from their fastnesses in the western 
mountains, and, by the swift and sudden inroads of guerilla 
warriors, sapped the strength of the central power. The vice- 
roys saw the growing weakness of the successors of Aurang- 
zeb, and bastened to secure their independence. The degene- 
rate inhabitants of Delhi bowed beneath the 


tyranny of the Persian invader, Nadir Shah. The 
decline and fall of an earlier and greater empire was re-enacted 
in India ; and there too, after the long agony of the night, a 
brighter day was to dawn upon the afflicted nations. If the 
stor^T- of an empire's decay is full of pathos, even when it has 
deserved its fate, the fall of the Mogul, who had ruled more 
unselfishly than any other Eastern power, may well claim our 
sympathy. Yet he too had sinned ; and his sins had found 
him out. Mogul civilisation had been only a splendid mockery ; 
and, while the viceroys were emancipating themselves from 
control, their own want of union Avas paving the way for the 
rise of a people who were to conquer the often -conquered 
nations of India once more, but to conquer them for their own 

For a century and a half the agents of the East India Com- 
pany, which had arisen under Elizabeth, had been 
mere traders ; and, now that they were about to 
become conquerors, they had no thoughts of the destiny which 
lay before them. All unconsciously they began to work c:it the 
magnificent idea of foimding a European empire in Asia. 


It was the genius of a Frenchman that had originated this 
idea. Dupleix, the Governor of the French settle- 
ment of Pondicherry, saw that the disturbed condition tenlpts^o^jbuu.! 
of the native pov/ers held out a chance of agfirandise- ^i European em- 

■■^ ^Y P^^ "1 India. 

ment to a European statesman who would have the 
tact to interfere as an ally, and not as a principal ; while he 
knew the strength of the instrument which the superior coui'age 
and discipline of European troops placed in his hands. In 1748 
Nizam-ul-Mulk,^ Viceroy of the Deccan, one of the under kings 
who had profited most by the decay of the imperial power, died ; 
and rival claimants appeared for the vacant throne. About the 
same time a competitor stood forward to dispute the title of the 
Nawab of the Carnatic, who had looked up to the late Nizam as 
his over-lord. Dupleix saw his opportunity. While he seemed 
to be supporting the cause of one pair of pretenders, about whose 
rights he did not trouble himself, he easily defeated the feeble 
elForts which the English made in self-defence to 
uphold their rivals, and made himself master of the 
Deccan. Some years before, when the hostilities between France 
and England in the war of the Austrian succession had spread to 
their settlements in India, Labourdonnais, an unrecognised hero, 
had captured the English settlement of Madras, and 
impressed the natives of India with a firm belief in ' 

the military superiority of the French over ourselves. The 
successes of Dupleix were strengthening this opinion, when a 
young Englishman accomplished a feat of arms which established 
his own fame as a commander, and the character of his country- 
men as warriors. Tiichinopoly, the only fortress in the Carnatic 
that remained in the possession of the Nawab whom the English 
supported, was closely invested by the enemy, when Kobert 
Clive conceived the plan of diverting their attention 
by the seizure of Arcot, which he held for fifty days ^^^^• 
with a handful of men against all the forces that cnye thwarts 
they could bring against him. Thenceforth the 
power of the English in Southern India increased, while that 
of the French diminished, though Bussy, the most capable of 
Dupleix's lieutenants, exercised a commanding influence in the 
Deccan, and though, ten years later, the unfortunate Lally strove 

^ His real name was Chin Kilich Khan. Nizani-ul-Mulk was a title, meaning 
"regulator of the state." Chin Kilich Khan's successors were always known as 
the Nizams. 


to restore his country's fortunes in the Carnatic. A succession 
of victories added to Olive's fame ; and Duplcix returned, with 
ruined fortune and shattered hopes, to France, where an un- 
grateful people withheld the honours which might have solaced 
him, and treated his services with contempt. 

It was not in the south, however, that the decisive battle for 
the mastery of India was fought. In 1756 Clive, 
of cakutta^°'^ who had but lately returned to Madras from a 
visit to England, was summoned northwards by 
the news that Suraj-ud-dowlah, the effeminate Viceroy of 
Bengal, had captured the English settlement of Fort William, 
and suffered nearly all his captives to perish in the Black Hole 
of Calcutta. The instant recovery of Calcutta 
and the capture of the French settlement at 
Chandernagore, to which the Viceroy had looked for help, failed 
to teach him the wisdom of submitting to the English ; but 
the hatred and contempt with which he was regarded by his 
subjects facilitated the development of a plot by Avhich his 
General, Mir Jafar, aided by Clive, was to seize 
p"assey.' ^""' ^^^ throne. The victory of Plassey, which gave 
the conspirators success, has been rightly seized 
upon by popular instinct as the date of the foundation of the 
British Empire in India ; for it gave the throne of Bengal to a 
man who owed everything to the English, and whom their sup- 
port cou.ld alone sustain in power. The designs of Dupleix 
had been realised, — but by Clive. 

Clive, however, had more victories to Avin, before he could 
seek rest again at home. At Patna he shattered 
ce"ses'*o7ciive. ^^^ hopes of the Mogul's eldest son, who had set 
out to conquer the upstart Viceroy : he humbled 
the pride of the Dutch, who, trusting to the friendship of the 
fickle Mir Jafar, had sailed from Java, to share in the spoils 
of India, and to balance the overgrown power of the English ; 
and he struck the French power in its most \dtal part by send- 
ing an army southwards under Colonel Forde, Avho won back 
some factories in the Northern Circars which Bussy had seized, 
and expelled the French from that part of India. Meanwhile 
Lally was maintaining in the south a struggle for the restora- 
tion of the French power : but it was a hysterical 
effort, and doomed to failure. 'Eyre Coote's victory 
at Wandewash sounded the knell of the French power in India. 


When the pressure of Olive's firm and just rule had been 
removed, the servants of the Company seized the 
opportunity of amassing wealth by illicit means. Corrnptiou of 
They set up and pulled down viceroys, and extorted during ciives 
large presents from each new puppet. They claimed England!" 
for themselves unfair advantages in commerce, by 
Avhich the Viceroy's subjects suffered. But, corrupt and grasp- 
ing as they Avere, they were not wholly inexcusable ; for their 
salaries were miserably insufficient. Their rapacity was emu- 
lated by the officers of the army, who were beginning to show 
a spirit of insubordination which could only be checked by the 
hand of the man who had led them to victory. Such an un- 
natural state of things could not be suffered to continue. At 
last Clive was sent out again to deal with the mass 
of evil Avhich had accumulated ; and, if he could not cuve's return, 
destroy it, he at least held it in check while he 
remained in the country. But, besides waging war against 
corruption, he had to solve a difficult political problem. He 
saw that the English power, having advanced so far, could not, 
in the nature of things, remain stationary. Nevertheless, he 
desired to put a drag upon its onward course, to 
abstain, as far as he safely covild, from all interfer- 
ence with native politics, and, while erecting a substantial fabric 
of government, and placing it upon a solid foundation, to give 
it a modest outward form, lest it should provoke the envy of his 
rivals. His idea was that the Company should take the govern- 
ment of Bengal into their own hands, but should do so not as a 
sovereign power, but as the nominal deputy of the puppet 
Mogul Emperor. He accoi^dingly proceeded to Allahabad, and 
there, in an interview with the Emperor and the Vizier of Oudh, 
fixed the destinies of India. In the preceding year 
the Vizier, taking the unwilling Emperor with him, 
had invaded Behar,but had been signally defeated by Hector Munro 
at Buxar. This battle had given to the English the rich province 
of Oudh, the power of disposing of the Mogul, and the prestige of 
being the first power in India. Clive noAv turned these advantages 
to account. He rcstoi-ed Oudh to the Vizier, exacting from him as 
an equivalent an indemnity of five hundred thousand pounds, and 
induced the Mogul to invest the Company, in return for an annual 
tribute of three hundi'ed thousand, with the office of Diwan ^ t)f 

^ Minister of Fiuauue. Till 1772 the Company were only uomiually Diwau. 


Bengal, Behar, and Orissa. The pi-actical result of this arrange- 
ment was that the English received the revenues, and made them- 
selves responsible for the defence of the territory, while the civil 
administration remained for a time in the hands of a native 

Clive was not a great statesman like Hastings ; for, though 

he knew how to find expedients for overcoming 

His place in difficulties wheu there was no time for hesitation, 

Anglo-Indian ,r ,i i. .... -r.i 

history. he louuded no lastmg political system. But he 

will live in history as the Founder of our Indian 
Empire. Not only was he the fii"st of the builders of three 
generations who laboured at the imperial fabric, like the families 
of workmen who, from father to son, reared the cathedrals of the 
Middle Age ; but he was in some sort its architect also. Here 
too the analogy holds good. There were more architects than 
one ; and all did not follow the same style. But Clive, though 
he would only lay the foundation himself, forecast in his mind 
the nature of the pile. He foresaw that, with or against their 
will, his successors would have to extend its dimensions. ^ 

The years that followed Olive's departure v,^ere years of 

misery for the people of Bengal, and of shame for 

Failure of the English. The system of divided government 

of government, established by Clive had no vitality. The native 

administrators oppressed the peasants, and embezzled 

the revenues : the servants of the Company found it profitable 

to connive at these abuses, and neglected the in- 

^"'^"'" terests of their masters. At last the Directors 

Hastings. appointed Warren Hastings Governor of Bengal, 

and appealed to him to rescue their affairs from 


Hastings soon justified the confidence which had been reposed 

ill him. He snapped the rotten chain that bound his masters in 

mock allegiance to the Mogul Emperor, and proclaimed them to 

be, what they really were, independent lords of Bengal. He 

transferred the internal administration from a native 

meas^ures. minister to the servants of the Company. He 

created a system of police, justice, and revenue, 

which it is easy for doctrinaires to revile, but Avhich was the 

best that could have been devised under the circumstances of 

^ Sir G. Aitchisou's Treaties, EjKjar/evients, and Sunnuds, vol. i. pp. CO-69. 
^ Sir J. Malcolm's Political History of India, vol. ii. pp. 16-20. 


the time. By hiring out the Company's battalions to the Vizier 
of Oudh for the suppression of the turbulent Afghans who 
tyrannised over Rohilkhand, he crippled a dangerous ^^^^^ 
neighbour, and placed four hundred thousand pounds 
to the credit of his employers. Suddenly, however, the work in 
which he took such pride was rudely interrupted. The abuses 
which he had begun to remedy had roused the attention of 
English statesmen to Indian affairs ; and the Regulating Act of 
1773, which placed the Government of British 
India in the hands of a Governor-General and a tiugAcI"'* 
Council of four, Avith power over the other Presi- 
dencies of Bombay and Madras, and established a supreme court 
of judicature at Calcutta, independent of the Council, was the 
fruit of their labours. Hastings was the first Governor-General. 
The new constitution, while it left the entire load of responsi- 
bility upon his shoulders, gave him no more power than any of his 
colleagues.^ This radical defect became apparent when Clavering, 
Monson, and Francis, the three Councillors who had been sent 
out from home, arrived ; for they at once began a career of 
factious opposition to their chief. This notorious 
triumvirate threw the affairs of the other Fresi- ^^^artedby 
dencies into confusion by their rash interference, ciavering, 

, ,, . -^ , . ,. . Jlonson, and 

postj)oned all nnportant business to a malicious Francis, 
investigation into the past acts of the Governor- 
General, and encouraged the natives to bring accusations against 
him, and despise his authority. The people of Bengal had come 
to regard his cause as lost, when, by the bold stroke of bringing 
a counter-charge against the infamous Brahmin, Nuncomar, the 
foremost of these unscrupulous accusers, he recovered his position, 
and discomfited his colleagues. Nuncomar was executed ]:»y the 
sentence of the Chief Justice, Impey. At the sight of hia 
ignominious death, every Hindu trembled, and began to regard 
Hastings as a man to whom all must bow. So long, indeed, as 
Hastings was outvoted at the council-table, he could carry into 
effect none of those great measures for the benefit of India and 
the estaljlishment of British power Avhich he had long contem- 
plated : Imt, strong in the love and trust of the English com- 
munit}', he could and did do something to check the rash folly 

^ Hastings, as he himself explains iu his Memoirs relative to the state of India ^ 
pp. 154-7, in some measure remedied this defect by disobeying his instructions 
when he thought it requisite, whatever his personal risk might be. 


of his colleagues ; and he waited for his triumph with a patience 

which was thrown into stronger relief by his burning enthusiasm 

for the public service. His triumph came at last. 

1776. fpj^g death of Monson left him supreme. And, 

Hg r8cov6rs ■*■ 

power. though Fraiicis had poisoned the minds of the 

ministers against him, and the Directors, Avho had 
supported him in his earlier measures, had withdra"\vn their 
favour, there was a crisis at hand which forbade them to super- 
sede him. They recognised the genius of the man whom they 
had persecuted, and allowed him to save them. 

At that time the fame of England had sunk to its nadir. 
Twenty years before it had risen to its zenith. Let philosophical 
historians search as deep as they will for the general causes 
which had wrought this change. To plain understandings the 
explanation is clear enough. Pitt had ruled in 1758; but in 
1778 Lord North was the chief of a Government that could not 
rule. America and half Europe Avere banded against England ; 
but India was the rock against which the storm broke in vain ; 
for Lidia was ruled by a man who joined to the fiery zeal of a 
Pitt the calmness of a Marlborough. 

Two great dangers the Governor-General saw and repelled. 

Hearing that the French were about to league 

the^mpire. themselvcs with the Marathas for the overthrow 

of our empire, he showed his knowledge of the 

temper of Asiatics by striking the first bloAV, sending an army 

,„„„ across India through unknown country to humble 

the Mardtha poAver. And, Avhen Hyder, the 

usurping ruler of Mysore, carried his arms to the environs of 

Madras, and the feeble Presidency trembled before the power 

Avhich its rashness had provoked, he lost not a 

moment in despatching reinforcements under Eyre 

Coote, Avho rescued Southern India l)y the victory of Porto 


But even Hastings could not save an empire without money ; 
and the Company's treasury Avas nearly emjity. To I'eplenish 
it, he demanded a contribution from Chait Singh, the so-called 
Raja of Benares, a tributary of the Comiiany, foUoAving a custom 
which superior poAvers in India had ever observed. Chait Singh, 
hoAvever, showed no alacrity to come to the aid of his o\"er-lord ; 
and, to punish him for his delay and CA'asion, Hastings Avent in 
person to Benares, to exact from him a heavy fine. But the 


few English soldiers whom he took with him were unprovided 
with ammunition, and badly commanded. For a time Hastings 
was checked by insurrection : but it was speedily repressed by 
the English troops who, in their enthusiastic love for him, 
hastened up from the nearest posts to his rescue, and was pun- 
ished by the deposition of the Eaja and an increase 
of the tribute due from his successor. Still, more 
money was sorely needed ; and Hastings, in his extremity, looked 
to Oudh, the Vizier of which province, squandering his revenues 
upon his own pleasures, had long neglected to pay an English 
brigade which protected him. The money was ^^^^ 
obtained by confiscating the hoarded treasures of the 
late Vizier, which the Begams of Oudh, the mother and grand- 
mother of the reigning prince, had unlaAvfully retained. 

These dealings of Hastings Avith the Eaja of Benares and 
the Begams of Oudh formed the subject of two 
of the charges brought against him at the famous a^^^jij^ him. 
trial in Westminster Hall. It would be impossible 
in a chapter like this to enter into a detailed examination of 
the justice of those charges, or the general moi'ality of his 
administration. It will be enough to say that no other than 
that policy which Burke held up to execration could have 
saved the empire in the most momentous crisis through which 
it has ever passed ; and that those who condemn the morality 
of that policy must not shrink from the inevitable conclusion 
that the empire which has been charged with the mission of 
civilising India, and which gives England her great title to 
respect among the nations of Europe, Avas erected, could only 
have been erected upon a basis of iniquity. But men are 
slowly beginning to see that the vieAvs of Hastings's policy 
which Burke, in bitter but honest hatred, and Francis, in the 
malice of disappointed rage, disseminated, are untrue. The 
genius of Clarendon taught four generations of Englishmen to 
detest the name of the hero who had saved their liberties. 
The fate of Hastings has been similar. But the day will come 
when, in the light of a more extended knoAvledge of the history 
of British India, his political morality will be vindicated.^ 

^ It has been vindicated since the first edition of this book was jniLlislied. 
See Sir J. Stephen's The Ston/ of Nuncovxar and the Inipeachment of Sir Jilijah 
Impey, Sir J. Stracliey's Hastings and the Rohilla War, and Mr. G. W. Forrest'.s 
Selections from the Letters, Despatches, and other State I'apers preserved in the 
Forei'jn Department of the Government of India, 1772-1785. 


The resignation of Hastings marks the close of the third act 

in the drama of Anglo-Indian history. Clive had 

been forced by the quarrel thrust upon him to 
realise Dupleix's imperial visions. He had founded an empire. 
It was left to Hastings to create a government, and to organise 
and set on foot its numerous branches. He had conceived, more- 
over, and had begun to carry out the idea of grouping the 
native states in alliance round the power of England, which 
had practically taken the place of the effete Mogul empire, 
and was therefore bound to take upon itself the duties, and 
yield the protection expected by all natives from the Paramount 

But this great idea was destined to be forgotten for a time. 
The malignant influence of Francis had borne its fruit. At 

home men cried out against the policy of Hastings ] 
waiiii. °^" f'-nd Lord Cornwallis ^ was sent out to inaugurate a 

reign of peace and non-intervention, and armed 
with that power of acting on his own responsibility, even against 
the judgement of his Council, which Hastings had sought for in 
vain. He tried to carry out the wishes of his masters : but, 
though he was a man of peace, he was not a man to look on 

tamely while a new enemy arose to threaten our 
Tippoo. power. The great Hyder had left a son Tippoo, 

who inherited some of his father's ability, and all 
his love of aggrandisement and hatred of the English. Pro- 
voked by an attack which he had made on an ally of the 
British Government, Cornwallis resolved to punish him, and, 

after an unlucky campaign conducted by his 
1791^2. genei^als, went in person to the seat of war, fought 

his way to the gates of Seringapatam, and there 
dictated terms of peace. 

Influenced by public opinion and by that strong disinclination 
to all extension of territory which the Directors had already 
begun to show,^ he only crippled the Sultan when he should 
have destroyed him. Such a half-hearted policy bore its natural 

^ After till' ri'sigiiation of Hastings, Maeplicrson seived .is Jocum tenens until 
tlie arrival of Cornwallis. There were several otliei- instances in which, owing to 
an interval between the departure of one Governor-General and the arrival of his 
successor, a Company's servant was obliged to hold the reins of government 
temporarily ; but 1 have not thought it necessary to allude to them in the text. 

^ The Cormvallis Cm-respondence, vol. ii. pp. 144, 158 ; M. Wilks's Hisi. of 
Mysoor, vol. iii. pp. 251-2. 


fruit. The evil day Avas only put off; for a few years later 
Welleeley was forced to annihilate Tippoo's power at a cost of 
blood and treasure which would have been saved if he had been 
disarmed in time. But the Directors shrank from becoming 
emperors ; for they feared that, by so doing, they would suffer 
as merchants. 

The aim of Cornwallis's policy was to maintain the peace 
of India by the old-fashioned European plan of preserving a 
balance of power among the chief states. The 
theory of the balance of power, however, takes po^TT?°°^ 
for granted in individual states, if not unselfishness, 
at least some sort of fellow-feeling suitable to the members of a 
family of nations, some serious desire to keep the bonds of peace 
intact. But among the powers of India these conditions were 
wholly wanting. Their political education was not sufficiently 
advanced for them to understand that, even for nations, pure 
selfishness cannot be expedient. Cornwallis saAV clearly enough 
that the English Government ought to stand in the place of the 
father of this family of nations : but it was reserved for a 
greater ruler to see that the family must, for some time and for 
their own good, be treated not as intelligent adults, but as dis- 
orderly and deceitful children. 

The war with Tippoo was the central event of Cornwallis's 
foreign policy. His reign is equally remembered 
for the judicial and fiscal reforms which he carried ^tUraieut"^"* 
out. The English had hitherto been content to 
follow the old Mogul system for the collection of the land- 
revenue of Bengal. Under that system, the privilege of collect- 
ing the revenue had been from time to time put up to auction 
to native collectors, who Avere known as Zamindars : but no 
attempt had been made to ascertain and definitely fix the 
amount which the cultivators might fairly be called upon to pay. 
As, however, under this system, the revenue was collected in a 
very irregular and unsatisfactory manner, the Directors instructed 
Cornwallis to introduce some reform. The result was the 
famous Permanent Settlement, by which the Zamindars Avere 
raised to the position of landlords, and engaged i"f>3. 
in return to pay a fixed annual rent-charge to the Govern- 

The Permanent Settlement Avas a sad blunder. CoruAvallis 
had indeed tried to learn something: about the landed interests 


with which he had to deal : but he did not realise the vast 
extent and intricacy of the subject. Preoccupied by English 
ideas of land tenure, his mind was too narrow and too destitute 
of sympathetic force to seize the notion that a different set of 
ideas might prevail in India ; and he therefore naturally leaped 
to the conclusion that, as the Zamindars Avere the highest class 
connected with land, they either were, or ought to be con- 
stituted landed proprietors.^ The result of his action may be 
told in a few words. The inferior tenants derived from it no 
benefit whatever. The Zamindars again and again failed to pay 
their rent-charges ; and their estates were sold for the benefit of 
the Government. 

Though Cornwallis was not a ruler of the first rank, in one 

respect at least he left his mark upon the Indian 
comwanls'.'^ scrvice. He Avould not countenance jobbery, even 

when Royal petitioners asked favours of him ; and 
he tried to remove the temptations to corruption to which the 
Company's servants were exposed, and to raise their standard 
of efficiency, by endeavouring to procure for them adequate 

Cornwallis was succeeded by Sir John Shore, a conscientious 
Sir John Shore Painstaking official, who had worked his way, step 
Non-iiiterven- by Step, to the head of the Government, but whose 

dread of responsibility made him unfit to rule. The 
great political event of his administration was a Avar betAveen the 
Marathas and the Nizam. The Marathas were the aggressors : 
the Nizam was an ally of the British, and importunately 
pressed them for the assistance to Avhich he Avas morally entitled : 
but Shore Avas afraid to depart a hair's-breadth from the policy 
of neutrality Avhich his masters had prescribed. The result 
was that the Nizam AA^as completely beaten, and lost all con- 
fidence in the English, Avhose alliance had proved to be a 
sham ; Avhile the poAver of the Marathas Avas unduly exalted, 

' " Accoi-diug to English ideas someone must be proprietor, and with him a 
settlement should most properly be made ; but we did not for a long time sec 
that different parties may have difl'erent degrees of interest without altogether 
excluding others, and hence the long discussions on the question who were the 
actual pro))rii'tors, when in fact the contending parties had difterent but con- 
sistent interests in the same laud — Government as rent receivers. Zemindars as 
delegates of Government, and the communities as having possession and entire 
management of the soil." — Sir George Campbell's Mvtleni India ami its Oovern- 
7nenf, pp. 301-2. See also 0. Itaikes'.s yotea on (he North -Western Provinces 
of India, pp. 41-64. 


and for years their turbulence and greed caused anxiety to the 
Paramount Power. 

In 1798 Shore was succeeded by Lord Mornington, better 
known by his later title of Marquess Wellesley, 
a young Irish peer who had already distinguished weiiesiey. 
himself by an elaborate speech in which he had 
thundered against the French Revolution, and pleaded for the 
continued prosecution of the anti-Gallican crusade. The appoint- 
ment was made not a moment too soon ; for another great 
crisis in Anglo-Indian history was at hand, and, if Shore had 
remained in office much longer, the empire might have been 

The European war was at its height. Napoleon was in the 
full tide of success, and had extended his views of 
conquest to Asia. If he had triumphed in Egypt, the^empfre.^*' °^ 
and pushed on into India, the leading native states 
would probably have welcomed his arrival. Our allies, the 
Xizam and the Nawab of the Carnatic, were not to be depended 
upon. The one, as has Ijcen shown, had become esti'anged from 
us, and now put his trust in a strong force, officered by French- 
men, which he kept in his pay. The other Avas unable to govern 
his own country, and, so far from helping us, was continually 
asking for our aid. Tippoo was intriguing against us with 
every prince who would listen to hira. Hating us with all the 
force of Mahomedan bigotry, inherited enmity, and the thirst of 
vengeance, he was only waiting an opportunity to attack us. 
The Marathas Avould have been not less dangerous if they had 
not been disunited : but, as it was, their foremost chief, Daulat 
Rdo Sindhia, was gaining power every day, and, like the Nizam, 
had an army, officered by Frenchmen, in his service. These 
very French adventurers were a separate soui-ce of danger. 
They had the disgrace of old defeats to wipe out, and visions of 
conquest to gratify. Dupleix, Bussy, and Lally had been 
frustrated in their open endeavours to create a Franco-Indian 
empire : but there was a lurking danger not less formidable in 
the presence of General Perron at the head of Sindhia's 

Wellesley saw the danger, and faced it. The conduct of 
Tippoo, who rashly allowed it to be known that overthrow 
he had sent an embassy to Mauritius to ask for of Tippoo. 
French aid, gave him the opportunity of striking the first 


blow. He instantly demanded guarantees for the preservation 
of peace. Eager to gain time, Tippoo evaded the 
demand until Wellesley's patience was worn out. 
Converting the nominal alliance of the Nizam into an efFectiA^e 
reality by disarming his French contingent and substituting for 
it a British force, Wellesley directed the ai'mies of Bombay and 
Madras, strengthened by a native contingent furnished by the 
Nizam, to converge upon Seringapatam. After a short and 
uniformly successful campaign, the Sultan's capital 
was won ; and he himself fell in the assault. His 
sons were pensioned off, and kept in honourable confinement, 
while the representative of the old Hindu dynasty, which Hyder 
had displaced, was proclaimed as Raja of a portion of the con- 
quered country. The remainder was divided between the 
British Grovernment and the Nizam, whose share was afterwards 
appropriated to the payment of an additional subsidiary force 
which was to be kept in his service. Finally, the government 
of the restored dynasty of Mysore was placed under the friendly 
supervision of an English Resident. 

The overthrow of Tippoo, which re-established British prestige, 
gave a blow to the hopes of the French, and struck 
wfe^iey. terror into the minds of aggressive native princes, 
wa,s the key-stone of Wellesley's policy. The aim 
of that policy may be described as the establishment of the 
supremacy of the British power for the joint benefit of the 
British and of the people of India. The native powers were to 
be grouped in alliance round the central power of the British 
Government, which was to defend them at their own cost, and, 
in some cases, to administer their civil affairs or those of a part 
of their territories as well, in others merely to reserve the right 
of interference. In other words, Wellesley, strengthened by the 
authority and resources which had been denied to Hastings, set 
himself to develop the far-reaching conception which the latter 
had originated. The grand idea of pressing this consolidated 
Anglo-Indian Empire into the service of the British Empire 
itself, and forcing it to take its part in the overthrow of 
Napoleon, was Wellesley's own. 

Let us see how he worked it out. A treaty which he had 
^ , , „„ concluded with the Nizam had bound him to 

October, 1800. i ^ , , . . , i r i 

defend triat pnnce aganist the attacks of the 
Mardthas. With the view of taming this restless people. 


Weliesley tried to draw their nominal head, the Peshwa, Baji 
Rao, within the circle of subsidiary alliance.^ The reluctance 
of this prince to surrender his independence was at last over- 
come by his fear of Jeswant Rao Holkar, a rising Maratha 
chieftain, whose family name is so often mentioned 
in connexion with that of Sindhia. The treaty of 
Bassein marked the change in the Peshwa's condition. But 
Sindhia and the Maratha Raja of Berar, who 
feared that they too would have subsidiaiy BasseL"'^ 
alliances forced upon them, and no longer be 
allowed to prey upon their weaker neighbours, resented the 
treatment of their nominal head, and compelled ,. .,, 

, ' - ^^ Maratha war. 

the Governor-General to conquer them. it was 

in the war by which this conquest was achieved that the 

name of his brother, Arthur Weliesley, first 

became famous. 

Holkar, who held aloof from his brother chiefs, might have 
escaped, if his invincible love of plunder had not brought upon 
him the wrath of Weliesley : but the campaign for 
his reduction was chequered by more than one 
disaster ; and he was not finally subdued till after Weliesley 
had left India. 

Thus one power after another was drawn into the number 
of dependent states. Unhappily, however, Wel- 
iesley had neglected one rare opportunity Avhich •'1'"'^^^"®"*°^ 
the foi'tune of war had thrown in his way. in Emperor, 
the campaign against Sindhia, Delhi had fallen into 
our hands ; and AYellesley had been called upon to decide the 
Emperor's fate. Though the power of the Great Mogid had 
long faded away, his title still attracted the superstitious 
veneration of the natives ; and fifty years later it was the spell 
that drew successive armies of mutineers to the focus of Delhi. 
If, instead of perpetuating this phantom dynasty, Weliesley had 
boldly proclaimed that his Government had succeeded to its rights, 
an element which was to give strength and a show of dignity to the 
Indian Mutiny might have been destroyed. The native states were 
ready enough to claim the protection of our Paramount Power. 
They would have repaid it for this protection by their attach- 

^ For .some remai-k.s on the subsidiary alliance system see my article on 
" Welle.slcy," in the Westminster Review of April, 1880. 


ment, if it had not shrunk from avowing itself to be what it 

Three years before, Wellesley had applied the same principle 

that inspired his Maratha policy to his dealings 
oudiu"' '""' with Oudh. That country lay directly in the path 

of any invader who might meditate an attack on 
the British possessions from the north-west ; and a conqueror 
might have easily overrun it "on his march, for its Government 
was powerless, and its army was a rabble. Wellesley converted 
it from a source of weakness into a bulwark of the British 
^ ^ provinces by his favourite method. The Vizier 

was obliged to accept an English subsidiary force, 
and to cede a large portion of his territory for its support. 
But one great evil sprang from this arrangement. The govern- 
ment of Oudh Avas even then the worst in India. The Vizier 
wasted part of his revenues in shameful self-indulgence, and 
hoarded the rest. The farmers of the revenue extorted from 
the peasantry all that they could ; and the latter toiled on, 
barely supporting life on the remnant of their earnings which 
the policy, not the humanity of their masters allowed them. 
Wellesley, however, shrank from interfering in the internal 
administration. The Vizier's officers were therefore supported 
in their exactions by British bayonets. Wellesley's excuse is 
that, distrusted as he was by the Directors, he did not feel him- 
self strong enough to assume the government of the countr}^, which 
was the only way of remedying its unhappy condition. He doubt- 
less expected that his successors would soon be forced to take this 
final step. For more than fifty years, however, it was not taken. 
The Nawabs of Tan j ore, of Surat, and of the Carnatic were 

obliged to transfer the administration of their 

1799 1800 1801 

Tanjore Surat territories to the British Government, and to con- 
and the'car- ' tent themselves with liberal pensions and high- 
sounding titles. 
While the consolidation of the English power in India went 
on apace, Wellesley carried out his idea of making it a living 
^gQ^ element of the British Empire by sending aii 

Red Sea <!xpe- expeditionary force up the Red Sea to co-operate 
in the expulsion of the French from Egypt. 
If the force did nothing else, it at least shoAved how a 

1 See an interesting lecture liy Mr. S. J. Owen, cntitlcil "Anglo-Indian Paile 
historically consideretl." [But sec also App. W.] 



strong ruler had been able to develop the resoiu'ces of India, 
and how he could turn them to account. 

Such was Wellesley's external policy. The same imperial 
spirit which had animated it breathed through 
every part of his administration. For the bene- views and 
volence with which he regarded the natives of India weii'esiey. 
did not lead him to contemplate the possibility of 
granting them self-government. His ideal was that they should 
be ruled for their own good by an all-powerful despot, and that 
the despot should take him for his model. Nor were they to be 
governed solely for their own good. They were to repay the 
care of their rulers by communicating to them the benefit of 
their commercial I'esources. Fondly hoping that he could infuse 
something of his own enthusiasm into his employers, Wellesley 
urged them to develop these resources by the encouragement of 
private trade, and to recede, if only a few steps, from the selfish 
position of monopolists. But it was in vain for this enthusiastic 
Governor to expect a trading company to sympathise with his 
far-reaching views. The anomaly which sufl'ered India to be ruled 
from Leadenhall Street was already evident. 

It was the sagacity which enabled Wellesley to foresee the 
direction which imperial progress must take, and the energy Avith 
which he hastened that progress, that gave a special character to 
his reign. He saw that endless disturbances must be looked for 
until the English should become supreme : it is his merit that 
he did not adopt the half-measiu-es which would have pleased 
his masters, but boldly and inicompromisingly carried oi\t his 
views to their logical conclusion. No ruler was ever better 
served ; but few rulers have had in the same degree the 
enthusiasm which inspires others, and the charm which wins 
their personal devotion. Generals like Arthur Wellesley, and 
Lake, and Harris, diplomatists like Malcolm and Barry Close 
worked out his designs ; and all worked for the love of him 
whom they served. 

When he had gone, however, the great work which he had 
taken up was again interrupted ; for his successor could only see 
its momentary disadvantages, and lacked the foresight which 
could wait for its final triumph. The Directors were tired of 
costly victories, and looked about for a ruler who would spare 
their army, and replenish their treasury. In an evil hour for 
his reputation, the aged Cornwallis, broken as he was by toil 



and disease, was jDersuaded to go out once more. As far as 

he could, he reversed Wellesley's policy, and 

Second admin- meditated the withdrawal of the British protection 

istiat.ioii of from thosc states to which Wellesley had extended 

Comwalhs. . tt i- i u i • • i ■ • c i 

it. rle did all this in the purest spirit oi humanity ; 
for he believed that AVellesley's interference had been unjust. 
But, happily for India and for himself, he died little more than 
two months after his arrival. 

His successor, Sir George Barlovr, carried out his views. 

He aimed at extricating his employers, at any cost, 
Bariow.'^"^ from the temporary financial emlDarrassment into 

which the policy of Wellesley had plunged them, 
and complacently declared his conviction that he would best 
promote the security of the British Government by leaving the 
rajas free to quarrel among themselves. This ignoble policy 
bore its inevitable fruit when the strong began to prey upon 
the weak, and when the natives of India cried out that the 
Paramount Power, which was bound to keep the peace, was 
shirking its responsibilities. Still more appalling examples, 
however, were needed to convince the home authorities of the 

weakness of this policy. In 1807 they sent out 

Lord Minto to succeed Barlow, and to walk in his 
footsteps. When, however, the new Governor-General came to 
survey the political prospect from Calcutta, he began gradually 
to unlearn the opinions which he had held so confidently at 
home. Without being a ruler of the first order, he was a 
sensible and firm, though moderate statesman, who had not 
indeed the high courage and the rare fearlessness of responsi- 
bility which can initiate a great policy, and execute it in spite 
of the remonstrances of a timid or ignorant directory, but who 
might be trusted to fall into no Aveakness which would compro- 
mise the dignity of his government ; and, though his reign was 
undistinguished by any event that serves as a land-mark in Anglo- 
Indian history, it %vitnessed some useful measures for the mainten- 
ance of internal peace and for the repression of French ambition, 
and is interesting as the transition period which preceded the 
final ]-ealisation of Wellesley's views by the Marquess of Hastings. 
Immediately after his arrival, he was struck by the anarch}^ 

which Barlow's inaction had encouraged among 

the freebooting chiefs of Bundelkhand, a part of 
which country the Peshwa had ceded to Wellesley for the sup- 


port of his subsidiary force. He instantly sent an army to 
punish their insolence ; and, having thus done something to 
restore internal order to India, he prepared to meet a danger 
which threatened it from without. The famous Ranjit Singh, 
who had already crushed down the Sikhs of the Punjab, 
was eager to extend his power by subjugating 
their brethi-en on our side of the Sutlej. The '^"'^' "''^°^' 
Governor-General saw the danger : but his task in meeting it 
was a complicated one ; for, while repressing Ranjit's thirst 
for aggrandisement, he had also to persuade him to refuse a 
passage through his territories to the French, who were believed 
to be still meditating an invasion of India. His choice of an 
ambassador revealed the same knowledge of character that had 
shown itself in Wellesley's advancement of Malcolm. For it was 
Charles Metcalfe who curbed the ambition of Ranjit Singh. 

Minto's dealings with the Afghan freebooter, Amir Khan, 
showed how his awaking zeal for imperialism was 
moderated by his fear of the Directors' displeasure. , ' 
This man, who had been a companion of Holkar in 
his plundering raids, had attacked the Raja of Nagpur ; ^ and, 
when Minto interfered for the protection of his ally, he apologised 
to his masters for this display of energy by representing it as a 
necessary step for the prevention of a dangerous alliance between 
two Mahomedan rulers like the Amir and the Nizam. When, 
however, the baffled Amir invaded Rdjputana to give his predatory 
followers the plunder without which they could not live, Minto 
dared not interfere ; and more victims were sacrificed to the idol 
of non-intervention. 

Outside India, however, the Governor-General found a field 
for his energy in which he might move secure of 
the Directors' approval ; for here the object was. Conquest of 
not to spend money on the protection of distressed anTjava!" 
dependents, but to protect the Company's commerce 
from the French privateers which infested the Indian Ocean. 
By the capture of Mauritius, which had served as a depot for 
the plunder they had thus acquired, and by the igio. 
conquest of Java, which they had wrested from ^^^i- 
the Dutch, Minto completed his scheme of defence against 

' Bj' this title the former Raja of Berar had been known since his subjection 
by Wellesley. 


He was succeeded by a statesman "who, like liiin, came to 
India strongly j^i'^j^icliced against the policy of 
Lord Ha^s'tings. Wellesley, but, when he found out his mistake, 
threw himself, in a more daring spirit, into the 
task of developing that policy. It was the discovery of the 
evil wrought by the Pindaris that caused this sudden change 
in Lord Hastings's views. These notorious marauders had, in 
formei" days, often followed in the train of the Marathas ; and 
now, roving about the country in armed bands, plundered, 
destroyed, and massacred on their own account. The Directors, 
who could not, like Lord Hastings, see for themselves what the 
state of India was, refused to listen to him when he insisted 
that the evil must be rooted out. But Lord Hastings found 
another way of serving the impracticable court. Some twelve 
years before, Wellesley had made a commercial treaty with the 
Gurkhas of Nepal, but, finding it impossible to keep at peace 
with them, had broken oif all relations in 1804. Since then 
the Gurkhas had been steadily encroaching upon British 
territory along the line of frontier north of Hindustan, in 
defiance, or rather in contempt of the mild remonstrances of 
Barlow and his successor. At last, however, even Minto had 
been provoked to send an ultimatum ; and Hastings promptly 
followed it up by another. If it had been sent in time, the 
war which followed might have been averted ; for, even after 
the long experience Avhich they had had of oiir meek forbearance, 
there was not unanimity in the Gurkha council 
* '^^'^ ^^^ ^^'^^' which decided to fight. Lord Hastings had to 
wait long for his triumph ; for of four generals whom he sent 
at the head of separate columns to invade Nepal all but one 
failed, and the Gurkhas were enemies to be respected. But 
the veteran Ochterlony, who had studied wur under Eyre Coote, 
atoned for the failures of his colleagues. Fortress after fortress 
fell before him as he climbed the Himalayas ; and at last the 
capture of the crowning stronghold of Malaun decided the war. 
The Gurkhas sued for peace, and were obliged to 
surrender the districts of which they had robbed us, 
and to cede some valuable mountain territory. 

Meanwhile the vuichecked insolence of the Pindaris had 
Subjection of I'eachod its height. Fresh from his triumph in the 
tiiePimUris north, Lord Hastings resolved to chastise them. 
Mardtiias. In the firmucss of his righteous resolve he would 


have risked any official displeasure : but in fact lie was not 
forced to disobey his instiuctions ; for the stories of pillage 
and murder which had reached home caused a reaction of feeling 
which called for the destruction of the predatory hordes. An 
unexpected difficulty, however, presented itself. The Marathas 
sympathised with the Pindaris ; and they had still some power 
for evil. The treaty of Bassein had not crushed the Peshwa's 
restless ambition, or destroyed the irregular but mischievous 
attachment of his feudatories. He was discovered to be conspir- 
ing with the Pindaris, with Sindhia, and with Holkar for the 
restoration of his supremacy, and the subversion of our power. 

There is no more intricate page in Indian history than that 
which describes his intrigues and the measures by which they 
were baffled. Fortunately Elphinstone, the Resident at his 
Court, was a man who could thread the most confused mazes 
of Maratha treachery. A^vare of what was passing in the 
Peshwa's mind, he sought to checkmate him by a 


treaty which bound him to cede territory and for- 
bear from all communication with any Power but our own. 
Sindhia and Amir Khan, to each of whom the Pindaris looked 
for help, were likewise bound over to keep the peace ; and the 
robbers themselves were hunted down by our soldiers, 


while those who escaped the British bayonets were 
massacred by the exasperated villagers whom they had perse- 
cuted. Meanwhile, Sindhia and Amir Khan had adhered to 
their engagements : but the Peshwa and Holkar had turned 
traitors ; and the Raja of Nagpur had joined them. One after 
another the treacherous princes were punished. 
Defeated at Sitabaldi, the Raja of Nagpur fled ; and 
his territories passed under the nominal rule of a boy Raja, in 
whose name an English Resident established a wise administra- 
tion. The army of Holkar, for he himself was only its tool, 
was beaten by Malcolm on the field of Mehidpur ; and Holkar 
was obliged to receive a subsidiary force, while his administra- 
tion was left to his ministers, who were to act under the advice 
of a British Resident. But it would have been madness to treat 
the Peshwa with such leniency. While he retained a vestige of 
authoi'ity, there would have been a constant temptation to the 
Maratha chieftains to lally round him. His lands 
were therefore annexed, and his suzerainty was 
annihilated : but he himself received from the British Govern- 


ment that generous liberality which has done so much to 
reconcile their fallen foes to the inevitable loss of jDOwer. 

Thus, by the final overthrow of that Hydra-headed Empire, 

which, for more than a century and a half, had 
Lord Hastings' disturbed the peace of India, Lord Hastings had 

completed the development of Wellesley's policy, 
and had proclaimed by his deeds to the people of India that 
the Paramount Power, from which they expected protection, 
was able to aftbrd it. He had done more than this. Despising 
the vulgar cry that the ignorance of the natives was the best 
security of our rule, for he knew that no justification could be 
pleaded for a rule supported by such means, he had promoted 
the establishment of native schools and native journals, and thus 
encouraged the people to take advantage of the peace which he 
had given them. 

This able man was succeeded by a Governor of another 

stamp. Lord Amherst's reign is remembered as 
Lord Amherst. ^^® cpocli of the first Burmese war : but he himself 
First Burmese is almost forgottcu. This war, like that with the 

Gurkhas, was caused by the aggression of a barbar- 
ous people, which, encouraged by years of tame endurance, 
culminated in an invasion of British territory : but here the 
resemblance ended. The Gurkhas had been the most formid- 
able warriors that we had ever encountered : the Burmese were 
the most contemptible. Nothing but the unhealthiness of their 
climate and the military strength of their territory made their 
reduction difficult. But these obstacles were overcome by the 

force which was sent to Rangoon, and which, after 
1S26. ^ ^'^0 years' campaign, fought its way to Ava, the 

Burmese capital, and dictated a peace which seciured 
the cession of Assam, Arakan, and Tenasserim. 

The one other important event of this administration revealed 

the weakness of Amherst, and gave a fresh illus- 
oditeriony.'^ tratiou of the impracticability of non-intervention. 

The Raja of Bhurtpore, a state which Wellesley had 
brought under British protection, died, and left his throne to an 
infant son. But it was rare indeed in those days for a helpless 

heir to be allowed to enter peaceably upon his 

rights. A cousin of the young Raja seized the 
Government. Ochterlony, who was then Resident at Delhi, 
saw in this act of violence the seeds of a war which might con- 


vulse Central India, and took npon himself the responsibility of 
ordering a force to proceed towards Bhurtpore. Amherst 
countermanded its advance, and reprimanded the old general 
for his undue assumption of authority. It was not to be ex- 
pected that a soldier-statesman of fifty years' standing should 
submit to such an affront as this. Ochterlony resigned his post. 
But Amherst presently repented of his error ; and 
the capture of Bhurtpore put an end to a general Bhurtpore. 
uneasiness amongst the native princes, who were 
not yet habituated to our supremacy, and had been excited by 
the strange news that a British army was waging war upon the 
opposite side of the Bay of Bengal. 

After this there was a hollow peace in the land for twelve 
years ; for the principle of non-intervention was 
in the ascendant, and the English Eesidents at vention.^""' 
native courts were forbidden to interfere with the 
princes at the very stage in their political progress when they 
most needed wise counsel and restraining discipline. 
Lord William Bentinck, who succeeded Amherst in seutiMk!'^'*^ 
1828, was the very man to carry out the theories 
of Indian government that prevailed in England, and give a last 
convincing proof of their falseness. A pattern Liberal states- 
man of the nineteenth centurj'', overflowing with benevolence 
towards the natives, he was taught by the bitter lessons of seven 
years that, in dealing with Asiatics, humanitarianism is not 
humanity. A series of dispu.ted successions, the curse of that 
era of Indian history, called for British interference : but Ben- 
tinck invariably refused to interfere until his inaction had pro- 
duced its inevitable results, anarchy and massacre. We might 
wonder that he was so slow to learn from experience, if we did 
not know how hard it is to wrench oneself free from the in- 
fluence of a cherished theory. Two instances in which his 
reluctant interference wrought a political change call for special 

In Mysore, the boy Eaja whom Wellesley had set up after 
the overthrow of Tippoo, had been allowed to take the govern- 
ment into his own hands after twelve years of tolerably suc- 
cessful rule by his native minister under the friendly 
supervision of an English Eesident. The Eaja's ^Jo'rg."^"'^ 
government was intolerable ; and, after the Eesident 
had warned him again and again without effect, his subjects took 


the remedy into their own hands, and revolted. But these 
miserable rebels were repressed by our arms, be- 

1830 X t/ '^ 

cause, forsooth, the Raja Avas a protected prince. 
Bentinck talked of perjsetuating the Hindu Government with 
more eftectuai restrictions on the Raja's powei", but ended by 
doing nothing ; and the people suffered without redress until in 
1833 the English Resident became a Commissioner, and the 
country became virtually a British province. The Raja of 
Coorg, the nephew of a prince who had been a cordial ally of 
the English in their wars with Tippoo, made himself notorious 
by the savage cruelty with which he treated his subjects. Even 
Bentinck's theories were not proof against this test : but, while 
he desired to relieve the people, he Avas still anxious that they 
should remain under the rule of a native Raja, and Avas only 
persuaded to annex their country by their unani- 
mous and loudly-expressed desire to be transferred 
to the Company's Government. 

Even the briefest account of Bentinck's administration could 
Settlement of '^'^^ afford to leave unnoticed that great measure, 
the North- knoAvn as the Settlement of the North- Western Pro- 

AA'^esteni Pro- . i-i i •!•• i it 

viuces. vinces, Avhich Avas begun in his time, and completed 

1833-42. ^ fg^ years after his departure. When that portion 
of the country came luider British rule, the settlement officers 
did their Avork in a very lax and haphazard fashion. They tried 
to do justice to all j)arties : but they kncAV little of the usages 
Avhich had governed the tenure of land and the payment of the 
land revenue under native government : their ignorance was 
freely traded upon by interested nati\'es, Avho, in many cases, 
contrived to get themselves registered as the proprietors of 
villages Avhich did not belong to them ; and therefore many of 
their decisions caused dissatisfaction. It Avas understood, hoAv- 
ever, that the settlements Avhich they made might be superseded 
when the time for a more detailed inA'estigation should arrive. 
The first step toAvards such an investigation AA-^as taken in 1822, 
when a Regulation Avas published, setting forth the principles in 
accordance Avith Avhich a lasting settlement Avas to be made : but 
circumstances prevented further serious action from being taken 
till 1833. The officers to Avhom the Avork of the settlement was 
entrusted, laboured Avith the utmost zeal and perseverance to 
acquire such a full and accurate store of knowledge for a founda- 
tion as Avould enable them to avoid the false conclusions of their 



predecessors : but the interests which they had to examine were 
so numerous and complicated that they often went astray. More- 
over, they started with the theory that the settlement ought to 
be made, village by village, with the actual proprietors of the 
soil, and not Avith middle-men. They saw that the propi"ietary 
right generally belonged to single families, or to the village com- 
munities, which had survived here in far gi^eater perfection than 
in Bengal. But there was another important class whose rights 
had also to be considered, and whose generic name of Talukddrs 
is perhaps familiar to all who take an interest in Indian afifairs. 
It Avas through the medium of these men that the native Govern- 
ment had collected the revenue ; and, though they Avei'e techni- 
cally only hereditary revenue-contractors, they were to all intents 
and purposes the territorial aristocracy. The settlement officers, 
however, inspired by the famous Eobert ]\Iertins Bird, Avere full 
of the idea of promoting the greatest happiness of the greatest 
number : they branded the talukdars as a set of worthless 
drones ; and they determined accordingly to deprive them of 
the privilege of settling for every foot of land to which they 
could not show a proprietai'y title precise enough to satisfy an 
English laAvyer. A feAV thoughtful men did indeed urge that 
these sweeping measures Avould destroy the attachment of the 
aristocracy to oui* rule, and that, if they ever turned against us, 
Ave should find the villagers, Avhom Ave had thought to conciliate, 
impelled by the force of old ties and old associations to side 
with their natural leadei's. These Avarnings, hoAvever, were un- 
heeded, and their authors ridiculed as alarmists. The mere fact 
that the settlement ai^oused discontent does not indeed prove 
that the principles upon Avhich it Avas based were false. But 
perhaps its authors Avould have succeeded better if they had 
reflected that the proprietary light Avas not the only right con- 
nected Avith the soil, and, Avhile taking care to provide valid 
guarantees for the immunity of the village proprietors from ex- 
tortion, had recognised the existing riglits of the talukdars to 
contract for the collection of the revenue.^ 

■^ See remarks of H. St. G. Tucker, quoted on pp. 76-7 (note), of P. Caruegy'a 
Notes on the Land Tenures and Revenue Assessments of Upper India; and The Land- 
Systems of British India, by B. H. Baden-Powell. Mr. C. Raikes (Notes on tlie 
North- West Provinces of India, pp. 67-75), while admitting tliatthe settlement caused 
discontent among the talukdars, maintains that they were treated with perfect 
fairness. "We might well wonder," he says, "that the enfranchisement of the 
village communities was unpopular unless we happened to know what Indian 


Another class, known as the holders of rent-free tenures, 
escaped the grasp of the settlement oflficers only 
to fall under an investigation as searching as theirs. 
These teniu"es, relics of the days of native administration, were 
of various origins, and many of them had been fraudulently 
acquired, while others, having been granted for services which 
had long ceased to be performed, had become mere sinecures. 
If the English Government had had the inclination or the 
leisure to examine them when it had first established its rule, 
many of them Avould of course have been abolished : but un- 
fortunately action had been so long delayed that the holders 
had learned to regard their lands as secured to their families for 
ever. The ncAV school of officials, however, Avas indignant at 
the thought that so much land-revenue was lost to the state, and 
squandered by an unprofitable class. The holders were accord- 
ingly called upon to prove the original validity of their titles. 
Many of them asserted Avith truth that they had acquired their 
estates honestly, but could produce no documents in support of 
their Avord.^ Whatever opinions may be held as to the justice 
or the policy of this wholesale Resumption, it is certain that it 
aAvoke serious discontent and even disaifection. 

Much bitter feeling Avas also aroused by the operation of the 
Sale LaAv, under Avhich the estates of numerous 

The Sale Law. it, . , i , , i • 

landed proprietors were yearly put up to sale m 
satisfaction of debts, and boiight generally by rich speculators 
or native Government officials. This particular grievance Avas 
one of long standing. The neAV-comers could never succeed in 
gaining the slightest hold upon the feelings of their tenants, 
Avho persisted in regarding their former landlords AAdth unabated 
affection, and Avould at any moment haA^e been ready, if called 
upon, to take doAA^n their spears and matchlocks, and help them 
to Avin back what they had lost. 

It Avould be unjust, hoAvever, to hold Bentinck specially 
,„ , ., responsible for the evil results of measures which 

The strong side ,^,., .. , i-tt -i 

ofBentinck^s he did iiot Originate; and, as his dealings Avith 
a minis ra jon. j^^^j^-^g states have been severely criticised in these 

popularity means. The vox popull . . . has little or nothing to do with it, for 
that voice is not yet heard. Spurious jiopularity in the east may be cheaply 
obtained by following Sir Robert Walpole's maxim, Quieta mm viovere." 

^ See Extract from Board's Report to Government, dated 19th Sept. 1856, 
on the " Revenue Administration of the Rohilcund Division for 1856." Enclosures 
io Secret Letters from India, Feb. 1S5S, pp. 191-6. 


pages, it is a duty to do honour to the strong side of his ad- 
ministration. No Governor-General of India, no ruler known 
to history, ever laboured for the good of his people with a 
more single-minded devotion than he. Among his reforms the 
best known is the abolition of the atrocious rite of suttee,^ 
which only a man of the highest moral courage would have 
dared to carry out against the mass of religious prejudice 
which it stirred up. But he made his good influence felt in 
every department of civil government. It was he who gave 
the first great impetus to the material progress of the country. 
Thus it was that he won the unique place which he holds in 
the history of British India; for the evil which he had unwit- 
tingly done has perished, but the good will remain and fructify 
for all time. 

With the accession of Lord Auckland, Bentinck's successor, 
began a new era in Anglo-Indian history, in which 
the long - sown seeds of fresh political complica- Lord Aiick- 
tions, which even now seem as far from solution to'war(£°^"^^ 
as ever, began to put forth fruit. All danger ^^.''f '^'^irf 
from irench ambition had passed away : but 
Kussian intrigue was busy against us. We had brought the 
danger on ourselves. False to an alliance with Persia, which 
dated from the beginning of the century, we had turned a deaf 
ear to her entreaties for help against Kussian aggression, and 
had allowed her to fall under the power of her tyrant, who 
thenceforth vised her as an instrument of his amljition. The 
result of our selfish indifference appeared in 1837, when Persia, 
acting under Russian influence, laid siege to Herat, which was 
then under Afghan rule. After a long series of revolutions. 
Dost Mahomed, the representative of the famous tribe of 
Bdrakzais, had established himself upon the throne, with the 
warm approval of the majority of the people ; while Shah Shuja, 
the leader of the rival Saddozais, was an exile. The ruling 
prince did not wait for Auckland to seek his friendship. The 
Tsar sent an agent to Kabul, and offered him money and protec- 
tion against Persia. He treated the Russian advances with 
contempt, and desired nothing better than to be an ally of the 
English. All he asked was that they should protect him 
against Persian aggression, and induce Ranjit Singh to allow 
him and his brother Sultan Mahomed to hold PeshaAvar as 

^ The custom of burning widows on the funeral piles of their husbands. 


vassals and tributaries. Auckland was urged by Alexander 
Burnes, the agent whom he had sent to Kdbul, to seize the 
opportunity. It was in his power to deal Russia a crushing 
blow, and to avert those troubles which are even noAV harassing 
British statesmen. If it was impolitic for him to attempt to 
influence Ban jit Singh, he might at least have promised Dost 
Mahomed the protection which he desired, and thus proved to 
him that his friendly professions were not a sham. But his 
tone was so frigid that the Amir lost all faith in him ; and the 
agent was recalled. As the Amir's secretary remarked, " It 
was not the adjustment of the Peshawar afliair that dissipated 
the Amir's hopes, but the indifterence to his suff"erings Avhich it 
was clear that the English felt." Having flung away the friend- 
ship of Dost Mahomed, Auckland saw that he must do some- 
thing to checkmate Russian intrigue. If Herat were to fall, the 
Barakzais Avould be prostrate at the feet of the Shah ; and the 
Russians would establish a permanent influence in Afghanistan. 
In the summer of 1838 Auckland entered into the 
famous Tripartite Treaty with Ranjit Singh and 
Shah Shuja, the aim of which was to depose Dost Mahomed and 
elevate the exile to the throne. 

But Auckland was to have an opportunity of retrieving his 
error. While Herat was still holding out, the Shah was at last 
threatened Avith war, and raised the siege. Russian 
^ ' ' intrigue had failed ; and the danger which had 
menaced British India had disappeared. The motive of the 
Tripartite Treaty was gone. Even now Dost Mahomed hankered 
after the friendship of the English. Auckland did not let slip the 
opportunity : he flung it from him, and clutched at a policy 
that was to bring misery to thousands of families in England, in 
India, and in Afghanistan, and to prove disastrous to the poli- 
tical interests of all three countries. He asserted that it Avas 
his duty to provide against future troubles in Afghanistan, for 
he could point to no existing ones ; and he attempted to do this 
by dethroning a prince Avho had shown him nothing but good 
Avill, and hy raising up in his stead the rival whom the bulk of 
the population distrusted as a man foredoomed to misfortune.^ 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xxv. (1 Sess. 2) 1859, pp. 43, 100. 132, 160, 172-4, 187, 
228-9, 231, 238, 275, etc. ; A. Burhes's Cabool, p. 270 ; Kaye's Lives of Indian 
Officers, ii. 37, note ; Kaye's Jlist. of the War in Afghanistan, '2nd ed. pp. 199- 
385. See App. A. 


For a time ;ill appeared to go well ; and the English Avere lulled 
into a fatal security. So long as the chiefs and the mountain 
tribes were propitiated by British subsidies, the British army 
which remained at Kabul to protect Shah Shuja against his own 
subjects was in no danger. But, when economy necessitated the 
withdrawal of the subsidies, the factitious attachment of the 
people to our rule died away. There is no need to dwell upon 
the tragedies of 1841 and 1842. Those who are least interested 
in Indian history are not likely to forget how the Afghan mob 
murdered the British Envoy and his associates ; how the British 
commander, putting faith in the chiefs of a people whom no 
treaties can bind, began that retreat from which but one man 
escaped to tell how sixteen thousand had perished ; how poor 
Auckland, unmanned by the disaster, lacked the energy to retrieve 
it ; how the heroic Sale ^ held out at Jelalabad till Pollock re- 
lieved him ; how Auckland's successor. Lord Ellenborough, 
dreading fresh disasters, hesitated to alloAA'' his generals to act 
till, yielding to their indignant zeal, he threw upon 
them the responsibility of that advance to Kabul 
which retrieved the lost prestige of oui' arms. Thus closed the 
first act of a still unfinished drama. 

After celebrating the triumph of the victorious army, Ellen- 
borough sent Charles Napier to punish the Amirs 
of Sind, who, emboldened by the retreat from shiJ{^"'^** '^'^ 
Kdbul, had violated a treaty which they had con- 
cluded with the British Government. The result of the war 
was the annexation of the country : but the glories 

" o 1S43 

of Miani and of Hyderabad were overclouded by 

the dispute on the question of the guilt of the Amirs between 

Napier and James Outram.- 

Less talked of at the time, but historically more important 
was Ellenborough's reconstitution of the British 
relations with the Sindhia of the day. Political Biienborough's 
distu.rbances had for some time agitated that prince's sindhla. 
court, while his army had swollen to a dangerous 
size, and, like the Sikh army since Eanjit Singh's death, which 
had taken place a few years before, had passed beyond the con- 
trol of the civil power. In these two armies Ellenliorough saw 
a danger which might disturb the peace of Hindustan. He fore- 

^ The leading spirit iu the defence of Jelalabad was Captain Broadfoot. 
^ See the biography of Napier iu my Four Fuvwvs Holdiers. 


saw that tlie Sikh soldiers, released from the stern discipline of 
Ranjit Singh, would soon force a government which they despised 
to let them cross the Sutlej in quest of plunder. Two years 
later his character as a prophet was A'indicated ; and, if he had 
not now, in anticipation of the invasion which then took place, 
disbanded the greater part of Sindhia's army, and overawed the 
remainder by a native contingent under the command of British 
officers, the Sikhs would probably have joined their forces with 
the Marathas. It is impossible to estimate the magnitude of the 
danger which would then have threatened our power ; and, when 
Ellenborough heard of the unexpected resistance which the Sikhs 
had opposed to his successor, he may well have thought that he 
had helped to secure the empire against the advent of a great 
crisis. But the Directors took a different view of their Governor- 
General's conduct of affairs. In June, 1844, all India was 
astonished by the news that Ellenborough had been 

His recall. . . 

recalled. He had helped to bring about his own 
downfall, for in the controversies with his masters in which he, 
like some of the ablest of his predecessors, had found himself 
involved, he had shown an unfortunate Avant of discretion : but, 
though by bombastic proclamations and a theatrical love of display 
he had sometimes exposed himself to ridicule, many of his subor- 
dinates felt that in him they had lost a vigorous and able ruler. 

Sir Henry Hardinge, who was raised to the peerage before 
the close of his administration, succeeded to the office of 
Governor-General, and waited anxiously for the breaking of the 
storm which his predecessor had seen gathering. The Sikhs, 

the Puritans of India, who Avere not strictly speak- 

The Sikhs . . . J r 

ing a nation, but a religious brotherhood of warriors 
called the Khalsa, Avere animated by tAvo passions equally 
dangerous to the peace of those around them, a fierce enthusiasm, 
half military, half religious, for the glory of their order, and an 
insatiable desire for plunder. By giA^ing them full scope for the 
indulgence of these passions, and by punishing all disobedience 
with merciless severity, Eanjit Singh had governed his tui-bulent 
subjects for forty years : but, AA-hen he died, they broke loose 
from all control ; and the Aveak GoA^ernment of Lahore found 

that they coi;ld only save their own capital from 
First ^jlki'i war. l^eiug plundered by the Khalsa army by sending it 

to seek plunder in British territory. Thus began 
the first Sikh Avar. The British soldiers Avho marched to defend 


the line of the Sutlej found to their astonishment that the Sikhs 

were as formidable enemies as the Gurkhas ; and 

they had already fought three desperate battles 

v\hen the dearly bought victory of Sobraon decided the war in 

their favour. 

Hardinge was not a weak ruler : but he lacked the foresight 
which gave additional value to Wellesley's decision 
in the use of victory. Though many of the Sikh dlnge tries to'^' 
magnates declared that nothing less than the jJfth-e*govem- 
annexation of the Punjab would deter the Khdlsa meiitofthe 
army from striking another blow for supremacy, he 
resolved to give the people a chance of settling down quietly 
under their native rulers.^ He received one emphatic warning 
against the unsoundness of this policy ; for, when he was about 
to withdraw the British army from the Punjab, the Government 
of Lahore assured him that such a measure would be the signal 
for the rise of the Khdlsa against themselves. At last he com- 
promised the matter by consenting that Henry Lawrence, as 
British Eesident, should have the guidance of the native Council 
of Regency to which the administration was to be committed. 
Many of the Sikh soldiers were disbanded : there were but few 
outward signs of discontent; and, in 1848, Hardinge handed 
over the government to Lord Dalhousie with the cheering 
thought that he had bestowed upon India the blessing of a 
lasting peace. 

The peace lasted just three months after his departure. 
Surrounded by a staff of officers who all trusted in _. 

•^ , . Henry Law- 

their chief, who have all left their mark upon renceinthe 
Indian history, and of whom more than one will find """''^ ' 
mention in the story of the Mutiny, Henry Lawrence had 
laboured on at the reform of the administration, but had never 
deluded himself into the belief that English rule, however 
beneficent, would be acceptable to a proud and only half- 
subdued nation. But, in the midst of his labours, he had been 
forced to return to England for his health ; and the 
insurrection for which he had been prepared broke out ^^'^°^^ ^''^'' 


^ It was afterwards asserted by Henry and John Lawrence that Hardinge had 
not had the means of annexing the Punjab. On the other hand, Charles Napier 
and Havelock strongly recommended annexation ; and such good .soldiers v/ould 
hardly have recommended a military impossibility. Life of Sir C Xajner, vol. 
iii. pp. 430, 458 ; J. C. Marshman's Memoirs of Sir H. Havelock, p. 160. 


under his successor. Its first aspect was that of a mere 
local disturbauce. Moolraj, the native viceroy of Mooltan, 
had long evaded payment of a succession duty which the Govern- 
ment of Lahore had demanded from him before the outbreak of 
the first Sikh war. Finding, however, that the British Resident 
would not hear of the delay to which the impotent 
Lahore Durbar ^ had submitted, he petulantly resigned 
his post : the British officers who came to install his successor were 
murdered ; and he instantly adopted the deed as his own, and 
called upon the people of all creeds to rise against the British. 
It soon became clear that this was no isolated act of treachery. 
The Khalsa sympathised with Moolraj. Moreover, his crime 
was not punished with that promptitude which could alone have 
overawed the disaffected nation ; for Lord Gough, the Com- 
mander-in-chief, feared to expose his army to the effects of a 
summer campaign. But the inaction of the Commander-in-chief 
was put to shame by the vigour of a subaltern. On his own 
responsibility, Herbert Edwardes, a young lieutenant of infantry, 
marched against Moolraj, defeated him, and forced him to retire 
behind the walls of Mooltan. This act of resolution, however, 
was not so successful as it deserved to be. Mooltan was obstin- 
ately defended against the reinforcements which were sent to 
co-operate with Edwardes. Then Dalhousie ordered the general 
advance of the British troops which he had postponed in defer- 
ence to Gough's judgement. The cruel kindness of Hardinge had 
brought the miseries of a second conquest upon the Khalsa. 
His successor resolved that the work should now be done once 
for all. 

It was so done, but at a heavy cost. There are many still 

living Avho remember the fierce burst of indignation Avhich sent 

out Charles Napier to avenge the terrible slaughter of Chilian- 

wdla. But, before Napier could arrive, Gough had atoned for 

the errors of his doulitful victory by the decisive battle of 

Gujrdt. Dalhousie turned his conquest to account by bringing 

the Punjab under British dominion. It Avas the 

one step in his remorseless career of annexation 

that needed no apology. One interruption alone marred 

Annexation of ^^c smoothncss of the administrative progress 

the Punjab, which made the Punjab the model province 

of the empire. 

^ Ruling council. 


Dalhousie began by entrusting the govei'nnient to a Board 
of three, Henry Lawrence, John Lawrence, and 
Charles Mansel, who was succeeded, in 1850, by ^f'SunSb!" 
Robert Montgomery. The rapidity with which the 
province advanced towards ciinllisation justified the j)artiality 
Avith which Dalhousie always regarded it. Under a picked body 
of administrators who threw their whole heart into their work, 
and lived in camp for eight months of the year with their tents 
open to the humblest petitioners, the pressure of the taxes which 
Ranjit Singh had imposed was lightened ; the people were 
forced to give up their arms, and to live peaceably with each 
other ; ^ a strong and trustworthy police force was organised ; 
dacoity ^ was almost entirely stamped out ; a system of criminal 
law suitable to the character of the people was de\ased ; slavery, 
infanticide, and the countless evils of a barbarous rule were 
suppressed ; canals, bridges, and a network of great roads were 
constructed ; and new regiments were organised for the protec- 
tion of the country against the lawless hill - tril^es. It was 
because the Sikhs, as a conquered people, were prepared to 
accept the measures of their conquerors with submission, while 
the simplicity of Ranjit Singh's despotism, unencumbered by the 
mass of forms which thwarted the benevolent efforts of English 
officials in other provinces, had left the ground clear for the 
erection of an entirely new fabric of government, that the 
success of our rule in the Punjab was so swift, and so complete. 

But there was not unanimity in the counsels of the famous 
trio who composed the Board. Henry Lawrence, always a 
friend of the fallen, caused dissatisfaction to the Governor- 
General by the pertinacity with which he fought the battles of 
the Sikh Sirdars, the aristocracy of the Punjab, whose past 
unfaithfulness he was unwilling to punish too severely. Dal- 
housie finally resolved to give John Lawrence, whose views 
harmonised Avith his own, the undivided control of the province. 
But there is no doubt that the character of John's administration 
AA'as modified by Henry's counsels ; and, when old Punjabis talk 
of the glorious history of their province in 1857, they love to 

^ "The Trans-Indus and Huzara population was exempted . . . inasmuch as 
without arms they would be at the mercy of plundering hordes." — General 
Report 071 the Adviinistraiion of the Punjab for the years 1849-50, and 1850-51, 
p. 37, par. 182. 

- Gang-robbery. 



dwell upon the fact that it was Henry who, by his noble charac- 
ter and unresting energy, bequeathed to their administration the 
spirit to which that history was partly due. 

The acquisition of the Punjab, like almost every accession of 
territory which the empire had hitherto received, 
housie'^ bad been the result of conquest forced upon a 
policy^*'"" reluctant Government. But Dalhousie's other acquisi- 
tions were for the most part of a different kind, and 
excited in his own time and after his death controversies more 
violent than those which had been excited by the acts of any 
Governor-General except Warren Hastings. The passions, how- 
ever, which fanned these controversies into flame are now well- 
nigh extinct : the direction in which opinion is setting is clearly 
defined : the evidence upon which a final judgement may be 
based is ample and open to eveiy enquirer ; and the time has 
therefore come when such a judgement may be confidently pro- 
nounced. Like Bentinck, Dalhousie belonged to the school of 
modern Liberalism : but, while the milder political creed of the 
former bade him maintain the right of all dependent native 
states to govern themselves even to their own destruction, the 
ardent proselytism of the latter would have brought the same 
states under the uniform sway of a paternal government. There 
is not indeed any reason to suppose that Dalhousie set out for 
India with the resolve of entering upon a career of annexation : 
but, as opportunities for annexation arose which he regarded as 
lawful, he believed that he would be wanting in his duty to his 
country and to the people of India, if he failed to take advantage 
of them. It then became the aim of his policy to consolidate the 
Anglo-Indian Empire by the absorption of the native states that 
interrupted its continuity ; to eradicate every remnant of native 
barbarism which he could reach ; and upon the ground thus 
cleared to erect a brand-new fabric of Western civilisation, " I 
take this fitting occasion," he wrote, in a minute on the famous 
Satara cpxestion, " of recording my strong and deliberate opinion, 
that, in the exercise of a wise and sound policy, the British 
Government is bound not to put aside or neglect such rightful 
opportunities of acquiring territory or revenue as may from 
time to time present themselves ; whether they arise from the 
lapse of subordinate states by the failure of all heii's of every 
description whatsoever, or from the failure of heirs natural, 
where the succession can be sustained only by the sanction of 


the Government being given to tlie ceremony of adoption accord- 
ing to Hindu law. The Government is bound in duty, as well 
as policy, to act on every such occasion with the purest integrity, 
and in the most scrupulous observance of good faith. Whenever 
a shadow of doubt can be shown, the claim should at once be 
abandoned. But, where the right to territory by lapse is clear, 
the Government is bound to take that which is justly and legally 
its due, and to extend to that territory the benefits of our 
sovereignty, present and prospective. In like manner, while I 
would not seek to lay down any inflexible rule with respect to 
adoption, I hold that, on all occasions, where heirs natural shall 
fail, the territory should be made to lapse, and adoption should 
not be permitted, excepting in those cases in which some strong 
political reason may render it expedient to depart from this 
general rule." 

The principles of adoption and of lapse, to which he here 
refers, require a brief explanation. No article in the Hindu 
creed is held more tenaciously than that which teaches that a 
man can only escape punishment hereafter by leaving a son to 
offer sacrifice to his soul. The childless man therefore naturally 
cherished the right of adopting a son who would perform for 
him this sacred duty. But the custom of adoption had a 
political side as well. Childless princes adopted sons with the 
view not only of securing salvation, but of perpetuating their 
dynasties. No one could interfere with the right of a son so 
adopted to inherit his father's private property, or to perform 
for him the duties of religion. But it had always been clearly 
understood, and was admitted even by the most zealous sup- 
porters of the rights of native dynasties, that he could not 
succeed to the principality without the sanction of the Para- 
mount Power. The rulers who preceded Dalhousie had gene- 
rally been ready to grant their sanction : but in more than one 
instance they had for special reasons withheld it ; and in con- 
sequence certain minor principalities had lapsed to the British 
Government. It was by the exercise of this right of lapse that 
Dalhousie annexed Satara, Nagpur, JhAnsi, and several minor 
principalities. He did not create the right : he simply exercised 
it on a scale of unprecedented magnitude, because he believed 
it to be valuable, and possessed the rare courage that dares to 
push an opinion to its logical conclusion. 

It remains to be considered whether his opinion AA^as right. 


In his despatches he expended mi;ch eloquence r.iid argument 
to show that his proceedings were technically justifiable ; and 
there can be no doubt that he proved his point. But the 
verdict of history on great political questions differs from legal 
verdicts in that it is not affected by technicalities. If Dal- 
housie's annexations injured the interests of the people of the 
annexed states and of the British Government, it is useless to 
argue that they were technicall}'- valid. If, on the other hand, 
they promoted those interests, they are independent of justifica- 
tion based upon technical grounds. Had they been technicall}^ 
invalid, such invalidity would only require notice if it had given 
offence to native critics. The only questions then that call for 
discussion are these : did the annexations promote the interests 
of the Bi'itish Government and of the people of the annexed 
states, and did they produce a disturbing effect upon native 
opinion ? These questions may be easily and certainly answered. 
The annexations consolidated the empire, strengthened its 
military communications, and added to its material resources. 
Moreover, no well-informed man can doubt that, although they 
gave great offence to royal families and courtiers, they conferred 
lasting benefits upon millions of people, a large proportion of 
whom had suffered grievously from native misgovernment. But 
it is not less certain that they aroused a feeling of uneasiness 
among many of those natives who were capable of obseivation 
and reflection. Such a result, however, was unavoidable, and 
furnished no argument against Dalhousie's policy. Just as a 
child often cannot understand the motives of those who are 
responsible for his education, so the natives could not under- 
stand the motives that dictated the policy of annexation. The 
unswerving regularity with which it was carried out, the absence 
of that provocation on their part, which had seemed to justify 
the annexations of former rulers, cx'eated in the minds of many 
of them an impression that the British Government was abandon- 
ing those principles of good [faith which had raised it above 
earlier conquerors, and entering upon a new career of unscrupu- 
lous aggrandisement.^ 

^ Sir R. Temple's Men and Events of my Time in India, pp. 107, 109, 111, 
113 ; W. Lee-Warner's Tlie Protected Princes of India, pp. 126, 144-47 ; E. 
Arnold's Dalhousie's Administration of British India, vol. ii. pp. 164-5 ; 
Calcutta Review, vol. xlii. p. 183, vol. xxxiii., vol. xxii. ; Sir C. Jackson's 
Vindication of the Marquis of Dalhousie's Indian Administration, pp. 
9, 10, 12, 19, 20 ; Meadows Taylor's Story of my Life, pp. 294, 357 ; Purl. 



Two other annexations remain to be recorded. The successor 
of Amherst had tried hard to preserve friendly 
relations with the Burmese Court, but in vain ; pegu^^**' °^ 
and, in 1840, the obstinate insolence of the Bur- 
mese King drove Auckland to give up the attempt to maintain 
a British Resident at his capital. Though, however, repeated 
acts of petty tyranny to Europeans would have justified retri- 
bution, no further action was taken till after Hardinge's 
departure ; for the costliness of the first Burmese war and the 
deadliness of the Burmese climate had not been 
forgotten. At last Dalhousie felt himself obliged 
to vindicate British honour, and, after a rapid conquest, annexed 

The annexation of Oudh, the crowning act of Dalhousie's 
administration, differed widely in regard to the 
motives which dictated it and the manner in which oi"uudh.'°" 
it was carried out, from the annexations that have 
already been mentioned. The reader may remember that 
Wellesley had prophesied that the Company's Government 
would sooner or later find itself obliged to assume the adminis- 
tration of that unhappy country. Since his time one ruler 
after another had mourned over its wrongs, but had shrunk 
from taking the one decisive step that Avould have redressed 
them. Remonstrances and warnings had been tried in vain. 
But, when Colonel Sleeman, the British Resident at Lucknow, 
after making a tour of inspection through the kingdom, reported 
the results of his observations, such a mass of wickedness was 
brought to light that a humane ruler could no longer shrink 
from fulfilling the threats which weaker men had been content 
to repeat in vain. The Mahomedans and the Rajputs of Oudh 
were naturally neither better nor worse than other men ; but the 
system under which they found themselves was hopelessly 
demoralising. If the king had been a despot, he might at least 
have controlled his barons, and kept the right of plundering in 
his own hands : but his selfish indifference was worse than any 
tyranny. No regular Government existed. The nazims and 
chakladdrs, who nominally governed the various districts, were 
in fact collectors of revenue, who had to pay so much to the 

Pajxrs, vol. xxxix. (1849), p. 227, par. 25-S, vol. xl. (18ril-5.'">), p. 70, par. 5. 
I have also consulted a large iiiiuiljer of Looks aud painplilets writteu iii a 
spirit of hostility to Dalhousie. 


king, and reimbursed themselves as best they could. The 
revenue was collected by armed force. No talukdar ever 
dreamed of paying unless he should be compelled. The strong 
gathered their clansmen around them, shut themselves up in 
their forts, and received the nazim and his army Avith a dis- 
charge of artillery. The Aveak were mercilessly plundered, 
sometimes killed, and sometimes forced to take to brigandage 
for a living. The soldiers of the nazim Avere let loose upon the 
country to realise their pay. Peasants and small traders never felt 
secure for a single night ; and some two thousand men were slain 
annually by brigands or in civil strife. Talukdars themselves 
robbed small proprietors of their holdings and plundered traders 
and capitalists. The inferior castes were oppressed, beaten and 
abused by all. No pen could faithfully describe the sins of the 
oppressors or the miseries of the oppressed ; and, if the picture 
could be painted, no humane man would suffer himself to look 
upon it. For the worst of Roman proconsuls would have 
blushed at the iniquities wrought by the nazims and the chak- 
ladars of Oudh. 

The one remedy for such wrongs as these was for the British 
Government to assume the administration of the country ; and, 
if the determination to do this had needed further justification, 
it would have been supplied by the unanimity vnth. which Sleeman 
and Henry LaAvrence, the sympathetic champions of the rights of 
native rulers, pleaded for the measure.^ Dalhousie knew as well 
as any man that interference was called for ; and, if he had 
shrunk from acting upon his knowledge, the admonitions of the 
Home Government would have forced him to be up and doing. 
But he also knew that the Government of India was in great part 
responsible for the evils which its feebleness had for more than 
fifty years suffered to accumulate : he remembered that the princes 
of Oudh had always been faithful allies of his countrymen ; and 
it is probable that these considerations so far unnerved him that 
he was unwilling to act with the inexorable resolution Avhich had 
characterised his dealings with other native states. The course 
which he personally "wished to adopt was, not to annex the 

■' Oudh G'arxtteer,\o\. i. pp. xlvi, xlviii, li-lii. ; vol. ii. p. 43 ; Maj.-Geii. Sir W. II. 
Sleemau's A Journeii tki-oiujh Uie Kingdom of Oudh in 1849-.''»0, i. 6'J, 100, 135-0, 
210-13, 335, 3C8-9,'378, 382, 387, 392, 422 ; ii. 210-13. H. C. Irwin's Garden 
of India, pp. 133-4, 141-3, 148-9, 151, 153, 1(50 ; Sir R. Montgomery's Report 
(Hotise of Lords I'a.2)crs, 74 Sess. 2, 1859) pars. 83, 85, 87-90, 94, 99, 101-4 j G. 
Hutchinson's Narratice of the Mutinies in Oudh, pp. 2, 24. 


country, not even to insist upon assuming the administration, 
but, declaring that the treaty of 1801 ^ had been rendered null 
and void by the failure of the Government of Oudh to fulfil its 
conditions, to withdraw the British troops by whose support the 
king was alone maintained iipon his throne, and thus reduce him 
to the necessity of accepting a new treaty. But the English 
Cabinet, the Board of Control, and the Court of Directors, like 
almost every Anglo-Indian statesman whose opinion carried 
weight, felt that such a delicate mode of proceeding was uncalled 
for ; and Dalhousie was accordingly authorised " to assume 
authoritatively the powers necessaiy for good government 
throughout the country." He loyally accepted the issue. "I 
resolved," he wrote, " to forego my own preferences, and, in 
dealing with Oudh, to adopt the more peremptory course which 
had been advocated by my colleagues, and which was manifestly 
more acceptable to the Honourable Company." Accordingly, on 
the 4th of February, 1856, Colonel James Outram, the British 
Resident at Lucknow, presented a new treaty to the king, at the 
same time courteously warning him that, unless he accepted it, 
the royal title and the ample revenue, which the British Govern- 
ment was ready to guarantee to himself and his heirs, would be 
forfeited. Bursting into tears, the king declared that the British 
had robbed him of his all, and that it was useless for him to sign 
the treaty. Outram exhausted every argument to induce him 
to change his mind, but in vain. Three days afterwards there- 
fore it was i)roclaimed " that the government of the territories 
of Oudh is henceforth vested exclusively and for ever in the 
Honourable East India Company." 

It remains to be seen what lines were to be laid do\vn for the 
administration of the new province. Sleeman and Henry Law- 
rence had earnestly recommended that the revenues should be 
exclusively appropriated to the benefit of the people and of the 
royal family. If Dalhousie had taken this advice, he would have 
given to the natives of India a convincing proof that his policy 
had been inspired, not by any thirst for aggrandisement, but by 
a single-minded devotion to their welfare, and might have I'epelled 
the imputation of 1)ad faith which his past annexations had 
brought upon him. But he decided that the British Government 
might fairly recompense itself for the labour which it was 

^ See p. 16 aupra. 


voluntarily undertaking on behalf of an oppressed people.^ It 
was inevitable that the natives should put the most invidious 
interpretation upon his decision, and assume that, endeavouring 
to disguise his rapacity by a hypocritical profession of benevolence, 
he had simply clutched at iia opportunity for extending the terri- 
tory and swelling the revenue of the British Eaj."' 

If, however, Dalhousie erred in rejecting the counsel of Slee- 
man and of LaAvrence, the instructions which he laid down for 
the guidance of the officers who were intrusted with the adminis- 
tration of Oudh were conceived in the purest spirit of humanity. 
His object was to gi'ant redress to the actual occupants of the 
soil, whom the talukdars had in many cases fraudulently or 
violently deprived of their rights. He ordered therefore that a 
summary settlement of the land revenue should be formed with 
the occupants. This settlement, however, was to last for three 
years only, after which it was to be superseded by a permanent 
arrangement based upon a detailed investigation of the claims of 
all parties.^ But in those three years irreparable mischief might 
be done. Dalhousie, in his eagerness to do justice to the oppressed, 
forgot that the talukdars had rights as well as the tenants. The 
talukdars, in spite of their misdeeds, were, in the eyes of their 
dependents, the aristocracy of the country ; and if, notwithstanding 
long jDossession, their claims were ignored, it was certain that they 
would seize the first opportunity of recovering what they regarded 
as their own. 

The dangerous results which have been spoken of as flowing 

from the Settlement of the North- Western Provinces 
Conmiission. ^^^'^ the Sale Law were in full current in Dalhousie's 

time : but, whatever judgement may he pronounced 
upon those measures, he was not responsible for them. At the 
same time it must be mentioned that an Act was passed in the 
fifth year of his rule, which directed what was known as the 
Indm Commission to enquire into the titles of landowners. More 

^ Mr. Irwin points out (Garde)i of India, p. 167) that Dalhoiisie referred the 
question to the Directors, but that they "maintained a discreet and significant 

- Government. 

^ Sir .J. Strachey's India, pp. 250, 312-1 4; Sir R. Montgomery's lieport, 
pars. 157-8 ; J. G. W. Sykes's (Jotiipendiiim <>/' the Lani speciaUy relating to the 
Taluqdars of Oudh, p. 14; Jackson, pp. 136, 139, 140, 144-7; H. C. Irwin '.<? 
Garden of India, p. 179 ; Duke of Argyll's India undi'r iJalhoitsie mid Canninr/, 
p. 22 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-'58), Part 4, pp. 1125, 1126. 


than twenty thousand estates were confiscated by the com- 
missioners in the five years preceding the Mutiny ; and in the 
Southern Manitha country especially its decisions added seriously 
to the sum of agrarian discontent. 

The famous case of the Nana Sahib deserves a short notice. 
When the ex-Poshwa died, the son whom he had 
adopted, that Nana Sahib who, a few years later, S^^fJ^°l*lJ*•t 
was to win for himself an imperishable infamy, isss. 
demanded, as his right, that his father's pension 
should be continued to him. His claim was rejected. The 
rejection was based upon the terms of the original agreement 
with the Peshwa ; and to pronounce an ex post facto condemna- 
tion on its justice or its policy on the ground that the individual 
who suffered from it wreaked a base revenge upon the power 
which had disappointed him, would l>e preposterous. ^ 

Meanwhile, Dalhousie was carrying out another set of measures 
which, though they reflected the greatest credit upon 
his administration, and were productive of immense Daihousie's 
benefit to the country, awakened distrust among the measures. 
aristocracy of religion. The Hindu priesthood had 
ever been the sole depositaries not only of sacred, but also of 
secular instruction. The recent introduction of the literature and 
science of Europe into India had done little to shake the blind 
trust of the masses in Brahmin infallibility. The outworks of 
the stronghold of superstition were indeed shaken when the 
clever young students who had studied Shakespeare, and Bacon, 
and Newton at the Government Colleges grew up to manhood, 
and communicated their knowledge to their families. But, when 
the ignorant natives saw trains rushing past at twice the speed 
of the swiftest Maratha horsemen, on the rails which Dalhousie 
had laid down, and learned that messages could be transmitted 
instantaneously from end to end of the empire, along those lines 
of wire which they gazed at with Avondering awe, it was felt that 
the stronghold itself was in danger. The movement for the 
education of native women, the contemplated law for permitting 
Hindu widows to marry again, the inexoral)le suppression of the 
barbarous usages which scandalised Dalhousie, were supported by 
a few intelligent natives, but gave deep offence to the Hindu 
Pundits, the Mnhomedau Moulvis, and the orthodox millions who 

^ Jacksou, pp. 54, 61. 


still venerated their teaching.^ There was no outward sign of 
discontent to offend the self-satisfaction with which this strong, 
austere, laborious man, surveyed his work upon the eve of his 
departure. Everywhere there was a great calm. But it was the 
calm that precedes a storm. 

Let us pause for a moment to review the effects of a century 
of British rule. Few Englishmen cai-e to learn how 
effeets^of the^ ^ handful of their countrymen established that rule, 
British ruler °^ ^^^ Steadily widened the sphere of its operation ; 
for they do not know that they are refusing to look 
upon a unique historical drama, full of picturesque incident, and 
diversified by the conflict of characters of whom some would have 
been strange to Shakespeare's imagination, — gorgeous poten- 
tates, intriguing courtiers, subtle diplomatists, ambitious queens 
hatching plots in the recesses of their palaces, clan -chieftains 
founding empires, daring upstarts forcing their way by craft and 
violence to the command of armies and the conquest of kingdoms, 
cunning priests inspiring awe alike in king and noble, soldier and 
statesman, zamindar and ryot,^ merchant and artisan ; Avhile 
suddenly the strong figure of the White Man appears in the midst, 
dominates all, evolves order out of chaos, bids the contending rulers 
hush their quarrels, and holds out hope to the suflering millions. 
But, though each successive page of the drama contains fresh reve- 
lations of the dauntless courage, the adventurous generalship, the 
far-seeing statesmanship of the Englishman, it would have only 
a tragic interest if it did not bear witness also to his righteous- 
ness of pui'pose. It had been with this purpose before him that 
he had given order, peace, and justice to the country Avhich he 
had found a scene of anarchy, intestine war, and injustice ; that 
he had disabled the monster, Famine, and looked forward to 
destroying it ; that he had reclaimed vast tracts from the ravages 
of Avild beasts, repressed crime, stimulated industry, and developed 
commerce. Yet his rule had been no unmixed benefit. Some- 
times the very energy of his benevolence had intensified the evil 
which his ignorance had wrought. At other times the faults of 
his character had led him astray. A.n eminent Frenchman has 

^ Arnold, vol. ii. p. 241 ; Evidence taken before the Court appointed for the 
Trial of the King of Delhi, p. 220 {Pari. Fcqjers, vol. xviii. 1859) ; Letters of 
Indojjhilvs (Sir C. Trevelyan) to the Times (3rd edition), p. 32. 

"^ Peasant-cultivator. 


characterised his government as "just, but not amiable." That 
terse criticism exposes its weak side. While the ruler had 
laboured for the material well-being of his subjects, he had too 
often failed to reach their hearts ; and, in his calm sense of superi- 
ority, he had forgotten that his intrusive reforms might not always 
be appreciated. It was not that the natives resented the thorough- 
ness with which he exemplified the maxim, "Everything for the 
people, nothing by the people." They were accustomed to 
depend for their happiness upon the favour of their rulers ; and 
they could appreciate the benefits of a strong and just rule. 
They might boast idly of their own superiority : but they were 
persuaded in their inmost hearts that the Europeans were their 
superiors. It was only necessary for the master-race openly to 
assert its supremacy, to manifest the single-minded benevolence 
of its intentions ; and it would have secured a Avilling obedience. 
But unhappily, while it had sometimes shrunk from avowing and 
righteously exercising the supremacy which it in fact possessed, 
it had too often provoked an unmerited distrust of its benevolence. 
Its land legislation had, as has been pointed out, roused the ill- 
will of a class whom it was important to conciliate, and who 
complained that, having made use of their influence over the 
lower classes to conquer the country, it no longer cared to treat 
them with common civility. It had heedlessly thrown a host of 
native oflicials out of employment l^y filling up their places, after 
each new conquest, with men of its own choice. By occasional 
acts of indiscretion, it had shaken the old confidence in its 
tolerance. It had once been hailed by the victims of tyrannical 
princes as their deliverer. But a new generation had arisen who 
felt no gratitude for the deliverance of their fathers from a 
tyranny which they had never suffered, and who, moreover, saw 
in the traditional deliverers actual conquerors. 

The reader who wishes to understand the feelings with which 
the rulers of India were regarded by the natives, must bear in 
mind, first of all, that the latter were marked off by boundaries 
of race, religion, government, or status into numerous groups, 
the respective characteristics of which Avere quite as dissimilar 
as those which distinguish the several peoples of Europe. He 
will perceive therefore that it is impossible to descrilje their feel- 
ings by any comprehensive generalisation. To present as truthful 
a description as the available evidence will admit of, it will be 
necessary to approach the subject from different points of view. 


It is certain that, with the exception of those who had been 
affected by the agitating influences which have lately been 
mentioned, the Hindus were not antagonistic to the English 
on the score of religion. So long as they had no fear lest 
their own religion would be interfered with, they would be too 
apathetic to harbour any enmity against Christianity. Of the 
Mahomedans, on the other hand, some did no doubt bitterly 
resent the deprivation of the political supremacy which their 
fathers had enjoyed, and longed to pull down the aliens who 
had seized that supremacy, and to destroy them as enemies of 
Islam. But that these feelings were very far from being 
general, is proved by the records of the Mutiny. The bulk of 
mankind are not logical in their daily practice ; and with many 
of the Mahomedans the dictates of a proselytising religion were 
set aside by motives of self-interest, of honour, or of respect for 
strong and Avisely exercised authority, motives vv^hich made them, 
if not loyal, at least submissive to British rule.^ 

Putting aside the question of religion, we may conclude that 
the mercantile and shop-keeping classes, all, in fact, who knew 
that their position and prosperity were staked upon the con- 
tinuance of orderly rule, and would be liable to ruin amid the 
anarchy which Avould be sure to follow upon its subversion, 
were steady, if not loyal supporters of the GoAxrnment, and 
were prepared to remain so just so long as it suited their con- 
venience, in other words, so long as the Government was able 

^ In a pamphlet entitled A71 Account of the Loyal Mahomedans in India 
(Part II.) by Syad Ahmad Khan, the object of which is to show that no learned 
or respectable Mahomedans took part in the Mutiny, it is stated that many of 
those who called themselves Moulvis in 1857 and 1858 were impostors ; that 
Christians are the only sect upon earth with whom Mahomedans may live iu 
friendship ; and that, when a Mahomedan enjoys protection under the rule of a 
I^eople not of his own faith, he is bound to obey them. [Sir W. Hunter (The 
Indian Mnsalmans, 3rd ed., 1876) states that the Shias and the Sunnis, by the 
decisions of their law-doctors, " are not bound by the first principles of religion 
to rebel against the Queen" ; but that Wahabi preachers urge that "the first 
duty of a ]\Iiisalman is Religious Rebellion." Syad Ahmad Khan, however, in a 
review of this worlv, while admitting that "there are some bigoted and super- 
stitious Wahabis," affirms that Sir W. Hunter's assertion that "The Wahabis 
. . . deduce from the fact of India being technically a country of the enemy the 
obligation towage war against its rulers," is "a perfectly groundless charge 
against the sect." See Review on Dr. Ilunters Indian Mnsfalmatis, pp. 32, 39, 
42-3, and App. p. ix. ; also, for an interesting criticism of Sir W. Hunter's work, 
and a study of the subject of " Ishxm in India," Sir Alfred Lyall's Asiatic Sti'dies, 
pj). 228-71. Sir Alfred hits the nail on the head wlitii he remarks (p. 241) that 
"no one risks his life on a text unless it fits in gentnally with his owu views and 


to keep the upper hand, and protect them in the enjoyment of 
their gains. In some parts of the country, such as the Punjab, 
Rajputana, and Coorg, the people generally, with the exception 
of the criminal classes, were thoroughly aware that they had 
profited by British rule, and would be likely to lose by its 
subversion. The countless millions who lived by tilling the 
soil were for the most part ignorant of the meaning of the 
word loyalty : they did not in the least care what Government 
might be in power, so long as it protected them, and did not 
tax them too heavily. But, though they had only the haziest 
notions about the British Government, yet in some parts of the 
country, and especially in Bengal, they had sufrered so much 
from the cruelty and venality of the police, and of the harpies 
who infested the British courts of justice, that they were ill 
disposed towards it. Incapable of understanding and allowing 
for the difficulties which impeded its well-meant efforts, they 
regarded it as responsible for the hardships which they endured. 
The feelings of that large and influential class who had lost 
their lands in consequence of British legislation have already 
been described. There were many natives who still regarded 
the King of Delhi as their lawful sovereign, and others who, 
while admitting the de facto supremacy of the British Govern- 
ment, were not, strictly speaking, its subjects, and would at 
any time have followed the lead of their immediate superiors in 
opposing it. There were numerous rajas and petty chiefs, who, 
without having any substantial grievances to brood over, were 
always fretting against the restraints of a Government which, 
even though it might have treated them with forbearance and 
generosity, would not allow them to gratify their martial 
passions, and the mere existence of Avhich was always reminding 
them of the humiliating fact that they belonged to a conquered 
people. Although the people of Oudh had themselves submitted 
peaceably to their new masters, native princes who had lands to 
lose were offended and alarmed by an act of annexation which, 
as it seemed to them, the King had done nothing to provoke. 
Roaming over the hills, and through the vast forests and jungles 
of the country, were myriads of savages, who seldom thought 
about the British Government, but who, if they ever heard that 
it was driven to bay, would be likely to think how they might 
fatten upon its misfortunes. Again, there was another large 
class, the Gujars or hereditary thieves of India, who, though 


they had been for fifty years restrained by the curb of a civilis- 
ing power, were still straining to plunge back into the violent 
delights of an Ishmaelitish life. Lastly, in all the towns, as in 
those of the rest of the world, there were swarms of worthless 
vagabonds, known by the generic name of budmashes, who, like 
the Gujars, detested the Government, precisely because it was 
a good and law-enforcing Government, and would not allow them 
to commit the villainies for which they were always ready. 

Two or three generalisations respecting the feelings of these 
heterogeneous masses may be safely made. First, though the 
differences which have been noted would prevent them from 
combining with harmony, resolution, and singleness of aim 
against the Feringhees, the differences of colour, of religion, of 
custom and of sympathies, which separated them all from the 
Feringhees, were not less pronounced. It is true that the more 
thoughtful of them were ready to acknowledge that the British 
Government was juster, more merciful, and more efficient than 
any that had preceded it : but still many of them secretly longed 
for a return of the good old times, when, if there had been less 
peace, there had been more stir, more excitement, and a wider 
field for adventure ; when, if there had been less security for life 
and property, there had been more opportunities for gratifying 
personal animosities, and amassing illicit gains ; when, if taxation 
had been heavier, there had been some possibility of evading it ; 
when, if justice had been more uncertain, there had been more 
room for chicanery and intrigue. Finally, among all these 
millions there was no real loyalty towards the alien Government 
which had been forced to impose itself upon them, though the 
examples of men like Henry Lawrence, and John Nicholson, and 
Meadows Taylor prove that individual Englishmen who knew 
how to work for, to sympathise ■with, and above all, to master 
the people committed to their charge, could win from them the 
truest loyalty and the most passionate devotion.^ 

While discontent was thus seething, another class of men, more 
formidable than insulted talukdars or dispossessed landholders, 
pundits or moulvis, were brooding over their separate wrongs. 

1 The Indian Rebellion, by Dr. A. DufT, pp. 170-81, 193-4, 198, 279-80, 
284-5 ; Meadows Taylor, pp. 365-72 ; S. Cotton's Nine Years on tlie North- 
western Frontier of India, \). 285 ; Calcutta Review, vol. i. pp. 189-217, vol. iii. 
pj). 183-4 ; Raikes's Notes on the Revolt of the North- West Provinces, p. 159 ; 
Pari. Papers, vol. .xliv. (1857-58), Part 4, p. 1125. See also numerous uotes 
scattered through the succeeding chapters. 



As the idea of founding a European Empire in India, which 
Clive realised, had heen originated by Dupleix, 
so the instrument of conquest which the English ^spoy^rmy? 
wielded had l^een already grasped by their more 
quick-sighted rivals. The French were the first to perceive that 
the most warlike of the natives were capable of learning the 
mysteries of European discipline, and to see what a powerful 
lever for effecting the conquest of India the possession of a 
native army so disciplined would put into European hands. 
Still, the experiment was a dangerous one. A handful of 
British soldiers under a leader like Clive might for a time hold 
a portion of India in check : but who would have believed that 
these intruders would one day conquer the greater part of the 
entire continent, and hold it in subjection by the aid of a force 
far outnumbering their own, and severed from them by the 
antipathies of race and of religious bigotry ? The story of the 
formation of the sepoy army, its achievements, and its decline 
will show how these antipathies were at first held in check by 
human sympathy and professional pride ; how they were after- 
wards irritated by official indiscretion ; and how they culmin- 
ated in a death -grapple between the native and European 
forces, which had won a hundred victories by their united 

The first sepoy regiments were raised in Southern India, ^ 

' It was at Bombay that the very first native corps were disciplined by the 
English. Quarterly Review, vol. xviii., Article on the "Origin and State of the 
Indian Army," p. 402. The writer was Sir John Malcolm. 


the scene of the Company's earliest struggles. The defence of 

Arcot showed that, nnder the eyes of Europeans, 
Epoystested.'" ^^^Y could successfully encounter native forces 

of far superior numbers.^ With this example 
before him, Clive did not hesitate to raise the battalion -which 
fought under him at Plassey, and which formed the nucleus of 
the Bengal army. In the constitution of the corps thus raised 

Avere contained the germs of those striking pecu- 
idiosyiicrasies liarities which afterwards distinguished that army 
sepoys? from those of the other Presidencies.^ Recruited 

almost exclusively from the warlike population of 
the north-west, for the effeminate Bengali shrank from enteiing 
its ranks, it was mainly composed of high-caste men, who Avere 
ready to face any danger, but who disdained the humbler duties 
of the soldier ; Avhile the regiments of Madras and Bombay, in 
which men of different races and castes met and fraternised, 
were more generally useful and more amenable to control.^ 
But with this difference the three armies had certain common 

features. The early English rulers believed that 
GoMen Age d^qj would sccure the attachment as well as the 
army. obedience of their mercenaries by inducing natives 

of good family to enter their service as officers, and 
giving them the ample authority which their birth and habits of 
command fitted them to wield. The native commandant was 
indeed placed under the supervision of an English officer ; but 
he was occasionally sent in command of a detachment of which 
European soldiers formed a part, to undertake the responsibility 
n.nd to Avin the glory of some distant enterprise.'* Three English 
officers were thought sufficient for each battalion, and treated 
their Indian comrades with a sympathetic consideration which 
Avas repaid by respectful confidence. While English and native 

' lu the Times of Sept. 3, 1858, p. 7, col. 5, Dr. Russell Avrote : "The 
general relation of the European to the native soldier is adniu'ably expressed in a 
metaphor suggested, I believe, by Sir Colin Camjibell himself . . . 'Take a 
bamboo and cast it against a tree, the shaft will rebound and fall harmless ; tip 
it Avitli steel and it becomes a spear which will jjierce deep and kill.' The 
bamboo is the Asiatic — the steel point is the European." 

- A. Broome's History of the Rise <uid Progress of the Bengal Army, p. 93. 

•' The oldest Madras legiments were mainly composed of Mahomedans and 
Hindus of high caste, but a change soon took place. Qicarterly Revieiv, vol. xviii, 
pp. 389, 397. 

■* R. Orme's History of the Military Transactions of the Bntish Nation in 
Indostan, vol. i. p. 384, vol. iii. p. 495. 


gentlemen were attracted to the Company's service by the high 
pay and the honourable position of an officer, their self-resi)ect, 
their mutual admiration, and their pride in their profession 
were increased by a succession of victories. Native officers and 
native privates looked up with filial reverence and love to the 
European who invited them to share in his triumphs, and forgot 
their natural aversion to the out-caste Christian when they 
found that he respected their caste feelings, and tolerated their 
religion. And, while each battalion was bound by personal 
devotion to its own officers, the whole army was attached by the 
ties of gratitude to the service of the great Company, whose salt 
it had eaten, and whose star it worshipped with superstitious 

But even in the Golden Age of the sepoy army its cordial 
relations with its masters were more than once 
broken. Seven years after the battle of Plassey, naitim'es 
the Bengal sepoys complained with justice that 
they did not receive their fair share of prize-money ; and five 
battalions showed symptoms of mutiny. Their 
claims were conceded : but they had been allowed 
to learn their own strength ; and, a few months later, the oldest 
battalion in the service broke forth in unprovoked 
rebellion.'^ The terrible fate of the ringleaders, 
who were blown away from gxins in the presence of their com- 
rades, taught the army a wholesome lesson ; and two years later 
its loyal support enabled Clive to overawe the 
mutinovis Eiu'opean officers whose discontent has 
been noticed in the previous chapter. But the very successes 
which the sepoys helped their masters to gain paved the way 
for their own depression. As soon as the English 
ventured to acknowledge to themselves the fact of European"' 
their supremacy, the same self-assertion which led 9*'^cers 
to the substitution of their own for native ad- Powers of 
ministration in Bengal, showed itself in their grow- dfm?nished!'^"^ 
ing tendency to add to the number of their officers 
with each battalion, and to concentrate all real power in their 

1 The article in the Quarterly Review already quoted contains several 
interesting anecdotes illustrative of the sympathy which bound together the 
European officers and the se^Doys of the old native army, and showing what 
absolute devotion a real leader of men, though a European and a Christian, can 
win from the natives of India. See esp. pp. 399, 400. 

^ Broome, pp. 457-9. 



hands. Fortunately, the command of a native battalion was 
still coveted ; and the English officers Avho thus superseded the 
natives were picked men who knew how to maintain their 
authority. But in 1796 a further change took place. The 

veteran European officers had long complained 
^tionomao. ^^i^t t'^sy were passed over by younger men in 

the royal regiments which were from time to time 
sent out to reinforce the Company's army. To appease their 
discontent, a complete reorganisation was effected. Two sepoy 
battalions were amalgamated into one regiment, to which the 
same number of officers was assigned as to a regiment in the 
King's service, while all took rank according to the dates of 
their commissions. The system of promotion by seniority in- 
troduced by this arrangement often threw the commands which 
had hitherto been always held by tried men into the hands of 
those who were unfit to exercise authority ; while the increase 
in the number of European officers still further lowered the 
already fallen position of their native comrades. Thenceforward 
there was nothing to stimulate the ambition of a sepoy. Though 
he might give signs of the military genius of a Hyder, he knew 
that he could never attain the pay of an English suljaltern,^ and 
that the rank to which he might attain, after some thirty years 
of faithful service, Avould not protect him from the insolent 
dictation of an ensign fresh from England. But for a few years 
nothing occurred to show the authors of these changes how 
disastrous they were to prove. Though the service had lost its 
charms, the sepoy continued to do his duty faithfully through 
the successive campaigns of Wellesley's administration ; and the 
assault of Seringapatam, and the charge which won the battle 
of Assaye proved that he could fight as well as his more 
fortunate ancestors who had conquered under Clive. It was 
not until the excitement of conquest, which had diverted his 
mind, subsided, that he began to brood over his grievances. 
Unfortunately, the military authorities chose this very time for 
disquieting him still further by the introduction of a set of 
vexatious regulations. It was not enough for them that he had 

^ The highest pay attainable by a subahdar of infantry was 174 rupees a 
month. Malcolm's Pol. llist. of jndia, vol. ii. p. 233. That of an ensign was 
180. J. H. Stocqueler's Handbook of India, p. 57. ["Yes !" says Mr. H. G. 
Keene, "but the subahdar could save nine-tenths of his pay, while the ensign 
could barely live upon the whole." See, however, the remarks in Malcolm's 
work, to which I have referred, and also Gubbius's Mutinies in Oudh, pp. 97-9.] 


ever shown himself worthj^ to fight by the side of the British 
soldier. Believing that di^ess makes the man, the martinets 
Avho governed the Madras army, and who flattered themselves 
that they might safely practise theii' pet theories upon troops 
whose caste prejudices were weaker than those of 
the haughty Brahmins of Bengal, forbade their , ^^'"';^ 
men to wear the marks of caste upon their fore- orders issued 


heads ; despoiled them of their cherished earrings ; army!* '^^ ^^ 
ordered them to shave off their venerated beards ; 
issized minute instructions respecting the length of their 
moustaches, and compelled them to exchange their old turbans 
for new ones with leather cockades.^ These absurd measures 
aroused the most dangerous suspicions of the sepoys. They 
fancied that they detected in the new turbans a resemblance to 
the hats worn by the Christians ; ^ and the leather cockades, 
made of the skins of hogs or cows, were abominable to Hindus 
and Mahomedans alike. Hitherto they had had no cause to 
fear that the Christians would insult their religions. But now, 
with minds already depressed by a load of real if inevitable 
grievances, and irritated by needless innovations, they were in 
a mood to believe any story against their rulers. Ignorant, 
credulous, and excitable, the sepoys at every station in southern 
India gave a ready ear to the travelling fakirs and busybodies 
of every kind who told them lying tales of the intolerant pros- 
elytism of the English. The General in Ceylon, so one of these 
malicious fables ran, had marched his whole corps to church- 
parade. The head-centre of disaffection was Vellore, where the 
sons and daughters of Tippoo were leading the luxurious lives of 
state prisoners, and cherishing visions of the restoration of their 
humbled dynasty. They and their crowd of dependents eagerly 
clutched at the opportunity of turning the discontent of the 
sepoys to account,^ ridiculed their Anglicised appearance, and 
gravely assured them that they would soon be converted to 
Christianity. Maddened by these taunts, the men plotted to 
murder their officers and the European troops in the dead of 
night, seize the fortress of Vellore, and hold it while their 
brethren at the other stations in the south of the peninsula were 
following their example. If the reorganisation of 1796 had not 
blasted the hopes of the sepoys and deadened their interest in 

^ Report of tlie Vellore Mutiny Commission, Pari. Papers, vol. xlii. (18G0), 
p. 690. 2 7j_ s jfj_ 


their profession, if the new generation of English officers had 
treated their men with the sympathy which their jjredecessors 
had ever shown, there would have been a faithful few amono- 
the garrison to give warning of the impending danger, if indeed 
such a danger coidd then have arisen.^ But, as it was, when 
the storm burst, the English were taken whollj^ by 
The mutiny at surprise. Some were shot down at their posts : 

Vellore, and its ^ t i • , • t i in 

results. others were murdered in their beds ; and all must 

have been overpowered if there had not been a 
solitary officer outside the fort who heard the tumult, and 
hurried to Arcot for help. Fortunately Colonel Gillespie, the 
commandant of that station, was a man equal to any emergency. 
In less than a quarter of an hour after he had heard the news, 
he was galloping at the head of a squadi-on of English dragoons 
towards the scene of mutiny. The rest of the regiment, a 
squadron of native cavalry, and some galloper guns soon 
followed. Finding the gate closed against his force, Gillespie 
had himself drawn up alone by a rope over the walls, assumed 
command of the remnant of the gariison, and kept the mutineers 
at bay until his men forced their way in, completed the rescue, 
and took terrible vengeance upon all the delinquents, except 
those who escaped, or who were reserved for more formal 
punishment. But, though the authorities, terrified by the 
results of their own folly, lost no time in rescinding the ob- 
noxious regulations, the evil had not yet spent itself. At 
Hyderabad, at Nundydroog, and at Palamkotta symptoms of 
mutiny appeared. It was not until Lord AVilliam Bentinck, who 
was then Governor of Madras, had issued a proclamation, assur- 
ing the army that the Government had no thought of interfering 
with their religion, that the sepoys began to recover their 
equanimity. For a long time the minds of high officials were 
exercised by an enquiry into the causes of the mutiny ; but the 
Directors settled the question in a plainly-worded minute, in 
which, with unusual insight, they laid the blame upon the new 
generation of commanding officers, who had neglected to earn 
the confidence of their men. 

The lessons of the mutiny and the rebuke of the 

Advantages Court Were uot throwu away. A favourable re- 

the sepoys. action sct in ; and, under the rule of Minto and 

Hastings, English colonels were still proud to command native 

^ See Quarterly Review, vol, xnii. p. 391. 


regiments, and learned to treat their men with the paternal 
kindness which had won their hearts in the days of Clive. 
And, though the era of the sei^oys* greatness had passed away, 
the advantages of the service were still enough to tempt 
men to enter it. In his own family the sepoy was still a great 
man : he received "his pay with a regularity to which the sepoys 
of the native states were strangers : he had a comfortable pension 
to look forward to ; and, when he went to law, as he often did, 
for the natives of India are nearly as fond of litigation as their 
Eiu'opean masters, he had the right of being heard in our courts 
before all other suitors. While he enjoyed these material 
advantages, his nobler feelings were aroused Avhen he thought 
of the succession of victories which he had helped the great 
Company to gain, and proudly identified his fortunes with those 
of the conquering race. And, when his active career was over, 
he had stories to tell of the great commanders under whom he 
had fought, which inspired his children and his fellow-villagers 
to follow in his footsteps. The high officials who held his 
destiny in their hands might have attached him for ever to 
their service ; for he was no mere mercenary soldier. But 
every change Avhich they made in his condition, or in his rela- 
tions with his officers, v/as a change for the worse. And yet 
they were not wholly to blame ; for these changes were partly 
the resvilt of the growing power of the English and the intro- 
duction of English civilisation. As the Company's territory 
expanded, there was a constantly increasing demand 
for able men to survey land, raise irregular regi- seduced ivom 
ments, or act as political officers ; and, when the by'^oirpros^"*^ 
ambitious subaltern saw the wider field for his pect of staff 
powers which these lucrative posts offered, it was 
not to be expected that he should elect to remain with his corps. 
Thus, year by year, the best officers were seduced from their regi- 
ments by the prospect of staff employ. Conscious of inferiority, 
jealous of their comrades' good fortune, those who remained lost 
all interest in their duties ; and the men soon per- 
ceived that their hearts were far from them.^ More- TOmmMidMits 
over, the authorities began to deprive commanding diminished, 
officers of the powers which had once made them absolute 

^ Both Sir John Malcolm and Lord Metcalfe were of opinion tliat from the 
moment when the command of a native regiment became less sought for than 
other employment we might date the commeuceuieut of our downfall. J. Jacob's 
Views and Opinions, Preface p. xviii. 


rulers over their regiments, and which they had used Avith 
the discretion of loving parents. The growing centralisa- 
tion of military authority at headquarters deprived the 
colonel of his power to promote, to reward, or to punish ; 
and, when he ventured to pronounce a decision- it was as likely 
as not that it would be appealed against and reversed. Finally, 
as if to destroy the more friendly relations which, after the crisis 

of 1806, had sprung up again between officers and 
orderofis24. "^^u, a General Order was issued in 1824, by which 

the two battalions of each regiment were formed 
into two separate regiments, and the officers of the original body 
re-distributed among its otf-shoots without regard to the associa- 
tions which they had contracted with their old companies. 

The evil result of all these changes showed itself when the 

first Burmese war broTce out. Even if the Bengal 
BarrackpoH!.'**^ scpoy had had no previous cause for discontent, 

such a war Avould have been distasteful to him. 
He shrank from going to a foreign land of which he knew 
nothing, and which his imagination pictured as an abode of 
horrors. Moreover, other unfoieseen circumstances arose, which, 
acting upon minds already brooding over real grievances, and 
now irritated by a demand for an unwelcome service, produced 
open insubordination. The sepoys at Barrackpore heard with 
dismay an exaggerated version of a disaster which the British 
troops already engaged in Burma had suffered : they imagined 
that they foresaw the approaching doom of the Company's Eaj ; 
and, to croAvn all, they heard it rumoured that Government, 
unable to provide them with carriage, had resolved, in defiance 
of their caste feelings, to transport them to the seat of war by 
sea. Believing the lying report, they refused to march. But 
the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Edward Paget, was an officer who 
required to be obeyed when he gave orders. Knowing that 
leniency shown to mutineers is simply a weak form of cruelty, 
he went down to Barrackpore with a strong European force, 
and paraded the regiments. An attempt was made to disabuse 
their minds of the delusion which had fastened upon them. 
They were then offered the alternative of consenting to march, 
or grounding their arms. They refused to do either. Instantly 
a shower of grape fell upon them ; and they fled in panic, leaving 
a number of dead upon the ground. The surviving ringleaders 
were hanged ; and the 47 th, the regiment that had been most 


guilty, was disbanded, and its name erased from the Army List. 
The punishment so promptly dealt out struck terror into the 
native army ; and open mutiny was postponed for many years.^ 

The return of peace, however, brought fresh dangers. 
Wri thins: under the constant demands which war 
had made upon their Treasury, the Directors re- 
solved to retrench, and deprived the English anowaS 
officers of a portion of their pecuniary allowances, "eji^ed'^^ 
A few years before, such a step would have been 
followed by mutiny : but these officers contented themselves 
with a temperate and ineffectual statement of their grievances. 
Their men noted the futility of their resistance, and learned to 
despise their already weakened authority still more.^ But, as 
if he had feared that the sepoys might still retain some littla 
respect for their nominal commanders, Lord William Bentinck 
thought fit, a few years later, to weaken the power 
of the latter still further by abolishing corporal Abolition of 
punishment. What was the fruit of his weak punisiiment. 
humanitarianism ? The sepoy ceased altogether 
to fear his officer ; and it is hard for an officer to win the love 
even of the honest, unless he can strike terror into the base.^ 

The disastrous effects of impaired discipline were aggravated 
by the circumstances of the Afghan war. Com- 
pelled, while in Afghanistan, to eat impure food aw^fhlHwar. 
and to drink impure water, the sepoys lost caste ; 
and the survivors, who were obliged, on returning to India, 
to pay for readmission, complained that the Government had 
broken faith with them.* Their imaginations too were deeply 

^ Kaye {Hist, of the Sejioy War, vol. i. pp. 268-71) condemns Paget's action. 
When troops, under the influence of a delusion, show symptoms of mutiny, the 
duty of their commander, as I understand it, is to explain to them how they are 
in error, to warn them that, if, after explanation given, they persist in disobedience, 
they will be punished, and, if they persist, to punish them. Paget did not warn 
the sepoys that he was prepared to fire upon them. But his conduct was approved 
by two high authorities, Havelock and Sydney Cotton. 

" See Sir Thomas Seaton's From Cadet to Colonel, vol. i. pp. 85-6. 

^ "The proposed abolition," writes Seaton (lb. p. 64), "was universally 
condemned. The native officers, who had all risen from the ranks . . . were 
vehemently against it. When the letter reached my commanding officer, he 
assembled all the most intelligent native oflficers, and asked their opinion on the 
subject. They expressed themselves very freely and strongly . . . saying, ' We 
hope the hazoor . . . will not abolish flogging ; we don't care about it, only the 
budmashes are flogged, if they deserve it. . . . If you abolish flogging, the army 
ivill no longer fear, and there will be a mutiny.' " The italics are mine. 

^ MS. Correspondence : Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 4, pp. 1123-4. 


affected by the appalling calamities which had overtaken the 
Feringhees ; and their traditional belief in the in\'incibility of 
the great Company Avas overthrown. 

VictorjT^, however, soon returned to the British arms. The 
Afglian Avar Avas folloAved by the sAvift conquest of Sind, in 
Avhich the sepoys earned the praise of a commander AA'ho kneAV, 
better than any man, how to gauge a soldier's qualities. And, 
Avithin the next five years, the native army covered itself afresh 
Avith glory in the two wai's against its hereditary enemies, the 

formidable AA^arriors of the Khalsa. But the ex- 
of^disc^piiue" citemcnt of conquest, which flattered the sepoy's 

pride, and prevented him from brooding over his 
gricA^ances, could not last for ever. Moreover, though he 
fought gallantly, the insubordination Avhich had resulted from 
the Aveakening of his officer's poAvers showed itself even in the 
heat of camiDaigning. William Hodson, Avho learned his earliest 
military lessons in the first Sikh Avar, and Avho Avas destined 
to prove in the great Mutiny itself that Asiatics are as sus- 
ceptible as Europeans of a perfect discipline, has recorded, his 
amazement at the disorderly conduct of the Bengal regiments 
Avith his column. Again, as each new conquest lessened the 

chances of future war, and thus diminished the 
Interference sepoy's self -importance, it imposed upon him the 
sepoy's pay. uuAvelcome duty of leaving his OAvn country and 

his OAVTi relations to garrison a distant and often 
unhealthy land. To this inevitable trial the parsimony of his 
rulers added another. To encourage him to fight its battles on 
strange soil, the Government gave him an increase of pay : but, 
as soon as his A^alour had added the foreign country to its 
dominions, it rcAvarded him by AAdthdraAving his alloAvances, and 
tried to justify its meanness by the ungenerous quibble that he 

Avas now once more on British territory. A succes- 
^f'mutiiiies." ^^^^ o^ mutinies punished the authors of this policy, 

but did not convince them or their successors of its 
costliness. Four Bengal regiments, AA^arned for service in Sind 

after its annexation, refused to march until their 

extra alloAvances Avere restored to them. A Madras 
corps, Avhich the Governor of the Madras Presidency sent to the 
aid of the Sind Government, promising, on his OAvn responsibility, 
that they should receive their higher pay, Avere told, Avhcn they 
reached Bombay, that the Supreme GoAcrnment had refused to 


confirm the promise, and revenged themselves for their disap- 
pointment by creating a disturbance on parade. Nor were the 
sepoys who were sent to newly-annexed territories the only 
sufferers from the niggardliness of the Government. A regi- 
ment of Madras cavalry, after marching northward nearly a 
thousand miles, to garrison a station for which the Government 
could spare no troops, on the faith of a promise 
that their services would only be needed for a 
time, found that they were to remain as a permanent garrison, 
that their pay was to be reduced to a lower rate, and that, out 
of this pittance, they would have to pay for the conveyance of 
their families from the south, and support them on their arrival. 
They could not defray these charges without running into debt. 
They could not leave their families in the south ; for, unlike the 
Bengal regiments, they were always accompanied en their wander- 
ings by their wives and children. What wonder then that, after 
loyally performing an unwelcome duty, and finding that the 
promises which had been made to them were to be broken, 
they should have resented such a cynical breach of faith by 
mutiny 1 ^ 

Fortunately these isolated acts of insubordination did not 
ripen into a general revolt : but, though they Avere checked at 
the time, partly by concession, partly by the punishment of the 
ringleaders, no decided steps were taken to make their recurrence 
impossible. Nothing but a radical reform of the relations between 
officer and sepoy, an unmistakeable resolve to treat the latter 
both firmly and generously, could have healed his discontent. 
But the authorities wei'e satisfied with applying a palliative 
Avhen they should have wrought a cure ; and they could have 
felt no satisfaction in punishing offenders whom their own injustice 
had provoked to sin. 

How deeply seated was the evil, became manifest after the 
second Sikh war. Charles Napier had been sent 
out to wipe away the disgrace which our arms had Na,Ii'M^s d'L 
suffered at Chilian wala : but, though Gough had R"^^ with Lord 

, , . . T ' " V 1 Dalhousie. 

anticipated nis triumph as a conqueror by the 

victory of Gujrat, he was to gain another triumph over the 

conquering army itself. He had only just reached 

Simla when he heard that two regiments at Eawal- " ^' 

pindi, which formed part of the army of occupation distributed 

^ Kaye, vol. i. pp. 276-302. See also Calcutta licvieio, vol. xli. jip. 96-7. 


over the newly-conquered Punjab, had refused to receive their 
pay unless the extra allowances Avere granted them. It seemed 
likely that other regiments would follow their example. Dis- 
regarding the advice of a member of his staff, who mistook 
indiscriminate severity for vigour, to disband the insubordinate 
regiments at once, Napier sent instructions to Sir Colin Campbell, 
who commanded at Rawalpindi, to reason quietly with the men, 
but at the same time to hold a European force in readiness to 
awe them into obedience if persuasion should fail. Before 
Campbell received these orders, the immediate danger passed ; 
for the insubordinate regiments saw that it would be madness 
to persist in the presence of armed Europeans, and silently 
resolved to bide their time. But there was danger in other 
quarters. Proceeding on a tour of inspection through the 
northern provinces, Napier collected evidence which, in his 
judgement, proved that twenty-four regiments were 
only waiting for an opportunity to rise. An incipient 
mutiny at Wazirabad was only repressed by the tact of Colonel 
John Hearsey. Still Napier believed that the worst had not 
yet come. Making Peshawar his headquarters, he held himself 
in readiness to swoop down upon any point at which mutiny 
might appear. When, however, the crisis came, he was not 
called upon to face it in person ; for it was met by the faithful 
courage of a sepoy regiment. The 66th Native Infantry 
mutinied at Govindgarh ; and the 1st Native Cavalry crushed 
them. Napier disbanded the mutinous corps, transferred its 
colours to a regiment of Gurkhas, and boasted that by this stroke 
he had taught the Brahmins that, whenever they showed a sign 
of discontent, a more warlike people would always be ready to 
supplant them.^ But, while he punished mutiny, he pitied the 
mutineers, for he believed that native disloyalty was the result 
of British injustice ; and in this spirit of sympathy he directed 
that an old regulation, which had granted compensation to the 
sepoys for dearness of provisions at a rate higher than that 
sanctioned by the one then in force, should be restored, and 
observed until the Governor-General, who was then absent from 
the seat of Government, should pronounce his decision upon 
the case. 

But Dalhousie could not forgive the man who had dared to 
act "without waiting for his commands. For some time past he 
^ See Sir W, Hunter's Life, of Brian Howjhtoiv Jlodt/suii, p. 110. 


had been irritated by what he regarded as the insolence of 
Napier's bearing ; and he resolved to teach him that the Governor- 
General was his master. He therefore publicly reprimanded the 
Commander-in-Chief for assuming an authority that did not 
belong to him, and held up to the natives the unedifying 
spectacle of disunion among their rulers. The old soldier re- 
sented this i-ebuke as a personal affront ; and a keen controversy 
arose between the two. But of the munerous questions upon 
which they disputed, two only are of vital interest : first, were 
the forty thousand sepoys in the Punjab really infected with a 
mutinous spirit or not ? Secondly, was the Commander-in-Chief 
justified in putting forward the claim to act, in real or supposed 
emergencies, upon his own discretion ? The former of these 
points cannot, for want of sufficient evidence, be positively 
determined : but it is prol^able that Napier over-estimated the 
danger, and that the measure by Avhich he tried to avert it was 
uncalled for. The other question is one which men will answer 
according to their individual temperaments. Assuming that 
Napier was right in his estimate of the danger, he would 
certainly have been unworthy of his high office if, for fear of 
incurring an ofiicial rebuke, he had shrunk from dealing with it 
promptly. But while we may admire, as the highest and most 
valuable form of courage, the readiness with which a Nelson 
assumes responsibility upon occasion, we must admit that he 
should be very careful to make sure that the occasion is real. 

Right or wrong, however, Napier was determined that he 
would no longer be subject to Dalhousie.^ Stung by Avhat he 
regarded as the unjust and ungenerous conduct of his chief, and 
resolved not to be a powerless spectator of the evils which he 
predicted, he resigned his post, and spent the rest of his life in 
composing a solemn warning of the fatal results that would surely 
flow from Indian misgovernment."^ 

^ See Papei.s relating to the Resigiiatiou by Sir Charles Napier of the office of 
Coniraaiuler-iii-Chief in India {Pari. Papers, vol. xlvii. [1854]) ; Life, of Sir Q. 
Napier, vol. iv. ; and an article by Sir H. Lawrence entitled " Sir Charles Napier's 
Posthumous Work" {Calcutta Review, vol. xxii. ). 

- It has often been said that Napier never wrote anything that could be fairly 
interpreted as a warnuig against or a prophecy of a sepoy mutiny. But I find 
these words among his published writings : — "he (the sepoy) is devoted to us as 
yet, but we take no pains to preserve his attacliment. It is no concern of mine, I 
shall be dead before what 1 foresee will take place, but it will take jjlace." Again, 
"high caste, — that is to say mutiny — is encouraged." — Times, July 24, 1857, 
p. 5, col. 1, and Aug. 17, p. 9, col. 4. The italics are mine. See also p. 91, 

60 THE SEPOY ARMY chap. 

The sepoys themselves gave one more practical warning ; but 

it was lost upon the Governor-General. In 1852 

teuikedby lie invited the 38th Bengal Native Infantry to 

a native volimtcer for service in Biu-ma. Regarding the 

invitation as an encroachment upon their nghts, 

for the Bengal sepoy enlisted on the understanding that he should 

not be required to cross the sea, the men flatly refused to march. 

Besides the proofs of the rottenness of our military system 

which occasional mutinies had supplied, there had 

Daihousie and been uo lack of Warnings fi'om men whose experience 

of counsellors, gave them a right to speak. Thomas Munro and 

John Malcolm had earnestly insisted upon the 

necessity of attaching the sepoy to the service by making the 

prizes which it held out to his ambition more valuable ; and 

Charles Napier had added his testimony to theirs as to the fatal 

results which would ensue from so lowering the position of the 

English commandant as to deter all able ofiicers from aspiring to 

it.i But Dalhousie's predecessors, or the authorities who had 

chosen them, had neglected to profit by these warnings; and, 

when he assumed office, he was so bewildered by the conflicting 

opinions which a multitude of counsellors thrust upon him, that 

he resolved, perhaps in despair, pei-haps in easy confidence, to 

leave the system as he found it. 

Still, though it was hard to choose between the opposite 

Radical defects theories ou the cfTects of giving preference _ to 

of the Bengal high-caste candidates for enlistment, of mixing 

men of different races in the same regiment,- 

of promoting by seniority, and of adding to the number of 

note 1, infra. It is quite true that lie olteu spoke in liigli terms of the discipline 
of the native trooj^s. But, iu the iirst jilace, he expressly excepted the Bengal 
army from this praise. (See Tivies, July 24, 1857.) And, in the second place, 
the fact that he bestowed the praise is quite consistent with his having foreseen 
that the objects of it would sooner or later mutiny. As far as I can see, all tliat 
he meant to say was that the sepoys were by natm-e far more tractable than British 
soldiers. He foresaw that, if tliey ^vere encouraged by continued relaxation of 
discipline to mutiny, and thought that it would be their interest to do so, they 
would, being hiiman, yield to the temptalion. 

^ JMany officers who were aware of the laxity of discipline in sepoy regiments 
were afraid to speak out. See W. H. Eussell's JJiari/ iu India, vol. i. p. 267. 

^ Mr. H. D. Robertson [District Duties durivg the Revolt, Yfp- 191-209) dwells 
ou the "vital error" wliicli "was formerly conmiitted in not recruiting according 
to nationalities. " John Lawrence, when raising new levies in 1857, took care to 
form each regiment of companies differing from one another iu race. — Life of Lord 
Luwience, vol. ii. pp. 111-12. See, however, Kaye, vol. i. pp. 332-3. 


European officers with each regiment, there were certain 
undeniable facts Avhich miglit have shown Dalhousie that the 
opinions of the opponents of the Bengal system Avere sounder 
than the equally plausible opinions of its supporters. It needs 
a man of genius to reconstruct a long-established system, and 
push aside the dead weight of prejudice which defends it. But, 
though Dalhousie is not to be blamed for having lacked the 
force to achieve so great a task his acquiescence in the defects 
of the existing system is inexcusable. It was impossible to 
explain away the fact that in Bengal, where a low-caste subahdar ^ 
might often be seen off parade crouching in abject submission 
before the Brahmin recruit whom he was supposed to command, 
the predominance of high-caste men, or, at least, the deference 
that was yielded to their caste prejudices, was fatal to discipline. 
It was certainly true that native opinion in the Bombay and 
Madras Presidencies allowed a high-caste sepoy to perform duties 
which would have shocked Brahminical prejudice in Bengal, just 
as, to choose a familiar illustration, nine English Protestants out 
of ten no longer find themselves troubled by scruples about the 
observance of the Sabbath when they go abroad. But this 
consideration ought not to have led the Government to truckle 
to caste prejudices, but rather to reject all recruits who allowed 
those prejudices to interfere with their military duties, and to 
enlist in their stead the thousands of better men who would have 
been only too glad to take their places.^ Had this been done, 
the Brahmin's self-interest would have soon got the better of his 
prejudices ; for, even in Bengal, he kept his caste in the back- 
ground Avhen his officer dared to show that he pitied it, and only 
obtruded it because he found that he could generally use it as 
an instrument for the coercion of his commanders.^ Again, 
though Dalhousie may well have been perplexed when Napier 
insisted that the Bengal system of promotion by seniority kept 
the army contented by holding out to every man a sure prospect 
of ultimate advancement, while John Jacob asserted with equal 
truth that the sepoys who became officers under that system 

^ Native captain. 

- See letters from Lewis Pelly and .John Jacob to the Times, .Jan. 19, 1858, 
p. 7, col. 2, and Jan. 23, p. 7, col. 5. 

•* " It is a mistake to suppose them (the Madras sepoys) free from caste 
prejudices. There are plenty of these, but they have not been given in to." — 
Calcutta Preview, vol. xxxiii., Article — "The Madras Native Army," p. 134. See 
also p. 145. 


were worn-out imbeciles unfit for command, _yet the fact that in 
the Bombay army, where promotion went by merit, the native 
oificers were the bulwarks of discipline, might have been accepted 
as a proof of the inferiority of the Bengal system.^ Finally, 
Dalhousie should have remembered that not Jacob only, but 
some of the ablest officers of the Bengal army itself had lifted up 
their voices against the system under which they had been 
Ijrought up. It A\^as a fact, and one of which many of those 
officers were uneasily conscious, that for thirty years past the 
Bengal army had been in a state of quasi-mutiny, and that 
several actual mutinies, besides those which were too flagrant to 
be concealed, had been hushed up by the authorities at head- 

The disputed points that have just been noticed were, how- 

e^er, of small importance compared with one vital 
question. qucstion, ou the answer to which depended the 

loyalty of the sepoy army and the stability of the 
Indian empire. Were commanding officers to be once more 
entrusted with that rightful authority of which the jealousy 
or the red-tapeism of headquarters had robbed them? This 
question was absolutely neglected. The sepoy was taught to 
regard, not his colonel, but the head of the army as his com- 
manding officer ; and the head of the army was to him no more 
than a dim idea. Knowing the impotence of his officers, he 
amused himself by bringing frivolous complaints against them 
at every half-yearly inspection. Yet the men who did this Avere 
as capable of reverencing authority as the veteran who salaamed 
the picture of Eyre Coote, his dead commander. Much has 
been written about the sepoy's impulsiveness, his credulity in 
accepting a delusion, his childish obstinacy in clinging to it. 
But, though these qualities did belong to him, they would 
never of themselves have led him to rebel. He was by nature 
less insubordinate than the British soldier. Najoier could see 
nothing to fear in him so long as he was properly dealt with. 
For, with all his faults, he had the quality, which is inborn in 
all men, of respecting authority when exercised by a strong and 
just superior. He entered our army with no idea of claiming 
any rights for himself. But, when he found that his colonel, 
whom he was ready to obey as his absolute king, and to rever- 

1 See also Purl. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 4, p. 1127. 
'^ Ocerland Bombay Times, 1857, p. 184. Times, July 19, 1857. 


ence as his father, was powerless to punish or reward him ; when 
he listened to the Articles of War, which seemed to imply that 
his officers expected him to disol)ey them ; a new light flashed 
across his mind.^ It was only necessary to rule him according 
to his genius, to teach him that he must obey unhesitatingly, 
and that he would in return be treated generously, and he would 
have been a loyal soldier for life. It was not the inconsistency 
of their character that drove the same sepoys who had risked 
their lives on the field of battle to protect their officers, and had 
watched by their bedsides when they were wounded, to murder 
them when the Mutiny broke out : it was the inconsistency with 
which they were treated. 

It is, however, possible that, even if all the reforms in detail 
which had been suggested had been carried out, 
the spirit of mutiny might not have been wholly Disproportion 

■1^ JO J between the 

overcome, unless the disproportion that existed be- numbers of 
tween the numbers of the Native and the European Natfye^troops. 
troops had been remedied. It may be said that for 
this disproportion the Cabinets, the Boards of Control, the 
Courts of Directors, the Governors -General, the Anglo-Indian 
officers, and the English people of three generations were jointly 
responsible.^ At the close of Dalhousie's administration the 
Native troops amounted to two hundred and thirty-three thou- 
sand men ; while, to watch this gigantic army, there ■were only 
forty-five thousand three hundred and twenty-two European 
soldiers of all arms.^ Moreover the latter were located on such 
false principles that their controlling power was seriously im- 
paired.^ Yet there had never been a time when that power was 
more needed. It cannot be too emphatically stated that the 
natives of India, with the exception of a very few men of rare 
powers of reflection, or rare opportunities of acquiring informa- 
tion, had not the least idea of the real resources of England. 

1 See Jacob, pp. 1-3, 108-12, 121, 125, 221, 426-8. Also Malcolm's Pol. 
Hist, of Indui, vol. ii. pp. 225-45. 

2 See Temple, p. 115. 

2 Duke of Argyll's India under Dcdhousie and Canning, pp. 51, 63. Im- 
mediately before the Mutiny the native troops amounted to 232,224, the Europeans 
to 45,522 — 6170 officers and 39,352 non-commissioned officers and men. These 
figures, however, do not give a fair idea of the weakness of the European troops. 
"In Bombay," writes Montgomery Martin on the authority of Pari. Papers, 
" the relative strength of European to Native Infantry was as 1 to 9§ ; in Madras, 
as 1 to 16| ; and in Bengal, as 1 to 24|." — Tlie Indian Empire, vol. ii. p. 125. 
See also Pari. Papers, vol. xxxvii. (1858), pp. 249-65. * Argyll, p. 62. 


They drew their conclusions merely from what they saw. In- 
credible as it may aj^pear, it was a common belief among them 
that the population of the British Isles Avas not much more than 
a hundred thousand souls. ^ As if to confirm them in this 
delusion, the Home Government had recently "withdrawn two 
regiments from India to strengthen the army in the Crimea. 
It is not to be Avondered at that soon afterwards it began to be 
rumoured in the bazaars and the sejDoy lines that Russia had 
conquered and annexed England. 

Dalhousie devoted much anxious consideration to the ques- 
tion of increasing the numbers of the European 
Reforms troops, and improving their distribution, and stated 
Dalhousie. his arguments and conclusions with his usual clear- 
ness and emphasis in a series of minutes, which he 
ordered to be ti'ansmitted to the Directors. He pointed out that 
the Crimean war had given birth to monstrous rumours injurious 
to our prestige : he dwelt upon the fact that, notA\athstanding 
the vast increase of our territories by the conquests and annexa- 
tions of his administration, there had been hardly any correspond- 
ing increase in our military strength ; and he insisted on the 
necessity of maintaining an eflfective and constant control over 
the immense alien population of our Indian possessions, and of 
guarding against possible attacks from the ambitious princes- 
who dwelt outside our frontier. But it is a curious fact that 
there is no evidence to show that he had the faintest suspicion of 
the far more serious danger to which the European troops were 
exposed from their native auxiliaries. This fact, however, 
does not affect the value of the practical suggestions which he 
offered. He proposed to reduce the number of sepoys in 
each regiment to eight hundred men, to disband four regi- 
ments of native cavalry and four of native infantry, to raise the 
strength of the European infantry from thirty-one^ to thirty- 
five or, if possible, thirty-seven battalions, and to increase the 
numbers of the European companies of artillery.* But these 

^ See Trevelyan's Caicnpure, p. 27 ; aud Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1357-58), 
Part 4, p. 1126. 

- The rulers of Afghanistan, Nepal, and Burma. 

^ The nominal strength at the time was thirty-throe. Two, however, had 
been temporarily withdrawn for service iu Europe. 

* Argyll; Jackson, pp. 160-70; Prtr?. Pwjjers, vol. xlii. (1858), pp. 517-35. Dal- 
housie also proposed to raise two new European cavalry rcgiuR-uts, Init, says Sir C. 
Jackson, " as Lord Dalhousie suggested the withdrawal of the two Royal regiments 
of cavalry in Bengal, this proposal would not have increased the European force." 


suggestions were not adopted ; ^ and the sepoys, inflated by a 
sense of their OAvn importance, naturally looked forward to a 
time Avhen they might use their strength to overturn the Govern- 
ment, and establish their own supremacy.' 

On the eve of Lord Canning's arrival, the native army was a 
heterogeneous body, as in race, caste, and religion, The native 
so also in quality. There were a few superb ir- annyouth.- 

(^V6 of Lorti 

regular regiments, commanded by a handful of picked canning's 
European officers. There were the useful troops of ^mvai. 
Bombay and Madras. There was the Bengal army, composed of 
stalwart men of martial aspect, who had been perhaps better 
endowed by nature with soldierly qualities than the men of the 
other Presidencies, but who had, under a corrupt system, been 
suffered to become a dangerous mob. It was no wonder that 
these regiments, in which the sentries relieved each other when 
and how they pleased, in which it was a common occurrence for 
men to quit their ranks without leave, and scour the country in 
quest of plunder,^ were ripe for mutiny. The marvel is that they 
had so long preserved the semblance of an army. Yet so great 
is the force of habit that, while the ablest men in India kept 
repeating the solemn warning that it was in the force on which 
the safety of the empire depended that its greatest danger lay,'* 
the Bengal officers regarded the insubordination which they 
could not v/holly ignore as inseparable from the constitution of 
a native army. They were deaf to the rumbling of the volcano ; 
for they did not know that it lay beneath them until its eruption 
startled them out of their fatal slumber. 

1 Up to Feb. 3, 1858, they had not even been brought under the notice of 
the- Directors. 

^ This is the opinion of Sir R. Temple, and was that of Lord Lawrence. 
Temple, p. 115. Sir Sydney Cotton mentions in his book, Nine Years 071 the. 
North-Western Frontier of India, p. 157, that, many months before the Mutiny, 
his native servants wished to leave him on the ground that "there was about to 
be a general rising in the country, in which the sepoy army was to take the lead." 
See also Evidence taken before the Court appointed for the Trial of the King of 
Delhi, p. 267, Pari. Papers, vol. xviii. (1859). 

» Jacob, pp. 107-8, 115-17. See App. W. 

^ Jacob, p. 229. 



On the 29th of February, 1856, Lord Dalhousie resigned the 
,„,, Government of India. As he drove down the 


Eesignation Of banks of the Hooghly towards the vessel on which 
character and he was to embark, the multitudes who had 
^gfo^indian assembled to witness his departure, lifted up 
rulers. their voices, and cheered him loudly and long.^ 

Though he was not above the middle height, and his frame 
was emaciated by disease, yet there Avas such majesty in his 
bearing, such command in his features, such a fire in the 
glance of his eyes, that he looked every inch a king.^ And it 
was with the loyalty due to a king of men that those enthu- 
siastic onlookers regarded him. For, if he lacked that 
sympathetic knowledge of men's hearts, that charm of manner, 
that open enthusiasm which had made the despotism of Hastings 
and of Wellesley so attractive, if, in spite of his genuine con- 
sideration for his subordinates, he had been regarded by them 
rather with awe than with affection, yet, not more b}'^ his 
success than by the devotion with which he had given the 
flower of his manhood to the service of the state, he had 
conquered the heart-felt respect and admiration of all men. He 
had served India so well that he had no strength left for further 
service in the field of statesmanship ; and now, while still a 
young man, he was going home to England to die. But the 
work which he had already done had been such as to entitle 
him to rank with Wellesley and Hastings, although below 
them, in the first class of Governors-General. Below them 

^ Overland Bmiibay Times, 1857, p. 42 ; Calcutta Review, vol. xxxiii. p. 397. 
- Temple, p. 124. 


because, whatever his powers may have been, he had never been 
brought face to face with political trials as crucial as those 
which had assayed and proved the metal of their statesman- 
ship. With them because, believing that his countrymen had 
no right to be in India unless they were there as the apostles 
of Western civilisation, believing with an enthusiastic faith that 
the introduction of such civilisation would galvanise the Avhole 
organism of Indian society, and make its healthy growth 
possible, he set a-going at the highest pressure all the machinery 
that could contribute to the attainment of his object. 

His successor was a man of a difterent stamp. Not only in 
India, but in England also the appointment of 
Lord Canning caused more wonder than satis- annmg. 

faction. An elegant scholar, a warm-hearted, generous man, 
shy and reserved, but a true friend to those who loved him, he 
had had much experience of affairs, and had proved himself a 
creditable administrator : but he had needed persuasion to 
enter public life at all ; and, though he had never shirked its 
duties, he had never pressed forward to undertake its responsi- 
bilities, or to win its prizes. Lord Ellenborough had offered to 
take him to India as his private secretary : but he had preferred 
the chances of office at home, and thus lost the opportunity of 
acquiring a knowledge of Indian affairs under a clever states- 
man. When he was chosen to succeed Dalhousie, he was holding 
the office of Postmaster-General ; and the conscientious assiduity 
with which he had mastered the unattractive details of his 
work had won for him a seat in the Cabinet. But the high 
place to which he was now called needed greater qualities. It 
is hardly necessary to say that he approached his work with 
a deep sense of its importance : indeed, he had a presentiment 
that his tenure of office Avould be marked by some great crisis, 
to combat which his faculties would be strained to the utmost. 
" We must not forget," he said, at a banquet given by the East 
India Company a few months before his departure, " that in the 
sky of India, serene as it is, a small cloud may arise, at first no 
bigger than a man's hand, but which, growing larger and 
larger, may at last threaten to burst and overwhelm us with 
ruin." 1 But Avith all his high sense of responsibility he had 
one grave defect as a ruler. His conscientiousness was apt to 
degenerate into scrupulousness. He never could bring himself 
^ Kaye, vol. i. p. 378. 


to proiionnce a judgement even upon the most urgent questions, 
until he had investigated every tittle of evidence. Such a habit 
of mind is an admirable one in itself : but it is one Avhich a 
statesman must learn to hold in restraint. This Canning never 
learned to do. When he should have struck the guilty, he 
wasted precious moments in taking elaborate precautions against 
striking the innocent.^ He Avas not a weak man ; he knew 
how to confront danger calmly ; but he had not the insight 
that could at once discern its form and gauge its dimensions, 
the self-reliance that could overrule the counsellors who under- 
rated it, the force that could master it. 

It would have been fortunate for the new Governor-General 
if his advisers had been practical statesmen like 
couifcir™'^ Outram, or Edwardes, or Nicholson. The judge- 
ment of these men had been ripened, and their 
political courage brought to the finest temper by hard, dangerous 
Avork among the people of the country : they had firmly gi^asped 
the principle that no amount of kindness could win either the 
affection or the respect of those people, unless it Avere supported 
by a masterful Avill. But the members of the Supreme Council 
were men of a softer fibre. Only one of them. General Loav, 
had an adequate knoAvledge of the natives ; and he had long 
passed his prime. The others were John Dorin, John Peter 
Grant, Barnes Peacock, and George Anson, the Commander-in- 
Chief. The last-named will be spoken of hereafter. Grant AA'as 
unquestionably a very able man. His recorded minutes show 
that his judgement was thoroughly independent, and that he had 
the courage of his convictions. But his training had not been 
such as to foster a healthy development of his poAvers. He Avas 

^ I find this passage in Russell's Diary: — "lu this and subsequent con- 
versations that night on the subject of the mutinies . . . the Governor-General 
evinced a remarkable analytical power, an ability of investigation, a habit of 
appreciating and weighing evidence, a spirit of justice and moderation, and a 
judicial turn of mind which made a deep impression upon me. His opinions 
once formed seemed ' inebranlables ' ; and his mode of investigation, abhorrent 
from all intuitive impulses, and dreadhif/ above all things quick decision, is to 
pursue the forms of the strictest analysis, to pick up every little thorn on the 
path, to weigh it, to consider it, and then to cast it asi<le, or to pile it up with 
its fellows ; to go from stone to stone, strike them and sound them, and at last 
on the highest point of the road to fix a sort of granite pedestal, declaring that 
the height is so and so, and the view is so and so, — so firm and strong that all 
the storm and tempest of the world may beat against it and find it immovable. 
But man's life is not equal to the execution of many tasks like these." Vol. i. 
p. 116. The italics are mine. See also Temple, p. 182. 


a clever bureaucrat, not a statesman. It is unnecessary to 
attempt to analyse the characters of the other two. It is enough 
to say that they, as well as Grant, had either failed to notice 
the symptoms that indicated the existence of a mutinous spirit 
in the Bengal army, or did not realise what appalling conse- 
quences must follow, if that spirit were not instantly and 
sternly crushed as soon as it should manifest itself in overt acts. 
Canning had hardly entered upon his duties before his 
troubles began. Outram Avas anxious to return to 
England, to recruit his shattered health, and, Avish- ou^ik °^ 
ing to leave his work in good hands, lu-ged Canning 
to appoint Henry Ricketts, an able Bengal civilian, as his suc- 
cessor. Canning would have acted upon this advice ; but the 
Board of Control interposed. Ricketts was preparing a report 
uj)on the most effectual mode of diminishing the salaries of the 
Company's servants. It Avas the old story. Imperial considera- 
tions Avere set at nought then, as in the days of Wellesley, Avhen- 
ever they imperilled the chance of some sordid and petty gain. 
Men fit to rule a province were not so plentiful that they should 
have been forced to Avaste their energies in pettifogging calcula- 
tions. But the folly of the home authorities might have been 
harmless, if an unfortunate accident had not deprived Oudh for 
a time of a yet abler master than Ricketts would have been. 
Henry Lawrence, whose chivalrous heart yearned to protect the 
people of the newly annexed province from the unsympathetic 
rule of the modern civilian, and to smooth the Avay for their 
transition from barbarous usage to civilised law, offered to serve 
in Outram's place : but, before his letter reached the Governor- 
General, Coverley Jackson, a smart revenue officer from the 
North-Western Provinces, had been appointed officiating Chief 
Commissioner of Oudh. No more unfortunate selection could 
have been made. Jackson Avas best known for the violence of 
his temper ; but Canning thought that this defect ought not to 
be allowed to Aveigh against his undoubted abilities, and imagined 
that he could cure it by a gentle Avarning. Only a man of the 
greatest tact and firmness could have reconciled the classes AA^ho 
had thriA'cn under the corrupt native government to the rigorous 
purity of British rule : but Jackson had no tact ; and his firm- 
ness showed itself chiefly in a series of contentions, Avhich he 
kept up during the whole of his administration, with the Finan- 
cial Commissioner, Martin Gubbins, a man whose injudicious 


self-assertion Avas as great as his OAvn.^ Rather than bate a jot 
of their miserable pretensions, this pair of officials spent the 
time which they should have devoted to the public service in 
undignified wrangling. Canning contented himself with exhort- 
ing them to be at peace, and only superseded Jackson when his 
pertinacity had outraged all patience, and when it seemed too 
late even for Lawrence to repair the mischief which he had done. 
For the deposed King of Oudh was complaining bitterly of the 
unmanly cruelty with which the English were ti'eating his 
family, even the delicate ladies of his harem ; and, if these com- 
plaints Avere unfounded,- there Avere others, pi-oceeding from the 
people, Avhich, though in many cases unreasonable, Avere natural 
enough. The settlement of the land revenue AA'^as directed by 
officers who Avere prejudiced against the talukdars ; and by their 
orders men of lower degree Avere persuaded to put forward their 
claims. The talukdars were being summarily deprived of every 
foot of land to which they could not establish a legal title ;^ and, 

^ In fairness to Jackson it ought to be mentioned that he repeatedly warned 
Government, but in vain, that plots and conspiracies were rife in Oudh. Col. 
Ramsay's Recollections of Military Service and Society, vol. i. p. 183. 

^ Pari. Papers, vol. xlvi. p. 416, par. 7. The King's complaints about the 
treatment of his family were " very greatly exaggerated . . . But there was a 
true foundation for the complaint, in the fact that . . . C. Jackson . . . had 
taken possession of . . . one of the palaces set apart for the royal family." 

^ Sir G. Campbell's Memoirs of my Imiian Career, ii. 12-13 ; Sir R. Mont- 
gomery's Rejwrt, pars. 157-8 ; Sykes's Compeiulium of the Laws sjiecially relat- 
ing to the Taluqdars of Oudh, pp. 28, 91. The extent to which the talukdars 
suffered has, however, been greatly exaggerated by Kaye (vol. iii. p. 422), and 
other writers. As a matter of fact, " out of 23, 543 villages included in taluqas 
at the close of native nile, 13,640, paying a revenue of Rs. 35,06,519 were settled 
with taluqdars in 1856, while 9903 villages, paying Rs. 32,08,319 were settled 
with persons other than taluqdars." Irwin, p. 180 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xlvi. 
(1861), p. 439, par. 7. General Innes says (Luchiow and Onde in tlie Mutiny, 
p. 64), " The irritation among the Rajjioot community, chiefs and peasants alike, 
grew apace, owing to tlie increasing violation . . . of the p)romises respecting the 
hmd revenue. Besides the matter of unduly high assessments, the bias shown in 
deciding on the parties to Iju dealt with as being in actual possession gave the 
most serious offence. For the officers usually put forward the villagers themselves 
and ignored the Talookdars." But General Innes ignores the fact that Dalhousie, 
in his letter of instructions to Outram, dated 13th Feb. 1858, wrote, "It must be 
borne in mind, as a leading principle, that the desire and intention of the Govern- 
ment is to deal with the actual occupants of the soil, that is, with village Zemin- 
dars or with the proprietary coparcenaries, who are believed to exist in Oudh, and 
not to suffer the intetposition of iniddlcmen, as Talookdars . . . and such like. 
The claims of these, if they have any tenable claims, may be more conveniently 
considered at a future period." The italics are mine. " These orders of the 
Supreme Government," wrote Sir R. ]\Iontgomery (House of Lords Papers, 74 
Sess. 2, 1859, pars. 157-8), " were implicitly obeyed." 


although in all but a fe\y instances their pretensions were ex- 
amined with scrupulous fairness, they nevertheless bitterly- 
resented the decisions which compelled them to surrender those 
villages which they had acquired by fraud or violence. More- 
over they Avrithed under the yoke of a civilising government, 
which cut away their arbiti'ary powers, and would not permit 
them to tyrannise, as they had formerly done, over their weaker 
neighbours. The zamindars and the peasants indeed gained by 
the settlement : but it is not likely that they felt any gratitude 
towards the British Government ; for they were wholly incapable 
of appreciating the benevolent motives by which it was actuated.^ 
The numerous dependents of the late court and the traders who 
had ministered to its luxury, were suddenly thrown out of em- 
ployment:' the disbandment of the King's army had thrown a 
vast horde of desperadoes upon the world with but scanty means 
of subsistence :^ the imposition of a heavy tax upon opium had 
inflamed the discontent of the poorer population, who languished 
without the drug which they could no longer afford to buy ; 
while men with whom lawlessness was a tradition, suddenly 
found themselves judged by tribunals which aimed at dispensing 
equal justice to high and low, but which allowed no circum- 

^ "I remember," says Irwin, "on one occasion discussing the subject of the 
annexation witli a well-to-do zamindar, a man perfectly well affected towards 
British rule. 'Why,' he asked, 'had the Sircar deposed Nawab Wajid Ali ? He 
was a poor weak creature, a humlile servant of the British Government. What 
had he done to be so summarily wiped out ? ' And it appeared to be quite a new 
light to him to be tohl that the misrule ... of Oudh had become more than the 
British Government would tolerate. If this is the point of view of one who was 
a severe sufferer by the ex-King's administration, and who gained immensely by 
its subversion, it is to be feared that the judgment of those who suflered and 
gahied less . . . will hardly be more favourable." Pp. 174-5. 

- " On the whole a very fair share of patronage was reserved for the native 
officials below the rank of uazim, or independent local authority ; but their habits 
were utterly unfitted for our service. Arduous and responsible labours were im- 
posed on the officers, and they were compelled to choose the fittest instruments to 
aid in them. None got pensions ; but those who were not public servants had 
no claim to any."— Par/. Papers, voL xlvi. p. 411, par. 13. Much of the dis- 
content that was aroused was unavoidable. It would have been madness to 
employ the grasping nazims and chakladar=, who had so abused their trust under 
the native governmeut ; and the inferior officials, who accepted the employment 
that was offered them, accustomed to a lax and corrupt system, failed to adapt 
themselves to their altered conditions, and soon were dismissed or resigned. But 
it is not less true that the Chief Commissioner showed great lack of judgement. 

"* Canning asserted that the disbanded troops had been liberally treated, and 
had, with few exceptions, independent meaus of subsistence as cultivators. lb. 
p. 418, par. 1'2. The fact, however, remains that they lost heavily by the annex- 


stances to weigh in mitigation of their sentences, and, in civil 
cases, exasperated plaintiff and defendant alike by an inflexible 
adherence to forms and precepts of Avhich they knew nothing.^ 
It was thus that the advice of Sleenian and Henry Lawrence to 
assume the administration of Oudh in the interests of its in- 
habitants had been followed. However judiciously carried out, 
the change of government, imperatively demanded though it 
was by every principle of right, must have given sore offence 
to the most influential classes of the population ; but, carried 
out as it was, it gave offence to many Avho might easily have 
been conciliated. 

Such were the perils which Henry Lawrence was called upon 

to confront when Canning asked him to undertake the adminis- 

ti'ation of Oudh. In the interval between his 

Jan. 19, isoi. .^ppQint,ment and his arrival at Lucknow, a still 

rrJ^^^V "?■ ■ more formidable danger arose. A Moulvi, who 

The Moulvi. . o ..... 

had for some time past been travelnng from city 
to city, and preaching a holy Avar against the infidels, appeared 
in Fyzabad, and began to sow sedition in the minds 
of the people.^ He was seized and imprisoned : 
but the English, never dreaming that their poAver could be 
shaken, were too unsuspicious to appreciate his power for mis- 
chief ; and it Avas not until some months afterAvards that he Avas 
recognised as the chief of a host of conspirators who had stirred 
up their co-religionists to rebel against British rule. 

Early in the preceding year the politics of Central Asia had 
is5r, begun to engage the Governor-General's attention. 
So far back as 1853, the British Ambassador at 
Teheran had been obliged to interfere for the pro- 
tection of Herat against a Persian army which had been sent 
to reduce it. But, though the Shah had agreed to desist from 
his enterprise, it was known that he secretly resented British 
interference ; and the Indian Government anxiously aAvaited the 
inevitable rupture. Underrating the British success in the 
Crimea, the Persians resolved to rid themselves of an alliance 
from Avhich they expected no adA'antage, and, by a succession of 
,_. insults, drove the British Ambassador to leave their 

capital. MeauAvhile a revolt had arisen against the 
ruler of Herat, Avhich the Shah had perhaps instigated, and 

^ Hutcliiiisou's Narrative of the 2ruti)des in, Oiule, p. 27. 
^ Ihid. p. 35. 


certainly resolved to turn to account. Falsely asserting that 
the Amir, Dost Mahomed, was bent upon the annexation of that 
city, he pretended that the duty of self-preservation compelled 
him to anticipate his rival, and equipped a fresh army, in viola- 
tion of the promise which he had given to the British ambas- 
sador. Canning was unwilling to send another force into the 
dreaded regions beyond the north-west frontier : but the Home 
Government decreed that the Shah's perfidy must be punished, 
and ordered an expedition to be despatched to the Persian Gulf. 
The Bombay Government, which provided the bulk of the troops, 
was allowed to nominate their commander, and sent General 
Stalker at the head of the first expeditionary force. But, when 
Outram heard that there was to be war, his enfeebled energies 
were reinvigorated by the thought that there was work for him 
to do ; and, undertaking to perform both the political and the 
military duties of the expedition, he sailed towards the end of 
1856 for Bombay. 

It is needless to detail the operations which he so success- 
fully superintended ; for the Persian war only affected the course 
of the Mutiny by affording an opportunity for securing the 
friendship of Dost Mahomed, the inveterate enemy of Persia. 

In order to make it clear how this opportunity had arisen, 
and how it was used, it will be necessary to review 
the relations that had subsisted for some years pre- Do?t^Mahomed. 
viously between the British Government and Dost 
Mahomed. In 1853 Colonel Mackeson, the Commissioner of 
Peshawar, was assassinated. It was conjectured that the assassin 
had been instigated by a fanatical mulla ^ of Kabul ; and the 
conjecture was supported by the fact that the bitter feelings 
created by the policy of Aiickland in the hearts of the Afghans 
were still alive. No one understood those feelings better, or 
deplored them more than the officer Avho was appointed as 
Mackeson's successor, Herbert Edwardes, the hero of Mooltan. 
Resolving to heal them, and seeing that he could only do so by 
effecting a radical change in the British policy towards Afghani- 
stan, he wrote to Dalhousie, asking for permission to negotiate 
a treaty with Dost Mahomed, on the principle that bygones 
should be bygones. Dalhousie, in reply, gave him full liberty 
to act as he might think best, remarking that such a treaty, 
though difficult of attainment, was most desirable. But John 

^ Priest. 


Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner of the Punjab, thought differ- 
ently. Again and again he told Edwardes that Dost Mahomed 
would never agree to a treaty, and would not observe it if he 
did ; and exerted all his influence to convince Dalhousie of the 
futility of the idea. Dalhousie, however, was not to be seduced 
from his opinion;^ and the tact and transparent sincerity of 
Edwardes completely won the confidence of Dost Mahomed. 
When all the preliminaries had been arranged, Edwardes received 
a letter from Dalhousie, Avritten in terms of the most cordial 
approval, and empowering him, inasmuch as he had alone con- 
ceived and worked out the idea of the treaty, to act as the sole 
signatory. But Edwardes was one of those rare characters to 
whom the public good is dearer than the gratification of personal 
ambition. He wrote to Dalhousie in reply, ui'ging that the 
stability of the treaty would be increased if the highest authority 
in the Punjab were to affix his signature to it. Dalhousie recog- 
nised the wisdom of this advice;- and in March, 1855, John 
Lawrence on the one side, and Hyder Ali Khan, the eldest son 
of Dost Mahomed, on the other, signed a treaty which bound 
the Afghans to be friends of our friends and enemies of our 
enemies.^ When the Persian war broke out, Edwardes saw that 
a further development of his policy was required. On the 
ground that he had cleared he desired to erect a bulwark which 
should defend the British and the Afghans against the assaults 
of their common enemies. He therefore urged Canning to secure 
the friendship of Dost Mahomed by granting him substantial aid 
against the Persians. Lawrence again opposed the suggestion of 
his lieutenant : * but it was impossible to overlook the import- 

1 Dalhousie wrote demi-officially to Edwardes, asking him to correspond with 
him directly, not through the medium of the Punjab Government. The request 
was perfectly natural ; for, owing to the geographical position of Peshawar, the 
Commissioner of that Division ranked higher than Commissioners in general. He 
was, in fact, practically the Governor-General's Agent on the Frontier. Edwardes, 
however, from a feeling of delicacy towards his immediate superior, persuaded 
Dalhousie to allow him to continue forwarding his coiTespondence through Lahore. 

'■* "I am exceedingly vexed," wrote Dalhousie to Edwardes (Jan. 30, 1855), 
" that you should not have had, a.^ I intended you .should, the crowning credit of 
bringing lo a close the negotiations you have conducted so well and so successfully 
to their present point." Lawrence himself wrote to Edwardes, " I so far agree with 
the Governor-General that I think all the merit of the affair, wliatever it may be, 
is yours." The italics are mine. 

* Aitchisou's Treaties, Engagements, and Simnnds, vol. ii. pp. 430-1. 

^ Lawrence afterwards admitted that, " as matters lia<l turned out in Himlostau, 
the late arrangements with the Ameer were very fortun.ate." Enclosures to Secret 
Letters from, India, 23rd July 1858, p. 151. 


ance of making use of the Amir's enmity to Persia ; and accord- 
ingly Canning, though, remembering the events of 1841, he 
would not send a British force to co-operate with the Afghans, 
declared himself ready to subsidise any Afghan force which 
should march against the Shah. The Amir was invited to a 
conference; and in January, 1857, he met Lawrence and Ed- 
wardes at the entrance of the Khyber Pass, and discussed with 
them the terms of a treaty which both parties equally desired. 
After repeated communications with the Calcutta Government, 
it was agreed that the British should furnish the Amir with 
four thousand stand of arms, and a subsidy of a lac of rupees a 
month, and that, in return, the Amir should maintain an army 
of eighteen thousand men to act against Persia, and allow a 
British Mission to enter his country, to watch over the expendi- 
ture of the subsidy.^ "I have made an alliance," said Dost 
Mahomed, " with the British Government, and, come what may, 
I will keep it till death." 

A later chapter of this history will show how triumphantly 
the policy that had led to the conclusion of this treaty was 
vindicated. The credit of that policy belonged, of right, to 
Herbert Edwardes alone. But years passed away ; and the act 
to which he looked back with just pride as the most valuable 
service that he had been permitted to render to his covmtry was 
not declared to be his. John Lawrence had then the oppor- 
tunity of making a noble return for the self-abnegation which 
his lieutenant had practised towards him. It was for him to 
place the facts in their true light ; and, standing boldly f or- 
Avard, to point to the man who would not utter a word to exalt 
himself at the cost of another, and to say, " Honour to him to 
whom honour is due." Had he done so, he might indeed have 
lost some portion of his reputation for statesmanship : but he 
would have earned a glory as pure and imperishable as that 
which illuminates the self-sacrifice of Outram. But he pre- 
ferred to claim for himself the credit of a policy which he had 
not only not originated, but had persistently opposed ; and 
history, while acknowledging that part of his fame was indeed 
honestly won, is forced to expose the rottenness of the founda- 
tion upon which the other part was based.^ 

^ Aitchison, vol. ii. pp. 431-3. 

^ " It is hardly necessary to say," writes Mr. Bosworth Smith {Life of Lord 
Lawrence, vol. i. p. 462), " that, in his communications with tlie Governor-General 


Before the conclusion of the second treaty, a measure had 
been passed which filled up the sum of the sepoy's purely pro- 
fessional grievances, and made him still more 
iniStmrarict. disposed to cast about for others. Of the six Ben- 
gal regiments that were alone liable for general 
service, three were in 1856 doing duty in Pegu; and two of 
these were entitled to be relieved within a few months. None 
of the other three was available for their relief. But, although 
it was thus impossible to send a single Bengal regiment by sea 
to the Burmese coast, there would have been no breach of faith 
towards the army in sending the required number by land. 
Unfortunately, however, a part of the road was impassable ; and 
the difficulty of clearing it in time presented an almost insuper- 
able obstacle to the use of the overland route. Canning, in his 
perplexity, bethought him of the Madras army, which was en- 
listed for general service : but the Southern Presidency was 
naturally unwilling to rouse discontent among its own troops hy 
calling upon them to furnish a permanent garrison to a country 
which lay properly within the sphere of the Bengal army. 
Nothing l)ut a radical reform could help the Governor-General 
out of his difficulty. Exasperated at the absui'dity of the pre- 
judices that had involved him in it, and had been the soiu'cc of 
constantly increasing trouble to the State, he resolved that 
thenceforth he would be the master of his own army, and on 
the 25th of July issued a General Order which decreed that no 
recruit should for the future l^e accepted who Avould not under- 
take to march whithei'soever his services might be required. 
" There is no fear," he Avrote a iew months later, " of feelings of 
caste being excited by the new enlistment regiila- 
tions in the Bengal army." He deceived himself ; 
for, while he was writing, recruiting officers were complaining 

John Lawreuce dwelt with s)iecial emphasis on Edwardes's services in connection 
with the treaty." It is all the more necessary, then, to say, as I have said, that, 
in his communications with the public, he did not dwell upon them at all. After 
Edwardes's death, some of his friends determined to erect a tablet to his memory 
in the chapel of King's College, London. An inscription, which was to be placed 
on the tablet, was submitted to Lawrence for perusal. It contained the statement 
that Edwardes had made the treaties. Replying to the gentleman who had sent 
it to him, Lawrence asserted that he, not Edwardes, had made them. In un 
official sense, he undoubtedly spoke the truth. But one would like to know 
whether, at the time when he wrote this reply, it occurred to him that he had 
formerly written to Edwardes, — " I think all the iiierit of tlie affair, wliatever it 
may be, is yours." 


that high -caste men had begun to shrink from entering the 
service, which their brethren had once needed no persuasion to 
join ; and old sepoys were whispering to each other their fears 
that the oaths of the new recruits were binding upon themselves 
also. About the same time that the General Service Enlistment 
Act had been passed, an ill-judged parsimony had 
dictated another measure, namely, that sepoys de- ^"'l^eToys °^ 
clared unfit for foreign service should no longer be 
allowed to retire on invalid pensions, but be utilised for the per- 
formance of cantonment duty ; ^ and shortly before, it had been 
decreed that all sepoys withoiit exception should thenceforth pay 
the regular postage for their letters instead of sending them 
under the frank of their commandant.^ These apparently trifling 
changes seriously added to the existing irritation. The sepoys 
were now in a mood to believe any lie that reflected discredit 
upon the Government. Seeing that the warlike Sikhs were 
favoured by the recruiting sergeant, they persuaded themselves 
that an entire Sikh army of thirty thousand men was to be raised 
to supersede them. They listened to the suggestions of clever 
agitators, who assured them that the Queen had „ ■, 

lie xiz-N • c Kumourcd 

herself sent out Lord Cjinmng for the express pur- designs of 
pose of converting them, and that the General ag'aJnst'caste 
Service Enlistment Act Avas only the first step in °'^'^ leii-ion. 
his career of persecution. They saw in the rumoured support 
of missionary societies by Lord Canning, in the rumoured zeal 
of Lady Canning for the conversion of native women, evidences 
of the same spirit of proselytism. As a matter of fact, neither 

^ Gubbins's Midinies in Oudh, pp. 94-5. 

^ I do not feel certain of the correctness of the statement in the text as to 
the irritation caused by the postal regulation. It is true that under the old 
system the sepoys had been allowed to send their letters free ; but they had been 
obliged to pay a shilling for those they received. Under the new system, intro- 
duced by Dalhousie, a uniform single rate of postage of half an anna (f d. ) was 
established for letters carried within the limits of India. Dalhousie's Farewell 
Minute, p. 18, par. 72 {Pari. Pa2)ers, vol. xlv., 1856) ; A Few Remarks anent 
the Red Pamphlet, p. 13. Sir H. Lawrence, however, in a letter to Canning, 
dated May, 1857, wrote : — -"The new post-office rules are bitter grievances ; in- 
deed the native community generally siiffers by them, but the sepoy, having here 
special privileges, feels the deprivation in addition to the general uncertainty as 
to letters ; nay, rather the positive certainty of not getting them." — Life of Sir 
H. Lawrence by Sir H. Edwardes and H. Merivale. New York edition, p. 570. 
[The correctness of the statement in the text is confirmed by a well-informed 
critic, — formerly an officer in a sepoy regiment. See Vanity Fair, 5th July 


the Governor-General nor his wife had done more than those 
who had gone before them. But it was not imnatnral that they 
should be suspected of having done so. For, little more than a 
year before, the missionaries had published a manifesto which 
went to prove that the railways and steamships of the European, 
by facilitating the material union of all races of men, were to be 
the indirect instruments for accomplishing their spiritual union 
under one faith. Eegarded as a plain invitation by Government 
to join the Christian religion, this paper caused great excitement 
amongst the natives of Bengal ; and William Tayler, the Com- 
missioner of Patna, reported upon the especially dangerous feel- 
ings which it had awakened amongst the bigoted Mahomedans 
of his Division. A reassuring proclamation, which the Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of Bengal issued in consequence of this warning, 
did not lessen the general alarm ; for the people believed that a 
Government which could meditate their conversion would be 
quite capable of making a false statement to lull their suspicions. ^ 
Nor were the professed ministers of the Gospel the only mission- 
aries. Certain earnest -minded officers, of whom a Colonel 
Wheler was the most prominent, preached to their men with the 
enthusiasm of Cromwell's captains, and brought down upon 
themselves the displeasure of Government by their zeal.^ And, 
though Canning was himself guiltless of the proselytism with 
which he was charged, he innocently incurred obloquy by giving 
formal sanction to the Bill prepared by Dalhousie for the re- 
moval of all legal obstacles to the marriage of Hindu widows. 
The excitement and alarm which this combination of causes 
produced were not confined to the sepoys ; for these men had 
friends or relations in every village, and were especially con- 
nected by the ties of kinship with the population of Oudh and 
the North- Western Provinces, Avhere our rule had provoked the 
most bitter animosities. But ^vhy should they think that the 
Government wished to convert them ? Their imaginations sup- 
plied a plausible answer. The white man was bent upon taking 
away their caste and making them Chinstians, in order that, no 
longer hesitating to eat his strengthening food, or to embark in 
his ships, they might be able to go forth at his bidding, as 

1 See Syad Ahmad Khan's The Causes of the Indian Revolt, pp. 18, 22, and 
Kaye, vol. i. pp. 472-3. 

2 Wlieler's preaching may possibly, owing to other circumstances, have been 
harmful, but would not have been so in itself. 


warriors endowed with nsAV vigour, to gratify his insatiable 
ambition by fresh conquests. This, if they could help it, they 
were resolved that they would never do. They had served the 
effete Feringhees for scanty Avages long enough. Their own day 
was coming now. Vague ambitions arose in their hearts. Sooner 
or later, they would vindicate the honour of religion ; they would 
enrich themselves by plunder ; they would collect the revenues ; 
they would drive the Avhite upstarts into the sea. And now, 
as if to give confidence to the disaffected, and to shake the loyalty 
of the faithful, an old Hindu prophecy was raked up, which said 
that in the year 1857, the hundredth since its foundation by 
the victory of Plassey, the Company's Eaj was to be destroyed.^ 

Infuriated by leal grievances, haunted by groundless fears, 
tossed about by idle rumours, the enemies of British rule were 
still afraid to strike, when the arch -agitators lighted by an 
accident upon the spell, the potency of which was to liberate 
the pent-up passions of their dupes, and nerve them to revolt.^ 

A few idle words betrayed the existence of this engine of 
rebellion. One day in January, 1857, a Lascar, 
attached to the magazine at Dum-Dum near Cal- ^rtrwglj!^'^ 
cutta, asked a sepoy of the garrison to give him a 
drink of water from his lotah. ^ Nettled by the haughty reply 
that the vessel would be contaminated by the lips of a low-caste 
man, the Lascar retorted that the sepoy would soon be deprived of 
his caste altogether ; for the Government was busy manufacturing 
cartridges greased with the fat of cows or swine, and the sepoys 
would have to bite the forbidden substance before loading. 

It is hard to convey to the mind of an English reader an 
adequate idea of the force of the shock beneath which the 
imagination of that Brahmin must have reeled when he heard 
these words. It was all true, then, he must have felt. The 
Government were really bent upon ruining him. They had 
devised an expedient which, under the specious pretext of put- 
ting a better weapon into his hands, was to destroy his caste, 
his honour, his social position, everything that made life worth 
having, and to pave the way for his perversion to Christianity. 

^ The evidence for tlie facts recorded in this paragraph is to be found in the 
Pari. Papers, Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, newspapers published iu 
India, Gubbins's Mutinies in Oudh, etc. 

2 See Evidence taken before the Court appointed for the Trial of the King of 
Delhi, pp. 267-8. 

^ A brass drinking-vessel. 


It must be remembered that not faith, not righteousness, but 
ritual was the essence of his religion. For him to be told that 
he was to touch with his lips the fat of the cow was as appal- 
ling as it would have been to a mediaeval Catholic to listen to 
the sentence of excommunication.^ 

Yet it was all a delusion. There was some foundation for 
what the Lascar said ; that was all. The manufacture of 
greased cartridges to be used with the new Enfield rifle, had long 
been going on ; and the grease contained tallow of doubtful 
origin : ^ but no cartridges greased with the fat of cows or swine 
were destined to be issued to the sepoys.^ Greased cartridges 
were no novelty. They had first been sent out to India 
in 1853. Colonel Tucker, who was then Adjutant-General of 
the Bengal army, at once foreseeing the alarm which they 
might cause, had warned his superiors against issuing them to 
the native troops until it should have been distinctly ascer- 
tained that the grease was inoffensive : but his letter had gone 
no further than to the Board which was at that time vested 
with military authority at Calcutta. Colonel Birch, the Mili- 
tary Secretary, who had fallen under the ban of Charles Napier, 
was accused by the old general's admirers of having neglected 

^ I make the comparison to excommunication advisedly. Just as excom- 
munication could be remedied by penance, so could loss of caste. Many loose 
statements have been made about the effect which the story of the greased cart- 
ridges must have had upon the imaginations of the sepoys. For instance, the 
aiithor of the Red Pamjjhlet gave great point and emphasis to his narrative by 
asserting that the cow was regarded by Hindus as an inoarnation of Deity. I 
have taken great pains to investigate the point. Mill states that the cow is wor- 
shipped in India. Hist, of Brit. India, vol. i. p. 297. His editor, H. H. 
Wilson, corrects him, remarking that " the worship of the cow by the Hindus 
is a popular error." Ih. note 2. Talboys Wheeler says " the bull and the cow 
are worshipped all over India." Short Hist, of India, pp. 64-5. Bewildered by 
these conflicting authorities, I wrote to Professor Max Miiller, asking for his 
opinion. "I do not think," he replied, "that a cow is anywhere in India 
considered as an incarnation of ,the Deity." Since then the kindness of Dr. 
Rost, who referred me to an article on " Beef in Ancient India " by Baba 
R/ijendralala Mitra, has enabled me to ascertain the truth. The writer points 
out that beef was at one time actually eaten by the Hindus, and that cattle 
were sacrificed to Vishnu, Indra, and other deities. " When, " he concludes, 
" the Brahmans had Ho contend against Buddhism, which . . . denounced all 
sacrifices, they found the doctrine of respect for animal life too strong . . . to be 
overcome, and therefore gradually and imperceptibly adopted it in such a 
manner as to make it appear a part of their S'dstra." — Journal Asiatic Society 
of Bengal, vol. xli. part 1, pp. 17-1, 196. 

2 Kaye asserts, probably with truth, that it contained beef-fat : but this is 
not proved. See App. W. 

* This has been denied ; but it is absolutely true. See Ajip. W. 


Tuckei''s solemn warning.^ But, in fact, he never received that 
Avarning. It was the Military Board that neglected it ; and on 
the Board the chief blame must lie.' 

At the time, however, the neglect produced no evil results. 
The cartridges were issued to certain sepoy regiments, not for 
practice, but to test the effect of the climate upon the grease, 
and were received without a murmur. In 1856 similar cartridges 
began to be actually manufactured in India ; and at Meerut 
Brahmin factory-boys handled the grease without a thought of 
its affecting their caste. It was not till the Lascar blurted out 
his taunt that the note of alarm was struck. 

The terrified Brahmin rushed off to tell his comrades ; and 
from them the report flew in all directions with the lightning- 
like rapidity Avith which news, and especially bad news, travels 
in India. The agitators who were preaching sedition in secret, 
hailed the story with delight, and, as they retailed it to their 
disciples, clothed it with new terrors. The Brahmins of the 
Dharma Sabha, a religious institution in Calcutta, turned it to 
account for the excitement of the caste prejudices of the Hindu 
population. The agents of the King of Oudh, who was living in 
the suburb of Garden Reach, used it to increase the odium of those 
who had deprived him of his throne. It was by such means that 
this crowning professional grievance of the sepoys was twisted 
into a grievance affecting their co-religionists of every condition. 

The effects were instantly manifest. General Hearsey, who 
commanded the Presidency Division, reported on the 28th of 
January that there was ill-feeling among his men. At Bar- 
rackpore and at Raniganj, where was stationed a wing of the 
2nd Bengal Grenadiers, a Barrackpore regiment, the sepoys 
nightly vented their rage by setting fire to public buildings 
and their officers' bungalows. There was hardly a man of the 
four regiments at these two stations who did not see in the 
manufacture of the greased cartridges a foul plot for the de- 
struction of his religion. But official routine hindered the 
prompt action which might possibly have nipped the evil in the 
bud. Lieutenant Wright, who commanded the detachment to 
which the Brahmin belonged, reported the story of the Lascar 
on the 22nd of January. The new cartridges were to be issued 

' Red Pamphlet, p. 15. 

- Colonel Tucker, in a letter to the Times (Oct. 1, 1857 ; p. 8, col. 3) wrote 
tliat, even if his remonstrance had been addressed to the Military Board, Biixh 
\vas to blame for not having e.vamined the records of the Board. 



to the sepoys of the Rifle Depot at Dum-Dum, but not, for some 
time to come, to the regiments at Barrackpore or elsewhere. 
General Hcarsey, through whom Wright's report passed, ap- 
pended to it a recommendation that the sepoys at Dum-Dum 
should be allowed to grease their own cartridges as they jDleased : 
but the report had to pass through a series of offices before it 
reached the Government; and it was not till the 28th that 
Hearsey heard of the approval of his suggestion. It was too late. 
The day before, a native officer at Barrackpore, as if unwilling to 
believe in the Avicked intentions which were imputed to his rulers, 
had asked Avhether any orders had l)een received about the 
cartridges ; and his commanding officer could only answer. No. 
Meanwhile, the Military Secretary had begun to ask for that 

information about the cartridges which he ought 
Goverament ^*^"& before to havc obtained. Finding that none 

had yet been issued to the native army, he tele- 
graphed to the Adjutant-General to see that all cartridges 

issued from the factory at Meerut were free from 

grease, and leave the men to use whatever mate- 
rial they liked best ; and Avarned the commandants of the Rifle 
Depots at Umballa and Sialkot not to alloAV any greased 
cartridges that might have been issued to be used. These orders 
had of course the sanction of the Governor-General. At the 
same time the Secretary recommended that the Commander-in- 
Chief should be directed to pi-oclaim to the army that no greased 
cartridges were to be issued to them, and that they might use 
whatever material they thought proper. But Canning alloAved 
himself to be persuaded by the Adjutant-General to countei- 
mand the telegram on the ground that, as those sepoys Avho 
were armed AAath Mini6 rifles had long been in the habit of 
using mutton -fat for their cartridges,^ the ncAv instructions, 
by suggesting to their minds the idea of an objectionable 
grease, might set them thinking that the grease which they had 
hitherto used involved some off"ence to their caste. He therefore 
decided that greased cartridges might be issued at the Depots, 
if the grease Avas composed only of mutton-fat and Avax.- 
He should have reflected that, as the fear of the ncAv cartridges 
must anyhow soon reach the sepoys of every regiment in the 
Bengal Army, the Secretary's instructions and the suggested 

^ See, however, Kaye, vol. i. p. 516, note, and pp. 655-6. 
- At Umballu, liowever, the sepoys greased their own cartridges. See App. W. 


proclamation could do no harm, and might do good. But 
perhaps the incident was only important as showing how easily 
the Governor-General could be led by his advisers; for the 
fruitlessness of the proclamation that had been intended to 
soothe the fears which had been aroused by the missionary 
manifesto of 1856 had shown how difficult it was to eradicate 
a delusion once firmly fixed in the mind of a native. 

Proof was soon forthcoming that the delusion of the greased 
cartridges had taken root. While common-sense dictated the 
necessity of early isolating all tainted regiments, 
military routine allowed tAvo detachments of the AntcheUand 
34 th Native Infantry to march on special duty ^^^^.J^^^ ^^*'^'® 
from Barrackpore to Berhampore. On arriving 
there, they were anxiously questioned about the truth of the 
cartridge story by the men of the 19th, who had caught the 
alarm some three weeks before, but had been for the moment 
tranquillised by the explanations of their commandant. What 
they heard from the 34th reawakened their fears. 
On the evening of the next day their command- 
ant, Colonel Mitchell, was informed that they had refused to 
receive their percussion caps for the folloAving morning's 
parade, on the ground that they were suspicious of the cart- 
ridges. A judicious officer would have at least tried the effect 
of quietly explaining to the men the imreasonableness of their 
fears. Mitchell, however, hastened in hot passion to the lines, 
and spoke so angrily to the sepoys that they felt sure their 
fears Avere well founded. They could not believe that their 
colonel would allow himself to threaten them so savagely if he 
were not uneasily conscious of the injustice of his cause. They 
therefore remained where they were, sullen and fearful, while 
Mitchell returned to his quarters, harassed by the thought of 
coming danger, and not knowing how he could meet it without 
a single company of British soldiers to aid him. He was not 
kept long in suspense. Just after he had lain down, he heard 
the sound of drums and angry voices coming from the lines. 
He knew that mutiny was upon him. What was he to do 1 
He must either try single-handed to pacify a regiment of muti- 
neers, or attempt the hazardous experiment of coercing his 
native infantry with his native cavalry and artillery. He chose 
the latter course. Hastily dressing, he summoned his officers, 
ordered the cavalry and artillery to the lines, and, going thither 


himself, found the 19th drawn up, trembling with fear. The 
sight of their comrades, ready, as they imagined, to fire upon 
them, increased their agitation. Then, for the second time, the 
colonel began to threaten fiercely his panic-stricken soldiers, 
who, like beasts maddened with fear, might at any moment 
turn upon those whom they believed to be seeking their liA'es. 
Seeing what a dreadful effect his words were producing, the 
native officers- pressed forward, and implored him to calm the 
men's fears by withdrawing the force which had been brought 
up to overawe them. If once they saw that they were not to 
be compelled by violence to use the dreaded cartridges, they 
would lay down their arms without demur. Mitchell saw that 
he had placed himself in a false position. He could not act 
upon the advice of the officers without yielding a moral victory 
to his men. He could not disregard that advice without pro- 
voking a mutiny. And then, what if the cavalry and artillery 
should sympathise with the mutineers instead of acting against 
them ? Clutching at a compromise, he said that he would 
withdraw his supporting force, but would certainly hold a 
parade of all arms in the morning. But, when the native 
officers again interposed, warning him that he Avould thus only 
defer the outbreak, he saAv that he must yield altogethei-. 

Then he departed, and left his men at leisiire to reflect on 
what they had done. They had taken the lead in mutiny : but, 
when they reassembled in the morning, there was depression 
rather than exultation in their demeanour. They seemed 
ashamed of themselves ; and, though they continued to show 
in various Avays that they were still haimted by suspicion, they 
discharged their duties thenceforth with obedience and pimctu- 
ality. It was impossible to overlook their conduct : but it was 
equally impossible to punish it with due promptitude ; for no 
European troops could be spared to coerce them. The falseness 
of the economy that had Aveakened the surest support of British 
supremacy Avas now too clear. All that Canning could do Avas 
to send for the 84th Regiment from Eangoon.^ 

Before the regiments at Barrackpore handed on the torch to 
General Hearsay their brethren at Bcrhampore, they had Avorked them- 
and the 3itii. gclvcs iuto a statc of f cverish excitement. Sooner or 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), pp. 38-9, 12-1, 47, 54-5, 59-62, 69-72, 
76-7, 81-5, 95, 297-325, 327-31, 333-5 ; Forrest's Selectiuns from State Papers, 
vol. i.. Introduction, p. 9 ; Kaye, vol. i. pp. 506-7. 


later it would be their turn to use the neM' cartridges. When 
they were assured that they would be allowed to use their own 
lubricant, their diseased fancy suggested that the shining 
cartridge jjaper must contain grease. The paper was analysed 
and reported harmless ; but still they refused to be comforted. 
At last Hearsey, who spoke their language like 
themselves, and knew them better than they 
knew themselves, paraded them, and tried to convince them 
that they had nothing to fear. His attempt ought to have 
made it clear to the Government that the madness of their 
army was not to be cured by any soothing remedy ; for, 
though his speech could not have been improved upon, 
its good effects were only transient. When the 34th, 
with whose fears there was far more of ill-feeling mixed than 
with those of the Berhampore regiment, heard what the latter 
had done, their surliness increased ; and, marvelling that their 
comrades went unpunished, they began to dread that, under 
the mask of leniency. Government was preparing for the whole 
brigade some terrible doom. But the Governor-General had 
no desire to be hard upon them. He sympathised with their 
doubts and scruples, and was only anxious to remove them as 
gently as he could. Accordingly he accepted a suggestion that 
the sepoys should be allowed to pinch off the ends of their 
cartridges instead of biting them, and so avoid the taste of the 
paper.i The concession Avas, as might have been expected, 
useless. Habit, the sepoys objected, would make them use 
their teeth instead of their fingers. Meanwhile, Hearsey had 
resolved to try the effect of another speech. 

■ • llarch 17 

Again he assured his men that there was no design 
against their caste or their religion, and that, as they had not been 
convicted of any crime, they need fear no punishment. That 
was to be kept for those who had deserved it, the mutinoiis 19th. 
This was the part of Hearsey's address that had most effect 
upon his hearers. Thinking over the fate that 
was in store for their comrades, they paid no heed Paudy'^ 
to the assvu'ance that they need have no fear for 
themselves. Twelve days later Sergeant-Major Hewson was in 
his bungalow when a native officer came running in to 

March ''O 

report that a sepoy named Mungul Pandy had come 
out of the lines with his musket loaded. Hewson sent to Avarn the 
^ Tlie suggestion was made on March 2. — Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 7. 


adjutant, Lieutenant Baugh,and walked to the pai'ade-ground. The 
sepoy was marching up and down in front of the quarter-guard, 
calling upon his comrades to aid him and strike a blow for their 
religion. Catching sight of the Englishman, he fired at him, 
but without effect. Presently the adjutant rode up and cried, 
" Where is he ! where is he ! " " Ride to the right, sir, for your 
life ! " shouted Hewson, " the sepoy will fire at you ! " The words 
were hardly uttered when the mutineer fired at the adjutant 
from behind the shelter of the station gun, and brought his 
horse to the ground. Baugh sprang unhurt to his feet, 
advanced on the mutineer, and fired at him, but missed. 
Then began a desperate hand-to-hand encounter. The 
mutineer drew his tulwar,^ and slashed the adjutant across 
his left hand and neck. Hewson rushed to support his 
officer ; but the sepoy was a match for them both. Hard by 
stood the guai'd of twenty sepoys looking on unconcerned ; 
while their jamadar^ made no attempt to bring them for- 
ward, and even suffered them to strike their helpless officers 
with the butt - ends of their muskets. One man only, a 
Mahomedan named Shaikh Paltu, came to help the struggling 
Europeans, and held the mutineer while they escaped. Mean- 
while, other Eurojjean officers Avere hurrying to the spot. One 
of them, Colonel Wheler of the 34 th, ordered the guard to seize 
the mutineer : but no one obeyed him. Then Grant, the 
brigadier of the station, interposed his supei'ior authority : but 
still the guard paid no heed. The solitary but successful 
mutineer was still taunting his comrades for allowing him to 
fight their battles unaided ; the British officers, their authority 
despised, were still looking helplessly on ; Avhen their chief with 
his two sons rode up at a gallop to the gi'ound. Indignantly he 
asked his officers why they had not arrested the mutineer. They 
answered that the guard would not obey orders. " We'll see 
that," said Hearsey, and descrying the mutineer, he rode to- 
wards the quarter-guard. " His musket is loaded," cried an 
officer. " Damn his musket," answered Hearsey ; and then 
turning to the jamadar, and significantly shaking his revolver, 
he said, " Listen to me : the first man who refuses to march when 
I give the word is a dead man. Quick, march ! " Sullenly the 
guard submitted, and followed their master to arrest Mungul 
Pandy ; but he too saw that the day was lost, and in despair 
1 Native swonl. - Native lieuteuant. 


turned his musket against himself. He fell wounded ; but he 
did not save himself from a felon's death.^ 

The general had suppressed open mutiny ; but he could 
not hinder secret mischief. Next day the 19th, jjisbandin^T 
who had marched quietly and penitently down of th" i^ti^- 
from Berhampore, knowing that, when they arc i so. 
reached their goal, they were to be disbanded, were met at 
Barasat by some emissaries from the 34th, who urged them to 
join that regiment in slaughtering the European officers. But 
the 19 th atoned for their past sins by resisting the tempters, 
and marched on sadly to Barrackpore. There, on the last day 
of March, confronted by two field batteries and all the European 
and native troops that could be mustered, they listened to 
their sentence, piled their arms in obedience to the order which 
it conveyed, and received their last issue of pay. Then, with 
Hearsey's kind farewell ringing in their ears, they went their 
way, cheering their old general ; for they knew that, Avhile he 
punished, he forgave them.^ 

Very different was the treatment of the sullen 34th. Mun- 
gul Pandy was indeed tried and sentenced on the 
6th of April, and executed two days later. But cantnili,' in 
though the jamadar who had forbidden his men |:]j"3®][j"^ 
to aid their officers was sentenced on the 11th, liis 
execution was delayed till the 21st, owing to a difliculty which 
routine threw in the way. Worse still, the men themselves, who 
had struck their defenceless officers, were suffered to go absolutely 
unpunished, because the Governor - General feared that any 
hasty act of retribution would confirm instead of allaying the 
evil temper of the army.^ He did not know that the army 
attributed his leniency not to humanity but to fear. 

The records of the proceedings of Government during these 
months are indee I a melancholy, though not un- 
edifying collection. While the Governor-General ^rhovv'^he"''' 
ought to have been acting, he was wasting his ought to have 
time in trying to solve casuistical puzzles, writing 
elegant minutes, and devising elaborate expedients for coaxing 

^ Letter in Calcutta Englishvum, April 4, 1857 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. 
(1857), pp. 126, 135-7 ; Cave-Browne's The Punjab and Delhi in 1857, vol. i. 
p. 20 ; Forrest, pp. 109-31, 178-207. 

" Forrest, pp. 97-102 ; Kaye, vol. i. p. 544. 

3 Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 20, 21 ; Pad. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 145 ; 
pp. 20, 21 ; Forrest, lutroduction, p. 15, and pp. 107, 207, 211. 


the sepoys into accepting the cartridges. The cartridges would 
have offered no terrors to troops who were under a strict 
discipline, and who had an affectionate confidence in their 
officers. John Jacob's irregulars laughed at the idea that any 
sensible man could possibly object to them. Such a healthy 
state of mind was not indeed to be expected from the Bengal 
sepoys ; but they were not beyond the reach of a drastic 
remedy. When a number of men are possessed by a delusion, 
to endeavour to reason away each successive development of 
their morbid fancies is the surest way to encoui'age the fertility 
of the latter. Even if the cartridges had been altogether with- 
drawn, matters would not have been mended : the sepoys would 
simply have felt that the Government Avas afraid of them. If 
Canning had understood their characters, he Avould have seen 
that it was his duty to give one clear and patient explanation 
of the harmless character of the cartridges that were being 
issued ; then peremptorily to insist on their being accepted and 
used ; and to punish with terrific severity the first man, if 
necessary the first regiment, that disobeyed. 

Long before this the infection had spread beyond the furthest 

limits of the North-Western Provinces. In the 
umbi™^''^ middle of March the Commander-in-Chief, who, 

escorted by the 36th Native Infantry, was engaged 
on a tour of inspection, had arrived at Umballa. Two non- 
commissioned officers belonging to a detachment of the 36th, 
which was already at the station, ran out to welcome their com- 
rades ; but, instead of receiving the cheery greeting which they 
expected, were railed at as perverts to Christianity, handlers of 
the accursed cartridges. The miserable men ran to the musketry 
instructor of the Depot, Lieutenant Martineau, and told him 
Avhat had befallen them. He saw at once the terrible significance 
of their story, and promptly took pains to ascertain the feelings 
of the troops, by whom he was thoroughly trusted. Next day 

he reported, as the result of his enquiries, to the 

Assistant Adjutant-General that the whole Bengal 
army was labouring under a dread of conversion, and had resolved 
to treat as outcastes any men who should degrade themselves by 
using the cartridges. The Commander-in-Chief tried himself to 
soothe the men of the Depot ; but, unable to address them 
except through an interpreter, he was not likely to succeed Avhen 
Ilearsey had failed. The native officers listened respectfully to 


his arguments, but privately told Martineau that, though their 
own fears and those of their men had been removed, the 
general fears of the army remained. Must they obey the 
order to use the cartridges, they piteously asked, when obedience 
Avould cast them out from the society of their comrades, and 
even of their own families. Anson was sorely perplexed. He 
Avas unwilling to discontinue rifle practice at the Depot, in 
deference to prejudices which his best native officers admitted 
to be groundless ; but, Avhen those officers told him that, unless 
they yielded to the groundless prejudices, their lives would be 
made a burden to them, he was loth to be severe. 
At last, however, the Governor-General put an end to 
his difficulties by deciding that concession would be weakness. 

As soon as this decision had been made known to the men, 
fires began to break out in the Government build- 
ings and the officers' bungalows. The authorities, ^"rptJ'Yr!'"' 
who had not yet learned that incendiarism Avas the 
regular symjjtom of coming mutiny, were long unable to find a 
clue to the origin of these outrages. Courts of enquiry were held ; 
but no one would come forward to give evidence. . ., ^, 

'-' April 22. 

Later on, however, a hut belonging to a sepoy 

attached to the musketry school was set on fire. On the folloAving 

night five huts belonging to men of the 60th Native . . 

Infantry, were burned down. The former outrage 

was clearly an expression of the hatred felt toAvards the musketry 

school sepoys for submitting to use the cartridges. The latter 

Avas an act of retaliation. Probably, then, the earlier fires had also 

been the Avork of sepoys. Towards the end of April this conjecture 

was confirmed by the evidence of a Sikh attached to the school, 

Avho said that the men had SAVorn to burn doAvn every bungaloAv 

in the station, in revenge for the order to use the cartridges.^ 

Thus, within three months after the Lascar had told his 
story, it had become an article of faith Avith nine- 
tenths of the sepoys in Northern India. Mean- ^abie^"''""'^'''* 
Avhile another delusion had fixed itself in their 
minds. Persuaded that Government had concocted this hellish 
plot for the destruction of their caste, they could easily believe 
that, if it could not force its unclean cartridges upon them, it 
Avould find some other engine of pollution. The neAv fable said 
that the officers were mixing dust ground from the bones of 
^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 42-50. 


cows with the flour for their men's use, and throwing it into 
the wells. There had been like stories at earlier periods of 
Anglo-Indian history; but the times had never before been so 
favourable for their circulation. That the present belief was 
no sham was proved by the conduct of the men at Cawnpore, 
who, though the flour sold there had risen far above its usual 
price, refused to touch a cheap supply sent specially down from 
Meerut, because they feared that it had been adulterated. And, 
while this new lie was adding to the perplexities of the English, 
they were asking each other what could be the 
meaning oi a mj'sterious phenomenon which had 
startled them a few weeks before. In Januaiy a strange sym- 
bol, the flat cake or chapatty which forms the staple food of 
the Indian people, began to pass from village to village through 
the length and breadth of the North-Western Provinces, like 
the fiery cross that summoned the clansmen of Roderick to 
battle. Here and there a magistrate tried in vain to stop the 
distribution. The meaning of the portent has never been posi- 
tively discovered : but it is certain that many of the natives 
regarded it as a warning that Government Avas plotting the 
overthrow of their religion.^ Whether or not the authors of 
the distribution intended to create this belief, the belief itself 
had its share in unsettling men's minds. 

Meanwhile at Delhi, where Bahadur Shah, the aged repre- 
sentative of the house of Timour, was still suflered 
S^Demi™'' *o '^old his court, the news of the gathering dis- 
loyalty of the sepoys had begun to stir the smoulder- 
ing embers of Mahomedan fanaticism into flame. It was of the 
last importance to the English to keep a fii-m hold upon that 
city ; for it contained a vast magazine stored with munitions of 
war which were practically inexhaustible. Yet they had per- 
mitted the palace, which dominated the magazine, to remain in 

^ See Kaye, vol. i. pp. 632-9, and Evidence taken before tlic Court appointed 
for the Trial of the King of Delhi, p. 268. On the otlier hand, Major G. W. 
Williams in his Memo, an the Mutiny of Meerut wrote, "The circulation of 
chapatties so shortly before the outbreak, though appearing to us most mysterious 
and suspicious, yet, if we may credit the statements of those 1 have questioned en 
the subject . . . was not regarded by them as an ill omen, hut supposed to lla^•e 
originated in some vow," p. 4. See also Syad Ahmad Khan's Hie Causes of the 
Indian Remit, p. 3. The truth evidently is tliat the chapatties were regarded 
differently in different districts. 

[Mr. ]\I. Thornhill {Adventures dvrinq the Indian Mntinjf, p. 3) says that a 
similar distribution of chapatties precedeil the Mutiny at V'ellore in 1S06.] 


the hands of a Mahomedan prince, and, with incredible folly, 
had neglected to post a single company of British soldiers to 
keep a check upon the native garrison.^ And now the hearts of 
the Mahomedans were beating fast in the expectation of great 
political changes by which their city was again to become the 
imperial city of India. It was universally believed that a vast 
Russian army was soon coming to expel the English. A native 
journal announced that Dost Mahomed, the pretended ally of 
the Governor-General, Avas secretly encouraging Persia to resist 
him. The courtiers in the recesses of the palace talked of a 
general mutiny of the sepoy army as an event sure to happen 
soon, and believed that it would restore the King to the position 
of his ancestors, and advance their own fortunes. The King, 
though for his part he never believed that the sepoys would 
rally round one so poor and so fallen as himself, fancied that, if 
the British Government were to be overthrown, a new dominant 
power would arise, which would treat him more respectfully and 
considerately than its predecessor had done.^ 

In this gloomy spring of 1857, while the hearts of a turbulent 
soldiery were failing them for fear, yet vibrating 
with ambition, while officers and civilians, blind Sn^^^'^" 
to what was passing around them, were dining, and 
dancing, and marrying, and giving in marriage, there was one 
man who, wandering from place to place, and observing the 

^ Kaye (vol. ii. p. 17, note) says that Sir Charles Napier, when Commander- 
in-Chief, did not lay any stress upon the fact that no European troops were 
posted in Delhi. He may not have done so in his official correspondence ; but in 
a private letter he wrote " Men from all parts of Asia meet in Delhi, and some day 
or other much mischief will be hatched within those walls, and no European troops 
at hand. I have no confidence in the allegiance of your high-caste mercenaries. " 
— History of the Siege of Delhi, by an Officer who served there, p. 10, note. 

2 Evidence taken before the Court appointed for the Trial of the King of 
Delhi, pp. 225, 230, 231, 267. This seems the right place to speak of a pro- 
clamation, purporting to come from the Shah of Persia, which was posted up on 
the walls of the Jamma Masjid in Delhi in March, 1857. This proclamation 
stated that a Persian army was coming to expel the English from India, and called 
upon all true Mahomedans to put on their armour, and join the invaders. — Kaye 
(vol. i. p. 483) appears to regard it as genuine ; but Sir Theophilus Metcalfe and 
other witnesses examined at the trial of the king, spoke of it as the work of an 
impostor, and said that it attracted scarcely any attention. Evidence, &c. pp. 
180, 190. The Shah afterwards admitted that he had fomented disaffection in 
Upper India during the Persian war, and had intended to invade India ; but in 
Oct. 1857 he offered to lend 30,000 men to the British Government. — Enclosures 
to Secret Letters from India, Nov. 24, 1857, p. 455. [John La-WTence pointed out 
(Pari. Papers, vol. xxv. Sess. 2, p. 332), that there was no evidence of any connexion 
between the intrigues of the King of Delhi with the Shah and the Mutiny itself.] 


signs of the times, considered how he might make his profit out 
of them, but did not yet imagine the grim details of the part 
that destiny had reserved for him. It Avas not strange that, as 
the Nana Sahib passed on his way from Bithur through Kalpi, 

Delhi, and Lucknow, the English saw nothing 

remarkable in such unwonted activity on the part 
of a native nobleman. Never doubting the justice of the deci- 
sion which had refused to him the continuance of his adoptive 
father's pension, they did not know the al^iding resentment 
which it had stirred up in his soul. Thus he went his way ; 
and none can tell what foul treasons he was even then hatching. 
But there is reason to suspect that he had long been trying to 
stir up native chieftains against the English, and that, at first 
indifferent, they lent a ready ear to his suggestions after the 
annexation of Oudh had aroused their alarm. ^ 

All this time Henry Lawrence was striving with holy zeal at 

once to redress the grievances of the afflicted people 
reuce tries to of Oudh, and to disarm their resentment. The 
iu oudii°°°*^''"^ officials had hushed their quarrels at his coming, and 

had united in devotion to his will. He had won 
the affection of Jackson, though he had not hesitated to reprove 
his follies ; and he had gained the confidence and sympathy of 
Gubbins. He Avas able to write, a few weeks after his arrival, 
that all his subordinates were loyally supporting him.'^ But he 
had to complain too of the blind haste with Avhich they had 
forced their improvements on the people, and of the bitter 
resentment Avhich they had evoked by demolishing houses, seizing 
religious buildings as Government property, and fixing an ex- 
cessive rate of revenue in their anxiety to show the profitable- 
ness of annexation.'^ Nor had the seditious utterances of the 
Moulvi been the only dangerous symptoms of discontent. An 
angry townsman had thrown a clod at LaAvrence himself, Avhile 
he Avas driving through the streets. But by the seizure and 
impi'isonment of the Moulvi, the prompt payment of the pensions 
Avhich had been promised to the royal family and their depend- 

' Kaye, vol. i. p. 579 and uote, App. pp. 64G-8. 

- Life of Sir H. La^orence, pp. 555-7, 564. 

•'' Gubbins, the Financial Commissioner, himself admitted that the rate of 
revenue had, in some instances, been tixed too high. — Mutinies in Oudh, p. 9. 
Still, the total amount raised by the British Government was only Rs. 10-1,89,755, 
whereas the ex-king had exacted Rs. 138,03,731. — Anniuil lie2J0rt 0)h the Ad- 
ministration of the Province of Oudh for 1858-9, p. 32. 


ents, the issue of orders for the readmission of the displaced 
native otFicials and disbanded native soldiers to employment, and 
the promise of restitution to the dispossessed landholders, Law- 
rence quickly restored order, and re-established content among 
the great mass of the civil population. It was from the sepoy 
regiments alone that he looked for danger. 

While Lawrence was waiting quietly for the storm which he 
hoped that he would be strong enough to weather,^ cannino- hopes 
Canning, observing a general lull, deceived himself that quiet is 
with the belief that it presaged a lasting calm. Nor 
was he alone in his want of foresight. It does not appear that 
a single official of rank in India, except Sir Henry Lawrence, was 
seriously troubled by forebodings. On the 4:th of May John 
Lawrence wrote that the sepoys at the Sialkot Depot were 
charmed with the new rifle. Their officers confirmed his opinion. 
General Barnard warmly praised the patient zeal of the men at 
Umballa in extinguishing the fires which, though he would not 
believe it, some of their own number had caused. The Com- 
mander-in-Chief was so little impressed by the symptoms of 
mutiny which obtruded themselves upon his attention, that he 
did not think it worth while to make a single representation 
about them to the home authorities.'- It was not extraordinary 
then that the Governor-General, who knew little of India, and 
who had no genius to supply the lack of experience, should have 
failed to perceive that a general mutiny was at hand. It was no 
wonder that he laboured at his ordinary round of business as 
calmly as if no danger-signals had appeared, and thought that 
there was no further need for the presence of the regiment which 
he had fetched from Rangoon.^ He could not foresee that in a 
few days he would have cause to rejoice that there had been no 
vessel to convey it back to Bui^ma when he had ordered its return. 
Still he could not ignore the misconduct of the 34th, or mis- 
understand the reports of their daily increasing insolence and 
untrustworthiness. Yet, whereas he should have long since 
severely punished these sullen soldiers, and executed the guard 
who had dared to strike their adjutant, he tortured himself with 
doubts as to the justice of even disbanding the remaining com- 

^ Life of Sir H. Laivre7ice, pp. 504-5, 568. 
" Letters of Ltulophilus to the Times, p. 25. 

•^ R. Montgomery Martin's The Indian Rm-pire, vol. ii. p. 135 ; H. Mead's 
Se^poy Revolt, p. 59. 


panies, — those companies of which not a single man had stirred 
to arrest their mutinous comrade, — and wasted precious days in 
wearisome discussion, until the remonstrances of Hearsey and 
Anson roused him to action. Even then he spent four more days 
in examining with microscopic accuracy the claims of individuals 
to indulgence, so that his decision was not made known until the 
4th of May, five weeks after the commission of the crime. The 
delay in punishing, however, was less fatal than the choice of 
punishment. The disbanded sepoys, stripped of their uniforms, 
but suffered to retain the Kilmarnock caps which 

Disbandment , i ■, ■, • i r j.i ^ i. ^ i 

of the 34th: they had paid tor themselves, contemptuously 
th™eDoy^s°^ trampled under foot these only remaining tokens 
of their former allegiance to the Company,^ and, 
welcoming their so-called punishment as a happy release from 
bondage, went off with light hearts to sAvell the number of 
our enemies. Discontented Europeans muttered against the 
lenity of the Governor-General ; uncompromising journalists 
openly attacked it ; ^ and Avorst of all, when the order for dis- 
bandment Avas read out at the military stations throughout the 
country, and the sepoys, after listening to its solemn denuncia- 
tions of the terrible crime which their comrades had committed, 
and expecting to hear that a terrible punishment had been in- 
flicted upon them, learned at last that they had been sentenced 
not to death but to disbandment, they did not care to conceal 
their contempt for rulers Avhom they now believed to be afraid 
to punish them.^ Henry Lawrence, who understood Avhat an 
effect the order must have upon the minds of the sepoys, would 
not allow it to be published at LucknoAv.* He had lately proved 
that he Avas as able to suppress mutiny himself as he Avas 
sagacious in detecting the failure of his superiors to suppress it. 
The finest sepoy corps at LucknoAv, the 48th Native Infantry, 
was the first to manifest a mutinous spirit. Early 
Luckuow* ii^ April Dr. Wells, the surgeon of the regiment, 
feeling unAvell, went into the hospital for a bottle of 
medicine, and raised it to his lips, forgetting that he had thus 
hopelessly polluted it in the eyes of his Hindu patients. The 

1 Eed Pamphlet, pp. 33-4. 

- Friend of India, May 14, 1857, p. 459 ; Overland Bombay Times, 1857, 
p. 81 ; Mead, pp. 58-9 ; Knc/lishvum, Ap. 8, 1857. 
•* I. Prichard's Mufinie.s in Rajpootana, jjp. 24-5. 
amphlet, p. 34. 

" 1. rncnara s luuiinit 
* Red Famphlet, p. 34. 


sepoys soon heard what he had done, and raised an outcry for 
their caste. Their colonel had the bottle broken in their presence, 
and severely reprimanded the oftender ; but the matter did not 
end there. A few days later Wells's bungalow was burned down ; 
and it was soon known that the regiment was thoroughly dis- 
affected. Still no overt act of mutiny took place. But May 
brought a change. On the 1st of that month the recruits of the 
7th Oudh Irregular Infantry refused to accept their cartridges, 
on the ground that their seniors had warned them that the 
obnoxious grease had been applied to the ends. The officers 
laboured, apparently with some success, to explain to their men 
that the cartridges Avere precisely the same that they had been 
in the habit of using. But the day after this explanation had been 
given, not the recruits only but the whole regiment ^ 

refused to touch them. Then Lawrence ordered the 
Brigadier to hold a parade, and try the effect of a conciliatory 
speech. It was of no use. The men said that they must do as 
the rest of the army did. Even of the well-intentioned sepoys 
only the most resolutely faithful could stand against the opinion 
of their public. Let Englishmen think whether they could have 
resisted the terrors of social ostracism and religious excommunica- 
tion before they condemn poor ignorant Asiatics. But this 
particidar legiment was not well-intentioned. On Sunday, the 
3rd of May, they were drifting from passive towards active 
mutiny. When Lawrence heard that they had threatened to 
murder their officers, he saw that he must act promptly ; and, 
taking Avith him his whole available foi'ce, he marched against 
the mutineers. It was late in the evening when he confronted 
them. By the uncertain light of the moon the mutineers saw 
an irresistible force before them, and Avere anxiously expecting 
its movement, Avhen suddenly a port-fire Avas incautiously lighted 
by one of LaAvrence's artillerymen, and seemed to their guilty 
imaginations to be the signal for their destruction. First a 
sepoy here and there stole away : then great gaps appeared 
in their ranks ; and soon all but a hundred and twenty had 
fled. The rest laid doAvn their arms at Lawrence's order ; 
and before tAvo in the morning the troops had returned to 
their lines.^ 

When Canning heard of this fresh outbreak, he bethought 

1 Gubbins, pp. 3, 10-13 ; Life, of Sir IL Lam-ence, pp. 562-3, 571 ; Pari. 
Ptqjers, vol. XXX. (1857), pp. 247-8. 


him of his old i-emedy, dishandment ; 1:)ut Dorin was beginning 
to discern the signs of the times, and demanded a 
caiininiaii.i Severer punishment.^ The multitude of counsellors 
thereon.''*''^^"'^'' ^®^'® ^^^^^ busily recording theii' opinions in elaborate 
minutes, when a telegram was passed from one to 
another, containing the first dim tidings of a disaster which all 
felt to be the heaviest that had yet befallen them. 

At the great military station of Meerut wei'e quartered the 
11th and 20th regiments of Native Infantry and 
the 3rd Native Cavalry. The station covered a 
great extent of ground, and was split into two parts by a deep 
ditch. On the northern side were scattered a number of officers' 
bungalows. Beyond them stretched the European barracks. The 
church stood between the barracks of the infantry and those of 
the cavalry. A long Avay off, on the opposite side of the ditch, 
Avere the native lines. The intei'vening space was covered by a 
wilderness of bazaars, extending southwards in the direction of 
the town.^ The radical fault in the plan of the station was the 
great distance that sejDarated the quarters of the European from 
those of the native troops. 

The Lascar's story had caused even more excitement at 
Meerut than elsewhere. It was afterwards ascertained that some 
of the sepoys had made a compact Avith their comrades at Delhi, 
promising, in case the cartridges were pressed upon them, to join 
the regiments there. The English I'esidents, however, feared 
nothing ; for they were guarded by a dragoon regiment, a 
battalion of the 60th Eifles, and bodies of horse and foot 
artillery, forming altogether the strongest European force at any 
post in the North- Western Provinces. Still the officers, confident 
though they were, did not neglect the usual conciliatory assurances 
to their men. But the excitement was not abated. At length 
Colonel Smyth, who commanded the 3rd Native Cavalry, a hard 

' It is fair to say that on the 12th of May Canning recorded a miniite, con- 
curred in by Dorin as well as the other niemlx-rs of Council, in which he sai<l " I 
did not conceive, that . . . all graver punishments would be swallowed up in 
disbandment." Dorin's original minute, however, was conceived iu a far more 
vigorous spirit than that of Canning. "The sooner," he wrote, "this epidemic of 
mutiny is put a stop to the better. Mild measures won't do it. A severe 
example is wanted ... I would try the whole of the men concerned for mutiny, 
and punish them with the utmost rigour of military law." — Ih. p. 249, inc. 4 iu 
No. 14, pp. 2.^^2-3, inc. 8 in No. 14. 

"^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. p. 51 ; Thornton's Ga::eUec.i\ vol. iii. p. 449 ; sketch-plan 
drawn for me by an officer who was once quartered at Meerut. 


and unpopular officer,^ but one of the few Europeans that had 
discerned symptoms of disease in the sepoy army, resolved to 
take advantage of the order; for tearing off the ends of the car- 
tridges instead of biting them, to give a final explanation to his 
troopers. Accordingly, on the 23rd of April, he ordered a parade 
of the skirmishers of his regiment for the following morning. The 
cartridges that were to be issued were of the old kind, which 
the men had long been in the habit of using. A rumour ran 
through the station that the skirmishers would refuse them ; and 
a fire which broke out in the evening boded disaster. In the 
coiuse of the night the colonel was informed that the men desired 
the postponement of the parade : but, as he had heard that the 
whole army was going to mutiny, he felt that to yield to such re- 
monstrances would be a sin. Early next morning ninety men met 
him on the parade-ground ; but, though he pointed out to them 
how the new regulation had been drawn up out of consideration 
for their scruples, five only would even touch the cartridges.^ He 
could only break up the parade, and order a court of enquiry to 
assemble. The court elicited the fact that, as at Umballa, not 
genuine fear of the cartridges, but fear of public opinion had 
influenced the mutineers.^ A report of the proceedings was sent 
to the Commander-in-Chief; and his orders were awaited. All 
this time nightly fires told of the evil passions which were work- 
ing in the sepoys' hearts ; but few heeded the warning. Early 
in May a message came from the Commander-in-Chief, ordering 
the mutineers to be tried by a native coixrt-martial. They had 
virtually nothing to say in defence of their conduct. The court 
sentenced them to ten years' imprisonment ; and General Hewitt, 
the commander of the Division, approved of the sentence for all, 
except eleven of the younger offenders, half of whose punishment 
he remitted. On the morning of the 9th of May, beneath a 
sunless sky darkened by rolling storm-clouds, the whole brigade 
was assembled to see the culprits disgraced. Stripped of their 
uniforms, these miserable felons were handed over to the smiths, 
who riveted fetters on their arms and legs. In vain they entreated 
their general to have mercy upon them. As they were being led 
away, they yelled out curses at their colonel.* Their brethren, 
choking with suppressed indignation, longed to strike a blow in 

1 See App. W. 

- Pamphlet by Col. Smyth, printed for private circulation ; Forrest, vol. i. 
pp. 227-45. '^ Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 4, p. 178. 

* Montgomery Martin, vol. ii. p. 146. 



their behalf ; but fear was stronger than tlie thirst for vengeance. 
After gazing passively at the removal of the prisoners to the gaol, 
they dispersed. There was an unnatural stillness in the lines for 
the rest of that day ; an unwonted respectfulness in the manner 
of the sepoys towards their officers.^ But none could interpret 
the omen. The lines of the sepoys were too far distant from the 
dwellings of the Europeans for the latter to hear what Mussulman 
and Hindu were saying of them. In the afternoon a native officer 
of the disgraced regiment told Lieutenant Hugh Gough, who was 
temporarily commanding the troop to which he belonged, that 
the men had determined to rescue their imprisoned comrades. 
Gough at once went to Colonel Smyth and reported what he had 
heard : but the colonel ridiculed the story ; and Brigadier Arch- 
dale Wilson, the commandant of the station, was equally sceptical.- 
Ofl&cers jested at mess ; civilians talked over the work of the day ; 
ladies chatted gaily in their verandahs. On the 
^^ ■ Sunday morning the church held its usual congrega- 
tion ; and, when the worshippers returned to their homes, they 
hardly noticed the unusual absence of their native servants. 
Here, as elsewhere, the self-satisfied Englishman knew nothing 
of the inner life of the despised races around him ; and he was 
punished for his neglect by the moral blindness which would not 
let him guard against their vengeance. Unknown to him, the 
sepoys were moving to and fro all that Sunday afternoon with 
war in their hearts ; the courtesans Avere taunting the troopers 
who had looked on at the humiliation of their comrades, and 
calling upon them to prove their courage if they dared ; the 
children were wondering at the strange commotion around them ; 
and the budmashes, like foul harpies, were emerging from their 
haunts, to profit by the troubles which they foresaw. In the 
hearts of the sepoys a vague but irresistible fear mingled with 
hatred and the thirst for vengeance, and impelled them to antici- 
pate the doom which they imagined the English to be preparing 
for them ; while stronger than all their passions was the sense 
of a brotherhood linking them with the rest of the army, and 
joining -with religious fanaticism to hurl them as martyrs against 
the British battalions, whose power they knew to be stronger 
than their own. 

Towards sunset the Christian residents j^repared, as usual, for 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. p. 53. 
- Lord Roberts's Forty-one Years in liidiu, vol. i. p. 88. 


church. One of the chaplain's female servants begged him to 
stay at home, assuring him that there was going to be a fight. 
Disregarding her warning, he drove off. But, as he approached 
the church, his ears caught the sharp reports of volleying 
musketry ; and, looking up, he saw clouds of smoke ascending 
from burning houses into the air.^ The woman had told the 
truth. It was the dread with which the sepoys regarded the 
movements of the Rifles, whose assemblage for church parade 
they interpreted as the signal for their own imprisonment, that 
precipitated the outbreak.^ Suddenly a cry was raised, "The 
Rifles and Artillery are coming to disarm all the native regi- 
ments " ; and the sepoys who were lounging in the bazaars started 

^ Tlis Chaplain's Narrative of the Siege of Delhi, by the Rev. J. E. W. 
Rotton, p. 4. 

^ I have been convinced of this by the arguments of Colonel G. W. Williams, 
who collected a vast amount of evidence on the subject of the rising at Meerut, 
and prefaced it by an invaluable little essay, entitled Alemoranduin on the Mutiny 
and Outbreak at Meerut in 1857. He points out on p. 3 that Nos. 22 to 26 of 
the Depositions taken under his direction prove that "the mutineers fled as a 
disorganised mob . . . many towards Dehlie, but others in totally opposite 
quarters," which they would not have been likely to do, if they had acted upon a 
prearranged plan. The following extracts from the Depositions strongly support 
the argument. P. 7. " Q. — Did the regiments preconcert the rebellion ? A. — 
The said regiments did not plot anything beforehand. Had they done so, they 
would not have kept their wives and children with them as they did. Q. — How 
then (if there was no preconcerted plan) did the detached guards at some distance 
from the lines at once join the mutineers ? A. — The uproar and confusion was 
very great, and immediately it reached the guards, they joined their regiments." 
Other witnesses gave similar replies. — See pp. 10-14. Moreover the native 
residents in the Bazaar susi^ected nothing ; for " their shops were all open and 
goods unprotected ; men were passing to and fro, paying, realising, and carrying 
about . . . money ; vendors of goods hawking about their wares as usual ; and 
travellers journeying unarmed both to and from the city and district." — Memo. 
p. 6. A gild in the town was indeed told at 2 p.m. on the 10th that there was 
going to be a mutiny that day ; but her informant was probably only repeating 
some vague utterances of the sepoys ; and the incident does not prove more than 
that the idea of mutiny was " in the air." [Still there is evidence that some sowars 
of the 3ril Cavalry determined on the 9th to mutiny on the follo\ving day. Sir 
Hugh Gough says {Old Memories, pp. 21-2) that the native officer who spoke to 
him on the 9th warned him that there would be a mutiny on the morrow ; and 
Mr. P. V. Luke shows in Macmillan's Magazine, Oct. 1897, p. 403, that the 
telegraph wire between Meerut and Delhi was cut soon after 4 P.M. on the 10th. 
(See also Depositions, pp. 37, 41.) This evidence, however, is not irreconcileable 
with the depositions which Major Williams collected. The native officer doubt- 
less heard some of the sowars threaten to mutiny on the Sunday : but his state- 
ment does not prove the existence of a general plot ; and there is no evidence that 
the sowars who cut the wire acted in pursuance of a generally understood plan. 
It is indeed probable that even if the panic which precipitated the outbreak had 
not arisen, and only a few men had mutinied, the rest of the sepoys, though not 
forewarued, would have followed them : but whoever studies the depositions will, 


up, and, followed by a mob of townsmen, rushed wildly to 
their respective lines. 

The 3rd Cavalry took the lead. Some hundreds of the 
troopers dashed otf at a gallop towards the gaol, to the terror of 
the quiet citizens whom they passed, ^vrenehed out the bars that 
guarded the windows, and struck the fetters off their comrades. 
Not all, however, were swept away by the tide of mutiny. Colonel 
Smyth indeed never went near his regiment from the moment 
that he heard of their uprising ; but two of his officers. Captain 
Craigie and Lieutenant Melville Clarke, handling their own troop 
as though mutiny were a thing unknown, brought it to the parade- 
ground in perfect order.^ Meanwhile the infantry regiments 
were surging tumultuously in their lines. Hearing the uproar, 
the officers hastened thithei-, and began to remonstrate with their 
men. The latter were quietly submitting, when suddenly a 
trooper galloped past, and shouted out that the Eiu-opean troops 
were coming to disarm them. The 20th at once ran to seize 
their muskets : but the 11th, who had all along shown the least 
obstinate spirit, wavered. Colonel Finnis, their commanding 
officer, was imploring them to be faithful, when some men of the 
other regiment fired upon him ; and he fell riddled with bullets, 
the first victim of the Indian Mutiny. Seeing the fate of their 
commandant, and feeling sure that they would never be forgiven, 
the 11th no longer hesitated to throw in their lot with his 

The thirst of the mutineers for the blood of Christians was 
only stimulated by the slaughter of Finnis. The convicts, let 

I think, arrive at the conchision that the bulk of the mutineers acted on the spur 
of the moment, and that no definite plot for a general mutiny had been prearranged. 
See also Gazetteer of the N.W.P., vol. iii. p. 340.] 

There is, however, evidence that the sepoys at Delhi expected that those at 
Meerut would sooner or later mutiny and come to join tliem. At the trial of the 
King of Delhi a news- writer named Jat Mall deposed, "I heard a few days before 
the outbreak, from some of the sepoys of the gate of the palace, that it had been 
an-anged in case greased cartridges were pressed upon them, that the Meerut troops 
were to come here, where they would be joined by the Delhi troops."— Evidence 
taken before the Court appointed for the Trial of the King of Delhi, p. 182. The 
king's confidential physician, a highly trustworthy witness, deposed that the 38tli 
N.I. " said, that before the breaking out of the muttnj'', they had leagued with the 
troops at Meerut, and that the latter had corresponded with the troops in all 
other places." lb. p. 158. [On the jther hand, the Judge Advocate-General 
had no authority for saying, in his review of the evidence, that " the sepoy guards 
at the gate of the palace on Sunday evening . . . spoke openly ... of wliat 
they expected to occur on the morrtno." They did not mention any date. Ih. 
p. 185.] 1 See App. W. - Depositions, pp. 3, 10-12. 14, 25. 


loose from the gaols, and fraternising with the native police and 
the increasing swarm of budmashes, joined in the bloody work. 
Gangs of these marauders, armed with swords and clubs, roamed 
alDout the station, hurled showers of bricks upon every stray 
Eiu'opean who crossed their path, burst into peaceful dwellings, 
murdered the inmates, and poured forth again laden with 
plunder ; and the terrified witnesses of this dreadful scene heard 
mingling with the roar of the flames that leaped up from the 
fired houses the savage voices of Mahomedans shouting, "Ali, 
Ali." ^ Soon, however, the sepoys had had enough of pillage : 
they were sure that the white troops must be coming : " Quick, 
brother, quick ! " was their cry, " Delhi, Delhi " ; and the bud- 
mashes were left alone. ^ A staff-officer rode to the telegraph 
office, in the hope of sending a message of warning. He was 
disappointed. The signaller had already attempted to com- 
municate with Delhi : but there was no reply ; and he realised 
that the wire had been cut.^ Meamvhile, incredible as it may 
appear, the Treasury Guard, though beset by extraordinary 
temptations, remained faithful to their trust.'^ And, even when 
the rioters were doing their worst, their intended victims never 
doubted that the white regiments would soon come to rescue 
and avenge them. 

It was not the fault of the British soldier, but of his com- 
mander, still more of the system which had given him such a 
commander, that this hope was unfulfilled. General Hewitt, 
an infirm old man who had long outlived whatever military 
capacity he might once have possessed, was almost too inert to 
be even bewildered by the crisis, and remained simply passive. 
But Archdale Wilson did make some attempt to grapple with 
the danger. On receiving the news of the outbreak, he mounted 

^ Williams's Memo., ]ip. 1, 7. 

^ Letter from Colonel MoUerus Le Champion (the Lieut. Moller mentioned in 
the text), who was an eye-witness of the scene. 

•^ Information from Capt. R. H. Peal, late of the Telegraph Department. See 
also Depositions, pp. 37. 41, and Pioneer, April 1, 1897. 

* The following is one of several instances recorded by Colonel Williams of 
the inconsistency so often remarked in the conduct of the native soldiers during 
the Mutiny : — "A few days after the outbreak at Meerut, a small guard of the 
8th Irregular Cavalry ... of their own accord and for greater safety, escorted 
the Office records and Treasure-chest in their charge from Meerut to Agra, fighting 
their way down, and, when attacked by insurgent villagers, beating them off with 
heavy loss. They were well rewarded for their fidelity ; yet, in less than two 
months after, deserted almost to a man." 


his horse, ordered the British artillery to join him on the parade- 
ground of the Rifles, galloped thither himself, and directed the 
colonel to dismiss his men from church-parade, and reassemble 
them for action.^ But there was delay in supplying the Kifles 
with ammunition, and the Dragoons were nowhere to be seen ; 
for, as they Avere on their way to grapple with the sepoys, 
Wilson had turned them back, and sent them on a bootless 
errand to the gaol.^ At last Hewitt appeared on the parade- 
ground, and, though too helpless to take the initiative himself, 
suffered Wilson to act for him. Placing himself at the head of 
the Artillery, and some companies of the Kifles, Wilson marched 
for the Infantry lines. But the sepoys had not failed to take 
advantage of the incompetence of their officers. Only a few 
stray troopers remained near the lines ; and even these easily 
found refuge in a wood, concealed in which they laughed at the 
efforts of the artillerymen to destroy them. Then the British 
began a hunt in the dark for the mutineer's. Marching in 
breathless haste to their own quarter of the station, they found 
only a few unarmed plunderers on whom to wreak their 
vengeance. By that time great numbers of the mutineers were 
far on their way to Delhi. Many of them had at first not 
known their own minds. Hardly had they got outside the 
station when the leaders of the cavalry stopped to consider what 
they should do next. The majority were for taking refuge in 
Rohilkhand ; but one pointed out that the best course would be 
to make a dash for Delhi ; and his counsel prevailed.^ Marvelling 
to find that they had escaped all reprisals, the mutineers never 
doubted, as they pressed on by the light of the moon, that 
the White Man, rousing himself from his lethargy, was pursuing, 
and would soon overwhelm them.* 

But they were never for a moment in danger. Asserting 
that it was his duty to provide for the safety of the station of 
which he was Brigadier, Wilson left Delhi to perish because he 
dared not leave Meerut exposed to the attacks of the escaped 

^ G. W. Forrest's Selections from State Papers, vol. i. pp. 260-62. 

^ I have not seen it anywhere positively stated that Wilson gave this order ; 
but Colonel Le Champion has written to nie, " I have always heard it was 
Brigadier Wilson" ; and, as Hewitt expressly said to Le Champion, "I give no 
orders without Wilson's permission," I am sure that the statement in the text is 
true. See also letters from Colonel Custance and Colonel Le Champion, quoted 
by Kaye, vol. ii. pp. 687-91. 

2 Pari. Papers, vol. xviii. 1859, p. 335, par. 15 ; Depositions, p. 8. 

^ Forrest, pp. 261-2 ; Annals of the Indian Rebellion, p. 101. 


convicts and the budmashes. He forgot that one half of his 
British soldiers was sufficient for the permanent protection of 
the station, now freed from its most dangerous enemies ; and 
that the other half, led by able officers, of whom there were 
some even at Meerut, would have been able to punish the 
mutineers, and to reinforce their destined victims.^ But there 
were at least two men who felt indignant that one of the 
strongest garrisons in India should take no thought for the 
safety of any station but its own. Captain Rosser of the 
Dragoons offered to arrest the flight of the mutineers, if but 
one squadron of his regiment and a few guns were allowed to 
accompany him. Lieutenant Moller of the 11th entreated 
Hewitt to allow him to ride to Delhi, and warn the authorities 
of their danger."^ These brave men were not suffered to retrieve 
the errors of their superiors. 

The baffled Europeans bivouacked on their parade-ground, 
but did nothing to help the suffering people for whose protection 
they had been retained, though the sullen roar of a thousand 
fires lighting up the darkness of the night might have warned 
them to be up and doing. It was not to them but to a few 
faithful natives that those who were saved owed their lives. 
Greathed, the Commissioner, and his wife had fled to the roof 
of their house on the first sound of tumult ; but their furniture 
was set on fire by a band of ruffians,^ and they must soon have 
perished but for the devotion of one of their servants, Golab 
Khan. While they expected every moment to be destroyed by 
the flames, this man, pretending that he could point out their 
hiding-place, decoyed away their enemies, and thus gave them 
time to escape.* Not less heroic was the self-sacrifice of Craigie's 

1 See App. B. 

^ "Dr. O'Callaglian," says Mr. H. G. Keene, "mentions Rosser's offer (contra- 
dicted by Kaye), and has since informed me that ... he was only fifteen feet 
from the Brigadier when Rosser spoke, who then came over, reined up his horse 
by O'Callaghan's side, and repeated to him what he had said." Moller made his 
offer before the mutineers left Meerut. 

^ H. Greathed's Letters ivritte7i during the Siege of Delhi, App. ii. p. 291. 

* An Afghan pensioner, named Syad Mir Khan, also risked his life in 
endeavouring to repel a mob which had collected round the Commissioner's 
house. His account of his own exploits is so exquisitely comic that I cannot 
resist the pleasure of quoting from it. " The mob appearing," he deposed, " I 
attacked them with great ferocity like a terrible lion ... By the favour of God 
I fought many actions with the mutineers . . . The above is but a short account 
of my doings, if I were to detail them it would be immensu. " — Depositions, etc., 
pp. 17-18. 


troopers, who, posting themselves outside his bungalow, protected 
his wife from the attacks of a savage mob. But when daylight 
revealed the grim charred skeletons of what had been neat 
bungalows, the heaps of property wantonly destroyed, and the 
mutilated corpses, the soldiers, though they burned to be 
avenged upon the ruffians who had ^v^ought this destruction, 
were forbidden by their officers to stir. Not all, hoAvever, were 
paralysed by this effeminate weakness. Lieutenant Moller, 
resolving to execute justice xipon the murderer of a brother 
officer's wife, sought and obtained evidence of his identity ; 
tracked, arrested, and carried him back to cantonments single- 
handed ; and then delivered him over to the judgement of a drum- 
head court-martial, by whose sentence he was summarily hanged. 

Thus even Mcerut had its heroes. The negligence which 
had permitted the great disaster, the apathy which had made no 
effort to retrieve it, were half redeemed by the promptitude of 
Clarke and Craigie, the daring of Rosser, the gallant self-sacrifice 
of Golab Khan, the chivalrous courage of the faithful troopers of 
the 3rd, the swift vengeance of Lieutenant Moller. 

On the morning of the 11th the sun which exposed the 
. nakedness and desolation of the wrecked station of 
Meerut was shining gloriously upon the gorgeous 
mosques and palaces of Delhi. The great city wore its usual 
aspect. The traders were chaffering with their voluble customers. 
The civil authorities were patiently listening to suitors, or trying 
prisoners in cutcherry. The officers were preparing for breakfast 
after morning parade, in happy ignorance of what had passed 
the night before. Even the sepoys, though emissaries from 
Meerut had come among them on the previous afternoon, masked 
their feelings so cleverly that only a few penetrating eyes could 
see anything unusual in their demeanour. Suddenly the civil 
authorities were startled at their work by messengers who 
reported that a line of horsemen had been seen galloping along 
the high road from Meerut. Not at once realising the whole 
import of the news, they nevertheless lost no time in acting 
upon it. The magistrate galloped to the cantonments, and put 
Graves, the Brigadier, upon his guard, Avhile another civilian 
hurried ofi" to warn Lieutenant "Willoughby, the chief officer of 
the great magazine, to look to the safety of his charge. Mean- 
while, however, the rebel horsemen, followed by some of the 
infantry, had made good their enti'ance into Delhi. Some, after 


fording the Jumna a little below the city, had burst open the 
gaol, and released the prisoners. The foremost of the main 
body rode straight for the palace, and, surging round its walls, 
clamoured fiercely for admittance, boasting that they had already 
slaughtered the English at Meerut, and crying, " Help, O King ! 
we pray for assistance in our fight for the faith." In vain 
Captain Douglas, the commandant of the palace guards, came 
out upon the balcony, and called down to them that their King 
desired them to depart. Unable to force an entrance where 
they were, they made for the Rajghat gate, which was thrown 
open to them by a Mahomedan rabble, and then, with these new 
allies in their train, rushed back towards the point from which 
they had started, firing every European dwelling, and murdering 
every European inhabitant upon their route ; while the citizens 
shut up their shops in terror, and trembled as they thought of 
the retribution which the English would exact for such wicked- 
ness.^ On returning to the palace, the mutineers were joined 
by the guai'ds and the King's dependents, to whose loyalty 
Douglas and Eraser, the Commissioner, were fruitlessly appealing, 
their once dreaded voices drowned by the insolent shouts of the 
multitude. Falling back before the advancing crowd, Douglas 
leaped into the moat, and, wounded cruelly by his fall, was 
carried by some natives into the palace ; but Eraser reached the 
Lahore gate ^ unhurt, and, while his injured friend was being 
taken up to his apartments, remained himself in the court below, 
and made a last effort to control the furious mob who were 
pressing into it. While he was speaking, a lapidary cut him 
down : some of the guards despatched him ; and the rest, rushing 
upstairs, smashed open the door, and massacred the collector, the 
chaplain, his daughter and a lady who was staying with him, and 
the helpless Douglas. Soon the rest of the Meerut infantry 
arrived, and joined the mui'derers ; while another party of 
troopers, who had just come up, finding what their comrades 
had achieved, and eager to rival their exploits, went off to the 
Darya Ganj, to work their will upon the Eurasian ^ Christians 
and poorer Europeans Avho lived in that quarter of the city."* 
Some were slaughtered on the spot ; others, who had barricaded 

' Kaye, vol. ii. p. 77. - Of the palace, not the city. 

^ Eurasian — a person born of a European father and an Indian mother, or any 
person of mixed European and Indian origin. 

■* Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 58-61, 63, 65-6 ; Evidence taken before the Court 


themselves in houses, or fled to the river side, were soon over- 
powered, and thrown into a room beneath the palace. After 
being confined for five days in this dark and pestilential dungeon, 
ill-fed and constantly insulted, but defying their tormentors to 

the last, they were dragged out to execution,^ and 

their bodies flung into the river. 
Meanwhile another gang of mutineers had chosen for their 

operations the portion of the city in which the 

chief public buildings were situated. Here the 
teachers in the Government colleges were slain in the midst of 
their work : ^ the manager of the bank was cut down with his 
wife after a gallant defence in which she had supported him : 
the missionaries, European and native, were murdered without 
distinction ; and the compositors at the Delhi Press, who had 
just finished printing special editions of the Gazette, announcing 
the crisis of which they were themselves to be the victims, fell 
at their posts. Here too the chm-ch was foully desecrated. In 
the telegraph office outside the city a young signaller named 
Brendish was standing, with his hand upon the signalling apparatus. 
Beside him was his fellow signaller, Pilkington ; and Mrs. Todd, 
the widow of their chief, who had been miirdered a few hours be- 
fore, was there too with her child. They heard the uproar and 
the rattle of musketry ; and native messengers brought news of 
the atrocities that were being enacted in the city. Flashed up 
the wires to Umballa, to Lahore, to Rawalpindi and to Peshawar, 
this message warned the authorities of the Punjab, " We must 
leave office. All the bungalows are on fire, burning down by 
the sepoys from Meerut. They came in this morning. We are 
oflf." More fortunate than their countrymen in the city, the 
boys, with their helpless charge, were in time to escape the 
fate which, in the performance of their duty, they had dared. 

Before these things took place, the Brigadier had acted upon 
the information which he had received, feeling sure that the 
English regiments from Meerut would soon come to his support. 
The cantonments, in Avhich the bulk of his force was posted, 

appointed for the Trial of the King of Delhi, pp. 183, 186, 189, 199, 202 ; see 
also Kaye, vol. ii. p. 79, note. 

^ A Mrs. Aldwell and her three children .saved their lives by pretending to be 
Mahomedans. — Evidence taken before the Court appointed for the lYial of the 
King of Delhi, p. 203. 

- Cave- Browne, vol. i. p. G7 ; Pionenr Mail, March 4, 1897 ; Macmillan's 
Magazine, Oct. 1897, pp. 404-5. See App. W. 


were situated upon a high ridge, about two miles north-west of 
the city. Colonel Kipley of the 54th, leaving a portion of his 
regiment to escort two guns which were to follow him under 
Captain de Teissier, marched with the remainder towards the 
Kashmir gate, the nearest entrance to the city. He had just 
reached the main-guard near the gate, where a detachment of 
the 38 th under Captain Wallace was on duty, when he found 
his progress disputed by the troopers of the 3rd cavalry. 
Wallace ordered his men to fire upon the mutineers ; but they 
insolently refused. The troopers fired their pistols at the 
officers of the 54th, six of whom fell dead. The 54th did in- 
deed fire at the word of command, but only into the air, and 
then, bayoneting their own colonel, joined the 38th and the 
cavalry. When the murderers heard that de Teissier's guns 
were coming down, they turned and fled. The guns, on their 
arrival, were placed at the main-guard ; while Wallace, who had 
galloped back to hasten their advance, rode on, after he had met 
them, to beg for further succours. A few companies of the 38th, 
the 74th, and a handful of artillerymen formed the whole of the 
Brigadier's force. Not a man of the 38th responded to Wallace's 
appeal : but, when Major Abbott, who commanded the 74th, 
called upon his men to prove their loyalty, they came forward 
in a body, and demanded to be led against the mutineers.^ 
Taking them at their Avord, he marched them down with two 
more guns to strengthen the main guard. He and his country- 
men whom he had left behind at cantonments had still an after- 
noon of terrible anxiety to live through. The Brigadier and 
his officers, wondering why no succours came from Meerut, 
laboured manfully to keep their mutinous men in check, and 
placed the women and children and their servants for safety in 
a building known as the Flagstaff Tower. There, huddled to- 
gether in a room smaller than the Black Hole of Calcutta, was 
collected a great company of every age and class, frightened 
children crying and clinging to their not less frightened ayahs, 
women bewailing the deaths of their husbands or brothers, 
others bravely bearing up against heat, and discomfort, and 
anxiety, and busily unfastening cartridges for the men. At 
last, when the agony of waiting for help became insupportable, 
a young Englishman offered to ride to Meerut for reinforcements ; 

' i.e. all who were present, about 240. The rest were distributed in detach- 
meuts over cautoumeuts. 


but lie had only gone a little way when he was shot by the men 
of the 38 th on guard at the powder magazine. Then Dr. 
Batson of the Tith started on the same errand, disguised as a 
native ; but he too was fired upon, and escaped, only to be 
robbed and stripped by the villagers.^ There is no reason to 
suppose, however, that, even if these brave men had succeeded 
in reaching Meerut, their devotion would have shamed the 
authorities into action. 

Meanwhile the officers at the main-guard were keeping watch 
over their men, knowing nothing of what was passing else- 
where, except Avhat they could gather from the stray fugitives 
Avho from time to time joined them. Only the distant roar in 
the great city suggested to their imaginations the horrors that 
were being wrought within its walls. 

While the two parties at the main-guard and at cantonments 
were in this suspense, both were startled by the sound of a 
tremendous explosion, and, looking tOAvards the city, saw a 
cloud of white smoke, followed by a coronal of red dust, rising 
into the air.^ They knew that the great magazine had been 
blown up. Was it accident or design 1 Presently two artillery 
subalterns came into the main-guard, and told the story. 

Warned of the approach of the mutineers. Lieutenant 
Willoughby had lost no time in sending to the Brigadier for 
help. The young oihcer Avell knew that the possession of his 
magazine, Avith its vast stores of ammunition, would be eagei'ly 
coveted by the mutineers, and that, standing as it did close to 
the palace, it must be an early object of attack. He could not 
trust his native guards, and he had only eight Europeans^ to 
support him ; but he could depend upon these for any sacrifice, 
and he could depend upon himself. For, though chance acquaint- 
ances saw in him only a shy, refined, boyish-looking subaltern, 
his friends knew that, in the cause of duty, he would face any 
danger.^ No help came in answer to his appeal : the suffering 
and the glory of that day were for him and his gallant eight 
alone. His dispositions were soon made. Barricading the outer 
gates of the magazine, he placed guns inside them, and assigned 

1 Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 68-9, 71, 73-1 ; Tivies, Aug. 18, 1857, p. 3, 
cols. 4, 5. 

- Cave- Browne, vol. i. p. 83. 

^ Lieutenants Forrest and Raynor, Conductors Buckley, Sliaw, and fcjcully ; 
Sul)- Conductor Crow, and Sergeants Edwards and Stewart. 

■* jRed I'ampJdet, p. 41. 


to each man his post. But what if defence should fail ? He had 
another plan in reserve. A train was laid from the powder 
store to a tree standing in the yard of the magazine. Here stood 
Conductor Scully, who had volunteered to fire the train when- 
ever his chief should give the signal. If the enemy broke into 
the stronghold, they should find death, not plunder within. For 
a time, however, the enemy seemed to hesitate. It was because 
they and their King feared the vengeance of the white troops 
from Meerut. But at last the King's scouts told him that no 
white troops were coming.^ Then he gathered confidence to 
demand the surrender of the magazine. The garrison did not 
even answer the summons ; and, when the multitude no longer 
hesitated to advance, opened fire upon them from every gun. 
The most daring of the assailants planted ladders against the 
walls, and came swarming in ; but the guns, served with in- 
credible swiftness, though the gunners were exposed to a fearful 
musketry fire, poured round after round of grape into their 
midst. Yet so great were their numbers that the survivors, 
strengthened by the native guards, who had treacherously 
joined them, must soon have overpowered the little band of 
Englishmen. Still Willoughby hoped on. He had defended 
his magazine for three hours, and he would still defend it against 
any odds if only reinforcements were coming. Running to the 
river bastion, he bent over for a last look towards Meerut. No 
English were to be seen. Then, resolving that, though his 
countrymen had failed him, he would be true to himself, he 
gave the fatal order to Conductor Buckley : Buckley raised his 
hat as a signal ; and Scully fired the train. In a 
moment some hundreds of rebels were destroyed, 
while many more without were struck down by flying splinters 
of shot and shell. Lieutenants Forrest and Raynor, Conductors 
Buckley and Shaw, and Sergeant Stewart lived to wear the 
Victoria Cross : but Scully died where he fell, too cruell}'- 
wounded to escape ; and Willoughby only survived to be 
murdered on his way to Meerut.- 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. p. 77 ; Rotton, p. 20 ; Hist, of the Siege of Delhi, hy 
an Officer who served there, p. 39. 

^ G. W. Forrest's Selections from State Pajiers, vol. i. p. 264 ; Cave-Browne, 
vol. i. pp. 75-9. Evidence taken before the Court ajipointed for the Trial of 
the King of Delhi, pp. 186-7. It is stated in the History of the Siege of 
Delhi, by an Officer who served there (p. 38), that "Scully . . was killed, when 
trying to escape, by a sowar." 


At the sound of the explosion the mutinous sepoys flung off 
every remnant of disguise. The natives of all classes believed 
that the King had turned against the English ; and his followers, 
assured that the day had come for the restoration of the Mogul 
Empire and the revived supremacy of Islam, were burning with 
the lust of plunder and the more terrible passion of religious 
fanaticism. Suddenly the 38th at the main-guard fired a volley 
at their officers. Three fell dead. Two of the siirvivors rushed 
up to the bastion of the main-guard, and jumped down thirty 
feet into the ditch below. The rest were following, when hear- 
ing the shrieks of women in the guard-room, they ran back 
under a storm of bullets to rescue them. The women were 
shuddering as they looked down the steep bank, and asking 
each other whether it would be possible to descend, when a 
round shot, whizzing over their heads, warned them not to 
hesitate. Fastening their belts and handkerchiefs together, the 
officers let themselves down, and then, having helped the women 
to follow, carried them with desperate struggles up the opposite 
side.^ Meanwhile at the Flagstaff" Tower, though the men of 
the 74th who had remained behind continued respectful, those 
of the 38th were becoming every minute more insolent. At 
last an officer suggested that it was time to retreat. The 
Brigadier was indignant. He could not abandon his post, he 
said. But the sun was fast sinking ; there was no prospect of 
succour ; and there was nothing to be gained by remaining. At 
last the Brigadier gave way. Accordingly the 
women and children and a few of the officers got 
into their carriages and drove down the hill towards canton- 
ments. The sepoys marched obediently for a few minutes ; but 
once in cantonments, they began to disperse, hinting to their 
officers that they had better make haste if they wanted to save 
themselves. The fugitives could see their deserted bungalows 
already on fire.^ Then began that piteous flight, the first of 
many such incidents which hardened the hearts of the British 
to inflict a terrible revenge, not more for the physical sufferings 
of their kindred than for their humiliation by an inferior race. 
Driven to hide in jungles or morasses from despicable vagrants, 
robbed and scourged and mocked by villagers who had en- 

^ Cave-Bro\viie, vol. i. p. 80 ; Evidence takon heforc the Court appointed for 
the Trial of tlie Kinj? of Delhi, p. 205. 

- Narrative of Mr. Le Bas in Franers Magazine, Feb. 1858, pp. 18G-8. 


trapped them with i3romises of help, scorched by the blazing 
sun, blistered by burning winds, half-drowned in rivers which 
they had to ford or s^vim across, naked, weary, and starving, 
they wandered on ; while some fell dead by the wayside, and 
others, unable to move further, were abandoned by their sorrow- 
ing friends to die on the road.^ But some, who reached at last 
a haven of refuge, had to tell of genuine acts of kindness shown 
to them in their distress by the subject-people.^ 

The outbreak at Meerut was soon seized upon by an unerring 
instinct as the real starting point of the Indian Mutiny ; for the 
weakness of Hewitt and of Wilson allowed the mutineers to 
seize the imperial city of India with its inexhaustible munitions 
of war, and to enlist the influence of the Mogul's name on their 
side, and thus yielded to them an immense moral and material 
advantage at the very outset of their operations. Now that 
they had proved their strength, they could confidently appeal 
to the discontented who had hitherto longed but feared to rebel. 
It is impossible to do more than conjecture whether, if the out- 
break at Meerut had been crushed, the Indian Mutiny would 
have been nipped in the bud. Perhaps, if there had been a 
Nicholson at Meerut to annihilate the mutinous regiments, the 
whole Bengal army might have taken warning by their fate. 
But it may be that their passions, having been so long allowed 
to gather strength, could not at that late hour haA^e been at once 
extinguished, but would have only smouldered on for a time, to 
burst forth thereafter with still more awful fury. It may even 
be that nothing short of a mutiny could have awakened the rulers 
to a sense of their shortcomings. 

On the 12th of May Canning, perhaps uneasily conscious of 
the popular verdict upon his treatment of mutineers, declared in 
a minute that that treatment had not been too mild.^ On the 
very same day a telegram from Agra announced the outbreak 
at Meerut. Dorin tried at first to disbelieve a report which 
suggested so rude a comment upon the policy in which he had 

^ Letter from an officer of the 38tli N. I. to the Times, Aug. G, 1857, p. 7, col. 4. 
See also numerous other letters and pamphlets written by survivors. [Many of 
these narratives will be found in Annals of the Indian RebeUion.'] 

- " Tlie Mahometan villagers distinguished themselves by their cruelty . . . 
Some were protected and kindly treated for weeks by Hindoo villagers." — 
History of the Siege if Delhi, by an Officer who served there, p. 40. See also 
Dr. Batson's narrative. Times, Aug. 18, 1857, p. 3, cols. 4, 5. 

^ Purl. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 253, inc. 8 in No. 14. 


concurred. But further details kept coining in ; and the main 
facts of the risings at Meerut and Delhi were known on the 1 4th. 
Like the lightning-flash, which makes itself seen even by closed 
eyes, the great disaster penetrated the mental blindness of the 
Government. Men looked anxiously to see how they would act 
upon their knowledge, and tried to combat their distrust of the 
ruler to whom they felt that loyalty was due. 

When Canning heard the news, he thought of what Gillespie 

had done with his dragoons at Vellore, and asked 
Canniu°^ indignantly why the powerful European force at 

Meerut had tamely suffered such a disaster.^ For, 
though he had not yet learned to spurn the feeble counsels of 
his advisers, his spirit was never for a moment cowed by the 
bloAV. Yet, though he might fairly complain of the false economy 
that had weakened the strength of the British force in India, it 
was his own fault that so few British regiments were immediately 
available. If he had formed an accurate diagnosis of the events 
which had passed at Berhampore, at Barrackpore, and at Umballa, 
he would long ago have summoned to his aid the regiments 
whose tardy arrival he was now forced to await. Even those 
who would not blame him for having lacked a foresight which 
only a great statesman would have displayed, will hardly defend 
him if it can be shown that he neglected to aA^ail himself of 
the resources that lay ready to his hand. Of this neglect he was 
guilty. He allowed the Sith to remain inactive at Barrackpore 
for eight days after he heard of the outbreak at Meerut, though 
ever since the 6 th of May it had been disengaged. Nor was 
this all. On the l7th he received a telegram from Lord 
Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay, containing an offer to 
send a fast steamer with despatches to England : but he saw no 
reason for authorising such irregular energy. Fortunately, how- 
ever, the successful conclusion of the Persian war had set free a 
considerable body of troops who were now on their way back to 
Bombay. These he ordered to be sent on instantly to Calcutta. 

At the same time he ordered the 43rd, and the 

^^ ' IstMadi^asFusiliers to be kept ready for embarkation 

at the southern Presidency ; despatched a steamer to fetch the 

35th from Pegu ; telegraphed to Cohan, the 
' *^ ' Lieutenant-Governor of the North - Western Pro- 
vinces, to order John Lawrence to send down every available 
1 Kaye, vol. i. p. 597. 


Sikh and European soldiei' from the Punjab to Delhi ; begged 
the Governor of Ceylon to send him as many men 
as he could spare ; and took upon himself the 
responsibility of diverting from its course an army which was 
then on its way to punish the insolence of the Chinese Govern- 
ment.^ Contemporary journalists and pamphleteers Avere loud 
in asserting that he ought not to have the sole credit, which 
Avas surely not very great, of the idea of sending for reinforce- 
ments ; but the suggestions of others had nothing to do with 
his determination. He gave his two most trusted lieutenants, 
Henry and John Lawrence, full authority to act as they might 
think best in Gudh and the Punjab. Finally, to supplement 
his material resources by a moral stimulus, he empowered 
commanding officers to reward on the spot native soldiers who 
might perform distinguished acts of loyalty, and 
at last issued that reassuring order to the sepoy 
army on the subject of its religion and its caste which Birch 
had long ago recommended, but against which the Adjutant- 
General had successfully pleaded. But the order was issued 
too late. Had it been published before, and preceded by the 
condign punishment of the Barrackpore mutineers, it might have 
done some good. The effect which it actually produced upon 
those whom it was meant to conciliate was shown by a proclama- 
tion which the King of Delhi in his turn issued towards the end 
of May : "If the infidels now become mild," said he, " it is merely 
an expedient to save their lives." ^ 

On the same day on which the Governoi'-General heard the 
first vague rumour of the great disaster, a clear 
though incomplete statement of the main facts May 12. 
reached the Commander-in-Chief at Simla. He osnei""' 
Avas in poor health at the time, and was looking Anson the 

■'■ . . -i-iMi Commander- 

forward to a shooting excursion m the hills. inChier. 

Naturally, therefore, he could not at first bring 

himself to believe the whole truth of the announcement. Still 

he could not entirely ignore it. At first he contented himself 

with sending an order to Kasauli for the 70th Regiment to march 

thence to Umballa, and to the Company's European 

regiments at Subathu and Dagshai to hold themselves 

in readiness to march. Next day, however, becoming more alive 

' Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, 4tli Julv, 1857, p. 662. 
- Jlead, p. 108. 


to the magnitude of the danger, he directed the last-named 
regiments actually to put themselves in motion, and the Sirmiir 
battalion of Gurkhas to move down from Dehra to Meerut. 
Seeing the paramount necessity of securing the great magazines 
in the Punjab, he warned the commandants of those at 
Ferozepore, Govindgarh, and Phillaur to be on their guard. 
Finally, he ordered a siege-traia to be made ready at Phillaur, 
and directed the Nasiri battalion of Gurkhas and a detachment 
of the 9 th Irregular Cavalry to prepare to escort it to Umballa. 
But he did not himself stir from Simla till the following day. 
From Umballa, which he reached on the 15th, he wrote to 
the Governor-General, complaining of the insiir- 
mountable obstacles which the want of transport, 
of ammunition, and of siege-artillery threw in his way. And 
in truth he hardly overrated his difficulties. He had had 
little more than a year's experience of Indian life when he was 
called upon to face a crisis far greater than that which, eight 
years before, had tested the mettle of a Napier. Blind, 
like his fellows, to every sign of disaffection, he had made 
no preparations for coming trouble. His departmental officers, 
unable to extricate themselves from the clogging processes 
of routine in which they had been educated, gave him no 
support. With provoking unanimity the Quarter - master- 
General, the Adjutant-General, the Commissary -General, and the 
head of the Medical Department told him that the tasks which 
he had set them were impossible. Dalhousie had, from motives 
of economy, abolished the permanent transport service ; ^ and 
the Commissary-General, who had no authority to draw upon 
the resources of the country, was at the mercy of native 
contractors. While Anson could thus get small encouragement 
from those around him, he saw no cheering signs in the distant 
outlook. He could not hope for aid from the native regiments 
in the Punjab. He might, however, at least have disarmed the 
native regiments at Umballa, and thus have set himself free for 
an immediate march on Delhi. John Lawrence implored him to 
take this obvious step. But he listened to the remonstrances of 
the Umballa officers, who told him that they had guaranteed 
their men against the shame of being disarmed, and would not 

^ Pari. Papers, vol. xlv. 1856 (Dalhousie'.s Farewell Minute, par. 160) ; 
letter from Canning, quoted by Kaye, vol. ii. pp. 167-8 ; information from Mr. 
H. G. Keena 


hearken to the counsels of the Chief Commissioner. It was in 
vain that the latter pointed out to him that the sepoys' repeated 
acts of disobedience had absolved him from the duty of observ- 
ing their officers' pledges. He resolved to trust men who had 
shown themselves unworthy of trust, and thoueht to 

, . May 19 

bind them to loyalty by proclaiming the resolve 

of Government to respect their religion. It was no time for 


There wei-e two men, however, whose unconquerable energy 
was all this time supporting the Commander -in- _ , 

<^i-c 1- r-i r-i I- ^ Bames and 

Chief, and making up for the failures of the Fors>-th sup- 
Departments. No sooner had Forsyth, the ^^°^ ™' 
Deputy - Commissioner at Umballa, received the news from 
Delhi than he despatched a message to warn his 
Chief, George Barnes, the Commissioner of the 
Cis-Sutlej States, who was then at Kasauli, and hastened to 
make all necessary arrangements in his absence. First he 
organised a body of Sikh police to protect Umballa. Then he 
proceeded to organise a system for the defence of the whole of 
the Cis-Sutlej States. Fortunately the means of defence were 
independent of the sluggish motions of department-governed 
battalions. In the wide district between the Sutlej and the 
Jumna were a number of Sikh chieftains, whose 
ancestors many years before had sought and obtained Loyalty of 
the protection of the English against the encroach- chiefs, 
ments of Ranjit Sing. In anticipation of the 
Commissioner's sanction, Forsyth applied for help to the Rajas 
of Patiala and of Jhind. The Raja of Patiala promptly sent a 
body of troops to Thaneswar, to keep open the road to Karnal, 
where the troops from Umballa were to assemble ; while the 
Raja of Jhind, who, on hearing the news from Delhi, had 
voluntarily sent to Umballa to ask for instructions, hastened, 
at Barnes's request, to Karnal, to protect that station, and thus 
presei've an unbroken communication between Umballa and 
Meerut.2 The Nawab of Karndl had already paved the way 
for the coming of the Raja by exerting his influence in the cause 

1 Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 189, 193-4, 203, 208, 377-9 ; Enclosures to Secret 
Letters from India, May, 1857 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xliv., Part 3, pp. 200-1 ; Kaye, 
vol. ii. pp. 138-41, 167-8 ; G. W. Forrest's Selections from State Papers, vol. i. 
pp. 277-82. 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 190-1 ; Punjab Mutiny Report, p. 85, par. 7, p. 97, 
par. 9. This document is to be found in Pari. Papers, vol. xviii. (1859). 


of order. Presenting himself before the chief civil authority at 
Karnal, he had said, " Sir, I have spent a sleepless night in 
meditating on the state of affairs. I have decided to throw in 
my lot Avith yours. My sword, my purse, and my followers are 
at your disposal." Thus early the more sagacious of the natives 
foresaw the ultimate triumph of the British. 

Meanwhile Barnes himself, who had reached Umballa on the 
night of the 1 3th, was actively suppressing the disaffection which 
had followed swiftly upon the events at Meerut and Delhi, posting 
guards at the fords of the Jumna, and sending out the contingents 
of the native rajas and jagirdars to maintain order in the 
districts. When the success of these precautionary measures 
was apparent, he and his lieutenant began to collect carriage and 
stores for Anson's troops, to make up for the shortcomings of the 
commissariat. Their energy carried all before it, though the 
natives of every class, bankers, tradesmen, contractors, and coolies, 
tried to keep aloof, fearing the downfall of the English Raj.^ 
While, however, the labours of the ciAdlians were removing 

most of his difficulties, Anson was suddenly dis- 
sfmia ^^ quieted afresh by the news that the Nasfri Gurkhas, 

complaining that, Avhile they had been ordered to 
undertake a distant service, their pay had been alloAved to fall 
into arrear and no provision had been made for the safety of 
their families, had mutinied near Simla. The Deputj'^-Commis- 
sioner Lord William Hay and the officers of the regiment re- 
mained at their posts ; but the English inhabitants, dreading the 

same fate that had befallen their brethren at Meerut 
■ ' and Delhi, fled headlong from the station, women 
screaming to their servants to carry their children faster out of 
danger, men offering bribes to the bearers to carry their baggage 
and leave the women to shift for themselves.^ The Gurkhas, 
hoAvever, were simply out of temper with the English, and had 
no thought of touching a hair of their heads. Anson entrusted 
Captain Briggs, an officer who thoroughly knew the temper of 
the hill -tribes, Avith the work of bringing the mutineers to 
reason. Feeling that it Avas necessaxy to conciliate them at all 
costs, as, Avhile their defection lasted, the siege-train must remain 
idle at Phillaur, he restored them to good-humour by granting 

1 Cave-Browue, vol. i. pp. 192-3 ; Punjab Mutiny Report, pp. SG-7. pars. 12-3, 
p. 97, par. 15. 

>■ Kobertsou, pp. 81-2 ; Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 196-202. 


their demands and offering a free pardon to all. Then, ashamed 
of their groundless panic, the fugitives returned to their homes. 
While his forces were moving down, Anson was discussing 
the plan of his campaign with John Lawrence. 
He tried to convince him of the imprudence of Conespond- 
risking an advance against Delhi with so small withCannhig 
a force as he could command. His idea was to con- ?:"'^ "^°^" 

, Lawrence. 

centrate his whole force between the Sutlej and the May ir. 
Jumna, and, permitting the fire of rebellion to 
burn itself out within these limits, to wait until the arrival of 
reinforcements should enable him to quench it once for all.^ 
But the sagacity of Lawrence discerned the paramount necessity 
of striking a swift and staggering blow at Delhi. The instinct 
of the mutineers had seized upon the imperial city as the head- 
centre of revolt, the possession of which would give a national 
dignity to their cause. The instincts of the Governor-General 
and of the Chief Commissioner told them that the one counter- 
stroke that could restore the shattered dignity of their rule 
would be the recovery of this stronghold. They were prepared 
to sacrifice everything to this grand object. It was only natural 
that, in their eagerness and their ignorance of military affairs, 
they should underrate the difficulties which the Commander-in- 
Chief complained of. Lawrence said bluntly but 
good-humouredly that he could see nothing in the 
organisation of the Departments to prevent their working 
effectively ; but that, at the worst, the army might surely march 
for so great a stake with three or four clays' provisions in their 
knapsacks, and trust for further supplies to the people of the 
country. Cannins; even went so far as to demand that 

May 31 

Anson should take Delhi with a part of his force, 

and detach the remainder to overawe the districts between Delhi 

and CaAvnpore. 

Overruled by the commands of his chief, but sorely doubting 
his ability to fulfil them, Anson had already made up his mind 
to march against Delhi. Weakened though he was by sickness, 
tortured by anxiety, he strove, like a good and faithful servant 
of the State, to push forward his preparations.^ But, before he 

^ Extract from an unpublished memoir hy Colonel Baird Smith, quoted by 
Kaye, vol. ii. p. 149, note. See also Boswortli Smith's Life of Lord Lmorcnce, 
vol. ii. p. 28. 

^ See an article by Sir Henry Norman in the Fortnirjhtlij Review for April 
1883, pp. 542-3. 


could begin his march, it was necessary that he should communi- 
cate with the general at Meerut ; and it was believed that the 
road from Karnal to Meerut was in possession of mutineers. 
In this extremity, William Hodson, a lieutenant of 
the Company's 1st Fusiliers, begged to be allowed 
to open a passage to the distant station. Anson consented ; 
and, on the 20th of May, Hodson, escorted by a corps of Jhind 
Horse, started from Karnal with a message for Hewitt. " Hodson 
is at Umballa, I know," said an officer at Meerut, " and I'll bet 
he will force his way through and open communications with the 
Commander-in-Chief and oiirselves." The officer knew his man. 
In seventy-two hours, having ridden a hundred and fifty-two 
miles through an enemy's country, delivered his message, and 
obtained all the required information, Hodson returned to 
Karnal. Hurrying on in the mail-cart, he presented himself 
within another four hours before his chief at Umballa.^ But 
he had been anticii^ated. On the road to Meerut, he met 
Captain Sanford, who, escorted by only twenty-five loyal men 
of the 3rd Light Cavalry, was himself carrying despatches from 
Hewitt, which he had volunteered to deliver to Anson. '^ Now 
, that he had acquired the information for which he 

of campaign, had Waited, Anson drew up his plan of campaign, 
"^^ ' ■ and recorded it in a despatch which he wrote for 
the instruction of General Hewitt. He intended, he said, to 
assemble his army at Karnal ; to march thence on the 1st of 
June ; to enter Bagpat on the 5th ; to await there the arrival 
of Hewitt Anth his contingent from Meerut ; and then to ad- 
vance to the attack of Delhi. But he was not suffered to 
execute even the first stage of his design. Sending on the 
main body of his troops before him, he followed 
iiis death. '^^'ith the last batch on the 25th of May. Two days 
later he was lying dead of cholera at Karnal. 
General Sir Henry Barnard, who succeeded him in the com- 
mand of the Delhi force, made a generous eifort 

His ciiaracter. , t- i , <. . i • i 

to refute the charge of incompetence which men 
had begun to bring against him : but he only half succeeded ; 
for the late Commander-in-Chief had lived long enough to set 
his mark upon Indian history, and he had left no mark. He 

* Tivdi-e Years of a Soldier's Life in India, liy the Kev. G. H. Ilodsou, 
pp. 187-9 ; Cave- Browne, vol. i. p. 220. See App. N. 

^ Col. A. K. D. Mackenzie's Mutiny Memoirs, pp. 52-5. 


had indeed many of the qualities that go to make a general. 
But his warmest panegyrists have not been able to convince 
Englishmen that he was one of the heroes of the Mutiny ; for 
they felt that neither his heart nor his head were great enough 
for the crisis ; and they knew that there were one or two giants 
in India who would have made head even against the obstacles 
that beset his path.^ 

Resolved that at least he would not incur the charge of 
delay, which had been the great crime of his predecessor in the 
eyes of the Government, Barnard made up his ^ 

. , -, . . iTi-., . IP General Barnard 

mma to march at once to ]oin Wilson, instead of marches tor 
waiting for the siege-train ; and then, after making ^ "' 
his communications with Meerut and the Punjab sure, to con- 
centrate his whole force under the walls of Delhi. His men 
at least never doubted that, within a few hours of their 
arrival at most, they would establish themselves within 
those walls. Strong in this assurance they marched on, 
bearing up resolutely against the lassitude engendered by 
the fierce May sun. But even contempt for their enemies 
sustained them less powerfully than the furious desire to 
be avenged upon the murderers of the women and children 
of their nation. Many cruel deeds were wrought upon that 

' "It is the feeling of all here," wrote Robert Montgomer)- to Secretary 
Ednionstone, " that it would be a good thing were he (Anson) in Calcutta. A 
man like Chamberlain, Edwardes, or Nicholson wouhl have been in Delhi a week 
ago." In another letter he wrote, " Why the force does not move on is not 
apparent. Private letters from officers at Kurnal express great indignation at 
the delay." — Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, May, 1857. [Mont- 
gomery would have modified these remarks if he had known all the facts.] 

In the Fortnightlij Review for April, 1883, pp. 541-4, Sir Henry Norman 
argues that Anson did the best that could have been done under the circum- 
stances ; but, in my judgement, he only succeeds in proving what no one has 
ever denied, viz. that Anson did his best. Three definite charges may be 
brought c'lgainst him. No one will contend that, in refusing to disarm the 
mutinous sepoys at Umballa, he did not commit a grievous error ; he had, in 
May 185C, disregarded Outram's entreaty to garrison Allahabad — a post of vital 
importance — with European troops ; and, judging after the event, we may say 
that he made a mistake in waiting so long as he did for the siege-train. See 
Lord Canning's letter, quoted by Kaye, vol. i. pp. 167-8. [General M'Leod 
Inues (Lucknovj and Oude in the Mutiny, p. 15) says, "the Commander-in- 
Chief . . . was paralysed by the absolute want of transport of any kind — 
the result of his own blindness to the disaffection that was raging, and his own 
neglect of the precautions and preparations that might consequently be required." 
This is true ; but it is judging Anson by the very highest standard : other men, 
who did good work in the Mutiny, were equally blind. Mr. Forrest, on the 
other hand (Selections from State Papers, vol. i. p. 39), holds that the publica- 
tion of his (Anson's) diary [Ih, pp. 277-82) must dispel the charge of . . . want 


march on villagers suspected of complicity in the ill-usage of 
the fugitives from Delhi. Officers, as they went to sit on courts- 
martial, swore that they would hang their prisoners, guilty or 
innocent ; and, if any one dared to lift up his voice against 
such indiscriminate vengeance, he was instantly silenced by the 
clamours of his angry comrades. Prisoners, condemned to 
death after a hasty trial, were mocked and tortured by ignorant 
privates before their execution, Avhile educated officers looked 
on and approved.^ 

Though nearly three weeks had passed away since the out- 
l^reak at Meerut, the force that was marching 
^Meerut'^ thcncc to joiu Barnard had only just shaken itself 
tii'^d°^ifi"t ^^^^ from inaction. Yet the most strenuous action 
had been required. The released convicts, pour- 
ing from Meerut into the surrounding country, had told the 
story of the outbreak as they passed from village to village. 
The villagers, hearing that the sepoy regiments had mutinied, 
and believing that on those regiments the power of the Ferin- 
ghees depended, relapsed into the anarchy which had prevailed 
in the good old times. The Gujars, though they had lived from 
their j^outh up under a Government that enforced obedience to 
the law, robbed and outraged everyone upon whom they could 
lay their hands, with an aptitude which could only be explained 
on the theory that with them the propensity to crime was an 
inherited quality. Villagers took down their matchlocks, swords, 
and sjDcars, and fought ^vith one another about landmarks Avhich 
had been defined at the beginning of the century.^ Murder, 
rapine, and wanton destruction went unpunished. Highwaymen 
robbed travellers, and plundered the mail-bags. Then came the 
news from Delhi to increase the exultation of the evil-doers and 
the terror of the English. Still, Hewitt made no attempt to 

of promptitude that has been brought against liiai." See also Life of Lard 
Lawrence, 6th ed., vol. i. pp. 480-500 ; Sir G. Campbell's Memoirs of my 
Indian Career, vol. i. pp. 378-9 ; Lord Canuiug's letter, quoted by Kaye, vol. i. 
pp. 167-8 ; and Lord Roberts's Forty-one Years in India, vol. i. p. 105. 
The truth I take to be this. A Napoleon, if he had been placed in Anson's 
position on the 12th of May, could not have satisfied John Lawrence. Anson, 
from want of foresight, had placed himself in a position of extreme difficiilty. 
Being in it, he accjuitted himself with credit, but failed to do the best that could 
have been done.] 

1 History of the Sieijc of Delld, by an Officer who served there, pp. 59, 60. 

"^ History of the Hicge of Delhi, by an Ollicer who served there, p. 63 ; 
Williams's Memo., p. 8 ; Depositions, p. 11. 


re-establish his authority, or to support the district officers. He 
did indeed rouse himself so far as to join with Greathed in 
proclaiming martial law ; but, as there was no Neill at Meerut 
to make the law dreaded, the proclamation remained a dead 
letter. It was not till the 24th of May, just a fortnight after 
the great outbreak, that a few dragoons were sent out to chastise 
plunderers. It is true that there was no light cavalry for the 
work of scouring the country in such heat as then prevailed. -"^ 
But there were commanders in India who did not shrink from 
requiring even infantry to make forced marches for the destruc- 
tion of mutineers, under the fiercest suns of that Indian summer ; 
and the soldiers of Hewitt dreaded hardship as little as the soldiers 
of Havelock or of Nicholson. The historian, however, has no 
need to rebuke the feebleness of the authorities at Meerut. 
The most scathing comment upon their inaction was the fact 
that, till those dragoons emerged from their seclusion, the 
natives had believed that not a single Englishman remained 
alive in Meerut. Yet more than a thousand soldiers were there, 
ready to go anywhere and do anything for their country. There 
was wanting only a general to command them. 

The time, however, was at hand when their mettle was to be 
tested under the only general whose services were available. 
The letter which Anson had written to Hewitt gave the signal 
for their dejjarture from Meei'ut. Chafing under their enforced 
inaction, they had long impatiently expected that signal ; and 
on the 27th of May, the day of their Commander- 
in-Chief's death, they set out in high spirits for ^fg^'iiindan. 
Delhi, with Brigadier Wilson at their head. 
Three days afterwards they arrived at the village of Ghazi-ud-din 
Nagar. About a mile in front of it ran the river 
Hindan, which was here spanned by an iron sus- ' "^^ '^^' 
pension bridge. On a high ridge on the opposite bank of the 
river the mutineers, who had advanced confidently from Delhi 
to dispute the progress of their assailants, were observed strongly 
posted. At four o'clock in the afternoon they opened fire from 
their heavy guns. Wilson lost no time in sending a company 
of the Rifles to hold the bridge, which formed the key of his 

^ Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 350, par. 14. It was the fault of Hewitt 
that there was not. Lieutcuant Furuell, of the Mounted Police, had offered to 
lead out thirty-six volunteers, whom he had persuaded to serve as cavalry : but 
the offer, gladly accepted at first, was afterwards coldly declined. — Williams's 
Memo., p. 19 


position. Lieutenant Light and his men replied "vagorously with 
their eighteen-pounders to the enemy's challenge. Meanwhile 
Colonel Mackenzie and Major Tombs advanced with their horse 
artillery along the hank of the river, dashed down its rugged 
banks, crossed it, regardless of the quicksands that lay concealed 
in its bed, and turned the enemy's left flank. The mutineers, 
who had served a long apprenticeship under British artillerymen, 
worked their guns with admirable precision until their fire was 
silenced hy Tombs's troop. Then, as they were beginning to 
give way, the Rifles were let loose upon them, and drove them 
in utter rout from their position ; while Colonel distance pursued 
them with his dragoons. 

The British encamped that night upon the field which they 

had won. The next morning was Whitsunday. 

Hardly Avas the burial-service for those who had 
fallen on the previous day completed, when the mutineers, who, 
on their return to Delhi, had been bitterly taunted for their 
defeat, and sent out with reinforcements to try their luck once 
more, appeared on the opposite bank of the river, and opened 
fire from the distance of about a mile on Wilson's advanced 
piquet, which was posted in front of the bridge. The Rifles 
were instantly sent to secure this important position ; while the 
horse artillery under Tombs, supported by a squadron of dragoons, 
advanced to return the enemy's fire, and again won the admira- 
tion of all who saw them. Their gallant leader had two horses 
shot under him ; and of his fifty men thirteen were killed or 
wounded ; but not for a moment did the troop cease its action ; 
and, supported by Light, it gradually forced the enemy to slacken 
his fire. Then a general advance of all arms routed the waver- 
ing foe : but he was able to carry ofT all his guns, and almost all 
his ammunition to Delhi ; for the British soldiers, parched with 
thirst, and fainting after the toil of a battle fought under a 
burning sun, were physically unable to follow up their victory.^ 
Still the victory was decisive. Wilson had done something to 
retrieve his tarnished reputation ; ^ and he and his men had 
fairly earned the right to share in the attack upon Delhi. 

1 Greatli.jd, pp. 12-14 ; Pari. raper,-<, vol. xxx. (1857), pp. 612-16. 

" It should be lueiitioned, liowever, that Nicholson wrote in a letter to John 
Lawrence, " By all acconnts he (Wilson) was driven into fighting at the Hindnii, 
and could not help himself. "^ — Boswortli Sniith'.s Life of Lord Lajoroice, vol. ii. 
p. 207. 


On the day after the second battle the conquerors were re- 
inforced by Eeid's Sirmuri Gurkhas, who had pushed j^^^^^ ^ 
their way southwards to Bulandshahr, contributed wiison joins 
to the tranquillisation of the country by inflicting a ^'*™^^'*- 
signal punishment upon the insurgent population of that village, 
and thence hastened on to overtake Wilson. The army remained 
upon the field of Ghazi-ucl-din Nagar, waiting for instructions 
from Barnard, till the 4th of June, when an order came to mai-cli 
to Alipur. Thither Barnard ari'ived upon the 5th, and there, 
two days later, Wilson joined him. The siege- j^^^ ►. 
train had come in safely the day before from 
Phillaur, after many hair -breadth escapes. On 
the night of its arrival, Barnard's staff" were anxiously del)ating 
as to the position which the mutineers might have taken up to 
make their final stand. Unless the point could be ascertained, 
the General would have nothing to guide him in making his 
preparations for an attack. In this emergency Hodson sallied 
forth with a few sowars, and, riding right up to the Delhi race- 
course, made a careful reconnaissance, returned to 
camp at day-break, and presented his report.^ The 
mutineers were strongly posted about five miles north-west of 
Delhi at Badli-ki- Serai, a group of buildings protected on the 
I'ight by an impassable water- course, and on the left by the 
Najafgarh jheel canal.^ Thus secure from an attack on either 
side, they had posted guns to defend the front of their position, 
Seeing the impossibility of making a flank attack upon his 
enemy, Barnard resolved to send his infantry and light field- 
pieces along either side of the main road to attack the serai, 
while the heavy guns were to advance for their support upon 
the road itself. Colonel Hope Grant, with the cavalry and two 
troops of horse-artillery, was to move across the canal, between 
Badli-ki -Serai and Delhi, and then, recrossing, hurl his force 
upon the left rear of the mutineers. 

In the evening of that day it was known in the camp that a 
battle was to be fought on the morrow. The hearts of the soldiers, 
as they passed the news from one to another, were almost con- 
sumed by the rising fire of their passions. Even the sick rose 
painfully from their beds, and swore that they would remain in 
hospital no longer."^ 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 316-17. ^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. p. 318. 

^ History of tlie Siege of Delhi, by an OlUcer who served there, p. 73. 


Before daybreak, Hope Grant led out liis brigade ; while the 
Junes ^^^° infantry brigades under Colonel Showers and 
Battle of Badii- Brigadier Graves marched straight for Badli-ki- 
ki-Serai. Serai. Day was just dawning when Showers's men, 

who had advanced on the right to within a short distance of the 
serai, were startled by a sudden fire from the enemy's guns. The 
British field-pieces swiftly replied : but Graves's column, impeded 
by a mass of baggage-carts, which had been allowed to l^lock up 
the way, was still two miles in the rear ; and the mutineers, 
working their heavy guns with precision, began to oveipower 
their opponents. Then Barnard, seeing that the batteries must 
be taken at any cost, ordered the 75th to charge. Shouting 
fiercely, the soldiers rushed up to the serai, while the 1st Bengal 
Fusiliers hastened to their support: but the mutineers, unappalled, 
fought bravely for their guns, and fell beside them, asking for no 
quarter. By this time the men of the other column had come 
up, and, splashing through water which reached up to their 
knees, forced the left of the position. The rebels, unable to 
hold their ground, were reti-eating steadily towards Delhi, when 
Hope Grant, suddenly appearing, hui'led his lancers upon them ; 
the horse -artillery assailed them with a terrible flanking fire ; 
and their orderly retreat was changed into a precipitate rout. 

The victors were fearfully exhausted, but still eager for more 
blood ; and Barnard resolved to follow up his success, lest the 
enemy should have time to rally and stop his advance. About 
half a mile beyond the serai the main road split into two 
Ijranches. Along the left branch, leading to the cantonments, 
Barnard and Graves marched with part of the force ; while the 
remainder, under Wilson, was sent along the other towards the 
city. The mutineers were soon discovered, strongly posted on 
the Kidge. The entire British army was too small to make a 
front attack upon the whole length of their position ; but it 
was intended that the two divisions, falling upon either flank, 
should reunite in the centre, while Reid with his Gurkhas was 
attacking in front. The left column was harassed in its advance 
by a heavy fire from a battery which the enemy had established 
at the Flagstaff Tower, the extreme end of his position : but it 
held on resolutely ; and now Graves was triumjjhantly leading 
his men into the cantonments from Avhich, just four weeks before, 
he had been expelled l>y his own troops. Presently Wilson's 
column came up, having fought its way under a still more galling 


fire directed against it from the cover of Avails and gardens along 
its route. Then the exhausted troops lay down to rest and eat 
a mouthful of food ; but the tents were not yet pitched when 
the enemy, emerging from the city, opened a fresh fire. The 
Gurkhas, the Eifles, the Fusiliers, and some of the 75th had to 
rouse themselves to repel the attack; and it was not till five 
o'clock, after sixteen hours' marching and fighting, that the 
victorious army laid its weapons aside. ^ 

The British loss had been severe : but the victory was worth 
the price paid for it ; for the enemy had sustained the third and 
bloodiest of their defeats ; they had been forced to surrender to 
their conqueror a commanding position from which he could 
attack them to the greatest advantage while keeping open his 
communications with the sources of his supplies and expected 
reinforcements ; and they had been driven ignominiously by a 
force far smaller than their own to take refuge within the walls 
of the city from which they had but lately expelled every 
Christian inhabitant whom they had not destroyed. 

The sun was still high above the west horizon : but the 
fierce heat of the day had spent itself; and the xhe British 
soldiers, as they stood upon the Ridge, had leisure encamp before 
to look down upon a scene of glorious beauty. 
Right in front of them lay the imperial city of India. The 
long line of wall that fenced it in was broken at intervals 
by massive gates and bastions half-hidden by clumps of trees. 
Straight across the city within ran the broad Chandni Chauk, 
fringed by rows of trees ; and here and there, above the labyrinth 
of streets and lanes on either side, stately houses and graceful 
mosques gleamed in the sun. On the left, in the midst of a fair 
garden, rose the lofty red walls and round towers of the palace 
which Shah Jahan had reared ; and on an island to the north of 
it, the old towers of Selimgarh frowned down upon the blue 
sparkling waters of the Jumna. In the centre of the city, high 
above all, soared the swelling white marble domes and tall 
minarets of the Jamma Masjid ; and far away to the south, in 
the midst of a vast sandy waste strewn with the ruins of old 
Delhi, rose the gigantic Minar of Kutab.^ 

^ Blackwood's Magazine, Jan. 185S — Article, The First Bengal European 
Fusiliers in the Delhi Campaign, pp. 123-4 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), 
pp. 618-20 ; Cave-Browne, vol. i. p. 321. 

- History of the Siege of Delhi, by an Officer who served there, pp. 81-2 : 


Exhausted though they were, the British lay down to rest 
with light hearts ; for they did not know how many weary 
weeks they were to spend outside the walls which they had 
boasted that they would overpass on the day of their arrival. 

J. Medley's A Year's Campaigning in India, pp. 43, 45 ; Turnbull's Sketches of 
Delhi ; Forrest's Picturesque Tour along (he Rivers Gauges and Jumna : Roberts's 
Hindostan, vol. i. pp. 68, 72, 86. 



Before the glad tidings of the victory at Badli-ki-Serai had been 
despatched from the British camp, the eftects of the ^^^^ 
outbreak at Meerut had begun to develop themselves western 
through the length and breadth of the North- 
Vv^estern Provinces. The peasant population of this extensive 
region, who had suffered grievously under the consuming 
tyraiuiy of the Mar^thas, had gone on steadily prospering 
since the introduction of British rule ; but the great landowners 
had been humiliated and exasperated by the levelling action of 
the modern revenue system. Moreover, even the poorer classes, 
though their material welfare had been so improved, disliked 
and suspected the educational measures of their new masters ; 
abused their civil procedure ; complained that the native magis- 
trates and police whom they appointed were unfit to be trusted 
with power ; and bitterly resented their protection of the hate- 
ful jjaniya ^ in his extortion. High and low alike were irritated 
by the interference of the Government with their customs, and 
groaned under the steady pressure of its taxation.^ Thus, when 

^ The Saugor aud Nerbudda Territories, though subject to the Lieutenant- 
Governor of the North-Western Provinces, are not referred to in this chapter, as 
the plan of the work requires that they should be dealt with later on. Similarly 
Meerut and Delhi, Benares and Allahabad, and Cawnpore are treated of in separate 

- Grain-dealer or money-lender. 

" Raikes's A\itcs on the Revolt, p. 7 ; Beport on the Administration of Public 
Affairs in the N. W. P. for 1857-58, pp. 6, 7, par. 32 ; H. D. Robertson's 
District Duties during the Revolt, pp. 132-7 ; M. Thornbill's Adventures of a 
Magistrate during the Indian Mutiny, pp. 87, 114-5 ; G. W. Williams's Narrative 
of Events connected with the Outbreak in 1857, p. 0. 


the storm hroke, sagacious administrators feared that the strain 
would be too great for the loyalty of the people. Their anxiety 
must have been increased when they reflected that a single 
regiment and battery at Agra, and the dishonoured troops at 
Meerut formed the only European force whose aid they could 
command. In that crisis, however, the personal character of a 
ruler was a graver consideration than the number of troops at 
his disposal. 

The ruler of the North- Western Pro^•inces was Lieutenant- 
Governor John Colvin. With a mind that could 
master the minutest administrative details,^ he was 
esteemed as an able civil officer, a kind friend, a conscientious, 
brave. Christian gentleman. Yet, Avith all his gifts of intellect 
and graces of character, he lacked that robust self-reliance, that 
unswerving decision, which enabled many men far inferior to 
him in other respects to pass triimiphantly through the ordeal 
of the Indian Mutiny. Many said that his faith in his own 
judgement had been shattered when the great disaster of 1841 
had exposed the hollo wness of the policy which, as Lord Auck- 
land's triTsted secretary, he was believed to have advised. Be 
this, however, as it may, it is certain that some of those who 
best loved John Colvin regarded him as unfit for the responsible 
post which he held in 1857.^ 

The headquarters of the Government of the North- Western 
Provinces were at Agra. This city, which is situ- 
ated on the right bank of the Jumna, a hundred 
and thirty-nine miles from Delhi, Avas perhaps the richest of all 
the cities of India in specimens of the noble architecture of the 
Moguls. In the midst of a desolate expanse near the left bank 
was a mausoleum, which the beautiful Empress, Niir Mahal, 
erected over the body of her father. It was from the minarets 
of this edifice that the most comprehensive view of the city 
might be obtained. The blue, rippling waters of the river, over 
which bright-plumaged birds hovered and skimmed, flowed past 
over smooth sands. On the opposite bank, close to the water's 
edge, stood the marble palace of Shah Jahan, its pinnacles and 
turrets glittering in the sun, and reflected in the clear stream : 
the three white domes and the gilded spires of the Pearl Mosque 
peeped out aliove the grim, red walls of the fort : the bastioned 

' Letters if Indophitiis to the Times (3rd edu.), i>p. ri3-4. 
- See A pp. A, and A pp. C. 


walls and gateways of the city were partly hidden by the foliage 
of many trees ; and the eye, as it wandered over the various 
features of the panorama, was riveted at last by the domes and 
minarets of the Taj Mahdl. On the landward side of the fort 
stretched the cantonments and, about three miles further north- 
ward, the civil station, between which and the river lay the 
native town.^ 

The news from Meerut reached Colvin on the 11 th of May. 
Alarmed by a false report, which said that the f r i • 

mutineers were on their way from Delhi to Agra, 
he summoned a representative council of the civil and military 
officers, clergymen, and Europeans of every class, to discuss the 
state of affairs. The council met on the 13th. Colvin's own 
idea, he said, was to abandon the station, and retire within the 
fort. This proposal was met by a burst of remonstrances ; and 
it soon became clear that the Lieutenant-Governor had no real 
power over his multitude of counsellors. The meeting was as 
stormy as that of a French Assembly. Some officers actually 
rushed uninvited into the room, to ask for instructions, or offer 
advice. Everyone had his own theory as to the way in which 
the crisis should be met. At last it was agreed that the best 
policy would be to secure the fort without betraying any fear, 
raise a corps of volunteers, and appoint a parade of the troops 
for the following morning. The parade was accordingly held ; 
and Colvin himself came down to address the men. Turning 
first to the English soldiers, he begged them not to distrust their 
native comrades, but added with unhappy impulsiveness, "The 
rascals at Delhi have killed a clergyman's daughter, and, if you 
have to meet them in the field, you will not forget this." The 
men looked as if they would like to fire a volley at the sepoys 
there and then. Passing to the latter, Colvin assured them of 
his sincere confidence in their loyalty, and offered to listen to 
any complaints which they might wish to make. Prompted by 
their officers to cheer, they uttered a yell, and looked with a 
devilish scowl at the Europeans. 

Colvin was deaf to that threatening yell, and blind to that 
devilish scowl. Since the meeting of the previous day, he had 
suffered himself to be persuaded that there was no real danger ; 
and in the third week of May he sent a series of telegrams to 

^ E. Roberts's Hindostan, its Landscajjes, etc., vol. ii. pp. 25-6 ; Sir W. Hunter'.s 
I'Mpericd Gazetteer, vol. i. pp. 53-4 ; H. G. Keene's HuTidbook to Agra, 1874, p. 11. 



Canning, assuring him that the worst would soon be over. Still 
he knew that, though it might be easy to weather the stoi-ni, 
the pilot could not afford to be wholly inactive. He therefore 
resolved to apply to Sindhia and the Raja of Bhurtpore for the 
help of their Maratha and Jdt troops, believing that the mutiny 
had been set on foot by the Court of Delhi, and would be 
effectually opposed by the two races who were the hereditary 

enemies of the Mogul. Both princes made haste to 

prove their loyalty ; and Colvin, cheered by Can- 
ning's hearty assurances of support, and strengthened by his 
bestowal of full powers, looked confidently forward to the 
restoration of order.^ 

Soon, however, news arrived from Aligarh, which disturbed 

^ his serenity. For a week, indeed, after the story 

Mutinies "in of the Mecrut Outbreak had reached them, the 

detachment of the 9th Native Infantry which 
garrisoned that station showed no signs of disloyalty, and even 
delivered up to justice a Brahmin who had formed a plot for 
the murder of the British officers. But on the evening of the 
20th, when the conspirator had just been hanged in the 
presence of the paraded troops, a sepoy pointed to the quivering 
body, and exclaimed to his comrades, " Behold a martyr to our 
religion." The appeal at once kindled their smouldering 
passions into flame. They did not indeed lay ^^olent hands 
upon their officers ; but they drove them away, and went them- 
selves to join the rebels at Delhi. The result of this mutiny 
was not simply the loss of an important station. It stopped 
the communication between Meerut and Agra, and set an 
example which was speedily followed by other detachments of 
■^ qg the 9th at Bulandshahr, EtAwah, and Mainpuri. 

Meanwhile a panic had arisen at Agra. Carts 
loaded with women, children, furniture, beds, and bedding 
were to be seen rattling into the fort ; carriages and foot 
passengers swarming along the roads to a large building which 
had been appointed as a place of refuge ; timid citizens running 
for their lives to their houses, screaming, as they went, that the 
mutineers were crossing the bridge. Every Englishman carried 
a sword or a revolver. One civilian was observed to turn 
ghastly pale, and was overheard warning his underlings to save 
their lives as best they could. The only unclouded faces were 
1 Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), pp. 220-1, 228, 236 ; Raikes, pp. 1, 9-12. 


those of the young officers, who bathed, and rode, and played 
billiards as merrily as ever. It was obviously necessary to take 
some steps for the protection of the non-combatants. Edward 
Reade, the senior civilian, prepared r. scheme, by which they 
were to rally, in case of danger, at the principal public buildings, 
which were to be protected by a cordon of advanced posts : but 
the effectiveness of the plan Avas marred by want of unanimity 
and discipline. The Lieutenant-Governor, persuaded that the 
great majority of the Bengal army would return to their duty, 
if once they were assured that they would be leniently dealt 
with, took upon himself the responsibility of issuing a pro- 
clamation, which he intended to be understood as coivin's pro- 
offering forgiveness to all who would give up their ciamation. 

... Mav 25 

arms, except those who had maliciously instigated 
revolt, or taken part in the murder of Europeans. The English 
translation, however, was so loosely worded that Canning, who 
knew nothing of the original, and feared that the proclamation 
might open a door of escape to many who deserved punishment, 
ordered his lieutenant to rescind it, and publish in its place a 
more explicit document which he had himself drawn up. But, 
though the incident gave rise to much controversy at the time, 
it is of slight historical importance ; for neither proclamation 
had the smallest effect in restoring order. The sepoys would 
not have appreciated clemency until they had been taught to 
fear punishment. This was clearly demonstrated only five days 
after the issue of Coivin's proclamation. The magistrate of 
Muttra had begged permission to send the Government treasure 
into Agra, in order to remove temptation from the sepoys who 
guarded it ; but Colvin replied that he was convinced of their 
loyalty. On the 30th of May tAvo companies arrived in due 
course to relieve them. The former guard was to convey the 
treasure to Agra. Reinforced by the new-comers, they im- 
mediately rose ; and on the following morning the detachment 
which the Raja of Bhiutpore had sent in answer to Coivin's 
appeal, and by the aid of which it had been intended to inter- 
cept them on their way to Delhi, followed their example and 
drove their officers away.^ 

^ Kaye, vol. iii. pp. 227-8 ; E. A. Reade's Narrative, p. 43 ; Pari. Papers, 
vol. XXX. (1857), pp. 370-3, 475-8 ; Raikes, pp. 14-15 ; Thomhill, pp. 10, 36-8j; 
Sir A. Coivin's John Russell Colmn, pp. 184-6. A company of British soldiers 
might have lieen sent front Agra to fetch the treasure. 

182 THE NORTH-WESTEHT?" raOVmOES chap, iv 

Oil the preceding uight the news of the mutiny at Muttra 
had reached the ears of Robert Drummond, the 
Dnimmoiid Magistrate of Agra. This officer had gained a 
decided ascendency over the mind of the Lieu- 
tenant-Govei^nor, whose proposal to withdraAV within the fort he 
had strenuously combated, while insisting upon the necessity 
of showing confidence in the loyalty of the sepoys. Since he 
had given this advice, however, a series of mutinies had proved 
it worthless. Moreover, though Agra itself had remained com- 
paratively quiet, nightly fires and secret meetings proved that 
there, as elsewhere, the poison was working in the sepoys' 
minds. The English had been living in the misery of suspense. 
Day after day the judges had been forced to take their seats 
upon the bench, and listen, with distracted attention, to tedious 
arguments, which, they had good cause to fear, would soon be 
settled by violence rather than law. All meanwhile had begun 
to see in the weak impulsiveness with which their chief gave 
orders only to countermand them, evidences of an instability of 
character Avhich disqualified him to rule in troublous times. 
Drummond therefore hastened to rouse him from his sleep, 
and, after telling his story, urged that the time had come for 
Mav 31 disarming the native regiments at Agra. At first 
Disanningat Colviu hcsitatecl : but he soon yielded to the 
Agra. firmness of his subordinate. In the morning a 

general parade was held, and the sepoys were deprived of their 
arms. The English at Agra could breathe freely once more.^ 
But the safety of the women and children was not yet 
Preparation ^'Ssurcd. The jDosition which they occupied was of 
of the fort great extent and wholly indefensible : sooner or 
later Agra Avould prol:»ably be attacked ; and none 
could tell when the assailants would appear. Colonel Eraser, 
the chief engineer, implored Colvin to remove the non-combat- 
ants into the fort, and to secure the property of the Govern- 
ment and of private individuals within its walls while there 
was yet time. But the fort, notwithstanding its imposing 
appearance, was incapable of standing a siege : it was not 
provisioned ; and on sanitary grounds it would have been 
unwise to allow the large non-combatant jDopulation to flock 
precipitately within its walls. Colvin had made up his mind to 
reject Eraser's advice ; and in spite of insolent remonstrances 
1 Raikes, pp. 18-9, 38-9. 


from various quarters, he adhered to his resolve. As early as 
the 14th of May, however, he had issued orders for provisioning 
the fort and making it defensible. But at Agra there was no 
real head. Disputes and altercations were incessant. Drummond 
set his face against all measures of precaution. His idea was 
simply that the British should overawe the natives by a fearless 
and confident bearing. By untiring vigilance and severe re- 
pression, he did indeed maintain order for a time in the city and 
the Agra district ; but his interference went far to render his 
chief's orders for the preparation of the fort nugatory. Supplies 
came in slowly : the work of strengthening the defences was left 
half undone ; and sanitary precautions were Avholly neglected.^ 

Meanwhile Colvin had been trying to recover his hold upon 
the stations which he had lost. If he had dis- „ , . , „ . 

. . ■ F ^ n Colvin s efforts 

armed the sepoys m time, a wnig of the European to restore 
regiment might, without endangering the safety of 
Agra, have saved much treasure and prevented much disorder : 
but unhappily it was suffered to remain inactive. Several 
detachments of the Glwalior Contingent went forth to pacify the 
country : but, though they did good service for a time, the sight 
of the villagers rising in revolt and every sign of British authority 
fading away throughout the districts which they traversed, was 
a test too strong for their loyalty ; and soon one after another 
rose in rebellion. Moreover, though a corps of July 1-2. 
mounted volunteers performed enough to show 
that some vitality was left in the British power, they were not 
numerous enough to hold the villagers in check ; and, after the 
mutiny of the Gwalior Contingent, even the most resolute of 
them were obliged to fall back on the capital. 

Far more sad, however, than the tales of mutiny and rebellion 
which grieved the Lieutenant-Governor was the report that, at 
a distant station, a British officer had turned his back upon the 
subject people. Some distance to the north of Meerut lay the 
station of Muzaffarnaerar, where a few sepoys, 


belonging to one of the regiments that had mutinied 
at ]\Ieerut, were posted for the protection of the treasury. It 
was hardly to be expected that they would remain quiet a 
moment after the news from Meerut should reach them. They 

^ E. A. Reade's Narraiice, pp. 42, 47 ; Selection of Papers from the, Ojjice of 
<Jiimmissioncr of Finance (E. A. Eeade\ p. 11 ; Thornhill, pp. 173-4, 178-9, 
181-2 ; Colviu, pp. 190-1, 194-5. 


did so, however, until the civil population set them an example 
of rebellion. And that the civil population rebelled Avas directly 
owing to the cowardice of the magistrate, Berford, who, not 
content with closing the public offices as soon as he heard of the 
mutiny at INIeerut, and thus practically confessing the overthrow 
of British authority, actually withdrew the sepoys whose duty it 
was to guard the gaol, for the protection of his own life. It is 
not improbable that those shrewd judges of character felt that 
their new charge was less valuable than the one from which they 
had just been withdrawn. Anyhow they, as well as the towns- 
people and the villagers, showed their agreement 

^ ^^ ' with the magistrate's estimate of his own power 

of rule by entering upon a coui'se of indiscriminate plunder. 

But at the more northerly station of Sahai'anpur there were 

worthier representatives of the British power. There 

a aranpur. ^-^^ magistrate, Spankie, and his colleague, Dundas 
Robertson, though they had only a few hundred sepoys and 
policemen of doubtful loyalty to control a notoriously disaffected 
population of nearly a million, and though the rising which 
Berford's pusillanimity had encouraged increased their difficulties, 
resolved never to acknowledge that their authority could be 
overthrown. Knowing that the existence of the empii'e hung, 
in a manner, upon their conduct, for with the safety 
of Saharanpur was bound up that of the neighbouring dis- 
trict of Roorkee, from which alone could be drawn a large 
portion of the siege material indispensable for the reduc- 
tion of Delhi, they set out into the district to collect the 
revenue as calmly as in the most peaceful times, led their 
half-hearted sepoys against the insurgent villagers, and, when 

June 2. mutiny at last l)roke out, still continued with the 

Junes. aid of a body of Gurkhas, who had been sent to 
their assistance, to assert their supremacy.^ 

Meanwhile the Lieutenant-Governor had hardly begun to 

congratulate himself upon the relief which the 

disarming of the native regiments had given to 

Agra before ominous news reached him from Rohilkhand. At 

Shahjahanpur the sepoys, after remaining com- 

laijaianpur. p.j^j.,^^jyg|y q^jj^t. for a fortnight after the news 
from IMeerut had icached them, rose on the 31st of Mny. Some 
of the English Avere slaughtered. Others, escaping through the 
^ Robertson ; Gazetteer of tlie S.W.P., vol. iii. pp. G2J-G. 


disunion of the mutineers, fled to Pawayan, and besought the 
Raja of that place to shelter them. He received them for the 
night, but, fearing that he would be unable to protect them, sent 
them away in the morning. Baffled and Aveary, l)ut still clinging 
to the hope of life, the fugitives went on their way, and, after 
tramping for ten miles with naked feet, reached 
Mohamdi in Oudh. There they found another 
party of Europeans. Three days afterwards the ^^^ 
whole body set out for Aurangabad, trusting to the solemn oaths 
of the native troops belonging to the station which they had 
just left, that they would not injure them. In 
mingled hope and fear they pressed on till they 
were close to their goal. Looking round, they saw the troops 
following close behind. Still they pushed on, fearing treachery, 
but not giving up hope till, when they were within half a mile 
of Aurangabad, their pursuers rushed forward and began to fire. 
The fugitives, four of whom were little children, collected under 
a tree, and the ladies, descending from a buggy in which they 
were travelling, calmly joined in prayer. That last service was 
soon over ; for the mui^derers fell upon them, and in ten minutes all 
but two were lying dead, stripped of everything that they had on.^ 
It was at Bareilly, however, that the progress of affairs was 
most anxiously awaited ; for this town was not 
only the capital of Rohilkhand, but also the seat 
of the Commissioner and the headquarters of three native 
regiments. Long before the outbreak at Meerut, the story of 
the lascar of Dum-Dum had found its way thither and caused 
excitement among the sepoys : but, even as late as the close of 
the third week in May, the Brigadier wrote to Colvin, expressing 
his belief in their loyalty. His second in command. Colonel 
Colin Troup, shared his confidence. Till the 29th all went well. 
On the morning of that day Troup heard that the two infantry 
regiments were going to rise within a few hours. The remaining 
regiment, the 8th Irregular Cavalry, was accordingly ordered to 
get under arms. The men obeyed the order Avith the utmost 
apparent zeal ; but no mutiny took place after all. That very 
evening, however, Troup heard that even in the ranks of the 
Irregulars there v/ere traitors. But their commandant. Captain 
Mackenzie, would not listen to a word in their disparagement. 
He had done his duty towards them for years Avith heart and 

^ Giibbius, pp. 123-5 ; Annals of the Indian Rebellion, pp. 359-00. 


soul : he was justly pi^oud of their noble appearance and their 
proved efficiency ; and he could appeal to the readiness with which 
they had volunteered to go on service to Pegu in 1852, and to 
their splendid conduct during the campaign, as an irrefragable 
proof of their loyalty. His confidence was soon to be tested. 
On the morning of the 31st of May he was informed by one of 
his native officers that the infantry regiments were going to rise 
at once. Only half believing the report, he nevertheless resolved 
to be on his guard. He and his officers had hardly put on theii- 
uniforms, when the brigade-major came rushing ^^p to tell them 
that the mutiny had already begun. The words were only just 
spoken when the roar of artillery and the reports of musketry 
were heard confirming their truth. Mackenzie instantly rode 
down to the lines to turn out his men. The right wing obeyed 
at once ; but Mackenzie, noticing that the troopers of the left 
wing were less prompt, went among them in person, and was 
busy forming them up, when suddenly he saw the right wing 
moving off. Galloping after them, he asked what the movement 
meant. A native officer replied that Colonel Troup had ordered 
it. The answer was quite true. The Brigadier had been slain ; 
and Troup, as the senior officer, had resolved to retreat. He 
knew that there were traitors among the Irregulars ; but it 
was not improbable that the rest might have obeyed Mac- 
kenzie, if Troup had not interfered. As it was, when 
Mackenzie asked leave to take the men back, and attempt 
the recovery of the guns, Troup replied, " It is no use ; 
but do as you like." Before Mackenzie had finished talk- 
ing, the senior natiA^e officer had ridden off the ground 
with the left wing. Perceiving their absence, but not at 
first understanding its cause, Mackenzie told the right wing 
that he was going to take them to recover the guns. Riding at 
their head to the parade ground, he there found the left wing 
drawn up side by side Avith the mutinous infantry ; rode up to 
them alone to try to win them back; and Avas apparently just 
going to succeed Avhen some of the infantrj^, who had been 
looking on intently at the struggle of inclinations, as a last 
resource, summoned the troopers in the name of their religion 
to join them. The appeal Avas as magical in its eftect as that 
of the Brahmin sepoy at Aligarh. The left Aving yielded 
to the temptation: the right wing followed their example; 
and Mackenzie, seeing that the day was lost, rode off Avith 


twenty-three faithful troopers, and, overtaking Troup, Avho had 
retreated with a few of the surviving Eui'opeans, escaped with 
him to Naini Tal. 

In Bareilly a pensioner of the British Government, named 
Khan Bahadur Khan, was proclaimed Viceroy, and 
began his reign by ordering all the English upon |^,an.^''^"''^"' 
whom he could lay his hands to be executed. But 
he could not kill their dauntless spirit. One of them, dragged 
into his presence before he was taken to execution, proudly 
defied him to do his worst, and warned him that the worst he 
could do would not be able to hinder the British from over- 
throwing his usurped dominion.^ 

The loss of Bareilly soon made itself felt. On the very next 
day the sepoys at Budaun mutinied ; and William 
Edwards, the magistrate, who, without a single 
white man to bear him company, had held his 
ground so long as it had been possible to maintain even a show 
of authority over the disaffected population which surrounded 
him, was forced to fly for his life. At Moradabad indeed, the 
bulk of the Native Infantry regiment, influenced by 
the master-spirit of the judge, Cracroft Wilson, 
whose strength of character was reluctantly acknowledged by 
the worst enemies of British rule, not only remained quiet during 
the fortnight that succeeded the outbreak at Meerut, but, on 
three distinct occasions, showed the most loyal zeal ,, ,„,„„„ 

, , . 1 -, r ■ r ^1 May 18, 10, 23. 

m checking the attacks ot mutineers from otner 
stations. Before long, however, they too succumbed to the 
contagion of rebellion in the surrounding countiy and the 
irresistible influence of the news that the regiments at Bareilly 
had risen. On the 3rd of June they rose ; and the English 
officials, after looking helplessl}^ on at the plunder of the 
Government property, reluctantly withdrew from the station 
which they had so hopefully and so valiantly defended. ^ 

With the loss of Moradabad, the downfall of British rule in 
Rohilkhand was complete. Anarchy took its place; Rowikiiand 
for the rule of Khan Bahadur Khan was never jinder Ma- 

111 ~tT-n 1 1 homedan rule. 

universally acknowledged. Villagers attacked - 

sepoys whenever they had a chance of success. \Hindus 

^ Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), pp. 559-60, 633-6 ; Annals of fRc Indian 
Rebellion, pp. 307-21 ; Malleson's Indian MiUinij, vol. i. pp. 305-%-^12-l7. 

2 Narrative of the Escape of W. Edwards from Budaon to Caivnj^ore, pp. 1-6 ; 
Sarrative of the MiUiny at Muradahad. 


were robbed and murdered by Mahomedans. The Viceroy him- 
self, though he could not keep the peace, was strong enough to 
repress the Hindu barons who disputed his power, and punished 
their disobedience with merciless cruelty. Even in a proclama- 
tion which he issued immediately after his usurpation, to gain 
over the Hindus to his cause, he could not help betraying the 
innate Mahomedan spirit of persecution, by threatening to. 
slaughter the kine of all who would not join him in exterminating 
the Christians. Such a rule could not Ixit be execrated by all 
who were unable to protect themselves. For plunder, confisca- 
tion, mutilation, and murder were everywhere rife : everywhere 
the strong preyed upon the weak ; and all who cared for peace 
and security sighed for the restoration of the British power. 
The district of Farukhabad still remains to be considered. 
^, , , , , Though belonging to the Agra Division, it was 

Farukhabad. o o o o ' 

peopled by a race closely akin to the fierce Pathans 
of Rohilkhand. The Mahomedans were numerically a small 
minority ; but in no district of the North- Western Provinces 
were they more turbulent or more antagonistic to law and order 
as such. Many of them were of good family, and, mindful of 
the past glories of their ancestors, too proud to work and too poor 
not to welcome any opportunity of acquiring riches. Though, 
however, before the end of May the district was surging in 
rebellion, the 10th Native Infantry at the capital, Fatehgarh, 
without being wholly obedient, remained quiet longer than any 
other corps in the Division. On the 16th of Jiuie, indeed, they 
informed their commanding officer. Colonel Smith, that they had 
been called upon by the 41st, who had lately risen at Sitapur in 
Oudh, to murder their officers, and promised to fight for the 
Company, which had so long cared for them, against the 

mutineers. Yet, only two days later, they told the 

Colonel that they would obey him no longer, and 
warned him to retire within the fort. 

He lost no time in following their advice. A fortnight befoBe, 

he had sent off about a hundred and seventy of his 
Fatehgarh. uou-combatants to Cawnpore, to be out of the reach 

of danger. Forty of these, however, had since 
returned, and now with some thirty others who were unable to 
bear arms, and only thirty-three fighting men, took refuge in the 
asylum pointed out by the sepoys. They had so little ammuni- 
tion that they wove obliged to collect screws, nuts, and bolts for 


grape. Still the sepoys showed no signs of advancing to the 
attack. They had acknowledged the Nawab of Farukhabad as 
their rnler, but had refused to give him the Government treasure, 
which had fallen into their hands; and, when the 41st, who had 
arrived from Sitapur, demanded a share in the plunder, they too 
met with a rebuff. Violent dissensions then broke out between 
the two regiments. Most of the 10th escaped with their ill- 
gotten gains across the Ganges into Oudh, and dispersed to their 
homes. The rest were attacked by the 41st. After many had 
fallen on both sides, the survivors agreed to join in an attack on 
the fort. It was not, however, till the morning of the 27th of 
June, that they opened fire. For several days their ^ ,^ „^,„ 

' i -T r 1 June 27 or 28? 

efforts were of no avail ; for, as they were weaker 
than the garrison in artillery, they contented themselves with 
discharging their muskets from behind trees and bushes, and 
ever and anon bringing up ladders, which, in the face of the un- 
eri'ing fire directed against them, they were never able to plant 
against the walls. On the fifth day, however, finding all their 
efibrts at escalade useless, they occupied a number of houses 
surrounding the fort, and from their roofs poured a deadly fire 
into its interior. Still the garrison, though they now began to 
lose men fast, continued night and day to maintain a noble 
defence. The women prayed without ceasing for their defenders. 
Prominent among the men was the chaplain, Fisher, whose frank 
and manly nature endeared him to all, and who, like Walker of 
Londonderry, only relaxed his eflforts to solace and encourage 
his people with the words of Christ, that he might join with 
them in repelling the enemy. Yet even the unsurpassed courage 
of the garrison could only protract the unequal struggle. The 
enemy succeeded in exploding a mine under the fort ; and, 
though they were twice hurled back from the breach which it 
had opened in the walls, they persevered and began to sink 
another shaft. Then Colonel Smith, seeing no hope of succour, 
and reflecting that his ammunition was fast failing, that many 
of his best men had fallen, and that the survivors were worn out by 
the sleepless labour of the defence, resolved to attempt an escape. 
Three boats lay moored beneath the walls of the fort. Into 
these the garrison descended on the night of the 3rd ^ , . „ 

^ . c5 _ July 4, 2 A.M. 

of July. By tAvo o'clock all were in their places ; 

and the boats, commanded respectively by Colonel Smith, Colonel 

Goldie, and Major Robertson, began to drop down the river. 


But there was already light enough for the sepoys to see that 
their prey was escaping ; and, with fierce yells, they started in 
pursuit. The current, however, carried the fugitives so swiftly 
away that their pursuers, stumbling along the uneven bank, 
could not gain upon them : but presently Goldie's boat ran 
aground ; and, Avhile its occupants were being transferred to one 
of the others, the sepoys came hurrying up and opened fire. 
Meanwhile the two remaining boats had been again set in 
motion, and drifted on, pursued bx;t still untouched, as far as 
the village of Singerdmpur. There Robertson's boat also 
grounded ; and the villagers, taking advantage of the accident, 
swarmed down to join in the attack. Then Major Munro, 
Captain Vibart, and Lieutenants Eckford, Henderson, and 
Sweetenham sprang ashore, charged up the bank and drove the 
mob away. Returning to the river, they found that every 
effort to push ofi' Robertson's boat had failed, Avhile the other 
had drifted far down the stream. The poor people who were 
left behind were still wondering what was to become of them, 
when they saw two boats coming down the stream, full of 
sepoys who, as soon as they had got within range, poured a 
dreadful fire into their midst. Then Robertson besought the 
ladies to leap into the river with their children, rather than fall 
into the hands of their inhuman enemies. Most of them did 
so ; and now their last agony began. Some were shot down by 
the sepoys or the swarms of rebel villagers. Others were taken 
prisoners, brought back to the Nawab, and blown away from his 
guns. Others were carried away by the swdft river. Robertson 
saw his wife torn from his grasp, and drowned, and only escaped 
himself to die two months afterwards of the wounds Avhich he 
had received. The gallant Fisher too saAv his Avife and child 
drowned in his arms. He and one other survivor, named Jones, 
alone succeeded in reaching Smith's boat. Jones, who had been 
cruelly wounded, remained with some friendly villagers who 
offered him food and shelter. The remainder found their last 
resting-place in the city of CaAvnpore.^ 

Meanwhile the Nawab had persuaded most of the native 
officials to take service under him, and had murdered every 
Christian upon whom he could lay his hands. 

^ Times, Nov. 3, 1857, p. 7, cols. 1 and 2 ; W. Edwards's Personal Adventures 
during the Indian Rebellion, pp. 134-5 ; Pari. Paper.^, vol. .\liv, (1857-58), Part 1, 
p. 2S6. 


The mutiny at Fatehgarh sounded the knell of British rule 
in the Doab, the country between the Ganges and 

Character of 

the Jumna. The history of the Mutiny in that the mutinies 
country and in Kohilkhand is specially interesting, aiicesYn"ti!e 
not only because it describes some of the most North-westem 

•^ . , 1 • T 1 1 • Provinces. 

tragic scenes oi that sad time, but also because it 
furnishes the most complete and important body of evidence for 
determining the nature of the purely military and the various 
other factors of the rising. The hesitating demeanour of many 
of the mutineers, notably of the Irregulars at Bareilly, in the 
very midst of the crisis, the practical loyalty of others up to 
the very day of mutiny, a loyalty which cannot be satisfactorily 
accounted for on the theory of accomplished dissimulation, the 
fact that fcAV detachments mutinied until the news that neigh- 
bouring detachments had committed themselves, or the infection 
of civil rebellion overcame their fidelity, and that sometimes a 
mere accident, like the exclamation of the fanatical sepoy at 
Aligarh, occasioned the outbreak, prove that, however skilful 
and elaborate may have been the attempts of the ringleaders to 
secure concerted action among their dupes, there was nothing 
like perfect organisation among the various sections of the 
mutineers even up to the time of mutiny, that is, even up to 
the completion of the first step only towards the attainment 
of their objects. It is more than likely that, if we take into 
account as well the natural tendency of men thrown together in 
large masses to fling oft" the restraints of law and order when 
once the example of successful contempt of authority has been 
set, the theory advanced by an intelligent Brahmin sepoy, in 
conversation with that able officer, Julius Medley of the Bengal 
Engineers, is the true one : — " Sir, there is one knave, and nine 
fools ; the knave compromises the others, and then tells them it 
is too late to draw back." ^ 

From the point of view of the historian, however, it is more 
important to learn how the civil population felt and acted 
during the Mutiny than to analyse the phenomena of the 
Mutiny itself. It is hard for a reader unacquainted with the 
characteristics of Indian society to picture to himself the head- 
long violence with which the floods of anarchy swept over the 
North-Western Provinces when once mutiny had let them loose. 
Neither the Hindus nor the Mahomedans generally regarded 
^ See also General M'Leod lunes's Lucknuiu and Oiule in the. Mutiny, pp. 22-3, 48. 


the English with any particular dislike : they acknowledged, 
notwithstanding all their grievances, the comparative justice and 
efficacy and the absolute benevolence of English rule : but they 
were too ignorant to perceive that it was their interest to support 
it ; they knew nothing of the reserve force that was available to 
rescue it in case of danger ; and therefore, when the defection of 
the sepoy army seemed to threaten it with destruction, they 
naturally relapsed into the turbulent habits of their ancestors, 
and prepared to make their profit out of the new order of 
things. Bands of mutineers and hordes of escaped convicts 
roamed over the country, and incited the villagers to turn upon 
the Feringhees. Eajas emerged from their seclusion, gathered 
their retainers around them, and proclaimed their resolve to 
establish their authority, as vassals of the King of Delhi. INIobs 
of Mahomedan fanatics unfurled their green flags, and shouted 
for the revival of the supremacy of Islam. Eajputs and Jats 
renewed old feuds, and fought Avith one another to the death. 
SAvarms of Gujai^s, starting up on every side, and girding on their 
swords and bucklers, and shouldering their matchlocks, robbed the 
mail-carts, plundered peaceful villages, and murdered the villagers. 
Mobs of budmashes set fire to tahsils, and drove out the 
tahsildars.^ The native police, who had generally been recruited 
from the dangerous classes, and whom interest, not loyalty, had 
hitherto kept on the side of authority, felt that there was 
nothing to be gained by endeavouring to prop up a doomed 
government, and threw in their lot with the CAal- doers. Dis- 
possessed landowners, clutching at the opportunity for which 
they had long waited, gathered their old tenants together, 
hunted out the purse-proud upstarts who had bought up their 
estates, and triumphantly re-established themselves in their 
ancestral homes. Insolvent debtors mobbed and slaughtered 
-without pity the effeminate baniyas, whose extortion they 
would have punished long before, but for their dread of the 
strong arm of the law. Even the Hindu villagers, who, AA-ith 
the exception of those with, whom robbery Avas a hereditary 
calling, remained quietly in their homes, were not sorry to hear 
of the overthrow of a Government which they regarded merely 
as an irresistible engine for the collection of taxes. Suttee 
and other barbarous customs which benevolent rulers had 
abolished, were re-established. The mass of the people enjoyed 

* Tahsililar — the head native revenue oflicer of a pargana or "hundred." 


the excitement and the freedom of the time ; and the English 
officials sadly confessed that their rule, notwithstanding all the 
good that it had effected, had taken no hold of popular 
sentiment. In Rohilkhand indeed and in Saharanpur they 
reported that the bulk of the Mahomedans displayed an animosity 
against the British Government, which would have been more 
formidable if they had not been distracted by racial and religious 
feuds. How disastrous was the collapse of authority will 
be understood from the fact that public works, except those 
undertaken for military purposes, absolutely ceased ; that 
surveys had to be suspended ; that civil justice could only be 
administered in a few isolated and favoured spots ; that educa- 
tion was either stopped, or frequently interrupted ; and that in 
fact, with the exception of the administration of criminal justice 
and a partial collection of the revenue, the organism of Govern- 
ment was paralysed. 

On the other hand, many of those who committed themselves 
to the cause of rebellion, Avere actuated not by inclination, but 
by fear. Most of the talukddrs were shrewd enough to per- 
ceive that it would not answer their purpose to join the rebels ; 
and though of the whole body of influential landoAvners some 
unquestionably took an active part against us, a considerable 
number were passively loyal, and some few manfully threw 
themselves into the breach, and exerted their influence to stem 
the rush of insurrection. More than one moulvi had the courage 
to proclaim that rebellion was a sin ; and if some Mahomedan 
notables staked their all upon the success of revolt, others did 
their utmost to support the Power which protected all creeds. 
A fair proportion of native officials stood gallantly at their 
posts, some of them even giving their lives for the alien 
Government which paid them. Those natives who had 
l)een taught English were generally, and those who had 
been converted to Christianity invariably loyal. Finally, 
with the exception of the hardened criminals, the professional 
robbers, and those who knew that the mercy of a long-suffering 
Government could never be extended to them, even the in- 
surgents themselves learned at last by bitter experience that 
the evils of anarchy outweighed its advantages, and hailed the 
British officers who came to re-establish authority, as deliverers.^ 

^ Major Williams's Narrative of Events connected with the Outbreak in 1857, 
pp. 6-9, 14 ; Robertson, pp. 31, 48, 108, 189 ; Dunlop's Service and Adventure 


While day after day heart-breaking tales of mutiny and 
massacre were reaching the ears of the Lieutenant- 
Gwaiior, Governor, he was anxiously asking himself what 

DinkarRao, couTSB the native allies of the JBntish would 
son. '*'^^^"' pursue. Was it certain that Sindhia's troops 
would not follow the example of the Bengal 
army ? Was it even certain that Sindhia would not himself stir 
them up to follow it ? Had the Paramount Power done any- 
thing to attach him to its rule ; or had it treated him with the 
insolence of a foreign conqueror? At the time when Ellen- 
borough had been obliged to interfere in the affairs of Gwalior, 
Sindhia had been too young to take his part in governing ; but 
in 1852 the British Government declared his minority at an 
end, and appointed as his Diwan, or Prime Minister, a young 
pundit named Dinkar Eao, who was afterwards pronounced by 
the Political Agent to be the ablest and best of the natives of 
India. The Diwan indeed soon proved himself worthy of this 
high praise. Within a few years he raised the people, by a 
series of great reforms, from the abject poverty to which a 
corrupt system of farming the taxes had reduced them, to a 
prosperity not inferior to that of the most flourishing districts 
under British rule. For a time, however, his tenure of power 
was uncertain. The young Maharaja was surrounded by a 
group of unprincipled coui'tiers, who hated Dinkar Rao for 
having deprived them of the corrupt sources of wealth which 
had lain open to them under the old system of revenue. Yield- 
ing to their insidious whispers, Sindhia dismissed his faithful 
minister, snatched up the reins of government with his weak 
and untrained hands, and within two years undid all the good 
that had been done, and threw all the affairs of State into the 
utmost confusion. At last, however, it dawned upon him that 
he had made a mistake ; and, of his own accord, he restored 
Dinkar Rao to office. Meanwhile a new Political Agent, Major 

with the Khakee Ressalah, pp. 69, 71 ; Raikes, pp. 93, 139, 157-60, 162-3, 175, 
note ; Report on the Administration of Public A fairs in, the N.W.P. for 1857- 
58, pp. 5, par. 23, 16, pars. 64-6 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 3, pp. 
305, par. 11, 509 ; H. G. Keene's Fifty-seven, pp. 41, 50, 86, 88, 115 ; Thorn- 
hill, pp. 87, 114-5, 323-4 ; Hunter's Impe'rial Gazetteer, passim ; F. C. Maude 
and J. W. Sherer's Memories of the Mutiny, vol. i. pp. 160-61, 194 ; E. A. 
Reade's Narrative, p. 39 ; Gazetteer of tlie X. W.'P., vol. ii. pp. 116-17, 254-6, 503-4 ; 
vol. iii. pp. 331-2, 626 ; vol. v. pp. 120, 132, 503 ; vol. viii. (Mnttra), p. 169 ; 
vol. ix, (Moradabad), p. 163. 


Charters Macpherson, had come to his court. Macpherson was 
one of the noblest of those many noble officers who have led 
lives of hardship and danger, and courted premature death, in 
the cause of Indian civilisation, knowing all the M'hile that their 
countrymen at home felt no interest in their doings or their 
suflerings. He had laboured for years in a pestilential climate 
to persuade the hill-men of the Khond country to abandon the 
hideous rite of human sacrifice, and had at last succeeded. And 
now he entered upon his new duties in the same devoted spirit. 
Deeply sympathising with the natives of India, tolerant of, but 
never acquiescing in their sins, he was just the man to watch 
over the uncertain efToi'ts of a native government to work out 
a sound administrative system for itself. He wisely resolved 
not to interfere obtrusively, but, while ever holding himself 
ready with suggestion and advice, to encourage Sindhia and the 
Minister to regard themselves as the responsible rulers. With 
Dinkar Rao his task was easy. The Englishman and the 
Mardtha soon learned to know each other's worth ; and there 
grew up between them the familiar intercourse that may subsist 
between able and high-minded men, however diverse their 
national characteristics may be. But, while the Agent could 
regard the Diwan as a friend, towards the Maharaja he felt 
himself in the position of an anxious father ; for he soon dis- 
cerned that the yoiuig prince, though intelligent and well- 
intentioned, was unstable and impulsive. Gradually, hoAvever, 
Macpherson's tact and firmness prevailed over the influence of 
the coiu-tiers ; and, by the time that the Mutinj^ broke out, he 
had established his ascendency. It chanced, moreover, that, a 
few weeks before, Sindhia had paid a visit to Calcutta ; and, 
while he was strongly impressed by the evidences of British 
power which he saw there, he was gratified by Canning's 
assurance that the British Grovernment would always continue 
to respect the independence of his dynasty.^ 

When, therefore, the storm broke, Sindhia, though he could 
discern the signs of the times well enough to foretell that the 
hold of the British upon India would be strained to the utmost, 
never doubted that they would eventually triumph, never 
hesitated to declare that his loyalty to them was unshaken. 
Macpherson saw that it Avoidd be his task to keep him steady to 

' S. C. Macpherson's Memorials of Service, in India, pp. 299, -301, 304, 307, 


this resolve, and prevent the courtiers from working on his 
well-known love of military display by reminding him of the 
martial glories of his ancestors and tempting him to assert his 
family right to the championship of the Maratha people against 
the British intruders. There was, indeed, cause to fear that 
Sindhia might listen to their suggestions. For almost the entire 
mass of his subjects were convinced that the knell of British 
supremacy had sounded. Presently, however, it became clear that 
the Agent's influence was gaining the da}^ ; for, while promptly re- 
sponding to Colvin's request for the aid of the detachments from 
the Contingent, Sindhia also sent the flower of his own army, 
his cherished body-guard, to protect Colvin's person. But that 
which most strongly impressed his people with the belief that he 
had resolved to side with the Paramount Power was his evident 
determination to be guided by the counsels of his Minister, 
whom all kneM^ to be a resolute opponent of the rebellion.^ 

Unfortunately, however, not everyone at Gwalior who wished 
as well to the British cause as the Minister saw 
Brigadier at ^o clcarly how to scrvc it. Among the first 
^f^c^i°-™'^ questions which had to be decided was how to 
provide for the safety of the women and children. 
They were then living in cantonments at the mercy of the 
Contingent, of whose determination to mutiny Sindhia, Dinkar 
Rao, and Macpherson were alike convinced. Sindhia earnestly 
begged that they should be removed to the protection of the 
Eesidency ; and, on the 28th of May, Brigadier Ramsay, the 
Commander of the Contingent, hearing that the troops in canton- 
ments intended to rise that night, actually did remove them. 
In tlie course of the night they were transferred from the 
Residency to Sindhia's palace. The Brigadier was annoyed on 
hearing of this;'' and listening to the remonstrances of his 

^ Macpherson's Memwials of Service in India, pp. 310-12. 

- Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, 20 to 29 July 1857, pp. 208, 
211. Major Meade thought that it was unwise to send the ladies and children to 
Sindhia's palace, because the palace was in the heart of the native town. But, as 
the Brigadier had refused to do the right thing and send them to Agra, the 
question is whether it would have been wiser to keep them in the cantonments 
or to entrust them to Sindhia's protection. Now it was certain, though the 
Brigadier, like other confiding officers, did not think so, that the troops in 
cantonments would mutiny : so long as Sindhia remained loyal, the ladies would 
be safe with him ; and Macpherson had, as the event proved, good reason to 
feel absolutely confident that Sindhia would be staunch. Moreover, eight Eng- 
lish women, who, after the outbreak, went through the town to the palace, were 
not molested. See Mrs. Coopland's ^1 Lady's Escape from Owalior, p. 130. 


native officers, who declared the original removal to be an insult 
to them and their men, and paying no heed to the warnings of 
those wiser than himself, ordered their return. He was thus, 
though he knew it not, signing the death-warrant of many for 
whose lives he was responsible. 

Then began a period of intolerable suspense for these un- 
happy people. They might perceive, but thej^ could not remedy 
the insane credulity which had subjected them to a mental 
agony worse than that of a condemned criminal, for fear of 
wounding the sensitive honour of intending murderers. One 
of them afterwards recorded this solemn recollection of the 
agony she had gone through : — " the words, ' death in life, 
the days that are no more,' kept recurring to my memory like 
a dirge." At last they were allowed to hope that they might 
be sent to Agra. But the ray of comfort had hardly shone out 
before it was overclouded. The Lieutenant-Governor telegraphed 
that they must remain at Gwalior until mutiny 

June 1*'' 

should break out there.^ On the 14th of June 
they heard the sickening details of a massacre at Jhansi, 
To many of them the news sounded like a prophecy. That 
night the prophecy was fulfilled. The nine o'clock gun had 
just been fired when a bugle sounded ; and the 
sepoys poured out of their huts, and seized their owaiwr.^* 
muskets. The officers hurried down to the lines : 
l)ut they could do nothing to restore order ; and four of them 
were shot dead on the spot. Warned by the reports of musketry, 
the crackling of flames, the shrill blasts of bugles, and the 
shriller shrieks that dinned upon their ears, the inmates of 
every European dwelling fled. The chaplain, with his Avife and 
another lady, hid themselves in a garden. Presently they heard 
loud shouts of brutal laughter : a number of bayonets, gleaming 
in the moonlight, thrust aside the bushes behind which they 
lay concealed ; and a mob of sepoys passed within arm's length 
of them. They were still marvelling at their escape, when a 
faithful Mahomedan servant discovered them, and took them to 
a hut close by. There they lay cowering all night. Day had 
dawned brightly, and the birds were singing, when a number of 
sepoys rushed up, climbed on to the roof, and, tearing off the 
beams, fired down at them. Choosing rather to die in the open 
air, they rushed outside. Instantly the sepoys descended and 

* See App. W. 


suiTOunded them, and, when the ladies, with clasped hands, 
cried out for mercy, replied, " We will not kill the mem-sahil)s, 
only the sahib." Then the chaplain was hurried off: his 
wretched wife was dragged, with two other ladies, into another 
hut close by ; and in a few moments the sound of volley fol- 
lowing volley told her that all was over. But the Mahomedan 
who had rescued her from the first outburst of the sejDoys' fury 
watched over her, and escorted her to Agra, where, after endur- 
ing grievous hardships and cruel insults from the people of the 
country, she and the rest of the survivors found a refuge at last.^ 
Among those survivors was Macpherson. He, however, had 
not left Gwalior until he had achieved a political 
persuades°" triumph without which India could hardly have 
his troops iu-*^"^ been saved. Narrowly escaping an attack from a 
active at stray party of Mahomedan fanatics, he had made 

his way to the Maharaja's palace, and, before he 
left him, had persuaded him to use all his influence to detain 
the mutinous Contingent and his own army -within the limits of 
Gwalior. It was a signal illustration of the irresistible influence 
which an English gentleman of strong and elevated character 
can establish over the mind of a native. For not only was it 
obviously for Sindhia's immediate interest to rid himself of the 
rebellious soldiery ; but he might fairly think that he had long 
ago done enough to prove his loyalty, and was now free to follow 
his own inclination. Yet Macpherson was able to persuade him 
to undertake a task full of anxiety as well as of positive danger 
to himself, for the sole object of rendering harmless two powerful 
armies which must otherwise have gone to sAvell the numbers of 
the enemies of the British power. In other words, he so wrought 
upon Sindhia as to induce him to interpose his own person and 
power to parry a thrust aimed at the power which professed to 
protect him. Yet the man who performed this transcendent 
service for his country was suffered to die without receiving any 
reward beyond a few words of official commendation.- 

Hitherto, in the North -Western Provinces, the course of 

events had signally falsified the confident anticipa- 

'■^ ' ' ' tions as to the speedy termination of the revolt 

which Colvin had expressed to Canning in the middle of May. 

There was one territory, however, not included within those 

^ ,1 LaiJy.i Escape from Gwalior, by R. M. (Mrs.) Cooplaiul, pp. 107, 
131-44. " '^ Macphursoii, pp. 320-21. 


provinces, but yet subject to his supervision, for the tnmquillity 
of which he might reasonal^ly have hoped. This was the country 
of Rajputana, comprising a number of native states, six of which 
were supervised by British political officers,^ while all alike 
acknowledged the general control of an Agent appointed by the 
Governor-General. The flat, uncultivated, and desolate expanse 
of this vast region was here and there relieved by spots of 
romantic beauty ; and almost every hill was crowned by an old 
ruined castle, glorified by traditions of some gallant feat of arms 
performed against the Mahomedan invaders of a past age, who 
had never been able to reduce the high-spirited Rajputs to com- 
jjlete subjection.'^ In 1857 the descendants of these patriots 
had for nearly forty years been under British protection, and 
were the better able to appreciate the blessings which it had 
conferred upon them, because they had not yet forgotten what 
their fathers had suffered at the hands of the Mussulman, the 
Maratha, and the Pindari. On the other hand, some of the 
Rajas were on such bad terms with their nobles, the thakurs, 
that they Avere not in a position to render efficient support to 
the Paramount Power in case of need. These very thakurs too 
hated and feared the Paramount Power because, in its character 
of guardian of the public peace, it had restrained them from 
bullying their Rajas ; and it seemed certain that, if mutiny 
were to break out in the army which formed the chief strength 
of the Government, and compel it to relax the grip of its re- 
straining hand, their hatred would prove stronger than their fear.^ 
The Governor-General's Agent was Colonel George St. Patrick 
Lawrence, a gallant, straight-forward, hard-headed 
cavalry officer, who, in the course of a most adventur- Lawence. 
ous service of thirty-six years, during the latter part 
of which he filled a succession of responsible political offices, had 
given evidence of a strong good sense and a solid ability which 
had raised him, like his more gifted younger brothers, to the head- 
ship of a great province. He was living at the summer station 
of Mount Abu when the news of the outbreak at 
Meerut reached him. He took in the whole political 
situation, so far as it affected him, at a glance. He was respon- 
sible for the safety of a country more than a hundred and 
thirty thousand square miles in extent ; and, though the rela- 

^ Pritchard, p. 6. 2 //_,_ pp_ g, 9. 

■* Enclosures to Secret Letters from India. 


tioiis of its inhabitants with the British had not been such as to 
predispose them to revolt, there was danger in the presence 
among them of five thousand sepoys, whose inevitable disloyalty 
there were no British soldiers to check.^ 

Lawrence lost no time in proving to the native princes that 

he did not despair of the safety of the common- 

ciamaUon. Wealth. FouT days after the neAvs from Meerut 

. reached him, he issued a proclamation, calling upon 

them to keep the jjeace Avithin their respective 
territories, and to hold their troops in readiness to assist the 
British Government. His lieutenants ably seconded his efforts 
by inspiring the princes with the belief that it was their interest 
to support the power which protected them ; and though the 
troops which they offered to furnish were as little to be trusted 
as the men of the Gwalior Contingent, the knowledge that they 
were themselves loyal had a reassuring influence upon the minds 
of their people.^ 

Meanwhile Lawrence himself had another serious object in 

view. In the heart of Rajputana was an important 
Lteuteiumt stronghold called Ajmere, belonging to the British. 
Ajmere '^^'^^"^ This town was to Rajputana what Delhi was to 

North-Western India. It possessed a well-stored 
arsenal and a full treasury : it was a venerated resort both for 
Mahomedan and for Hindu pilgrims ; and within its walls was 
concentrated most of the wealth of the native merchants and 
bankers of Rajputana. Lawrence foresaw that, if it were to fall 
into rebel hands, it would become a rallying point for all the 
enemies of order throughout the country. Yet at that time its sole 
garrison consisted of two companies of native infantry. Fortun- 
ately, however, there was stationed at Beawar, thirty-seven miles 
south-west of Ajmere, a regiment of Mairs, who, being hill-men 
and of low caste, had no sympathy with the sepoys. Colvin 
sent an order to Colonel Dixon, the Commissioner of Ajmere, to 
send for two companies of the Mairs, who were to displace the 
sepoys. This delicate operation was entrusted to Lieutenant 
Carnell, who, making a forced night-march from Beawar, relieved 
the sepoys before they had time to mature any plans of resistance 

^ Hunter's Imperial Gazetteer, vol. vii. p. TiOS ; Lawrence's Remuiisi-ences 
of Fortif- three Years in India, i)p. 278-9. MS. uoIls sunt to lue by Sir A. 
Lyall, k.C.B. 

^ Lawruuce, ]ip. 279, o02-3. 


which they may have formed.^ Thus Ajmere was saved, and 
with it the whole of Rajputana. 

It was not, however, to be expected that there would be no 
isolated outbreaks. Within a few days after the 
reinforcement of Ajmere, the troops at Nusseerabad Nusseerabad 
and Neemuch, the two chief military stations under ^"'^ Neemuch. 
British occupation, mutinied, and, setting their faces June's.' 
towards Delhi, plundered villages, destroyed bunga- 
lows, and threw everything into confusion. l"he Parsecs and 
shop-keepers of Neemuch fell into an agony of alarm. But the 
stations were almost immediately reoccuj)ied by a mixed detach- 
ment of Europeans and Bombay sepoys, whom Lawrence had 
promptly summoned from Deesa. Moreover, the Eaja of Jodh- 
pur placed at the disposal of Lawrence a body of troops, about 
two thousand of whom were sent in pursuit of the mutineers. 
Lawrence himself, on hearing of the mutiny at Nusseerabad, had 
moved from Abu to the more central position of Beawar. He 
had noticed on his journey that the country was comparatively 
quiet ; and, on his ariival, he did much to strengthen the con- 
fidence of the people in the vitality of the British power by 
assuming the office left vacant by the recent death of the 
Commissioner, Colonel Dixon, and carrying on judicial business 
in open court as calmly as in a time of profound peace. ^ 

Thus, in a most critical period of the Mutiny, the Agent and 
his officers had, with utterly inadequate resources, upheld the 
authority of their Government, in spite of mutiny, over the vast 
territory of Eajputana. But, before the end of the month, the 
mutineers whose malice they had disappointed Avere on their 
way to threaten Agra, and throw in their lot with the rebels 
who were harassing its distracted ruler. 

Though the history of the Mutiny in the countries under 
Colvin's direction is brightened by many individual shortcoinings of 

. J? Tj_- 1 J II," Colvin : his uiis- 

mstances oi political courage and personal heroism, gries : he tries 
yet, on the whole, it is a dismal record of failure, todoiusduiy. 

^ Lawrence, pp. 279-80 ; information from Major -General W. Caruell. 
Lawrence's account of this episode is inaccurate. 

'■^ Ibid. pp. 281-3 ; Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, Aug. 1857, 
p. 1025, 8 to 22 Oct. 1857, pp. 591-2, 24 Dec. 1857, pp. 178, 343. It must not 
be supposed that the people were universally well affected. Captain Hardcastle, 
who accompanied the Jodhpur troops, wrote, " At every station (in Jeypore) 
through which we passed, the inhabitants cursed and abused us as English." — • 
Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, Aug. 1857, pp. 1082-3. 


For this failure Colvin was in part responsible. It is true that, 
owing to the paucity of British troops and the evil effects of 
British legislation, his position was one of unexampled difficulty. 
It is also true that, owing to the selfishness and faint- 
heartedness of Hewitt and of AVilson, the powerful force at 
Meerut did absolutely nothing to support him ; and that his 
lieutenants did not all display the strong self-reliance which 
enabled Spankie and Dundas Robertson to maintain their hold 
Tipon a large and turbulent district. But, on the other hand, 
there were some high officials at that time Avho, though they 
were no better served than Colvin, yet, far from allowing them- 
selves to be disheartened by the failure of erring subordinates, 
only laboured the more earnestly to inspire them with their own 
high courage and vigorous resolve, and made \ip for their Avant 
of material resources by acting as though they possessed them. 
It is impossible indeed to affirm that the most resolute and clear- 
sighted of Indian statesmen could, if he had been placed in 
Colvin's position, have preserved entire tranquillity over the 
North- Western Provinces : but it may confidently be affirmed 
that to Colvin's feebleness and political blindness was due the 
unprecedented anarchy which actually prevailed. The truth 
was that from the outset his burden had been too heavy 
for him, and that, while he had grown weaker, it had grown 
heavier. Day after day messages poured in upon him, tell- 
ing how officers of high rank had been hunted out of their 
stations, and had fled into jungles, to save themselves from 
being murdered by men from whom they had been accustomed 
to receive the most servile obeisance : how ladies and little 
children had been put to a cruel death, or had escaped only to 
endure sufferings worse than death.^ He could not conceal from 
himself that all over the country the fabric of his Government 
Avas falling to pieces ; and he bitterly complained that the 
result of years of conscientious labour had been undone within 
a few weeks by the very people for whose benefit it had been 
undergone. But to a man of his kindly nature it was more 
bitter still to know that his countrymen Avere crying out for 
help, and that he could not help them. Yet, though he ac- 
knoAvledged that the misery which their suflierings caused him 
and the load of his responsibility Avere greater than he could 
bear, he continued resolutely to Avatch every detail of public 
' See Kobertsou, pp. 181-2. 


lousiness. He would have served his country better by sparing 
himself this labour, and leaving room in his mind for larger 
views of state policy. While Agi-a itself was noAv almost the 
only stronghold not submerged by the flood of insurrection, he 
continued, Avith unfortunate credulity, to entrust a share 
in its defence to the native police. It was pointed out to 
him in vain that these pretended guards were in league 
with all the rebels in the district. Drummond believed in 
their fidelity ; and he had given himself up to Drummond's 

Towards the end of June, however, he heard a report which 
would have startled the most apathetic of rulers 

... ,. tj • 1 .,1 i ii j_- He loinoves the 

into Vigorous action, it was said that the muti- women and cwi- 
neers from Eajputana, iuAated by the native police, fnto the^ort 
were in full march upon Agra. The mutineers 
from Jhansi were in the neighbourhood of Etdwah, and 
might come to their aid. Hitherto Colvin had refused to 
listen to the most urgent entreaties for the removal of the 
women and children into the fort ; although the fort had, for 
at least a fortnight, been ready for their reception,^ and their 
removal would have released the adult males for the work of 
defence. Now, of com-se, he could refuse no longer. Yet even 
now he forbade anyone to take into the fort more than a few 
indispensable articles of personal use, thus exposing much valu- 
able property to the risk of being plundered and destroyed by 
the mutineers.^ 

Meanwhile it was necessary to consider what measures ought 
to be taken to repel the expected onslaught. Be- 
sides the European troops, there were available for ^^^n.^'""°"^^ 
defence a contingent furnished by the Rajput Raja 
of Kotah and a small force raised by a native official named 
Saifulla Khan. It was decided on the 2nd of July to post the 
Kotah Contingent for the protection of the cantonments, and 
to send out Saifulla Khan's levies, as a corps of observation, 
to the western suburb of Shahganj. The day after these 

1 Thornhill, pp. 179-81, 183 ; Raikes, pp. 52-3, 56 ; Gazetteer of the X.W.F. 
vol. vii. p. 649. See App. C. 

^ As nearly ready, to speak with strict accuracy, as it was when they were 
actually admitted. The native Christians, it shoiild be noted, were refused 
admission till the 4th of July. See Reade, pp. 47, 49, and Nineteenth Century, 
April 1897, p. 562. 

* Raikes, pp. 52-4 ; Reade, p. 49. 


arrangements had been made, Colvin's health Ijroke down 
so completely that he was obliged to make over the Govern- 
ment to a pro\dsional council. The members were Brigadier 
Polwhele, the military chief, Reade and Major Macleod. 
Next day the council ordered a pontoon bridge over the 
Jumna, by which mutineers from the Doab might have entered 
the town, to be disconnected. On another question, how- 
ever, a difficulty arose. The loyalty of the Kotah Contingent 
was suspected. The mutineers from Rajputana had halted 
at Fatehpiu' Sikri, about twenty miles from Agra. Polwhele had 
resolved, in the event of their approaching the station, to march 
out and oj^pose them. He agreed to allow the horse and foot 
of the Kotah Contingent to accom}!any the British force ; and 
with this object they were ordered to take up a position on the 
road leading to Fatehpur Sikri. Separated from their artillery, 
they fancied that the British intended to destroy them, and 
hastened to join the mutineers, who had moved nearer in. Thus 
reinforced, and encouraged by promises from the police, the 
mutineers advanced to a village called Sacheta, situated not more 
than five miles from the cantonments. Further they would not 
go ; for they doubted whether there was much treasure to be 
got at Agra, and were not really inclined to risk an attack upon 
the British troops. The same night Saifulla Khan reported 
that his men were not to be trusted. He was therefore ordered 
to withdraw them out of harm's way to the neighbouring village 
of Kerauli. Before sunrise on the following morn- 
" ^ ' ing Colonel Fraser and other senior officers called 
upon Polwhele, and begged him to bring matters to a crisis by 
marching out, and attacking the rebel army. Polwhele decidedly 
refused. His duty was simply to defend Agra. His cavalry 
Avere so few that even if he were to gain a victory, he would be 
unable to follow it up. He had less than a thousand men all 
told, many of whom were volunteers ; and the European regi- 
ment, which numbered little more than six hundred, was 
composed of young soldiers, who had never seen a shot 
fired in anger. The mutineers outnumbered his force by 
five to one ; and a large proportion of them were seasoned 
troops, who had fought at SobrAon and at Mooltan. He 
believed that if they were left to their own devices, they 
would go on to Delhi without attacking Agra ; and he was 
determined not to leave Agra at the mercy of the police, the 


budmashcs and the five thousand criminals who were lodged 
in the gaol. At seven o'clock a young ensign galloped into 
Agi^a in great excitement and announced that he had seen the 
mutineers moving into Shahganj. The report rapidly spread. 
Presently a score of officers, civil and military, went to Polwhele, 
and vehemently urged him to go out and fight. He took no 
steps to test the truth of the report. Two courses, it seemed, 
lay open to him. He might, in the spirit of his declared inten- 
tion, keep his troops ready to repel the mutineers, in case they 
should venture to brave the heavy guns of the fort ; or he might 
march out and attack them, on the bare chance of success, and 
with the certainty that the convicts and budmashes would take 
advantage of his absence to rise. For a time he clung to his 
resolve ; and the more experienced of his officers tried hard to 
keep him firm : but the clamour of the forward party pre- 
vailed. He allowed his judgement to be overborne, and issued 
oi'ders for an immediate advance.^ 

Early in the afternoon the little army quitted the parade- 
ground. Near Shahganj Polwhele halted and found that, after 
all, it was not occupied. The youthful ensign had deceived 
himself. What he saw was only an advanced piquet, which was 
now falling back, to warn the main body. As it seemed evident 
that the mutineers had, after all, no intention of attacking Agra, 
the Brigadier wished to return. But Captain D'Oyly, who com- 
manded his artillery, assured him that he could drive the 
mutineers from their position. The army again advanced. 
After a march of about half-a-mile it came in sight 
of the enemy, who were posted in and behind the sa^^lfta/ 
village of Sacheta, their guns, which had been 
placed in front and on either flank, being protected by rising 
ground and clumps of trees. Presently their left battery 
opened fire. Polwhele, who had already formed up his line, 
ordered the infantry to lie down, and directed the artillery, which 
was divided into two half-batteries, placed, like that of the enemy, 
on either flank, to reply to the challenge. The officers fought 
their guns like heroes : but the mutineers, sheltered as they 
were by natiu-al breastworks, were too strong for them. 
While the British infantry were suffering from the fire of rifle- 

^ March Phillipps's report {Annals of tlie Indian Rebellion, pp. 7(31 -:2) ; 
Thornliill, pp. 177-90; Reade, pp. 19-20, 52; printed (but unpublished) 
papers by Col. de Kantzow. See App. D. 


men perched in the trees and on the tops of honses, the enemy's 
gunners were leisurely finding the range. A tumbril was blown 
up ; and one of the guns on the left was dismounted. The officers, 
finding that their ammunition was running short, implored Pol- 
whele to order a general advance. There were the infantry, 
chafing under their enforced inaction, eager to lie allowed to rise 
and hurl themselves upon the rebels. But Polwhele saw that the 
artillery had not yet done its work ; and he shrank from diminish- 
ing the scanty numbers of the defenders of Agra. The mutineers 
held a strong position ; and if the infantry failed to dislodge 
them, his retreat might be cut oft', and then Agra would be lost. 
He continued to bombard the village until a second tumbril ex- 
ploded. The brigade might now have fallen back upon Shahganj, 
and waited for fresh ammunition: but, as there was nothing 
to be gained by prolonging the battle, the wiser course would 
have been to retreat. Polwhele adojoted neither alternative. 
Though his artillery ammunition Avas completely exhausted, 
though the enemy's cavaliy had actuall}^ charged the left half- 
battery, he sent his infantry, in two small columns, to the attack. 
It was too late, — or too soon. The infantry did indeed penetrate 
the front part of the village : but the enemy still swarmed 
beyond a lane which bisected it, and behind the wall of a planta- 
tion on its right; the British soldiers, after a fierce struggle, 
were seen streaming back ; and Polwhele, perceiving that the 
contest was hopeless, reluctantly gave the order to retreat. The 
retreat was conducted Avith such coolness and skill that the 
enemy believed that he was only returning to procure fresh 
ammunition and renew the combat. Their infantry indeed, which 
had suft"ered heavily from the fire of his guns, did not attempt to 

Meamvhile the w^omen in the fort had been anxiously wait- 
ing for the issue of the battle upon which they 
forced to*" believed their safety to depend. The distress of 
thefort.**^ those whosc hus])ands were in action was terrible. 
For three long hours they listened to the roar of 

' Time.i, Sept. 2, 1857, p. 5, col. 6 : Sept. 1, p. 8, col. 5 ; Colouel White's 
Indian Reminiscences, pp. 117-21 ; Tlioriihill, pp. 191-4 ; ncconut of Mr. March 
Phillipps, who fought in the volunteer cavalry (printed in Keene's Handbook to 
Agra, 1874, pp. 57-9) ; printed papers Ijy and personal information from Col. de 
Kantzow. See App. D. 

One company of the mxitineers was armed witli Enfield rifles ; while the 
British had only muskets. 


the contending artillery. At last some of them, unable to bear 
the strain of suspense any longer, hurried to the flag-staff on the 
Delhi gate, from which they knew that they would be able to 
discern the movements of the two armies. Then their suspense 
was terminated indeed, but by despair ; for they could plainly 
see their countrymen retreating, hotly pursued by the enemy's 
cavalry. Presently a mob of soldiers, covered with dust and 
dripping with blood, came rushing into the fort, clamouring for 
drink. Now that they knew the worst, the women forgot their 
own sorrows. Some of them went about ministering to the 
needs of the thirsty soldiers. Others watched over the bed- 
sides of the wounded and the dying. And among the objects of 
their tender devotion was one whose dying moments Florence 
Nightingale herself might have been proud to soothe, — Captain 
D'Oyly of the Artillery, whose last spoken words were, 
"Put a stone over my grave, and say that I died fighting my 
guns." ^ 

All this time the budmashes of Agra, joined by the convicts, 
who had escaped from prison, and by those of the police who had 
not dispersed, were burning the houses in cantonments, destroying 
the property which Colvin's fatuity had left in their way, and 
mmxlering every Christian who still lingered in the city. Cluster- 
ing on a large plateau within the fort, the refugees were forced 
to listen to the hellish din, and looked on helplessly at the swift 
ruin that was overtaking their houses, from which the flames, 
leaping upAvard, shed their glow over the maze of streets, over 
the broad expanse of the river, and upon the snowy wonder of 
the Tdj. No precaution was taken to repel an attack : there 
was no order and no head : loose horses were galloping about 
and fighting : w^ounded gun-bullocks were lying on the ground ; 
and drunken soldiers bivouacking in the rain. For two days 
after the first outburst in the town had subsided, disorder Avent 
on unchecked ; foi- the English were too dispirited by their 
late disaster to march out and reassert their authority. On 
the 8th of July, however, Drummond, having heard from 
a friendly native that there was no serious opposition to 
be expected, sallied forth with a small escort, and paraded the 
streets. The ral>ble instantly dispersed. Thenceforward, 
although anarchy was rampant in the district, Agra itself was 
at peace. 

^ CooplaiKl, pp. 181-2 ; Raikes, p. 62. 


The fort, within which nearly six thousand human beings 
Lfe • ti f rt "^^"^''® ^^^"^ gathered together, looking forward to a 
captivity of indefinite duration, was a huge, massive 
erection of red sandstone, commanding the town and the river. 
Inside its walls were grouped a vast collection of edifices — plain 
Government buildings, lofty marble halls, gracefid mosques, 
pavilions, towers, kiosks, and splendid palaces. Within these 
the captive people had now to find what accommodation they 
could. In the corridor running round the noble palace of Akbar 
ladies might have been seen busily trying to impart a look of 
comfort to the little improvised huts which had been assigned as 
their temporary homes. Among the fugitives were to be found 
representatives of many different races, creeds, and professions, 
— soldiers, civilians, English ladies and their children, Eurasians, 
native servants, monks, nuns, and even rope-dancers and circus- 
riders belonging to a travelling French company. At first there 
was necessarily confusion among such a motley assemblage, 
huddled together in the narrowest quarters. Signs of defective 
preparation were everywhere manifest. Heaps of filth lay 
putrefying in the sun, and emitted sickening smells. But order 
was soon established by the exertions of those in command. 
Dirt and confusion gave way to cleanliness and arrangement. 
Every room, hut, shed, and cell was carefully numbered. Nor 
were regular official duties suspended. The chief power was 
practically in the hands of the military authorities, of Avhom 
Colonel Cotton was soon appointed the head. Under their 
vigorous rule measures were promptly taken for the victual- 
ling of the garrison and the strengthening of the fort ; and all 
gradually resigned themselves to make the best of their new 

In that life there was more of dull monotony than of tragic 
interest. The civil and military officers indeed were occupied 
from morning till night with their respective duties ; and many 
of the ladies forgot the weariness of captivity in ministering to 
the wounded, or teaching the young ; but some of the inmates 
found the time hang heavy upon their hands. No one indeed 
was exposed to any risk of starvation : no one was oliliged to 
crouch within doors for fear of being struck doM'n by shot or 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, p. 190 ; Thoniliill, pp. 193-4, 
198, 207 ; C. C. Seymour's Ho7r I icon the. Mutini/ Medal, p. 99 ; Coopland, 
p. 183 ; Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, 24 Sept. 1857, p. GSO. 


shell ; there were no worse hardships to be endured than those 
which were inseparable from the conditions of over-crowding 
and want of ventilation. But, as time passed, and the hoped- 
for news of the fall of Delhi never came, the inmates of the fort 
became seriously anxious for their own safety. Indeed, though 
there were many true heroes among them, they were afterwards 
taunted by some of their countrymen with having displayed a 
very unheroic spirit. It is true that they more than once had 
good reason to believe that they were in imminent danger of 
being attacked by overwhelming numbers : but still there was 
something ludicrous in the idea of some hundreds of able-bodied 
men subjecting themselves to all the inconveniences and suffer- 
ing all the terrors of a besieged garrison, while they were never 
really besieged at all. It seems at last to have dawned upon 
them that it was discreditable to remain shut up in a fort instead 
of l)oldly marching out, and trying to re-establish their authoritj^ 
in the surrounding country ; for, towards the end of August, a 
small force was actually despatched to Aligarh, defeated there a 
band of rebels whose chief had set up a government of his own, 
and thus did something to weaken the general belief that British 
authority had collapsed.^ 

That the garrison were in fact spared the miseries of a siege 
was due to the exertions of Macpherson, who, ^ , 

during the whole period of his captmty, corre- of Macpherson 
sponded unceasingly with Sindhia and Dinkar Rao.^ 
If he had not thus inspired them with his counsel, and cheered 
them by his support, they could never have succeeded, as they 
did, in carrying out his instructions. Though the reverses which 
the English everywhere suffered in July and August seemed to 
warn Sindhia to desert a hojieless cause while there was yet 
time, his confidence in Macpherson was such that he submitted 
for four months to the insults, and resisted the entreaties of his 
troops, and, in turns, defying, flattering, deceiving, and sowing 
dissensions among them, baffled their evil purposes, and kept 
them inactive at Gwalior, at the very crisis at which their help 
might have turned the scale in favour of the rebels. With all 
his loyal intentions, he would never have been able to do this if 

1 ParL Pcqxrs, vol. xliv., Part 3, pp. 157-9; Coopland, pp. 1.59, 162-6, 
170-5, 184-213. 

- Colonel de Kantzow thinks that it was also due to the fact that in July, 
after the battle of Sacheta, the Chamlml was in fnll'flood. 


it had not been for the marvellous influence which, even from a 
distance, Macpherson exercised over him,^ 

In other districts besides Aligarh the civil officers were trying 

manfully to re-establish their authority. It was of 
Duniop^ °^ course impossible for them to achieve anything like 

complete success Avhile the natives could point to 
the glaring failure of the English to reconquer Delhi. Still, 
something was done. The credit of striking the first effective 
blow for the restoration of British prestige and of orderly rule 
belonged to the magistrate and collector of Meerut, Robert 
Dunlop. This officer was enjoying a well-earned holiday in the 

Himalayas, when he heard of the massacres at 

Meerut and Delhi. Instantly he rode down to 
Simla, and thence drove on to Delhi. Thence again, in obedience 
to the orders of his Commissioner, Hervey Greathed, he rode to 
Meerut. The authorities at that station Avere, as has been 
pointed out already, absolutely helpless. Since the outbreak 
not a rupee of revenue had been collected. Dunlop, however, 
soon showed what one resolute and cleai'-headed man could do 
to repair and start again the machinery of Government. He 
appealed to all loyal men to enlist as mounted volunteers for the 
restoration of order in the districts. Unemployed officers, high 
civilians, merchants, clerks, and Sikhs eagerly gave in their 
names : Major AVilliams, the supei'intendent of police, was 
appointed commandant ; and so zealously did the adjutant pro- 
ceed with the work of drilling, mounting, and arming the volun- 
teers, that in three days one troop was ready for service. From 
the dust-coloured uniform which it adopted, the corps received 
the name of Khaki Risala. All the men who composed it could 
ride : many of them were good shots and practised swordsmen ; 
and the Europeans at least were aflame with a fierce indignation 
against the ruffians who had outraged and massacred their kins- 
folk, that would more than make up for the paucity of their 
numl^ers. On the first expedition which the corps undertook, 
accompanied by two guns and a few dragoons, it burned three 
villages, which had been occupied by Gujars, killed several of 
these rebels, and took forty prisoners, of whom thirty-four M^ere 
promptly hanged. The very next day the collection of the 

' Macpherson, pp. 320-3 ; Simlhia's chief thakurs and zamindars were 
wrought upon by Dinkar Rao to support him. — Enclosures to Secret Letters from, 
India, 8 to 22 Oct, 1857, p. 774. 


reveiiue began. But Dunlop and his comrades did not on that 
account relax their exertions. Supported, as occasion required, 
by any guns they could procure, and a few policemen, native 
Christians, armed musicians, dragoons, and riflemen, they swept 
over the districts ; encouraged the friendly portion of the popula- 
tion ; rescued terror - stricken baniyas ; burned j^j _g^ ^^ 
numerous villages ; destroyed hundreds of Gujars ; 
slew two formidable chiefs, who, not content with plundering, 
had actually raised the standard of insurrection ; and by these 
measures taught the astonished natives that there was still some 
vitality left in the British Government. ^ 

All this time the Lieutenant-Governor had to live in the 
bitter consciousness that he could achieve nothing 
worthy of the high place which he filled. Besides cofvki.°^ 
all his other trials, he was called upon to endure 
cold looks, and to read savagely insulting letters from many 
who ought to have supported him.^ Gradually his health be- 
came more and more feeble : but, though the doctors told him 
that his life would be sacrificed if he did not rest, he continued to 
serve his country to the best of his ability. On the 9th of Sep- 
tember he died. Only a few days before, conscious that his days 
were numbered, he had quoted to his secretary the pathetic words, 

"Nee milii jam patriam antiquam spes ulla videndi."^ 
He was not one of the world's heroes. Yet the most brilliant 
achievements recorded in the history of the Indian Mutiny do 
not awaken a truer interest than the heroic failure of this man, 
who continued, faithful to the end, to face a responsibility which, 
as he knew all along, was too great for him. And, so long as 
England continues to honour a man who tries to do his duty, 
there will be some who will cherish the remembrance of his dying- 
words : — " I have not shrunk from bearing the burden which 
God has called upon me to sustain ; I have striven to have 
always a conscience void of ofTence towards God and man."^ 

^ Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, 24 Sept. 1857, p. 435 ; Major 
Williams's Narrative, pp. 11-12, 14 : Dunlop. 

^ Not long before his death, he received from Calcutta a despatch, containing 
a reprimand for delay in sending in the administration report of the preceding 
year, and an elaborate form, to be filled up and returned, regarding the un- 
answered letters for the past six months. "What manner of men," remarked 
Thomhill's brother, " must they be in Calcutta, who, at a time like this, when 
they ought to be straining every nerve to save the Empire, are thinking only of 
unanswered letters ? " — Thornhill, pp. 272-3. 

^ Virg. /En., ii. 137. ■* Kaye, vol. iii. pp. 415-6. 




It is now necessary to relate the events that had taken place, 

during the past few months, at the seat of the 

Supreme Government. 
For some days after the seizure of Delhi, Canning allowed 
himself to be buoyed up by delusive hopes. Men whose infor- 
mation and authority he was not strong enough to disregard, 
kept assuring him that the worst would soon be over. On the 
16th of May Colvin telegi'aphed, "The worst of the storm is 
past, and the aspect of affairs is fast brightening ; " and on the 
20th he telegraphed again, quoting the words of Commissioner 
Greathed, " A very few days will now see an end of this daring 
mutiny." ^ But Canning ought not to have allowed these com- 
fortable anticipations to put him off his guard. It was high 

time for him to arise, and show that he Avas indeed 
to^reaiife the Govemor-Gcneral of India. Though, however, he 
ttie^crfsis^ sct an example of personal courage and manly 

calmness when some of the English residents of 
Calcutta were unmanned by the direful news from the North- 
West, he yet left on the minds of those who were most anxious 
to believe in him, the impression that he Avas not equal to the 
occasion. In the face of new announcements of mutiny and 
murder, he Avould not believe that the whole army was infected 
with the spirit of disaffection, or at least ready to be swayed 
into mutiny against its inmost convictions. He did indeed hurry 
up the reinforcements, as they arrived in Calcutta, towards the 
North- West, and passed an Act on the 6th of June, giving 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xx.x. (1857), pp. 228, 345. On the 25tli Cauiiitig himself 
recorded a similar opiniou, p. 19. 


extraordinary powers to civil and military officers for the 
summary trial and punishment of all disturbers of the peace : ^ 
but he took no steps to provide for the safety of Bengal itself, 
or even of the capital. Not only the English, but the Christians 
of every class and nation at Calcutta saw the danger. In the 
third and fourth weeks of May the Trades' Association, the 
Masonic Fraternity, the Armenians, and the French residents, 
vying with each other in the loyalty of their addresses, offered 
their services for the protection of the city. The Government, 
however, refused their offers. Cecil Beadon, the Home Secretary, 
replying on the 25th of May to the offer of the French residents, 
wrote in a tone of confidence which even the recent telegrams of 
Colvin ought not to have encouraged. "Everything," he said, 
" is quiet within six hundred miles of the capital. The mischief 
caused by a passing and groundless panic has already been 
arrested," ^ This letter was very bitterly criticised by many of 
the loyal inhabitants of the city. They asserted „ , 

Hg rciGcts tri6 

that, if Canning had availed himself of the services offers of the 
of the volunteers, an entire regiment could have teers^^and^"^"" 
been set free to act against mutineers ; and that, if refuses to cUs- 

o _' _ ' arm the sepoys 

he had promptly disbanded the native regiments at Barrackpore 
still remaining at Barrackpore and those at Dinapore, ^^ mapore. 
the Europeans who were detained for the unproductive duty of 
watching over these disaffected troops could have been spared to 
march for the relief of Cawnpore. But Canning did not believe 
that the volunteers would be efficient soldiers. In this belief, 
as was afterwards proved, he was wrong. Again, he would not 
disarm the native regiments at Barrackpore and Dinapore, because 
he feared that such a measure would exasperate the sepoys at 
other stations where there were no white soldiers to protect the 
Christians from their vengeance ; and also because he trusted 
the professions of loyalty which several of the regiments in 
question were careful to make. The former of these reasons 
was plausible, but it was not sound. Canning 

. . June 13. 

afterwards found himself obliged to consent to the 
disarming of the Barrackpore sepoys ; and none of the evils 
which he had dreaded followed the measure. On the other 
hand, the fact that the sepoys at Dinapore were allowed to 
retain theii' arms did actually produce evils, the magnitude of 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), pp, 408-9, 438-40. 
2 lb. pp. 20-3. 

164 canning's policy 

which it would be difficult to exaggerate. In his willingness to 
trust the sepoys' professions of loyalty Canning was not alone. 
The commandants of sepoy regiments, almost -without exception, 
believed in the fidelity of their men. As they had lived Avith 
them for years, interested themselves in their pursuits, received 
many tokens of their gratitude, and in some cases the most 
touching proofs of disinterested fidelity, shared Avith them the 
hardships of many campaigns, led them to many Adctories, and 
sustained their drooping spirits under defeat, it was not strange 
that only a few officers of rare insight should have discerned 
the premonitory sjmiptoms of a mutinous spirit. But that 
experienced colonels, who heard by every post that regiments 
around them had risen against their officers, and sometimes 
added murder to mutiny, should have obstinately clung to the 
delusion that their own particular corps would remain faithful, 
and often only surrendered their faith when the bullets of their 
babalogue^ had lodged in their breasts, is one of the most 
extraordinary phenomena in the history of the Indian Mutiny. 
If there is one more extraordinary, it is that Canning, Avho was 
unbiassed by the associations which had led the officers to repose 
confidence in their men, shoidd yet have shared that confidence. 
While those who condemned him for refusing to disarm the 
sepoys, and rejecting the offers of the volunteers, took no account 
of the considerations which influenced him, his advocates, on the 
other hand, did not see that the necessity of allowing for those 
considerations proved that at best he erred in company with 
some respectable statesmen. A well-known historian, who 
defended his rejection of the offers of the volunteers by the 
argument that, in the hour of danger, nine out of ten of them 
would have stayed at home to protect their families and posses- 
sions, instead of joining their companies, was forced to admit 
that when, later on, it became necessary to accept their offer, 
they rendered excellent service to the State.- The same 
historian, complaining of the unfairness of condemning Canning's 
early policy after the event had proved it wrong, forgot that 
there were other statesmen in India who, from the first, adopted 
a policy which, as they foresaw would be the case, the event 
proved right. Canning argued that it was unnecessaiy to disarm 

' Children — a term of cudcarmeut often used by commanding oflicers towards 
their sepoys. 

- Kaye, vol. ii. p. 125, vol. iii. pp. 12, 42. 


his regiments, because they had professed themselves loyal. 
John Lawrence argued that it was necessary to disarm 
his regiments because no sej^oy's profession of loyalty could be 
trusted. If it was unfair to blame Canning after the event had 
proved him wrong, it was unfair to praise La^vrence after the 
event had proved him right. Canning had not yet grasped the 
great truth that a handful of Englishmen could only hold millions 
of disaffected Asiatics in check by boldly talcing the initiative 
against them, and trusting that they would be too terrified to 
perceive the absence of a material force sufficient to support 
the uncompromising assertion of authority. Many reasonable 
excuses have been made for his failure : but history refuses him 
the title of a great statesman, because others, who had fewer 
resources than he, needed no excuses. 

It was from no lack of sympathy with the Christians at 
unprotected stations that he did not send them more succoiu's. 
He spoke from the depths of his heart when he lamented his 
inability to help them. Rightly believing that his duty to the 
empire was more urgent than his duty to suffering indiAdduals, 
he sent all the troops whom he believed that he could spare to 
the rescue of the posts the preservation of which was, in a 
political and military sense, most important. If, however, he 
had consented in time to the enrolment of the Calcutta volun- 
teers and the disarming of the sepoys at Barrackpore and 
Dinapore, he would not have had to resist the promptings of 
compassion : we might never have heard of the well of 

^ I am aware that the Governor-General in Council wrote, " If all the garrison 
of Fort William could have been spared, there were no means of sending one more 
man to Ca'wupore in time for its relief." — Pcn-I. Papers, vol. xliii. (1857-58), p. 
98. But he himself supplied the means of disproving this assertion. On May 24 
he telegraphed to Henry Lawrence, "The bullock-train can take 100 men a day 
at the rate of 30 miles a day." — lb. vol. xxx. (1857), p. 353. The distance from 
Calcutta to Cawnpore is 639 miles. The capitulation of the Cawnpore garrison 
did not take place till Juue 26. It is clear then that, if the means of trausi^ort 
were forthcoming along the whole line of road, there was ample time to send 
troops to their relief. But, it may be iirged, after tlie mutiny at Allahabad on 
June 6, it was impossible for some days to collect cattle for the journey of more 
than 120 miles from that station to Cawnpore. This objection is plausible ; but 
it may easily be answered. To say nothing of the fact that the mutiny of June 6 
was due to Canning's want of foresight in not garrisoning Allahabad with 
European troops, as Outram advised him to do, he ought to have sent the 84th 
up country on the 6th of May instead of on the 20th. Had he done so, the 
mutiny at Allahabad, if it had occurred at all, would not have iuterfered with the 
passage of the troops. This accumulation of proofs will probably be considered 

166 canning's policy 

The citizens of Calcutta were not the only friends whose 

^ , . . offers of assistance he set at nousht. The kinedom 

He Dlavs fast 

and loose -with of NepAl was at that time virtually ruled by the 
Jang Bahadur, fg^j^^^^g Jang Bahadur, a very unscrupulous but very 
sagacious minister, who had visited England eight years before, 
and had carried back with him to India a firm faith in the 
resources of the British poAver. Though, however, from the 
moment when the mutiny broke out, he never doubted that the 
English would, in the end, re-establish their supremacy, he was 
far too clear-sighted to be deceived by the momentary lull in the 
middle of May Avhich deluded the Governor-General. He there- 
fore made an offer to Major Ramsay, the Resident 
at Khatmandu, to lend a body of Gurkhas to the 
British Government. Ramsay took a feAV days to think over 
the proposal. It had come to his knowledge that the Governor- 
General had authorised Henry Lawrence to avail himself of the 
aid of a Gui'kha force, in case it should be offered to him. 
Accordingly he decided to take upon himself the 
responsibility of accepting the offer, and wrote to 
Lawrence and General Lloyd, the commander of 
the Dinapore Division, informing them that he was prepared to 
send detachments to their aid. On the 15th of June the first 
detachment, a thousand strong, marched from Khatmandu. Only 
two days later, however, the Resident received an 
express from the Foreign Secretary, George Edmon- 
stone, ordering him to recall the Gurkhas, if they had not passed 
the frontier. Ramsay obeyed. In recrossing the pestilential 
belt of jungle which stretched along the base of their hills, they 
suffered grievously from sickness : but the -s-acillation of Canning 
condemned them to undergo the same trial again ; for hardly 
had they reached Khatmandu when he ordered the Resident to 
ask Jang Bahadvir for three thousand men to be 
sent to the aid of Lawrence. It is true that the 

Kufficient. But there is another. On May 26 Henry Lawrence urged l)y 
telegraph that ekkas (or native pony-carts) slioukl be collected for the more rapid 
transport of the troops. Jb. p. 360. This suggestion was not accepted, apparently 
because ekkas were not thought suitable for Europeans. lb. p. 358. But John 
Nicholson used them with the best results. [Sir Hugh Wheeler stated on June 18 
that a reinforcement of 200 men would suffice to raise the siege (Gubbins's 
Mutinies in Ouclh, p. 443), and his opinion was contirmed by trustworthy native 
testimony. See Nanakchaud's Diary, p. xvi., and Anmds of the Indian Rebellion, 
pp. 678-9.] 


accounts of these transactions published by Canning's opponents^ 
were grossly distorted. But the story, told, as it has been here, 
in strict accordance with the facts, carries with it a fresh proof 
of his deficiency in statesmanship.- 

Like Jang Bahadur, the loyal citizens of Calcutta had the 
grim satisfaction of being solicited to renew the offers of the 
offers of help which, when they were first made, volunteers 
had been contemptuously rejected. From the time ^^'^^^ 
when Secretary Beadon retiu-ned his memorable reply to the 
address of the French residents, the English newspapers per- 
sistently urged Canning to retract his refusal of the offers of the 
volunteers. But he remained immoveable until John Grant, 
pointing out, with unofficial directness of language, the dangers 
to which the capital was exposed from the Mahomedan popula- 
tion, the budmashes, the armed retainers of the King of Oudli, 
the disaffected native regiments within its precincts or at neigh- 
bouring stations, the weakness of the loyal troops, and the un- 
trustworthiness of the native police, and declaring his conviction 
that the effects of even a street-riot at the capital would be felt 
not only throughout Bengal, but to the very extremities of India, 
at length overcame his objections.^ Accordingly, while he pro- 
tested that his opinion as to the Avorthlessness of the volunteers 
was unshaken, he consented to sanction their enrol- 
ment. If they had l^een hurt by his rejection of their 
original offer, many of them rose above the littleness of resenting 
his want of confidence by want of loyalty. Sacrificing all private 
considerations to the good of the State, heedless of scorching 
suns and drenching rains, they voluntarily submitted to the 
laboiu" of drill and discipline, and formed themselves under the 
able guidance of Orfeur Cavenagh, the Town-Major, into a power- 
ful brigade ; and, as they ultimately earned the hearty com- 
mendation of Sir Colin Campbell, they could afford to forgive 
the scepticism of Canning. 

Though it had been given with an ill grace, the Governor- 
General's consent to the formation of the volunteer corps might 
have established a more cordial feeling between himself and the 
European residents of Calcutta if he had not, on the very next 

^ e.g. Mead, who was, in 1857, editor of the Friend of India. 

^ Life of Sir H. Lmvrence, p. 575 ; Enclosures to Secret Letters from India. 
July 4, 1857, pp. 5, 15, 17, 29, 33 ; 24 Nov. 1857, pp. 704, 706-8 ; Mead, pp. 
6-7 ; Sir W. Hunter's Life of Brian Houghton Hodgson, pp. 255-6. 

^ Kayc, vol. iii. p. 10, note. 


day, passed another measui'e which was sui'e to provoke a fresh 
outburst of ill-will against him. He had for some 
Act.^*°^'°^ time observed with uneasiness a growing inclination 
on the part of the native journals to advocate the 
cause of the mutineers. The English journalists were giving 
him even more uneasiness in another way. From the very outset 
of the Mutiny they had, with a keener discernment than the 
Government, advocated a policy of vigorous repression : but they 
had fallen into the habit of publishing unguarded statements 
which, it was feared, might give a perilous advantage to the 
disaffected ; and, though they had at first striven to give Canning 
credit for the power of dealing with the crisis, they had through- 
out uncompromisingly denounced his advisers, to whose influence 
they ascribed the feebleness of his policy.^ It was natural that 
members of Council should resent this treatment. They had 
not learned, like English statesmen at home, to bear the most 
stinging invectives with equanimity : they had often before 
smarted under the blows of the Press ; and perhaps they now 
saw in the recklessness of its comments on the political situation 
a pretext for silencing its attacks upon themselves. They found 
Canning ready to listen to their arguments, although, only a few 
days before, he had refused to put the native editors under re- 
straint, on the plea that the remedy would be worse than the 
disease. On the 13th of June he went down to the Council 
Chamber, and there, in a sitting of forty minutes,'^ proposed and 
carried an Act requiring every printer to obtain a license from 
Government, and empowering the executive to suppress any 
publication, without warning, whenever it might see fit.^ Never, 
since the days when Prynue had his nose slit and his ears ciit 
off for publishing the Histriomastix, had any act of an English 
statesman been i-eceived with a greater burst of indignation than 
that which greeted the announcement of this measure. Con- 
temporary writers did indeed exaggerate the extent of the feel- 
ing, for the general opinion of the lawyers of Calcutta supported 
the Governor-General : but its depth was revealed unmistakeably 
by the furious invectives which journalists and pamphleteers of 
every profession heaped upon the Act. What specially exasper- 

1 Friend of India, May 21, 28, June 4, 1857, pp. 482, 506, 531 ; Galmtta 
EmjlishinoM, Feb. 21, April 1, May 16, 18, 19, 25, June 5. 
'^ Red Pamphlet, p. 103. 
^ Pari. Pa;pers, vol. xxi.\. (1857), pp. 164-5. 


ated tliem was that they, the representatives of the free and 
enhghtened Press of England, should be put on a level with 
treasonable native scribblers. They refused to believe that the 
Government was sincere in its denunciations of the mischief 
which their recklessness had produced. They did not hesitate 
to say that Canning and his advisers, conscious that they had 
committed great errors of policy, were resolved to prevent 
information of those errors from being transmitted to Eng- 

The Gagging Act, as this measure was petulantly called, may 
be criticised from two points of view. As a matter of policy, 
the worst that can be said of it is that it was unnecessary. It 
is true that Henry Lawrence, who knew the natives well, told 
Canning that the disloyal native press was less dangerous than 
the loyal but headstrong English journalists : but it is not likely 
that, if the latter had been left unfettered, their leading articles 
and sensational paragraphs would have seriously increased such 
disaffection as prevailed.^ Such a danger, supposing it to have 
existed, might have been averted if the Governor-General, while 
thanking the Press for their zealous co-operation, had given them 
a friendly warning against using their power indiscreetly. On 
the other hand, it would be absurd to contend that the unpopu- 
larity which the Act brought upon the Government weakened in 
the slightest degree the hands of any one Avho was concerned in 
the suppression of the Mutiny. 

Again, it would not be true to say that the Act was a blunder 
simply because it aroused the indignation of the Press. The 
evil was more deeply seated. If Canning's previous measures 
had been such as to inspire the Press with confidence, if he had 
shown a hearty sympathy with the loyal inhabitants of the city, 
a readiness to work with as well as for them, he might have 
passed the Act with comparative impunity. If Wellesley had 
1>een Governor-General at the time of the Mutiny, he would not 
have thought twice about gagging the Press if he had believed 
that it was doing harm ; and the Press would have submitted to 
his will Avithout a muimur. But Wellesley knew the secret of 
ruling men's hearts. 

^ Friend of India, June 18, 1857, pp. 579-80, 583 ; Overland Bombay Times, 
1857, p. 235 ; Jinglishman, June 15, 24, 30 ; Mead, Red Pamphlet, etc. 

2 See Mead, pp. 187-98 ; Pad. Pa-pers, vol. xxix. (1857), pp. 159-76 ; Life of 
air H. Laiorencc, p. 566, and Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, July 4, 
1857, p. 487. 

170 canning's policy chap, v 

It has been pointed out that one of Canning's reasons for 
refusing to disarm the sepoys at Barrackpore and Dinapore had 
been his trust in the professions of loyalty which they had been 
careful to make. On the 8th of June Hearsey had forwarded 
to Calcutta a petition, expressing the wish of the 43rd and 70th 
regiments to be allowed to use the Enfield rifie.^ It may be 
imagined then with what amazement and disappointment Can- 
ning read on the 13th a letter from Hearsey, informing him that 
the Barrackpore regiments intended to rise that very night, and 
urging that they should be instantly disarmed. He consented 
sadly. For he still clung to the belief that to disarm was un- 
necessary ; and his consent looked like an admission that when, 
in his generous eagerness to catch at any sign of repentance and 
good feeling on the part of the native army, he had thanked the 
Barrackpore sepoys for their address, he had shown 
Barrackpore, a dangerous credulity.'' On the 14th, Hearsey 
Diim^Dum"'^ telegraphed that the disarming had been success- 
fully performed.^ At the same time the detach- 
ments at the Presidency and at Dum-Dum were deprived of 
their power to do mischief. 

That day had been a memorable one in the annals of the 
Mutiny. A rumour of the intentions of the Bar- 
rackpore sepoys had reached Calcutta ; and many 
believed that they designed, when they should have murdered 
their own officers, to march down upon the capital, and, rein- 
forced by the armed retainers of the King of Oudh, to finish 
their bloody work by the slaughter of the Christian population. 
The merchants and traders of Calcutta closed their ears against 
these rumours, and set an example of steadfast courage. But 
their example Avas not generally followed. Members of Council 
and Government secretaries, Avho, so long as their own persons 
were safe, had scoff'ed at the idea of rebellion, and censured brave 
officers for alloA\ang their men to mutiny, l^arricaded their doors, 
or abandoned their homes in terror, to take refuge on board the 
ships in the river.* Inferior oflicials, scampering wildly across 

^ Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 468, inc. 86. 

^ Colonel Ramsay tells us that, when the 70th volunteered, "Lord Canning 
was much pleased, and said it was the first ray of sunshine he had felt." — Recol- 
lections of Military Service and Society, vol. i. p. 242. 

3 Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 481, inc. 113. 

•* Kaye (vol. iii. p. 34) refuses to accept the charges of cowardice made against 
high ofBcials by contemporary ^vriters as proved ; but Malleson, on whose 


the plain fi'om Chowringhee to the Fort, besieged the command- 
ant with demands for admittance. Eurasians rushed out of their 
houses in the suburbs to seek refuge from an imaginary foe. 
The streets were thronged with the carriages and palanquins of 
the fugitives, while their deserted homes lay at the mercy of the 
budmashes ; but no thieves came to disturb the silence of the 
forsaken houses ; for the natives themselves, not less terrified 
than the Europeans, lay cowering in their dwellings, expecting 
every moment to be searched out and cut down by the white 
soldiers of whose coming they had heard. Thus passed the 
morning and afternoon of Panic Sunday : but towards evening 
the terror began to subside : the fugitives sneaked back to their 
houses : the night set in and passed off quietly ; and in the 
morning the city once more wore its accustomed aspect. 

Before the close of Monday, however, another memor- 
able event occurred. The Barrackpore sepoys, j 
whose designs had excited such dread, had indeed Arrest of tiie 
been disarmed ; but it was still probable that the "^ ° 
King of Oudh's men would work mischief. The Government 
had in their hands proofs that some of the King's dependents 
had tried to corrupt the fidelity of the native sentries at the 
Fort ; and it was impossible to say that their machinations had 
not spread much further. Canning, therefore, acting on Grant's 
advice, sent Edmonstone to secure the person of the King and 
his chief advisers. Starting on his mission in the early morn- 
ing, Edmonstone entered the palace after posting a strong 
detachment of soldiers round the walls, to cut off the King's 
escape. When he had arrested the Prime Minister and the 
chief courtiers, he sought for admittance to the presence of the 
King himself. After some delay he was ushered into the royal 
apartments, and courteously informed the King that the 
Governor-Genei-al, having heard that plots were being carried 
on in his name, desired to remove him, by way of precaution, 
to Government House. The King, protesting his innocence 
with unwonted energy of manner, suffered himself to be led off. 
For a while he bore himself firmly ; but on the way to Fort 
William he burst into tears, and, contrasting the misery of his 

authority I have made the statement in the text {Red PavqMct, p. 105), says 
that " he was prepared then, as he i.s now prepared, to name, had he been called 
upon, the individuals to whom he referred." — Mist, of the Indian Mutiny, vol. i. 
p. 24. 


own lot with the glory of his ancestors, exclaimed that, if 
General Outram had been there, he would have borne witness 
to the submission with which he had obeyed the British Govern- 
ment. Edmonstone, however, could only carry out his orders ; 
and the King and the ministers who had made him their tool 
were handed over to the custody of Colonel Cavenagh. Thus 
deprived of their leaders, the Oudh plotters were rendered 

Two days later Sir Patrick Grant, the Commander-in-Chief 
J ^ ^ at Madras, came to Calcutta, to assume temporary 
Sir Patrick command of the Bengal army. His career had 
been one of smooth and unbroken success ; but, 
though he had proved himself a cool-headed soldier in the 
bloody combats with the Sikhs, Charles Napier had said of him 
that he was only fit to command a division. ^ He was now 
called upon to command an army, and to suppress a rebellion. 
But he declined the honour which was thrust upon him. If he 
had believed that he was not the fittest man that could be found 
to command the army in the field, and had on that account 
resolved to remain in Calcutta, his resolve would have been 
worthy of all honour. But there is no evidence to show that 
he thought so humbly of his own powers. No doubt he acted 
up to his lights : but the reasons which he gave for his action 
Avere unsound, if not frivolous. While Delhi was still in the 
hands of triumphant mutineers, while from a hundred stations 
his countrywomen were uttering a despairing cry for help, he 
declared that he could best serve his country by taking up his 
abode in Government House, and there directing on paper the 
movements of the troops whose glory he refused to share. He 
would not take the field in person, he said, because, as Com- 
mander-in-Chief, he would require a numerous staff and exten- 
sive office establishment, with an entire regiment to escort them, 
an entire regiment of those British soldiers, of whom the whole 
force then in India, by the expenditure of all their energies, 
could not yet hold revolt in check. Above all, he had a great 
work to perform, to which even the suppression of the Mutiny 
must be postponed. Others might have ability enough for 
crushing the rebellion of the native army : he had to meditate 

^ Rc(l Pamphlet, pp. 106-7. 
^ Life of Sir O. Napier, vol, iv. p, 282. 


on its reorganisation and regeneration. ^ But, in declining to 
take the field, he performed a service which his countrymen 
appreciated more than his designs for the direction of the 
campaign or the reorganisation of the army. For the officer 
whom he selected to act against the rebels and mutineers was 
Brigadier-General Henry Havelock. 

On the day after Grant's arrival, it was reported in Calcutta 
that Delhi had fallen : but the joy which this 

Til T J"ii^ 18, 

announcement created was succeeded by disap- Gloomy 

• , , 1 i.! J.- ■ £ J.- announcements. 

pointment when authentic information was re- 
ceived that only the cantonments on the Ridge had fallen into 
Barnard's hands. A succession of gloomy messages, only varied 
by the occasional announcement of an isolated success, poured in 
upon the Governor-General ; and early in July he heard the 
first rumours of an awful tragedy at Cawnpore. But with all 
these troubles coming upon him, and a load of personal odium 
to oppress him, he bated not a jot of heart or hope. While 
waiting for the coming of the China regiments, he had been 
labouring to supply the lack of military material Avhich had 
been so apparent when the first attempts at retrieval had been 
made, sending to Madras for supplies of clothing and camp 
equipage, collecting horses for the cavalry and artillery, and 
preparing the means of carriage for the sick and wounded.^ 

Yet he had to suffer the bitter punishment of the ruler, who, 
having once lost the confidence of his people, finds 
that even his good measures are ignored or con- or^er!^™^"^^ 
demned. The news of the sufferings of their 
countrymen had excited in the hearts of the Europeans at 
Calcutta a savage desire for indiscriminate revenge. Canning 
was determined not to listen to their clamours. Among his 
many noble qualities were a calm love of justice, a scrupulous 
respect for the rights of others, which were only misunderstood 
by his contemporaries because they were not balanced by 
decisiveness. On the 31st of July he passed a Resolution pro- 
viding that no native soldier belonging to a regiment that had 
not mutinied, should be punished, unless he were taken with 
arms in his hands, but should simply be handed over to the 
military authorities, or imprisoned until the orders of Govern- 

^ Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 528 ; see also Malleson, vol. i. pp. 

^ Pari. Pa.2Jers, vol. xxx. (1S57), pp. 527-8. 

174 canning's policy 

ment respecting him should be declared ; that mutineers or 
deserters belonging to regiments that had mutinied, but had not 
murdered theii' officers, should, when taken without arms in 
their hands, be dealt with by the military authorities ; and 
lastly, that mutineers or deserters belonging to regiments that 
had committed any outrage on Europeans, should be judged by 
the civil power, but not punished until the Government had 
decided upon any extenuating circumstances connected with 
their offences.^ Though the Kesolution offered no mercy to 
those who did not deserve it, though Canning had insisted as 
sternly as any one on the duty of inflicting condign punishment 
on the murderers of Europeans, the public would listen to no 
defence of the measure ; for in their eyes Canning could do 
nothing right. Nor was the distrust in his statesmanship con- 
fined to India. Even in England the press and the public alike 
condemned the Resolution, and nicknamed its author " Clemency 
Canning. " 

Another bill, drafted at the same time as the Clemency 
Resolution, but not finally sanctioned until the 
■ 11 th of September, intensified the popular indigna- 
tion. Struck by the danger of allowing the vast mixed popula- 
tion of the capital to go about armed at such a time, the 
Governor-General resolved to take away from them the right of 
carrying arms without a license.^ Here, muttered the British 
residents, was the blunder of the Gagging Act repeated in 
another form. They refused to listen to the argument that the 
necessary license would not be refused to them if they asked 
for it ; for their hatred of the Government was now too firmly 
fixed to be shaken by any argument. 

Not less unpopular than this Act was the refusal of the 
Governor-General to agree to a memorial signed by a number 
of influential residents of Calcutta, praying for the establish- 
ment of martial law throughout Bensral.^ The 
Canning re- clamours which his refusal stiiTcd up were not the 
cstabHsh ^^^^ ^^ud bccause he justified it by the argument 
pa^iaHaw that ample powers had already been granted to the 
executive authorities for the punishment of offenders, 
and that, even if it were desirable to establish martial law, it 
would be impossible to spare the European troops whom tha 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, pp. 8-10. 
2 lb. Part 3, pp. 544-8. » lb. Part 1, pp. 7, 8. 


memorialists desired for its enforcement. So bitterly indeed 
did the European community hate him that, before the close of 
the year, they actually petitioned the Queen for his recall.^ 

But, in the midst of his troubles, he was not altogether 
without consolation. On the 1st of August Outram 
appeared in Calcutta, fresh from his Persian outram°Peei, 
triumphs, and ready to render the State any cam^beii"^™ 
service in his power. A few days later another ^ug. s. 
officer arrived, who was destined to win a lasting 
fame in the suppression of the revolt, Captain William Peel, 
with his Naval Brigade. On the 13th of August Sir Colin 
Campbell, with his Crimean honours thick upon him, came and 
took up the office of Commander-in-Chief, with the warm 
approval of the army, who knew him as " the war-bred Sir 
Colin," Charles Napier's lieutenant and friend. Moreover, re- 
inforcements were now fast flowing in ; and, as the transports 
steamed up the river, the people on the course stood up in 
their carriages, and, taking off their hats, cheered and cheered 
again the soldiers who were coming to save them.- 

Nearly a year and a half of Canning's administration had 
passed away ; and in the last six months of that period he had 
had such an opportunity of winning distinction as Review of the 
had fallen to the lot of no other Indian statesman, first year and 
He had indeed been severely tried ; but, if he had canning's 
endured the trial, his glory would have been pro- administration, 
portionately dazzling. But he had made it evident to all 
men that he was not strong enough for the work that he 
had to do. No ruler could indeed have shown a more calm and 
dignified courage, a more conscientious devotion to the State. 
When, five years afterwards, he lay upon his death-bed, worn 
out in his prime by the incessant labour and the galling anxieties 
of this baleful summer, he might have told himself, if his 
humility had not been equal to his self-sacrifice, that he was 
dying for his country as honourably as the bravest soldier who 
had perished on the field of battle. But these qualities were 
not sufficient to make a Governor-General of India. Nor is it 
possible to draw a strict line of demarcation between the moral 
qualities of a statesman and the qualities that constitute fitness 
for rule. None can tell how far Canning's indecision, his morbid 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xliii. (1857-58), pp. 94-103. 
- Mead, p. 85. 

176 CANNING'S POLICY chap, v 

scrupulousness, his excessive deference to the opinions of his 
advisers were congenital qualities, how far they were due to 
failures of his own in building up his character in earlier years. 
Men judge each other by results ; and, if the method is a rough 
one, it generally leads to as correct a conclusion as a more subtle 
analysis. The English at Calcutta judged Canning hardly ; 
but they erred less in the direction in Avhich they drew their 
conclusions than in the extent to which they pushed them. At 
bottom, it is not true that what roused their anger against him 
was his clemency : fear and wounded pride had made many of 
them savage, but not dead to the feelings of humanity. If a 
Hastings or a Wellesley had i-uled them in those days, he 
would have forced them to realise the dignity of mercy : for he 
would have made it very clear to them that he could afford to 
be merciful because he was strong. Those who justified Can- 
ning on the ground that he was biassed by the erroneous advice 
of his counsellors, forgot that they were thus denying his title 
to the chief glory of the statesman, the power of penetrating 
through the mists of prejudice and error which siu-round him. 
When the storm biu-st upon his vessel, he never left the helm, 
though the seas dashed over him : but, when his crew saw that 
he gave the \\Tong words of command, and that he had no firm 
hold upon the wheel, the ablest of his lieutenants pressed 
forward to support his feeble grasp, and made their voices 
heard above liis. 



While Canning had been laboiuing on, and striving to bear 
up against the news of calamity in Uppei' India ..^ 

and the undisguised hatred and contempt of the Macdonaw 
English inhabitants of Calcutta, events had oc- ^ ° ^^' 
curred in Bengal itself which pronounced a pitiless condemna- 
tion on his policy. On the evening of the 12th of June, Major 
Macdonald, who commanded the 5th Irregular Cavalry at 
Rohni, and, like his comrades at other stations, had never 
doubted the loyalty of his men, was surprised, with two of his 
brother officers, by three troopers, and cruelly wounded. At 
first he would not believe that the traitors belonged to his own 
regiment ; but, when a few days afterwards he discovered his 
mistake, he arrested them ; had them tried ; assumed the re- 
sponsibility of carrying out their sentence Avithout orders from 
Government ; came out, though still suffering acutely from his 
wound, to superintend their execution himself in presence of 
the whole regiment ; silenced a cry for rescue which one of 
them made to his comrades, by threatening to blow out his 
brains ; and, standing his ground alone till all three were 
swinging lifeless from the gallows, proved by his splendid de- 
cision that the unaided moral force of a single Englishman 
could subdue the brute strength of a thousand mutineers.^ 

The presence, however, of an able officer at an isolated station 
was not enough to secure the safety of the vast Presidency of 
Bengal. The danger to which that Presidency was exposed 
was very diff"erently estimated by the two civilians 
upon whom lay the chief burden of providing for jayien '^ '^^'^ 
its security. These were Frederick Halliday, the 
Lieutenant-Grovernor of Bengal, and one of his local represen- 
^ Pari. Papers, vol, xxx. (1857), pp. 519. 521. 


tatives, William Tayler, the Commissioner of Patna.^ The 
former, who had already gained a strong influence over Can- 
ning, was a hard-working administrator and a very able man of 
business. But, though his outward appearance impressed many 
with the idea that he was a born leader of men, he was not 
universally respected even by the members of his own order. 
Some of them complained that he had treated them with 
Oriental duplicity ; and Dalhousie's private secretary had 
openly accused him of falsehood without eliciting any repudia- 
tion of the charge.^ No doubt he had his good points : but 
the part which he played in the suppression of the Mutiny was 
too insignificant to make it worth Avhile to attempt any elaborate 
analysis of his character. 

William Tayler was a man of culture, keen sense of humour, 
and wide sympathies. His spirits were marvellously buoyant 
and elastic for his years ; and withal he was by nature so com- 
bative that he could not always bring himself to work submis- 
sively under a superior whom he could not respect. This 
temper, however, though it was injurious to his prospects of 
official success, did not weaken his efficiency as a public officer. 
Deploring the want of sympathy which prevented the average 
English official, in spite of the conscientious industry with 
which he fulfilled his duties, from becoming familiar \vath the 
habits of thought of the natives and their real feelings towards 
British rule, he had not contented himself with working for the 
material prosperity of his people, but had tried, like Henry 
Lawrence, to reach their hearts as well. But the tenderness 
which moved him to make allowance for their weaknesses, was 
balanced by a stern resolution which would never allow them 
to dispute his supremacy. He was not a man of iron, however, 
but a man of tempered steel. The sympathy and the kindli- 

^ The authorities that I have consulted for my account of Tayler's administra- 
tion are Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Parts 1 and 2 ; Tayler's Memorial 
presented to the Duke of Argyll, Th. vol. Iv. (1878-79) ; Halliday's Minute 
presented to Parliament in 1879, lb. ; Tayler's Reply to Halliday's Minute, Ih. 
vol. lii. (1880) ; Papers connected icith tlie Removal of Mr. W. Tayler from the 
G&mmissionership of Patna ; Calcutta Englishman ; Papers regarding ilie Patiia 
Industrial Institution ; Tayler's Patna Crisis ; Dr. Duff's Letters to Dr. Tweedie 
on tlve Indian Rebellion ; and the following pamphlets by Tayler, — The Injustice 
of 1857, Veritas Victrix, Fact v. Falsehood, What is Truth ? Further Disclosures, 
A Narrative of Events comiccted with ')ny Removal from the Patna Commissioner- 
ship, etc. 

- Mr. Halliday and Mr. Courtenay (Copies of eorrespondenee ]inblished in 
the Calcutta Englishman). 


ness of his nature were allied with a keen sensitiveness. He 
felt that the duty which l^y befoi-e him was a grave one, that 
his responsibility was appalling. 

The districts under his charge contained about twenty-four 
thousand square miles, and a population of more 
than ten millions. These numbers, however, give ^tuaUon^of 
only a faint idea of the stake which depended tiiePatna 

, , Division. 

upon his power of dealing with the crisis. Great 
mercantile interests were in his keeping ; for within his Divi- 
sion lay many of the estates of the wealthy indigo-planters of 
Bengal; and at Patna itself a well -stored opium godown 
tempted the avarice of the enemies of order. Still more impor- 
tant and no less exposed to danger were the political interests 
over Avhich he had to watch ; for the city of Patna, with its 
hundred and fifty thousand ^ inhabitants, was a hot-bed of 
Mahomedan intrigue ; and the memory of a great conspiracy 
which had been discovered some ten years before, remained to 
warn the English that they were surrounded by a population 
among whom there were many restless spirits, secretly longing 
to overthrow their power, and re-establish a Mahomedan 
dynasty. When the first symptoms of revolt appeared, there 
was hardly a man in Behar who did not look to Patna as the 
head-centre of disloyalty.^ 

To meet these appalling dangers, Tayler had few resources 
but the strength of his own character. At the outlying station 
of Segauli, indeed, was quartered the 12th Irregular 
Cavalry, under Major James Holmes, an ofilcer ^^Tayier 
upon whom he knew that he could depend for 
enthusiastic support. But he had not a single European soldier 
in Patna itself ; he could not rely confidently upon his native 
police ; and the British soldiers at Dinapore, condemned by the 
Government to the unprofitable task of watching the sepoy 
regiments, could give him no help. To crown all, he knew that 
he would have neither encouragement nor support from the 

^ In the Patna Crisis, p. 21, it is stated that the population "is estimated 
at 400,000." According to the census of 1872 the number was oul}' 158,900. 
Hunter's Imperial Gazetteer of India, vol. vii. pp. 330-1. The population of the 
Patna Division in 1881 was 15,063,944 ; according to the census of 1872, the 
estimate of which was rather too low, 13,120,817. Jb. 2ud ed., vol. xi. p. 91. 

2 Patna Crisis, pp. 21-2, 24 ; Dr. Duft's Letters, p. 10 ; Letters in What 
is Truth? and Fact v. Falsehood. Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, 
pp. 5G2-3 ; Part 2, p. 92. 


Lieutenant-Governor. A dispute had lately arisen between 
them on a question of educational reform. The general opinion 
was that Tayler had been in the right, and that the Lieutenant- 
Governor had treated him badly. Moreover, it was notorious 
at Calcutta that the Lieutenant-Governor, fearing perhaps lest 
unpleasant revelations might be made, if Tayler were suffered to 
continue the controversy, had resolved to put an end to it by seiz- 
ing the first plausible pretext for transferring him to another post.-^ 
^^^len, therefore, the news of the mutiny at Meerut revealed 
to Tayler the extent of the danger which threatened him, he 
knew that he would have to meet it alone. And he did meet 
May^o ^^- Spiurning the timid suggestions of the judge, 
His early who tried to persuadc him that it was best to flee 
from Patna, he at once proceeded to make arrange- 
ments for protecting the lives of the people under his charge, 
and securing the Government property.- Before going on to 
see how he succeeded, the reader must pause for a moment, and 
survey the city of Patna. 

Patna is situated on the right bank of the Ganges, three 
hundred and eighty miles north-west of Calcutta, 
and ten miles east of Dinapore. It was a busy and 
thriving centre of commerce, but possessed none of those archi- 
tectural glories which lent such interest to the chief cities of the 
North -Western provinces. One street, rimning the whole 
length of the city from the eastern to the western gate, was 
tolerably wide ; but the others were merely narrow, crooked, 
filthy alleys, lined wdth mean houses, most of which were built 
of mud. Viewed from the river, however, the cit}^ had a more 
attractive appearance. The houses of the wealthier citizens, 
with their flat roofs and carved balustrades, lined the bank, and, 
with scattered trees, turrets and spires, and old gateways of 
dark red stone, were mirrored in the water. Emerging from 
the western gate, the traveller found himself approaching the 
European houses, which were scattered along the banks of the 
river. The Commissioner's house stood by itself in spacious 
grounds close to the south-western corner of the race-course, 
which lay south of the line of houses on the right bank.^ 

1 See App. E. 

^ Correspondence connected imth the Removed of Mr. W. Tayler frmn tlw 
Qommissionership of Patna, pp. 5, 6, 33-5. 

* Roberts's Scenes and Characteristics if Illmlostan, vol. i. p. 171 ; Hunter's 
Imperial Gazetteer, vol. vii. pp. 325, 33'2 ; Patna Crisis, pp. 19-20. 


On the evening of the 7th of June, while driving on the 
race-course, Tayler was informed that the Dinapore 
regiments were expected to rise that night. He at ^ pJtna?^ "^'^'^ 
once drove to the nearest European houses, warned 
the inmates, and offered them the shelter of his house, sending 
messengers at the same time to warn those of the Europeans 
who lived farther off. In less than an hour all except a few 
who had found a refuge elsewhere came hurrying up to avail 
themselves of his offer. Soon afterwards, while he was busy 
making arrangements for their accommodation, he was called 
out of doors. It appeared that one of the native police had 
just shown his commanding officer two letters, which he had 
received from the Dinapore sepoys, announcing that they were 
going to rise at once, and wished the police to seize the treasury 
at Patna, and then march out to meet them. The officer handed 
the letters to Tayler. Tayler saw at a glance that, however 
loyal the individual policeman might be, the letters proved the 
existence of a previous understanding between the force generally 
and the sepoys. But he had absolutely no instruments for the 
preservation of order, except these very police and a few of 
Holmes's Irregulars. In this extremity his heart did not fail 
him. All night long, weighed down but not crushed by the 
biu-den of his anxieties, he kept watch over the safety of his 
guests, while his wife ministered to their comfort, and a body of 
the suspected police and some of the irregulars mounted guard 
outside. In the morning, however, instead of the 
expected mutineers, who had postponed their rising,^ 
there arrived a reinforcement of Sikhs, under an officer named 
Rattray, whom Tayler had lately summoned to his assistance. 
Then the fugitives returned, with lightened hearts, to their 
homes ; but they knew that, so long as the crisis lasted, the 
shelter of the Commissioner's house would he open to them.- 

While, however, the arrival of the Sikhs removed Tayler's 
immediate anxiety, it added another. For Rattray ^^vjij-g j^j ^^e 
reported that his men had been constantly insulted <iistricts. 

^ Fortunately the letters had been ignorantly delivered to a man for whom 
they had not been intended ; and the sepoys who had brought them from Dina- 
pore, on discovering the mistake which they had made, hurried away with all 
speed from the station. To this mistake was probably due the postponement of 
the rising. — MS. Correspondence. 

^ Patna Crisis, pp. 27-31 ; Corrcs2)ondcnce connected with the Removal of 
Mr. W. Tayler from the Commissionershi2) of Patna, p. 6. 


on their march by the population. ]\Iost of the zamindars 
indeed were believed to be well disposed : but the magistrates 
generally expressed a conviction that the Mahomedan portion 
of tlie population was thoroughly disaffected, and that, if any 
disturbance occurred at Patna, the infection would probably 
spread throughout the province. Moreover the fear that pre- 
vailed at Patna natux'ally communicated itself to the surround- 
ing districts. Everyone laboured under a vague but oppressive 
sense of danger. Some of the Europeans so far yielded to their 
fears as to desert their posts : but Tayler vehemently exhorted 
them to return. On the day following the alarm 

June S . 

at Patna, he had sent Halliday a full report of the 
dangers which threatened that city. The reply which he re- 
ceived a few days later Avas in itself enough to stamp the 
Lieutenant-Governor as unfit for his post. For, in the face of 
the evidence which Tayler's letter contained, he Avrote that " he 

could not satisfy himself that Patna was in any 
June 13. danger," and that "the mutiny of the Dinapore 

Halhday will » ' . • t i >> -r. m i > • • 

not believe sepoy s was mconceivable. JBut i ayler s opinions 

that Patna is j. ^ i i i i j.-l j.j. r i • 

in danger. Were uot to be shaken by the utterances oi his 
chief, notwithstanding the air of infallibility with 
which they were delivered. He knew precisely the extent of 
the danger and the conditions upon which it depended. He 
believed that he could hold Patna in check so long as the 
Dinapore sepoys remained quiet ; but he knew that the sejjoys 
Avould mutiny unless they were disarmed. He 
i^rges Genera" therefore strongly urged General Lloyd to disarm 
Lloyd to dis- them. Lloyd replied that he could keep them 
down without disarming them. Tayler, whose in- 
sight detected tlie timidity which lay behind this assumed air of 
confidence, could now only do his best to avert the probable 
results of Lloyd's v/eakness. And he saw that the only possi- 
bility of doing this lay in resolutely repressing the Mahomedans 
of Patna, and in preventing all communication between them 
and the Dinapore sepoys.^ 

To effect the former of these objects, he devised an exjjedient 

of which Warren Hastings might have felt proud 

foT^ttie^p™^'^ to be the author. The most dangerous inhabitants 

servation of ^f Patna Were the Wahabis, the Puritans of Islam, 

order. ... 

whose close organisation, widely extended com- 
1 Patna Crisis, pp. 35-7, 42-4 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, 


munications, and Jesuit- like submission to their rulers gave 
them a formidable power. Tayler knew that, if he could secure 
the persons of the three Moulvis who directed the Patna branch 
of the sect, he would obtain a certain pledge for the good 
behaviour of their disciples ; for no Wahabi would venture to 
commit any act that could endanger the safety of his venerated 
leaders. 1 He therefore determined to arrest the Moulvis ; but, 
as he knew that Halliday had long ago resolved to believe that 
the Wahabis were mere harmless enthusiasts, in spite of the 
clearest proofs of their disloyalty, he did not inform him of his 
design. This was one of the very few occasions on which he 
did not send his chief full reports of his circumstances and of 
his intentions ; ^ and, if he had not made these exceptions to his 
rule, if he had shrunk from acting on his own responsibility, he 
would not have been allowed to save Patna. Reflecting that 
any attempt to effect the arrests by ordinary means would only 
cause a riot and perhaps loss of life, he felt obliged to resort to 
stratagem. Accordingly, on the 18th of June, he invited the 
Moulvis and a few of the most respectable native citizens to his 
house to discuss the political situation. Next 
morning all were assembled in his dining-room,^ 
and took their seats round the table. Presently the Commis- 
sioner, accompanied by Rattray, a few other Englishmen, and a 
native officer, entered the room. Two of the Moulvis looked 
very uncomfortable when Rattray, with his SAVord clanking, sat 

pp. 5, 6, pars. 6-10 ; Part 2, p. 102 ; Corresjjondence connected vnth the Removal 
of Mr. W. Tayler from the Commissionership of Patna, p. 2, pars. 6-8, p. 10. 

^ Patna Crisis, pp. 45-7, 51. "The dangers," wrote General Le G. Jacob to 
Tayler, "that you so admirably nipped in the Ijud were not confined to your 
quarter of the world . . . they were part of a network of conspiracy, spread over 
the length and breadth of India." Colonel Colin Mackenzie wrote : " When you 
laid bare the conspiracy of the Wahabees, the ramifications of which extended 
throughout nearly all India, and when you arrested their chiefs, you cut the tap 
root of that upas tree." — Selection of Letters from distinguished Indian States- 
men. See also Punjab Midiny Report, p. 61, par. 40, which proves that a 
treasonable correspondence went on between the Mahomedans of Patna and 
those of Peshawar. 

" Proof of this will be found in Pari. Pa.pers, vol. xliv. Part 2, in Mr. Tayler's 
pamphlet Further Disclosures, in the copy of his Memorial to the Secretary of 
State for India, pp. 25-9, and in his reply to Halliday's Minute, pp. 48-9, 66-8. 
The other measures which Tayler carried out without informing the Government 
beforehand — though he reported them fully after their accomplishment — were 
those recorded in the next paragraph. 

■* It ought to be mentioned that the dining-room was used at the time as an 


down beside them : but their leader, Moulvi Ahmad Ulla, soon 
began to take part in the conversation, and made some sensible 
suggestions for the defence of the city. At length the confer- 
ence was over ; and all the native guests, except the Moulvis, 
were told that they might go. Turning to the Moulvis, Tayler 
informed them that he was obliged to detain them as hostages 
for the good behaviour of their followers, and handed them over 
to the custody of Rattray. " Great is your Excellency's kind- 
ness," said Ahmad Ulla, joining his palms, "great your wisdom : 
what you order is the best for your slaves ; so shall our enemies 
be unable to bring false charges against us." "What is pleasing 
to you," smilingly replied Tayler, "is agreeable to me." Just 
as the three were about to be led away, he said significantly to 
Ahmad Ulla, " Remember, I have not arrested your father ; but 
his life is in your hands, yours in his." The Moulvi looked as 
if he understood the hint.^ 

Now that he had checkmated his most formidable enemies, 

Tayler felt that he was master of the situation, 

Next day he followed up his victory by the arrest 
of the patrolling darogah," who, he knew, would use his power 
to prevent investigation of the designs of the disaffected if, as 

seemed probable, he was himself a sharer in them. 

Finally, he required the citizens to surrender their 
arms, and to remain indoors after nine o'clock at night.^ The 
obedience that was paid to these orders was a striking illustra- 
tion of the homage Avhich mankind yield to moral force. In 
Calcutta men asked each other in amazement how it was that, 
while from other stations news of massacre and rebellion was 
constantly arriving, from Patna came week after week the news 
that tranquillity was maintained and British prestige vindicated.* 
Perhaps even Halliday could have answered. Because Patna is 
ruled by William Tayler. 

Tayler's success was not, however, wholly unbroken. On the 

23rd of June Waris Ali, a native police-officer, was 
amu^'c^Uou. arrested, and found to be in possession of letters 

which convicted Ali Karim, a wealthy Mahomedan 
who lived near Patna, of treasonable intentions. The magistrate 

' Patna Crisis, pp. 44-51. 

- Native Superintendent of Police. 

3 Patna Crisis, pp. 53-4. Correspondence, etc., pp. 20, 44, 58-9. 

■* Red Pamphlet, p. 174. 


of Patna was sent to seize the criminal, but, after a long and 
wearisome chase, returned unsuccessful. On the 3rd of July a 
riot broke out in Patna itself. As, however, the bulk of the 
malcontents had been too thoroughly frightened by Tayler's 
measures to join in it, it was easily suppressed by the Sikhs, 
while the ringleaders were seized and brought to trial. Chief 
among them was a Mahomedan bookseller named Pir Ali. A 
number of letters inviting various persons to join in organising 
an anti-Christian crusade were found in this man's house. From 
the fact that these letters, having all been found in the house of 
a single man, were evidently a mere sample of others, that Pir 
Ali would never have kept men in his pay except for a regular 
plot, and that Waris Ali had been ready to give up his lucrative 
situation in order to join Ali Karim's enterprise, Tayler argued 
the existence of an extensive conspiracy which his own antici- 
patory measures had alone prevented from issuing in an appalling 
calamity. Pir Ali himself bore the most emphatic testimony to 
Tayler's vigilance by confessing that his strong measures had 
forced the conspirators to strike before they were ready. They 
and twenty-one of their associates, convicted of having taken part 
in the riot, were summarily hanged.^ 

But Tayler would not have been able to procure the evidence 
which he required against these men, if he had not ^j^^ natives 
been helped by three loyal natives, Syad Wilayat who supported 
Ali Khan, Moula Bakhsh, the deputy magistrate, and '^^ '^'^' 
Hidayat Ali, the subahddr of the Sikh corps. Throughout the 
crisis these men laboured day and night to support him, helping 
him to patrol the city, and furnishing him with all kinds of 
valuable information, which only a native could obtain, though 
their loyalty exposed them to the hatred and ridicule of their 
fellow-citizens. Aided by their investigations, he was able to 
discriminate between the countless accusations against influential 
Mahomedans which were put into his hands, so that he could 
afterwards assert that he had never moved against a soul, except 
in the way of precaution, till suspicion had been corroborated by 
many concurrent circumstances. - 

^ Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. Part 2, pp. 6-13, 15-23 ; Patna Crisis, pp. 65-72. 
It is important to notice that this was not a Wahabi plot. The Wahabis were now 
powerless. Pir Ali was a native of Lucknow, and had been corresponding treason- 
ably with one Museeh-oos-Zuman of Lucknow ever since the annexoMon of Oudh. 

' lb. pp. 57, 65, 72-3. 


While Tayler was working with heart and soul for the safety 
of his Division and his people's lives, Halliday was 

Red tape. . ^ ,. i -i- ■ j. 

carping at his measures and warning him against 
doing anything illegal or irregular. The littleness of the man's 
mind appeared in such words as these : — " It is impossible that 
you should have anything to do of greater importance than 
keeping the Government informed of your proceedings." ^ No 
indeed ! The saving of a province was a trifling matter compared 
with the sacred duty of writing dettiiled official reports. How 
different was the spirit in which John Lawrence directed his 
subordinates ! 

It was not only within the limits of Patna that Tayler's 

example made itself felt. As soon as danger began 
Major^Hoiines. ^^ threaten Behar, his friend and ardent admii'er, 

Major Holmes, wrote to Canning, expressing with 
great freedom and plainness, the view that stern and instant 
repression was the only policy for the times. Canning told him 

in reply that he was entirely wrong, and that his 

May 30 J O' 

" bloody, off-hand measures" were not the cure for the 
disease. But Holmes cared nothing for the rebuke. " I am deter- 
mined," he rejoined, " to keep order in these districts, 
and I'll do it ^vith a strong hand." - His method was 
simple, but very effective. On his own responsibility, he actually 
placed the whole country between Patna and Gorakhpur under 
martial law.^ His only instrument for enforcing it was his single 
native regiment : but he thoroughly trusted his men ; and, if 
they were not loyal to him in their hearts, they were so carried 

^ Oorrespnndencc, etc., p. 14. 

" Kaye, vol. iii. pp. 7, 104. 

^ On July 29, Halliday, in a rebuke which he administered to Tayler for taking 
upon himself to praise this unauthorised act, remarked, ' ' At the time when Major 
Holmes declared martial law in Behar, nothing whatever had occurred to justifj' 
that step, and the moment it was known by Government, his act was set aside and 
cancelled." On the very next day Halliday himself proclaimed martial law in the 
districts of Shahabad, Patna, Behar, Saran, Champarau, and Tirhut. Pari. Papers, 
vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 2, p. 145, par. 3, p. 146. 

It is quite true that, in the view of a purblind statesman, nothing whatever 
had occurred to justify Holmes in declaring martial law when he did. But Holmes 
was a man of clear mental vision. The principle upon which he acted was one 
that never failed in the Mutiny, the principle of taking the bull by the horns while 
it was hesitating whether it should lower its head or not ; in other words, of acting 
against men who were known to be disart'ected before, they had time to commit 
overt acts of disaffection. Halliday, on the other hand, put otf declaring martial 
law until nfter the Diuapore mutiny, which he had declared "inconceivable," had 
broken out. 


along by his daring spirit that they could not choose but do his 
bidding. Sending out parties of them to seize evil-doers and 
protect the civil stations, and declaring that he would visit Avith 
instant death anyone who showed the slightest sign of disaffection, 
he soon established such a terror of his name that none dared to 
stir a finger in the cause of rebellion. Canning had ai'gued 
in his letter that the sepoys who had not yet rebelled 
were mad with fear : but Holmes knew that fear might well 
hurry men in their position, like frightened beasts, to turn upon 
their masters, and that, until they were thoroughly cowed into 
submission, it would be useless to attempt to reason with their 

In spite, however, of all that Holmes and his irregulars could 
do, it was impossible for Tayler to guarantee the safety of his 
Division, so long as there was danger of a mutiny at Dinapore. 
During the thiee weeks that had elapsed since he had tried in 
vain to persuade Lloyd to disarm, he had indeed 
still maintained order ; but he knew that, if Lloyd Dinapore 
persisted in neglecting his advice, the rising must sepoys be^ 
sooner or later take place, and, by letting loose an 
army of mutineers through Behar, undo all the good which he 
had done. At last the English merchants resolved to try Avhether 
their arguments could not induce the Government to order the 
General to take the step which he dared not take on his own 
responsibility. A favourable opportunity for stating their views 
had just presented itself. Canning had originally excused himself 
for refusing to disarm the Dinapore sepoys on the ground that 
the reinforcements Avhich would give him the power to do so had 
not yet come. Now, howevei', they had arrived, and had been 
ordered to call at Dinapore on their way up the Ganges. By his 
own confession, the Governor-General now had the game in his 
own hands. But, while many of his lieutenants were assuming 
the responsibility of executing great measures without consulting 
him, he shifted the responsibility which naturally belonged to 
himself on to the weak shoulders of the poor old General at 
Dinapore. Well knowing that Lloyd had only promised that his 
men would remain quiet if "some great temptation " did not assail 
them, well knowing that a great temptation was even then strongly 
assailing them, well knowing that Lloyd would never have the 
courage to use his own discretion, he yet left it to him to decide 
whether he would employ the newly-arrived leinforcements to 


deprive his regiments of the power of doing mischief.^ The 
merchants, to Avhom this decision was privately made known, saw 
its imbecility, and resolved to make a last eftbrt to induce Canning 
to change it. Accordingly, on the 20th of July, they sent a 
deputation to implore him to consider what vast commercial 
interests were imperilled by the threatening attitude of the 
regiments at Dinapore, and to urge him to seciu-e the safety of 
those interests once for all, and restore public confidence by com- 
manding Lloyd to disarm. He curtly refused their request. 

The natiu-al results of his blind obstinacy followed. On the 
22nd of July a body of the 5th Fusiliers reached Dinapore, 
Lloyd shrank from using his authority to detain them, and let 
them go by. Of course he regretted his decision. But he was 
still to have another chance of setting himself right. Two days 
later two companies of the 37 th touched at Dina- 
pore, awaiting his commands. His remorse was 
strong enough to make him order their disembarkation ; but it 
Avas too weak to make him turn them to good account. If it is 
true that Nemo repente fuit turpissimus, it is equally true that a 
weak man cannot suddenly become strong. Lloyd writhed 
under the responsibility so cruelly cast upon him. Afraid to 
crush the nettle in his grasp, afraid to leave it alone, he just 
touched it ; and, Avhen it stung him, he cast the blame on others. 
As he could not brace himself to disarm his men, he thought he 
would take away their percussion-caps instead. Next morning 
accordingly the European troops were drawn up, by 
way of precaution, in the barrack-square, close to 
the native lines ; and the caps were carted away from the 
magazine. Many of the sepoys showed great indignation when 
they saw the carts moving towards the barracks ; but they 
feared, Avith the British soldiers close at hand, to give full vent 
to their feelings. Lloyd, hoAvever, Avas not content Avith the 
success of his half-measure. He ordered his officers to hold a 
second parade of the sepoys in the afternoon, while the European 
troops would be busy eating their dinners, and then require 
them to surrender the contents of the cap-cases Avhich they 
carried on their persons. It is difficult to gauge the depths of 
the folly which prompted his resolve. For the measure Avhich 
he now ordered Avould exasperate the sepoys far more than that 

^ The Commander-iu-Cliief s letter to Lloyd, written at Cauuiug's request, will 
be found in Pari. PajJcrs, vol. xliii. (1857-58), p. 103. 


which had been with difficulty carried out in the morning ; and 
the absence of the British troops would deprive the officers of 
the only means of crushing the mutiny which seemed certain to 
follow. An attempt was made, however, to obey the order. 
The parade was held. The sej^oys were ordered to empty their 
pouches. They answered the demand by firing on 
their officers. The noise warned the European DiDapore* 
soldiers and the General that mutiny had broken 
out. The General, having given certain vague instructions to 
his officers how to act in case of a difficulty, did not think it 
necessary to do more than go on board a steamer in the river, 
from which he hoped to be able to shoot a few stray mutineers.^ 
The soldiers tiu"ned out and formed up on the parade ground ; 
but their officers, who could not have understood the instructions 
which they had received, dared not assume the responsibility of 
acting in the General's absence ; and not till two staff-officers 
hurried up from the steamer, bringing his orders for an advance, 
was any attempt made to retrieve the fortunes of the day. It 
was then too late. Only a few sepoys, who rashly attempted to 
cross the river, were destroyed by the guns of the steamer, or 
drowned. The rest, after re-possessing themselves of the caps 
that had been taken from the magazine, went off in the direction 
of the river Soane. As that river was then greatly swollen by 
the rains, Lloyd had only to lead his Europeans in pursuit, in 
order to overtake and desti'oy them before they could effect a 
passage. He afterwards recorded in his own defence the extra- 
ordinary opinion that such a step would have been of little use. 
But it is not extraordinary that he did not attempt it. A 
general who had shown such feebleness in the morning was not 
likely to prove an able commander in the evening. The wonder 
is that next morning it did occur to him to send 
a party oi riflemen m a steamer "^ up the river, to 
intercept the passage of the mutineers. But his attempt failed ; 
for the steamer, after running a short distance, stuck fast on a 
sand-bank. Even before it had returned, howevei-, he received 
a startling piece of news, which led him to resolve to entrench 
his position at Dinapore, and leave the surrounding country to 
the fate which he had brought upon it, thus imitating with the 

^ See his letter to the Daily News, referred to on p. 190. 
^ It should be mentioued that, when travelling by river in India, passengers 
wei'e generally carried in what is called a flat, towed by a steam tug. 


closest fidelity the line of conduct which Hewitt had followed 
after the mutiny of the 10th of May. In many respects, indeed, 
this shameful story of the mutiny at Dinapore resembles the 
story of the mutiny at Meerut. The strength of the British 
foi-ce at hand to crush resistance, the imbecility of the General, 
the dread of responsibility manifested by the officers, and the 
amazement of the mutineers at their own success, were all points 
common to the two disasters. And for the weakness of Lloyd, 
as for the weakness of Hewitt, the only excuse that can be 
pleaded is the infirmity of old age.^ 

There was a man, however, in Behar, who, though several 
. <?• <tTi y^^^^ older than Lloyd, still retained the vigour of 
" " his youth, and was resolved to use it to effect his 
own aggrandisement, and complete the humiliation of the English. 
This man was a Rajput noble, named Kunwar Singh, who, 
formerly a staunch adherent of the English power, had lately 
cooled in his friendship from resentment at the hard usage 
which he, in common with many other great landowners, had 
received from the Revenue Board of Bengal. As, however, he 
had a strong personal friendship for Tayler, he might even now 
have thrown in his lot with the English, if he had not heard at 
the critical moment that an important law-suit in which he was 
engaged had gone against him. Tayler had earnestly interceded 
for him with Halliday, but in vain.^ The result Avas, that 
Kunwar Singh determined to join the Dinapore mutineers with 
his retainers, and regain his lost wealth by the sword. This 
was the news that made Lloyd resolve to shut himself up in 
Dinapore. Biit, more fortunate than HeAvitt, he had a strong 
and wise adviser at hand, who would not let him do so cowardly 
an act. As soon as he had heard of the mutiny, the Commis- 
sioner, true to himself still Avhen others were false to him and to 
themselves, had sent out a body of Sikhs, volunteers, and police, 
to cut off the retreat of the stragglers ; but on the next morning 
he heard of an event which, letting loose a fresh multitude of 

^ I am not aware that Lloyd has ever had auy defender but himself. Anyone 
who wishes to read his defence will lind it in the Daily News, Oct. 30, 1857, pp. 
4,5. He "thought," he say. s, "that the men would feel it quite madness to 
attempt resistance with only fifteen caps per man." Tliere was method in their 

- CJm-resjmndence, etc., pp. 243-5, pars. 51-7 (letter from Mr. Samuells). Letter 
from Tayler to Secretary to Government of Bengal (April 5, 1858), pars. 34-52 ; 
Pad. Pajjers, vol. Iv. (1878-79). 


enemies against him, forced him to recall this little force for the 
protection of Patna. The 12th Irregulars, catch- 
ing the infection of disloyalty from the Dinapore " ^ """' 
mutineers, had murdered his dear friend and strong supporter. 
Major James Holmes. Still his counsel might effect 
something. Accordingly he wrote to the General, ** ^ - • 
imploring him even then, at the eleventh hour, to go in pursuit 
of the mutineers. Suddenly the alarming news 
arrived that they had already crossed the Soane, ">-'• 
and were actually besieging Arrah.^ Lloyd had now no choice 
but to accept Tayler's advice. 

Arrah, the chief town of the most turbulent district in the 
Division, was situated twenty -five miles west of 
Dinapore. The European residents had been duly '*"" 
warned of their danger. The warning, however, would have 
availed them little if Tayler, with rare foresight, had not already 
sent fifty of Rattray's Sikhs to help them in case of an attack. 
Even with this reinforcement, the whole garrison were only 
sixty-eight in number ; and their fortress was nothing but a 
small building, originally intended for a billiard-room, belonging 
to Vicars Boyle, the railway engineer, who, regardless of the jeers 
of his friends, had fortified and provisioned it to resist the 
attack which he had all along deemed possible. His dwelling- 
house was about seventy yards off ; and, to deprive the enemy of 
the cover which it would have afforded, he had demolished its 
front parapet. On the evening of the 26th the Europeans, after 
writing letters to their friends, went into the billiard-room, and 
bricked themselves up. Boyle, whose foresight had rescued the 
others from instant destruction, was naturally one of the leading 
spirits in the crisis ; and associated with him was Herwald Wake, 
the magistrate, who assumed command of the Sikhs. Next 
morning the sixty-eight were standing at their posts behind their 
improAased defences ; and, when the mutineers, after 
releasing the prisoners in the gaol, and plundering ^""' 

the treasury, advanced to the attack, as to an assured victory, 
they were hurled back in astonishment and discomfiture by a 
well-directed fire. From this moment they only ventured to 
discharge their muskets from behind the cover of the walls and 
trees that surrounded the house ; and anyone who ventured into 
the open was sure to be struck down by a bullet from the garrison, 
^ Patna Crisis, pp. 76-8 ; Correspondence, etc., pp. 110, 112. 


who aimed securely from beliind the sand-bags which they had 
thrown up on the roof. Baffled in fair fight, the assailants began 
to try a succession of foul stratagems for the destruction of their 
foe. They strove to corrupt the fidelity of the Sdkhs by threats, 
by appeals to their religious feelings, and by offers of a share in 
the plunder. But the Sikhs, confident in the resources of their 
commandant, were proof even against this last argument. Then 
the rebels tried to suffocate the garrison by setting on fire a heap 
of chillies outside the walls : but a favoui'able wind 
arose and blew the stifling smoke away. The same 
wind caiTied off the disgusting stench arising from the rotting 
carcases of the horses belonging to the garrison, which the rebels 
had killed and purposely piled up around the house. Finally, 
Kunwar Singh unearthed two guns, which he had kept hidden 
ready for emergencies, and prepared to batter down the little 
fortress. If he had had a good supply of ammunition, he might 
have forced the garrison to attempt to cut their way out ; but, 
having no round shot at first, he was obliged to use the brass 
castors belonging to the pianos and sofas in Boyle's house, as 
projectiles.^ Yet Wake and his little band knew that, if help 
did not come soon, time must conquer them ; for their provisions 
were beginning to run short. At midnight on the 29th they 
heard the sound of distant firing in the direction of the Soane. 
Could it be that their relief was at hand ? ^ They were not kept 
long in suspense. 

Influenced by the alarming news that Arrah was being be- 
sieged, Lloyd had yielded to Tayler's entreaties, 
dition^forthr and scut off a forcc of Europeans and Sikhs to 
'^''^jiu°^4™^' *^® rescue. But the steamer that carried them 
ran aground in the darkness of the night ; and 
Lloyd, overwhelmed by this fresh disaster, would have recalled 
the detachment and left the garrison to their fate, if Tayler had 
not once more shamed him into action. Another steamer had 
opportunely come up ; and in it a hundred and fifty men of the 
10th, with a few volunteers, were sent, under Captain Dunbar, 
to reinforce the stranded detachment. On the afternoon of the 
29th the united force, amounting to four hundred and fifteen 

1 Afterwards he procured some 41b. shot for one of the guns. V. Boyle'."? 
Brief I^arraiire of the Defence of the Arrah Garrison, pp. 13-14. 

2 Ihid. ; J. J. Hall's Tn-o Mouths ia Arrah in IS^'i ; Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. 
(1857-58), Part 2, pp. 333-4. 


officers and men, disembarked. A small party was sent on to 
procure boats for the passage of a stream which crossed the road 
to Arrah. Soon afterwards the main body, who were cooking 
dinner, heard the rattle of musketry. They at once fell into 
their ranks, and, after a few minutes' march, saw their comrades 
firing at a number of sepoys on the opposite bank of the stream. 
Two or three hours were spent in getting the boats ; and it was 
seven o'clock before the whole force had crossed. Tired and 
hungry, but eager to rescue their beleaguered countrymen, they 
immediately began their march. About an hour before midnight 
the moon went down, and Dunbar was urged to halt for the 
night ; but, trusting to a report that the mutineers had raised 
the siege, he insisted on going on.^ A few minutes later the 
advanced guard was entering the suburbs of Arrah, when a 
blaze of light flashed forth from a dense mango grove on the 
right of the road, and a fearful discharge of musketry ploughed 
through the whole length of the column. A second volley 
followed, and a third. The enemy could only be momentarily 
discerned by the flash of their muskets : but the British soldiers, 
conspicuous in their white summer dresses, were falling fast ; 
Dunbar himself was slain ; and the survivors, bewildered and 
losing all discipline, fired helplessly into space, or into each other. 
At last a bugler, running to a field close by, sounded the assembly, 
and thus gathered his comrades round him. Presently they 
found a tank in which they could take shelter ; but they foolishly 
continued to discharge their muskets, and revealed their position 
to the enemy, who, invisible themselves, assailed them, as they 
lay crouching in the tank, with continual volleys. In this 
desperate situation the officers held a council of war, and resolved 
to attempt a retreat to the Soane at day-break. The day broke ; 
but no joy followed the heaviness which had endured throughout 
the night. Wearied and famished as they were, the soldiers had 
a march of fifteen miles before them ; and for every foot of the 
way they had to run the gauntlet of an enemy who had cleverly 
availed himself of the cover afforded by the woods and jungles 
that lined the road. Sharp reports echoed : puffs of smoke 
curled up through the trees ; and man after man dropped down. 
Ever and anon some of the survivors, infuriated at the loss of their 
comrades, charged aimlessly right and left : but the mutineers, 
safe in ambush, laughed at their impotent rage. Among the 
^ Hall says that Dunbar sent out no scouts, though the night was dark, p. 47. 



British there was little order or discipline ; but there was much 
heroism. Two privates of the 10th carried a wounded officer of 
their regiment the last five miles of the road ; and young Eoss 
Mangles of the Civil Service, with none to help him, rescued a 
wounded private in the same way. When at last the poor beaten 
force reached the river, they found nearly all the boats stranded ; 
but many still retained their presence of mind, and, pushing the 
boats into the stream, would not enter them themselves till they 
had helped their weaker brethren on board. One of the boats, 
under a freight of thirty-five men, was drifting helplessly down 
the stream with its rudder tied up and useless, when a volunteer, 
McDonell of the Civil Service, climbed on to the roof, and cut 
the lashings under a hail of bullets. Many, however, as they 
strove to cross the stream, fell under the enemy's fire : others, 
who had plunged into the water to escape the bullets, were 
drowned ; and few indeed reached the steamer that was waiting 
to carry the detachment back in triumph to Dinapore. But 
worse than all the sufferings that the enemy had inflicted upon 
them must have been the misery and the shame of that poor 
remnant, as they approached the landing-place at Dinapore, and 
saw their countrymen standing upon it, waiting to congratulate 
them on their victory, and knew how soon they Avould be 
undeceived. As the steamer hove in sight, the crowd grew 
breathless with excitement : they looked in vain for some sign 
of triumph on her deck : their hearts sickened as they saw her 
run past her moorings and make for the hospital ; and, as she 
eased up and blew off her steam, the soldiers' wives rushed down, 
beating their breasts and tearing their hair, to the water's edge, 
and screamed out curses against the General who had brought 
this calamity upon them.^ 

But there were stout hearts still beating in the province of 
„ Behar. The little garrison of Arrah, listening 

The gamson ip i pp-r.i>i i 

of Arrah stiu eagerly from the roof of Boyle s house to the 
° ^°^- sound of firing on the night of the 29 th, soon 
heard it die away, and knew that no help had yet come. But 
they could still help themselves. Their provisions were nearly 
gone ; but, when the besiegers were asleep, they sallied forth, 
and brought in four sheep as the reward of their daring. Thirst 

^ Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, pp. 185-9 ; Times, Sept. 21, 
1857, p. 6, col. 1 ; Nov. 7, p. 7, col. 6 ; Patna Crisis, pp. 82-3 ; Hall, 
pp. 88-94, 


began to afflict them ; but the Sikhs dug a well, and procured 
an abundance of good water. Ammunition threatened to fail ; 
but Boyle had laid in a supply of lead, and new bullets were 
cast. Mining was repelled by countermining. Every expedient 
that the ingenuity of the besiegers could contrive was baffled by 
the ingenuity, but still more by the resolution of the besieged. 
Thus four more days passed away. On the morning of the 
2nd of August the sound of distant firing once more threw the 
garrison into suspense.^ And this time too the suspense did not 
last long. 

Among those whose sympathies had been roused by the story 
of the leaguer of Arrah was a major of the Bengal 
artillery, named Vincent Eyre. This officer had ^^^'^^ ^^' 
been in the army for nearly thirty years ; but, though he had 
seen much hard service, and had made many efforts to smooth the 
rugged lot, and elevate the moral condition of his men, whom 
he had honourably refused to forsake for the lucrative arena of 
civil employ, he had not yet found an opportunity of showing 
what he could accomplish as a leader in the field. Fifteen years 
before, however, in the disastrous winter of 1841, he had found 
and used a more glorious opportunity. The Afghan chiefs had 
demanded four British officers with their wives and children as 
hostages ; and the British commander had asked for volunteers 
to undertake the cruel risk. Every officer refused to expose 
his family to danger except Eyre, who, in the words of Lady 
Sale, "said, if it was to be productive of great good, he 
would stay with his wife and child." ^ He who reads this record 
of heroism will not ask for any further comment on Eyre's 

On the 1 0th of July he started with his battery from Calcutta, 
under orders to join the British force at Allahabad. Touching 
at Dinapore on the 25th, he of course heard of the mutiny which 
had just taken place. Re-embarking next morning, he reached 
Buxar on the 28th. There he was informed that the Dinapore 
mutineers were besieging Arrah. Hearing later in the day that 
some of them were marching up the country to destroy the Govern- 
ment stud property at Buxar, he detained the steamer for the 
night. Next morning, as there appeared to be no imminent danger, 

1 Hall, Boyle. 

^ See an article on Eyre in Colonel Malleson's Recreations of an Indian Official, 
p. 276. 


he pushed on towards Ghdzipur, intending, if he should find that 
station safe, to return to Buxar, and thence march 
Heresojves to ^^^ ^he relief of Arrah. Finding that Ghazipur, 
though still quiet, was not out of danger, he landed 
two of his guns for its defence, and took in exchange twenty-five 
Highlanders of the 78th, to aid him in his projected expedition. 
Returning to Buxar in the evening, he was rejoiced to find that 
one hundred and sixty men of the 5th Fusiliers had just arrived 
from Calcutta ; and, as he felt that, with their aid, he would be 
strong enough to begin his march for Arrah at once, he asked 
their commander. Captain L'Estrange, to join him. L'Estrange 
promptly agreed, bargaining only that Eyre should take upon 
himself the entire responsibility of the expedition. That Eyre 
did this for L'Estrange as unhesitatingly as he had done it already 
for himself, is his great title to the honourable mention of history. 
Many officers would have gone cheerfully with two hundred men 
to attack five thousand : but few would have turned aside from 
the instructions of their Government, and risked dismissal from 
the service, to do so. Fifteen years before, however. Eyre had 
dared to risk even the safety of his wife and child in his country's 
service; and he was not likely now to shrink from risking his 
commission. He therefore sent back the Highlanders to 
Ghdzipur, which had now greater need of them, and, appoint- 
ing as his staff officer. Captain Hastings, the superintendent of 
the Buxar stud, by whose energy and enthusiasm 

July 30 . 

the needful supplies were collected within a single 
day, started to relieve Arrah in the spirit of Montrose's 
favourite verses : 

He either fears his fate too much, 

Or his deserts are small, 
That dares not put it to the touch, 

To gain or lose it all. 

All through the long summer evening and the night the 

force marched on, not halting till day-break ; for 

" ^ ■ but slow progress could be made along heavy roads, 

and with bullocks unused to the labour of dragging artillery. 

But at his next encamping ground Eyre heard for 

"^' ■ the first time the news of Dunbar's disaster, and, 

burning to efiace it, pressed on till, on the evening of the 1st of 

August, he reached the village of Gujrajganj, close to Arrah. 


Hardly had he broken up his encampment on the following 
morning, when bugles were heard sounding the * „ o 
assembly a short distance ahead. Evidently the Battfe of 
enemy had come out from Arrah to dispute his "Jiajganj. 
advance. They were soon discerned lining a large wood which 
extended in front of the British force and on both its flanks. 
Seeing that he was in danger of being surrounded, Eyre caused 
his guns to open fire on their front and flanks. Presently they 
took shelter behind some broken ground in front of the wood 
and opened a heavy fire of musketry. Soon, however, unable to 
stand against the accurate discharges of the skirmishers whom 
Eyre had sent against them, they fell back to the wood. Eyre, 
rapidly following up his advantage, brought all his guns to bear 
upon their centre : they scattered to right and left ; and the 
British, keeping up an incessant fire of musketry, hurried over 
the vacant space, and plunged into the wood. The rebels were 
momentarily baffled ; for the British, moving out of the further 
side of the wood, were protected from attack by inundated rice 
fields which surrounded the road along which they marched. 
But, two miles further down, the road was intercepted by a river, 
on the opposite side of which lay a village called Bibiganj ; and 
the rebels now hastened to seize this point, hoping thus to render 
Eyre's further advance impossible ; for they had broken down the 
bridge, and thrown up breastworks to command the approaches. 
Unable to find a ford, Eyre began a flank march to the right, 
towards a railway embankment, along which a road ran direct to 
Arrah, and, to mask this movement, caused his artillery at the 
same time to play upon the village. Close to the embankment, 
however, there Avas another wood ; and the rebels now hastened 
to occupy it, in the hope of intercepting Eyre before he could 
gain the road. Then began a desperate race between the two 
armies. The rebels won, and, when Eyre's force came up, opened 
fire upon it from behind the shelter of the trees. Thus attacked 
in front, the British were sorely harassed by a simultaneous 
fire which Kunwar Singh's levies poured into their rear. Eyre 
must now carry the Avood, or be vanquished. His fire could 
make no impression upon the enemy. Twice Avithin an hour 
they rushed up to the muzzles of his guns ; and by the end of 
that time they were clearly forcing his infantry to retire. But 
Eyre had still one resource left, a resource Avhich has often saved 
British soldiers from imminent defeat at the hands of a superior 


force. He ordered his infantry to charge with the bayonet. 
Forming rapidly, the little company of Fusiliers sent up a glorious 
cheer, and, bounding across the stream, which, though still deep, 
was here pent up within a narrow space, drove their four thousand 
enemies before them in utter rout, and did not pause until the 
guns, opening on the fugitives, had made the victory complete. 
Meanwhile the garrison of Arrah had been listening anxiously 

to the sound of the battle. In the afternoon they 

saw the beaten rebels come hurrying up, collect their 
property, and go away. They knew now that their deliverance 

had been Avrought at last : but there was a still 
"^' ■ greater joy in store for them. For, when the morning 
came, they saw and welcomed their deliverers. 

Eyre had no thought, however, of resting on his laurels. 

He had baulked the mutineers of their prey : but 
hi^'succesr "^ ^e had not yet deprived them of all power to do 

mischief ; and other stations in Behar still lay at 
their mercy. He resolved, therefore, to follow up his victory 
by striking a decisive blow at Jagdispur, a village belonging to 
Kunwar Singh, to which the rebels had retreated. The old chief's 
asylum was very strongly placed, and the roads which led to 
it Avere difficult : but Eyre knew that his men would now follow 
him on any enterprise, and "what he had already achieved had 
fairly entitled him to ask for reinforcements. While he was 
waiting for them, he occupied himself in restoring order in the 
neighbourhood. Martial law was proclaimed ; and thirty wounded 
sepoys who were brought in, as well as a number of native 
officials who had entered Kunwar Singh's ser\ace, were hanged. 
On the 8th and 9 th of August the expected reinforcements 
arrived, two hundred men of the 10th and a hundred of Rattray's 
Sikhs. Strengthened by these and by some of the defenders of 

Arrah, Eyre set out on the 11th for Jagdispiu-. 

About half-past ten on the following day he caught 
sight of the faces of the enemy peeping through a dense belt of 
jungle on the ofjposite side of a stream which crossed the road. 
The position which Kunwar Singh had chosen was, in all respects 
but one, faultless. His stronghold lay sheltered behind the 
jungle, the mazes of which, familiar to him and his men, were 
unknown to his opponents : the stream protected his front ; and 
in his centre stood a "vallage, which he had fortified. But he had 
made the fatal mistake of weakening his force by sending a 


detachment to occupy anotlier village on the opposite side of the 
stream.^ The British skirmishers began the battle by dislodging 
this detachment, and dri^^ng it across the stream. The rest of 
the enemy lay concealed in the jungle, until the continued 
advance of the skirmishers provoked them to fire. Then Eyre, 
at last detecting their exact position, brought his artillery to 
bear upon them, and forced them to huddle in confusion further 
to the right. Now was the time to decide the battle by a 
bayonet rush. The men of the 10th, seeing the enemy waver- 
ing, were almost breaking loose from control in their burning 
desire to avenge their comrades who had fallen ^^^th Dunbar ; 
and, before their leader. Captain Patterson, had finished speaking 
the word of command, they answered him by a ringing cheer, and 
dashed forwai"d to the attack. Nothing could have resisted that 
avenging charge : but the 10th were cheated of half their desire ; 
for, as at Bibiganj, the enemy dared not look at the British 
bayonets, but fled headlong into the jungle. Meanwhile, Kunwar 
Singh's irregulars on the left had fought a gallant battle with the 
Fusiliers, the Sikhs, and the volunteers : but at last a howitzer 
was brought up against them ; and then they too fled. Driv- 
ing the enemy before him. Eyre entered Jagdispur early 
in the afternoon. It was not till the following 
day, however, that he could learn in what direction 
Kunwar Singh had retreated. Then L'Estrange, ^^^' ^^' 
and afterwards Eyre himself, went in pursuit : but the old chief 
was never caught. He had evidently looked forward to a 
victorious campaign ; for in his stronghold was discovered an 
abundance of ammunition, and enough grain to feed an army of 
twenty thousand men for six months, to obtain which he had 
mercilessly robbed the peasantry in the neighboiu-hood. But 
the re-establishment of the British power brought relief to the 
sufferers ; for Eyre allowed them to carry off" the grain.^ 
Finally, after blowing up all the principal buildings in Jagdispur, 
he started on the 20th of August for Allahabad. In his cam- 
paign of three weeks he had effected far more than the original 
object of his expedition. Not only had he relieved the be- 

1 Malleson, vol. i. pp. 128-9. 

^ Recreations of mi Indian Official, pp. 30-1-17 ; Account of tlie Relief of 
Arrali dictated by Major Eyre, printed in Gubbins's Mutinies in Oudh, App. No. 
10, pp. 474-84 ; Pad. Painrs, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, pp. 127-8, 130-1, 
143-7. The British loss in the first action was two killed and fifteen wounded, in 
the second six wounded. 


leaguered garrison of Arrah. He had quelled the insurrection 
which had threatened to spread from Behar throughout the 
whole of Bengal ; and he had restored the safety of river 
communication between Calcutta and the North- Western Pro- 
vinces. In other words, he, a simple major of artillery, had 
prevented the achievements of Tayler from being neutralised by 
the weakness of the Government and the incompetence of Lloyd. 
Before, however, this result was attained, the character of 
the Patna Commissioner had been subjected to a 
Dangers which trial more severe than any which it had yet endured. 

encompassed . pi t-v. tit 

Tayler after The mutmy of the sepoys at Dmapore had been 
faiim-r^ l)ad enough: but the defeat which Dunbar had 
sustained at their hands was far worse. For it 
now seemed absolutely certain that Arrah must soon fall ; and 
then the besiegers would be free to overrun the Avhole province 
of Behar vrith fire and sword. Many of the ^^llagers of 
Shahabad, the district of which Arrah was the capital, were in 
open revolt. Kunwar Singh's success would be sure to encourage 
others to follow his example : in fact the Eaja of Dumraon was 
said to have already joined the rebels. The mutiny of the 12th 
Irregulars aggravated the danger. Moreover, the native police 
and even the Sikhs would not be likely to remain loyal when 
they saw that their masters could no longer hold their ground. 
The Europeans scattered at the stations under Tayler's control, 
who had been secure under his protection till his policy had 
been endangered by the weakness of Lloyd, were almost destitute 
of the means of resistance.'^ For their lives and for the Govern- 
ment treasure under their care he was responsible. And he had 
to bear this grievous burden of responsibility by his own unaided 
strength : for his Government had never sympathised with him ; 
Lloyd was an encumbrance rather than a help ; and the gallant 
Holmes was dead. But Tayler met the crisis without flinching. 
He sent off the European ladies and children to Dinapore : and, 
feeling that now, when things were at their worst, it behoved 
him to be most stern and uncompromising in asserting his 
supremacy, he had the gallows shifted from the gaol to the 
middle of the race-course, where it would be in full view of all 
who meditated rebellion, and sent another batch of conspirators 
to execution. This, however, was not enough. He knew that 
to save the lives of the Europeans at the out-stations, prudence 
^ Patna Crisis, p. 85 ; Corres^iondence, etc., pp. 115, 119-20, 140-3, etc 


was needed as well as boldness. Accordingly, after a few hours 
of earnest consideration, he issued an order directing ^^^^ ^^ 
the district officers at Gaya and MuzafFarpur^ to Hiswith- 
come in to Patna, and to bring their treasure Avith 
them, unless their personal safety should be endangered by the 
attempt to remove it. No measure of his administration had 
been more sagacious than this. For, though he knew that Eyre 
intended to attempt the relief of Arrah, he could not prophesy that 
Eja-e, with a force only half as large as that with which Dunbar 
had been disastrously beaten, would show the moral strength 
and the military skill that could alone achieve success in so 
hazardous an enterprise : he knew that, if Eyre should fail, the 
province must be lost ; and he therefore resolved to sacrifice the 
out-stations for a time to the great object of saving his people's 
lives, holding Patna, and securing his treasure, rather than risk 
the loss of the whole by clinging vainly to a part.- Far more 
admirable, however, than the statesmanship which dictated this 
measure was the moral courage Avhich dared to carry it out in spite 
of the probable disapprobation of an unfriendly Government. 

Lautour, the magistrate at MuzafFarpur, acted at once upon 
Tayler's order, and, as he had no troops to escort „ ^ . 

1 • 1 !• • 1 1 • 1 -r. • H°^^ Lautour 

his treasure, left it behind. But the magistrate at and Money 
Gaya, Alonzo JMoney, unlike Lautour, had forty-five '^'^ '^ upom . 
Europeans, a hundred Sikhs, and a body of police to rely upon, 
besides a detachment of the 64th, stationed a few miles off, 
which he could summon to his aid. It is true that he was 
exposed to danger from the Dinapore mutineers : but this 
danger, though serious enough to vindicate the withdrawal 
order, and to justify him in taking measures for obeying it, 
was not sufficiently imminent to justify him in abandoning his 
treasure. Only three days before, he had written to Tayler, 
saying that he had nothing to apprehend from the 
townspeople, and that, if not more than three hundred 
or three hundred and fifty mutineers attacked him, he had " no 
doubt of giving them a good thrashing." His courage, however, 
had since oozed out ; for, a few hours after he 
received the order, he hurried away from the station 

^ The officers belonging to Cliapra and Motihari had already come in. The 
remaining station was Arrah. It is unnecessary to mention the sub-divisional 

2 Correspondence, etc., pp. 11-1-16 ; Patna Crisis, jjp. 85-7. 


under an escort, accompanied by the other Christian residents, 
leaving eighty thousand pounds in the treasury at the mercy of 
the enemies of Government.^ He thus flatly disobeyed the 
orders of the Commissioner ; for, as his own letter proved, his 
personal safety would not have been endangered by removing 
his treasure. When, however, he had proceeded a iew miles, 
one of his companions, Hollings, of the Opium Agency, came up 
to him, and said that he could not endure the remorse Avhich he 
felt at having been a party to the abandonment of the Govern- 
ment property. Money listened, and resolved to go back and 
repair the wrong which he had done. But, instead of taking 
his companions and his escort -with him, as common sense would 
have suggested, he impulsively bade them continue their journey, 
and went back alone with Hollings. Soon after 
Aug. 2. his return, he called in the detachment of the 64th, 
Aug. 4. and, when it arrived, removed the treasure under 
its escort, having already done his best to arouse the 
enmity of the native officials by openly burning the Government 
stamped paper, an act which they could only regard as implying 
a suspicion that they meditated plunder. After quitting the 
station he would naturally have taken the road to Patna, if he 
had not been misled by false reports which said that a body of 
the Dinapore mutineers was advancing to dispute his passage. 
As it was, he resolved to take the longer but safer road to 
Calcutta instead. On his way, he received letters from the 
Governor -General and the Lieutenant-Governor. When he 
opened them, he was probably somewhat astonished to find him- 
self congratulated as a hero. That Canning should have ac- 
cepted Halliday's view of Money's conduct was natural enough : 
but that Halliday, acquainted as he was with the terms of the 
withdrawal order and with the Avay in which Money had carried 
it out, should have praised the latter as he did, might well 
startle those who were ignorant of the circumstances that had 
tended to warp his judgement. Nor did he content himself with 
bestowing empty praise upon Money. The man who had fled 

' Ho excused himself for not removing tlie tre.isure by saying " The treasure 
could not 1)6 carried away ; I had neither carts nor elephants. " Pari. Papers, 
vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 2, p. 227. He omitted, however, to add that there had 
been nothing to prevent him from remaining to collect carts, as he was urged to 
do by some of the English residents. Moreover, his brain must have been extra- 
ordinarily confused, if he did not see the glaring inconsistency between his apology 
and his own subsequent conduct. 


in panic from his post was rewarded by promotion to a more 
lucrative appointment.^ Of Money himself it is not necessary 
to speak so severely. Though his whole conduct from the time 
that he received the withdrawal order had been a series of mis- 
takes, yet it is impossible not to feel sympathy for a man who, 
when his conscience told him that he had done wrong, tried, 
however awkwardly, to amend his fault. 

As, however. Money had been substantially rewarded for the 
defective discharge of an easy duty, surely Tayler r ^ y f 
might reasonably look forward at least to the Tayiers 
approbation of his Government. If some great 
disturbance had broken out in Patna, and he had suppressed it, 
his praises would have been sung as loudly as those of anyone 
else : but, as he simply prevented disaffection from breaking 
out at all in one of the most disaffected cities of India, there 
was too little of the sensational in his achievements to excite 
general enthusiasm. The English inhabitants of his province, 
indeed, and the natives who remained loyal to his Government, 
respected and trusted him absolutely.^ But Halliday had an 
old grudge against him. Halliday had repaid his services by a 
withdrawal of the support which each one of his subordinates 
had a right to claim : he had vouchsafed not a word of praise 
to encourage him in his labours : he had once before suggested 
a frivolous pretext for removing him from his post ; and now, 
eagerly clutching at the withdrawal order as an excuse for 
carrying out his resolve, without waiting for explanation or 
defence, he stigmatised this last and noblest measure of his 
lieutenant as an act of disgraceful cowardice, and summarily 
removed him from his post, thus depriving his 
country of the services of the ablest, the most ^^'ses^Taykr. 
successful, and the most trusted civil officer in 
Bengal, and blasting all his hopes, his aspirations, and his 
ambitions. Nothing could exceed the sympathy which the 
loyal inhabitants of Behar showed to him in his trouble. 
"When," wrote the non-official Christian residents of Patna, 
" the whole of Patna was nearly shipwrecked, at the moment 
when the rebels rose at Dinapore, and before that, when the 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 2, pp. 154-6, 227-32, 327-8, 412 ; 
Currespondence, etc., pp. 119, 122, 137-8. 

2 Except a "small clique" mentioned by Dr. Duff. See numerous lertters in 
What is Truth ? Also letters in the FMcjlishman, July 4, 10, 11, 17, Aug. 8, 
Sept, 8, 9, 12, 14, 16, 21, 30, Oct. 1, 2, 8, 12. 


mischievous machinations of Pi'r Ali and his accomplices had 
endangered not only our own city, but nearly the whole pro- 
vince, who opposed and braved the storm 1 Whose were those 
wise, far-seeing, and statesmanlike plans which saved us then ? 
and who so kindly and considerately threw open his house to 
receive the Christian populace at the hour of the greatest peril ? 
With one voice we answer it was you ; and were it not for you, 
and for your exertions, which cost you many an anxious day 
and sleepless night, . . . Behar would ere this have become a 
scene of anarchy and confusion." ^ 

It was not, however, to be expected that public opinion 
Subsequent would induce Halliday to admit that he had been 
conduct of in the wrong. He had already misrepresented the 
purport of the withdrawal order to the Governor- 
General and Council, who, on garbled and one-sided evidence, 
were led to record a censure upon Tayler.^ In a Blue Book 
which he published upon the case, he suppressed a letter written 
on the 8th of June, 1857, in which Tayler had given him full 
information of the danger to which Patna was exposed from the 
intended mutiny of the Dinapore sepoys, and another written 
by himself in reply, in which he had declared, in the face of 

' See What is Truth ? If Halliday bad not been in such a burry to get rid 
of Tayler, be might have reflected on the inconsistency of condemning him for 
issuing the withdrawal order, and praising Money for the way in which he bad 
acted upon it. If the order proved cowardice on Tayler's part, it was equally 
cowardly of Money to run away from his station as precipitately as he did. If 
the danger to which Money was exposed was so great as to justify him in running 
away without his treasure, the existence of that danger furnished an unanswerable 
proof of the wisdom of Tayler's order. 

For the benefit of anyone who wishes to investigate independently the questioi. 
of the withdrawal order, I give the following reference : Correspondence, etc., i^p. 
114-26, 128-50, 154-5, 162-8, 186-9 : Tayler's Memorial, pp. 4, 5, 9-16 ; and 
his Reply to Halliday's Minute, pp. 31-5. I may mention that the majority of 
the district officials, including McDonell, whom Halliday would hardly have 
accused of cowardice, were grateful i'or the order. The gist of Halliday's 
arguments was that there bad been no immediate probability of an attack upon 
Gaya an<l Muzaffarpur. He forgot that it had been probable that the attack 
would take place as early as the apparently imminent fall of Arrah would allow. 
The whole question lies in a nut-shell. If Eyre had failed to relieve Arrah, even 
Halliday would not have ventured to question the wisdom of the order. And 
did Halliilay venture to say that Tayler would have been justified in staking his 
people's lives and the Government property on the bare chance, as it seemed, of 
Eyre's succeeding ? No, — for he never attempted seriously to grapple with 
Tayler's arguments. 

2 Gorres2)ondence, etc., pp. 123-7 ; Nan-ative of Events, pp. 200-18 ; Tayler's 
Memorial, pp. 33-5. 


this information, that Patna was in no danger, and that the 
mutiny of the Dinapore sepoys was inconceivable. Lastly, in 
a minute which he despatched to the Directors in 1858, he 
implicitly denied that Tayler had ever sent him the information 
which the letter of the 8th of June contained.^ 

Though, however, for the moment he had gained a triumph 
condemned by every honest man in India who 
knew the facts of the case,^ there was a Nemesis 
in store for him. Time gave judgement between him and his 
victim. For a few years the latter could only submit with 
what patience he could command to the cruel injustice which he 
had suffered. The differences between himself and his Govern- 
ment remained as yet within the sphere of opinion. Long ago, 
indeed, the Dinapore mutiny, which Halliday had pronounced 
" inconceivable," had taken place : but he could still plausibly 
assert that Tayler was absurdly wrong in maintaining that there 

1 Tliese are grave charges. They will be found fully substantiated in Tayler's 
Eeply to Halliday's Minute, pp. 25-9, 48-9, 66-8, in his Memorial, pp. 17-20, 
and in Halliday's Minute, pp. 29-31 (821-3). Anyone who wishes for further 
proof need only compare the special Blue Book already quoted, entitled 
Correspondence, etc., with the Pari. Pa2Krs. Among the letters omitted from 
the special Blue Book was one written on the 28th of May to Tayler by Halliday, 
in which he said, " As soon as the telegraph is open I request you will send me 
a daily message, brief, just to say 'All's well,' till further notice." In accordance 
with the desire thus expressed, Tayler sent short demi-official and official letters 
and telegrams for some weeks. About the 30th of June he received an order 
(dated the 25th) to write official letters regularly. He obeyed. But the letters 
in the special Blue Book are arranged with such marvellous ingenuity, such 
convenient disregard for the sequence of dates, as to make it appear to any but 
the most careful reader that he contumaciously persisted for some time in writing 

It is not my business to describe the various measures by which Halliday 
completed his victory. It ought, however, to be mentioned that, after Tayler 
had refuted the charge on which he had been ostensibly removed from his post, 
Halliday sent a long list of ex-post-facto charges against him, without allowing 
him to see them, to the Directors. Although their minds were prejudiced by the 
concealment of evidence mentioned in the text, and still more by the fact that 
Tayler had not been allowed the opportunity of defending himself, they acquitted 
him of all the charges but two, and expressed their cordial approval of his general 
administration. Halliday published the unfavourable and suppressed the favour- 
able portion of their despatch. The two remaining charges were refuted by 
Tayler : but Halliday secretly withheld his reftitation, on the plea that it was 
contumacious, until it was too late to send it. See Halliday's Minute, Narrative 
of tyoents, and Tayler's Memorial. 

2 See letters from General Le Grand Jacob, Sir Arthur Cotton, General Colin 
Mackenzie, Dr. Duff, Hon. E. Drummoud, R. Vicars Boyle, General Sir Sydney 
Cotton, Sir Vincent Eyre, etc., and extracts from articles from Indian news- 
papers, published in Tayler's pamphlets. 


had been danger at Patna ; for had not Patna remained quiet 
when every other station was disturbed ? The very perfection 
of Tayler's administration gave Halliday a handle against him. 
But in 1864 and 1865 an extraordinary series of events occurred, 
which proved indisputably the sagacity of Tayler and the blind- 
ness of Halliday. In 1863 a frontier war broke out, which was 
generally considered the result of a secret anti-Christian crusade 
preached by the Wahabis of Patna. An elaborate trial, held at 
Umballa in the following year, proved the justice 
of the suspicion ; and three of the prisoners were 
sentenced to death. But this was not all. In 1865 the 
notorious Ahmad Ulla, the chief of the three Wahdbis whom 
Tayler had arrested in 1857, was brought to trial at Patna on 
the same charge, and convicted. The arch-traitor, whom Tayler's 
successor, with Halliday's approval, had called an innocent and 
inoflfensive " bookman," against whom there was no cause of sus- 
picion, and whom Halliday himself had openly petted and made 
much of, was sent to the Andaman Islands as a convicted felon.^ 
Now that at last he had the evidence of hard facts to 
Ta ler's support him, Tayler began a struggle for redress, 
struggle for Avhich successive disappointments only made him 
more resolute to maintain. In 1878 his loyal 
supporter, Syad Wilayat Ali Khan, who, like him, had been 
visited with Halliday's displeasure, was decorated with the Order 
of the Indian Empire.^ He might fairly hope that now justice 
would be at last done him. For not only had the Court of 
Directors cordially praised him ; not only had the Press 
unanimously supported him ; not only had two successive 
historians of the Indian Mutiny warmly eulogised his ad- 
ministration ; not only had a great company of Indian officers 
and civilians declared to him their conviction that his resolute 
statesmanship had saved Behar ; but two ex-members of 
Canning's Council had written to him, in generous repentance, 
to retract the censure Avhich they had joined in passing upon 
him, and to add their testimony to the value of his services.^ 

^ There is good reason to believe that he solaced himself in his captivity by 
contriving the plot to which Lord Mayo fell a victim. Fact v. Falselwod, pp. 

^ Army and Navy Jfagazine, vol. viii., 1884, p. 232. 

3 The letter from Sir John Low is to be found in the Selection of Letters from 
Distinguished Indian Statesmen ; an extract from the one from Dorin in ^Vhat is 
Truth ? p. 46. 


But lie underrated the forces of officialism, of misrepresentation, 
and of intrigue. So long as life and strength remained, he 
persevered ; and when at last it became apparent that victory- 
was hopeless,^ he still had a strong consolation of Avhich no 
injustice could rob him. For he knew he had saved Behar. 

^ On June 15, 1888, Sir Roper Lethbridge moved in the House of Commons 
that a Select Committee should be appointed to enquire into Mr. Tayler's case. 
The motion was defeated, owing to a most serious mis-statement by Sir John 
Gorst, which was refuted by me in a letter to the Times (June 25, 1888, p. 5, 
col. 5), and in a pamphlet, written, I believe, by Mr. Tayler's son, the late Mr. 
Skipwith Tayler, and entitled Sir J. Gorst's Statement in the House of Com- 
mons of June 22, 1888, refuted. [The date June 22 in the title of the pamphlet 
should be June 15.] See also Times, Aug. 15, 1888, p. 3, col, 3. 



While Canning, in the days that followed the outbreak at 
The line be- Meerut, was preparing to strike the great blow 
tween Calcutta at Delhi which, he believed, would instantly 
paralyse the revolt, he could not but feel anxious 
for the safety of the vast tract of country that lay between 
that city and Calcutta. For, while dense masses of sepoys were 
crowded at the stations along the Ganges and the Jumna, a 
single British regiment at Agra, another at Dinapore, which the 
irresolution of the Government condemned to inaction, and a 
few invalided soldiers were the only force available to hold 
them in check. If the sepoys had known how to use their 
opportunity, they might have prevented the passage of the 
reinforcements destined to succour Cawnpore and Lucknow : 
nay, they might have swept down the valley of the Ganges, 
seized Allahabad, Benares, and Patna, and, gathering strength 
on their way till their numbers had become irresistible, 
destroyed every trace of European civilisation, and massacred 
every European till they had reached the frontiers of Eastern 
Bengal. But, during the three precious weeks that followed 
the 10th of May, they remained absolutely passive. Perhaps, 
as has been suggested,^ the outbreak at Meerut frustrated a 
carefully matured plot for a simultaneous rising on the 31st of 
May, and thus disconcerted them. Perhaps they simply lacked 
the sagacity or the resolution to strike in time. 

The first important point on the line of the Ganges beyond 

the Bengal frontier, was Benares. The troops who 

were being conveyed up the river from Calcutta to 

grapple vnth. mutiny and rebellion Avere in no mood to look out 

^ See Appendix F. 


for the beauties of the scenery : but even their grim thoughts 
must have been distracted for a moment by the first sight of 
the Holy City. Shooting past a little promontory, the steamer 
entered a broad crescent-shaped reach, which, sparkling in the 
sunlight, washed the curved shore like a miniature bay. For 
two miles along the left bank a succession of broad flights of 
steps descended into the water ; and upon them swarmed 
multitudes of preachers, pilgrims, worshippers, loungers, and 
bathers clad in dresses of many colours. The mellow music of 
a hundred bells resounded above the hum of human voices. 
From the steps rose, tier above tier, pagodas, mosques, round towers 
and arches covered with fantastic decorations, long pillared arcades, 
balustraded terraces, noble mansions with carved balconies, and 
gardens rich with the dark green foliage of tamarinds and 
banians ; and high above the highest, perpetuating the humilia- 
tion which their founder had inflicted upon the idolatrous city, 
soared the two stately minarets of the mosque of Aurangzeb.^ 

Although the dynasty of the persecuting Emperor had been 
humiliated in its turn, the Hindus of the city were as ready as 
they had ever been to resent the slightest rumour of an insult 
against the sanctity of their religion. The influence of an army 
of priests made Benares as dangerous a stronghold of Brahminical 
as Patna was of Mahomedan fanaticism. Moreover, a rise in 
the price of corn unfortunately occurred at this very time to 
exasperate the habitual discontent of its inhabitants ; and it 
was to be feared that the state prisoners of every nation who 
had been condemned to pass their lives within its walls would 
seize the first opportunity to sow sedition against the English. 
While, therefore, the geographical position of the city, its wealth, 
and the fact that it was the capital of a large Division, caused 
general anxiety to be felt for its safety, it was seen that no 
place was more exposed to danger. The military force, which 
was quartered at the cantonment, about three miles from the 
city inland, consisted of a mere handful of English artillerymen, 
and three native regiments, the 37th Native Infantry, the 
Ludhidna Sikhs, and the 13th Irregular Cavalry. The native 
infantry were of course distrusted : but the Sikhs were believed 
to be staunch ; and here, as elsewhere, it was hoped that the 
irregulars, better disciplined and officered than the rest of the 
army, would remain true to their salt. 

' I. Prinsep's Benares Illustrated ; Roberts's Hindostan, vol. ii. pp. 54, 56. 



Among the English officials there Avas fortunately a man 

who had an extraordinary power of dealing with 

GubWas. Asiatics. This was the Judge, Frederic Gubbins. 

Entering upon his office six years before, he had 

rapidly introduced a new system of draining and lighting the 

squalid streets, in spite of the prejudices of the priest-ridden 

inhabitants, who feared that his measures portended an attack 

upon their religion.^ By thus successfully accomplishing what 

other officers had attempted in vain, Gubbins had established 

once for all such a dread of his power in the minds of the people 

that he was able now to attempt conciliatory measures which, 

coming from a weaker man, would have been attributed to fear. 

Noting the discontent which the high price of provisions was 

arousing, he exerted himself to convince the merchants that it 

would be their interest to avoid a riot by selling corn at as low 

a rate as possible. He succeeded so •weW that a reduction of 

fifteen per cent was soon effected. Henry Tucker, 

the Commissioner, was a man of a different stamp. 

His strength lay rather in passive fortitude than in aggressive 

activity. With a perversion of that reliance upon a Higher 

Power which supported the noblest heroes of the Mutiny, he 

seemed to suspect a want of faith in the active precautions 

which ordinary political wisdom suggested to others.- It was 

not in this spirit that Havelock offered up his prayers to the 

God of battles. But, if Tucker forgot the maxim, Aide toi et le 

del t'aidera, he did not forget to aid his brethren in misfortune. 

With a noble self-sacrifice in which his colleagues cheerfully 

supported him, he sent on every detachment of British troops 

which the Government had destined for the relief of Benares, to 

reinforce the garrison of Cawnpore. Moreover, he hoped that, 

by refusing to avail himself of these succours, he would impress 

the people of Benares with the belief that he felt confident in 

the sufficiency of his existing resources. And for a time, indeed, 

his hope seemed likely to be realised. For three weeks after 

the news of the outbreak at Meerut reached him, he was able to 

report that all was quiet in his Division. On the 

^"*i"L^h. 4th of June, however, he learned that the Sepoy 

regiment at Azamgarh, sixty miles to the north, 

iad mutinied, and that the civil officers of the station had 

confessed by their precipitate retreat that they were unable to 

1 Red PcmphleU pp. 86-7. "^ Kaye, vol. ii. pp. 209-10. 


uphold British authority.^ But by this time an officer had 
come to his support who knew that the Indian Mutiny could 
only be quelled by the most stern and instant action. 

Among those who arrived in Calcutta towards the end of 
May in answer to Canning's appeal, was Colonel 
James Neill of the 1st Madras Fusiliers. In a ^^^^ 
military career of thirty years, most of which had been spent 
in India, this officer had given many proofs that he was a born 
ruler of men. Serving against Russia with the Anglo-Turkish 
Contingent, he had shown that it was possible to rough-hew 
savage Bashi - Bazouks into disciplined soldiers ^j and the 
splendid regiment which he now brought with him to Calcutta 
owed its efficiency to his devotion. Canning recognised him at 
once as a man for the crisis, and entrusted him with the work 
of seciu-ing Benares and Allahabad, and relieving Cawnpore. 
Indeed it required no sulitle power of analysis to understand 
the nature of Colonel Neill. Tender and loving to those dear 
to him, merciful to the weak, and ever ready to sacrifice his 
own comfort for the well-being of his soldiers, he was a staunch 
friend, but a terrible enemy. No responsibility could appall 
him. No obstacle could stop him. No perplexities could 
dazzle the clear mental vision with which he instantly discerned 
the true bearings of every question of immediate action. AVhen, 
in his quarters at Madras, he heard of the first beginnings of 
mutiny, and thought that God might call him to take his part 
in its suppression, he startled a brother officer by saying that he 
" felt fully equal to any extent of professional employment or 
responsibility which could ever devolve upon him." But, when 
his friend looked up into his eyes, and saw the quiet but earnest 
expression of his stern face, he knew that there was no 
arrogance, but well-founded self-reliance in the words which he 
had heard. ^ 

Their truth was signally proved, even before Neill had left 
Calcutta. It was arranged that a detachment of 
the Fusiliers should proceed up the Ganges by wiTh the nfii- 
steamer, while Neill himself should follow with the ^^caiSitta^ 
rest by train. Arriving at the station with a few 

1 Pari. Papers, vol. xviii. (1859), p. 25 ; vol. xxx. (1857), pp. 344-6, 348, 
352, 354, 357, 359, 362, 365, 368, 380, 385, 392, 395 ; Times, Aug. 6, 1857. 
^ Kaye's Lives of Indian Officers, vol. ii. pp. 361-3. 
3 lb. vol. ii. pp. 366-7. 


of his men some mimites before the main hocly, which been 
unavoidably detained, he was told by the station-master that 
the train was already late, and would be started at once without 
waiting for the absentees ; and, when he remonstrated, a crowd 
of other officials came up, and did their best to silence him. 
But he soon showed them what manner of man they had to deal 
"with. Putting the station-master, the engineer, and the stoker 
under arrest, he waited till all the Fusiliers had arrived, and 
did not release his prisoners until he had seen every man safe 
in his place.^ This single incident satisfied the Christians whom 
Neill was hastening to succoui-. They knew that the right man 
had come at last. 

On the 3rd of June jSTeill arrived in Benares with a detach- 
ment of his regiment. About sixty more, and a 
iemres''."'^^ hundred and fifty of the 10th from Dinapore had 
preceded him. On the following day the news 
of the Azamgarh mutiny arrived ; and, as it was certain that 
the sepoys at Benares would catch the infection. 
Brigadier Ponsonby, who commanded the station, 
went to Neill's quarters, to consult him on the expediency of 
disarming the 37th. Fifteen years before, Pon- 

The crisis, ^ . . 

sonby had won his spurs in the wonderful on- 
slaught on Dost Mahomed's cavalry at Parwan-darra. It is 
easier, however, to lead even a Balaclava charge than to quell 
a mutiny. Ponsonby wished to put off the business of dis- 
arming till the morrow. But delay was an abomination to 
Neill. He persuaded Ponsonby that the thing ought to be 
done that very evening. Accordingly Colonel Spottiswoode, 
who commanded the 37th, proceeded to turn out his men, and 
ordered them to lay down their arms. They were quietly 
obeying when suddenly the European troops were seen coming 
on to the ground, and a panic seized the whole regiment. 
Those who had laid down their muskets ran to take them up 
again, and, with the others, began to fire upon the British. 
Some men of the 1 0th fell : but the rest returned the fire ; 
and the artillery, under Captain William Olpherts, poured in a 
shower of grape among the mutineers. And now, as Ponsonby, 
who had throughoxit been suff'ering grievously from the fierce 
heat of the sun, appeared to be losing all power of mind and 
body, Neill went up to him and said, "General, I assume 

^ Kaye's Lives of Indian Ojficers, vol. ii. pp. 366-7. 


command." At this moment the Sikhs, who were reluctantly 
advancing from behind to support the Europeans, were startled 
by the noise of firing in their rear. One of the Irregulars had 
fired at his commanding officer ; and the Sikhs, some of whom 
were positively disloyal, while the rest were confused and 
apprehensive of treachery, rushed wildly against the artillery- 
men. Olpherts had but just time to wheel his guns round, and 
fire. His swift action saved Benares ; for the Sikhs, stagger- 
ing under a fearful discharge of grape, broke and fled after 
the 37th; and Neill, promptly pursuing them, completed the 

The din of battle, resounding from the parade - ground, 
warned the Christian residents that mutiny had broken out, 
Most of the missionaries fled. A motley throng of civilians, 
women, and children took refuge on the roof of the Collector's 
cutcherry. Even after the mutiny had been suppressed, 
danger was still to be apprehended from the townspeople and 
from the revengeful fury of a detachment of Sikhs, who had 
been placed as a guard over the Government treasure. That 

^ Kave's Lives of hidian Officers, pp. 368-70 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. 
(1857) pp. 479-80 ; vol. xviii. (1859) p. 32 ; Times, Aug. 18, 25, 1857, p. 6, 
col. 4 ; MS. correspondence. Tiicker informed the Governor-General that the 
disarming had been very badly managed ; and some of the officers of the 37th 
complained that their men had been foully used. Montgomery - Martin goes 
further, and maintains that to disarm at all was a mistake. The disarming was 
certainly mismanaged, probably because it was xmdertaken without due prepara- 
tion ; and, as Ponsonby asserted in a letter to the Times (Aug. 18, 1857), that he 
conducted the whole liusiness, he miist bear the blame. But those who were 
best qualified to judge believed that, if the regiment had not been disarmed, 
it would have mutinied on the night of June 4. It is to be regretted, of course, 
that well-intentioned sepoys were slaughtered ; but, when once they had thrown 
in their lot with their comrades, their slaughter was inevitable. See Montgomery- 
Martin, vol. ii. pp. 233-5 ; Kaye, vol. ii. pp. 226-8 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xviii. 
(1859), p. 32. 

[It has been asserted that the Sikhs were provoked to mutiny by Olpherts's open- 
ing fire on them without provocation. On this poiut the testimony of General Sir 
D. S. Dodgson, K.C.B., and of Major-General W. Tweedie, C.S.I., who were both 
present, is conclusive. " I am most positive," wrote Dodgson in an unpublished 
letter to Olpherts, " you did not open fire on the Loodianah Regiment until they 
had fired on your men and on the infantry (European), and had fired on their own 
commanding officer and adjutant, and had actually mortally wounded Ensign 
Hayter, and most severely wounded Ensigns Chapman and Tweedie. I saw them 
shot down by the Sikhs ... I know a good many of the Sikhs were loyal, but a 
great many were disloyal . . . Gordon had evidently the greatest difficulty in 
getting the Loodianah Regiment to move up in front of the 37th ; else why should 
Ponsonby have ordered me twice to go and urge him to come up at once ? And 
when he did get the regiment to move, it wavered and stopped more than once 
during the advance."] 


this danger was averted was partly due to the active loyalty of 
a knot of influential natives. Foremost among these was a Sikh 
sirdar, Surat Singh, who, during a long residence as a state 
prisoner in Benares, had learned to appreciate the character 
of Gubbins, and now, accompanying him to the cutcherry, 
which was in danger of being burned by the infuriated Sikhs, 
not only quieted them by explaining that the attack on their 
comrades had been unpremeditated, but even won them over to 
a loyal discharge of their duties. Not less faithful to Gubbins 
were his Nazir,^ Pundit Gokal-Chand, a rich Hindu noble 
named Deonarain Singh, and the titular Kaja of Benares him- 
self, who all did good service in allaying the excitement of 
the populace, and rescuing Christians from their fury. About 
two o'clock in the morning, the party at the cut^ 

June 5 o' X ./ _ 

cherry was removed under an escort to the Mint, 
which was better fitted for defence. Huddling together on the 
roof, they fell asleep at last from sheer exhaustion. The first 
sight that met their eyes when they awoke was a row of gallows, 
on which Neill was busily hanging batches of mutineers as fast 
as they were brought in.'^ Soon afterwards he I'eceived a 
message from the Government, ordering him to hurry on to 
Allahabad. Instantly he telegraphed back — " Can't move : 
wanted here." ^ But though he could not stir himself, he sent on 
one of his subalterns with fifty of the Fusiliers. By the 6th he 
was able to report that the cantonments were safe.* Thus 
within Benares itself order was re-established and maintained. 
Tucker, who knew that he at least had contributed nothing to 
this result, ascribed it to miracle : but the baffled rebels would 
have told him that it was due to the \agour of Neill and 
Gubbins, and the \oyix\ co-operation of four native gentlemen. 
Anyhow, no miracle was vouchsafed to keep the country popula- 
tion quiet. The story of the slaughter at Benares di'ove another 
detachment of the Sikhs at Jaunpur to rebel on the follo^ving 
day, and stimulated the villagers to fling off and trample under 
Mutiny at ^oot every vestige of British authority. Then 
Jaunpur. _^^ Tucker bestirred himself to ask Canning for leave 
the districts, to give his chicf civil officers power of life and 

^ An official wlio issues pi-ocesses, keeps the roll' of witnesses and announces 
their arrival, makes out lists of unclaimed property and stray cattle, and carries 
out public sales by the Court's order, just outside the cutcherry. 

- Times, Aug. 25, 1857, p. 6, col. 4. 

3 Mead. -^ Farl. Pcqxrs, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 480. 


death. The Governor-General, however, had already issued an 
order placing the Division of Benares under martial 
law. Some of the officers used their power with in- ™ 
discriminate ferocity. Lads who had been guilty of nothing 
worse than waving rebel colours and beating tom-toms, were 
summarily executed. Gentlemen volunteered to serve as 
hangmen, and gloried in the skill with Avhich they dis- 
posed of their victims. But mere executions, however severe, 
were not enough to restore British authority. Landholders 
plundered each other and robbed travellers on the roads : bands 
of dacoits began to infest the country ; and parties of dispersed 
sepoys continued to attack isolated posts. 

On the 9th of June ^ Neill found himself able to push on for 
Allahabad. Standing at the south-eastern point 
of the Doab, where the sparkling stream of the 
Jumna loses itself in the turbid waters of the Ganges, that city 
commanded both the river and road communication between 
the upper and lower provinces of Northern India ; while its 
grand, massive fort, stored with ammunition, and bristling 
with guns, offered an invaluable prize to the daring of the 
mutineers. Moreover, its natiu-al importance had of late been 
greatly increased by the annexation of Oudh, to the southern 
frontier of which it served as a protection. Thus it is not too 
much to say that the safety of the entire North-West hung upon 
the preservation of Allahabad. Ellenborough and Charles 
Napier, recognising its importance, had always kept it strongly 
garrisoned by Europeans : but their successors had neglected 
it; and, though Outram had warned Canning to provide for 
its safety, there was not a single British soldier within its walls 
at the outset of the Mutiny.- It was not till the Christian 
inhabitants had been roused by the outbreak at Meerut to 
point out the defencelessness of their position that sixty invalid 
artillerymen were sent from Chunar to reinforce them.^ The 
news which startled the English residents stirred up the latent 
disaflfection of the discontented Mahomedan population, many 
of whom were fallen nobles who cursed the Government which 

^ Pari. Pa2)ers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 455. 

^ "Had the precautions I proposed been adopted," A\Tote Outram, "a 
European regiment must have been retained at Cawnpore to supply the 
Allahabad garrison, and General Wlieeler's party would have been saved." — Sir 
F. J. Goldsmid's Life of Outram, vol. ii. p. 123. 

=* Eed Panqohlet, pp. 93-4. 


had brought them to the dust.^ Here, as elsewhere, there were 
rumours of treacherous designs of the Government against 
the religion of their subjects. Yet here too, as elsewhere, 
the native troops were trusted by their commanders. One 
regiment especially, the 6th Native Infantry, was the pride 
and delight of the colonel and his officers, who had ever shown 
an affectionate interest in all that concerned the welfare of 
their men. And now the men in their turn seemed eager to 
show themselves worthy of their officers. On the 19th of 
May the entire regiment volunteered to march against Delhi. 
Meanwhile the excitement of the populace, though it became 
May "5 ^^ore intense after the great Mahomedan festival 
of the Eed, had not developed into insurrection. 
Yet all this time the chief civilians felt ill at ease ; for they 
knew that the populace would rise at once if the sepoys should 
mutiny, and they could not regard the sepoys with that con- 
fidence which old associations had fostered in the hearts of the 

On the 4th of June the telegraph brought the news of the 
events that had just passed at Benares. Feeling sure that 
the mutineers whom Neill had driven out of that station must 
be marching against Allahabad, the magistrate begged Colonel 
Simpson of the 6 th to send a company of his regiment with 
two guns to guard the bridge by which the rebels would have 
to cross the Ganges. Simpson consented, and at the same 
time detached a party of irregular cavalry to defend the 
cantonments. The magistrate, who had never trusted the 
native troops, may have only advised the former measure as a 
forlorn hope : but even now, with the story of the Benares 
mutiny before him, Simpson retained his faith in his own 
regiment. Nay two days later, he paid no heed to a warning 
which he received from a non - commissioned officer of his 
regiment, telling him that the news from Benares had dangerously 
excited the men. At sunset on that day he 
paraded the troops in order to read them a letter 
from the Governor -General, thanking the Gth for their offer 

' "The existence of a Maliomedan conspiracy to exterminate the English 
was now (May 31) a matter of notoriety." — Calcutta Review, July to Dec. 1858. 
Article, "A District during a Rebellion," p. 59. 

2 Calcutta Review, July to Dec. 1858. Article, "A District during a 
Rehellion," p. 59 ; Pari. Pajiers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 306. 


to march against Delhi. The sepoys listened with apparent 
satisfaction, and cheered like British soldiers. More than ever 
convinced of the loyalty of their model regiment, Simpson and 
his officers rode off the parade-ground to mess. But the men 
did not feel that their day's work was over. An order had just 
been issued foi- the removal of the guns stationed at the bridge 
to the fort, where they might be more needed ; and, when Lieu- 
tenant Harward, the officer on duty, was preparing to move 
them, the sepoys chosen to form their escort de- The mutiny 
fiantly asserted their resolve to take them to can- and its con- 
tonments instead. Harward hastened to warn 
Lieutenant Alexander of the Oudh Irregulars to intercept the 
mutineers on their way to cantonments. Alexander led out his 
men. As soon as he saw his enemy, he called upon them to 
follow him and recover the guns : but only three rode to the 
attack : the rest went over to the sepoys ; and the gallant 
Alexander fell, shot through the heart. Then the sepoys marched 
Avith their new friends to the lines; and, when the deluded 
officers hurried up to recall their men to obedience, they were 
answered by a volley of musketry, beneath which five fell. 
Among the other victims of the model regiment were seven 
young cadets, who had only just arrived from England. Night 
had now set in ; and the mutineers sallied out into the city, to 
seek new fields of crime. Fii*st they broke open the gaol, and 
let loose a swarm of miscreants to aid them in their work. And 
now the magistrate's fears were realised. The populace followed 
the example of the sepoys ; and mutiny was merged in sedition. 
Every Christian who had not found refuge in the fort was mur- 
dered : every Christian home was plundered and burned : the 
timid Bengali pilgrims, who had come to worship at the famous 
shrine of the Prayag, were robbed and threatened by the Ma- 
homedans, to whom they were scarcely less odious than the 
Christians themselves : the shops and the warehouses were 
rifled : the railway works were destroyed : the telegraph wires 
were torn down ; and the locomotive engines, which the ignorant 
rebels feared to approach, were bombarded. Worst of all, six- 
teen hundred bullocks, which the Commissariat had collected for 
the transport service of the column destined for the relief of Cawn- 
pore, were driven off. Within a few hours the authority of the 
English in Allahabad was overthrown ; and a green flag, waving 
over the Kotwali, proclaimed the restored supremacy of Islam. 


But the fort still sheltered a few Europeans, and told the 
Mahomedans that their authority was not univer- 
ttiefort/^^^^ sally recognised. Yet even the fort must have 
fallen, if it had not been for the great qualities of 
an infantry captain who had once been a private soldier. The 
garrison consisted of the invalid artillerymen, about a hundred 
European volunteers, a company of the sepoy regiment which 
had just mutinied, and a detachment of Sikhs who had lately 
heard of the slaughter of their countrymen at Benares. It 
seemed almost certain that the sepoys and the Sikhs would now 
unite and turn upon their masters. In this extremity Captain 
Brasyer of the Sikhs forced his men to supj)ort him in disarm- 
ing the sepoys ; while the artillerymen, port-fires in hand, stood 
at the guns, ready to destroy the first man who disobeyed orders. 
The sepoys saw that they must give way, and, piling their 
arms at Brasyer's order, trooped out of the fort to join their 

All night long the English, standing on the ramparts of the 
fort, were forced to listen to the yells of the budmashes, who 
were making havoc of their possessions, and watch the flames 
and lurid smoke ascending from their ruined homes. Next day 
they were cheered by the arrival of the detachment 
of Fusiliers, whom Neill had sent on in advance. 
Even with this reinforcement, however, they were still too Aveak 
to re-establish their authority in the town. And now the ex- 
ample of the townspeople was being followed by the people of the 
surrounding country. The infection of mutiny and rebellion 
travelled westward to the station of Fatehpur; and Robert 
Tucker, the judge, standing his ground alone after every other 
European had fled, refusing to purchase life by apostatising to 
Mahomedanism, was murdered on the roof of the cutcherry after 
he had himself slain some fourteen of his assailants. On the 
western bank of the Jumna, indeed, a few influential rajas 
found their interest in keeping the people submissive to British 
rule : "^ but the villagers on the eastern side of the Ganges, and 
the Brahmins and Mahomedan landowners of the Doab openly 

^ Marshman's Memoirs of Sir H. Havdock, p. 270 ; Times, Aug. 25, 1857, 
p. 6, col. 3 ; Aug. 26, p. 7, col. 2 ; Mead, pp. 131-3 ; Calcutta Review, July to 
Dec. 1858, p. 60 ; Annals of tlie Indian Rebellion, pp. 401-28. 

2 ' ' They were wise enougli to see that a servile war, an uprising of the lower 
against the higher classes . . . would uot answer their purpose." — Calcutta 
Review, July to Dec. 1858, p. 64. 


flung off the yoke. The state of things was much the same as 
that which has been described as prevalent in the districts round 
Agra and Meerut, and in Rohilkhand. Every man did that 
which was right in his own eyes. Old grudges were avenged. 
Boundary marks were removed. E-ich capitalists were driven 
out of the estates which they had bought under the Sale Law. 
Villagers impartially robbed each other and the Government. 
Internecine war raged. Meanwhile in Allahabad itself a Ma- 
homedan, who had presented himself to the people as a prophet 
endowed by heaven with miraculous powers, was keeping alive 
the awakened hatred of the English name. Even in the fort the 
demon of disorder was rampant. The Sikhs found abundant 
stores of wine, brandy, rum, and beer in the cellars of the mer- 
chants, and sold all that they could not drink themselves to the 
Europeans. Men supposed to be on duty were to be seen stagger- 
ing on the ramparts, so drunk that they could not hold their 
muskets. Many of the volunteers soon became as demoralised 
as the Sikhs, and joined them in plundering the houses of 
inoffensive traders, and smashing their furniture. But the reign 
of anarchy was doomed. For Neill was fast hiu-rying up from 
Benares; and on the 11th of June he entered the fort with 
forty of his men. " Thank God, Sir," said the sentry who ad- 
mitted him, "you'll save us yet."-*^ 

The sentry was right. " On assuming command," wrote 
Neill a few days later, " I at once determined to T^^eiii arrives 
drive the enemy away, and open up some communi- and restores 
cation with the country." Accordingly, on the 
morning of the 12th, he bombarded the suburban village of 
Daraoganj, expelled the mob of insurgents who occiipied it, 
burned part of it to the gi'ound, and won back the 

. . . . June 13 

bridge, which the rebels had seized. The Fusiliers 
were so exhausted by their rapid journey from Benares and the 
intense heat that they could hardly walk : but the force of their 
passions sustained them ; and, with reckless ferocity, they de- 
stroyed every native whom they could catch. Reinforced on 
the following day by a fresh detachment, a hundred 
strong, Neill resolved to put a stop to the disoi'der 
in the fort. Directly after his arrival, he had paraded the 

^ Calcuttii Eevietv, July to Pen. 1858, pp. 63-4 ; J::iidosures to Secret Letters 
from India, July 4, 1857, pp. 569-70 ; Twies, Aug. 25, 1857, p. 6, col. 3 ; Lives 
of Indian Officers, vol. ii. p. 373 ; Montgomery- Jlartin, vol. ii. pp. 296-7, 316. 


volunteers, and, severely reprimanding them for their disgraceful 
misconduct, had threatened to eject from the fort the first who 
should offend again. He now proceeded to buy up all the 
plundered liquor, and destroyed the rest. He found it less easy 
to dispose of the Sikhs, who had passed entirely beyond the con- 
trol of their officers : but Brasyer, who knew the ruling passion 
of his men, with great tact persuaded them that, by taking up 
their quarters outside the fort, they would be in a better position 
for plundering the rebel zaminddrs. 

Now that order had been restored within the fort, Neill had 
a secure base for his operations against the city and the sm-round- 
ing country. Causing the fort guns to open fire on the suburban 
villages, he sent out parties of Fusiliers, Sikhs, and 
Irregulars, who swept over the country, and scat- 
tered rebels and mutineers in all directions. A detachment of 
Fusiliers went up the river in a steamer, throAnng shot right 
and left, and firing every village that they passed. A portion 
of the native town was set on fire ; and volleys of grape and 
canister were showered into the inhabitants, as they ran from 
the flames. Meanwhile another detachment had started from 
Benares to reopen the line of communication, and was burning 
rebel villages, and hanging rebel zamindars as it pursued its 
way. By the 1 8th the districts were absolutely mastered. The 
work of retribution, however, was not over ; and some of those 
who took part in it, maddened by the outrages which had been 
inflicted upon their countrymen, recked little whom they slew, 
so long as they could slay someone. Volunteers and Sikhs 
sallied out of the fort into the streets, and slaughtered every 
native who crossed their path. A civilian boasted that a com- 
mission of which he was chief had hung eight or ten men a day, 
and wrote home a graphic account of the disgusting details of 
their execution.^ The system of burning villages, right and 
politic when pursued with discrimination, was in many instances 
fearfully abused. Old men who had done us no harm, helpless 
women Avith sucking infants at their breasts, felt the weight of 
our vengeance no less than the vilest malefactors ; and, as they 

' Abundant proof of all that I have said in the text about the nature of our 
reprisals is to be found in letters to English and Indian newspapers WTitten b}' 
raen who acted in or witnessed the scenes which they described, in the Pari. 
Papers, and in the pages of Montgomery-Martin, who devoted special attention 
to the subject. 


wandered forth from their blazing huts, they must have cursed 
us as bitterly as we cursed the murderers of Cawnpore. But to 
the honour of Neill let it be recorded that to him the infliction 
of punishment was not a delight, but an awful duty. "God 
grant," he wrote on the 17th, "I may have acted with justice. 
I know I have with severity, but under all the circumstances I 
trust for forgiveness." ^ On the same day the magistrate re- 
turned to the Kotwali. Not a finger was raised against him. 
In fact, Neill had inspired the populace with such terror that a 
rumour arose that the English were going to bombard the city ; 
and many of the citizens fled with their families into the 
country.^ At no epoch of history has individual character 
achieved more extraordinary results than in the coui-se of the 
Indian Mutiny. 

By this time, however, toil and privation, incessant excite- 
ment, bad and scanty food, and intemperate drink- 
ing, had told upon the health of the British soldiers. ^^ ^ ^° '^^' 
On the 18th cholera broke out among them. There were no 
means of mitigating its horrors. Punkahs and medicines were 
almost entirely wanting. Eight men were buried before mid- 
night. Twenty more died next day. The shrieks of the 
sufferers were so appalling that two ladies in a room over the 
hospital died of fright.^ 

Still, the first of the great objects for which Neill had left 
Calcutta had been gained. Within a few days he ™ ^ ^^ .„ ^ ^ 

.=> ,.. ■^- What NeiU had 

had paralysed the insurgent population of a crowded done, and what 
city and a wide district, and had rebuilt the ^ °^^^' 
shattered fabric of British authority. He had done this while 
laboiu:ing under a physical weakness that would have prostrated 
many energetic men. But nothing could overcome the resolute 
heart of Neill. When he arrived in Allahabad, after a week of 
ceaseless activity and anxiety at Benares, he had felt almost 
dying from complete exhaustion; but "yet," he wrote to his 
wife, " I kept up heart." Unable to move, barely able to 
sustain consciousness by taking repeated draughts of cham- 
pagne and water, he had had himself carried into the bat- 
teries, and there, lying on his back, had directed every opera- 

^ Kaye, vol. ii. p. 269, note. 

- lb. p. 298 ; Dailp News, Aug. 25, 1857 ; Times, Aug. 25, 1857, p. 6, col. 
3 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), pp. 545-6, 583. 

2 Ih. pp. 544, 555 ; Times, Aug. 26, 1857, p. 6, col. 6. 


tion.^ And now he felt that his work was only begun. For 
he knew that Lucknow was even then threatened by a mutinous 
soldiery, and that Cawnpore was hard pressed by the army 
of the Nana Sahib. 

^ Lives of Indian Officers, vol, ii. pp. 373-4. 



Ever since the news of the seizure of Delhi had reached him, 
Canning had felt specially anxious for the safety of 
Cawnpore. That city was the headquarters of a 
Division ; and, though its importance as a military station had 
been diminished by the annexation of the Punjab, it was still a 
position of considerable value. Four native regiments, the 2nd 
Cavalry, and the 1st, 53rd, and 56 th Infantry, were assembled 
within its lines. Yet the entire British force consisted of only 
fifty-nine artillerymen and a few invalids belonging to the 32nd 
Queen's Regiment. To add to the difficulties of the position, 
the station was crowded by an unusually large non-combatant 

Cawnpore was situated forty-two miles south-west of Luck- 
now, on the southern bank of the Ganges. The native town, 
with its dilapidated houses and narrow twisting streets swarm- 
ing with busy traders and artisans and roving budraashes, lay 
about a mile from the river. Around it stretched a dull, sandy 
plain. South-east of the town, and separated from it by a 
canal, were the native lines, Tong rows of mud hovels, thatched 
with straw. Here, after morning parade, dusky warriors were 
to be seen loafing about in groups and gossiping ; while others, 
squatting on the ground in the cool linen drawers which they 
had put on after flinging off their tight, uncomfortable uniforms, 
were placidly eating their rice. Moving on, and skirting the 
north-eastern quarter of the town, the traveller would have 
come to the theatre, near which, on rising ground, stood the 
assembly rooms and the church with its white tower soaring 
9,bove a clump of trees. Looking down the strip of country 

224 CAWNPORE chap, viii 

that lay between the river and the town, and stretched for some 
miles beyond the latter, he would have seen the cantonments, a 
long, straggling line of brick houses coated Avith white paint, 
each standing in its own compound, a sort of paddock some three 
or four acres in extent, shut in by an untidy, crumbling mound 
and ditch. The country was broken by ravines ; and here and 
there among the bungalows native temples peeped out above 
clumps of trees. The treasury, the gaol, and the magazine 
stood near the further extremity of the line. Pinnaces with 
light, taper masts, and unwieldy country boats, looking like 
floating hay-stacks, lay moored close to the landing-steps on the 
sacred river ; and across the bridge of boats which spanned its 
broad flood, travellers were continually passing on their way to 
or from Lucknow.^ 

In the spring of 1857 the English residents were leading 
the ordinary life of an Anglo-Indian community. Morning 
rides, work in cutcherry or on parade, novel-reading, racquets, 
dinners, balls filled up the time. Pretty women laughed and 
flirted, as they listened to the music of the band in the cool of 
the evening, and talked perhaps of the delightful balls which 
the Nana had given in his palace up the river, before he had 
started on that inexplicable tour. Suddenly the news of the 
great disasters at Meerut and Delhi arrived ; and the life of the 
little society was violently wrenched into a new channel.^ 

The commander of the Division was General Sir Hugh 

Wheeler. When the mutiny broke out, it was 

wh^ie? generally believed that, whoever else might fail, he 

would be equal to the occasion ; for, though he was 

an old man, he had not lost his bodily vigour or his activity of 

mind ; he had proved himself on many hard-fought fields to be 

a brave and determined soldier ; and he was known to be 

acquainted with the character and to possess the confidence of 

the sepoys in an especial degree.^ And in one respect at least 

he did stand out from the great mass of British officers. He 

was not long beguiled by the pleasing fancy that his men would 

remain faithful, though all around them should prove traitors. 

On the contrary, soon after he received the news of the outbreak 

^ Mowbray Thomson's Story of Caionpore, pp. 18-23 ; Hunter's Impericd 
Qazetteer, vol. ^^. p. 81 ; Russell's Diary in India, vol. i. p. 179 ; Miss Roberts's 
Hindnsfan, vol. ii. p. 44 ; G. 0. Trevelyan's Caionpore, pp. 5, 11-16, 65. 

2 lb. pp. 13, 65, 74-5. 

^ Mowbray Thomson, pp. 140-1 : Red PavqMct, pp. 123-4. 

1857 CAWNPORE 225 

at Meerut, he saw that his regiments, though they did not 
slacken in the performance of their duty, were becoming possessed 
by an insane fear of the monstrous designs which the prevalent 
fables ascribed to the English, and might sooner or later be 
driven by sheer panic to revolt. He therefore determined to 
lose no time in securing a place of refuge for those ^j^ selection 
under his charge. The most natural position to of a place of 

. . . refuse 

select was the magazine, a strong, roomy building, 
which, being surrounded by bullet-proof walls, and protected on 
one side by the river, was well fitted for defence. Wheeler 
decided against it, however, on the gi-ound that, before occupy- 
ing it, he would be obliged to withdraw its sepoy guard, and 
thus inevitably precipitate a rising. Moreover, though he 
feared that the native regiments would eventually mutiny, he 
had good reason to believe that they would hasten at once to 
join their comrades at Delhi. Thinking, then, that he would 
only have to repel the possible attacks of a mob of undisciplined 
budmashes imtil succour should reach him, he contented himself 
with throwing up a weak entrenchment close to the native lines. 
If, however, he had waited for the reinforcements which he was 
soon to receive, he might have seized the magazine with small 
loss, perhaps Avith none at all ; for numberless examples have 
shown that the sepoy always bows down before the man who 
has the courage to take the initiative against him. On the 
other hand, his apparently well-founded belief that, after the 
first outbreak of mutiny, the sepoys would hasten to Delhi as 
the focus of rebellion, instead of waiting to attack him, was a 
strong argument in favour of the course which he pursued. 
Not many Anglo-Indian generals would have shown more judge- 
ment than this gallant veteran.^ 

While making these preparations for defence, he applied for 
reinforcements from Lucknow; and Henry Lawrence, Reinforcements 
though he himself had no superfluity of European anive. 
troops, generously sent fifty men of the 32nd and a May 21. 
half battery of guns under Lieutenant Ashe.^ Unhappily, about 

^ Trevelyan, pp. 74-5, 115-6; Ccttvnjjore Massacre, by W. J. Shepherd (cue 
of the garrison), pp. 8, 9 ; Pari. Pajiers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 348 ; Hed Pamphlet, 
pp. 123-4. The question is fully discussed in App. G. See Plan facing p. 417. 

- Mowbray Thomson, p. 30 ; Gubbins, p. 28 ; Trevelyan, p. 68. Kaye (vol. 
ii. p. 29) says that 84 men of the 32nd were sent, but mentions in a note that 
Lawi-ence's military secretary set the number down at 50. So did Lawrence him- 
self in a telegram dated May 23. — Enclosures to Secret Letters from India. 


226 CAWNPORE chap, viii 

the same time Wheeler stooped to court the good offices of 
another and less trustworthy ally. The Government treasure 
at the suburb of Nawabganj was at the mercy of a guard of 
sepoys whom he distrusted, but who, he felt sure, would resist 
any attemj^t to withdraw it from their keeping. He therefore 
resolved to ask the Nana to lend a body of his retainers for the 
protection of the treasiu-y. In A^ain was he warned 
piaced^under by Lawrencc and Martin Gubbins that it would be 
the Nfuia Sahib. ^^® height of f olly to put any trust in one whose 
recent movements had laid him open to such gi-ave 
suspicion. He might, indeed, have retorted with some show of 
reason. For he had been led to believe that it would be possible 
to win the cordial support of the Nana by offering to procure 
for him that pension Avhich had been so long Anthheld. Besides, 
had not the Nana always lived on the most friendly terms vnth 
the English residents at Cawnpore ? Had he not invited British 
officers to his table, played billiards with them, chatted Avith 
them, smoked with them ? What reason then was there to 
regard him with suspicion ? Might it not even be judicious to 
entrust the women of the garrison to his care ? This last idea 
was not carried out ; but on the 22nd the treasury was placed 
under his protection.^ 

On the same day there was a general migration of non-com- 
batants from the English quarter to the enirench- 
suspense.^° mcut. The coufusiou and alarm which prevailed 
among them " were enough to suggest the idea of 
mutiny to men so quick to perceive and so ready to take advan- 
tage of any sign of fear as sepoys have always shown themselves 
to be. On the 23rd, Wheeler telegraphed to Lawi-ence : — "It 
is almost certain that the troops will rise to-night." 

May 24 i o 

When, however, the Eed had passed by without an 
outbreak, he began to feel that the danger was over, and, in the 
warmth of his gratitude, even repaid the generosity of Lawrence 
by sending on to him a portion of the reinforce- 
ments which he had received from Benares. The 
danger was not over. There was sore anxiety in the hearts of 
the Christians. Ladies whose husbands were required to sleep 
in the lines, hardly dared to hope, as they said good-bye to them 
at night, that they Avould ever see them again. The letters 

1 GuLbins, p. 31 ; Mowbray Thomson, pp. 32-3. 
- Kaye, vol. ii. pj). 300-1. 

1857 CAWNPORE 227 

that were sent off towards the end of the month to catch the 
homeward mail, were full of dark foiebodings.^ Outwardly the 
sepoys remained comparatively quiet ; but they were secretly 
plotting among themselves, and intriguing through the medium 
of their leaders with the Nana. Nothing but the procrastination 
of the infantry, who were less eager, or at any rate less im- 
petuous than the cavalry, delayed the crisis so long.^ At last, 
on the night of the 4th of June, it came. 

The cavalry rose first, and galloped to Nawabganj. The 1st 
Infantry soon hurried after them. Then the two 
regiments, making common cause with the Nana's 
retainers, burst open the gaol, destroyed the public offices, rifled 
the treasury, and made themselves masters of the contents of 
the magazine. In the midst of their revels, however, they won- 
dered why they had not been joined by the other two infantry 
regiments. The sequel proved that the latter could have had 
no fixed purpose of rising, if they were not actually loyal in 
intention. All through the night they remained 
quiet. At two o'clock in the morning they went 
on parade. When the parade was over, they were dismissed to 
their lines, and proceeded to cook their breakfasts. Soon after- 
wards messengers from the mutineers rode up and urged them 
to come and take their part in the di%dsion of the plunder. 
The 56th yielded to the temptation. The bulk of the 53rd 
were still standing their ground when, with unhappy want of 
judgement, Wheeler ordered Ashe to open fire upon them. 
Then all broke and fled, except some eighty men, who remained 
jaersistently faithful to their salt."'^ 

Meanwhile, the mutineers had sent a deputation of their 
officers to sound the intentions of the Nana. Introduced into 
his presence, the spokesman addressed him in these words, 
" Maharaja, a kingdom awaits you if you join our enterprise, 
but death if you side with our enemies." " What have I to do 

^ Mowbray Thomson, pp. 33-7 ; Letter of May 28 to the Times, Oct. 22, 
1857, p. 7, col. 1. 

- " The 53rd and 56th N. I. showed great lukewarmness until the mutinj' 
actually broke out. The 1st N. I. and 2nd Cavalry were the instigators." 
Depositions taken at Caionpore under the direction of Lieut.-Col. 6. W. Williams, 
p. 75. 

^ Depositions, pp. 30, 32 ; Trevelyan, pp. 95-8 ; Mowbray Thomson, pp. 39- 
41 ; Gazetteer of the N.W.P., vol. vi. p. 169, note 1. Besides the 80 men, the 
native oflBcers of the 53rd remained faithful, having been already called into the 

228 CAWNPORE chap, viii 

with the British ? " replied the Nana ; "I am altogether yours." 
The officers went on to ask him whether he would lead them to 
Delhi. He assented, and then, laying his hands upon the head 
of each, swore that he would oljserve his promise. The dele- 
gates returned to their comrades ; and next morning the four 
regiments marched as far as Kalianpur, on the road 
to Delhi. But the idea of going to Delhi was by 
no means pleasing to the advisers of the Nana. Chief among 
them was a crafty young Mahomedan, named Azimulla, who 
had gone to London, as his agent, to lay his petition before the 
Court of Directors, and had consoled him for its rejection "with 
the tale that England had fallen from her high place among the 
nations of Europe. This man exerted all his eloquence to dis- 
suade his master from yielding to the wishes of the sepoys. The 
Nana was easily convinced. Why should he, a Brahmin, place 
himself under the orders of a Mahomedan king ? Why should 
he commit political suicide by going to a place where he would 
be lost among a crowd of greater men ? Why should he not 
return to Cawnpore with his new allies, overpower that handful 
of Englishmen collected in their miserable entrenchment, and 
establish, by the right of conquest, the claim so unjustly denied 
by their detested Government ? There was no time to be lost. 
Eiding with all speed to Kalianpur, he m-ged the sepoys to give 
up the idea of marching on Delhi, and held out to them high 
hopes of the glory and the plunder Avhich they might acquire by 
going back with him to attack the English. The sepoys listened, 
and were persuaded. At sunrise on the 6th the whole brigade 
was marching down the Delhi road towards Cawnpore. Early 
in the morning Wheeler received a letter from the Nana, warn- 
ing him to expect an attack. The news was indeed a cruel dis- 
appointment to all his people. They had been spared the horrors 
which accompanied mutiny at so many other stations ; they had 
been allowed to hope that they would soon be relieved, and be 
free, some perhaps to do good service against the enemies of 
their country, others to rejoin their friends, to wait in some 
secure abode for the restoration of peace, or to return to their 
own land. And now their hopes were shattered. Not all, how- 
ever. There, within those miserable defences, they could still 
bear themselves in a manner worthy of their motherland. Sadly 
then, but resolutely they waited for the threatened attack. For 
a time there was no sign of its coming ; for the rebels were busy 

1857 CAWNPORE 229 

gorging themselves with the plunder of the city, insulting re- 
spectable natives, and murdering the stray Europeans who had 
not put themselves under Wheeler's protection. But towards 
ten o'clock flames were seen rising here and there above the 
nearest quarter of the city : presently the crack of musketry was 
heard, and now again more plainly : armed men were descried 
hurrying confusedly over the canal bridge : nearer and nearer 
they came, and now they were pouring into the lines : a puff of 
smoke arose; a round shot came crashing into the entrenchment; 
the garrison were swift to answer the challenge ; the bugle 
sounded ; the defenders fell in at their appointed posts ; and the 
cries of terrified women and startled children, mingling Avith the 
roar of the contending artillery, proclaimed that the siege of 
Cawnpore had begun. ^ 

It was indeed a tragic moment in the world's history ; for 
never, since wars began, had a besieged garrison . 

been called upon to do or to suffer greater things 
than were appointed for the garrison of Cawnpore. The be- 
sieging army numbered some three thousand trained soldiers, 
well fed, well lodged, well armed, and supplied with all muni- 
tions of war, aided by the retainers of their newly-elected chief, 
and supported by the sympathies of a large portion of the civil 
population. The besieged were few in number, and had to 
contend against almost every disadvantage that could conceiv- 
ably have been arrayed against them. Besides a few civilians 
and a small band of faithful sepoys, they could only muster 
about four hundred English fighting men, more than seventy of 
whom were invalids.^ Wholly insufficient in itself, this small 

1 Mowbray Thomson, p. 65 ; Depositions, pp. 34, 40, 51, 54, 62, 65, 67, 76 ; 
Trevelyan, pp. 103-7, 114, 120, 123-4; Diary of Nanakchand, p. vii. ; Shepherd, 
pp. 20-1. 

"^ Shepherd gives the following statement of the numbers : — 

European soldiers . . . . . . .210 

Native musicians (belonging to native regiments) . 44 

Officers, aboiit ....... 100 

Non-military, about 100 

Loyal native officers and sepoys, about ... 20 

Servants, about ....... 50 

Women and children, about ..... 376 

Total, about . . .900 

Most of the faithful sepoys were ordered to occupy a hospital, about six hundred 
yards east of the entrenchment. They defended it until June 9 or 10, when it 
was set on fire. 

230 CAWNPORE chap, viir 

force was encumbered by the chai'ge of a helpless throng of 
women and children. Combatants and non-combatants alike 
experienced now for the first time the unmitigated fierceness of 
a tropical summer. Men who, with every appliance at hand for 
counteracting the depressing effects of the climate, had been 
wont to regard a morning parade at that season of the year as a 
hardship, had now to fight all day beneath the scorching rays of 
an Indian summer sun. Women who had felt it an intolerable 
grievance to have to pass the long summer days in luxurious 
rooms artificially cooled, with delicious iced drinks to slake their 
thirst, and exciting novels to distract their thoughts, were now 
huddled together, without the most ordinary comforts, in two 
stifling barracks, which offered the only shelter to be found 
within the precincts of the entrenchment. In comparison with 
the entrenchment itself, the defences of Londondeiry, which 
appeared so contemptible to LcAvis's lieutenants, might have 
been called formidable. It was in fact merely a weak mud wall, 
about four feet in height, and constructed of earth so dry and 
friable as to be unable to resist the shock even of a iDuUet. 
Perhaps even the heroes of the Cawnpore garrison might have 
despaired of defending so frail a barrier against the overwhelm- 
ing numbers of their enemy, if they had had to trust to it alone. 
There was, however, one element of strength in their position. 
Close to the western corner of the entrenchment lay a row of 
barracks, two of which they had contrived to occupy. One of 
these, known as No. 2 barrack, they regarded as the key of 
their position.^ Yet even this advantage was not wholly their 
own ; for the enemy took care to avail themselves of the cover 
Avhich the unoccupied buildings offered. Such were the desperate 
odds against which the doomed garrison now steeled their hearts 
to contend.^ 

From the moment when the crash of that first shot gave the 
signal, the struggle was maintained, almost without a pause, by 
day and night.^ Day and night the enemy hurled a continuous 
shower of shot, and shell, and bullets into the entrenchment : 
day and night the defenders, with ever lessened numbers, sent 
back a feebler discharge. Soldiers, civilians, and loyal sepoys 

^ Mowbray Thomson, pji. C9, 70. 

'^ Nauakcliaud, pp. i.x. xii. xiv. xv. -xviii. ; Trevelyan, pp. 117-20, 135, 143-6. 
^ Deposiiions, p. 34 ; Diary of an Opiuiii Gomaslita at Cawnpore (Enclosures 
to Secret Letters from India, Aug. 1857, pp. 643-54) ; Shepherd, p. 25. 

1857 CAWNPORE 231 

stood side by side ; and, while the artillerymen replied, as best 
they could, to the crushing fire of the Nana's heavy batteries, 
the infantry, each man with a pile of loaded muskets before him, 
astonished the rebels by the swiftness and acciu-acy of their fire. 
Meanwhile the barracks, compassed about by a swarm of enemies, 
were defended with desperate tenacity by a handful of men, who 
had as stern a battle to maintain and as heavy a load of weari- 
ness to endure as their comrades in the trenches, though, more 
fortunate than those, they were spared the agony of beholding 
the suff"erings of their women and children. Day and night all 
fought on alike ; for there was no rest for any but those to whom 
the sleep of death was vouchsafed ; or, if a man sank down ex- 
hausted under the heel of his giui or the shelter of the wall, he 
Avas soon roused by the noise of musketry, and awoke from 
dreams of home or of coming relief to a life-in-death within the 
entrenchment of Cawnpore. The number of those who thus 
awoke grew smaller day after day. Within the first week fifty- 
nine artillerymen, all that the garrison could muster, were killed 
or wounded at their posts. Women as well as men fell victims 
to the enemy's fire. A private was walking with his wife, when 
a single bullet killed him, broke both her arms, and wounded an 
infant whom she was carrying. An officer was talking with a 
comrade at the main-guard, when a musket-ball struck him ; and, 
as he was limping painfully towards the barracks to have his 
wound dressed, Lieutenant Mowbray Thomson of the 56th, who 
was supporting him, was struck also ; and both fell helplessly to 
the ground. Presently, as Thomson lay Avoefully sick of his 
wound, another officer came up to condole with him ; and he too 
received a wound from which he died before the end of the siege. 
Young Godfrey Wheeler, a son of the General, was lying wounded 
in one of the barracks, Avhen a round shot crashed through the 
wall of the room, and carried off his head in the sight of his 
mother and sisters. Little children, straggling outside the barracks, 
were deliberately shot down.^ The record of these horrors is 
only a page torn from a volume of tragedy. Yet not a murmur 
was heard. The acutest sufferings were patiently, and by some 
even cheerfully endured. 

The siege had barely lasted a week when an event occurred 
which the garrison had long regarded as inevitable, june ii. 

' Life of Sir H. Lawrence, p. 596 ; Mowljray Thomson, pp. 64-71, 84-5, 136, 

232 C AWN PORE chap, vni 

and which warned them to prepare for sufferings far heavier 
than any they had yet endured. A red-hot shot struck 
the thatched roof of one of the barracks, within which the 
women and children, the sick and wounded were lying ; and 
in a few minutes the entire building was enveloped in flames. 
Then ensued the most awful, yet, for some who took part 
in it, the most glorious scene of this dreadful siege, — the 
fire illuminating the darkness of the night ; the helpless 
sufferers within the burning building mingling their shrieks 
for help with the ceaseless boom of the artillery and the con- 
tinuous swift roar of the flames ; the soldiers running from 
their posts, and, though girt about by two deadly perils, on 
the one side the infernal fire from the enemy's batteries and 
musketry, on the other the downward crash of glowing masses 
of masonry and burning rafters, yet striving to extinguish the 
flames, and rescuing their friends from an agonising death ; 
Avhile, outside the entrenchment, the unrelenting rebels, taking 
full advantage of the distraction of the garrison^ worked their 
guns Avith feverish energy, as though they hoped, with the aid 
of the conflagration, at one stroke to complete the ruin of their 
victims. When the flames had subsided, the men of the 32 nd, 
regardless of the fire which their enemies continued to direct 
against them, began diligently to rake the ashes in search of 
their lost medals.^ It was a bright example of the romantic 
sensibility of the British soldier. 

During the earlier days of the siege the enemy, conscious of 
their moral inferiority to the men Avhom they had driven to 
bay, and relying on the strength of their artillery, contented 
themselves mainly with the safe process of bombardment : but 
on the 12th of June, thinking perhaps that they had by this 
time broken the spirit of their opponents, they mustered courage 
to attempt a general assault on the British position. They 
could see their handful of victims within ; they had but to make 
one i^esolute charge, and in a few minutes they might have 
borne down every man by the crushing weight of their numbers. 
At first they moved confidently forward ; but they could not 
nerve themselves to face the stern resistance which they 
encountered ; and soon the survivors, terrified by the sight of 
their falling comrades, turned and fled.- They knew that they 

1 Mowbray Thomson, pp. 92-5. 
- Jb, p. 93 ; Nanakchand, p. xii. ; A nnals of the Indian Rebellion, p. 677. 

1857 CAWNPORE 233 

liad failed, and confessed their failure by returning to their old 

The most trying period of the siege had now begun. There 
was so little food left that the daily ration of each person had 
to be reduced to a handful of flour and a handful of split peas. 
If the enemy were afraid to assault, their firing was as incessant 
as ever. Round shot plumped and bounded over the open 
ground, hurled down masses of timber from the remaining 
barrack, and sent bricks flying in all directions ; bullets pattered 
like hail against the walls, and broke the windows to atoms. 
On the 14th a chosen band sallied forth, spiked several guns, 
and inflicted heavy loss upon their astounded persecutors : but 
more guns were soon brought to bear upon the devoted garrison. 
They were far less able to reply than they had been at the 
beginning; for one of their guns had lost its muzzle, two 
had had their sides battered in, and a fourth had been knocked 
off" its carriage. While fresh hosts of rebels and mutineers were 
daily swarming up to swell the ranks of their enemies, their 
own numbers were greatly diminished. Some were struck down 
by the sun, or wasted by fever ; others pined away from exposure, 
from hunger, or from thirst ; others went mad under the burden 
of their suff"erings. More wretched still was the fate of the 
wounded; for the fire had destroyed the surgical instruments 
and the medical stores ; and death, which came too slowly, was 
their only healer. But most to be pitied of all were those 
women who still survived. The destruction of the barrack had 
robbed them even of the wretched shelter which they had had 
before ; and now their only resting-place was the hard earth, 
their only protection the crumbling mud wall beneath which 
they lay. They were begrimed with dirt ; their dresses were 
in rags ; their cheeks were pinched and haggard, and their 
brows ploughed with furrows. There were some even who, 
while stunned by horrid sounds, and sickened by foul or ghastly 
sights, had to suffer the pains of labour, and gave birth to 
infants for whose future they could not dare to hope. A 
skilful pen might describe the acuteness of their bodily suffer- 
ings : but who can imagine the intensity of their mental tortures ? 
They lacked the grim consolation of fighting an unyielding 
battle against desperate odds, which may even then have 
sustained the heart of the soldier. Yet they never despaired. 
They gave the artillerymen their stockings for grape-cases ; they 

234 CAWNPORE chap, viii 

handed round ammunition to the infantry ; and they cheered all 
alike by their uncomplaining spirit and their tender, gracious 
kindness. The return which the men made for their devotion 
was the most acceptable service that they could have performed. 
They saw little children around them dying of thirst ; and they 
resolved to relieve them. There was only one well within the 
entrenchment ; and, to reach it, they had to pass over the most 
exposed part of the position. But they could not bear to hear 
the children's piteous cries ; and, at the cost of many heroic 
lives, the labour of love was performed.^ 

About the middle of the siege the gi'im irony of fortune sent 
a solitary stranger to reinforce the enfeebled garrison. The 
men were standing, as usual, at their posts, when they were 
amazed to see an English officer galloping towards the entrench- 
ment, and presently leaping over the barrier which had defied 
every attack of the enemy. It was a young lieutenant of the 
7 th Cavalry, named Bolton, who had been sent out on district 
duty from Lucknow, and who, turned adrift by the mutiny of 
his men, was fain to share even the desperate fortunes of the 
garrison of Cawnpore.^ His was the only aid that Wheeler ever 
received. Two hundred men, he knew, would suffice to raise 
the siege ; for the mutineers were greatly dispirited ; and most 
of them had more zest for plunder than for fight. On the 14th 
he wrote urgently to Lawrence for help ; and sometimes the 
men, hearing a sound of distant cannonading, brightened 
up for a moment in the hope that relief was coming; but 
presently the old look of care would steal back again over 
their faces.^ At last a letter came, which La^wrence 

June 16. had written Avith a breaking heart, saying that it 
was impossible for him to spare a detachment from the weak 
force which was all he had for the protection of his own people. 
The garrison received the news with manly resignation. Captain 
Moore of the 32 nd, a man to whom common consent has 

June IS assigned the first place among the defenders of 

Cawnpore, wrote, in the name of his chief and of 

his comrades, that, since no help could be afforded them, it was 

the fixed resolution of all to hold the position to the last.* 

1 Mowbray Thomson, pp. 78-84, 99, 100, 101, 113-4, 13G-7 ; Shepherd, pp. 
45, 52-3. 

^ Mowbray Thoni.son, p. 120. •' lb. p. 114. 

•* Life, of Sir H. Lawrence, p. 593 ; Gubbiii.s, ji. 443. 

1857 CAWNPORE 235 

From the beginning lie had cheered on the men by his hopeful 
face and gallant example, and consoled the women by his 
courteous, tender sympathy ; he had illuminated even the 
glorious record of the 32nd by his surpassing valour; and now, 
when hope had all but vanished, he Avas still, though enfeebled 
by a wound, the life and soul of the defence. Under him 
fought the survivors of a band of officers, each one of whom was 
a hero, besides those private soldiers who, though their names 
find no mention here, are not forgotten by the army, or by the 
people of England. Not less brave than they, though by pro- 
fession a man of peace, was Moncrieff, the chaplain, whom all 
loved for his constancy and self-denial, and who, going from post 
to post, spoke words of hope and consolation, which Avere all the 
more solemn and impressive because none of those who heard 
them could tell whether he would be spared to listen to another 
service. No wonder that the hosts of the enemy could not 
prevail against men like these. No wonder that when, on the 
23rd of June, they came on, fortified by solemn oaths, and 
stimulated by malignant hatred, to attempt another assault, 
they were hiu'led back, as before, in ignominious rout. But the 
end was not far off. Two more attempts were made to obtain 
relief. On the 24th a Eurasian soldier left the entrenchment in 
disguise, hoping to procure reinforcements from Allahabad, but 
returned unsuccessful. On the same day a commissariat official 
named Shepherd, went out, disguised as a native cook, but was 
soon taken prisoner. Next day a woman came into the en- 
trenchment, with a letter from the Nana, offering a ^^^^ ^,_ 
safe passage to Allahabad to every member of 
the garrison who had not been "connected with the acts 
of Lord Dalhousie." The offer was vehemently resisted by 
the younger officers, who could not bear the thought of 
surrendering the position Avhich had been so nobly defended ; 
and even Wheeler, suspicious of the Nana's sincerity, was 
inclined to return a refusal, until Moore, whose jealousy 
for the honour of his country and of his profession could 
not be questioned, pointed out that, as succour could 
not possibly arrive in time, an honourable capitulation held 
out the only chance of saving the lives of the women 
and children. An armistice was accordingly arranged. An 
hour after dusk the Nana gathered together in his tent 
five or six of his advisers, and arranged with them a 

236 CAWNPORE chap, viii 

plan the execution of which will be presently described. Next 
June ''6 morning the representatives of the besieged and of 

Thecapituia- the besiegers met to discuss terms of surrender. 

faoii- It was proposed that the garrison should give up 

their position, their guns, and their treasure ; and that in return 
they should be allowed to march out with their arms and a 
certain proportion of ammunition, and be provided with boats 
and provisions for the voyage to Allahabad. One hitch occurred. 
The Nana required that the position should be evacuated that 
night. Wheeler replied that he could not possibly march out 
until the following morning. Then the Nana threatened to 
renew the bombardment, and boasted that in a few days he 
would put eveiy one of the garrison to death. He was told in 
reply that he might fulfil his threats if he could, but that there 
was enough powder still left in the magazine to blow him and 
the two armies together into the air. The bare suggestion was 
enough to bring him to his senses. The treaty was forthwith 
signed : the guns were delivered over to the enemy ; and the 
garrison lay down for their last sleep within the entrenchment 
of Cawnpore.-'- 

Early in the morning they marched out, and looked for the 
last time on that battered and crumblins: wall of 

JuiiG 27. • 

clay, which they had defended for nearly three 
Aveelvs against the assaults of an enemy ten times as numerous 
as themselves. Some of them may have felt a vague foreboding 
of coming danger ; for it was whispered that one of the dele- 
gates, who had gone to see whether the boats were ready, had 
overheard the sepoys pronounce the ominous word "massacre." 
But even the most anxious must have ventured to look forward 
to a time when, sitting over the fireside in their English homes, 
they would tell to awe-struck listeners the story of the great 
siege. Even now some were found to sympathise with them in 
what they had done and suffered. As the wan and ragged 
column filed along the road, the women and children in bullock- 
carriages or on elephants, the wounded in palanquins, the fight- 
ing men on foot, sepoys came clustering up round the officers 
whom they had betrayed, and talked, in wonder and admiration, 
of the surpassing heroism of the defence. About three-quarters 
of a mile from the entrenchment a ravine, spanned by a wooden 

1 Mowbray Thomson, pp. 105-6, 126-8, 130-2, 141-2, 148-56; Nanakchand, 
p. xviii. 

1857 CAWITPORE 237 

bridge, ran, at right angles to the road, toAvards the river. Ar- 
riving at the bridge, the procession turned aside, and began to 
thread its way down the ravine. And now the banks of the 
Ganges were close at hand. The unwieldy boats, with their 
thatched roofs, were seen drawn up close to the water s edge ; 
and a great crowd of natives of every class was waiting to look 
on at the embarkation. There were some too who had not 
come merely to look on. More than a thousand infantry sepoys 
and several squadrons of cavalry were posted behind cover on 
the banks ; and Tantia Topi, a favoured counsellor of the Nana, 
who was destined to play a conspicuous part in the rebellion, 
was there to execute his master's orders for the management of 
the embarkation. 

What those orders were, presently appeared. Those troops 
had not come to serve as a guard of honour. They had come to 
be the instruments for executing that plan which the Nana and 
his counsellors had devised. No mud wall separated them now 
from the men and the women who had defied them. Their 
numbers and their artillery must surely be irresistible now. 
Now, therefore, was the moment to take the time-honoured 
vengeance of a besieging army upon an obstinate 
garrison. Hardly had the embarkation begun, when ^^ the^crn^es. 
a bugle sounded. Immediately afterwards a host of 
sepoys, leaping up from behind the bushes and the houses on 
either bank, lifted their muskets to their shoulders ; and a hail 
of bullets fell upon the dense crowd of passengers, as they were 
clambering on board. Cannon roared out, and grape-shot raked 
the boats from stem to stern. Almost at the same instant the 
thatched roofs, which had been purposely strewed beforehand 
with glowing cinders, burst into flame. Then the sick and the 
wounded, who had survived the destruction of the barrack and 
the horrors of the siege, were suffocated or burned to death. 
The able-bodied men sprang overboard, and strove with might 
and main to push off the boats into deep water : but all save 
three stuck fast. Ashe, and Bolton, and Moore were shot down 
as they stood in the water. Women and children bent down 
under the sides of the boats, trying to escape the bullets. Some 
ten or twelve men swam for dear life after the nearest boat : 
but one soon sank exhausted : others, struck by grape or bullets, 
gasped, and beat the bloody surf, and turned over dead ; and 
three only reached the boat. Now the troopers rode with drawn 

238 CAWNPORE chap, viii 

sabres into the river, and slashed the cowering women to death. 
Little infants were dragged from their mothers' arms, and torn 
to pieces. Suddenly, however, a messenger came from the 
Nana, saying that no more Avomen or children were to be put 
to death. The slaughter therefore ceased ; and the trembling 
survivors, a hundred and twentj^-five in number, their clothes 
drenched, and torn, and mud-stained, and dripping with blood, 
were dragged back to Cawnpore.^ 

Meanwhile the army of murderers at the river-side had still 

work to do ; for it was the Nana's will that every 
Srves?^*''^ Christian man should be destroyed. Of the boats 

that had been floated into mid-stream, one only 
escaped. The other two drifted to the Oudh bank, Avhere they 
were assailed by a new fire. One, struck by a round shot, was 
rapidly sinking, when those on board scrambled on to the un- 
injured boat. But even its occupants soon found that their 
sufferings had only begun. They had no oars, no rudder, 
and no food. The water of the Ganges was all that passed 
their lips, save prayers, and shrieks, and groans.^ Their 
numbers were rapidly diminished ; for their enemies crowded 
along the banks and fired upon them whenever an opportunity 
arose ; and, though soon after noon they drifted beyond 
the reach of the guns, the sepoys still kept up with them, 
and harassed them by repeated volleys of musketry. It 
seemed to their jaded imaginations that that dreadful day 
would never come to an end. Late in the afternoon the boat 
stuck fast on a sandbank ; and, before they succeeded in forcing 
it oflF, darkness had come on. As the night dragged slowly by, 
they stranded again and again ; and every time the men had to 
get out of the boat, and push it off into the stream. Day broke ; 
and, seeing no sepoys, they began to hope that they were to be 

left unmolested. But about two o'clock the boat 
June 28. again got aground ; and the rebels presently appear- 

' Mowbray Thomson, pp. 156-7, 166-70 ; Depositions, pp. 21, 87, 96-7, 99- 
100, 102-3, 112 ; Annals of the Indian Rehellion, pp. 685-6. Speaking of the 
preparations for the massacre, Nanakchaml observes, " The troopers of the Rissala 
remonstrated with the Nana, and observed that it was more honourable to fight 
the Europeans openly. . . . The Nana assured them that . . . according to his 
creed, it was quite allowable to take false oaths at siich junctures, and that when 
the object was to annihilate an enemy, he would not hesitate to take an oath 
... on the Ganges, or adopt any one of a hundred other artifices," pp. xix xx. 

^ These are the very words of Mowbray Thomson, p. 172. 

1857 CAWNPORE 239 

ing, opened fire and killed or wounded five more. All the after- 
noon rain fell in torrents. At sunset a boat was seen bearing 
down in pursuit with fifty or sixty armed men on board. But 
the pursuers did not yet know the full measure of their op- 
ponents' courage. Without waiting to be attacked, some twenty 
of our men leaped out of their boat, fell upon the enemy, whose 
boat had also run aground, and put nearly every man of them 
to the sword. Utterly worn out, the fugitives fell asleep. A 
hurricane arose in the night, and once more the 
boat floated: but, when day ])roke, those who were 
still alive thought that the end was come at last ; for they had 
drifted into a side-current of the main stream, and they saw a 
body of sepoys, supported by a multitude of villagers, standing 
on the liank, ready to overwhelm them. But there were still 
eleven British soldiers and a sergeant in the boat, who, though 
tired almost to death, and nearly starved, were as keen as ever 
to be led against the enemy : there were still two officers to 
cheer them on, Mowbray Thomson of the 56th, and Delafosse of 
the 53rd, who had covered themselves with glory in the siege ; 
there was still a commander. Major Vibart of the 2nd Cavalry, 
to send them forth, though he was too sorely wounded to lead 
them to victory. Leaping ashore, these men charged right 
through the dense masses of the enemy, and, before the awe 
and astonishment which their courage had inspired could subside, 
fought their way back to the place where they had landed. But 
the boat had drifted far away. They ran down the bank to 
overtake it ; but they never saw it again. The enemy were fast 
closing in upon them ; and, weary and panting as they were, 
they had to run barefooted on and on over the rugged bank, 
and under the burning sun. At last they saw a Hindu temple 
a little distance ahead. To this stronghold they rushed, and 
prepared to make their last stand. The sergeant was shot as 
he was entering. Four of the privates crouched down, by 
Mowbray Thomson's command, in the doorway ; and on their 
bayonets the foremost of the enemy, hurrying up in the blind 
eagerness of pursuit, perished miserably. Those behind, unable 
to force their way in, tried to set the temple on fire, and, when 
the wind blew the flames away, threw bags of powder upon the 
glowing ashes. Then the thirteen rushed over the blazing wood, 
jumped down, and, firing a last volley, hurled themselves with 
fixed bayonets into the tumultuous crowd which surrounded 

240 CAWNPORE chap, viii 

them. Six fell ; but the rest, gaining the bank, threw their 
muskets into the water, plunged in themselves, and swam for 
their lives. The swarm of blacks ran yelling down the bank, 
and fired volley after volley at the bobbing heads. Tavo of the 
seven were soon struck, and sank. A thiid, too tired to battle 
for his life, made for the shore and was beaten to death as soon 
as he landed. The remaining four, Mowbray Thomson, Dela- 
fosse, and privates Murphy and Sullivan, after swimming with- 
out a moment's pause for six miles, found rest at last within 
the house of a friendly raja of Oudh.^ These men had passed 
triumphantly through an ordeal as terrible as any that ever 
tested human courage and endurance ; yet to none of them was 
awarded that prize of valour which is the dearest object of the 
British soldier's ambition. But many who have worn the 
Victoria Cross upon their breasts might have envied the surviv- 
ing defenders of Cawnpore the honourable scars which were 
their ineffaceable decoration. 

The whole of the story of Cawnpore has not yet been told. 
After drifting beyond the reach of Mowbray Thomson and his 
companions, the boat was overtaken by the enemy; and its 
defenceless crew of eighty souls, wounded men, and Avomen, and 
children, were brought back to the city. There, by the orders 
of the Nana, the men were put to death ; and the 
women and children were confined in a building 
called the Savdda House, along with the hundred and tAventy- 
five Avhom, three days before, he had rescued, for his OAvn 
purposes, from the hands of the destroyer. 

Then the conqueror prepared to reap the fruits of his victory. 
„, ^, Returning to his palace at Bithur, he caused himself 

The Nana or ' 

proclaimed to be proclaimed Peshwa with all the rites and 
Pes wa. ceremonies of an hereditary ruler. But the noise 
of the salute which Avas fired in honour of his acces- 
sion had scarcely died away before the troubles of a usurper 
began to croAvd upon him. The tradesmen, groan- 
ing under the rapacity and insolent cruelty of the 
mutineers, execrated him as the author of their sufferings. It 
Avas rumoured that a Mahomedan riA^al Avas to be set up against 
him ; and the sepoys Avere angrily complaining of the niggardli- 
ness with Avhich he had rewarded their serArices. Their leaders 
swore that, if he did not soon show himself in their midst, they 
' Mowbray Thomson, pp. 170-86. 

1857 CAWNPORE 241 

would go and fetch him; and on the 5th of July they actually put 
their threat into execution. After a Aveek of luxurious seclusion, 
he re-entered the city. There he found a deep gloom prevailing : 
many of the inhabitants had abandoned their homes, and fled j 
for it was rumoured that an avenging army was advancing, by 
forced marches, from the south-east, and hanging every native 
who crossed its path. It was clearly necessary that he should 
do something to shov*^ that he was indeed the successor of Baji 
Edo. He therefore called upon his lieutenants to go out and 
attack the approaching force, and tried to restore the confidence 
of his subjects by proclaiming that everywhere the infidels had 
been overwhelmed, and had been sent to hell.^ 

Meanwhile, the number of his own victims had been in- 
creased. The u.nhappy fugitives from Fatehgarh,^ unconscious of 
the worse fate that was in store for them, had come to seek an 
asylum in Cawnpore. Those who had left Fatehgarh 

June 12 

in June, had been butchered by order of the Nana 
immediately after their arrival. Of those who followed, all the 
men but three were murdered in his presence. The 
asylum that he appointed for the survivors was a 
small house called the Beebeegurh, to which he had ^^ Beebeegurh. 
lately transferred the captives of the Savada. In this new 
prison, which had belonged to a poor Eurasian clerk, five men 
and two hundred and six women and children were confined. 
Save that they were no longer exposed to the fire of the enemy, 
these poor captives were worse off now than they had been in 
the entrenchment of Cawnpore, or the fort of Fatehgarh. 
English ladies, the wives of the defenders and the rulers of 
British India, were forced, like slaves, to grind corn for the 
murderer of their husbands. They themselves were fed on a 
scanty allowance of the coarsest food. Those were happiest 
among them who perished from the diseases which this food 
engendered. All this time the Nana himself, in a sumptuous 
building, which overlooked their prison, was living in a round 
of feasts, and revels, and debaucheries. But on the 15th of July, 
in the midst of his unholy mirth, an alarming announcement 
came upon him. That avenging army of whose coming he had 

1 Nanakchand, pp. xxii. xxiii. ; Depositions, p. 88. The proclamations are 
to be found in the Jindosures to Secret Letters frovi India, and in Kaye, vol. ii. 
App. pp. 670-6. 

- See pp. 138, 140, siqyra. 


242 CAWNPORE chap, viii 

heard was -svithin a day's march of the city ; and the force 
which he had sent out to check its advance had suffered a 
crushing defeat.^ 

Then ensued the last act of the tragedy of Cawnpore. It 

Last act of ^^^ pointed out to the Nana that, if he were again 

the tragedy defeated, the captives in the Beebeegurh would supply 

awnpore. ^^^ English General with damning evidence against 

all who had taken part in the massacres : that, on the other 

hand, if they were put out of the way, the General would feel 

that there was nothing to he gained by continuing 

his march. The Nana eagerly accepted the hint. 

First of all, the five men Avho had been suffered to live thus far 

were brought out, and killed in his presence. Then a number 

of sepoys were selected, and told to go and shoot the women 

and children through the windows of the house. They went ; 

but they could not harden their hearts to obey the rest of their 

instructions. They belonged to that regiment which had 

murdered the boy ensigns at Allahabad; but they were not 

prepared to murder women and children. They contented 

themselves therefore with firing at the ceiling instead. But 

such effeminate sensibility was disgusting to the Nana. At 

his bidding, then, two Mahomedan butchers, an Afghan, and 

two Hindus, armed with long knives, went into the house, 

and hacked their victims to pieces. All through the night 

the bodies lay neglected in the room ; and moans were 

distinctly heard proceeding from it by those without. Next 

morning a heap of corpses, a heap of wounded, 

and a number of children who had escaped the 

knives of the assassins were dragged out, and thrown, the living 

and the dead together, into a well hard by.^ 

The fiery trial was over at last. It is hard for even the most 
sympathetic imagination actually to realise, not merely to believe 
the fact that English men, and women, and children, did indeed 
pass through that trial not five-and-twenty years ago.^ But all 
Avas now past. Forgetting the agonising siege, the horrid 
carnage at the river side, the bitter imprisonment, the pitiless 
massacre, they slept in the well of CaAvnpore as calmly as we 

^ IJejJositions, pp. 12, 16, 35, 39, 57. 

- Jb. pp. 8, 58, 107-14 ; Nanakchaiul, p. xxv. A valuable synopsis by Col. 
Williams of the evidence contained in the Depositions will be found in Aniiids 
of the Indian JiebeUiun, pp. 668-705. See App. G. 

=• Written in 1881. 

1857 CAWNPORE 243 

shall sleep, if such be our lot, beneath the green English turf. 
Only for their destroyer all was not over. He had had his 
revenge, and won his triumph. He had ordered salutes to be 
fired in honour of his glorious victory. He had caused himself 
to be proclaimed Peshwa. But the voice of the blood which he 
had shed was crying out, not in vain, to God for vengeance. 
The murderer who had shut his ears to the piteous cries of 
tender women and innocent children, was soon to hear, on the 
open battle-field, the appalling shout of the British soldier, and 
the roar of Havelock's guns. 



It will be remembered that, just before the announcement of 

the rising at Meerut reached him, Canning was 
Anxiety of anxiously considering the significance of a mutiny 
oudh"^^°'^ which had lately occurred at Lucknow. It was 

natural then that, after he had received that 
announcement, he should feel seriously alarmed for the safety 
of the province of which Lucknow was the capital. In common, 
however, with every Englishman in India, he drew comfort 
from the reflection that its Chief Commissioner was Henry 

Henry Lawrence began his Indian career as a lieutenant in 

the Bengal Artillery ; but, like many other ambi- 
Lawrence. tious subaltcrns, he soon found his way into the 

wider arena of civil employment. The happiest 
years of his life were spent in the comradeship of a wife whose 
character must be known and honoured by all who would know 
and honour his. With her to share his sympathies and his 
aspirations, he laboured on year after year in different districts 
and at different occupations, but always with a single-minded 
desire to promote the welfare of the people among whom his 
lot was cast, and to do his part towards realising his high ideal 
of the duties of the imperial race. In these labours, as Avell as 
in the formation of his opinions regarding the problems of Anglo- 
Indian life, he allowed himself to be guided by sentiment as much 
as by reason ; for his temperament was emotional, imaginative, 
and actively responsive to poetical influences. But that which 
gave its special character to his benevolent toil was the passionate 
religious enthusiasm which inspired it. He was continually 


inflamed with a fervent desire to grow better every day. His 
religion was the religion of a plain Christian man, knowing 
nothing of doctrinal subtleties, but solving his simple doubts by 
a living faith in God. It was in the strength of this faith that 
he laboured to subdue his roughness of manner, his violent 
temper, his impatience of incompetent authority, his mor])id 
sensitiveness to real or fancied slights, and trained and chastened 
almost to saintly perfection the many noble qualities with which 
his nature had been endowed. But no mere enumei-ation of 
virtues would give a just idea of the strength and the beauty 
of his character. To understand it aright, the reader must 
follow him through the toils, the triumphs, and the disappoint- 
ments of his life. He must picture him as a schoolboy, ever 
ready to acknowledge his faults, ever ready to stand up for the 
weak, and to do battle, when called upon, with the strong. He 
must follow him on his first campaign, and see him cheering on 
his gunners, and sharing their hardships. He must accompany 
him on his surveying expeditions through the jungles, and note 
the thoroughness with Avhich he does his work. He must watch 
him striving to bring the blessings of civilisation into the Punjab, 
and labouring, not in vain, to inspire that little knot of disciples 
who owed everything to him with his lofty conceptions of duty. 
He must listen to him pleading the cause of the fallen Sirdars 
with his colleagues at Lahore. He must read his loving letters 
to his wife and children, and not shut his eyes to his cold and 
querulous letters to Dalhousie. He must think of him as he 
knelt with his wife at his bedside, pouring out his whole soul in 
prayer to God on behalf of the brother who had been preferred 
to him, and the people whose destinies had been removed from 
his control.^ He must think of him when, a few years later, he 
had lost the helpmeet of his life, and was nerving himself again 
by prayer to endure to the end of his pilgrimage. From that 
moment, though he could not wholly banish the bitterness of 
disappointed ambition, though he could never hope to banish the 
sense of desolation, the most glorious epoch of his life began. 
He was dead to the world now, though he never ceased to work 
for it. Thus, when we behold him in the last scene of his life, 
we feel that a Christian hero indeed stands before us. He was 
only fifty years old when he came to Lucknow : but he looked 

^ Letter from Herbert Edwardes to John Nicholson, printed in Kaye's Lims 
of Indian Officers, vol. ii. p. 472. 


an old man ; for his face bore the traces of many years of toil 
beneath an Indian sun and the still deeper marks of a never- 
ending conflict with self. His eyes, overhung by massive, craggy 
brows, looked out with an expression in which melancholy was 
strangely blended with humour : his thin, wasted cheeks were 
scored down their whole length by deep lines ; and a long, 
ragged beard added to his look of age. Yet the raw Addiscombe 
cadet was easily recognisable in the matured soldier-statesman. 
The characteristics that the friends of his manhood so lovingly 
noted had been strongly marked even in his boyhood ; nor had he 
ever lost those peculiarities of temper Avhich had been so familiar 
to his schoolfellows. Day by day, however, his character was 
becoming more and more ripe. He Avas still the fearless 
champion of the oppressed, the stern reprover of evil-doers ; but 
he was more gentle and more forgiving than he had once been. 
His humility was such that he would have said of himself in the 
words of the Imitation, " Oh, that I had spent but one day in 
this world thoroughly well " : but few have gone nearer to the 
fulfilment of that fundamental precept of Thomas a Kempis, 
" That leaving all a man forsake himself, and go wholly from 
himself, and retain nothing of self-love." 

It was indeed the deep sympathy of Henry Lawrence's 
nature, his immense love for his fellow men that 
w»;hthe'popu- fitted him so peculiarly for the Avork he was now 
lation and the doing. Others might have been better qualified 
than he for the stern duty of grappling with fully 
developed rebellion ; but it is probable that no other Englishman 
in India could have succeeded so thoroughly in the preliminary 
task of heahng the great mass of discontent that prevailed in 
Oudh before the outbreak of rebellion, and thus laying a solid 
foundation, so to speak, upon which to erect a fortress capable 
of resisting the inevitable shock. He had done this not merely 
by devising conciliatory measures, but also by impressing the 
chief sufferers with the belief that he personally felt for their 
sufferings. " I have struck up a friendship," he wrote to Cann- 
ing, "with two of the best and wealthiest of the chiefs, and 
am on good terms with all."^ These Avords give a better idea of 
the secret of his success than the most detailed account of the 
acts of his government could give. The sepoys, on the other 
hand, Avere, he feared, too deeply infected AArith the taint of dis- 
^ Li/e of Sir U. Lamnnce, p. 571. 


loyalty to be reached by any cure. For him personally indeed 
they felt the deepest respect.^ They believed that he had their 
welfare at heart. But they did not believe the same of the 
Government which he served. A Brahmin jamadar of the Oudh 
artillery, who had been recommended to him as a man of re- 
markable intelligence and good character, told him that he was 
convinced that for ten years past the Government had been 
plotting the fraudulent conversion of all the natives. Lawrence 
tried to reason with him, but in vain. The man obstinately 
maintained his own opinion, and supported it with the words, 
" I tell you what everybody says." ^ Still Lawrence was hope- 
ful enough to believe that it might be possible to do something 
to eradicate even a widespread and deep-rooted delusion like this. 
Accordingly he summoned the native officers and about fifty 
privates from each native regiment to meet him at a great 
Durbar to be held in his private garden. The Durbar was fixed 
for the 12th of May. The sepoys arrived at the appointed hour. 
The officers seated themselves upon the chairs which had been 
provided for them ; while the men clustered about in groups 
behind. At sunset the Chief Commissioner himself appeared, 
attended by the principal military and civil officers and some of 
the influential natives of Lucknow. He looked indeed like one 
who would speak straight home to the hearts of his hearers ; 
for upon his face were stamped the unmistakeable signs of a 
chastened enthusiasm, a holy sincerity, and an all-embracing 
charity. Then, while every eye was bent upon him, and every 
ear was strained to hear him, he stood up to address a last 
appeal to the good sense and the loyalty of the representatives 
of the native army. He asked them to contrast the tyranny 
and the persecution of the Mogul Emperors at Delhi and of the 
Hindu rulers at Lahore with the beneficence and the tolerance 
of the British Government. He urged them not to listen to the 
lying tales of interested agitators. He reminded them of the 
proved ability of his countrymen to punish those who resisted 
their just authority. Finally, he besought them to remember 
that they were soldiers, decorated, like himself, for honourable 
service against the enemies of England, and adjured them to 
refrain from tarnishing the glorious record of the Bengal army.^ 

' Life of Sir H. Lawrence, p. 561 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 349. 

^ Life of Sir H. Lawrence, p. 673. 

'^ lb. p. 564 ; Gubbins, p. 14 ; L. E. R. Rees's Siege of Lucknoir, ]ip. 8, 9. 


Then, calling to his side certain natives who had lately given 
practical proofs of their fidelity, he presented them with dresses 
of honour and purses of money, and held them up as an example 
to their comrades. It seemed that his words would bear good 
fruit. Nothing could have been more becoming than the con- 
duct of his hearers. Most of the officers zealously declared their 
attachment to the Government. But not long afterwards it was 
ascertained that they had attributed the whole proceeding to 
fear of themselves.^ 

It was on the day after the holding of the Durbar that the 

Tiie news from ^^^^ ^^ ^^^® Outbreak at Meerut was telegraphed to 

iMeerutand Lawrcnce. On the 14th he received the further 

news of the seizure of Delhi.- To enable the reader 

to understand the defensive measures which he adopted and the 

various military operations Avhich followed, it will be necessary 

to give a short description of the city and its environs. 

In jDopulation, in extent, and in the number and character of 
its principal buildings, Lucknow Avas one of the fore- 
most cities of India. The town itself, a vast maze 
of long, narrow, filthy streets, above the mean, squalid houses of 
which rose here and there mansions surrounded by trees, lay to 
the south of the river Giimti, and was separated from it by an 
irregular space crowded by a collection of splendid palaces and 
mosques, many of which were destined to become famous in the 
history of the Mutiny. Chief among these were the Fari'd 
Bakhsh, the Chattar Manzil, the Shah Najif, the Sikandar Bagh, 
the Tara Kothi, the Imambara, the Begam Kothi, and the Kaisar 
Bagh. The Residency, an imposing three-storied building, with 
its roof surrounded by an Italian balustrade, stood on a plateau 
terminating on the north in a steep bank, beloAV which the ground 
sloped gently towards the river. Near the Residency the river 
was spanned by an iron bridge, and a few hundred, yards further 
up by one of stone. The southern and eastern portions of the 
city were bounded by a canal, Avhich entered the river, and was 
itself crossed by the road leading to Cawnpore. Beyond the 
right bank of this canal were scattered a number of posts, all of 
which were, in a military sense, important, — the Alambagh, a 
large garden siu:rounded by a wall, on the Cawnpore road, about 

^ This statement is made solely on the authority of Gubbins (p. 15) ; but all 
who are familiar with Indian history will acknowledge that it is perfectly credible 
in itself. - lb. pp. 15-16. 


two miles from Lucknow, the Charbagh, an enclosure command- 
ing the junction of the same road with the canal, the Dilkusha, 
a palace standing in a park not far south of the point where the 
canal flowed into the river, and the Martiniere college, quite close 
to that point. Such were the prominent features of Lucknow. 
It was from the roof of the Residency that its surpassing beauty •■• 
was best discerned. Standing there on a clear summer evening, 
one might have seen the distant chaos of the vast city gradually 
taking shape in narrow streets and tmsting lanes, and nearer 
still in cupolas, columns, terraced roofs, gilded domes, and 
slender minarets, which, flooded in the yellow glow, rose in 
picturesque confusion above the rich foliage of the surrounding 
groves and gardens ; while on the right stood the huge frowning 
pile of the Machi Bhawan ; and behind, the Gumti, recalling 
some tranquil English stream, meandered through the fertile 
plain, and past the bright corn-fields, the mango-topes, and the 
scattered hamlets of the Garden of India. ^ 

The existing arrangement of the garrison was strikingly de- 
fective. The native regiments were stationed in 
various quarters within the city itself and on either ^thel^arr^on. 
side of the river; while the 32nd Foot, the only 
European regiment, was massed in a barrack just outside the 
city and about a mile and a half to the east of the Residency. 
Thus, if the sepoys chose to mutiny, they would have plenty of 
time to mui'der their officers before the British troops could come 
to the rescue. Even the Residency, surrounded though it was 
by Government buildings, offices, and bungalows, was at the 
mercy of a native guard. To remedy this obvious 
defect, Gubbins vehemently urged upon his chief 
the necessity of moving up a party of European troops for its 
protection. But, though Lawrence had long felt that he must 
sooner or later make an improved disposition of the troops, he 
opposed the suggestions of Gubbins, on the ground that they 
might have the effect of precipitating a mutiny. It was the 
same theory that deluded Sir Hugh Wheeler, the same theory 
that was put into practice so often and with such disastrous 

' These words do not apply to the details of the Lucknow architecture, which 
are generally detestable. See some remarks of Mr. J. Fergusson, quoted in the 
Oiulh Gazetteer, vol. ii. p. 363. 

^ Russell's Diary in India, vol. i. ; Forrest's Picturesqiie Tour along tlic 
Rivers Ganges and Jumna; R. B. Miutum's New York to Delhi, pp. 169-189; 


results in the summer of 1857. As, however, the chief military 
authorities agreed in supporting Gubbins's views, 
Lawrence gave way. But even then he would have 
allowed two days to elapse before bringing up the European 
troops, if Gubbins had not roused him to instant action by point- 
ing out that the sight of the preparations which were being made 
at the Eesidency for their reception might inflame the sepoys to 
^^ rise if they were not instantly overawed. The 

women, children, and invalids belonging to the 
32nd were likewise brought up to the Residency. The remain- 
ing portion of the 32nd was sent to keep watch over the native 
regiments at Mariaon, a cantonment situated on the north side 
of the river, about three miles from the Residency. At the same 
time the Machi Bhawan was occupied by a detachment of Euro- 
peans and picked sepoys.^ 

It is probable that the conflict of opinion which had arisen 
between Lawrence and Gubbins suggested to the former the 
reflection that it would be impossible for him to carry out the 
measures which he might think most conducive to the interests 
of the State, so long as his authority Avas confined to civil 
matters. Anyhow, on the 16th, he telegraphed to the Governor- 
General, " Give me plenary military power in Oudh : I will not 
use it unnecessarily." Soon afterwards he received the follow- 
ing reply : — " You have full military powers. The Governor- 
General will support you in everything that you 
think necessary." Armed -wdth this authority, he 
assumed command of the troops in Oudh, Avith the rank of 

Of the three military posts which had been brought under 

The Residency effective control he had already selected the Re- 

an.i the Machi sidencv and the Machi Bhawan as strongholds to 

be fortified in view of an attack. The Machi 

^ Life of Sir H. Lawrence, p. 574 ; Gubbins, pp. 5-8, 16-19. In the Calcutta 
Revieiu, .Jan.-June, 1859, p. 198, General (then Major) M'Leod limes saj's, 
" We believe that Sir Henry's real opinion of the c;ise was this. The movement 
of Europeans to the Residency must not be isolated ; it must be one of the series 
of combinations by which the Cantonments, the Bridges, the Residency, and the 
Mutchi Bhawn are to be secured. They cannot be done till to-morrow night. 
The sepoys must be kept quiet till then." But the General's belief is inconsistent 
with Gubbins's account of what passed between him and Sir Henry ; and, rightly 
or wrongly, Sir Henry did yield to Gubbins's impoi-tunity. 

^ Life of Sir IL Lawrence, p. 619 ; I'arL Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), 
p. 225. 


Bhawan, though it had once been a place of great strength, had 
been suflfered to fall into such decay that it was doubtful whether 
it could be made strong enough to resist a cannonade. As, on 
the other hand, it was believed by the natives to be almost im- 
pregnable, a useful moral effect might obviously be produced by- 
maintaining the show of preparing it for defence. Even if it 
could not withstand an organised attack, it would overawe the 
city, deter any rebellious spirits who might contemplate an out- 
break, and afford a temporary refuge in case of need.^ Lawrence 
therefore caused supplies to be stored within it, took measiu-es 
for strengthening its walls, and mounted upon its ramparts all 
the effective artillery that could be spared, as well 
as a vast collection of native cannon, which, if they ^^MayT?!" 
were not likely to do much harm to a besieging 
army, would at least create an impression of strength. On the 
23rd of May, when the defences at the Machi Bhawan were suffi- 
ciently advanced, he took in hand the preparation of the Resi- 
dency and the surrounding posts, in which the Europeans were to 
make their final stand. He traced the outline of the position, 
proceeded to erect defensive works, stored guns, ammunition, 
and supplies of every kind within, and, though with much 
compunction of heart, began to demolish the surrounding houses, 
which might have afforded cover to a besieging army. When, 
however, his advisers urged him to destroy the adjoining mosques 
as well, he replied with characteristic tenderness for native 
feeling, " Spare the holy places." 

^ General Innes {Lucknoio and Oude in the Mutiny, pp. 74, 79-80, 93, 170- 
71) has finally and authoritatively settled this point. Giibbins indeed says 
(p. 145) that "on the 8th of June Lawrence proposed to remove thither" — that 
is to say, to the Machi Bhawan — " all the Europeans and their families. The 
measure being much opposed, a council of war was called . . . (Fulton) strongly 
urged the abandonment of the Machi Bhawan." But General Inues tells me 
that Gubbins must have misunderstood both Lawrence and Fulton. Lawrence 
may have proposed to remove the Europeans temporarily to the Machi Bhawan, 
in consequence of the recent mutinies in the districts ; and Fulton could only 
have meant that the Machi Bhawan should be ultimately abandoned. Lawrence 
himself wrote on the 12th of June, "We ought to have only one position. I put 
this question to some sixteen officers five days ago, but all stood out for the two 
positions. I am convinced they were wrong, and the best of them now think so, 
but we are agreed that, on the whole, the Residency is the point to hold." — Life 
of Sir 11. Lawrence, pp. 592-3. Again, on the 11th of June he wrote to Brigadier 
Inglis, "I am decidedly of opinion that we ought to have only one position, and 
that though we must hold all three " — the Residency, the cantonments, and the 
Machi Bhawan — "as long as we can, all arrangements should be made with 
reference to a sudden concentration at the Residency." — Inues, p. 93. 


While these preparations were going on, there were many 
Behaviour of signs that the budmashes of Lucknow were ripe for 
Lucknow'and Sedition. Papers, in which the Mahomedans were 
the sepoys. called upon to rise and destroy the Feringhees, 
were constantly posted up in the town. English ladies Avho 
were still bold enough to drive or walk through the streets were 
often greeted by defiant scowls. Still, the worst symptoms that 
could be discerned indicated nothing like general disaffection. 
Thanks to La^vrence's benevolent exertions, many of the influ- 
ential native residents had become actively loyal : the moneyed 
classes were naturally interested in the maintenance of order ; 
and, with the exception of the irreconcileable religious mal- 
contents and the sufferers whose grievances it had been im- 
possible to redress, the bulk of the population were, if not 
positively well-disposed, at least not actively hostile. The 
sepoys, however, Avere still restless and excitable. The un- 
mistakeable symptom of constantly recurring fires proved that 
they were bent on mischief; and Lawrence avowed that he 
would gladly rid himself of two of the regiments if he could. ^ 
The news from other stations was not such as to cheer him. 

On the night of the 23rd of May a telegram from 
Cawnpore!^^""^ Cawnpore announced that a mutiny was momentarily 

expected there. As it was feared that the infection 
would communicate itself to Lucknow, the ladies were warned 

to take refuge at once within the Residency and 

the surrounding houses.'^ Yet throughout the worst 

period of suspense the most desponding trusted in Lawrence's 

judgement, and leaned upon his strong and tender support. 

Worn as he was by bodily suffering, bowed down by the burden 

Unselfish °^ ^^^ responsibilities, harassed by the criticisms 

exertions of of those who disseutcd from his policy, he forgot 

himself in his efforts to allay the anxieties and to 
encourage the hopes of all around him. Though clouds of melan- 
choly often passed over him, there were moments even then 
when his manner and conversation were lighted up by the fascin- 
ating vivacity of an Irish gentleman. He insisted that his staff 
should dine at his own table ; he tried to promote gaiety and 
cheerful conversation among the other guests whom he from 

^ Red Pamplild, p. 76 ; Gubbins, pp. 32, 40-41 ; Life of Sir H. Laturence, 
pp. 568-9, 574 ; Lady luglis's Journal. 

^Ib.iA Lttdi/'s Diary of the Siege of Lucknow, p. 20 ; Gubbius, pp. 31-2. 


time to time gathered round him ; he busied himself in provid- 
ing for the personal comfort of those who had been obliged to 
leave their pleasant homes for the inhospitable protection of the 
Eesidency ;^ and he laboured night and day to hasten the com- 
pletion of the preparations which he had devised for the security 
of all his people. Towards the end of May, however, a daring 
plan was suggested to him, the adoption of which might have at 
once destroyed one of the most fruitful sources of his anxieties. 
The author of this plan was Martin Gubbins. 

Gubbins was one of the most remarkable characters whose 
powers the opportunities of the Mutiny revealed. 
He was a man of immense personal courage and Gubbins 
vehement force of will : but he was liable to be 
carried away by a favourite theory ; and his daring was apt to 
degenerate into rashness. When his opinions were most valu- 
able, he urged them so recklessly and with such undisguised 
contempt for the judgement of those who differed from him, 
that he offended instead of convincing. He had too genuine an 
affection and respect for Lawrence to quarrel with him as he 
had quarrelled with Coverley Jackson :^ but the same faults of 
temper which had brought him into violent collision with the 
one, prevented him from acquiring that influence in the councils 
of the other which his genius might otherwise have secured for 
him. And indeed it is doubtful whether the most tactful of 
advisers could have persuaded Lawrence to adopt the plan which 
Gubbins recommended. 

That plan was to disarm the native regiments at Lucknow. 
Lawrence reiected it on the ground that, as he was 

. . He advises 

Chief Commissioner not of Lucknow only but of the disarming 
the whole of Oudh, he would not be justified in ^J^rluT^"' 
taking a step that would probably have the effect rejects the 
of driving the regiments at the out stations to 
revolt.^ He admitted indeed that it was quite possible to 
disarm the regiments at Lucknow ; and it is by no means certain 
that the consequences which he dreaded would have followed 
such a course. Wherever the number of loyal troops was not 
so small as to be obviously powerless, the repressive force which 
they exei-ted was the stronger the more boldly their commander 
took the initiative against the malcontents.^ It was mutiny that 

1 Gubbins, pp. 31-2. 2 jj, pp_ 2, 3, 198-9. '■^ lb. p. 45. 

•* As an instance of this, it is sufficient to refer to the achievements of 


begat mutiny in those days : there was no instance in which the 
successful disarming of a regiment or regiments proA^oked others 
to rebel. Sooner or later the sepoys at the out stations would 
surely rise ; and within a few weeks they did rise without ex- 
ception. By his refusal to disarm then Lawrence probably 
gained nothing ; whereas by the opposite course he would have 
rendered the Lucknow regiments powerless for mischief. There 
would have been no need for him to include all the sepoys with- 
out exception in the measure. He might have excerpted those 
whom he believed to be faithful ; and formed them into a 
separate brigade for the support of the Europeans.^ On the 
other hand, the risk doubtless appeared disproportionate to the 
advantage which was to be gained. He feared that by disarm- 
ing he might alienate loyal men : he knew that it was of vital 
importance to gain time ; and he would not take any step which 
might precipitate mutiny in the province and endanger his pre- 
parations for defence. 

It soon appeared that, whatever the sepoys at the out stations 

might think of Lawrence's forbearance, those at 
May 30.°^ Luckuow wcre resolved to take advantage of it. 

On the 30th of May he was dining at the Canton- 
ment Residency at Maridon. One of his staff. Captain Wilson, 
who was present, speaking from information supplied by a faith- 
ful sepoy, had warned him that mutiny would break out at the 
firing of the nine o'clock gun. Presently the report of the gun 
was heard. Still there was no sign of riot. Tiu-ning to Wilson, 
Lawrence remarked -vvith a smile, "Your friends are not punctual." 
Hardly had he uttered the words before the crack of musketry 

Willoughby Osborne of Rewali, who triumphed over seemingly desperate odds 
simply because he had the sagacity and the resolution to act as though he pos- 
sessed the amplest resources. 

^ As General Cotton did at Peshawar. See Punjab Mutiny RejMvt, pp. 63- 
65, pars. 46-53. One of Lawrence's reasons for not disarming was that it would 
be necessary to keep as many loyal sepoys as possible to aid in the defence of the 
Residency. But according to General Innes (Lucknovj and Oude in the Mutiny, 
p. 80) "six companies of Sikhs and other selected native troops" had been 
segregated from the sepoy regiments, and jilaced in the Machi Bhawan l)y the 23rd 
of May ; and, including eighty pensioners, only seven hundred and twelve native 
troops in all took part in the defence {Jb. p. Ill) ; for a considerable number of 
those who remained loyal after the mutiuy of the 30th of May were not allowed 
to enter the entrenchment. It should appear indeed from Innes's contemporary 
article in the Calcutta Review (Jan. 1859, p. 197) that only one company of Sildis 
was placed in the Machi Bhdwan before the 23rd of May, and the rest after the 
mutiuy of the 30th : but it would have been safe to segregate all the Sikhs before. 


was heard coming from the lines. The guests rose at once with 
their host, ordered their horses, and went outside the Residency 
door to wait for them. Directly opposite the group the native 
guard on duty was standing ranged in line. Their subahddr 
had turned them out on hearing the sound of firing, and now, 
saluting AVilson, asked whether he was to order his men to load. 
AVilson referred the question to his chief. " Oh, yes," replied 
Lawrence, "let him load." The men rammed their charges 
home, and then, raising their muskets till the tubes pointed 
straight at the Englishmen, proceeded to adjust the caps. They 
had the life of the Chief Commissioner of Oudh absolutely at 
their mercy. But, if they meditated his murder, they were 
overawed by his resolute bearing. " I am going," he cried, " to 
drive those scoundrels out of cantonments ; take care while I 
am away that you all remain at your posts, and allow no one 
to do any damage here or enter my house, else when I return 
I will hang you." They did remain at their posts ; and the 
Residency was almost the only house in the cantonments that 
was not either plundered or burned that night.^ 

Meanwhile the Chief Commissioner had gone to quell the 
mutiny. Discerning the paramount importance of preventing 
the mutineers from communicating with the disaffected citizens, 
he posted a European force to guard the road that led to the 
city. For the present, however, the mutineers were too busy 
to think of courting the supjiort of the citizens. On first rising, 
they had rushed down to one of the mess-houses to murder their 
officers ; but, finding the dining-room deserted, they consoled 
themselves by setting fire to the building. Nor was their long- 
ing for English blood wholly disappointed. They shot their 
Brigadier as he was riding up to recall them to obedience. Then, 
emboldened by success, they ventured to open fire on the detach- 
ment of the 32nd; but, receiving a shower of grape in reply, 
they broke and fled. Meanwhile their comrades were swarming 
with horrid yells into the officers' bungalows, to plunder and 
destroy. The English in the city caught the sound of firing, 
and, hurrying up on to the roofs of their bouses, saw a lurid 
glare above the distant cantonment, and trembled for the fate of 
their countrymen. Towards morning, however, a messenger 
arriA^ed with the news that there was no cause for alarm. The 
outbreak would have been more formidable if all the native 
' Life of Sir H, iMivrence, pp. 580-1 ; Gubbius, p. 106. 


regiments had joined in it. But only one, the 7 1st, took an 
active part in mutiny ; and even in its ranks not all were traitors. 
Many of the other troops, indeed, went over to the mutineers, or 
slunk away from their lines before the night was over ; but 
between five and six hundred men of the three infantry regi- 
ments boldly ranged themselves on the side of the 

May 31. Europeans. Next morning Lawrence, hearing that 
the mutineers had retreated to the race-course, marched thither 
to punish them. They fled after a few discharges from his guns, 
but not before they had been joined by the bulk of the 7th 
Cavalry, who till then had remained faithful. This defection 
rendered an effective pursuit impossible. Only sixty prisoners 
were made, of whom Gubbins captured six with his own hand. 
On the afternoon of the same day a rising took place in the city. 
The standard of the Prophet was raised, and some six thousand 
fanatics rallied round it ; but they were easily dispersed by the 
efforts of the police.^ The strategy of Lawrence had prevented 
the coalescence of mutiny and sedition. 

Thus ended the second outbreak at Lucknow. Summing up 
its results in a letter to Canning, Lawrence wrote, " We are now 
positively better off than we were. We now know our friends 
and enemies."^ This was true. But the knowledge had been 
purchased at the cost of a mutiny, a street riot, and the lives of 
three British officers. 

While the events which have just been recorded had been 
passing at Lucknow, the country districts of Oudh 
Oudh. had remained tranquil. It is true that the district 

officers had discerned symptoms of excitement 
among their sepoys, and had begun to distrust the loyalty of 
the talukdars and the zamindars ; but throughout May the 
duties of Government were carried on as usual. While in many 
parts of the North-Western Provinces the fabric of Government 
was tottering to its fall, in Oudh the courts everywhere remained 
open, and the revenue was punctually paid.^ But, after the out- 
break at Lucknow, the aspect of affairs suddenly changed. The 
sepoys at Sitapur rose in rebellion, and murdered 
the Commissioner and another civilian, six officers, 

1 Gubbins, pp. 102-13 ; T. F. Wilson's Dicmj of a Staff-Officer, pp. 3-9, 

'^ Life of Sir 11. Laurence, p. 577. 

" Jh. lip. 568, 576 ; Gubbins, pp. 20, 118. 


and several ladies and children. The few who escaped separated 

into two parties. One of these consisted of a young civilian, 

named Sir Mountstuart Jackson, his sister Madeline, Lieutenant 

Burnes, Sergeant-Major Morton, and Sophy Christian, a little 

girl only three years old. An authentic narrative story of thi> 

of their adventures has been preserved, and forms fugitives from 

one of the saddest of the many tales of suffering in 

which the history of the Mutiny abounds. The fugitives made 

their way to Mithauli, a fort belonging to a raja 

named Loni Singh, and begged him to take pity upon 

them. When they arrived they were worn out with fatigue, 

their clothes were in rags, and their bare feet were lacerated by 

the thorns of the jungle through which they had passed. The 

raja did not pity them ; but it suited his purpose to take them 

under his charge. He therefore lodged them for the night in a 

cowshed, and, on the following evening, sent them 

to the fort of Katchiani, a desolate unfurnished 

building in another part of his estates. There they found 

Captain Philip Orr and his wife and child, who had escaped from 

the massacre of Aurangabad.^ The raja now said that, as there 

were mutineers in the neighbourhood, he could not shelter the 

whole party. Next day, therefore, the Orrs were 

sent out into the jungle. They had to keep fires 

burning at night to scare away the tigers and the wolves ; and 

they were continually in dread of being found out by the 

mutineers who were roving in the neighbourhood. After a few 

days they were told that, as the mutineers had 

dispersed, they might return to the fort. There 

for some weeks the eight fugitives existed in hopeless misery. 

The only news that reached them from the outer world was the 

news of the sufferings of their countrymen and the triumphs of 

the mutineers. Day after day they sat in solemn silence ; for 

the only words that they could have truthfully spoken would 

have been words of despair. Early in August the 

raja told them that, as another band of mutineers 

was coming, they must go forth again and hide in the jungle. 

But he did not intend that they should find a hiding-place. His 

vakil ^ had told the sepoys at Lucknow where they Averc to be 

found ; and tin armed band was sent to destroy them. From 

^ See p. 135, supra. 
" Agent or man of business. 



some mysterious cause, indeed, the intending murderers failed 
to penetrate the jungle. But the fugitives had little cause to 
rejoice over their escape. The rays of the sun beat fiercely upon 
their heads ; and the thorny brushwood of the jungle Avas so 
low that they could find no shade. Torrents of rain poured 
down upon them. Wild beasts howled around them. Inter- 
mittent fever attacked them, and deprived them of all strength 
to bear up against their other suff"erings. Little Sophy, who did 
not know that her mother had been murdered at Sitapur, was 
continually torturing them by asking why she had not come 
Avith them. At last Orr received a letter, encourag- 

Aug. 2G. . . ' & 

ing him to hope for an early rescue. He showed 
the letter to his companions ; and, as they read and re-read it, 
hope, Avhich had been long dead, revived in their hearts. But 
weeks passed away ; and the expected escort never came to take 
them to Lucknow. At last another and unexpected 
escort came. Loni Singh, who had been watching 
the course of events, had become convinced that the star of the 
British had set for ever, and had sent three hundred of his 
retainers to deliver them over to the mutineers. The retainers 
seized them, dragged them out of the jungle, and, putting them 
into two carts, started with them for Lucknow. The carts 
jolted along till they reached a village in which the raja's vakil 
was waiting to receive the prisoners. This man owed his 
advancement in life to the kindness of Orr ; and he was now in 
a position to make a return. He did so. He ordered chains to 
be riveted upon the hands and feet of the male prisoners. At 
the sight of the fetters Burnes went mad, and Morton fell into a 
convulsive fit. Mrs. Orr fell down on her knees, and entreated 
the vakil to spare her husband, his benefactor, the bitter shame 
of bonds. He answered her with a brutal laugh. 

Then the prisoners were sent on their way. Once a day a 
scanty dole of nauseous food was thrown to them. They were 
allowed hardly any water. At last they reached LucknoAv, 
Then the guards told them to get out of the carts, and led them 
towards the Kaisar Bagh. A mob collected, and thronged round 
them, staring at them, as they staggered along, and making 
merry over their shame and distress. When they entered the 
room in which they were to be confined, Jackson, who was now 
quite overcome, fell down in a swoon. The women, half- 
maddened by protracted thirst, shrieked for water. At last it 


was brought to them, but in a vessel so foul that they revolted 
from bringing their lips to touch it. 

Now began a second imprisonment, as bitter and as hopeless 
as that which the captives had endured in the fort of Katchiani. 
As day after day dragged by, Jackson became weaker and more 
emaciated ; Morton was so sick that he could hardly eat the 
scanty food that Avas given to him ; and Burnes was so Aveakened 
in mind that he did not know what was going on around him. 
But their relief came at last. On the morning of the 16th 
of November a number of sepoys burst into the room, and told 
the men to get up and come outside. Jackson and Orr pain- 
fully dragged themselves to their feet, and bade the women 
good-bye. Then, with Burnes and Morton, they submitted to 
be pinioned and led outside. Presently a rattle of musketry was 
heard. The gaolers told the women not to be alarmed, — some 
native prisoners had been executed, that was all. It was not 
till after some weeks that Madeline Jackson learned Jan. 7. 
that she had lost her brother, and Mrs. Orr her 
husband. They had already lost their little Nov. 24. 
companion, the orphan Sophy. Two more months passed away. 
Then at last a ray of hope lighted up the gloom of their cap- 
tivity. There was a man called Wajid Ali, who, ever since their 
arrival in the Kaisar Bagh, had, at his own risk, endeavoured to 
lighten the burden of their sufferings. He now succeeded in 
effecting the removal of Mrs. Orr's child to a place of safety. A 
few days later he had Mrs. Orr herself and Madeline „ ^ ,„ 

J March 19. 

Jackson carried to his own house. Soon afterwards 
they were restored to their countrymen. -"^ 

After the outbreak at Sitapur, mutiny became general 
throughout the province. Whether influenced 
directly or indirectly by the example of the regi- ^le^custricts 
ments at Lucknow, or by the pressure of the 
mutineers who kept streaming into Oudh from the country be- 
yond its eastern frontier,^ every detachment without exception 
threw ofl' control. Their resolve was generally more pronounced, 
their action less hesitating than that of their comrades in the 
North-Western Provinces ; but their treatment of their officers 
was as variable. Some simply dismissed them. Others savagely 
murdered them. Others dutifully watched over their safety. 

^ The Ihiglish Captives in Oucle, edited hy M. Wylie. 
"^ Life of Sir II. Laiorence, p. 583. 


Others sent them away unharmed, Imt took measures to have 
them waylaid and murdered. The fortunes of those Europeans 
who succeeded in escaping from their stations were of the most 
various kinds. Some fled northwards, and perished from the 
deadly climate of the Tarai. Others were tracked down by 
bands of mutineers, and shot. Others made their way, unharmed 
and unhindered, to Lucknow. Many of those who were saved. 

owed their lives to the sympathy, or at least the 
tife'popuiaWon. f orbearauce, of the native population. A few tdluk- 

dars, indeed, showed hostility or refused shelter to 
fugitive parties. A few villagers insulted them in their distress. 
But in most cases high and low alike treated the suppliant 
Europeans with genuine kindness. Their conduct might have 
been very different if Lawrence had not laboured, as he had 
done, to repair the wi'ongs which they had suffered at the hands 
of his predecessors. 

In eveiy instance the mutiny of a regiment was followed by 
the loss of the district to which it belonged ; for the civil 
officers had no means of maintaining the authority which some 
of their brethren in the North-West exercised throughout the 
most trying periods of the crisis. Within eleven days after the 
mutiny at Lucknow, there was not a single representative of the 
British Government to be found at any of the stations in Oudh. 
The downfall of authority was followed Ijy its natural results. 
The tdlukdars saw their opportunity and used it. Backed by 
their retainers, they rose almost to a man, forcibly ejected those 
upon whom their ill-gotten estates had been bestowed, plundered 
rich and defenceless citizens and wreaked vengeance upon old 
antagonists. But, whatever they may have felt, they showed as 
yet, Avith very few exceptions, no disposition to aid the mutineers ; 
and some of them even sent supplies to Lawrence, to be stored 
in the Kesidency.^ 

Notwithstanding the overthrow of British authority in the 

districts, Lucknow itself still remained compara- 
Liwknow. tively quiet. A gallows was erected near the Machi 

Bhdwan ; and day after day batches of mutineers 
were summarily tried and hanged. Plots, it is true, were occa- 
sionally discovered : but the seizure of the ringleaders struck 

1 Life of Sir II. Lawrence, pp. 569, 586, 593 ; Gubbius, pp. 71-2, 118-43 ; 
OvAlh aazeiteer, vol. i. pp. 134-5, 547 ; Wylie, Preface, pp. iv. and v. ; luues, 
pp. 92, 96, 292. See App. S. 


terror into their accomplices ; the military police, under their 
vigilant commandant, Captain Carnegy, kept the budmashes 
quiet ; and the administration of justice went on as usual. The 
worst symptom that appeared after the mutiny of the 30th of 
May was the slackness of trade. The native merchants and even 
the bank no longer carried on business ; and Company's paper 
fell from twenty to seventy-five per cent discount. Still the 
merchants, though they had lost their confidence in the stability 
of British rule, were ready to support it as long as they could 
do so with safety. The ladies seldom ventured to stir beyond 
the precincts of the Residency : but the chaplains continued to 
hold their services regularly ; and even dinner parties Avere still 
given and attended by the more sanguine. Henry Lawrence, 
however, was an altered man. He had never known 
how to take life easily. He had always lived in a ^f^Lawrence^^ 
state of bodily and mental tension, never satisfied 
that he had done enough, and habitually expending more nervous 
force than was sufficient to accomplish what he. actually did. 
His emaciated figure and haggard face had already begun to 
show how anxiety and sleepless labour had told upon his health, 
when the heart-breaking announcements that reached him early 
in June utterly prostrated him. Feeling that he might break 
down at any moment, he telegraphed to Canning on the 4th, 
begging that, if anything should happen to himself. Major Banks, 
the Commissioner of the Lucknow Division, might be allowed 
to succeed him as Chief Commissioner, and Colonel John Inglis 
of the 32nd as commander of the troops. " This," he insisted, 
"is no time for punctilio as regards seniority. They are the 
right men, in fact the only men for the places." Five days 
later his exhaustion became so complete that he 
was obliged to delegate his authority to a provisional 
council, of which Gubbins was appointed President.^ The 
council sat for three days only • but that short period was an 
epoch in the history of the crisis. 

Directly after the mutiny of the 30th of May, Gubbins had 
begun to besiege his chief with fresh arguments for 
the disarming of the sepoys. Though between five ^ona^ council, 
and six hundred ^ only had proved faithful, more 

^ Wilson, p. 23; Englishman, June 11, 1857; Gubbins, p. 115, H. S. 
Polehampton's Memoirs, pp. 62-3 ; Life of .Sir H. Lawrence, pp. 587-8 ; Rees, 
pp. 22, 28 ; Lady Inglis 's Journal. 

^ Gubbins (p. 116) says only 437. See, however, Kaye, vol. iii. p. 448, note f. 


than twelve hundred still remained in the ranks. Many even 
of their officers had lost all confidence in them, and lay down to 
sleep at night in the full belief that they might be miu'dered in 
their beds. While recommending that the entire body shoiild 
be disarmed, Gubbins said that he would not oppose an excep- 
tion in favour of those who had at least shown outward loyalty.^ 
But though Lawrence was more than once on the point of yield- 
ing to his arguments, he never actually brought himself to take 
the decisive step. Now, however, Gubbins thought that he 
would at last get his own way. He so far succeeded that the 
other members of the council agreed to allow one company, 
which had shown positive signs of disaiiection, to be disarmed ; 
but they would not suffer the other troops to be included in the 
measure. Then Gubbins resolved to gain his end by a compro- 
mise. He persuaded his colleagues that it would be advisable 
for the commanding officers to order all their men, 

June 12. 

except about three hundred and fifty, to go home 
until November. On the 12 th of June the resolution was 
carried into effect : but Lawrence became so excited on hearing 
of it that he resumed his authority, and sent messengers to 
recall all the sepoys who might wish to return. About a 
hundred and fifty rejoined their colours, and vowed that they 
would stand by the Government to the last.- 

It was fortunate indeed that the faithful few were suffered to 
remain ; for the English soldiers woidd have been far too weak 
in numbers to defend the Residenc}'^ in case of a siege. Hoping to 
strengthen his little force still further, Lawrence issued a circular, 

inviting the pensioned sepoys to rally round their old 

flag. In answer to the call, some hundreds of aged 
men, many of whom had lost their sight or their limbs in the 
service of the Company, came flocking into Lucknow. About 
eighty of these were selected for active service. This reinforce- 
ment, however, did not make up for a further diminution which 
the numbers of the garrison had lately suffered. On the 11th 

the cavalry of the military police had risen in revolt, 
military i)oiice. and gouc off' to joiu the rebels in the districts; and 

on the following morning the infantry had followed 

June 12. . o o J 

their example. Some hours later a force was sent 

1 Gulibins, p. 118. Neither Kaye (vol. iii. p. 498) nor Mallesou (vol. i. 
J). 415) does justice to Gubbius ou this poiut. 
- See Ai)p. H. 


in pui'suit, which, hoAvever, failed to do more than kill a few 
stragglers. Captain Gould Weston, the Superintendent of the 
entire corps, on hearing of the departure of the mutineers, 
instantly mounted a horse, galloped after them alone, and over- 
took them about five miles from the Ilesidency. Their leaders 
would not suffer him to speak ; but a few were so fascinated by 
his daring that they left their comrades and joined him. One 
man, indeed, levelled his musket at Weston ; but his comi'ades 
indignantly struck it down, exclaiming, " Who would kill such a 
brave man as this 1"^ 

Meanwhile the work of strengthening and provisioning the 
Residency was going on apace. The Machi BhAwan was still 
used as a storehouse for supplies ; and Lawrence even 
caused new batteries to be constructed there, in 
the hope of overawing the mutineers and putting off as long as 
possible the investment of the Residency.^ His health was now 
much improved ; and henceforth he was able to work without 
interruption. He was still, however, harassed by the almost 
insubordinate urgency with which Gubbins criti- 
cised his measures, and oftered suggestions of his ofWubbii"s! 
own.^ The Financial Commissioner vehemently 
argued that the British force, instead of remaining inactive at 
Lucknow, should march out and attack the rebels who were 
collecting in the neighbourhood ; and many of the younger 
officers were so impressed by his daring and impetuous character 
that they began to regard him as the man for the crisis. At 
last Lawrence himself boAved to his will. For it is certain that 
it was owing to the influence which the whole tenour of Gubbins's 
previous arguments had exerted upon him, though not to any 
definite suggestion, that he took the step that immediately 
caused the siege of LucknoAv.* 

On the 29th of June he Avas informed that a large rebel 
army, encouraged by the recent fall of Cawnpore, had collected at 
NaAvabganj, about seventeen miles to the north-east, 
A\ath the object of advancing to the attack of Luck- cwnhat.^ 
noAV ; and that their adA^anced guard had moved 

^ Rees, pp. 55-6, 61 ; Malleson, vol. i. p. 418 ; Life of Sir H. Lmorence, 
p. 590 ; Gubbins, p. 169. 

" Wilson, pp. 10, 11 ; Iiiues's Roitgh JSfarrative of tlie Siege of Lucknow, p. 2 ; 
Life of Sir H. Lmvrence, p. 590 ; Innes's Luchuno ami Oude in the Mutiny, p. 95. 

"* Life of Sir H. Lmm-ence, p. 593. 

■* Malleson (vol. i. p. 423) represents Lawrence as having eagerly seized the 


forward ten miles to the village of Chinhat. Thereupon he 
resolved to march out on the following morning as far as the 
Kokrail, a rivulet some four miles from the city, intending, if no 
enemy should be visible, to return at once, but hoping otherwise 
to strike such a blow as would defer for some time the inevitable 
siege. The force which he selected consisted of some seven 
hundred fighting men of all arms, of whom about half were 
Eiu-opeans. He had intended that the march should 

June 30. , . ^ i • i ■ i 

begin at daybreak: but the sun was high in the 
heavens before all the preparations Avere completed ; and the 
troops were exhausted by many previous days and nights of 
harassing duty. It was remarked by one who saw them start 
that they looked more as if they had gone through a hard day's 
work than as if they were going to begin one. On reaching 
the Kokrail bridge, they halted ; but, contrary to Lawrence's 
orders, neither food nor drink was served out to them. He and 
his staff had ridden on about a quarter of a mile to reconnoitre. 
No enemy was in sight. The expected order to return was 
given; and the force countei-marched. Meanwhile, however, 
Lawrence had heard that the enemy's scouts had fallen back. 
He inferred that they shrank from a fight, and that he would 
only have the advanced guard to deal Avith ; and the younger 
members of his staff persuaded him to attack them. His aide-de- 
camp rode by his orders to the bridge, and asked Inglis if the 
men of the 32nd could go on. " Of course they could," replied 
Inglis, " if ordered." The answer was significant enough : but 
Colonel Case of the 32 nd protested emphatically that the 
men were unfit to go into action ; and it would have been 
better if Inglis had plainly said the same.^ The aide-de-camp 
rode off. Presently, to the amazement of all, a countermand 
was issued, and the march was resumed. 

The troops, stumbling wearily along a muddy and uneven 
road, were approaching a village on its left called Ismjiilganj, 
when suddenly a number of round shot came crashing into 
their midst, and immediately afterwards they caught sight of 
the enemy, who had hitherto concealed themselves behind 
groves of trees, which stretched in front of the village of 

opportunity of attacking tlie rebels at Cliiiihat. This view is, I think, disproved 
liy the evidence contained iu an appen<lix to Kaye's third volume, pp. 609-71. 
See also Life of Sir II. Lam'encc, pp. 603, 605, note. 

^ One of the surgeons also stated professionally that the men could not go ou 
without serious risk. See App. 1. 


Chinhat. The advanced guard, composed of a few men of the 
32nd, had already occupied Ismailganj. Lawrence at once 
deployed the rest of the regiment into line behind Ismailganj, 
ordered them to lie down, and opened fire upon the mutineers 
with his guns. The native infantry advanced and seized a 
hamlet on the right of the road ; while the cavalry remained 
on the same side, to guai'd the right flank, which commanded 
the line of retreat to the Residency, For some time an artillery 
duel was kept up. Then there was a lull in the firing of the 
enemy, which led Lawrence to believe that they were losing 
heart ; and presently they fell back into the groves and 
disappeared. But Lawrence was soon undeceived. Suddenly 
reappearing on the right, the enemy advanced with a steadiness 
that extorted the admiration of the British officers. The native 
infantry and gunners showed a bold front : but meanwhile the 
enemy's right wing, encouraged by the inaction of the 32nd, 
had moved round behind the cover of the groves, which extended 
close to the left of Ismailganj : the precaution of posting piquets 
in the groves had been neglected ; and suddenly emerging from 
the trees, they rushed into Ismailganj and expelled the little 
band which occupied it. At the critical moment some of 
Lawrence's native gunners deserted, and nearly all his native 
cavalry fled. The native infantry, unsupported, and harassed 
by a cross-fire from Ismdilganj, were compelled to abandon the 
hamlet which they had won. The British soldiers attempted 
to retake Ismdilganj ; but they Avere too tired and disheartened 
to succeed ; their leader. Colonel Case, was mortally wounded ; 
and presently they fell back in confusion on the road. Then 
Lawrence, seeing that he was in danger of being surrounded, 
gave the oi'der to retreat. The retreat soon became a rout, 
The enemy's horse-artillery, galloping on either flank of the 
fugitives, harassed them with an unremitting dischai'ge of grape. 
Many of the 32nd were so exhausted that they deliberately lay 
down to die. Those were most fortunate who managed to 
clamber on to the gun-carriages, or found a friendly trooper 
to let them cling to his stirrups. " My God ! my God ! " 
Lawrence was heard to say, " I brought them to this." 

At last the Kokrdil bridge was reached. The enemy's 
cavalry, however, had hastened to occujDy this point, and now 
prepared to dispute the passage. Then a little squadron of 
volunteers, who formed the only cavalry left after the desei'tion 


of the natives, performed a feat of arms which went far to wipe 
away the shame of that disastrous day. With sabres flashing, 
they hurled themselves upon the dense masses in their front ; 
but such was the terror which their charge inspired that, before 
they could strike a blow, the enemy broke and fled, leaving the 
bridge free. When the fugitives had crossed, the volunteers 
continued to keep the pursuers in check. Still the miseries of 
the retreat were not over. The bheesties ^ had deserted ; and 
many who had escaped the enemy's fire might have perished 
from thirst, if the native women in the suburbs had not taken 
pity upon them and offered them water.^ 

Meanwhile Lawrence himself had ridden on in advance with 
two of his staff, to break the news of the disaster to the 
Europeans in the Residency. But many of them were already 
prepared for the worst. Peering through the windows, they 
could plainly see their countrymen retreating before the ovei'- 
whelming masses of the sepoys. Soon a helpless mob of British 
soldiers came staggering up to the Residency verandah ; and 
then ensued a dreadful scene of terror and confusion. Labourers, 
who had been busily working at the unfinished defences, flung 
away their tools : native servants deserted their masters : women 
ran for their lives from the outposts, and huddled, in an agony 
of terror, into the rooms of the Residency ; while the foremost 
bodies of the victorious rebels, dragging their guns into position, 
or swarming into the adjoining buildings, were already beginning 
to open fire. For a time indeed the guns on the northern side 
of the Residency and at the Machi Bhdwan, which commanded 
the bridges, had checked their advance : but large numbers 
forded the river below. The sun shone fiercely down upon 
Lucknow : but the streets were deserted ; and the hum of the 
great city was succeeded by the shrieks of the wounded and 
the dying, the roar of artillery, and the ceaseless crack of 
musketry. As the afternoon waned, fresh bodies of mutineers 
kept coming up to join their comrades : at sunset their horse- 
artillery came dashing over the bridge : soon their whole force 
had completely invested the British position ; and the blaze of 

' Water-carriers. 

^ Gubbins, pp. 184-8 ; Captain R. P. Andersou's Personal Journal of the 
Siege of Lucknoio, pp. 52-3 ; Rees, pp. 81, 86-90 ; Lady Inglis's The Siege of 
Liickiiow, pp. 48, 50 ; Innes, jjp. 97-100 ; Life of Sir H. Lawrence, p. 602 ; Kaye, 
vol. iii. p. 503, note. See App. I. 


their watch-fires and the flash of their guns lighted up the darkness 
of the night, the first night of the siege of Lucknow.^ 

At first the women of the garrison, though within the past 
few weeks they had begun to learn something of 
the horrors of wai^, were thrown into an extremity 0° "h" si'e"'^^'^'^ 
of terror by the appalling din of the hostile 
cannonade, and expected every moment to see the mutineers 
come rushing over the feeble defences, and bursting into the 
rooms to murder them and their helpless children. But in 
their trouble they turned for consolation to that source from 
which, in the dark days of 1857, strong men and tender women 
alike drew comfort and support. The young wife of an officer 
of the garrison was sitting in her little room, trembling and 
hardly able to breathe from fear, when a friend, whose husband 
had fallen on the field of Chinhat, proposed that they should 
join in reading the Litany. Another lady was with them. The 
three women knelt down, and prayed fervently. When they 
rose to their feet, they were still much alarmed ; but they could 
now talk calmly of their danger ; for they felt that they were in 
the hands of the God of battles, and that, without His will, not 
all the fury of the enemy could harm them.^ 

While the garrison of the Residency were threatened by 
such deadly peril, the Machi Bhawan also was exposed to the 
enemy's fire. Lawrence saw that he must, at all hazards, make 
the attempt to transfer the troops who occupied it to the 
Residency, for the reinforcement of his slender garrison. On 
the second day of the sieee three officers went up 

. . July 1 

to the roof of the Residency, upon which a rude 
semaphore had been erected, and, though exposed to a heavy 
fire, succeeded in signalling to Colonel Palmer, the commandant 
of the Machi Bhawan, to spike his guns, blow up the building, 
and bring his force into the entrenchment. The order was 
understood ; but great anxiety was felt for the success of the 
operation. Fortune, however, favoured the enterprise. The 
enemy, suspecting nothing, had dispersed to plunder the cit}'^ : 
soon after midnight Palmer's little force marched noiselessly 
through the gates of the Residency ; and a few minutes later 
a terrific explosion proclaimed that the Machi Bhawan with its 
richly- stored magazine had been destroyed.^ 

1 Rees, p. 91 ; Gubbins, p. 191 ; Kaye, iii. 512, note. 
^ Lady Inglis's Joiwnal. * Wilson, pp. 42-5 ; Gubbins, pp. 195-7. 


Within the Residency the new-comers found the wildest con- 
fusion prevailing. Every one had expected to have to undergo 
a siege ; but the siege began before any one was ready for it. 
Native servants, tempted by extraordinary rates of pay to 
expose themselves to the enemy's fire, were to be seen working 
with feverish haste at unfinished bastions. Others took advan- 
tage of the general confusion to rob their masters. The chief 
of the Commissariat had been wounded at Chinhat ; and, as 
his office was in consequence broken up, some of the camp- 
followers did not know where to apply for their rations, and 
deserted. Thus forsaken by their attendants, the artillery 
bullocks wandered heljilessly about in search of food till they 
tumbled into wells ; while horses went mad from thirst, and bit 
and kicked each other in their agony. No one had time to 
relieve the sufferings of the wretched animals : for the whole 
available strength of the garrison was barely sufficient to keep 
the enemy at bay.i 

While affairs were in this state, the garrison were afflicted 

by a calamity not less severe than the defeat at 
Lawrence Chinhat. On the morning of the 1st of July 

Lawrence was working in his own room with his 
secretary, when a shell burst at their feet. Neither was injured ; 
but Lawrence's staff earnestly begged him to remove to a less 
exposed room. At first he refused, remarking with a smile 
that the enemy had no artilleryman good enough to throw 
another shell into the same spot ; but afterwards he yielded, 
and promised to change his quarters on the following day. 
Early next morning he went out on a round of inspection, 

from which he returned about eight o'clock. When 
"^ ■ reminded by Captain Wilson of his promise, he 
replied that he was too tired to move then, but would do so 
without fail before the end of the morning. Half an hour later 
he was lying on his bed, explaining to Wilson some instructions 
which he had just given him, Avhen another shell crashed through 
the wall and burst. The light of day was gone : but a red 
glare lit up the darkness ; and the stunning noise of the report 
was followed by the rattle of falling masonry. For a moment 
no one spoke. Then Wilson cried out, " Sir Henry, are you 
hurt ? " Twice he called : but there was no answer. At last 
Lawrence replied in a low tone, " I am killed." When the dust 
1 Gubbius, pp. 193-5, 201-2. 


and smoke cleared away, it was seen that the coverlet was 
crimson with blood. Presently some soldiers of the 32nd came 
in, and, gently lifting their wounded General, carried him to 
another house close by. The doctor soon arrived, and, after 
examining the wound, saw at once that it was mortal. 

All that day and part of the next Lawrence remained per- 
fectly sensible. Though opiates were freely administered to 
him, he suffered much, and shot and shell dashed unceasingly 
against the walls of the house in which he lay : but nothing 
could disturb his holy spirit ; for he had long since found that 
peace which passeth all understanding. His friends clustered 
round his bedside ; and there was hardly one who did not shed 
tears. When the dying man spoke of himself, it was with such 
humility as touched the hearts of all who heard him. He de- 
sired that no epitaph should be inscribed upon his tomb but the 
words, " Here lies Henry Lawrence, who tried to do his duty. 
May the Lord have mercy on his soul." He spoke most 
tenderly and affectionately of his children and his friends, his 
native servants, and all with whom he was in any way con- 
nected, sending for those to whom he thought he had ever done 
wrong or even spoken harshly, to beg their forgiveness, and 
expressing a special wish that Government would not allow the 
asylum which he had founded and maintained for the children 
of British soldiers, to fall into decay. But, so long as he re- 
mained conscious, his chief thoughts were for the State which 
he had served faithfully for thirty years, and particularly for 
the people of Lucknow, Europeans and Asiatics alike, in whose 
service he had received his death-wound. Summoning his most 
trusted officers around him, he made over the Chief Commis- 
sionership to Major Banks, and the command of the troops to 
Brigadier Inglis, and then, after giving them his final directions 
for the conduct of the defence, besought them, with passionate 
earnestness, never to surrender. After the evening of the 2nd, 
when he received the sacrament with his friends, he spoke but 
little, for he was now fast sinking ; and early on the morning 
of the 4th he died. A few soldiers were summoned to carry 
his corpse to burial. Before they lifted the couch on which it 
lay, one of them raised the coverlet, and, stooping down, kissed 
the forehead of his dead General ; and all the rest did the 
same. Then they carried him out, and laid him in his rude 
grave, side by side with some private soldiers, who also, in their 


humbler sphere, had given their lives for their country. A 
short prayer was read ; but it was no time to pay the formal 
honours of war to the departed.^ Yet there was a salute not 
unworthy of the nol)lest hero of the old Bengal Artillery, — the 
thunder of the cannon which still bade defiance to the enemies 
of England. 

Brigadier Inglis, the officer who now commanded the garri- 
son of Lucknow, had served with distinction in 
ny^?^^'^'^ the second Sikh war. Long before the outbreak 
of the Mutiny, he was well known all over the 
North- Western Provinces as a good officer and a keen sports- 
man.'- There were abler men in the garrison : but his chief 
had made no mistake in pointing to him as his successor. A 
plain, honourable, Christian gentleman, a tender husband, a 
staunch friend, a lover of all that was high and noble, a soldier 
of unsurpassable gallantry, respected by those who served under 
him, and capable of appreciating the counsels of his officers, he 
might be trusted to defend a weak position obstinately to the 
last, by sheer dogged fighting, to fulfil the dying adjuration of 
Henry Lawrence, Never surrender. 

The position which he had to defend was indeed one which 
only the most dogged fighting could for a moment 

The position J . . oo _ & r> i i • 

which he had havc maintained against such an overwhelming 
force as now surrounded it. The mention of a 
siege suggests the idea of a fortress ; but by no stretch of the 
imagination could such a title have been bestowed upon the 
place of refuge within which the Lucknow garrison were col- 
lected. It is true that Lawrence and his engineers had made 
the most of their slender resources, and had utilised every 
advantage which circumstances offered them. The line of 
defence on the north ran along the high bank, which had been 
carefully scarped, and strengthened by a parapet. Overlooking 
the river, on this front, which was commanded by the famous 
Redan battery, lay the only open space where it was possible 
for the besiegers to mass themselves in force for a general 
assault, or where they could plant batteries to batter the 
defences in breach. On the other three fronts, outlying ruined 
buildings made it impossible for storming parties to advance, 

1 Skeiche.-: and Incidents of the Siege of Lucknoiv, by C. H. Mecham and 
Georjte Couper ; Life of Sir H. Lmorerice, pp. G09-14 ; Wilsoii, pp. 45-6, 49. 

2 Russell's Diary in India, vol. ii. p. 406. 


except in small columns, and protected the defences from the 
fire of artillery. Their lower stories had been left standing, 
with this very object, although it was foreseen that they would 
afford shelter to the enemy's musketeers. Certain other build- 
ings, however, which could only serve as a coign of vantage to 
the besiegers, had unfortunately been left intact. And when 
Lawrence had done his utmost, he regarded his work as little 
better than a makeshift. The position was thirty-seven acres 
in extent ; and its circuit was about a mile. It consisted of a 
number of detached dwelling-houses and other buildings, of 
which the Residency itself was the most conspicuous, defended 
by boundaiy walls of varying height, mud banks and trenches, 
and along the weakest parts by palisades, stakes, crow's-feet, and 
similar obstacles. Even if there had been full time for the 
construction of these improvised works, they would have moved 
the laughter of the youngest cadet who was then studying forti- 
fication at Woolwich ; but, when the siege began, they were 
still unfinished. Only two of the batteries which stood at 
intervals along the line of entrenchment were ready for use. 
Indeed, according to all recognised principles of military science, 
the position was indefensible.^ 

The conditions of the combat were rendered still more un- 
equal by the discrepancy between the numbers of the com- 
batants. AVhen the siege began, the assailants mustered at least 
six thousand trained soldiers,^ who were supported ,„, ^, . 

' -i -l The besieged 

by the military police and by a large number of and the 
talukdars' retainers. The garrison, on the other ''^''^°'ers. 
hand, exclusive of women, children, and other non-combatants, 
amounted only to seventeen hundred and twenty souls. ^ More 
than seven hundred of these were natives, some of v/hom were 
regarded with suspicion, while others were infirm old men. 
But the slender force of British soldiers and civilians, backed 
by the loyal sepoys, were animated by an unconquerable resolu- 
tion to defend themselves and their women to the last. With 
the example of Cawnpore before them, they knew what they 
might expect in case they should be overcome ; and each man 
resolved to act, and did act as though upon his constancy and 

^ Gubbius, pp. 154-61 ; Innes, pp. 96, 103-10, 122 ; personal information 
from Gen. Innes ; Life of Sir H. Lmvrence, pp. 589-90. 
- Gubbins, p. 190. 
^ Innes, pp. Ill, 116 ; Gubbins, p. 435, note. 


valour alone depended the safety of the garrison, the honour of 
his country, the existence of the imperilled empire. 

Lawrence had calculated that by great efforts it might be 
possible to protract the defence for a fortnight ; ^ 
''**"'°^' and four days had already elapsed when Inglis 
assumed command. During the whole of this time the action 
of the enemy had hardly ceased, except when they quitted their 
posts to plunder the bazaars in the city. Many of the buildings 
which they occupied were within easy pistol-shot of the British 
outposts ; and, aiming securely through the loopholes which 
they had made in the walls, their marksmen kept up a galling 
musketry fire, beneath which many of the garrison had already 
fallen. During the first week of the siege from fifteen to twenty 
deaths occurred every day ; and, even after experience had 
taught the defenders to be less reckless in exposing themselves, 
the daily average for some time did not fall below ten. 
No place within the entrenchment was absolutely safe. Several 
wounded soldiers were killed as they lay on their beds in 
hospital. Women, on rising in the morning, sometimes found 
bullets lying on the floor within a few inches of their pillows.-^ 
The besieged, however, on their part, were not idle. Working 
parties were engaged all night in completing the defences. 
Each house was defended by a separate little garrison under a 
responsible commandant ; and, when the staff-officer came round 
in the evening to collect reports, the occupants of the several 
posts were cheered by the news of what their comrades had 
achieved during the day, and were able to recount their own 
exploits for the information of the Brigadier. 

The fortnight for which Lawrence had hoped that the de- 
fence might be prolonged passed away ; and still the position 
was resolutely maintained. Fortunately for the besieged, the 
besiegers were under feeble control. Their leaders had wasted 
the first few days in quarrelling, and intriguing for the chief 
command. The only officers who had any knowledge of war 
were set aside. At length two courtiers of the late king were 
entrusted with joint powers. The mutineers treated their new 
chiefs with contempt, selected their own posts, and placed their 
guns Avhere they liked. No organised attempt was made to 
breach the defences. The guns were fired at random ; and the 

^ Life of Sir II. LaAorcnce, p. 602. 
'^ Rees, pp. 128-9, 137 ; Pok-hanipton, pp. 354-5. See Iinics, pj). 162-3. 


shot often flew right over the position and lodged in the besiegers' 

posts beyond. The only effective practice was that of the 

musketeers. Indeed, though the enemy had once or twice 

made a show of advancing to the attack, they had not yet dared 

to attempt that general assault, which, if it had been delivered 

with a resolution to win, might, on the first day of the siege, 

have given them the victory. At last, however, they did 

summon up courage to make the attempt. 

On the night of the 19th of July they suddenly ceased 

firing : but on the following mornino; an unusual 

. ... July ''0 

movement was discernible in their ranks. Warned 

by the look-out men to be on the alert, the garrison sprang to 
their posts, and stood breathlessly waiting. Even the wounded 
left their beds, and, with pale faces and tottering steps, came 
down to join in the defence. At ten o'clock, a mine, which 
had been sunk in the direction of the Redan, exploded with 
terrific force, though fortunately without effect ; and, when 
the smoke had cleared away, the rebels opened a heavy 
fire of round shot and musketry, under cover of which they 
rushed to the assault. But, though they held on till they 
were close under the walls, and even attempted to plant their 
scaling-ladders ; though the leader of one of their columns, 
waving a green standard above his head, leaped with magnificent 
audacity right into the ditch in front of a battery, and was 
followed by his comrades till he himself was shot dead ; yet the 
defenders, Englishmen and Asiatics alike, poured such a con- 
centrated fire into their ranks, that, after four hours' fighting, 
the whole attacking force fell back, defeated and disheartened.^ 
The attack had failed because, bravely though the rebels had 
fought, they had shrunk from pressing onwards through the 
storm of shot and bullets, and into the forest of bayonets, with 
one continuous rush, by the force of which, though the ditches 
had been filled with the bodies of the slain, the survivors would 
have hewn their way at last through the living rock which 
opposed them. 

The losses of the enemy on this day were very severe ; while, 
on the side of the garrison, only four men were killed, and 
twelve wounded. But the significance of the action is not to 
be estimated by its immediate material results. The besieged 

^ Rees, pp. 143-58 ; Wilson, p. 68 ; Giibbins, pp. 221-3, 225 : Innes, pp. 
117-8, 121-0. 


gained increased self-reliance by their victory. The besiegers, 
conscious that their defeat was due to moral inferiority, lost 
much of the spirit and enthusiasm with which they had hitherto 
fought. On the following day, however, the garrison sustained 
a serious loss. Major Banks, while rashly bending 
over a wall to watch the operations of the enemy, 
was shot through the temples. Gubbins, who, a fortnight before, 
had importunately written to him, asserting that the dignity 
of Chief Commissioner was lawfully his own, now urged his 
right to succeed him : but Inglis, not caring to work with so 
troublesome a colleague, refused to admit the claim, and de- 
clared that the office should remain in abeyance until the deci- 
sion of Government should be made known. It is only fair to 
add that Gubbins himself afterwards admitted that there had 
been no necessity for the continuance of civil authority. 

Notwithstanding their recent successes, it was impossible 
that the garrison should not feel anxious when they reflected 
on what lay before them. The siege had now lasted three 
weeks ; and as yet there had been no sign of coming relief. 
But on the night of the 21st of July a pensioner named Ungud 
succeeded in passing the enemy's sentries, and making his way 
into the entrenchment. A crowd of eager questioners soon 
thronged round him. He told them that General Havelock had 
defeated the Nana Sahib in three pitched battles, and was at 
that moment in possession of Cawnpore. The news was re- 
ceived with all the more joy because the garrison had daily 
expected to see the army of the Nana march up to reinforce 
July 2'' their assailants. On the next day Ungud went 
out again with a letter of information for Havelock. 

July 25 

Three days afterwards he returned with the reply 
that in less than a week the relieving army would arrive.^ 

Meanwhile the enemy, disappointed in their attempt to 
storm the position, were striving to overpower its defenders b)'' 
sheer weight of metal. They were busily erecting new batteries. 
But their great resource was mining. The besieged were con- 
tinually harassed by the dread of being hurled into the air ; 
and in those who garrisoned the outer posts the fear was 
reasonable. But the real danger was that an explosion might 
tear a breach in the defences, through which the besiegers would 
rush in irresistible numbers to the assault. There was, how- 
^ Gubbius, pp. 22G-8 ; Hutcliiusou's Mntmies in Qiide, !>. 174. 


ever, an officer within the entrenchment whose skill and un- 
tiring activity confounded their devices, Captain Fulton of the 
Engineers, a man whom the survivors of the siege singled out 
for special honour among the defenders of Lucknow. He caused 
retrenchments to be thrown up behind the outer defences ; and 
gathering round him a number of old Cornish miners belonging 
to the 32nd, he made them sink a countermine wherever the 
muffled sounds of pickaxe and crowbar revealed to their 
practised ears that the rebels were at work underground. 
Though the enemy's mines were skilfully constructed, they 
almost all failed : either they were too short, or they were 
stopped or destroyed before they had reached their aim. 
Fulton himself would often descend into the shaft with a lantern 
and a pistol, and, waiting patiently till the enemy's workmen 
had burrowed their way up to him, shoot the foremost man 

Thus day after day passed. Ungud had again left the 
entrenchment, taking with him diagrams of the position and 
its environs for the guidance of Havelock : but, though the 
more sanguine sometimes declared that they could hear the 
sound of distant firing, the promised reinforcements did not 
come. Many of the natives were greatly disheartened ; and 
even the British soldiers began to lose hope, and sometimes 
broke out into fits of ill-temper or insubordination. Some, when 
rebuked for exposing themselves unnecessarily to the enemy's 
fire, answered that it did not matter whether they were killed 
then or later. Disease had begun to waste the ranks ; and day 
by day men saw their comrades falling round them. But it was 
the extraordinary hardships and privations which they endured 
that bore most heavily upon them. Even in the first week of 
the siege they had been on duty from thirteen to twenty hours 
a day ; and now, while their numbers and their strength were 
diminishing, their work was steadily increasing. Officers and 
men stood sentry without distinction. After remaining at their 
posts all day under a burning sun, they were summoned at night 
to distribute stores and ammunition, to repair the shattered 
defences, or to bury the dead. Their scanty sleep was broken 

1 Gubbins, pp. 234-5 ; Mecham and Couper ; Innes, pp. 127-8, 154-5, 165-9, 
175-8. Innes says {Calcutta Review, Jan. -June 1859, p. 211) that the enemy 
" with their inexhaustible supply of labour ought to have blo^vn up the whole of 
the southern front, wthout a chance of successful opposition." 


by constant alarms. When the rainy season set in, they were 
wetted to the skin as they hiy in the trenches ; and many of 
them had no change of clothes. Myriads of flies buzzed round 
them when they tried to rest, and swarmed over their food when 
they sat down to eat. They had little rum or tobacco ; and 
their native allies had none of the condiments Avhich to them 
were almost a necessary of life.^ The Brigadier himself had 
scarcely any rest. When he came in after a hard day in the 
trenches, he was generally so tired that he could hardly speak. 
Yet he was always at his post ; his cheery and hopeful spirits 
never forsook him ; and, when his labours were most engrossing, 
he always found time to visit the hospital, and share his cigars 
with his wounded soldiers. ^ And those who served under him, 
soldiers and civilians, sepoys and hoary pensioners, bore up 
manfully, and worked and fought on with a grim resolve to 
endure unto the end, whatever the end might be. 

The women had their share of suffering and of toil. Some 
spent hours in the stifling hospital, talking to the soldiers and 
ministering to their wants. Others, whose families required 
all their attention, with a heroism less conspicuous but not less 
real, cheerfully performed the menial drudgery which the deser- 
tion of their servants threw upon them, endured without a 
murmur the hardships of heat, of bad food, and of over-crowding, 
and inspired their husbands with new courage. Like the stern 
defenders of Londonderry, they and the men who fought for 
them sought courage to do and patience to suffer by frequent 
religious exercises. Every Sunday service was held in more than 
one improvised place of worship. Every day prayers were said 
in outposts and inner rooms. ^ 

So the siege progressed till, on the 10th of August, the 
enemy varied the monotony of their ordinary operations by a 
second assault. They began, as before, by firing a mine, which 
blew down a portion of one of the southern houses, and tore 
open a breach fully ten yards in width in the outer defences ; 
but, though some of them advanced close up under the walls, 
and dared even to seize hold of the muskets of their opponents, 
though they renewed their attack again and again throughout 
the day, yet, as before, they failed to exhibit that tenacity which 

^ Mallesou, vol. i. p. 487. 

^ Rees, p. 170 ; Wilsou, pp. 53, 87 ; Anderson, p. 91 ; Lady Inglis's Jmi.rnal. 

* lb. ; Gubliins, p. 246, 


would have sustained them in the critical moment, and at night 
they were obliged again to confess that they were beaten. The 
defences, indeed, weak though they were, served their purpose. 
The assailants were invariably checked by the abattis and other 
obstacles ; and they had neither the resolution to make the heavy 
sacrifice of life which must have been incurred by breaking 
through, nor the skill to cover them and render them useless. 
On the 18th of August, however, they very nearly succeeded in 
wiping out the shame of their defeat. For some days they had 
been driving a gallery in the direction of a square on the south, 
the progress of which, in spite of the vigilance of the engineers, 
had escaped detection. The explosion of the mine, which was, 
as usual, the signal for their attack, destroyed a portion of the 
wall, blew up an out-house, and hurled two officers and three 
sentries into the air. The officers and two of the sentries fell 
down inside the square, and picked themselves up almost unhurt : 
but the other sentry, falling into the road, was killed by the 
enemy ; and seven men were buried alive beneath the ruins. 
The smoke floated away : but the rebels stood still, hesitating 
to advance. Then one of their leaders dashed forward, sprang 
on to the top of the breach, and, waving his sword, shouted to 
the men to follow. In a moment a bullet struck him dead : 
another officer, who pressed after him, fell as quickly ; and the 
storming party were too terrified to attempt to enter the breach. 
But another group gained possession of an out-house, at the end 
of a lane on the west of the square, under cover of which they 
endeavoured to loophole the wall, so as to fire along the inner 
side of the breach. Instantly a howitzer opened fire upon them 
from the bottom of the lane ; while Inglis, calling out his little 
reserve of eighteen men, brought up a gun to enfilade the breach ; 
caused boxes, doors, and planks to be piled up as a barricade; 
and before night sallied forth and blew up some of the adjoining 

This success was speedily followed up. On the south the 
enemy held a building called Johannes's House, — the only one 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the position of which the 
upper story had not been destroyed before the siege. It was 
from this house that their sharpshooters had fired with the most 
deadly effect ; indeed they had practically silenced a battery on 

' Wilson, pp. 115-16 ; lunes, pp. 140-41 ; Gubbins, pp. 2S4-5 ; persoual 
iuforniation from General Inues. 


its eastern side. Captain Fulton resolved to blow up the house, 
and entrusted Lieutenant Innes with the work of preparing the 
mine. For sixty-four hours Innes never slept ; and at day- 
break on the morning of the 21st the mine was ready. Presently 
a shock was felt ; and the house bulged outwards and fell like 
a house of cards. In the midst of the confusion that ensued 
two parties made sorties on the right and left of the ruins, and, 
firing barrels of gunpowder inside the adjoining houses, blew 
them into utter wreck.^ 

On the 5th of September the besiegers made a last attempt 
to storm : but, though they advanced with considerable deter- 
mination, the garrison gained an almost bloodless victory ; and 
carts loaded with dead and wounded rebels were seen crossing 
the bridge at evening towards cantonments. ^ 

The siege had now lasted sixty-seven days ; and within that 
time the garrison had repelled three general assaults ; had met 
every mine with a countermine ; had made several sorties ; and, 
without yielding an inch of the ground which they occupied, had 
blown up several of the surrounding houses, captured another, 
and driven the enemy from their strongest advanced post. Yet 
it was doubtful whether they would be able to hold out till 
reinforcements should arrive. They had learned that Have- 
lock, after attempting to march to their relief, had been twice 
obliged to fall back upon Cawnpore ; and on the 29th of August 
Ungud had brought a letter from him, in which he implied 
that it would be impossible for him to reach Lucknow before 
twenty-five days, and delivered the ominous warning, " Do 
not negotiate, but rather perish sword in hand." ^ After this 
letter was received, numbers of the natives deserted. Those 
who remained were becoming so despondent that it needed all 
the arguments and soothing assurances of the British officers 
to strengthen their expiring loyalty. About a third of the 
European soldiers had perished in the siege ; and the survivors 
were dreadfully depressed by the manifold trials which they 
had undergone. The Brigadier had not slept with his clothes 
off since the 16th of May, and was so exhausted by toil and 
anxiety that those about him daily feared he would break down. 
Many who escaped the enemy's fire were prostrated by low 

^ Innes, pp. 142-3 ; Gubbins, p. 266. 

'^ Gnbbins, p. 283 ; Rees, p. 193 ; Brigadier Inglis's Report. 

^ Marshman's M&tnoirs of Sir U. Havdock, p. 383. 


fever : many perished from small-pox or from cholera. Since 
the beginning of the siege there had been only two days on 
which a funeral had not taken place. The wounded were in evil 
plight ; for the want of proper food and ventilation impaired 
their chances of recovery, and where amputation was necessary, 
it invariably failed. Everyone was sickened by foul smells 
exhaled from decaying ofFal or from stagnant water. There 
was actually sufficient grain to sustain the garrison for months : 
but the chief of the Commissariat was disabled ; and Inglis, who 
had neglected to ascertain from the acting official the amount 
of the stock, believed that it was nearly exhausted. The rations 
had therefore been reduced ; and all provisions not included in 
rations were at famine prices. A pound of coarse flour cost a 
shilling, a ham four pounds ten shillings, a dozen of beer seven 
pounds. There was not a house that was not riddled with shot ; 
and some had fallen, burying the inmates under their ruins. Some 
of the men had been heard to declare that, if the place were to 
fall, they would shoot their wives with their own hands rather 
than suffer them to fall into the power of the rebels.^ 

While the garrison were in this dreadful situation, Ungud, 
stimulated by the promise of five thousand rupees 
if he should succeed in his mission, was sent out 
for the last time with despatches for Havelock.'^ 

Before the year 1857, Henry Havelock, the one actor in the 
Indian Mutiny whose name and achievements are 
familiar to every Englishman, had scarcely been HaveLck 
heard of outside India. Yet, in the course of the 
forty-one years for which he had served the Crown, he had 
fought in twenty-two fights in Burma, Afghanistan, Gwalior, 
and the Punjab ; he had supported the wavering resolution of 
the heroic Sale within the walls of Jeldlabad ; he had inspired 

^ Marsliman's Memoirs of Sir H. Ilavelock, p. 3S3 ; Gubbins, pp. 273-5, 
277-8, 349, 354 ; Ree.s, pp. 199, 205 ; Mrs. Case's Day hy Day at Lucknow, 
p. 178 ; Poleharapton, p. 336 ; Wilson, pp. 116, 129, 135, 149. Lieutenant 
Keir, who was in charge of the grain, knew that the stock was ample, but was not 
asked for information either by Inglis or by Wilson. James, who was laid up 
and irritable from his wound, did not remember how much grain there was. This 
I have learned from the lips of General Innes, who served throughout the siege, 
and knows more about it than any other survivor. When Sir Colin Campliell 
relieved the garrison, the stock of grain amounted to 166,000 lbs. See Innes's 
Lucknmo and Oude in the Mutiny, pp. 146-9, 232-4 ; Lady luglis's The Siege of 
Lucknow: a Diary, p. 176 ; and Gubbins, p. 261. 

2 Gubbins, p. 297. 


the counsels that won the victory of Istalif; and Sir Henry 
Hardingo had said of him, " If ever India should be in danger, 
the Government have only to place Havelock at the head of the 
army, and it will be saved." His services, though recognised, 
had not been rewarded. But, while he chafed bitterly against 
official neglect, he was sustained under all his trials and dis- 
appointments by the abiding conviction that God's Providence 
was watching over him, and would order the events of his life 
for the best. Early in his Indian career he had become a 
Baptist. Intense, however, as was his devotion to his adopted 
creed, he was too great a man to degenerate into a bigot. He 
could sympathise with earnestness of purpose, whatever the 
speculative principles that directed it might be. Some of his 
warmest friends, men like Archdeacon Hare and George Broad- 
foot, differed widely from him on questions of religious belief. 
But there were not many whom he admitted to the privilege of 
his friendship. It must not indeed be imagined that he was a 
gloomy ascetic : he was liked by many wild young officers who 
had little in common with him ; ^ but he was generally reserved 
and unbending in manner, and had little of the easy geniality 
that made Outram so popular. He was not a man of imposing 
presence : but a keen observer would have felt, on fii'st seeing 
him, that he was a good man, an able man, and one whose 
regard was worth winning, but not to be won lightly. Rather 
below the middle height, he was of a slender, but well-formed 
and erect figure ; his hair had grown white, but still covered 
his head; his forehead was high, broad, and square; the 
expression of his eyes was strangely piercing and intense, but 
quite calm ; he had an aquiline nose ; his lips were tightly 
compressed and shaded by a white moustache ; and his sharply 
moulded jaw and firm chin were fringed by a beard and 
whiskers of the old-fashioned cut. His whole bearing was that 
of a man who, having chosen the straight and narrow way, 
walked along it with a firm but not with a free tread. By a 
patient self-discipline, carried on day after day for long years, 
he had come actually to realise that ideal after which many of 
us, in our better moments, aspire : no perplexities could make 
him hesitate for long, because he was quite sure that there must 
be a right path to follow, and that the Spirit of God would 
guide him into that path : no dangers could appall him, because 
^ Colonel Ramsay's Recollections of Military Service and Society, vol. i. p. 265. 


he really believed that nothing was to be feared, except falling 
into sin. The dominant feature of bis character was a stern, 
serious, ever-present sense of duty, vitalised and regulated by 
an habitual study of the will of God. It was this sense of duty 
that led him, conscious as he was of military genius, to submit 
with patience to the galling trial of supersession by his inferiors, 
and cheerfully to obey those whom he was by nature qualified 
to command : to labour on with punctilious accuracy, at the 
minutest details of his jjrofession ; to overcome his natural 
timidity until men refused to believe that he knew what fear 
was ; ^ to persevere, in spite of the ridicule of his brother 
officers, in giving religious instruction to his soldiers. It was 
this sense of duty too that enabled him to wait patiently for 
the fulfilment of the absorbing ambition of his life, and to resign 
that ambition when he believed that there was no longer any 
hope of its being fulfilled. For there was one passion which 
burned with a more constant flame in Havelock's breast than 
even the passion of religious enthusiasm. While he was cam- 
paigning in the swamps of Burma, while he was enduring the 
weariness of deferred promotion, while he was mastering the 
technicalities of the Deputy Adjutant-General's office at Bombay, 
perhaps even while he was expounding the Bible to his soldiers, 
he cherished in his inmost heart a longing desire to command a 
British army in the field. For more than forty years he had 
been qualifying himself to fulfil his dream. He was familiar 
with every axiom of Vauban and Jomini ; he could describe 
from memory every evolution of Marlborough and Wellington, 
of Frederic and Napoleon. And now, when he was old and 
grey-bearded, looking forward only to repose in a Swiss or 
Tyrolese cottage, the opportunity for which he had almost 
ceased to hope was suddenly thrown in his path. For, on the 
20th of June, just after his return from the Persian 
expedition, he was appointed by Sir Patrick Grant tocounuana 
to command a movable column, which was to be the'reiief of' 
formed at Allahabad, for the relief of Lucknow Cawnporeand 

1 /-I TIT • p 11 • Lucknow. 

and Cawnpore, and the destruction of all mutineers 

and insurgents in North- Western India."^ There were some 

critics who, decrying him as a mere closet strategist, and 

^ Marshman, p. 449. Marsliiiiau was Havelock's brotlier-iu-law, and knew liiiu 
intimately for thirty years. 
2 lb. pp. 265-5. 


ignorant of the self-reliance, the boldness, the judgement, and 
the coolness which would enable him to turn his theoretical 
knowledge to account, ventured to carp at the selection. His 
task was indeed a difficult one, his material resources were 
inadequate, and the season was unfavourable for campaigning ; 
but, overjoyed at the approaching realisation of his hopes, he 
was in a temper to overcome every obstacle. Nor did he forget, 
in his exaltation, to turn for help to the Power which had 
supported him in his depression. " May God give me wisdom," 
he wrote to his wife, " to fulfil the expectations of Government, 
and to restore tranquillity to the disturbed districts." ^ On the 
25th of June he left Calcutta. Those who noted his emaciated 
figure and worn face predicted that, before the end of a week, 
he would succumb to the hardships of campaigning.^ They 
did not know the strength of the spirit which sustained his 
feeble frame. 

Early on the 30th of June he reached Allahabad. For some 
His prepara- ^^Y^ P^^t Neill had been preparing, in the face of 
tionsat difficulties which would have appalled a less de- 

termined nature, to despatch a column to the relief 
of Cawnpore. Cholera had more than decimated his troops, 
and the native contractors, robbed by the insurgents, or dread- 
ing to approach the incensed Feringhees, could not be induced 
to furnish supplies and carriage. But at last the energy of Neill 
had prevailed ; and, on the same day on which Havelock 
arrived. Major Renaud of the Madras Fusiliers marched out 
at the head of three hundred men of his own regiment, four 
hundred of Brasyer's Sikhs, ninety-five irregular cavalry, and 
two guns, with instructions to attack and destroy all jDlaces on or 
close to his route occupied by the enemy, but to encourage the 
inhabitants of all others to return. On the 3rd of July a 
steamer was sent up the Ganges, with a hundred Fusiliers on 
board under Captain Spurgin, to co-operate with Renaud, and 
cover his flank.^ Meanwhile Havelock was busily directing 
the organisation of his force, and personally supervising the 
execution of the minutest details. Remembering the evils 
which Anglo-Indian commanders had often suffered for want 
of an efficient Intelligence Department, he had induced the 

1 Marshman, p. 279. '^ lb. p. 494. 

* lb. p. 283 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (18.'')7), p. 594 ; F. C. Maude aud J. W. 
Sherer's Memories of tlie Mutiny, vol. i. pp. 33-4. 


Government to entrust him with a liberal sum for the payment 
of his spies. While he was in the midst of these preparations, 
he received the news of the destruction of Wheeler's force. 
His anxiety to be up and doing now became more intense than 
ever ; but for some days longer he was imprisoned at Allahabad 
by the same obstacles that had hindered Neill. When he was 
at last able to move, some of his requirements were still un- 
provided. He had asked for a supply of light summer clothing 
for his men; but many of them were obliged to wear their 
heavy woollen tunics throughout the whole campaign. Nor 
were their numbers such as to make up for the deficiencies in 
their equipment. Exclusive of Renaud's little column, the 
whole force consisted of no more than one thou- 
sand British soldiers, drawn from the 64th, the hrcoS."°^ 
84th, the 78th Highlanders, and the 1st Madras 
Fusiliers, a hundred and thirty of Brasyer's Sikhs, twenty 
volunteer cavalry, and six guns. The cavalry were composed 
of unemployed officers, indigo-planters, and burnt -out shop- 
keepers, whom Havelock had himself raised to supply the lack 
of regular troopers ; and the guns were almost entirely manned 
by invalid artillerymen, and infantry soldiers who had but just 
learned the rudiments of gun-drill.^ Such was the army with 
which Havelock started, in the height of an Indian summer, to 
accomplish the herculean labour which had been set him. 

On the afternoon of the 7th of July, under a heavy storm 
of rain, the column defiled through the streets of He marches 
Allahabad, scowled upon by the townspeople, who from 
had clustered in their doorways to watch its 
departure.'^ Ploughing through the slush and drenched by the 
rain, the soldiers, as they left the city behind, saw in front and 
on either side a vast and dreary waste dotted with the charred 
ruins of forsaken villages. Not a living man was to be seen ; 
only here and there some loathsome swine gnawing the flesh 
from a dead body. It seemed as though the destroying angel 
had passed over the land. Renaud, not interpreting his instruc- 
tions too literally, had put to death every man upon whom a 

^ Marshman, pp. 278, 280, 284 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), p. 631. 
There were only 499 Enfield rifles among the whole force. Sir H. Havelock- 
AUan's Three Main Military Questions, p. 120, note. 

2 Marshman, p. 289. " Most of the Hindoos appeared to be either indifferent 
or apprehensive, but wherever a Mahomedan was seen there was a scowl on his 
brow." — Saturday Review, Sept. 9, 1857, p. 260. 


shadow of suspicion could be thrown ; and Havelock's soldiers 
smiled grimly as they pointed to the dark corpses which hung 
from the sign-posts and the trees along the road.^ For the first 
three days Havelock advanced leisurely, out of consideration 
for his younger soldiers ; but, notwithstanding this precaution, 
many of the Fusiliers fell behind, tired and footsore. Learning, 
however, from his spies that the insurgents were advancing in 
great force from Cawnpore, and fearing that Renaud would fall 
into their hands, he resolved, at all hazards, to quicken his pace, 
and at one o'clock on the morning of the 12 th overtook his 
lieutenant, and marched on with him to within four miles of 
Fatehpur. Colonel Tytler, one of the staff-officers, was sent on 
with the cavalry to reconnoitre. The rest of the troops were 
busily cooking their breakfasts or smoking their pipes, when 

suddenly the cavalry were seen returning, and the 
Fatehpur. enemy's white-clad troopers emerging from the 

distant trees on the edge of the plain, and pressing 
after them in hot pursuit. Almost immediately afterwards a 
twenty-four-pound shot struck the earth within two hundred 
yards of the spot where the General was standing. The soldiers 
flung their cooking utensils aside, seized their arms, and fell 
into their ranks. Meanwhile, the enemy's cavalry, believing 
from the slender appearance of Tytler's escort that they had 
only Renaud's small force to deal with, were galloping over the 
plain in the assurance of an easy victory, when, seeing the 
whole British army drawn up in battle array to meet them, they 
reined up their horses like men paralysed by a sudden fear. 
The General, wishing to let his tired troops rest, wa,ited to see 
whether the ebullition had spent itself. The enemy, drawn 
up across the road, occupied some walled enclosures and 
mango-groves, which extended in front of the town. En- 
couraged by Havelock's inaction, they pushed forward two guns 
and began to threaten his flanks. He determined to force on 
an action. The infantry advanced, covered by skirmishers, 
who, with their Enfield rifles, kept up an incessant fusillade; 
Captain Maude, of the Royal Artillery, disabled the enemy's 
leading guns, then pushed round his own through a swamp 
on the right to within point-blank range, and opened a deadly 
fire on their flank ; and the rebels, compelled by his attack and 

' Trevelyan's Cawnpore, pp. 323-4 ; Russell, vol. i. p. 159, vol. ii. p. 402 ; 
Farl. Pamirs, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, p. 23, No. 13. 


by the steady pressure of the infantry to relax their hold upon 
the strong position which they had occupied, were driven 
through and out of the town of Fatehpur, and, after making 
one vain attempt to rally, were put to final and irretrievable 
flight. All their guns had been captured, and not a single 
British soldier had fallen. ^ 

Havelock was in an ecstasy of delight over his first victory. 
He sent an elaborate despatch to the Deputy Adjutant-General 
of the Army. To his wife he wrote hastily, " One of the prayers 
oft repeated since my school-days has been answered, and I 
have lived to command in a successful action, . . . Among them 
was the 56th, the very regiment which I led at Maharajpore. 
... I challenged them. ' There's some of you that have be- 
held me fighting ; now, try upon yotirselves what you have 
seen in me ! ' But away with vain glory ! Thanks be to God 
who gave me the victory." ^ 

The soldiers were suffered to plunder Fatehpui-, in retribu- 
tion for the recent rebellion of its inhabitants ; the next day 
was given up to repose; and on the 14th, after sending back 
a hundred Sikhs, in compliance with an earnest request which 
Neill had made for reinforcements, Havelock marched on. The 
native cavalry had refused to charge in the action at Fatehpur, 
and on this march they attempted to desert ; therefore, Avhen 
the column halted for the night, the General disarmed and dis- 
mounted them. His entire cavalry now consisted of the 
twenty volunteers. Soon after daybreak on the 15th, the 
enemy were again discovered, strongly entrenched at the village 
of Auno;. Their cavalry, riding forward on both „ ,,, , , 

^ 11 11 Battle of Aung. 

Sides of the road, threatened to make a dash upon 
Havelock's rear, and seize his baggage. Keeping back two- 
thirds of his force to repel them, he sent on the remainder as 
skirmishers. The enemy began the battle by advancing to a 
hamlet about two hundred yards in front of their position : but 
the Madras Fusiliers speedily dislodged them ; and Colonel 
Tytler, advancing with the rest of the skirmishers, completed 
their defeat. The victory, however, was dearly bought ; for 
the gallant Renaud, while leading on his regiment, had fallen 
mortally wounded.^ 

1 Marshmaii, p. 292 ; Saturday Review, Sept. 19, 1857, p. 260 ; J'arl. 
Papers, vol. xxx. (1857), pp. 631-3 ; Maude and Sherer, vol. i. p. 43. 

- MarslaiKiii, p. 296. 3 /j_ pp, 297, 299, 300. 


Two battles had now been won : but there was no rest for 

the victors ; for before noon news was brought 
PitnduNaddi ^^^^ ^^^ enemy, strongly reinforced from Cawn- 

pore, had rallied at the Pandu Naddi, an unfordable 
river six miles distant, and were preparing to blow up the 
bridge which spanned it. Knowing that, if they succeeded in 
their design, his progress to Cawnpore would be indefinitely 
retarded, the General called upon his troops for a fresh effort. 
Exhausted by a five hours' march and a severe action, fought 
under a nearly vertical sun, they were lying down waiting for 
breakfast; but now, full of confidence in their General, and 
inspired by his self-denying example, they sprang to their feet 
at the word of command, and cheerily pushed on. The road 
ran through groves of mango-trees. As the head of the column, 
emerging from these, came in sight of the bridge, they saw two 
puffs of white smoke rise from a low ridge in their front : two 
loud reports followed ; and two twenty-four-pound shot crashed 
into their midst, and wounded several. But the enemj^'s posi- 
tion was badly chosen. The bridge was at the apex of a bend 
in the river, which pointed towards the advancing column ; and 
behind the bend they were massed in a dense body. The 
British artillery moved steadily down the road, and unlimbered 
close to the stream. Then Maude, enveloping the bridge with 
a concentric fire, replied effectively to the enemy's challenge : 
the Fusiliers with their Enfield rifles lined the bank, and picked 
off their gunners ; their mine, which was not ready, exploded in 
vain; and presently the right wing of the Fusiliers, noting their be- 
wilderment and hesitation, closed up, charged over the bridge, cap- 
tured their guns, and forced them to retreat towards Cawnpore.^ 
The British, now completely exhausted, threw themselves 

upon the ground ; and many of them, caring for 
Camipore. nothing but rest, rejected the food which was 

offered them. Rising only half-refreshed after a 
night of intolerable heat, they found their meat already spoiled, 
and threw it away in disgust. Day was just breaking when 
the regiments formed up : bvit the moon was still bright. It 

1 Marshman, pp. 301-2 ; Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, pp. 120-1 ; 
Saturday Jieview, Sept. 19, 1857, p. 261. " It was iiuiversally remarked," .says 
the writer (Liexitenant Crump), "how much closer and fiercer the mutineers fought 
that day. . . . The inferior details of their movements were perfect, but the master 
mind was wanting." Ilavelock's loss at Aung and the Pandu Naddi was 1 killed 
and 25 wounded. 


was rumoured that more than two hundred English women and 
children were still alive at Cawnpore. Towards five o'clock 
the troops moved on to the road ; and soon it was broad day. 
The rays of the sun smote them with a fierceness which they 
had never before experienced even in this fiery campaign : man 
after man reeled out of the ranks, and fell down fainting on the 
ground ; but Cawnpore was now only a few miles off, and those 
whose strength held out, sustained by the hope of rescuing the rem- 
nant of their country-women, and inflicting a terrible vengeance 
upon the Nana and his accomplices, tramped doggedly on. 
After advancing sixteen miles, the General suffered his troops 
to rest awhile and breakfast under the shade of some trees. 
Presently two sepoys came in, and informed him that the Nana 
had marched out of Cawnpore at the head of five thousand men, 
to do battle for his throne. The rebel army was drawn up in 
the form of a crescent, with its centre and its horns protected 
by fortified villages, at each of which guns were posted. About 
half a mile in front of the crescent, the road leading to Cawn- 
pore branched off to the right from the Grand Trunk Eoad, and 
separated the centre from the left ; the Grand Trunk Road, 
along which the Nana believed that the British must advance, 
ran between the centre and the right ; and his artillery, sup- 
ported by the flower of his infantry, was laid so as to check 
their progress. Havelock, however, contrived a plan to baffle 
his calculations. He saw that his own troops would suffer 
heavily by making a front attack, and therefore, after closely 
questioning some villagers as to the nature of the country, he 
determined, " like old Frederick at Leuthen," as he afterwards 
wrote, to attack the rebels on their left flank. About a mile 
in front of their position, a line of mango-gi'oves, which would 
mask the turning movement, extended on the right of the road. 
The volunteer cavalry were to move straight on and occupy 
the enemy's attention. The baggage was left behind under a 
strong guard with two guns. It was half-past one in the after- 
noon : the sun was at its brightest ; and the column had not 
advanced five hundred yards before men began to drop. Near 
the groves, Havelock, with the infantry and artillery, diverged 
to the right. Not a sound was heard save the curses of the 
drivers, as they goaded the weary bullocks to their utmost 
speed. The troops advanced stealthily behind the groves 
till the enemy, catching sight of them through a gap in 


the trees, opened fire upon them. Still they moved steadily 
on, controlling their eagerness to reply. Not till the whole 
column, having at length cleared the groves, was in the act 
of wheeling into line, did the rebels fully understand what 
was in store for them. Then too late they hastily endeavoured 
to change front. Their artillery, however, at the village on the 
left, continued pouring destruction into the British ranks ; and 
Havelock, seeing that his light field-pieces could not silence the 
hostile fire, ordered the Highlanders to charge. Colonel Hamil- 
ton led the way ; and his men, formed in a dense mass, followed 
him like a moving wall, without firing a shot, or uttering a 
sound, till they were within eighty yards of the guns. Then 
the word was given to charge : the pipers blew the pibroch ; 
and the Highlanders, raising a shout which thrilled the hearts 
of their comrades, and appalled the spirit of the enemy, sprang 
forward with fixed bayonets, mastered the gunners, captured 
the village, and drove the entire left wing into headlong rout. 
Presently a portion of the fugitives, falling back on the centre, 
rallied and formed again : but the Highlanders, again appealed 
to by their General, and now aided by the 64th, started forward 
again, again put them to flight, and captured the village in 
which they had rallied ; while the twenty volunteer horsemen, 
who had but just come up, seizing the opportunity to show what 
they could do, flung themselves upon the disoi-dered masses, and 
completed their discomfiture. Meanwhile Maude had silenced 
the guns on the right ; and the 64th, 84th, and Sikhs had 
driven the right wing from the village and fx^om a railway em- 
bankment on its further side. But presently joining the centre, 
they fell back upon another village between the two roads, 
about a mile behind the point where they met. The British 
infantry collected and re-formed ; but the bullocks, worn out by 
the length of the march, could hardly move the guns; and 
Maude was obliged to halt on the Trunk Eoad. The soldiers 
stumbled wearily over ploughed fields, while the enemy's guns 
thundered against them. Then Havelock, seeing that they 
needed a spur, cried, as he glanced along the ranks, " Come, who'll 
take that village, the Highlanders or the 64th 1 " and the two regi- 
ments, vying with each other in the swiftness with which they 
responded to his challenge, cleared the village with a single rush. 
The battle was to all appearance over. The enemy, beaten 
at all points, were in full retreat towards Cawnpore. Suddenly, 


however, they faced about : their band struck up a defiant air : 
the Nana was seen riding from point to point along their ranks; 
and a reserve gun, planted by his command in the middle of 
the road, vomited forth a new fire. The British, lying down in 
line to await the arrival of the artiller}'-, sufteied heavily ; the 
bullocks were unable to drag the guns to their assistance ; and 
the enemy, emboldened by the signs of hesitation which they 
perceived, threatened in their turn to assume the off"ensive. 
Then the General, seeing that the crisis of the battle had 
arrived, gave the order for a final charge. Excited by the 
sound of his clear, calm voice to the highest pitch of martial 
fury, the men leaped to their feet, and advanced with measured 
tread along the road; while young Henry Havelock, the. 
General's son and aide-de-camp, who had ridden up in front of 
the leading regiment, moving slowly and deliberately at their 
head, steered his horse straight for the muzzle of the gun. 
The ground in their rear was strewed with wounded men, for 
the enemy, still resolutely standing their ground, fired round 
after round of grape with astonishing precision ; but at length, 
appalled by the deafening cheers and the final onset of the 
British, they rushed in headlong flight from the battlefield of 
Cawnpore. The Nana spurred through the streets of the town, 
and urged on his panting horse towards Bithur ; and thousands 
of citizens, terrified by the news that the infuriated British 
were coming, poured forth into the surrounding country, and 
hid themselves in the villages. i 

On the morrow of this, his fourth and greatest victory, 
Havelock congratulated his troops in these stirring words ; 
" Soldiers, your General is satisfied, and more than satisfied 
with you. He has never seen steadier or more devoted troops ; 
but your labours are only beginning. Between the 7th and 
the 16th you have, under the Indian sun of July, marched a 
hundred and twenty-six miles, and fought four actions. But 
your comrades at LucknoAV are in peril ; Agra is besieged ; 
Delhi is still the focus of mutiny and rebellion. You must 
make great sacrifices if you would obtain great results. Three 
cities have to be saved ; two strong places to be de-blockaded. 

^ Occasional Papers of the R. A . Institution, vol. i. 1860, pp. 18-19 ; Marslinian, 
pp. 302-11 ; Saturday Revieiu, Sept. 19, 1857, p. 261 ; Trevelyan, pp. 341-2, 
355 ; Shepherd, pp. 122-3, 129 ; Annals of the Indian Rebellion, p. 695. 
Havel ock's loss in this action was 6 killed, 86 wounded, and 10 missinfj. 
Pari. Papers, vol. xliv, (1857-58), Part 1, p. 124. See App. J. 



Your General is confident that he can effect all these things, 
and restore this part of India to tranquillity, if you will only 
second him with your elTorts, and if your discipline is equal to 
your valour." ^ 

On the morning of the 17th, as the troops were about to 
make their victorious entry into Cawnpore, they 
awnpore.^*^ wcre told that the women and children whom they 
had come to save, the last remnant of the ill-fated 
garrison, had been destroyed. AVhen they reached the city, 
some of them hurried on to the Beebeegurh, and entered the 
room in which the victims had been confined. Clotted blood 
lay ankle-deep upon the floor : shreds of clothing and women's 
long tresses were scattered about : the walls were dented with 
bullet-marks ; the pillars were scored with deep sword-cuts. 
Maddened hy the sight, the soldiers hurried out into the court- 
yard, and there saw human limbs bristling from a well. As 
they stood and looked, these Ironsides, who had endured in 
stern silence the weariness of the march from Allahabad, and 
in four combats had dashed to pieces the army of the Nana, 
lifted up their voices and wept aloud. But their emotions soon 
changed. They had come too late to save, but not too late to 

On the evening of this day, the General and his men, no 
longer sustained by the excitement and the hope of the last few 
days, haunted by the recollection of the horrors which they had 
just witnessed, and now, in the moment of inaction, unable to 
forget the loss of their fallen comrades, were oppressed b}^ a 
deep gloom. No sound was heard in the encampment save the 
melancholy notes of the Highland pipes which accompanied the 
interment of the dead. The General, as he sat at dinner with 
his son, musing upon the difficulties which lay before him, and 
silently anticipating the possible failure of his personal am- 
bitions and the doom which might be in store for his soldiers, 
seemed to have lost all his old confidence. But his weakness 
was of short duration. The exultation of victory was gone : 
but the path of duty was still open ; and, though he might not 
be suffered to share in the triumph, the cause for which he 
fought was just, and must prevail. Turning to his son, he 
exclaimed, " If the worst comes to the worst, we can but die 
with our swords in our hands." ^ 

1 Marsliman, ix 314. 2 /j, pp_ 321.2. 

Tofacepani!. Z90. 

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collect, (xnd-Wpacm^^ans 

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July left 1857. 

ScaZe oCboab finches -toJJime. 

Sian/ifrd^ Geo^l- Hsinb* ZOTui^m 

London MacmiUan t C?L'? 


In this spirit he resumed his operations. On the following 
day he removed the troops to a strong position at Nawabganj, 
where they would be able to defeat any attempt 
which the Nana might make for the recovery of 
the city ; and bought up all the wine and spirits, lest they 
should be exposed to the temptation which had so nearly proved 
fatal to the garrison of Allahabad. But discipline was already 
threatened by another cause. The soldiers, unrestrained and 
even encouraged by their officers,^ were revelling in the plunder 
of the citizens. The wonder is, not that Havelock was obliged 
to threaten with the punishment of death the very men whose 
conduct in the field he had just enthusiastically praised, but 
that he was able to shield Cawnpore from the atrocities that 
had been inflicted upon the citizens of Badajoz. Meanwhile 
his reawakened energy had been rewarded and stimulated by 
an announcement which contrasted brightly with the dismal 
tidings which reached him from other parts of India. Dis- 
heartened by their last defeat, the Nana's troops had broken 
up ; and the usurper himself, proclaiming to the Bi'ahmins who 
surrounded him that he was about to drown himself in the 
waters of the Ganges, had fled by night into Oudh.^ 

On the 20th, Spurgin's little steamer reached Cawnpore. 
He and his handful of men had beaten off a rebel force, which 
threatened to cross the river and attack Havelock's column in 
the rear. On the same day, Neill, who had spent some days 
in providing for the safety of Allahabad, arrived with a small 
force. Anticipating his arrival, Havelock had already begun 
to take measures for placing CaAvnpore in a state of defence, 
that he might be able to march as soon as possible to the relief 
of Lucknow. As he could not spare more than three hundred 
men to garrison the recovered city, it was necessary to establish 
them in a position so strong that they would be able to main- 
tain it against any attack. With this view he had selected an 
elevated plateau close to the river-side, and was busily fortify- 
ing it when Neill joined him. As soon as the work was suffi- 
ciently advanced, he began to transport his own force to the 
Oudh bank of the Ganges. This operation was one of extreme 
difficulty and danger. The bridge of boats had been destroyed 
by the mutineers. The river, here five times as wide as the 

^ Extract from Neill's Journal quoted by Kaye, vol. ii. i^. 406, note. 
^ Kaye, vol. ii. p. 390 ; Marshmau, p. 324. 

292 ^ HAVELOCK'S CAMPAIGN chap, ix 

Thames at London Bridge, and now greatly swollen by the 
rains, swept past the city with the swiftness of a torrent. Such 
was the terror which Havelock's advance had inspired in the 
hearts of the inhaljitants, that skilled boatmen could only be 
collected with the greatest difficulty ; and even Avith their aid 
each passage occupied eight hours. Fortunately no enemy 
opposed the movement ; and at last, by the strenuous exertions 
of Colonel Tytler, it was safely accomplished. On the 25th, 
Haveloclv, after giving his final instructions to Neill, to whom 
he had entrusted the defence of Cawnpore, crossed the river 
himself and joined the army.^ At that moment he may well 
have felt that he and his gallant men were only beginning 
their labours. For he was leaving a wide and rapid river in 
his rear : the Nana, he was informed, had again collected a 
large force to harass him : a river, a canal, and fortified towns 
and villages lay in front of him ; and a mutinous army and a 
host of armed rebels were determined to bar his progress. But 
the glory of four victories was upon him : the appeal of the 
beleaguered garrison was present to his mind ; and, undaunted 
by the obstacles which beset his path, he plunged fearlessly 
into the heart of Oudh. 

On the night of the 26th the troops bivouacked at Mangal- 
„ .., „.. . war, a strongly situated village on the Lucknow 

Battls of TJiid,o o j o 

' road about five miles from the river, and remained 
there for two days, while carriage and supplies were being 
collected. The cavalry had been strengthened by the addition 
of forty-one men, selected from the infantry regiments, Avhom 
Havelock had mounted on the horses of the traitorous Irregulars : 
but the entire force now numbered only fifteen hundred. At 
five o'clock on the morning of the 29th they began their 
advance in earnest, and, after a short march, came upon 
a large force of sepoys occupying a bastioned enclosure 
and a village sepai-ated by a narrow passage in its rear 
from the town of Undo. Havelock saw at a glance that 
he would be unable to adopt his favourite method of turn- 
ing the enemy's position, as it was protected by a swamp on 
their right, and flooded meadows on the left. It was neces- 
sary therefore at any cost to carry it by a front attack. The 
Highlanders and the Fusiliers drove the enemy out of the 
enclosure ; but, as they pushed on, they encountered a de- 
' Marshmau, pp. 326, 328, 330. 


structive fire from the loopholed houses of the village. So 
obstinate was the resistance of the rebels within, that the 
General was obliged to send the 64th to support their com- 
rades. Presently the village was set on fire. Still the rebels 
held out ; and it was not till all their guns had been captured 
that they gave way. At this moment, however, an officer, who 
had ridden on alone to reconnoitre, came galloping back with 
the news that some six thousand men were hurrying along the 
road from Lucknow to their support. Pushing forward rapidly, 
Havelock drew up his force on a dry spot just beyond the 
town, and awaited their approach. On they came, heedless of 
the trap which had been set for them, till, as they rushed con- 
fusedly up to the British line, the fire of Maude's guns and the 
Enfield rifles, which had hithei'to been held in reserve, tore 
through their ranks ; and, floundering helplessly in the morass 
as they strove too late to deploy into line, they were beset 
by the skirmishers on either side of the road, and finally dis- 

After a brief rest the victors resumed their march ; but, 
before they had advanced many miles, they found 
their progress again disputed by the rebels, who Bash^at^anj. 
had posted themselves in a walled town called 
Bashiratganj. Scanning their position, Havelock conceived a 
plan by which he hoped not merely to defeat, but also to an- 
nihilate them. While the Highlanders and Fusiliers, supported 
by the artillery, attacked the defences in front, the 64th were 
to steal round the town, and prevent the enemy from escaping 
through the gate on the further side. Fiercely assailed by the 
storming party, and bewildered by the movement on their flank, 
the enemy soon abandoned their guns and fled through the 
streets : but the 64th had allowed themselves to be delayed, 
and failed to cut off" their retreat.^ Still the General had little 
cause to be dissatisfied. For the second time in his short cam- 
paign he had gained two victories in a single day. 

When, however, on the folloAving morning, he deliberately 
reviewed his situation, other considerations, which juiyso. 

^ Saturday Review, 18.57, p. 391 ; Pari. Paper.%vo\. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, 
p. 116 ; Mavshinau, pp. 323, 332-4 ; W. T. Groom's With Havelock from Allaha- 
bad to Luckno'W, p. 46. 

^ Marslimaii, pp. 335-6. The British loss in tlie two Tiattles was 88 killed 
aud wounded; that of the enemy about 400. Pari. Papers, vol. xliv, (1857-58), 
Part 1, pp. 78, lis. 


the joy of victory had kept in the background, presented 
themselves to his vision. Cholera, fatigue, exposure, and the 
fire of the enemy had made siich sad inroads on his little 
army, that he could only place eight hundred and fifty 
infantry soldiers in line of battle ; the recent mutiny of the 
regiments at Dinapore added to the dangers which encompassed 
him ; the Nana's levies were hanging on his rear ; ammunition 
was fast failing ; and there was not a single litter to spare for 
the conveyance of the hundreds who must still fall before the 
Residency could be approached. ^ Convinced, therefore, that for 
the present it would be madness to pei'sist in his enterprise, he 
sadly gave the order to retreat. There were some of the officers 
„ , , who murmured against the order. They argued 
obiigedto that the prestige of victory multiplied the fighting 
power of the column ; that the men were just then 
in great heart ; that the flying sepoys would have spread the 
news that British prowess was irresistible ; and that, if the 
General had but pushed on rapidly, he might have reached the 
outskirts of Lucknow almost unopposed, and then, in con- 
junction with the Residency garrison, have so placed his guns 
as to shell the whole city. The motto of Danton, "To dare, 
and to dare, and to dare again," was on their lips.^ But Have- 
lock knew that there were circumstances in which to dare was 
to be foolhai'dy. It is true indeed that before he left Cawnpore 
he might have foreseen, perhaps did foresee most of the issues 
that now induced him to return ; but, if to admit this is to 
admit that he committed an error in leaving Cawnpore when he 
did, the error was a glorious one. For a man of his daring and 
generous nature it would have been impossible to refrain from 
at least attempting the relief of his imprisoned countrymen, so 
long as there was the faintest hope of success.^ 

There was another critic, however, outside his camp, in whose 
„. judgement he had erred on the side not of rash- 

His corre- i ...,. r\ i ^ 

spondeiici: uess, but of tmiidity. On the last day of July he 

returned to Mangalwar, and from thence wrote to 

infoi"m Neill that he could do nothing for the relief of Lucknow 

until he received a reinforcement of a thousand men and 

another battery of guns. Neill read the letter with the deepest 

^ Marshinan, pp. ;?37-S ; Iiiiii-.s, j). 198. - t^uturday Review, 1857, p. 392. 

" See Marshinan, pp .'531 -'i. He could not foresee the mutiny at Diuaporc 
and the consequent detention of his expected reiuforcements. 


indignation. That a British General should for an instant, for 
any consideration, pause in so holy an enterprise as the relief 
of the besieged garrison and the condign punishment of the 
besiegers, was in his eyes an abomination. He told Havelock 
plainly that the natives disbelieved the reports of his 
victories, that his retreat had destroyed the prestige of 
England, and that, while he was waiting for reinforcements, 
Lucknow would be lost, and concluded his letter with perhaps 
the most astounding words ever addressed by a subordinate 
officer to his commander : " You ought to advance again, and 
not halt until you have rescued, if possible, the garrison of 
Lucknow. Return here sharp, for there is much to be done 
between this and Agra, and Delhi." But he had mistaken the 
character of the man with whom he had to deal. " Your letter," 
wrote Havelock, " is the most extraordinary which I have ever 
perused. . . . Understand . . . that a consideration of the 
obstruction which would arise to the public service at this 
moment alone prevents me from placing you under immediate 
arrest. You now stand warned. Attempt no further dictation." 
Nevertheless Neill had spoken truly when he said that 
Havelock would have to wait long for the rein- 
forcements which he required. He himself passed of B°ashiratganj 
on all that could be spared, namely a half-battery 
of guns and a company of the 84th : but Havelock heard from 
Calcutta that he must expect no more for two months, as the 
90th and the 5th Fusiliers, which he had begged Sir Patrick 
Grant to send him, were needed to deal with the mutineers in 
Behar. Feeling then that he must relieve the 
besieged garrison now or never, he once more set 
his face towards Lucknow. On the 5th of August he reached 
Bashiratganj, and fought a battle which was almost the exact 
counterpart of the one that he had fought a few days before 
on the same spot. On this occasion the turning column 
executed its movement without delay : but the enemy, cowed 
by the fire of the British guns, fled so precipitately through the 
town that there was no time to cut off their retreat ; and want 
of cavalry prevented Havelock from following up his victory.^ 
While his troops were halting for food and rest, he began once 

^ Kaye's L ices of India ii Ojjiccrs, vol. ii. pp. 385-7; Marsliinau, pp. 341, 344. 
The British loss in this action was 2 killed and 23 wounded ; that of the enemy 
about 300 killed and wounded. Pad. Fajpers, vol. .xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, p. 135. 


more to meditate on tlie difficulties of his position. He could 
not but feel that the reasons which had before compelled him 
to retreat were not less cogent now. He could see his men 
round him digging graves for their comrades who had perished 
from cholera. The Gwalior Contingent had mutinied, and Avas 
reported to be within fifty miles of Cawnpore. The zamindars 
along the road, encouraged by his former retreat, were arming 
their matchlockmen. He knew that, even if his little force suc- 
ceeded in reaching Lucknow, it would not be able to fight its 
way through the streets, and its destruction might involve the 
fall of the Residency. Yet, on the other hand, to desist from 
his enterprise might be to abandon the besieged garrison to the 
fate that had befallen the garrison of Cawnpore, to expose his own 
military reputation to the attacks of malignant critics, perhaps 
even to incur the reproaches of his friends. Tortured by these 
conflicting anxieties, he tried to consider simply what his duty 
to the State required him to do, and then, seeing his way clearly 
„ , , . before him, he resolved, with the full concurrence 

Havel ock again ^ , i i c i • 

obliged to of two of the most trusted members of his 
retreat. staff, and in spite of the pleadings of his daring 

and impetuous son, to retire again in the direction of Cawn- 
pore. He spoke of this as the most painful resolution that 
he had ever formed. History will speak of it as the most 
noble. ^ 

Unable to understand why they should retreat before an 
enemy whom they had invariably defeated, the troops fell back, 
in bitter discontent, on Mangalwar. While there, Havelock 
occupied his time in securing the means of communication with 
Cawnpore. The river had sunk a little, leaving three islands, 
which were still partially submerged ; Avhile the southern 
channel Avas Avide and deep. The engineers spanned the lesser 
channels with bridges of boats, laid causeAvays over the interven- 
ing SAvamps, and constructed a floating platform, Avhich, toAved 
by a steamer, Avould convey the troops across the main channel 
to the CaAvnpore bank. Cawnpore itself had hitherto remained 
safe in the strong hands of Neill. Directly after assuming 
command, he had taken decisive steps to stop the plundering 
which had hitherto prevailed, and, by a series of organised 
raids, had kept at bay the various insurgent bodies Avho 

^ Marsliiuau, pp. 341-7, 349; Saturday Review, 1857, p. 393 ; iufornuitiou 
from Sir H. Havelock-AUau. 


ances again, 


threatened him. Now, however, his position was becoming 

seriously imperilled. On the 11th he wrote 

urgently to Havelock, informing him that four Sm'fw hdp! *° 

thousand rebels had collected at Bithur, and would 

swoop down upon Cawnpore unless he came at once to the rescue. 

Though unwilling to quit Mangalwar, where his presence acted 

as a drag upon the besiegers of Lucknow, Havelock saw the 

danger to which his lieutenant was exposed, and 

hastened to comply with his request. Lest, how- fax 

ever, the Oudh rebels, who had again rallied, '''"'\(!°^^l* .., 

Ill- • 1 1 1 r. . 1 -I 1 ■ another battle. 

should imagine that they had frightened him 
away, he resolved, as a preliminary step, to inflict upon them 
a parting defecU, and, making a rapid march, found 
them occupying an entrenched position about a mile "^'* 
and a half in front of Bashiratganj. He at first endeavoured 
to dislodge them by an artillery -fire ; but, screened by their 
earthworks, and serving their guns with effect, they were not 
so easily to be overcome ; and it became necessary to call upon 
the infantry to charge. Then the Highlanders, responding to 
the call, dashed forward with their accustomed gallantry, though 
they were reduced to little more than a hundred men, and, 
supported by a flank movement of the Fusiliers, bayoneted the 
gunners, and turned the captured guns upon the flying enemy. 
After this exploit a retreat was once more sounded ; and on the 
13th the army re-entered Cawnpore.^ 

The retreat had a serious political effect. The talukdars of 
Oudh, with few exceptions, had hitherto remained „. . ^ . 

. ' ■■• ' His retreat to 

passive, watching events. One of their number, cawiporeand • 
Man Singh, who played a double game with great ^^° ^^ ' 
craft throughout the struggle, had advised them to have no- 
thing to do with the mutineers. But when Havelock withdrew 
from the province, they felt that the British Government was 
doomed ; and some of them wrote to inform the authorities 
at Benares that they had no choice but to send their retainers 
to join in the siege of the Residency.'^ 

Officers and men alike now sorely needed rest. Two regiments 
had become greatly dispirited ; and it was re- 
presented to Havelock that, at the present rate of buiuu" 

1 Marshnian, pp. 347, 352-5 ; Pari. Fupcra, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, 
pp. 142-3 ; Saturday Review, 1857, p. 393. 

2 iDues, pii. 204J 334-9. See App. S. 


mortality, the whole force would be annihilated in six weeks. 
He replied that, till the rebels were driven from Bithur, re- 
pose was out of the question. Accordingly on the morning 
of the 16th the troops again left the city, and, after an eight 
hours' march under a blazing sun, found themselves face to 
face with their opponents. The rebel commander, who is 
believed to have been Tantia Topi himself, had drawn up his 
men in a plain covered with sugar-cane and castor-oil plants. 
In front of Havelock's right wing, and concealed by the planta- 
tions, was a fortified village, and beyond it an earth redoubt. 
Beyond the redoubt, again, a deep rivulet, spanned by a bridge, 
ran round a hill on which stood the town of Bithur. The 
bridge was defended by a breastwork and a battery mount- 
ing two guns. Havelock made his dispositions. The High- 
landers, the Fusiliers, and the Eoyal Artillery deployed on the 
right, and advanced to the attack. At a distance of about 
a thousand yards from the breastwork, the gunners stopped, 
and fired a few rounds. Just as they were limbering up in 
order to go closer, a sharp fire was opened from the village. 
Two companies of the Fusiliers were sent forward to storm it. 
After a desperate struggle, in which one of the native regiments 
actually crossed bayonets with the Fusiliers, the rebels were 
driven successively from the village and the redoubt ; and the 
Fusiliers rejoined the right wing. The artillery, who had re- 
newed their fire with effect, gradually advanced to within four 
hundred yards of the battery : but, as the rebels still fought 
their two guns with resolution, and poured a hail of bullets 
from behind their breastwork upon the approaching line, 
they were again attacked with the bayonet, and finally driven 
across the bridge, and through the streets of Bithur. Mean- 
while the left wing had been engaged with the enemy's right, 
and, having expelled them from the sugar-cane, had chased 
them into the .town. Once more, however, the rebel army 
made good its retreat ; for the infantry were too exhausted to 
pursue, and the cavalry Avere too few in number to be risked.^ 
With this victory Havelock's career as an independent com- 
HavRiock mander came to a close ; for, on his return to 
by '()utr;uii. Cawuporc, he learned that he had been superseded 

^ Marshiiiiiii, pp. 357-60 ; Satunlaij Review, ISf)?, pp. 393-4. The British 
loss was 49 killutl and wounded ; that of tlie eueniy about 250. I'arl. Vajjers, 
vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, p. 201. 


in favour of Sir James Outi'am, superseded by order of 
a Government which, having itself failed to accomplish 
anything for the suppression of the revolt, required its 
officers to perform impossibilities. Not a word of thanks 
was vouchsafed to him for his services. No explanation 
was oiTered to soothe his wounded feelings. Not even an 
official letter accompanied the copy of the Government Gazette 
in which he read the announcement of his supersession. Yet, 
in the face of unpai-alleled difficulties, he had conducted a 
campaign which still remains unsurpassed in the history of 
British India ; a campaign Avhich had turned raw recruits into 
seasoned veterans ; a campaign performed under a tropical sun 
and under tropical storms by an army Avhich, scarcely larger 
than an ordinary regiment, sleeping on the hard ground, for 
weeks deprived even of the shelter of tents, fasting often for 
entire days, had within six weeks traversed an immense tract of 
country and stilled a vast population, and, with numbers hourly 
diminished by the sword and by pestilence, nine times engaged 
and defeated the hosts of Oudh and of Bithur, and the 
disciplined battalions of the Bengal army. Pei-haps the con- 
sciousness of the injustice with which his Government had 
treated him may have inspired that immortal order in which 
he bade his soldiers await the verdict of their countrymen : — 

"If conquest can now be achieved under the most trying- 
circumstances, what will be the triumph and retribution of the 
time when the armies from China, from the Cape, and from 
England shall sweep through the land 1 Soldiers, in that 
moment, your labours, your privations, your suflferings, and 
your valour will not be forgotten by a grateful country." 

There was one circumstance, however, which must have gone 
far to heal his wounded feelings. He had been 
superseded indeed, but by the Bayard of India, outlam*'' "^^ 
It was Charles Napier who had bestowed this 
title upon Outram before the misunderstandings arising out 
of the Sind controversy had clouded their early friendship. 
Yet, felicitous as it was, it only described one side of Outram's 
character. In his reverence for holy things, his courage, his 
courtesy, his honour, his manliness, he did indeed embody the 
old idea of the true and perfect knight : but his sympathy was 
untouched by those influences which sapped the humanising 
force of mediaeval chivalry. He was ready to espouse the 


cause of all who needed championship, without heeding the 
distinctions of race, or creed, or class. He Avas as courteous 
to the wife of a private soldier as to the highest lady in the 
land. He knew how to enter into the interests and encourage 
the aspirations of younger men, while always ready to join in 
their mirth. He delighted in making children happy. As a 
commander, he was so genial in his manner towards his 
officers and men, so considerate in providing for their wants, 
above all, so hearty in his approbation of their valour, that he 
won not merely their confidence, but their enthusiastic devo- 
tion. But it was in his dealings with native governments 
and native peoples that the chivalry of his nature found the 
widest scope. It is difficult for those who have been accus- 
tomed to gauge political honesty by European standards to 
realise the stainless purity, the unreserved self-devotion of his 
political career. No doubt the simpler conditions of public 
life in India, the absence of motives for corrupting or truck- 
ling to the masses, may have had much to do with the 
superior probity of Anglo-Indian statesmen. But it is im- 
possible to conceive of any consideration that could have 
tempted Outram to stoop to a dirty action. No dread 
of official censure, of professional stagnation, or of pecuniary 
loss ever deterred him from advocating a righteous cause, how- 
ever unpopular, from exposing an injustice, however powerfully 
supported. Indeed, though there have been greater men in 
Anglo-Indian history, there has never been one more loveable. 
On the 6 til of August he left Calcutta. But for the fore- 
sight of a civil officer, his passage up the river 
i^fn°Haveiock. flight havc been seriously retarded. To the east 
of the Patna Division was a large tract of country 
officially designated the Bhagalpur Division, and ruled by 
Commissioner Yule. After the mutiny at Dinapore, this officer 
foresaw that the native troops within his own Division would 
inevitably be infected. He therefore detained a hundred and 
fifty men of the 5th Fusiliers, who happened to be passing up 
the Ganges, and charged them with the duty of watching over 
the stations of Bhagalpur and Monghyr. By this measure 
he rescued from imminent peril the great high- 
Aiig- 17. way of the Ganges. Thus Outram was able to 
Aug. 19. reach Dinapore unmolested.^ Havelock himself 
i Marslimuu, p. 383 ; Pari. Pa2)er.% vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 2, pp. 347-8. 



sent a steamer down the river with a hundred and twenty- 
men on board, who seized a number of boats in the neigh- 
bourhood of Dalamau, and thus paralysed a rebel force which 
had threatened to cross to Fatehpur. Before 
he heard of this success he telegraphed to the Aug. 21. 
Commander-in-Chief that he might be obliged to fall back 
on Allahabad if he were not reinforced, so numerous were the 
enemies who threatened him, and so diminished the numbers 
of his own men. But he had no real intention of retreating. 
He was simply determined to ensure the despatch of reinforce- 
ments ; and he knew that Sir Colin Campbell would respond 
to his appeal.^ His wants indeed had been anticipated. 
Though the civil authorities had striven hard to detain a large 
jDortion of the reinforcements for the protection of the Bengal 
districts, the earnest representations of the Commander-in-Chief 
had shamed them out of their selfishness ; and all the troops 
that could be collected were already on their way up the river. ^ 
Outram meanwhile steadily pursued his journey, making ar- 
rangements as he went for the protection of the stations through 
which he passed. On the 5th of September he was able to 
march out of Allahabad. Some days later, hearing that a 
number of zamindars had crossed the Ganges from Oudh, and 
were threatening to cut off his communications, 
he detached a small force under Vincent Eyre, Sept. 10. 
which drove them into the river, and thus nipped Sept. 11. 
in the bud what had threatened to develop into a serious rising 
throughout the Doab. Proceeding on his way without serious 
opposition, he entered Cawnpore on the night of the 15th,^ 
and on the next day issued a Division Order which has no 
parallel in military history : — 

"The important duty of first relieving the garrison of 

1 Personal information from Sir H. Havelock-Allan. See also Innes, pp. 
207-8, where Havelock is vindicated from a and gratuitous charge, 

2 See Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, pp. 210, 212, 214, 219. 
General Innes says (p. 208), "There were altogether at that time between 
Allahabad and Calcutta the following regiments : the 5th, 10th, 29th, 35th, 
37th, 53rd, and 90th, besides drafts for the 64th, 78th, 84th, and these were all 
being kept in those lower districts . . . froni the want of any local authority 
recognised as in command. . . . Thus, while Havelock's force could barely 
muster 1100 men, some 6000 men, who might have been on their way to the front 
. . . were kept pottering in those lower districts. " I cannot ascertain how many 
it would have been possible to send on. 

^ Marshman, p. 396. 


Lucknow had been entrusted to Brigadier - General Have- 
„ , . lock, C.B. : and Major- General Outram feels 

He leaves to , . . \ , . •" , . . • ^ -, 

Haveiock that it IS due to this distinguished officer, and 
relieving ° the streuuous and nol:)le exertions Avhich he has 
Lucknow. already made to effect that object, that to him 
should accrue the honour of that achievement. Major-General 
Outram is confident that the great end for which General 
Haveiock and his brave troops have so long and so gloriously 
fought, will now, under the blessing of Providence, be 

"The Major-General, therefore, in gratitude for, and 
admiration of, the brilliant deeds in arms achieved by General 
Haveiock and his gallant troops, will cheerfully waive his rank 
on the occasion ; and will accompany the force to Lucknow in 
his civil capacity as Chief Commissioner of Oudh, tendering his 
military services to General Haveiock as a volunteer." 

Deeply as these words stirred the hearts of men at the time, 
and often as they have since been quoted, the absolute un- 
selfishness of the resolve which they expressed has only lately 
been brought to light. It is now certain that Outram was not 
merely resigning the glory of relieving Lucknow, and sacrificing 
the General's share of the expected prize-money, but, believing 
that this campaign would be his last, was also giving up the 
chance of obtaining a baronetcy and its accompanying pension, 
thus foregoing the only hope of securing a provision for his 
declining years. ^ But it is wrong to speak of the act as 
unique. It was but the final triumph of a life of self-sacrifice. 
The force that was now assembled for the relief of Luck- 
now consisted of three thousand one hundred and 

Composition , . p ^^ i • i t i 

ofHaveiopk's seventy-uine men of all arms, and included, 
^^"smented besides the remnant of Havelock's original column 
and some additional companies belonging to the 
mutilated regiments of which it was composed,^ two batteries 
of artillery, a few native irregular cavalry, and the 5th 
Fusiliers and 90th Light Infantry. The infantry was divided 
into two brigades, commanded resj^ectively by Hamilton and 
Neill. Thanks to the diligence with which Haveiock had 
employed the period of his enforced inaction, little remained to 
be done in order to complete the preparations for an advance. 

1 Golilsmid's Life of Outram, vol. ii. pp. 207. note 1, 221-2. 
2 Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 1, pp. 213, 223. 


The floods hud subsided, and left an island in the middle of 
the river, separated from the Cawnpore bank by a 
deep channel seven hundred yards wide, and from theTGanlel^ *^^ 
Oudh hy a swampy expanse. Havelock was 
ready to throw a floating bridge across the channel, and to 
make a causeway over the swamp ; and to cover these opera- 
tions, he had intended to send detachments in boats on the 
morning of the 16th, to occupy the island and the opposite 
bank. Outram, however, believing that the heavy guns on the 
Cawnpore bank would deter the enemy from an attack, and that 
the men would suffer from exposure on the island, argued that 
it would be wiser to hold them back until the bridge was almost 
finished, when a detachment could be sent on to the island, to 
cover the construction of the causeway. But on the 17th, 
when a third of the bridge remained to be completed, the enemy 
opened fire upon the working parties ; and it was necessary to 
send troops on to the island, and to reinforce them on the fol- 
lowing day. On the 19th and 20th the army crossed the 
Ganges almost without opposition. Hardly had Havelock 
stepped on to the Oudh bank when Ungud came into camp and 
delivered Inglis's last letter, in which he said that the besiegers' 
fire had never ceased night or day, and that, if he were not relieved 
before the end of the month, his people would have no meat left.^ 

On the morning of the 21st the march was begun. Ap- 
proaching the familiar walls of Mangalwar, Have- 
lock saw that he Avas to be resisted. Vigorously towards 
attacking the position in front, and sending a ^^^'^'^"0^. 
detachment to turn it on the right, he so discon- ?f^**')f °^ 
certed its defenders that they presently gave way ; ° 
and the cavalry, led by Outram in person, galloped in pursuit, 
captured two guns, and sabred a hundred and twenty of the 
fugitives. Pausing for a moment's rest at Unao, the British 
pushed on to Bashiratganj, bivouacked there, and, resuming 
their march under a heavy downpour of rain, 
crossed the Sai, the bridge over which had been ^'^ 
left intact by the flying enemy, and halted for the night in and 
about the village of Bani, At six o'clock in the „ . „, 

~. Sept. 23. 

morning the distant thunder of the artillery at 

Lucknow, which had been heard all through the night, died 

^ Information from Sir H. Havelock- Allan ; Innes, p. 213 ; Kaye's Lives of 
Indian Officers, vol. ii. p. -397 ; Life of Outram, vol. ii. pp. 222-3. 


away ; and it became evident that preparations were being 
made to oppose them : but the city was now only a day's march 
distant; and, without a thought of failure, they marched on 
till they came in sight of the Alambagh. About this strong- 
position the enemy were descried, massed in great 
AJaraba<^h''*' numbers. Havelock sent on a party of cavalry to 
reconnoitre. Presently they returned, and reported 
that the enemy's left rested on the Alambagh itself, while their 
centre and right were drawn up behind a chain of hillocks. 
The country on both sides of the road, up to within a short 
distance of their position, was covered Avith water. Havelock 
resolved to turn their right flank. The 2nd brigade moved off 
the road towards the left front and, as it came within range, 
was exposed to a withering fire : but Olpherts and his gunnei's 
dashed up at full gallop and forced their struggling horses 
through a deep trench filled with water : Eyre with his heavy 
guns gained a dry spot on the left of the road ; and their com- 
bined fire drove back the enemy's cavalry and artilleiy. Mean- 
while the 2nd brigade, marching knee-deep in water, outflanked 
their right; Neill with the 1st brigade attacked their retreat- 
ing infantry ; and their right and centre had already fled when 
the 5th Fusiliers stormed and captured the Alambagh. Then 
Outram dashed forward at the head of the cavalry, captured 
five guns, and drove the fugitives before him to the canal. 
Before long, however, fresh guns were brought down from the 
city ; and, as the pursuers were now assailed in their turn, it 
became necessary to fall back for the night on the Alambagh. 
The ground was ankle-deep in mud, rain was falling in torrents, 
and the men had no covering but their greatcoats ; but they 
lay down to rest with light hearts ; for Outram had just told 
them how their comrades had assaulted and captured Delhi. ^ 
Next day some annoyance was felt from a distant cannonade : 
Sept 24 ^^^^ ^^ serious attempt was made to reply to it ; 
iiavoiocks and, while the troops recruited their energies, the 
etfecthi^^a Generals consulted as to what plan of attack they 
jimctioii with should pursue on the morrow. The direct route 

the gaiTisoii ^ , i i i /-^i i i i • i i 

overruled by led across the caual by the Oharbagli bridge, and 

Outram. theuce along the Cawnpore road to the Kesidency : 

but deep trenches had been cut across the road ; and the houses 

^ Iiiforinatioii from Sir W. Olpliorts ; Maude and Sherer, vol. ii. pp. 28r>, 531 ; 
Marshmau, pp. 403-5 ; Livets of Indian Officers, vol. ii. pp. 400-1. 


on both sides of it were loopholed and swarmed with musketeers. 
Havelock had all along intended to seize the Dilkusha, cross 
the Giimti, and, gaining the Fyzabad road at the Kokrail 
bridge, occupy a building called the Badshah Bagh, recross the 
Gumti at the iron bridge, and thence advance to the Eesidency. 
By the adoption of this route the relieving force would have 
been saved from the perils of street-fighting. The rains, how- 
ever, had rendered the country impassable for heavy artillery ; 
and, in Outram's judgement, no alternative remained but to 
cross the canal at the Charbagh bridge, turn to the right 
along the road which led to the Sikandar Bagh, and then to 
the left across the plain between the Kaisar Bagh and the 

Havelock was now in a most difficult and painful position. 
He was convinced that his view was right ; for he believed 
that the whole force, except perhaps the heavy guns, could go 
by the route which he recommended ; and the want of the 
heavy guns would matter little when weighed against the great 
saving of life which the choice of this route would ensure. But 
Outram exjDCcted that his advice should be implicitly followed ; 
nor did he perceive the injustice of leaving Havelock responsible 
for acts of which he did not ai:)prove. He called himself a 
volunteer ; and in his generosity he desired that to Havelock 
should belong the glory and the reward of relieving the 
besieged garrison : but he would not efface himself or forbear 
to press the views which seemed to him for his country's good ; 
and Havelock, who Avas under so heavy an obligation to him 
and who loved him, could not insist upon the rights which he 
owed to his generosity. Both wer-e agreed that it would be 
madness to wait until the ground hardened ; for they gathered 
from Inglis's letter that his force was enfeebled for want of 
proper food and in hourly danger from the enemy's mines. 
Eeluctantly therefore Havelock acquiesced in Outram's decision. ^ 

Meanwhile a great change had come over the feelings of the 
besieged garrison. For some days after the last 
departure of Ungud there had been nothing to Sifganisou 
vary the monotony of their life. The death-roll 

■^ Lives of Indian Officers, pp. 40G-9 ; Marshman, p. 409 ; Innes, pp. 212, 218- 
19 ; MS. and verbal information from Sir H. Havelock-Allan. See App. K. 

^ Innes, pp. 212, 218-19 ; information from Sir H. Havelock-Allan. See 
App. K. 

306 HAVELOCK'S CAMPAICxN chap, ix 

grew longer. More natiA'^es deserted. But the besiegers, 
dispirited by successive failures, no longer fought with any 
heart. At eleven o'clock on the night of the 22nd a man came 
into the entrenchment, breathless with excitement, having just 
been fired upon by the enemy's sentries. It was Ungud. He 
announced that Outram and Havelock had crossed the Ganges, 
and might be expected within a few days. The news spread 
like wildfire. Next day firing was distinctly 

Sept ''3 i/ o •/ 

heard close to the city. The spirits of all rose to 
the highest point ; and the native portion of the garrison were 
now at last convinced that relief was really at hand. But on 
the 24th the sounds of firing became less frequent, and some 
began again to despond.^ 

The day of trial dawned at last. The morning was beauti- 
Morniu" f ^^^^Y ^^^- Havelock rose early, and spent some 
the 25th of time in prayer. At eight o'clock the troops were 
ep em er. j,,.^^yj^ ^p^ ready to advance.- Their look revealed 
what they had done and suffered ; but the expression on their 
war-worn faces was that of men going forth to certain victory.^ 
Many indeed must die before the victory could be won, and it 
was hard to die on such a day as this ; but mindful of Have- 
lock's words, all were ready to make great sacrifices that those 
who survived might obtain great results. The baggage was 
left under a guard at the Alambagh : the Generals and their 
staff examined together on the map the route which lay before 
them ; and between eight and nine the order was given to 

The 1st brigade, under Outram, led the way. The country 

on either side of the road was covered by high grass, in which 

were concealed hundreds of the enemy. Harassed by musketry, 

and raked on its right flank and in front by an artillery-fire, 

the column pushed steadily on towards the canal. 

^[e^coiuniu About scvcn furlougs up the road was a building 

called the Yellow House, where the enemy had two 

guns. Near this building the column was ordered to halt, as 

the rear Avas hardly ready ; and the infantry lay down. 

Round shot and grape tore up the road, while bullets 

1 Wilson, p. 168 ; GuLbins, pp. 294, 297-8 ; Junes, pp. 151-2. 

'^ Marshmau, p. 411. 

^ Major North's Journal of an Officer iii India, p. 185. 

* Marshmau, p. 412. 


pattei'ed like hail among the men : Maude soon silenced 
the guns : but it was not until after a delay of ten minutes, 
during which the column had suffered heavily, that Havelock's 
galloper brought the welcome order to advance. About half a 
mile beyond the Yellow House, the road turned sharply to the 
left, and ran in a straight line two hundred yards to the canal. 
The bridge was commanded by innumerable sharpshooters 
perched in the rooms of the adjoining houses, and defended by 
five guns posted behind a breastwork on the Lucknow side. 
The road was so narrow that only two guns could be deployed 
to reply. While Outram diverged to the right with the object 
of bringing a flanking fire to bear on the enemy from the bank 
of the canal, and the skirmishers of the Madras Fusiliers took 
post on the left of the bridge, Maude endeavoured to silence 
the guns : but his men fell so fast that he had to call again and 
again for volunteers from the infantry ; and, the resistance being 
obstinately maintained, young Havelock, as a staff-officer, begged 
Neill to order the Fusiliers to charge. Neill refused to take 
the responsibility. Havelock accepted it without a word. In- 
stantly he galloped to the rear, turned the corner in the road, 
and waited for a couple of minutes, to save appearances. Pre- 
sently he returned, galloped up to Neill, and, saluting him, 
cried, " You are to carry the bridge at once, Sir." Neill there- 
upon ordered the Fusiliers to advance. The skirmishers and a 
few men of the 84th, springing forward before the regiment was 
formed up, were struck down in an instant : but young Have- 
lock, who had ridden on with them, and a single corporal 
wondrously escaped. Bullets whizzed round their heads ; and 
still the regiment was not ready. Again and again the corporal 
loaded and fired, while Havelock, sitting still in his saddle, kept 
waving his sword, and calling upon the rest to advance ; and 
now at last, dashing over the bridge before the enemy could 
reload, they captured the guns, bayoneted the gunners, and 
entered Lucknow. ^ 

The city was now awfully disquieted. From a high point 
within the entrenchment hundreds of the citizens 

1 P . 1 n ■ r Excitement of 

and even many oi the sepoys were seen nying from the garrison. 
the approaching doom, some rushing over the iron 

^ Marslimau, pp. 412-14 ; Malleson, vol. i. pp. .536-7 ; Lives of Indian Officers 
vol. ii. pp. 405-9 ; Maude aud Sherer, vol. ii. pp. 292, 300, 531-4, 542-3, 561-3; 
information from Sir H. Havelock-AUan. 


bridge, others plunging into the river : but the besiegers who 
remained redoubled the fury of their attack ; and the women of 
the garrison, as they moved nervously about their rooms, unable 
to control their excitement, and striving to catch a glimpse of 
the movements of their friends, could hear the crash of shot and 
shell from the surrounding batteries above the distant roar of 
the contending armies.^ 

The Highlanders, after crossing the canal, held the bridge- 
head, to cover the passage of the column. For a 
fiEiiTino- ^™® ^^®y were unmolested, and seized the oppor- 
tunity to pitch the captured guns into the water : 
but presently the enemy came rushing down the Cawnpore 
road ; and there for three hours the Highlanders repulsed every 
assault. Meanwhile the rest of the army safely crossed the 
bridge, and taking the road to the right, encountered little 
opposition till they came within three-quarters of a mile of the 
Residency, when they were met with a terrific fire from the 
Kaisar Bagh, but, replying as best they could, pushed unfalter- 
ingly on, and, passing a narrow bridge over a nullah,^ over- 
looked by houses filled with musketeers, found shelter at last in 
a covirt beneath the walls of the Chattar Manzil. Presently the 
Highlanders, who had advanced alone by a shorter road, joined 
them, and found themselves at the head of the column. The 
enemy had expected that the whole force would march by the 
Cawnpore road ; and it was for this reason that the other 
regiments had met with comparatively slight opposition. But 
now the enemy had found out their mistake and were preparing 
to dispute every inch of ground that remained. Lieutenant 
Moorsom had been sent on to reconnoitre the Chattar Manzil 
buildings and ascertain whether it would be possible to pass 
through them in safety. It was now nearly dark. While 
soldiers, camels, guns, and doolies bearing wounded men were 
thronging into the court, Outram and Havelock were observed 
in animated discussion. Outram was on horseback, and Have- 
lock, whose horse had been shot under him, was walking by his 
side, eagerly pressing his views. Outram proposed to halt for 
a few hours, to allow the rear-guard to close up ; and move on 
next morning through the successive courts to the Residency. 
On this route, he argued, there would be little opposition to 

1 Rees, p. 221 ; Gubbins, p. 299. 
^ A small stream or ditch. There is nothing exactly like a nullah in England. 

1857 HAVELOCK'S campaign 309 

fear ; for the enemy would certainly expect the column to 
advance along the streets. But Havelock saw that those few 
hours would enable the enemy to occupy the courts in full 
strength ; he knew that, on the appearance of a check, they 
would exult, and the natives in the Residency would despair ; 
and sharing in the ardour of his soldiers, who could not bear to 
stand still almost in sight of those whom they had so long 
striven to reach, and fearing lest the rebels might at the last 
moment succeed by a desperate effort in overpowering the 
garrison, he strenuously urged Outram to push on. In a few 
minutes, though he did not know it, Moorsom would return to 
tell that he had found a comparatively sheltered way. The 
discussion waxed warm. At length, irritated by opposition, 
Outram's temper got the better of him : but he gave way. 
" Let us on then," he cried, " in God's name." The Highlanders 
were called to the front : the Sikhs followed ; and the Madras 
Fusiliers brought up the rear. Leading out of the court to the 
right, the road ran in a zigzag course to the Baily Guard gate 
of the Residency. The exit from the court was spanned by 
an arch, in a room above which some rebels were hiding ; 
and here, while directing the movements of his men, in the 
moment of the victory which he had done so much to secure, 
General Neill fell from his horse, shot through the head. But 
there was no time to think of the fallen. Like a lifeboat 
ploughing its way through a tempestuous sea to the rescue of 
some sinking ship, the column rushed on, now plunging through 
deep trenches which had been cut across the road to bar their 
progress, now staggering, as they rose, beneath the storm of 
bullets which hailed down upon them from the loopholes of the 
houses, and the missiles which were flung from the roofs. But 
they were now within a few yards of the goal ; they could see 
the tattered flag of England, waving on the roof of the Residency ; 
and, though men fell fast at every step, the survivors never 
paused till Outram and Havelock led them through the gate 
into the entrenchment.^ 

Then the exultation, the sympathy, the loyalty of their 
hearts found expression in a burst of deafening „^ 

'- , o The welcome. 

cheers ; the garrison caught up the cry ; and 

^ Marslimau, pp. 414-17, 422 ; Lives of Indian Officers, vol. ii. pp. 407-9 ; Life 
of Sir James Outram, vol. ii. pp. 232-3 ; Forbes's Havelock, pp. 196-8 ; Innes, 
pp. 221-5 ; North, pp. 198-9 ; Swanston's My Journal, p. 44. See App. K. 


from every pit, and trench, and battery, from behind the roof- 
less and shattered houses the notes of triumph and welcome 
echoed and re-echoed. Women crowded up to shake hands with 
the men who had fought twelve battles to save them ; and the 
Highlanders, with tears stieaming down their cheeks, caught up 
in their arms the wondering children, and passed them from 
one to another. Anxious questions were tenderly answered : 
kinsmen long separated met once more : old comrades fought 
their battles over again ; and the garrison, as they told their 
own tale, and learned with pride the admiration which their 
struggle had aroused, heard in their turn, with reverent 
sympathy, how and at what a cost they had been relieved. -"^ 

. ^ Marshman, pp. 417-18 ; Rees, p. 223 ; A Lady's Diary of the Siege of 
Lucknoio, p. 120. Between July 7 and August 22, 259 men died from cholera 
and other diseases, while only 64 were killed in action, though many others died 
from their wounds. This estimate takes no account of the Sikhs and other 
natives. See Maude and Sherer, vol. i. p. 68. From September 21 to 26, in- 
clusive, the entire loss, in killed, wounded and missing, was 535 (Havelock's 
despatch, quoted by Marshman, p. 425). 



However much opinions may differ as to the degree in which 
Dalhonsie was responsible for the Indian Mutiny, ^g.^ 
it will not be denied that, by his Punjab policy, state of the 
he prepared an eifective antidote. The extra- ^^^^ 
ordinary part which that province played in the events of 
1857 is explained by the special character of its antecedent 
history. Its conquest had been so recent that the inhabitants 
had not had time to forget the evils from which that conquest 
had set them free, or to unlearn their awe and admiration of 
the people by whose might it had been effected. They could 
not but acknowledge the justice of British rule, and the material 
prosperity which it had conferred upon them. A succession of 
abundant harvests had put them into good humour. The 
deprivation of their arms had exercised a softening influence 
upon their habits. Suspected chiefs had been removed out of 
harm's way ; and those who remained, remembering the 
tyranny of the Khalsa army, had no desire for the success of a 
revolt which threatened to place them at the mercy of an 
insolent soldiery. Even if there had been a general spirit of 
disaffection, it would have been weakened by the national 
antipathy between Sikh and Hindustani, by the religious 
antipathy between Sikh and Mahomedan. On the other hand, 
although the crusading spirit of the Khalsa slumbered, it was by 
no means dead. However peacefully disposed the population of 
the plains might be, there was danger to be apprehended from 
the turbulent hill- tribes on the border. Dost Mahomed might be 
tempted by the knowledge of the straits to which his former 
enemies were reduced, to violate the treaty which he had lately 
concluded with them. More than ten thousand European 


soldiers, indeed, were quartered in the province ; but the bulk 
of them were massed in the Peshawar valley and on the Simla 
hills, leaving a comparatively weak force to garrison the 
immense tract of country between the Sutlej and the Indus. 
Of the native troops, indeed, the Punjabi Irregulars, numbering 
some thirteen thousand men, were known to be efficient, and 
believed to be trustworthy : but, as a set- off, there were 
thirtj^-six thousand Poorbeahs, every one of whom might be a 

In trying, however, to calculate the strength of the opposing 
forces Avhich affected the political equilibrium of 
offl^M's.""'^^ the Punjab in 1857, we should fall into a grievous 
error if we forgot to consider the competence of 
the British officers to whom the administration of the province 
had been entrusted. Dalhousie, in his partiality for the 
Punjab, had selected the best men whom he could find, to 
preside over its destinies ; and the Avonderful rapidity with 
which it had advanced towards civilisation bore witness to his 
discernment. It would be hard to name any country in which 
a proportionately greater number of able military and political 
officers has ever been gathered together. But even more 
admirable than their ability were the harmony and the mutual 
sympathy with which they worked. They had firm faith in 
the soundness of the system that had raised their province to 
such unexampled prosperity ; they were full of confidence in 
themselves, and full of admiration for each other. Above all, 
they were fortunate in possessing a chief to whom they Avere 
able to look up with confidence and respect. 

The Chief Commissioner of the Punjab was Sir John 

Lawrence. He was thoroughly familiar with the 

' country, and the people with whom he had to 

deal. He was a cautious, yet bold politician, a resolute, 

sagacious man. The power of originating was wanting to his 

mind ; but he knew how to use, and sometimes to improve the 

conceptions of others. His broad, powerful frame and massive 

features betokened an inexhaustible capacity for work. His 

character had plenty of faults ; but in no act of his life was he 

ever weak. Nor, though he had much kindness of heart, was 

he tolerant of anything like weakness in others. He was out- 

vrardly often rough, harsh, and overbearing. Though, when 

1 Punjab Mutiny Rcpoi't, pp. 2, 16-18, pais. 8, 46, 48. 


not actually at work, he could be a cheerful, even jovial com- 
panion, he unquestionably lacked that charm, a charm based 
upon something deeper than mere felicity of manner, Avhich 
endeared his brother Henry to all with whom he came in con- 
tact ; and, though he was a religious man, he as certainly left 
upon men's minds the impression of a character less free from 
worldliness and self-seeking. But, when the worst has been 
said of John Lawrence, it still remains true that he Avas not 
merely an able man, but a good man. His heart was wholly 
in his work ; he laboured as strenuously as his brother, if with 
less of charity and sympathy, for the well-being of the natives ; 
and, if he did not spare others, he never spared himself. Those 
who have had opportunities of observing the sterling manliness 
of his character, those who remember the unostentatious 
devotion with which, after his final return from India, he gave 
himself up to every good work which he could in any Avay for- 
ward, will never speak of him without emotion. 

When the telegrams announcing the mutiny at Meerut and 
the seizure of Delhi reached Lahore, the caj^ital of jsrews of the 
the Punjab, John Lawrence was on his way to the seizure of 
Murree Hills, whither he had been advised to go for Lahore. ^ 
the benefit of his health; but he had left behind Mayiiandi2. 
him a man who was well fitted to deal with any emergency 
that might arise, his countryman and former schoolfellow, 
Eobert Montgomery, the Judicial Commissioner. A man of 
singularly smooth manner and genial and benevolent aspect, 
Montgomery was yet to the full as resolute as his chief, and 
more capable of instantly initiating a daring policy in such a 
crisis as had now arisen. The full significance of the telegrams 
was at once apparent to him. Lidia would be lost if the 
Punjab were not at once made secure ; and the security of the 
Punjab depended in the first instance on the security of the 
great cities and magazines scattered over it. Lahore itself was 
naturally his first care. Its population amounted to nearly a 
hundred thousand souls, many of whom were restless Sikhs and 
Mahomedans, certain to take advantage of the slightest symptom 
of weakness on the part of their rulers. The city itself was 
garrisoned by a small body of European and native soldiers : 
but the bulk of the troops, consisting of one native cavalry 
and three native infantry regiments, the 81st Queen's, and 
two troops of European horse-artillery, were stationed at the 


neighbouring cantonment of Meean-meer. Montgomery learned, 
on the best native authority, that the four native regiments 

were only waiting for a favourable opportunity to 
^^ "' revolt. He therefore assembled the chief civil and 
military officers, and asked their opinions as to what ought to 
be done. He himself and Colonel Macpherson, the Military 
Secretary, urged that the sepoys should be deprived of their 
ammunition. Captain Eichard Lawrence, the chief of the 
police, thought it better to disarm them altogether. After 
some further discussion, Montgomery resolved to drive over 
to Meean-meer, and take counsel with Stuart Corbett, the 
Brigadier. This officer fully agreed with Montgomery on the 
necessity for taking the initiative, and declared himself ready 
to deprive the sepoys of their ammunition, though he was not 
prej^ared to offend the prejudices of his officers by actually 
disarming them. Later in the day, however, he came to the 
conclusion that the more decisive measure would be the wiser, 
and, writing to inform Macpherson of his change of purpose, 
ordered a general parade for the following morning. 

It happened that that night there was to have been a ball 

at Meean-meer. It might have been thought that, 
Meea^f-meer. ^^ ^^® midst of such a crisis as that which now 

hung over the empire, the dancers would postpone 
their amusement. But it was wisely decided that such a step 
would needlessly excite suspicion ; and the guests came as 
though nothing had occurred to disturb their security. Hardly 
one of those present knew the object of the parade which 
was to take place on the morrow : but the few who were 
in the secret must have thought of that famous ball at 
Brussels, from which Wellington started for the field of Quatre 

Early in the morning the troops were drawn up on the 
Ma 13 parade-ground. The Europeans were on the right, 

iiie disannul- the native infantry in the centre, and the native 
^^^^^ ^' cavalry on the left. The natives outnumbered the 

Europeans by eight to one. First of all, the order of Govern- 
ment for the disbandment of the 34th at Barrackpore was read 
to each regiment. Then the native regiments were ordered to 
change front to the rear. AVhile they were executing this 
manoeuvre, the 81st changed front also and faced them; and 
the gunners, hidden behind their European comrades, moved 


round likewise, loading their guns as they went.^ The sepoys 
were told that, as so many other regiments had begun to dis- 
play a mutinous spirit, it had been thought right to shield them 
from temptation by disarming them. The order was given to 
"Ground arms." The sepoys, momentarily hesitating, heard a 
strong and resolute voice pronounce the words, " Eighty-first, 
load," and looking up, as their ears caught the clang of the ram- 
rods,^ saw the English gunners in front of them, standing by 
their guns, portfires in hand. Perceiving the hopelessness of 
resistance, they sullenly laid down their arms. Meanwhile 
three companies of the 81st had marched to Lahore. On their 
arrival, they disarmed the native portion of the garrison, and 
took possession of the fort.^ Never was a more decisive victory 
gained. By that morning's work Montgomery and Corbett had 
not only saved the capital of the Punjab, — they had saved the 

The work of the day, however, was not over. There were 
other cities to be saved, — Ferozepore with its 
great magazine; Amritsar, the Mecca of the cirrailr'ietto. 
Punjab, to the inhabitants of which the mass 
of the Sikh population would look for their example ; Mooltan, 
surrounded by nomadic tribes of thievish Mahomedans, and 
commanding the only outlet from the Punjab to the Indian 
Ocean ; Kdngra, dominating the hill-country ; Phillaur, over- 
looking the Grand Trunk road to Delhi, and containing in its 
arsenal a large proportion of the siege-material destined for 
the recapture of that city. To the civil authorities at these 
places,* and to all Commissioners and Deputy-Commissioners 
in the province, Montgomery now issued copies 
of a circular letter of warning and instruction, ^^ 

concluding with the words, " I have full reliance on your zeal 
and discretion." ^ In almost every instance his 
confidence was justified. The Deputy - Commis- takeu for the 
sioner of Amritsar, sure of the loyal aid of his sarfphUMu-,"''" 
agricultural population, held his own till half a ?j'^ Kangra. 
company of the 81st relieved him. Phillaur, 

^ See plau and description in F. H. Cooper's Crisis in the Punjab, pp. 4, 5. 
2 Times, July 4, 1857, p. 7, col. 5 ; Punjab Mutiny Re2Mrt, p. 37, par. 57. 
^ lb. p. 21, par. 2, pp. 36-7, par. 57 ; Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 92-102, 136. 
■* Except Phillaur, where, as far as I know, there was no civil authority. 
^ Enclosures to Secret Letters frani India, May, 1857 ; P. M. R., p. 22, par. 4. 


which had been left almost destitute of European troops, was 
speedily reinforced from the neighbouring station 
w^ 14 °^ Jullundur. Kangra was surprised and oc- 
cupied by a party of native jjolice.^ But the 
policy of Brigadier Innes, the commandant at Ferozepore, 
contrasted unfavourably with these vigorous measures.- 
Though Montgomery had informed him of the intention to 
disarm the brigade at Meean-meer, though he himself was 
stronger in European troops than Corbett, he could not 
bring himself to follow the latter's example. Montgomery's 
message reached him on the 13th, at noon. His first 
thought was for the magazine ; and he sent one hundred 
men of the 61st regiment to guard it. But two native in- 
fantry regiments had still to be dealt with. Innes himself 
proposed to disarm them : but he had only taken com- 
mand two days before ; and he lacked the will to overbear 
the remonstrances of his officers. The compromise to which 
he assented was to separate his two native regiments, and 
disarm them on the morrow. The usual success of half 
measures rewarded him. One regiment indeed went quietly 
to the place that had been assigned to it ; but the 
FeroTepore. Other broke loose from control, endeavoured to 
May 13, 14. storm the magazine, and, though fortunately re- 
pulsed, succeeded, with the aid of the budmashes, in 
plundering and burning the European buildings. All night long 
the flames raged. The British regiment could only look on in 
heljoless indignation ; for Innes, feeling that he must, at any cost, 
secure the magazine, had thrown in three more companies to 
guard it ; and the rest had enough to do to protect their own 
barracks. Next morning the mutineers quitted the station, 
and took the road to Delhi. They were pursued indeed, and 
dispersed with severe loss ; but some of them succeeded in 
reaching their goal.^ 

1 P. M. R., p. 35, par. 53 ; p. 36, 54 ; p. 39, par. 64 ; p. 50, pars. 109-10. 

^ To prevent misconception, it should be stated that Innes, not being a civil 
officer, was independent of Montgomery. 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 106-12 ; Blackwond's Magazine, February, 1858, 
p. 240 ; Purl. Papers, vol. xxx. (1S57), pp. 428-30. On pp. 190-1 of the Cal- 
cutta Review (Jan.-June, 1359) Innes is defended. "He separated tlie native 
corps," writes tlie reviewer (General, tlien Major M'Leod Innes), "and 
rendered them incapable of combined action." He goes on to say that " Both 
Sir John Lawrence and Mr. Montgomery recorded officially and privately their 
sense of his admirable management on that occasion." I only know that Imies's 


Still even this blot scarcely mars the splendour of the 
achievements of the Punjab officers on the 13th 
and 14th of May. Within three days from the oni'irrSb 
time when the tidings of disaster reached the j" ancn''4'^ ^^^^ 
capital, all the most important points had been 
secured ; and thus the way had been cleared for the develop- 
ment of that policy which was to strengthen the hold of the 
British upon the province, to quicken the loyalty of the great 
bulk of the native population, and to raise up a mighty force 
for the reconquest of the imperial city. The credit of that 
policy has been generally assigned to John Lawrence ; but he 
himself was the first to acknowledge that it was Robert 
Montgomery who struck the first blow.^ 

Meanwhile, at the great frontier-station of Peshawar, a 
body of friends and fellow - workers were inde- 
pendently discussing the details of a policy which Peshawar, 
was to have still more important consequences. 

Peshawar stood on a small plain in the valle}^ of the same 
name. Not a single building of any dignity relieved the 
dulness of its irregular streets and fiat-roofed mud houses. 
The town was surrounded by a low mud wall, intended as a 
bulwark against robbers, and was completely dominated by a 
quadrilateral fortress, the walls of which rose to the height of 
ninety feet above its northern face. In striking contrast with 

conduct on the 13th and 14th of May was censured in the Punjab Mntiny 
RejMTt. Moreover, in a letter to Anson, dated May 21, Lawrence wrote : 
"Brigadier Innes seems to me to have missed an excellent opportxmity of 
teaching the sepoys a lesson which would have cowed them for hundreds of 
miles around." P. M. P., p. 3, par. 8 ; Enclostn-es to Secret Letters from India, 
Maj', 1857. General M'Leod Innes also commends the Bricjadier for having 
secured the magazine, on the safety of which the recapture of Delhi de2jeu<led 
{The Sepoy Revolt, p. 86). Nobody has ever denied that he performed this 
service : but if he had jiromptly disarmed the sepoys, he might also have saved 
the station. General Innes indeed finds faiilt with the author of the Ped 
Pamphlet for having "assumed that all that was to be done was to disarm the 
two native infantry corps, and that this was an easy operation." " He forgets," 
continues the General, "that the 10th Light Cavalry was also native, and that 
there was no reason to count on their fidelity." But the Brigadier himself 
tells us {Pali. Papers, vol. xxx. 1857, p. 428) that he did count on their fidelity ; 
and as he was not afraid to show his hand by separating the two sepoy regi- 
ments, it is diflScadt to understand whj% with his British regiment, his two com- 
panies of British artillery, and his field-battery, he should have shrunk from 
disarming them. General Innes answers his own argument by admitting that 
the Brigadier did intend to disarm them on the morrow. Why not at once ? I 
repeat that relatively he was much stronger in European troops than Corbett. 
1 P. M. R., p. 3, par. 7. 


the mean appearance of the town was the grandeur of the 
surrounding scenery. The valley formed a vast irregular 
amphitheatre, sixty miles in length, bounded on the east by 
the Indus, and girt in on every other side by hills, some of 
which were bare and rocky, others clothed with vegetation. 
Conspicuous above all, two hundred miles to the south-west, 
rose the snow-capped peak of Takht-i-Suleman, or " Solomon's 
Throne." ^ 

The Commissioner of the Division was Lieutenant-Colonel 
Herbert Edwardes. Riper and more circumspect 
EdwaTdes. than when, as a young lieutenant of infantry, he 
had flung himself into that perilous enterprise 
against Mooltan which had made his reputation, he was still 
the same gay, imaginative, high-spirited, enthusiastic soul. 
Not less sagacious, resolute, and earnest, not less stern, when 
sternness was needed, than the greatest of his contemporaries, 
he entered along with them upon the struggle Avith a positive 
light-heartedness which was all his own. In the most de- 
pressing seasons of the crisis, while all his faculties were being 
tried to the uttermost, he could not help noticing the elements 
of comedy which obtruded themselves into the tragedy that 
was being enacted before him ; and, when the worst was over, 
he sketched them for his superiors, with a humour and vivid- 
ness seldom to be found in official reports. ^ He had, indeed, 
rare literary gifts, which he was often to use for the advocacy 
of measures of vital importance to the State. Like many other 
Anglo-Indian officers of a past generation, he was a man of 
strong religious convictions, and an ardent, perhaps a rash 
supporter of missionary effort. His memory is still cherished 
by the people of the valley.^ And there is a yet higher witness 
to his worth than theirs. For he was the beloved disciple of 
Henry Lawrence, the familiar friend and counsellor of John 

It was on the night of the 11th that the news from Delhi 

reached him. Fortunately he had in Colonel 

General ifee™' ^J^ney Cotton, the commander of the Peshawar 

Neville brigade, a coadiutor who, like Corbett of Lahore, 

Chamberlain. o ' _ J ' _ _ ' 

was too wise to share in the amiable credulity 

^ Iluulei's Ciazettecr, vol. vii. pp. 356-7, 3C3-4 ; J. H. Stocqueler's Handbook 
of India, p. 394. MS. Correspondence. 

'^ P. M. It., p. 67, par. 06. ^ MS, Correspoudence. 


of the common run of sepoy officers, and bold enough to act 
upon his superior insight. A thorough soldier, uniting the 
experience of a veteran of forty-seven years' military standing 
to the activity of a subaltern. Cotton was positively overjoyed 
at the prospect of hard service which the outbreak of the 
Mutiny afforded him. General Reed, the Commander of the 
Division, was there also, an easy-going old officer who, while 
fully sensible of his own dignity, was easily manageable, and 
accommodating enough to let abler men act for him. With the 
consent of these two, Edwardes wrote to the station of Kohat 
to invite Brigadier Neville Chamberlain, a dashing soldier and 
skilful general, who had seen more service than almost any 
man of his age in India, and had acquired a great reputation as 
the commander of the Punjab Irregulars, to come over and take 
part in a council of war. On the morning of the 13th, Cham- 
berlain arrived ; and at eleven o'clock the council 
met.i Besides the four who have been already Peshawan 
mentioned, there was present another whose look 
plainly told that his voice would command a respectful hearing 
in any assembly, a man of towering form and herculean build, 
whose stern, handsome face, set off by a long black beard and 
grizzled Avavy hair, told at once of a resistless power of command, 
an overwhelming force of character, and an intellect able to 
pick a way through the most tangled mazes, or to hew down 
the most stubborn obstacles of practical life ; while yet the 
lustrous eyes, so thoughtful and so full of pathos, as well as 
stern, deep-set beneath a massive, open forehead, suggested the 
idea of one who was not less a man of contempla- 
tion than a man of action,^ — Colonel John Nichol- Nicholson 
son, the Deputy-Commissioner of Peshawar. 

It was on the eve of the first Afghan war that Nicholson 
had arrived in India. The tragic issues of that 
struggle, in which he himself took a part, could 
not fail to give a stern cast to a young and enthusiastic soul. 
On that sad day in January, 1842, when Ghazni Avas sur- 
rendered, he was one of the officers who heard British soldiers 
bidden to give up their arms to Asiatics. Three times, in con- 

1 P. M. R., pp. 57-8, pars. 14, 18, 21. Part of what I have said about 
Cotton and Reed 1 learned from conversation with an old Punjabi who knew them 
both well. 

^ See A. Wilson's Abode of Snoir, p. 428. 


tempt of the order, he alone, a boy of nineteen, led his men to 
the attack, and drove the enemy from the walls at the point of 
the bayonet; and, when at last he was forced to give ui) his 
sword, he burst into tears in an agony of shame and giief.'^ 
In that glorious act of insubordination, which expressed such a 
proud disdain for the victors of the hour, and such a bitter 
condemnation of the authority which had permitted surrender, 
a close observer might have discerned the promise of a man- 
hood in the very faults of which there would be a majesty. 
Even now there were faults enough in that heroic character, for 
it was still comparatively young and immature ; but they sprang 
from the very vigour and luxuriance of its growth. There was 
much in it that needed pruning, little that needed forcing. 
That burning impetuosity ; that headlong zeal ; that icy reserve 
which repelled so many ; that temper which blazed forth at 
times like the eruption of a volcano ; that fearless freedom of 
speech which gave such offence to official superiors who were 
conscious of real inferiority ; that awful sternness which knew 
no pity towards evil-doers ; — these qualities needed to be so 
disciplined that they should find their due and appointed place 
in the character, instead of disturbing its balance, to be tem- 
pered by a more genial sympathy with erring and straying men, 
a fuller knowledge of the might of Divine compassion. No 
man knew these faults better than did Nicholson himself. It 
is touching to see the humility with which he, who suffered so 
few to know anything of his real character save the massive 
and rugged outlines which could not be hid, could write to 
Herbert Edwardes, after the death of Henry Lawrence, their 
common friend and master, begging for guidance, and pro- 
fessing himself so weak that of his own strength he coidd do 
nothing good.^ We know enough of his character to be able 
to imagine what he would have become, if he had lived. But 
already, at the age of thirty-four, he had done enough to win 
for himself a place among the foremost heroes of Anglo-Indian 
history. Lord Dalhousie had described him as "a tower of 
strength." Herbert Edwardes said of him that he was equally 
fitted to command an ai'my, or to administer a province. He 
had so tamed one of the most lawless and bloodthirsty tribes 
on the frontier that, in the last year of his rule, he had not 

^ Life of Sir II. Lavn-ence, p. 197, note 2. 
^ Kaye's Lives of Indian Officers, vol. ii. p. 474. 


had to report even a single attempt at crime, and inspired them 
with such awe and reverence that, when he had gone from 
them, they likened him to the good Mahomedans of their 
legendary history. A brotherhood of fakirs in Hazara 
actually deified him ; and the repeated floggings with which 
he characteristically strove to destroy their idolatry, served but 
to strengthen their faith in the omnipotence of the relentless 
Nikkal Seyn.^ Indeed, of all the heroic men whom the Indian 
Mutiny brought to light, he was the one who bore unmistake- 
ably the character of genius. Unversed in military science, he 
led armies to victory with the certainty of Havelock. He may 
indeed most truly be described not as a general, not as a 
statesman, but simply as a man, who, whatever the task set 
him, was sure to accomplish it by the sheer force of native 
ability. Nor were the sterner features of his character un- 
relieved by softer traits. How he loved his aged mother and 
his younger brothers, we have learned from those who knew 
him best. Those dark eyes of his, which could flash such scorn 
upon the base, which could paralyse the resistance of the most 
daring, could also light up with a fascinating smile when he 
was in the presence of those whom he loved, and express such 
a depth of tenderness as only the strongest natures can contain. 
Is it to be wondered at that of such a man as this, Herbert 
Edwardes should have said to Lord Canning, " If ever there is 
a desperate deed to be done in India, John Nicholson is the 
man to do it."^ 

The council rapidly and harmoniously drew up its programme. 
It was settled that General Eeed, as the senior officer, 
should assume command of the troops in the Punjab, ^''g council'^ °^ 
and proceed to join the Chief Commissioner atRdwal- 

' "Sanguis martyrorum," wrote Edwardes, "est semen Ecclesiae." Raikes's 
Notes on the Revolt, p. .31. Sir George Campbell, the only writer who has ever 
attempted to belittle Nicholson, says [Memoirs of my Indian Career, vol. i. p. 249), 
"the stories about the natives worshipping him are about as authentic as Highland 
Jessie." I know nothing about Highland Jessie: but that fakirs did actually 
form themselves into a sect for the worship of Nicholson, is as certain as the 
Binomial Theorem. See Kaye's Lives of Indian Officers, vol. 11. p. 448, note ; 
Raikes's Notes on the Revolt, p. 31 ; and Bosworth Smith's Life of Lord Lawrence, 
6th ed. vol. ii. p. 9. 

- Perhaps the best portrait of Nicholson is one painted by Mr. John R. 
Dicksee, who was helped by the suggestions and criticisms of Sir Herbert 
Edwardes. I have been told by one who knew Nicholson well that the portrait, 
though it does not do justice to the strength of the lower part of the face, is on 
the whole a good likeness. 


pindi. Thus the chief civil and military power would be 
concentrated in one spot. After Avhat has been said of Reed's 
character, it Avill easily be understood that Edwardes con- 
gratulated himself upon an arrangement which, by conferring 
nominal command upon a man who was neither obstinate nor 
impervious to compliment, gave an assurance that the substance 
would be left in the hands of those best fitted to exercise it. 
It was further resolved that the important fort and ferry of 
Attock on the Indus should be at once secured, and that 
suspected Hindustdni regiments should be, as far as possible, 

Defensive measures, however, were not deemed sufficient. 
On first hearing the news from Meerut, Nicholson had proposed 
to Edwardes that a moveable column of trustworthy troops 
should be immediately organised, and held in readiness to 
swoop down upon any point in the Punjab at which mutiny 
might show itself. The plan had been communicated by tele- 
graph to the Chief Commissioner ; and he had recommended it 
to the notice of the Commander-in-Chief ; but Edwardes and 
his colleagues felt that there was no time to be wasted in official 
formalities, and issued orders for the formation of the column 
on their own responsibility.^ To the report of the proceedings 
which Edwardes forwarded to the Chief Commissioner he added 
a recommendation that the most trusted commandants of the 
Punjab Irregulars should be authorised to enlist recruits from 
the Punjab and the British frontier, not merely to fill the gaps 
made by the mutiny, but also to absorb and utilise the dangerous 
elements of the population. He also asked leave to raise levies 
among the Mooltanis of the Derajat, Avhom he had learned to 
know and trust years before. Lawrence at first curtly refused 
his consent; but a few days later, convinced by the fiery eloquence 
of Edwardes that it was of vital importance to strengthen Pesha- 
war as far as possible, he gave way.^ 

On the 16th, Edwardes was summoned by the Chief Com- 
missioner to attend a council at Rawalpindi. 
"^ ■ Returning to his own post on the 21st, he found 

1 P. M. R., pp. .^)S-9, par. 23. 

^ Ih. p. 58, pars. 18, 22. MS. Correspondence. 

* lb. Mr. Bosworth Smith writes {Life of Lord Lawrence, vol. ii. p. 44), 
" by John Lawrence's special autliorisation, Edw.ardes and Nicholson . . . called 
upon the . . . khans of the Derajat to raise a thousand Mooltanee horse in our 
support." He apparently does not know the "authorisation" had to be 


a crisis impending.^ To enable the reader to understand aright 
the events which followed, it is necessary to present a general 
review of the state of the Peshawar Division before the Mutiny. 
At the beginning of May there was perfect peace in the 
Peshawar valley, in the districts of Hazara and „, , .., 

T 1 '11 mi State of the 

Kohat, and on the mountain borders. The popula- Peshawar 
tion of the city itself were apt for treason and 
intrigue ; but there was no open opposition to be feared from 
them, though they would have been ready enough to aid and 
abet bolder traitors in murder and rapine. Beyond the border, 
however, the untameable tribes of Afri'dis and Mohmands were 
almost all under blockade ^ for murders, highway robberies, and 
other crimes. Moreover, while, as has been said, the success of 
the recent negotiations with Dost Mahomed could not quiet all 
apprehensions of danger from Kabul, the skirmishers of the 
Persian army were still hovering on the western frontier of 
Kandahdr. About eight thousand native and two thousand 
eight hundred European soldiers garrisoned the valley : but of 
the native regiments only one was at all trustworthy ; and 
another, the 64th, was so notoriously disloyal that, to keep it 
out of harm's way, it was broken up into detachments, which 
were sent off on the 13th to three of the outposts. Such were 
the conditions on which hung the chances of the security of 
Peshawar. Of what vital importance it was to maintain that 
security, may be gathered from the remark of a sagacious old 
Sikh sirdar who, on being asked by a well-known civilian why 
he always enquired so anxiously about the safety of Peshawar, 
replied by rolling up the end of his scarf, and saying, "If 
Peshawar goes, the whole Punjab will be rolled up in rebellion 
like this." 3 

And indeed, although the officers who were responsible for 
the safety of Peshawar never for a moment feared 
that it would go, there was evidence enough to reveiaWons. 
convince them that all their powers would be 

extorted. As Edward Tliorutou said, Johu Lawrence's was ' ' not an originating 
mind." Ih. p. 49. 

1 P. M. R., pp. 59, 60, pars. 25, 29. 

^ " This consists in forbidding an offending tribe to trade with Peshawxir and 
imprisoning any member of it caught in the valley till the tribe submits." — 
P. M. J?., p. 57, note. 

* P. M. R., pp. 57-8. pars. 2, 4, .5, 8, 12, 14, p. 71, par. 94 ; Cave-Browne 
vol. i. p. 153. 


strained to hold on to it. In the short period of Edwardes's 
absence a succession of j^lots had been discovered. Letters 
were intercepted from Mahoraedan fanatics, some of whom 
belonged to Patna, to sepoys of the ill-famed 64th, glorifying 
the atrocities -which had been already committed by the 
mutineers in Hindustan, and urging those addressed to go and 
do likewise. These letters also proved that a treasonable 
correspondence had been carried on, through the medium of the 
64th, with certain notorious Hindustani fanatics settled in Swat 
and Sitana. Not less important was another letter addressed 
by one of the regiments at Peshawar to the 64th, and given up 
by the latter to the Brigadier, because their isolation forbade 
them to act upon it. This letter contained an invitation to the 
64th to come to Peshawar, and throw in their lot with the 
senders, and contained allusions to the greased cartridge which, 
not being intended for the perusal of Europeans, were unques- 
tionably genuine.^ Before these discoveries had been made, 

Nicholson had taken every precaution for the security 
Nidhoi^on°^ of the ladies and children, and the treasure, and 

had set a watch over every ferry on the Indus, to 
prevent the passage of intending mutineers. He now tried to 
persuade the chiefs of the valley to raise their armed retainers 
for the support of the Europeans in the coming striiggle. But 
the chiefs, remembering the events of 1841, and knowing that 
Delhi had fallen, refused to risk their people's lives in a cause 
which they regarded as desperate. " Show us that you are the 
stronger," they said, " and there shall be no lack of aid." ^ 

^ P. M. R., p. 61, pars. 40-2. It may be stated here tliat immense numbers 
of seditious letters were discovered by the officials whose duty it was to exercise 
supervision over the post-offices of the country. " The treason," ^v^ites the author 
of the General Report on the Administration of the Punjab Territories for 1856-7 
a/ic? 1857-8, " was generally couched in figurative and enigmatical phrases. . . . 
It was abundantly manifest, that the sepoys and others really did believe that we 
intended to destroy their caste by various devices, of whicli the impure cartridge 
was one ; that the embers of Mahomedau fanaticism had again begun to glow," 
p. 12, par. 25. The document referred to is to be found in the volume which con- 
tains the Punjab Mutiny Report. 

Again, in a letter to Colvin, Hervey Greathed writes, " The result of all ques- 
tioning of sepoys who have fallen into our hands regarding the cause of their 
mutiny is the same ; they invariably cite the cartouch as the origin. No other 
ground of complaint has ever been alluded to ... a consciousness of power had 
grown up in the army which could only be exercised by mutiny, and the cry of 
the cartridge brought the latent sph'it of revolt into action, " Enclosures to Secret 
Letters from India, Sejjt. 24, 1857, pp. 455-6. 

2 P. M. R., pp. 60-1, pars. 31, 44 ; Cooper, p. 69. 


The proof which they required was soon forthcoming. On 
the night of Edwardes's return, he and Nicholson rpj^g ^.^.^^-^ ^^_^ 
lay down together to rest in their clothes, feeling Peshawar. 
sure that there would be troubles before morning. ^^'^^ -^• 
Their presentiments were justified. At midnight a messenger 
came in to tell them that some companies of the 55th, stationed 
at Nowshera, had mutinied, and that the 10th Irregular 
Cavalry at the same place might at any moment follow their 
example. They saw at once that a crisis was upon them. 
Probably by this time the main body of the 55th, which was 
stationed at Marddn, would also have risen. Yet it would be 
impossible to send a force to reduce them without dangerously 
weakening Peshawar. Moreover, the troops at the latter place 
could not long be kept in ignorance of what their comrades had 
done ; and then they would be sure to do likewise. There was 
only one way of grappling with the danger. Before the 55th 
could be dealt with, the troops at Peshawar must be disarmed ; 
and afterwards the people of the country must be invited to 
furnish men to supply their places. The experiment was a 
hazardous one ; but the tAvo friends were resolved that it should 
succeed. Accordingly they went off at once to the quarters of 
Cotton, roused him from his sleep, and told him what they had 
heard. He saw as clearly as they the dangers which it por- 
tended. All the commanding officers were therefore summoned 
to attend a council at the Residency. By daybreak they were 
assembled ; and for two hours they remonstrated 
with generous indignation against the disgrace with ' ^^ """ 
which their " children " were threatened. The colonel of one 
regiment went so far as to declare that his men would attack 
the guns if called on to give up their muskets. After this. 
Cotton could hesitate no longer. He decided indeed to spare 
one regiment of infantry, without which it would have been 
impossible to carry on the work of the station, and two of 
irregular cavalry, believing that these corps were free from the 
taint of disloyalty, and feeling confident that he could at any 
moment disarm them in case of need : but within an hour the 
four remaining regiments were paraded, and ordered to lay 
down their arms. Taken aback by the suddenness of the 
command, and overawed by the presence of the European 
troops, they obeyed without demur : and it is said that, as 
their muskets and sabres were about to be carted away, some 


of their British officers indignantly flung their own spurs and 
swords upon the piles. " How little worthy," wrote Edwardes, 
" were the men of officers who could thus almost mutiny for 
their sakes." But the people of the country took a wiser view 
of the conduct of Cotton and his colleagues. A few chiefs had 
attended the parade, curious to see which side would prove the 
stronger ; but, Avhen all was over, and the Englishmen, having 
quietly asserted their supremacy, were riding back to their 
quarters, a multitude of natives came swarming up, protesting 
the warmth of their attachment, and eagerly offering their ser- 
vices. From that day there was no difficulty in raising levies.^ 
It was now possible to act against the 55th at Mardan, who 

had been joined by some of their mutinous com- 
Spottfsvvoode. I'a-des from Nowshera. Their commandant, Colonel 

Spottiswoode, however, actually wrote to assure 
Cotton that he trusted them implicitly, and earnestly begged 
him not to send any troops against them : but no notice could 
be taken of such insane generosity ; and accordingly, on the 
night of the 23rd, a small force started from Peshawar under 
Colonel Chute of the 70th Queen's, accompanied by John 
Nicholson as political officer. On the night of the 24th the 
approach of the force was suspected at Mardan ; and then 
followed an incident than which there Avas none more painfully 
touching in the whole history of the war. The native officei's 
went to ask their colonel for an explanation. They went out 
from his presence unsatisfied ; and he, left alone in his room, 
and unable to bring himself to witness the disgrace which was 
to befall his men, committed suicide.- 

But for those who had so abused his confidence destiny had 

appointed a more dreadful end. At sunrise on 
«i(f55uJ°^ the following morning they discerned the column 

winding along towards Mardan ; and then all but 
a hundred and twenty, who were restrained by the threats and 
persuasions of the officers, broke tumultuously from the fort, 
and fled. The column pressed on in pursuit ^ : but the muti- 

^ P. M. R., pp. G3-5, pars. 46-53. General Cotton wrote, "Even the 
Affredies and other hill tril)es, our enemies continually iu times of peace, against 
whose depredations, up to that very moment, measures were being taken, came 
forward and tendered their services." Nine. Years on the North- Westent Frontier 
uf JiuI'm, p. 170. 

- P. M. P., pp. 65-ti, pars. 56, 58-9 ; Cave-Browne, vol. i. ]i. 170, note. 

' It was at Nicholson's suggestion that the pursuit was undertaken. Chute 


neers were far ahead ; the ground was so heavy that the artillery 
could not get within range ; and the chase was all in vain until 
Nicholson, taking with him a few of his own police sowars, 
dashed to the front, and rode into the fugitive masses. Break- 
ing before his charge, they scattered themselves over the 
country in sections and companies ; but all day long he pur- 
sued them, hunted them out of the villages in which they 
sought for refuge, drove them over ridges, cut down their 
stragglers in ravines, and never rested till, having ridden over 
seventy miles, slain a hundred and twenty, and wounded be- 
tween three and four hundred of the traitors, taken a hundred 
and fifty prisoners, and recovered two hundred stand of arms 
and the regimental colours, he was forced by the approach of 
night to draw rein, while those who had escaped him fled across 
the border into the hills of Swat. Proclaiming themselves re- 
ligious martyrs, they persuaded the king to take them into his 
service ; and for a moment there seemed a danger that they 
might return with renewed strength to menace the Punjab. 
The virtual ruler of Swat was an aged priest, known as the 
Akhund. Had he espoused their cavise, and, taking them with 
him, swept dov/n upon the Peshawar valley, and preached a 
holy Avar against the infidels, he might have kindled the 
smouldering religious zeal of the population into such a flame 
as would have, perhaps, consumed the fabric of British power. 
Fortunately, instead of doing this, he expelled them from the 
country, only granting them guides to conduct them across the 
Indus. Then, in their misery, they resolved to throw them- 
selves upon the mercy of the Maharaja of Kashmir. To reach 
his country, however, they must either pass through Hazara 
or along its borders ; and Major Becher, the Deputy-Com- 
missioner, laid his plans to intercept them. Incited by him, 
the armed zami'ndars and clansmen occupied all the passes ; and 
the mutineers, finding their road eastward disputed, were forced 
to turn back and enter the Kohistan. But they little knew 
the horrors of that inhospitable land, where the only paths lay 
beneath overhanging precipices along ledges which scarcely 
afforded foothold to the most practised cragsmen ; they had 
little food and little clothing, no cover from the rains and the 
night-dews. A jamaddr, unheeded by his comrades, whom he 

himself occupied tlie fort with a portion of the force. Enclosures to Secret Ldteis 
from India, August 1857, p. 721. 


had urged to go back, and rather die fighting like sokliers than 
perish like hunted beasts among the rocks, committed suicide. 
The rest pushed on : but every man's hand was against them ; 
and, after many had been drowned, or stoned, or slain in battle 
by the mountaineers whom Becher hounded on against them, 
nearly all the rest, now too weary and too tamed by suffering 
to resist, laid down their arms, and suffered the penalty of 
mutineers. Not quite all, however ; for some few purchased 
the right to exist by apostatising from their religion, or sub- 
mitting to slavery.^ 

Meanwhile Nicholson had not been idle. On the day follow- 
ing his great exploit against the 55th, he heard 
... ^!''' , that a famous outlaw, named Aiun Khan, had 

A,] 11 n Khan and ■, ■, r i i -n t ■ -^ ,.■ 

thegaiTisonof descended from the hills, at the invitation, as 

Abazai. ^^^ believed, of a detachment of the 64th, stationed 

in the fort of Abazai. It seemed more than probable that he 

would take the remnant of the 55th into his service, and, with 

Abazai betrayed to him, stir up the whole frontier population 

to attack the British power. Nicholson, however, was there to 

defy him : Chute's little column was now strongly reinforced : 

the frontier tribes could not forget Avhat it had already 

accomplished ; and the outlaw, rather than provoke a contest, 

discreetly returned to the hills. A few days 

later Chute and Nicholson disarmed the treacherous 

troops at Abazai ; and Nicholson rode back, in 

advance of the column, to Peshawar."^ 

There, thanks to the wise government of Edwardes and 

Cotton, disaffection had not dared to show itself. 

Policy of Whenever the necessity had arisen for inflicting 

and Cotton, the punishment of death on deserters or mutineers, 

Cotton had compelled the native troops to witness 

the execution ; and, well knowing that the slightest breach of 

discipline would bring down the same fate upon themselves, 

they had stood like statues while their comrades were being 

hanged or bloAvn away from guns.^ "Even the criminals 

' P. M.R., p. 66, par. Gl ; p]). 70-1, par.s. 84-6 ; pp. 136-9, pans. 19-.".l. 

2 lb. p. 66, par. 65 ; p. 68, par. 73. 

•* " The news of executions, and the mode adopted iu caiTying them into 
effect, spread far and wide, and even in the city of C.abul itself, were the suljjeet 
of discussion and of astonishment. It was clear to all that discipline was ujiheld 
and maintained . . . and the Afghans, keenly watching the turn of events, on 
finding that the supremacy of the British Government had prevailed, were 


themselves," wrote Edwardes, " seemed to take a pride in the 
very discipline they had dared, and stood up in line to be shot 
with the accuracy and steadiness of machines." But he and 
Cotton had too deep a knowledge of the people with whom 
they had to deal to trust to repressive measures alone. Their 
fearless and defiant bearing had so impressed men's minds that, 
if they now showed a desire to conciliate, they need not 
apprehend the suspicion of weakness. The mode of conciliation 
which they adopted was an appeal to that avarice which they 
knew to have more sway over the hearts of the Afghan popula- 
tion of the valley than even the passion of religious fanaticism. 
A proclamation was issued authorising any one who found a 
deserter to kill him, and take possession of his personal 
property. A militia was levied, to keep the peace, and to 
counterbalance the Hindustani regiments. Unlike the mass of 
the Punjabis, the people of the valley had never been disarmed ; 
and thus no difficulty was found in collecting sufficient numbers 
of armed footmen. To raise cavalry was not so easy, for good 
horses were scarce ; but still plenty of candidates for enlistment 
came forward. When the crisis was at its worst, Edwardes 
was often to be seen in the Eesidency garden, manfully con- 
cealing the disappointment which some gloomy telegram had 
given him, and listening with a humorous smile to the arguments 
with which owners of vicious or unsound horses tried to prove 
their perfection. But the quality of the horses was of very 
little importance in comparison with the enthusiasm and good 
feeling which these scenes aroused among the people. The 
very men who would have been ready, at the bidding of the 
first eloquent fanatic that appeared, to draw their swords 
against us, were converted by the promise of pay, the hope of 
plunder, and the skilful management of the Commissioner, into 
the chief props of our power, and lost all sympathy with the 
mutineers. 1 

deterred from an aggressive movement . . . the subsidy, given by the British 
Commissioner to . . . Dost Mahomnied ... no doubt had some effect in the mind 
of that sordid monarch . . . but the Afghans themselves, ever restless and un- 
settled, were throughout meditating an attack on the British frontier, and a rich 
harvest in Hindostau ; and were alone deterred from the movement by the im- 
posing attitude which had been assumed at Peshawur ; and it came to the 
author's knowledge, afterwards, that thirty thousand Afghans had shod their 
horses at one time, ready to invade our territory." — Cotton, pp. 174-5. See 
also Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, July 23, 1858, pp. 152, 169, 197. 
1 P. M. R., pp. 67-8, pars. 66-81 ; p. 71, par. 95 ; pp. 80-1, pars. 143-6. 


Meanwhile, in the opj)osite extremity of the province, a 
different scene was being enacted. It has been 
LudS' """"^ ah-eady mentioned that, Avithin the first few days 
after the seizure of Delhi, a body of troops was 
sent from Jullundur to reinforce Phillaur. But while taking 
this precaution. Brigadier Johnstone, the commandant of the 
troops at Jullundur, neglected to disarm his own sepoys, 
though every day furnished fresh evidence of their iintrust- 
worthiness. On the 7th of June, an hour before midnight, 
they rose. It would be needless to do more than barely note 
such a natural occurrence but for the fact that the mischief 
which it caused was not isolated. The mutineers broke up 
into two detachments, the larger of which made for Philla\ir, 
Avhere, probably in consequence of a preconcerted plan, they 
were joined by the native portion of the garrison. The entire 
body Avould now have crossed the Sutlej, if an unexpected 
difficulty had not arisen. A young civilian named Thornton, 
the Assistant-Commissioner of Ludhiana, had, with commendable 
presence of mind, cut away the bridge of boats. The mutineers 
were obliged therefore to make for a ferry some three miles 
distant ; and thus a rare opportunity was afforded to Johnstone 
of repairing his error by pursuing and punishing them. But 
such opportunities generally serve only to place the incompe- 
tence of those to whom they are offered in a still 

Junes. stronger light. Johnstone wasted much valuable 

time before starting in pursuit ; he halted, during 

the heat of the day, for five hours ; and, when his column at 

last reached Phillaur, it was condemned to inaction for want 

of a guide to conduct it to the ierry. 

But, if the mutineers could afford to despise the weakness 
of Johnstone, they had yet to reckon with a man of another 
stamp, George Eicketts, the Deputy-Commissioner of Ludhiana. 
It was not till ten o'clock on the morning of the 8th that he 
heard of the rising at Jullundur. Perceiving the danger to 
which his own station was exposed, he resolved not to wait to 
be attacked. Fortunately the 4th Sikhs had just arrived at 
Ludhiana, on their way to Delhi. Ordering Lieutenant 
Williams, the second officer of the regiment, to march for 
Phillaur with three companies of his own men, a contingent 
furnished by the Raja of Ndbha, and two small guns, he him- 
self rode on in advance to ascertain the whereabouts of the 


mutineers. Finding that they had made for the ferry, he 
returned, and, after taking counsel with Williams, resolved to 
make an effort to intercept them. Night had already set in 
when, after a tedious march, he came in sight of them encamped 
on the Ludhiana side of the ferry. Though taken completely 
by surprise, they challenged him to come on, and fired a volley. 
He sharply ordered the two guns to be brought up ; but the 
horses attached to one of them, maddened by the flashes and 
reports of the muskets, bolted. Eunning back, he met and 
hurried up the other, unlimbered, and sent a round of grape 
into the midst of the mutineers. Most of them dispersed ; but 
those who remained returned the fire ; and Ricketts found his 
little force weakened by the flight of the Nabha troops, who 
had not stood to receive a single volley. Still the remaining 
gun was admirably served ; and, though the mutineers began 
to rally, the handful of Sikhs fought a noble battle until 
Ricketts, finding his ammunition exhausted, judged it prudent 
to retreat. 

About eleven o'clock on the following day the mutineers 
entered Ludhiana, and, aided by the native garrison 

June 9 

and the populace, attacked the houses of Govern- 
ment officials, released the prisoners, plundered the native 
traders, and finally marched for Delhi. Twice during the day 
Ricketts had sent urgent messages to Johnstone, begging for 
succour : but, when the succour at last came, it was too late. 

Of Johnstone's conduct it is needless to speak. It was 
approved at the Horse Guards ; it was condemned in India. 
It was justified by Johnstone himself on this ground among 
others, that he could not venture to expose his Europeans to 
the perils of undertaking a long pursuit under an Indian sun. 
But, had he originally disarmed his sepoys, no pursuit would 
have been necessary ; and it is fair to assume that British 
soldiers, the comrades of the men who, under the burning sun 
and the drenching storms of July, August, and September, fought 
their way from Allahabad to Cawnpore, and from Cawnpore to 
Lucknow, Avould have blushed to hear of the excuse which was 
put forward by their commander for his inaction.^ 

1 /'. Af. R., pp. 33-1, pars. 47-8. Enclosures t'> Secret Letters from India, 
4 July 1857, p. 321 ; Aug. 1S.'.7, pp. 125, 804-0; 24 Sept. 1857, pp. 41-62, 
75-101. Captain Farriugtou, describing the so-called pursuit, wrote "We 
marclied to Phugwarra, wliicli place we reached at 11 o'clock — we baited there 
5^ hours. The General observed it was very hot and said he would halt till it 


The action of Ricketts, too, speaks for itself. It is true 
that he failed to save Ludhiana from attack : but no man 
could have accomplished more than he did ; and perhaps it was 
partly due to the awe with which his daring had inspired them 
that the mutineers made such haste to pursue their march to 
Delhi. It is probable that their original intention had been to 
occupy Ludhiana, from which they could have fomented in- 
surrection through the Cis-Sutlej States, dominated the Grand 
Trunk Road, and thus delayed the passage of the troops 
destined to aid in the recapture of Delhi. But, in their hurry 
to leave Jullundur, they had taken blank instead of balled 
ammunition. This accident alone prevented Johnstone from 
becoming as notorious as Hewitt and Lloyd. 

It is more important, however, to point out what was than 
what might have been ; and the actual results of Johnstone's 
weakness were bad enough. Though an accident had prevented 
the mutineers from making Ludhiana their headquarters, their 
mere passage through the district cavised a violent commotion. 
Arson, murder, highway robbery, cattle-lifting, and dacoity sud- 
denly revived ; and some of the offenders, when apprehended, 
naively accounted for their misconduct by confessing that they 
had believed the rule of the British to be over. Ricketts, how- 
ever, soon restored order by a method as original as it was 
effective. It was simply a philosophical application of the old- 
fashioned principle of tit for tat. He mercilessly executed all 
who had been found guilty of violent crimes, disarmed the city 
population because they had not used their arms in defence of 
authority, and imposed a heavy fine upon them, to impress 
upon their minds that it was their interest to exert themselves 
in the maintenance of order. ^ 

Another noteworthy result of the Jullundur mutiny remains 
to be recorded. It had been at first deemed unwise, in the 
absence of an adequate European force, to attempt to disarm 
the sepoys at Mooltan. Now, however, the Chief Commissioner, 

got cooler. Had rations been sent with tlie rum an hour's rest would have been 
ample." Major Briud, who had before "had the fullest contidence in the 
judgment and energy of the Brigadier," attributed "the paralysing efleet of 
his refusing to act, or receive suggestions, to mental depression." 

» P. M. J{., p. 34, par. 48 •" p)). 89-91, pars. 20-22, 25 ; p. 112, par. 29 ; 
p. 113, ])ars. 34-0 ; pp. 114-16, pais. 40-1, 45. Cooper's Crisis in the Punjab, 
pp. 91-2. Eaclosares to Secret Letters from. India, 20 to 29 July, 1857, pp. 
80, 82. 


fearing that they would rise as soon as they heard of the mutiny 
at Jullundur, and knowing that the loss of Mooltan would in- 
volve the loss of the whole Southern Punjab, and with it of the 
road to Bombay, determined that, at all hazards, the attempt 
must be made. So delicate, however, was the task that, feeling 
no confidence in the ability of the commandant of the station, 
he entrusted it to another officer, Major Crawford Disarming 
Chamberlain, by whom it was successfully per- atMooUan. 
formed. To quote the words of the Chief Com- 
missioner, " the disarming at Mooltan was a turning-point in 
the Punjab crisis, second only in importance to the disarming 
at Lahore and Peshawur." ^ 

Hitherto the narrative of the Punjab crisis has only dealt 
with a few prominent places, at which occurred General policy 
events too important to be relegated to the ob- of the Punjab 

. '- • n 1 • Government. 

scurity 01 a summary review. buch a review, 
dealing with the general policy of the Punjab Government and 
the demeanour of the native population, it will now be proper 
to attempt. 

An eye-witness has eloquently described the impression made 
upon him by the calm, cheerful bearing of the Chief Com- 
missioner, as he met Edwardes and Chamberlain in council at 
Rdwalpindi.'^ It is unnecessary to do more than indicate the 
most prominent features of the problem which lay before him, 
and the principle of solution which he adopted. He could not 
yet tell how far the population of his own province would be 
disposed to encourage mutiny, or to embark in rebellion. But, 
however loyal they might be, there would still be work enough 
for him in guarding them from the hostility or the intrigues of 
their untameable neighbours beyond the frontier. Another 
anxious question presented itself, in connexion with the Pun- 
jabi troops, of whom at least a fourth were Hindustanis. Would 
the minority succeed in corrupting the majority ? Was it even 
certain that the majority had no quarrel of their own to settle 1 
Happily on these points suspense was soon at an end. In the 
third week of May it became manifest that the Punjabi soldiers 
had no sympathy with the Hindustdnis ; and it was therefore at 

I P. M. R., pp. 50-1, par. 114 ; pp. 11-12, par. 29. Cave-Browne, vol. i. p. 124. 
To speak with strict accuracy, Lawrence induced General Gowan, who was then 
commanding in the Punjab, to entrust the task to Chamberlain. 

■■* Cave-Browne, vol. i. p. ISO. 


once resolved to add to their numbers, in order to compensate 
for the losses entailed by mutiny or desertion. Thirty-four 
thousand new troops of various races, creeds, and dialects were 
thus raised ; and many more would have been forthcoming, if 
the Chief Commissioner had not wisely resolved to prevent the 
Punjabis from flattering themselves that they were indispens- 
able to the British power. ^ 

The sepoys, as the reader will already have perceived, were 
differently treated. At one time, indeed, the Chief Commis- 
sioner thought of disarming every regiment in the jjrovince ; 
but, finding that it would not in all cases be possible to prevent 
the men from deserting afterwards to reinforce their comrades 
at Delhi, he gave up his intention, still, however, keeping the 
policy of disarming in view, as a remedy for hopeless cases of 

How to provide the sinews of war, was a problem which 
soon engaged the attention of the authorities. Towards the 
end of May, the Commissioner of the Cis-Sutlej States opened 
a six per cent loan, to be repaid within one year ; and this 
measure was soon extended to the whole province. The results 
were very significant of the state of popular feeling. While 
the chiefs, who had already shown themselves ready to help the 
Government with their arms, offered liberal subscriptions, the 
wealthy bankers and merchants contributed as little as they 

Special measures were also taken for the preservation of 
order among the non-military classes. The police, who from 
the first showed an admirable spirit, were strengthened ; and, 
to aid them in keeping the peace, the feudatory chiefs were 
required to furnish contingents from their retainers. Plun- 
derers, when apprehended, were forced to pay for all the pro- 
perty which they had stolen or destroyed. Criminals were 
punished with a ruthlessness which was amply justified by the 
paramount necessity of saving the State ; though severity was 
judiciously tempered with mercy as soon as the might of 
authority had been sufficiently demonstrated. The ferries and 

^ P. M. li., pp. 1, 2, par. 3 ; pp. C, 7, pars. 16-17 ; Enclosures to Secret 
Letters from. India, .Sept. to Dec. ISr.S, p]). 102-3. 

'■^ P. M. R., p. 8, par. 21 ; pp. 10-11, par. 27. 

^ lb. p. 9, par. 22 ; p. 23, par. 9. The amount realised in the whole of the 
Punjab between July 1857 and January 1858 was about 41 lakhs, or 4,100,000 
rupees. General Report, \>. 27, par. 82. 


passages of the great rivers were strictly watched ; and no 
travellers who could not give a satisfactory account of them- 
selves were allowed to pass.^ Arrangements were made for 
securing the treasure in the various districts with such success 
that, from the beginning to the end of the crisis, not more than 
ten thousand pounds were lost. This fact is in itself enough 
to show how admirably the Punjab officials did their work. 
How heavy the burden of their work was, may be judged from 
the fact that, while in most cases they managed to perform 
their ordinary duties without falling into arrears, they were 
also obliged to exercise constant supervision over the post-office, 
to distribute supplies of ammunition, to keep an eye upon the 
prisoners in the gaols, to repair bridges, to collect transport- 
carriage, to raise new regiments, to provide for the safety of 
the ladies and children, and to perform a variety of other 
tedious and inglorious, but necessary services too numerous to 
be mentioned, besides holding themselves in readiness to accom- 
pany detachments of troops into the field, or even to bear arms 
in person. 2 

The behaviour of the people of the country may next be 
noticed. The frontier tribes, of whose conduct 
such fears had been entertained, were never really ofe'peopie.°^ 
dangerous, though often troublesome. The in- 
eradicable restlessness and unruliness of the Mahomedans were 
naturally excited by the electrical state of the political atmo- 
sphere. The Sikhs remained thoroughly loyal so long as they 
retained confidence in the vitality of the Government. In nine 
cases out of ten, such disturbances as did arise were traced to 
the machinations of Hindustanis. So dangerous indeed were 
these aliens that the Chief Commissioner caused large numbers 
of them to be expelled from the province.^ 

On the whole, however, the people of the Punjab stood 
the strain of the Mutiny so well as to win the emphatic com- 
mendation of the Chief Commissioner. It would of course 

^ "The five great rivers," observes the author of the General Report, 
" eminently favoured the Punjab administration during the crisis. They cut ott' 
the Punjab from Hindoostan, and divided the province into so many portions, 
almost like the compartments which are constructed in a ship to prevent the rush 
of invading water from one part to another," p. 11, par. 22. 

2 n. pp. 10-11, par. 20 ; pp. 12-13, par. 28. P. M. R., pp. 7, 8, pars. 18-21 ; 
p. 9, par. 24 ; p. 23, pars. 11, 13 ; p. 28, par. 29. 

s P. M. R., p. 18, par. 48 ; pp. 23-4, par. 14. 


be childish to argue from the fact that their behaviour was 
outwardly good, that they cherished a heartfelt loyalty towards 
their rulers. But they were naturally disposed to respect the 
power that was ; they saw that the British were that power, 
and had no idea of abdicating ; and they felt a kind of passive 
sentiment in favour of the most merciful, the most just, and 
above all the most powerful government under which they had 
ever lived. Many of the chiefs rendered valuable services, 
the most prominent instances of which have been detailed, to 
the State which had protected them,^ Some districts remained 
absolutely tranquil throughoiit. Where disturbances did 
break out, they were due, not to any reasonable or definite 
dislike of British rule, but to a belief in its instability. Thus 
thieves, dacoits, and budmashes of every kind thought they 
saw a fine opportunity for pursuing their favourite avocations 
with impunity. Unquiet spirits, like the Mahomedans of the 
Murree Hills, whose only quarrel with our Government was 
that it prevented men from cutting each other's throats, 
attempted to renew their hereditary feuds. Some chiefs even, 
who were at heart thoroughly well disposed, seeing the 
apparently desperate straits to which their existing rulers 
were reduced, began uneasily to consider how they should 
make their peace with the new regime. 

But such instances of disloyalty or weakness of faith were 
few and far between. During the months that witnessed the 
virtual annihilation of British rule in the North - Western 
Provinces, there was in the Punjab no great increase in the 
number of violent crimes, while minor offences actually 
diminished : the civil courts, almost without exception, re- 
mained open all through the crisis : the land-revenue was paid 
up almost to the last rupee : the excise-taxes positively in- 
creased ; and there was but little falling-off in the attendance 
at the Government schools. These facts are proof enough of 
the firm grasp which the Government maintained throughout 
upon the province.^ 

^ Lawrence, witli great judgement, wrote to all the Sikh chiefs who had 
suffered for the rebellion of 1848, and " urged them to retrieve their character 
and come down at once with their retainers. ... As soon as they came in, 
he organised and sent them off to Delhi." Life of Lord Lawrence, vol. ii. 
p. 97. 

2 General Repm-t, p. 6, par. 7 ; p. 9, par. 16 ; p. 15, par. 37 ; p. 19, par. 49. 
P. M. R., p. 17, par. 47 ; p. 24, par. 17 ; p. 35, par. 52 ; p. 37, par. 58 ; 


One portion of the territory subject to Sir John Lawrence 
has not been glanced at in the above review, 
because the part which it played in our history KutUjStates. 
was so special and important as to demand a 
separate notice. This was the Division known as the Cis- 
Sutlej States, lying between the Sutlej and the Jumna, It 
was of the last importance to preserve this country intact, not 
only because it was traversed by the final stage of the Gi*and 
Trunk Eoad to Delhi, but also because, in the absence of any 
natural boundary between the Punjab and the North-Western 
Provinces, it served, to quote the words of Commissioner 
Barnes, " as a kind of breakwater " to repel the strong tide of 
mutiny from the east. But the task of its officers was 
rendered peculiarly difficult by the fact that the population, 
though of mixed races, were more nearly akin to the Hin- 
dustanis than to the Punjabis. Naturally therefore the greater 
number of them sympathised with the sepoys. How their 
worst passions were stimulated by contact with the mutineers 
from Jullundur and Phillaur has already been shown ; and 
this evil influence spread far beyond the limits of the Ludhiana 
district. Mahomedan chiefs were detected in treasonable corre- 
spondence : hereditary thieving tribes eagerly clutched at the 
opportunity of renewing their depredations : villagers raised 
disturbances, and refused to deliver up fugitive mutineers to 
justice; and violent crimes alarmingly increased, though, from 
the intentness with which the criminal classes were watching 
the turns of the rebellion, ordinary misdemeanours almost 
entirely ceased. 

But Commissioner Barnes and his subordinates were equal 
to the occasion. With what energy they forwarded the de- 
spatch of the first British force that marched against Delhi, 
the reader already knows. And now, with the Sikh portion of 
the population, the Rajas of Patiala, Nabha, and Jhind, and 
a number of loyal and influential native gentlemen on their 
side, they resolutely set themselves to stamp out every 
symptom of revolt in their own districts. Their police scoured 
the country, and, assured of indemnity, slew every criminal 
upon whom they could lay their hands. Highway robbers 

p. ."9, par. 64 ; p. 41, par. 75 ; p. 42, par. 78 ; p. 43, par. 82 ; p. 45, pars. 87-8 ; 
p. 47, par. 9G ; p. 48, par. 101 ; p. 49, pars. 104-5 ; p. 50, pav. 109 ; p. 51, 
par. 114. 


and plunderers were, in many cases, hanged on the nearest 
trees as soon as they were caught. The revenue was only to 
be collected at the point of the bayonet ; but it was collected. 
It is needless to say that severity like this proved to be the 
truest mercy in the end. By the close of July the Avorst was 
over. From that moment the people began to return to their 
allegiance ; and the process of tranquillisation was hastened by 
the passage of reinforcements on their way to Delhi.^ 

The mention of these reinforcements naturally introduces 
an account of Sir John Lawrence's imperial as 
imperia^poiicy. distinguished from his local policy. To him that 
hath more shall be given ; and the Chief Com- 
missioner was rewarded for the firmness Avith Avhich he kept 
the peace in the Punjab by finding himself able to make it 
contribute towards the restoration of peace in Hindustan. 
While recording the unselfishness with which he weakened his 
own resources in order to strengthen those of the empire, it 
would be unjust not to mention that for the power to do so 
he was partly indebted to the generosity of Bartle Frere, the 
Commissioner of Sind, who sent up battalion after battalion 
to support him, and laboured throughout in support of the 
Punjab administration as heartily as if he had been a Punjab 
officer. General Van Cortlandt was sent across the Punjab, 

May 31. to reconquer the districts north-west of Delhi. 
To provide for the wants of the besieging army, 
a system of transport, by canal and waggon trains, was 
organised from Kardehi on the western seaboard through the 
Punjab. Besides an abundance of stores of every description 
and the greater part of the necessary treasure, John Lawrence 
contributed in all towards the recapture of Delhi, six battalions 
of European infantry, a regiment of European cavalry and a 
considerable force of European artillery, seven battalions of 
Punjabi infantry, three regiments of Punjabi cavalry, a 
Punjabi corps of sappers and miners and a number of Sikh 
artillerymen, two siege-trains, and eight thousand auxiliaries 
furnished by native chiefs. Of this mighty array of troops, 
the Punjabis had been formed by nine years of hard campaign- 
ing along a rugged and mountainous frontier into the finest 

1 General Report, p. 8, par. 14. P. M. R., p. 26, par. 21 ; p. 27, par. 28 ; 
p. 29, par. 82 ; p. 31, par. 42 ; p. 87, pars. 13-14 ; p. 88, par. IG : p. 89, par. 
18 ; p. 90, par. 21 ; p. 116, par. 45 : pp. 117-18, pars. 47-52. 


soldiers, with the single exception of the Gurkhas, whom India 
had ever produced. When the seizure of Delhi became known, 
many of them were absent on furlough ; but, as soon as they 
received the order to return, they set out on foot to rejoin 
their regiments, and eagerly demanded to be led against the 

One regiment, the first that started from the Punjab, indeed 
the first that started at all, to the attack of Delhi, 
deserves special mention here. This was the March of the 
famous corps of Guides, composed of stalwart De'iiir 
frontier-men of all races, men to whom Henry 
Lawrence, in the exercise of that foresight which discerned the 
premonitory symptoms of the Mutinj^, had pointed as the best 
material to regenerate the effete pipe - clayed battalions of 
Hindustan, and who, likewise at his suggestion, were allowed 
to wear " their own loose, dusky shirts, and sun-proof, sword- 
proof turbans," instead of being imprisoned in European 
ixniforms. At the time of the outbreak at Meerut, the corps, 
consisting of three troops of cavalry and six companies of 
infantry, was quartered at Mardan, under the command of 
Captain Daly. On the 13th of May, six hours after receiving 
their orders, Daly and his men marched out of the station, 
reached Attock, thirty miles distant, next morn- Mayi4. 
ing, and, on arriving at Rawalpindi, learned jjgy jg 
the welcome news that they were to proceed at 
once to Delhi. On the 9th of June, after moving at the rate 
of twenty-seven miles a day for three weeks, they marched 
with a fine swinging stride into camj) at Delhi, and three 
hours afterwards went into action with the mutineers. This 
march has always ranked among the foremost achievements of 
the war.^ 

It is now time to trace the fortunes of General Barnard 
and his army, whom we left encamped before British position 
Delhi on the night of the battle of Badli-ki-Serai. ^^^^""^ ^''''^'■ 

Their camp was protected in front by a line of rocky ground, 
known as the Ridge, which extended from the Jumna on the 
left to the distance of about two miles, and looked down upon 
the northern and part of the western face of the city. The left 

^ P. M. R., pp. 4-6, pars. 12-1.5 ; p. 20, pars. 60-1 ; p. 91, par. 24. 
Enclosures to Secret Letters from Mdia, Aug. 1857, p. 808. 

2 7\ M. R., pp. 59, 60, pars. 27-8 ; Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 327-8. 


was comparatively secure ; for the Jumna was unf ordable, and its 
great width forbade any attempt to enfilade the British position 
with field-guns. At intervals along the Kidge stood four build- 
ings, specially adapted for defence, the FlagstafJ' Tower, a mosque, 
an observatory, and, near the extreme right, a large mansion, 
called Hindu Edo's house. At each of these Barnard established 
piquets. To the right rear of Hindu Rao's house lay the 
suburb of Sabzi-Mandi, and beyond it again a cluster of 
villages, which, with it, promised excellent cover to the enemy 
in any attacks which they might make upon the camp. More- 
over, the space between the city and the Ridge was OA^ergrown 
by trees and shrubs, and covered with old mosques, tombs, and 
ruins, sheltered by which an attacking force might steal un- 
perceived to within a few yards of the camp. "Within this 
space were situated two buildings, the Metcalfe house and 
Ludlow castle, which seemed likely to become objects of con- 
tention between the opposing forces. 

The city itself was surrounded by a wall, about seven miles 
in extent, and some twenty-four feet in height, strengthened by 
a number of bastions, and possessing ten massive gates. Around 
the wall ran a dry ditch, about twenty-five feet Avide and rather 
less than twenty feet deep. The counterscarp and glacis were 
not such as to excite the admiration of the English engineers. 
Still, the fortifications, which had been recently repaired, were 
too strong to be battered down by such artillery as Barnard 
then had at his disposal ; and the city was far too extensive to 
be invested by his little force. All that he could do was to 
watch the portion, little more than a seventh of the whole, that 
faced the Ridge. The enemy, therefore, were free to go in and 
out of the city as often as they pleased.^ 

It will be evident from the above account that the British 
General had a hard task before him. Though his position was 
Barnard's in itself Commanding enough, its advantages were 
situatioa. largely neutralised by the features of the surround- 
ing country : his force was small compared Avith that of the 
mutineers ; and he would have enough to do to prevent them 
from cutting off" his communications with the Punjab, to which 
he had to look not only for reinforcements, but also for supplies. 

^ Lord Roberts".*! Foriy-one Yearn in India, vol. i. p. 158 ; Forrest's Selec- 
tions from Stale Papers, vol. i. ])p. 389-90 ; Col. H. M. Viliiut's Richard Baird 
Smith, pp. 24-5. 


But he knew that his Government and his countrymen, ignorant 
or heedless of the difficulties which beset him, expected him to 
recapture Delhi without a moment's delay ; he could not bear 
to encounter the reproaches which had been heaped upon his 
predecessor; and he therefore resolved, not with the calm 
resolution of the strong man, but with the desperation of the 
gambler, to try any enterprise that offered the remotest chance 
of success, though his reputation should be wrecked by failure. 
In this temper he lent a ready ear to a bold suggestion Avhich 
was pressed upon him by a knot of ambitious subalterns under 
his command. 

Amongst the younger officers was a clever lieutenant of 
Engineers, named Wilberforce Greathed. Feel- The proposed 
ing confident that the city could be taken by a '^"^'p-dc-main. 
coup-de-main, he argued his point so forcibly, that Barnard 
ordered him to draw up a detailed plan of attack in concert 
with tAvo other Engineer officers and that Lieutenant Hodson 
whose daring ride from Karnal to Meerut, and from Meerut to 
Umballa, had brought him prominently into notice. The plan 
which they agreed upon was that, at half-past three on the 
morning of the 13th of June, two of the gates nearest to the 
Ridge should be blown open, and that, immediately after the 
explosion, two columns should enter the city, pass along the 
ramparts to right and left, take possession of the successive 
bastions with their guns, and finally communicate with a third, 
which was to advance to the palace.-^ Four sorties on four 
successive days had been repulsed ; and Greathed insisted that 
the disheartened mutineers would be easily overcome. Barnard 
approved the scheme, and issued orders for its execution. But 
an accident prevented it from being even attempted. Brigadier 
Graves was field-officer of the day, and as such received an 
order to move oft' the Europeans on piquet, who were to form 
part of the attacking force. As, however, the order was not 
given in writing, and as he was unwilling to entrust the 
piquet duty to natives, he galloped to Barnard's tent for 
further instructions, and, telling him that, although it might 
be possible to take the city by surprise, it would be impossible 
to hold it with such a small force, then and there persuaded 
him to abandon the enterprise. The columns, which had already 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. i. p. 375 ; Kaye, vol. ii. pp. 526-7 ; Forrest's Selections 
from Slate Papers, vol. i. pp. 293-4. 


advanced some distance, were therefore recalled. Hodson was 
naturally furious at the interference which had disappointed 
his hopes, and spoke of it as flat disobedience of orders ; ^ but 
there can be no doubt that Graves was perfectly justified in 
availing himself of the informal character of the order which he 
had received to go and dissuade his chief from what he regarded 
as a hopeless venture. 

Greathed, however, was not to be thus baffled. Two days 
later he presented to Barnard a revised plan of 
attack, to consider which a council of war was 
summoned for the 15th. The military officers were almost 
unanimous in asserting that it would be madness to make the 
attempt before the arrival of a reinforcement of at least a 
thousand men. On the other hand. Commissioner Greathed, 
who represented the Lieutenant-Governor of the North- Western 
Provinces, strongly urged that such a delay would encourage 
the disaff"ected, and weaken the confidence of the native allies 
of the British Government. The council broke up without 
coming to any decision, but reassembled on the following 
day. Brigadier Wilson and General Eeed,'^ who 
had succeeded Anson as Provisional Commander-in- 
Chief, declared themselves strongly opposed to undertaking 
the assault even on the arrival of the first instalment of 
the expected reinforcements. The chief reasons which they 
gave were, that, as nearly the whole force would be required 
for the enterprise, the camp would necessarily be left exposed 
to attack ; that, even if the assaulting columns should succeed 
in forcing their way into the city, they would run the risk of 
being destroyed by the superior numbers of the insurgents, who 
had shown that they could fight resolutely enough behind 
cover ; and that, on political no less than on military grounds, 
it would be prudent to wait, inasmuch as by the adoption of 
such a course a large body of mutineers, who would otherwise 
be free to spread fire and sword through the surrounding 
country, would be kept inactive within the city. Influenced by 
these arguments, Barnard, who from the beginning had never 
known his own mind, abandoned the idea of the assault. A 
few days later, indeed, Wilberforce Greathed, pointing out that 

^ Hodson, pp. 204, 207-8. 

'^ Ill-health prevented Reed from taking au active part in the work of the 


the mutineers would soon be strongly reinforced, and that, if 
Delhi were not speedily reduced, Agra would most probably be 
besieged, made a last attempt to obtain the adoption of his own 
views, but in vain.^ 

It is probable that, if the assault had been delivered, as 
originally intended, on the morning of the 1 3th, not only would 
the city have been taken, but it would have been held.^ There 
were not more than seven thousand sepoys of all arms within 
the city ; while Barnard's available infantry numbered tAvo 
thousand.^ There is good reason to believe that the latter 
would have been strong enough to overcome the resistance of 
the former;'^ and it is certain that, from the bulk of the citizens, 
they would have met with no resistance at all. Moreover, auda- 
city counts for so much in Indian warfare that, even if they had 
been too weak in themselves, the awe inspired by the sudden- 
ness and swiftness of their attack might have given them the 
victory. On the other hand, though we may believe, we cannot 
be sure that they would have succeeded ; and, if they had 
failed, the results would have been calamitous. 

The more important question, whether the early recapture 
of Delhi would have been politically useful, may be answered 
decidedly in the affirmative. The great argument of those who 

1 Kaye (vol. ii. pp. 533-7, 539-40) gives Jong extracts from the memoranda 
which the officers laid before the council. 

^ Hodsou, p. 214. Greatlied's Letters -written during the Siege of Delhi, 
p. 110. See also a letter written by Baird Smith to a friend, and published in 
the Tiims of May 11, 1858, p. 6, cols. 2, 3. 

^ Hodson, p. 239, and note. Hodson was chief of the Intelligence Depart- 
ment. Innes [Sepoy Revolt, p. 107) estimates the number of the sepoys at 8000. 
The entire British force comprised 2400 infantry and 600 cavalry, besides the 
Guides (six companies of infantry and three of cavalry). A note by Com- 
missioner Barnes to a statement prepared by Hodson's spy, Rajab Ali (Aug. 
14, 1857), says "in round numbers the mutineers may be estimated at 4000 
Cavalry and 12,000 Infantry. The rest, say 1000 Cavalry and 3000 Infantry, 
are undisciplined levies of no account whatever." Enclosures to Secret Letters from 
India, 8 to 22 Oct. 1857, p. 128. Henry Norman, on the other hand, says that 
the mutineers numbered, at that time, 30,000. When the assault was actually 
delivered, the strength of the assaulting columns and the reserve was 5160. 
Forrest's Selections from State Papers, vol. i. pp. 371-2, 449. 

* As the numerical discrepancy between tlie contending forces was as great 
when the city was at last taken, it is fair to assume that the columns intended 
for the assault of the 12tli of June would have succeeded at least as well as those 
which made the actual assault on the 14th of September. ["Our troops," 
wrote Wilberforce Greathed, "were in splendid fettle, the enemy dispirited 
by four heavy repulses in five days." — A Memorial of the Life and Services of 
MaJ.-Geii. W. W. H. Greathed, C.B., p. 23, by Sir H. Yule.] 


opposed the assault was, that its success would have allowed 
the mutineers to disperse, and raise disturbances in the sur- 
rounding country. Even if this had been the case, however, 
the exjDected reinforcements would have been available to 
destroy them. Moreover, any temporary mischief that might 
have ensued would have been more than counterbalanced. The 
timely reconquest of the imperial city, by aftbrding an undeni- 
able proof of the enduring vitality of the British power, would 
have at once removed the strain upon the Punjab, might 
have at once extinguished the fire of insurrection throughout 
the North-Western Provinces, and would at least have set free, 
to tread out any embers that might have still continued to 
smoulder, a host of British soldiers, who were destined to perish 
fruitlessly in a long series of tedious combats on the Ridge. 

Meanwhile the enemy were taking full advantage of the 
respite which their opponents had afforded them. On the 12th 
En I lite, they made an attack on the camp both in front 
witti the and rear, but were beaten back, and pursued up 
enemy. ^^ ^-^^ walls of the city; while the Metcalfe house 

was Avrested from them, strengthened by a piquet, and placed 
in communication with the post at the Flagstafif Tower. The 
result was that it became impossible for them to turn the left 
of the British defences. Notwithstanding this failure, they 
made three several attempts to capture Hindu 
'' ' ' Rao's house, the importance of which they fully 
appreciated, but were uniformly repulsed. On the 17th the 
British assumed the offensive, and succeeded in destroying 
a battery Avhich their opponents were erecting with the ob- 
ject of enfilading the Ridge. Two days later 
the enemy made another attack on the rear, but 
were again defeated. 

After this Aveek of fighting they rested awhile, but only to 
prepare themselves for a greater effort. The Centenary of 
Plassey was approaching ; and their priests and astrologers 
bade them be of good courage, for on that day the empire of 
the Feringhees Avas fated to be overthrown. Relying on these 
assurances, and fortified, like the besiegers of Arcot, by copious 
draughts of bhang, they marched out of the Lahore gate at 
daybreak, and passed the British right, intending 
to attack the camp in rear ; but, finding that the 
bridges over the Najafgarh Canal had been destroyed, they 


were forced to return to the Sabzi-Mandi. There a desperate 
struggle was maintained. About noon a determined attempt 
was made, supported by the heavy guns thundering from the 
city and the suburbs, to capture Hindu Eao's house ; and, 
though the 60th Eifies, the Gurkhas, and the Guides offered a 
noble resistance, Major Eeid, who commanded the post, was 
bvirely able to hold his ground until reinforcements arrived. 
Then the tide began to turn ; and the enemy, again and again 
repulsed, fell back at sunset on the city, having lost over three 
hundred men.^ A permanent result of the day's fighting was 
the capture of a building in the Sabzi-Mandi called the Sammy 
house, which was thenceforward garrisoned by a body of 
Europeans, and connected by a line of breastworks with 
Hindu Eao's house. This success, following the destruction of 
the bridges over the Najafgarh Canal, made it impossible for 
the rebels to attack the rear of the camp without undertaking 
a long circuit.^ 

The prospects of the besiegers were now beginning to brighten. 
Eeinforcements had just arrived ; and more were 
to follow soon. On the day after the Centenary Nevme cham- 
of riassey, Neville Chamberlain, who had handed ^^'i^'!,'" '"^'^ 

.1 iri -r> .iT.,r ■> , r^ ■, Baird Smith. 

over the command oi the runjab Moveable Column 
to Nicholson, came to assume the office of Adjutant-General. 
The more eager and daring spirits rejoiced at the coming of 
one who, they had good reason to hope, would breathe a more 
fervent spirit into the counsels which directed them. " He 
ought," wrote Hodson exultingly, " to be worth a thousand 
men to us."^ Another arrival, too, was hopefully awaited. 
The Chief Engineer was no longer fit for duty ; and Colonel 
Baird Smith, who presided over the great engineering college at 
Eoorkee, was summoned to take his place. Eapidly organising 
a body of pioneei^s, and collecting a supply of engineering tools 
and stores, he travelled down as fast as horses and elephants 
could carry him, stimulated to greater speed by a message 
which reached him on his way, telling that Delhi juiy 2. 
was at last to be assaulted. But his haste was all 
in vain. On his arrival he found that Barnard Julys. 

^ Reid's Letters and Notes, quoted by Kaye, vol. ii. p. 555, note. 

- Cave-Browne, vol. i. pp. 351-2 ; H. Norman's Narratice of the Campaign of 
the Delhi Army, p. 18 ; Ilistonj of the Siege of Delhi, by an Officer who served 
there, pp. 120-2 ; Lord Eoberts, vol. i. p. 174. 

3 Hodsou, p. 216. 


had postponed the intended enterprise, in the belief that he 

was himself to be attacked in great force on the very morning 

of the appointed day. The enemy had just been reinforced by 

the mutinous regiments from Rohilkhand ; and though, as it 

turned out, they did not carry out the threat which had alarmed 

Barnard, they made an expedition on the evening of the same 

day to Alipur, intending to intercept some British convoys. 

They failed, indeed, in their object ; but the mere 

commuiiica- ^^^t of their being able to make the attempt 

tionsen- showed the besiegers the danger to which their 

dangered. . . • i i -r» • i 

communications with the Punjab were exposed. 
If there had been an able general in Delhi, he would have seen 
from the first that his true policy was to cut that all-important 
line, and would have kept a strong column in the field till the 
work should have been done. But Baird Smith had gauged 
the capacity of his opponents ; and he saw that a few days' 
labour would make the position secure. The engineers, there- 
fore, set to work under his orders, and succeeded in destroy- 
ing a number of bridges over the Western Jumna Canal, and 
two over the Najafgarh jheel ; but one over the latter, and the 
bridge of boats over the Jumna, by which the rebel reinforce- 
ments, as they arrived, were enabled to make their way 
into the city, resisted every eff'ort for their destruction.^ 

The British reinforcements had not come a moment before 

they were needed ; for, though the enemy had 
mentsof failed in every object which they had undertaken, 
'^'"^'^ ■ Barnard had as certainly failed to make the 
slightest visible impression upon the city. He could not help 
seeing that he was in reality not besieging, but besieged. His 
artillery park was so ill supplied that it was actually necessary 
to buy from camp-followers the shot, fired from the enemy's 
batteries, which they had picked up on the field. He had 
not been able to silence one of the hostile guns. If the 
enemy were inferior to his troops in close fighting, their artillery 
practice was superior ; their guns outnumbered his by four to 
one ; their stores of ammunition were virtually inexhaustible ; 
and they too had been reinforced, and reinforced in far greater 
strength than their opponents.- Barnard's victories, while yield- 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. ii. p. 14 ; Noi'mau, p. 22 ; Hodsoii, p. 261 ; Vibart's 
Richard Baird Smith, pp. 8-9, 30. 

2 Lord Roberts, vol. i. p. 178 ; Vibart, p. 32. It was the deliberate opiniou of 


ing no decisive result, had been dearly bought. From the 
30th of May to the 30th of June, the Rifles alone had lost a 
hundred and sixty-five men, killed, wounded, and destroyed by 

How bitterly conscious Barnard was of his own failure, is 
evident from the eagerness with which he endeavoured to make 
his Government and his own friends appreciate his difficulties. 
And those difficulties were indeed so great that it is doubtful 
whether any general could have surmounted them. But 
Barnard must also have felt that he had lost the confidence of 
those who served under him. The cause was not simply that 
he had failed. Soldiers seldom ask themselves why they trust 
one leader, why they distrust another. But up to a certain 
point they are as infallible judges of the qualities of their com- 
mander as schoolboys are of the qualities of their master. The 
explanation of the distrust with which Barnard was regarded is 
simply that he distrusted himself, and therefore allowed him- 
self to be swayed hither and thither by mutually antagonistic 
advisers. 2 

But, if he had failed to inspire men with confidence in his 
powers as a general, he inspired them with some- 
thing akin to love for himself as a man; In the 
midst of all his labours, his troubles, and his anxieties, he re- 
mained the perfect gentleman, the courteous, open-handed 
host, the thoughtful, tender friend. Hodson has feelingly re- 
lated how one night, when he chanced to awake, he found the 
kind old man standing at his bedside, carefully covering him 
up from the draught.^ He let the humblest of his soldiers 

John Lawrence that Delhi would have been in our possession early in July but for 
the material aid and, much more, the moral stimulus given to the nmtineers by the 
reinforcements from JuUuudur and Bareilly, which only the imbecility of Johnstone 
and Hewitt allowed to arrive. "General Hewitt," he wrote, " might well have 
spared at least half the 1400 men under his conmiand ; such a body under an enter- 
prising and efficient officer would have prevented the mutineers from ever crossing 
the Ganges." Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, August 1857, pp. 804-6, 
809 ; Dunlop's Service and Adventure with the Khakee Ressalah, pp. 53-4. 
[See Baird Smith's letter published in the Times of May 11, 1858, giving reasons 
for believing that an assault early in July would have succeeded.] 

1 Rotton, p. 108. 

" Lord Roberts, vol. i. p. 186. An engineer officer writing to the Times, Sept. 1 , 
1857, p. 8, col. 6, from Delhi, says : "The great want in this (an action fought 
on June 28), as in all our actions, was the want of a head ; officers lead on their 
parties without any method or arrangement." 

3 Hodson, p. 207. 


know that he felt for their sufferings, and took a pride in their 
valour and endurance. While he thus endeared himself to all, 
he won their respect by his conscientious performance of duty. 
His anxiety and his failing nerves would not suft'er him to 
sleep ; and therefore, while life remained to him, he worked on 
day and night alike. The coming of Baird Smith cheered him : 
but his end was even then approaching ; for on 

His death 

the 5th of July he was struck down by cholera, 
and before night he died. 

The vexed question of assault was now reopened. Baird 
The question '^^^ith, finding that it was as yet impossible to 
of assault Undertake a regular siege, on account of the 

paucity of guns and the insufficiency of ammuni- 
tion, submitted a plan of attack to Reed, who had succeeded 
Barnard. Valuable time, however, was lost in considering the 
plan ; and after a week's delay Reed was persuaded to reject 
it. Meanwhile the British had suffered heavy loss ; and a day 
or two later Baird Smith himself acknowledged that the time 
for an assault had gone by.^ On the 17th, Reed, who had been 
in wretched health since the beginning of the siege, made over 
the command to Wilson. 

The new chief Avas a good officer in his own branch of the 

service, and could boast that he had already won 

two battles over the mutineers ; but neither in 
heart nor in head was he strong enough to sustain a burden 
under which his two predecessors had succumbed within six 
weeks. Great men of action have suffered from sensitive 
nerves more often than the world suspects ; but they have 
become great by learning to hold their nerve force under con- 
trol. This, however, was precisely what Wilson had not learned 
to do. He allowed himself to be irritated l)y trifles, not only 
out of his equanimity, but also out of his urbanity. Yet it is 
certain that many expected great results from his appointment. 
Hardly, however, had he succeeded to the command before he 
began to think of retiring from Delhi altogether. The thought 
did not, indeed, originate with him. Even Hervey Greathed 
had suggested that the army would be better employed in re- 
storing order in other parts of the country than in fighting 
battles that led to no result. Baird Smith, however, represent- 

1 Times, May ] 1, 1858, p. tl, col. 2 j Vibai't's Richard Baird Umitli, pp. 95 
98, 102. 


ing that to retreat v/ouki be to abandon communication with 
the Punjab, and to withdraw the protection Avhich the army 
in its present position aftbrded to that province, entreated 
Wilson to remain. Wilson was sagacious enough to see the 
force of these arguments, and wrote to John 
Lawrence, declaring his resolve to stand his 
ground to the last, and begging for reinforcements. 

The most trying period of the so-called siege had now been 
reached. The rains had set in ; and men wetted T^ , 

■ re ^ Deeds and 

to the skin often found, on coming ofi duty, that sufferings 
their tents were water-logged. Swarms of flies earmy. 

tormented the wounded as they lay in hospital, and craAvled 
over the meat on the mess-tables. Owing perhaps to abundant 
food and water, the rate of mortality was indeed far below that 
recorded in Havelock's campaign ; but still there was quite 
enough sickness to impair seriously the fighting strength of the 
force. Wilson's army was of the finest mettle : but the best 
troops would deteriorate after fighting, on an average, three 
battles a week for six weeks without making any apparent pro- 
gress towards their object ; and it was clear that the men were 
losing their discipline. Wilson's best title to praise is that he set 
himself resolutely to remedy this state of things. He insisted 
on the men wearing their uniforms instead of turning out in 
their shirt-sleeves, as they had fallen into the habit of doing ; 
he organised a regular system of reliefs in order to give them 
the greatest possible amount of rest ; and above all he ex- 
pressed his resolve to protect the camp-followers, whom, in their 
unthinking hatred of the coloured races, they had treated with 
insolent cruelty.^ 

Meanwhile the fighting on the Ridge had been maintained 
almost without a pause. From every part of the country, from 
Jhansi, from R.ijputana, from the Punjab, from Central 
India, and from the North-Western Provinces, the mutineers 
had been and were still streaming in their thousands into 
Delhi ; and it was the custom that each instalment of the rein- 
forcements should go forth soon after its arrival, and prove its 
title to share in the honours of the garrison by attacking the 

^ Hodsou, pp. 227, 282 ; Greatlied, pp. 115, 165 ; Turnbull's Letters writien 
during the Siege of Delhi, p. 14 ; Cave-Browne, vol. ii. p. 33 ; Rortton, pp. 153, 
155-6 ; History of the Siege of Delhi, by an Officer who served tliere, pp. 119, 
165-6, 175, 195-6, 231-2 ; Lord Roberts, vol. i. pp. 19.5, 198. 


besiegers. Thus attacks were persistently made on the right 
and on the rear ; while cannon thundered from the walls and 
from the enemy's batteries ; and the crack of musketry con- 
tinually re-echoed among the houses of the suburbs. It would 
need an epic to tell of the deeds of valour and of self-sacrifice 
that were performed, here and there on the side of the 
mutineers, everywhere on the side of the British. If hope long 
deferred was beginning to tell on the discipline of the latter, it 

could not weaken their spirit. In six weeks they 
Ju"yf8. h^^ fought more than twenty battles.^ The 

sound of the alarm became familiar to those who 
had never heard it in previous campaigns.- At any hour of the 
day or night the warning note might be heard ; and then, as 
the enemy's masses came swarming to the attack, officers were 
to be seen hurrying to their tents to buckle on their arms, 
horse-artillery galloping to the front, foot-soldiers of divers 
complexions, and wearing divers uniforms, pressing forward to 
defend the threatened point. At Hindu Rao's house, Reid 
held his own as stubbornly as ever with a handful of rifiem-en 
and his regiment of war-loving Gurkhas ; for he knew that if 
his post were captured, the camp would be exposed to the 
enemy's fire, and the Ridge itself become untenable,^ On the 
left and rear Hodson kept watch with an eye which nothing 
could escape, and, at whatever point the battle might be raging, 
was sure to appear in moments of difficulty, and restore the 
fortunes of the day by swift counsel or strong succour.^ And 
there were many other nameless heroes who, each in his own 
sphere, contributed to make ultimate success certain. To- 
wards the end of July, it was plain that invariable defeat was 
breaking down the confidence of the enemy. ^ While their 
attacks became less spirited, the British added, foot by foot, to 
the ground which they held, until the Sabzi-Mandi was com- 
pletely in their power. It is true that on the 1st of August, the 
day of the great festival of the Bakra Eed, Mahomedans and 
Hindus were stimulated by their priests to join in a desperate 
onslaught upon the right : but the British, screened by their 

^ Enclosures to Secret Letters from Iiidia, 24 Sept. 1857, p. 28. 
'^ Greathed, p. 142 ; TurnbuU, pp. 14-1.5 ; History of the Siege of Delhi, by 
an Officer who served there, pp. 94 -f). 

^ See letter in Kaye, vol. iii. pp. 672-3. 

■» Greathed, p. 122. 

■' Hodson, pp. 242, 248. 


breastworks, received the fanatics with a steady fire ; and the 
expiring effort was succeeded by a general lull.^ 

But when would the great object be attained ? When would 
Delhi itself fall ? We can only imagine from a word let fall 
here and there the bitterness of delay which all, from the 
General down to the meanest private, must have tasted in those 
days. *' I confess," wrote one whose heart never failed him, 
"I confess sometimes it requires all one's trust in the God 
of battles, and all the comforting and sustaining words of those 
nearest and dearest to us, to bear up boldly and bravely through 
these weary days." ^ But utterances like these were simply 
expressions of a longing for the sympathy of some loving heart 
by men who Avould have scorned to utter a word of complaint 
to others. In the darkest days a tone not only of cheerfulness, 
but of gaiety pervaded the camp. In the mess-tents, however 
rude the table might be, however homely the fare, talk flowed 
as freely, jests were bandied as merrily as ever. Off duty, 
officers and men kept up their spirits by riding pony-races, or 
playing cricket or quoits. There was a marvellous sympathy 
and good-fellowship among all ranks. The gallantry of the 
Gurkhas and the Guides had made them special favourites 
with their white comrades ; and sometimes a British private 
and a frontier-man might be seen sitting side by side, each 
puffing gravely at his pipe, and talking in his own dialect, 
without understanding a word of what his companion said. 
Wounded officers were carried out on their couches in the 
evening to enjoy the air, and listen to the music of the bands. 
Nor were the men in hospital forgotten. They knew that they 
might reckon upon their comrades coming round in leisure 
moments, to smoke a pipe with them, and chat over the events 
of the day. The spirit of the sufferers was admirable. One 
man, who had only a few hours to live, cheerily told an officer 
that he knew he would soon be up again, and ready for another 
brush with the mutineers. There was indeed a darker side to 
the picture. Thoughtless lads were heard to say that eveiy 
Poorbeah in camp ought to be put to death : ignorant soldiers 
too often repaid the camp-followers, without whose services, 
given at the risk of their lives, they could not have existed for 

^ Norman's Narrative (Forrest's Selectiuns from State Papers, vol. i. jip. 
457-60) ; Vibart, pp. 103, 109. 
- Hodson, pp. 263-4. 


a day, with brutal words and savage blows ; and few of their 
officers cared or ventured to restrain them, even if they did not 
set them the example. But, while no good man would think 
of defending such things, no thoughtful man, rememberinj., the 
circumstances of the time, would be extreme to condemn 

Meanwhile the people of Delhi had had ample opportunities 
for reflecting upon the comparative advantages of 
fnsid7Deihf ' British and of Mogul rule. One of the King's 
sons, the Shahzada, Mirza Mughal, had been 
appointed Commander-in-Chief. His troops, though not so 
unmanageable as might have been expected, were perpetually 
squabbling with their officers, and had to be coaxed into the 
performance of their duty. As time passed, and they failed to 
dislodge their opponents, numbers of them deserted. Those 
who remained became daily less submissive to discipline, 
and more regardless of civil authority. Swaggering into the 
bazaars, they plundered the shops, and bragged of imaginary 
exploits to unarmed listeners, who, for their lives, dared not 
contradict them. The King was besieged by petitions from 
respectable citizens, complaining that the sepoys burst into 
their houses, and debauched their wives and daughters ; but he 
was powerless to punish the offenders, or to grant redress to 
the sufferers. " Repeated injunctions," he wrote, " have been 
issued prohibiting plunder and aggression in the city, but all 
to no purpose." The rapacity of the sepoys indeed was not 
without excuse ; for the poverty of the King was such that 
they could hardly get any pay. Nay, while rebuking them for 
plundering, he was himself driven to extort loans from the 
unhappy merchants. At last a clever subahdar of artillery, 
named Bakht Khan, arrived with the Bareilly brigade, and, 
favoured by the King, who was nettled by the haughty and 
overbearing demeanour of Mirza Mughal, took command of the 
army. But even Bakht Khan, though he did his best to 
restrain the licentious soldiery, could effect little without 
support. Moreover, Mirza Mughal could ill brook the depriva- 
tion of his command ; and the sepoys clamoured for the dis- 
missal of the subahdar. It was finally arranged that the army 

^ Medley, pp. 68-9 ; Histcn-y if the Siege, of Delhi, by an Officer wlio served 
there, p. 194 ; Hodson, p. 213. It is only fair to say that the bheesties were 
well treated. Medley, p. 93. 


should be divided into three brigades, of which Bakht Khan 
should command one, and Mirza Mughal another. The quarrels 
of the rival chiefs were imitated by their inferiors. The cavalry 
were split up into numerous factions. Hindu sepoys reproached 
Mahomedans for having deceived them by false alarms about 
religion, and declared that if only they could be sure that their 
lives would be spared, they would gladly go back to their old 
officers. Mahomedans insisted on their right to slaughter kine, 
and fought with Hindus in the streets ; while all who had any- 
thing to lose cursed the sepoys, and mourned over the downfall 
of the British Eaj. 

The King, though he felt that he was impotent to exert the 
powers of sovereignty, tried feebly to support its external 
dignity. From time to time he took his seat upon the throne, 
and held durbars in the hall wherein his dread ancestors had 
given audience. A few weeks before, the highest English 
officials had been accustomed to dismount at the entrance of 
the passage leading to the hall, and to salute him, as they 
entered, with all the respect due to the representative of ah 
ancient dynasty ; but now sepoy officers galloped up to the 
very door, and, striding in with their swords clanking, sat 
down on the cushions, side by side with chiefs and courtiers, 
and insulted him to his face. On one occasion some hundreds 
of hungry sepoys rushed into the hall, and, thronging round 
him, demanded that he should imprison his sons, who had 
embezzled their pay, and swore that, if their pay were not 
given to them, they would murder him and his family. In the 
surrounding districts, as in the city, his authority was despised. 
The mutineers were strong enough to have detached parties to 
awe the population into obedience ; but, if any of their com- 
manders had the wit to perceive the necessity of such a step, 
the spirit of dissension was too strong to admit of its execu- 
tion. The King tried to find solace for the miseries of his lot 
by describing them in doggerel verse : " The army surrounds 
me," he complained, " I have no peace nor quiet ; my life alone 
remains, and that they will soon destroy." At last, in his 
misery, he declared that he would abdicate, and seek consola- 
tion in a religious life. " Wearied and helpless," he wrote, " we 
have now resolved on making a vow to pass the remainder of 
our days in service acceptable to God, and relinquishing the title 
of sovereign, fraught with cares and troubles, and in our present 

2 A 


griefs and sorrows assuming the garb of a religious mendicant, 
to proceed first and stay at the shrine of the saint Khwaja 
Sahib, and, after making necessary arrangements for the journey, 
to go eventually to Mecca." 

But the restless intriguers who surrounded him still hoped 
to retrieve their lost cause. Emissaries were despatched to 
gain over native princes. Eloquent moiilvis flocked from all 
parts into the city, and, from the pulpits of the mosques, 
preached a war of extermination against the infidels. It was 
announced that the Agra fort had been captured by the 
Neemuch brigade ; and a salute of twenty-one guns celebrated 
the imaginary exploit. The disheartened sepoys were told that 
help would soon reach them ; and on the 11th of August Mirza 
Mughal, as though to give additional force to these assurances, 
issued a magniloquent order, in which he boasted that, " in 
three or four days hence, please God, the whole Kidge will be 
taken, when every one of the base unbelievers will be humbled 
and ruined, and will be sent to hell." ^ 

Long before this period had been reached, a controversy of 
The Peshawar historical interest, relating to the siege, had arisen 
w)-s)i5 i)eihi in the Punjab. So early as the 27th of May, 
con roverby. Edwardes, who looked with a longing eye upon 
the goodly reinforcements which his chief was preparing to 
despatch against Delhi, begged him to divert a portion of them 
for the relief of Peshawar. " You know," he pleaded, " on 
what a nest of devils we stand. Once let us take our foot up, 
and we shall be stung to death." But Lawrence had more fear 
of the devils in Hindustan. Delhi was lost. Within its walls 
were gathered together the arch-traitors, the ringleaders in 
mutiny. It was the focus of rebellion, the vital point upon 
the recovery of which was staked the honour, nay the very 
existence of the empire. He might have said, in the spirit of 
Queen Mary, " If I were to die now, the word ' Delhi ' would 
be found engraven upon my heart." His voice had been the 
loudest to urge its recovery. He must bend all his strength to 
support those who were marching against it, in obedience to 

* Cooper, pp. 196-211 ; Cave-Browne, vol. ii. p. 37 ; History of the Siege of 
Delhi, by an OfBcer who served there, pp. 137-48 ; Evidence taken before the 
Court appointed, for the Trial of the King of Delhi, pp. 115, 118, 120, 124, 165, 
168, 217, 219, 237-8, 278-9 ; Syad Ahmad Khan's Tlie Causes of the Didian 
Revolt, p. 53 ; Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, 8 to 22 Oct. 1857, 
pp. 180, 186. 


him. AVhen, therefore, he saw that its recovery might be a 
question of time, he was only the more firmly resolved to con- 
tinue his supjDort. On the 9th of June he wrote to tell 
Edwardes that, if the besiegers should be in danger of failing 
for want of reinforcements, he thought of sending the European 
troops in the Peshawar valley to help them, and asking Dost 
Mahomed to occupy the valley with his troops, on the undei'- 
standing that, if he proved a faithful ally, it should be ceded 
to him in perpetuity. "Peshawar," he said, "would accom- 
plish his heart's desire, and would do more to make the 
Afghans friendly to us than anything else which we could do." 
" One thing," he added, " appears to be certain, which is, that 
if disaster occurs at Delhi, all the native regulars, and some of 
the irregulars (perhaps many), will abandon us." 

Edwardes was amazed at the proposal ; and Nicholson and 
Cotton shared his feelings. He knew indeed the importance 
of Delhi ; but his own station was all in all to him. He spoke 
of it as the anchor of the Punjab, the removal 
of which would allow the whole ship to drift to 
sea. He ridiculed the idea that Dost Mahomed would show 
himself grateful for the cession. Rather " he would assume 
our day to be gone in India, and follow after us as an enemy." 
"Europeans cannot retreat," he urged; "Caubul would come 

Lawrence treated these arguments with the respect which 
the experience of their author demanded ; but he was not con- 
vinced by them. " There was no one thing," he 
wrote to his lieutenant, " which tended so much to 
the ruin of Napoleon in 1814 as the tenacity with which, after 
the disasters at Leipsic, he clung to the line of the Elbe, 
instead of falling back at once to that of the Rhine." ^ A few 
days later he sent a telegram, announcing the 
march of the Bareilly mutineers for Delhi, and 
implying his resolve to give effect to the Peshawar arrange- 
ments if the prospects of the besiegers should become worse. 
Then Cotton and Edwardes sat down to address a last remon- 
strance to their chief. Cotton urged that the abandonment of 
Peshawar would cause the border tribes, the Punjabi Irregulars, 
the Sikhs, and all who had hitherto remained faithful, to turn 

' It is hardly necessary to point out Lawrence's blunder. Napoleon had 
abandoned the line of the Elbe before the battle of Leipzig. 


upon us, as, hoAvever plausibly we might explain it, their keen 
instincts would seize upon it as a proof of weakness. 
Edwardes's letter was much more than a remon- 
strance. It reads like the passionate outburst of a man who, 
in his eagerness, feels that he is pleading, as it were, face to 
face with one bent upon rushing to his own destruction. The 
Punjab would be sacrificed by giving up Peshawar. " If 
General Reed," he insisted, " cannot take Delhi with eight 
thousand men, he will not take it with nine thousand or ten 
thousand. . . . Make a stand ! ' Anchor, Hardy, anchor ! ' 
... If you hold the Punjab, you will facilitate the reconquest 
of India from the seaboard. . . . Whatever takes place in 
Central India, we shall stand in a firm and honourable attitude 
if we maintain the capitals on the sea, and the frontiers here. 
Between the two it is all a family quarrel, an insurrection in our 
own lionise. Make sure of one practicable policy. If General 
Reed, with all the men you have sent him, cannot get into 
Delhi, let Delhi go." ^ So strongly convinced, indeed, was he of 
the truth of his opinions, that he wrote privately to Lawrence, 
begging him not to order him to abandon Peshawar, as, rather 
than obey such an order, he would feel bound by conscience to 
resign his post, and explain to Government his reasons for 
doing so.- 

Before this letter was written, the Chief Commissioner, like 
the sensible, cool-headed statesman that he was, 
had asked the Governor-General to decide between 
him and his lieutenant. He had requested that an answer 
might be sent to him in one of two foi-ms : " Hold on to 
Peshawur to the last," or "You may act as may appear ex- 
pedient regarding Peshawur." On the 24th of July he wrote 
again, as though to win over the Governor-General to his own 
view, " The Punjab will prove short work to the mutineers when 
the Delhi army is destroyed."^ But, before the 
Governor -General received this letter, he had 
decided in favour of Edwardes. 

The wisdom of this decision is beyond all doubt. Lawrence 
agreed with Edwardes in thinking that it was more important 

^ The italics are mine. Edwardes thought that Reed, if he could not take 
Delhi, should " fall back on the Siitlej, leaving the North-West Provinces to be 
recovered when they could be." MS. correspondence. 

2 Ih. 

^ The italics are mine. 


to hold the Punjab than even to prosecute the siege of Delhi.^ 
The question, then, is narrowed to this, — would the abandon- 
ment of Peshawar have involved the loss of the Punjab 1 
Even if our knowledge of Asiatic character and Anglo-Indian 
history did not incline us to accept Edwardes's view of the 
results that would have followed the abandonment of Peshawar, 
the correctness of that view would be rendered probable by the 
fact that a mere rumour that the Trans-Indus was to be ceded 
to Dost Mahomed caused the greatest uneasiness and distress 
to the staunchest supporters of the Government.^ The Afghans 
were longing to invade the Punjab ; and, if Dost Mahomed 
had not appreciated the solid advantages which he derived 
from his treaty, if he had not felt a wholesome respect for the 
resolute bearing of Edwardes, Nicholson, and Cotton, he would 
doubtless have undertaken an invasion. It is absurd to 
suppose that he or his subjects would have regarded the 
cession of Peshawar as anything but a sign of weakness ; and, 
if they had remained content with the cession, if they had not 
taken advantage of our embarrassment to clutch at so splendid 
a prize as the Punjab, they would hardly have been human 
beings, they would certainly not have been Asiatics. It is as 
certain, then, as any conjecture can be, that, if the cession had 
taken place, the Punjab would have gone.^ On the other 
hand, the fact that the mere delay in reducing Delhi caused 
the most dangerous symptoms to appear in the Punjab, proves 
how disastrous the abandonment of the siege must have 

To sum up, perhaps the weightiest words in the whole con- 

^ Life of Lord Lamrence, vol. ii. p. 145. 

2 P. M. R., pp. 76-7, par. 126. 

■^ "If," wrote Canning, in his letter of July 15 (Sir H. S. Cunningham's Jiarl 
Canning, ])p. 122-4), "we were now to abandon territory, no matter how 
distant, it would 1)6 impossible that faith in the permanency of our rule should 
not be shaken. The encouragement to join the league against us would be 

•* La\vrence thought that, if any disaster occurred at Delhi, it would be 
impossible to hold both Peshawar and the other important points in the 
Puujab. Edwardes, however, wrote, "We thought, whatever dangers occurred 
at Delhi, the Punjalj could be held till troops can come from England, by our 
holding two points in strength, Peshaure and the Manjha about Lahore and 
Umritzir : and we recommended John Lawrence to stand or fall at these places, 
dismissing the idea of retreat." MS. correspondence. Mr. Bosworth Smith 
admits that, if Lawrence had resolved to abandon the siege, he could have 
riildeu out the storm in the Puujab. Life of Lord Laim-ence, vol. ii. pp. 141-2. 


troversy were those in which Edwardes counselled the main- 
tenance, at any cost, of the frontier and the capitals on 
the sea, because "between the two it is a family quarrel." 
If it had been necessary either to abandon Peshawar, or 
to abandon temporarily the siege of Delhi, it would have 
been wiser to choose the latter alternative. The choice, how- 
ever, would have lain between two great, though unequal, 
evils. It is fortunate indeed that such a choice never became 

Meanwhile, although the Punjab was officially reported 

quiet, the authorities knew that they were, so to 
Punjab! ^'^^ speak, standing upon a mine. Seven infantry 

and two cavalry regiments of armed natives were 
still scattered over the country.- Two of these, the 58th at 
Rawalpindi and the 14th at Jhelum, were known to be 
ripening so fast for mutiny, that the Chief Commissioner re- 
solved to disarm them. He laid his plans with consummate 
skill. The Jhelum regiment was to be surprised by a force 
from Rawalpindi. Moreover, the two regiments were to be 
disarmed on the same day, lest either should hear of the fate 
of the other and thus gain time to prepare for resistance. The 

^ Mr. Bosworth Smith, in his elaborate vindication of Lawrence's jiroposed 
policy, makes the following remark, — " That he was prepared calmly to face 
the outcry which such a proposal would create . . . shoios that lie regarded 
the struggle with the eye of a statesman as vxll as a soldier, that he embraced 
its im.2)erial as well as its local asjKcts." It shows nothing of the sort. To say 
that, because a man is prejiared to face an outcry against a measure, the measure 
must necessarily be statesmanlike, is as much as to say that moral courage and 
statesmanship are identical. 

I must also protest against the injustice wliicli Mr. Bosworth Smith does to 
the memory of Edwardes in asseitiiig that lie regarded the struggle from a 
provincial point of view, while Lawrence embiaced its imperial aspects. How 
does Mr. Bosworth Smith interpret these words of Edwardes, — "Not that I 
would say secure your own province if the Empire required its sacrifice. We 
would sacrifice any other province without a pang or a doubt, but the Empire's 
reconquest depends on the Punjab." The fact is, and Mr. Bosworth Smith might 
have been generous enough to admit it, that each disputant was actuated by 
imperial motives. The italics are mine. [At the end of the first week in July, 
Baird Smith described the British position before Delhi as jjerfectly safe (Vibart's 
Richard Baird Smith, p. 95) ; and there can be no doubt that after this 
time Lawrence was unduly nervous. General Inues, I am glad to find, 
supports my view, that Edwardes was in the right. See his Sejjoi/ Revolt, 
p. 106.] 

^ Exclusive of two regiments at Peshawar and one at the frontier station of 
Dera Ismail Khan. See I'. M. R., pp. 11-12, pars. 28-32; and Cave-Browne, 
vol. 11. p. 48. 


plan, however, was marred in the execution. Nicholson indeed 
took up a commanding position at Amritsar, from 
which he could overawe the Man j ha, and ad- 
vance to the relief of any point that might be threatened. But 
the attempt to surprise Jhelum failed. The sepoys 
were therefore on their guard, and, though expelled "^"^^ '' 
from their lines, succeeded in gaining a village ^afkot^"*^ 
from which their assailants, overcome by the heat, 
and staggering under the effects of drink, failed to dislodge 
them. Next morning, when the attack was about 

July 8. 

to be renewed, it was found that the sepoys had 
disappeared. Almost all were eventually either slain, or 
captured and executed ; but their momentary triumph was 
noised abroad. The native garrison at Sidlkot, who un- 
fortunately had not been disarmed, hearing that a British 
regiment had been beaten, flung off control, and, after a day 
of murder, pillage, incendiarism, and wanton 
destruction, made off towards the river Rdvi, on 
their way to Delhi. ^ 

At eleven o'clock that night a messenger from Sialkot came 
into Lahore, and informed Robert Montgomery of 
the disaster. Before midnight he had despatched jJontKomeiT 
orders for the disarming of the troops at Feroze- 
pore, Kangra, and Nurpur, and sent a messenger by express 
mail-cart to warn Nicholson of the work which lay before 

The great Brigadier had already done enough to silence the 
murmurs of the little-minded men who could not 

1 . • , 1 Nicholson in 

endure to see a young man, a mere regimental command of 

captain, put above themselves. Directly after co^J^"^''''''^® 

assuming command of the Moveable Column, he 

had disarmed, at Phillaur, two of the regiments that composed 

it, the 33rd and 35th Native Infantry ; on hearing 

at Amritsar of the outbreak at Jhelum, he had June 25. 

disarmed the 59th; and now, on receiving Mont- ju^io 

gomery's express, he disarmed a body of cavalry 

belonging to one of the Sialkot regiments. His remaining force 

consisted of the 52nd regiment, which had never been under 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. ii. p. 49 ; Cotton, p. 198 ; P. M. M,, p. 42, pars. 77-8, 
pp. 44-5, par. 88. 

- lb. p. 36, par. 54 ; Cave-Browne, vol. ii. p. 70. 


fire, one hundred and eighty-four Punjabi infantry, two newly 
raised and undisciplined troops of police sowars, and nine guns. 
Later in the day he heard that the Sidlkot mutineers themselves 
were marching down on Gurdaspur, obviously with the intention 
of stirring up the regiment there to mutiny, and carrying it 
along with them to Delhi. There was no time to be lost. 
Gurdaspur was forty -four miles from Amritsar, and by this 
time the mutineers must be close upon it ; but Nicholson 
resolved that, rather than they should reach it before him, he 
would cover those forty-four miles in a single march. His 
preparations were soon made. The district officers had impressed 
all the country carts and ponies upon which they could lay 
their hands, and sent them into his camp. Mounting as many 
of his infantry as he could upon these, he began his great race 

at sunset. By daybreak twenty-six miles had been 

traversed. A halt was then called ; and bread, rum, 
and milk were served out to the men. The fierce July sun 
was fast rising, the goal was still eighteen miles off, and all 
knew what they must sutfer before they could reach it : but 
they also knew the value of the stake for which they were 
contending ; and it was with strong hope and cheerfulness 
that they resumed their march. The gunners piled up boughs 
over their waggons and gun-carriages to keep off the sun. 
Privates who had never crossed a horse before, joked each 
other as they rode. Those who had no horse to carry them, 
shouldered their muskets, and tramped doggedly on. Several 
men and horses fell victims to the heat. But the object was 
gained. By six o'clock the whole force entered Gurdaspur, and 
found that the mutineers were still loitering on the further side 
of the Ravi.^ 

Fearing that they might escape him if they saw him approach- 
ing, Nicholson decided to halt for the night, and allow them to 

walk into the trap which he had set for them. 

Trimmu Ghat. Next moming he heard that they were crossing the 

^'^^ ■ river at a place called the Trimmu Ghat, nine miles 

oft', and marched to intercept them. About noon 
he came upon them drawn up in line on the left bank. Their 
right rested on a serai and a small dismantled fort ; their left 
on a village and a clump of trees. Masking his batteries 

^ G. Bourchiei's ^ir/W Months' Campaign, pp. 14-15; Enclosures to Secret 
Letters from India, 24 Sept. 1857, p. 117. 


with the sowars, Nicholson pushed forward to the attack. 
Three hundred of the 52 nd were formed up in the spaces 
between the guns and on their flanks, while the rest of the 
infantry remained in the rear as supports and reserve. But 
the mutineers were not wanting in spirit. Their cavalry, drunk 
with bhang, gnashing their teeth, and yelling furiously, charged 
down upon the maskers and put them to flight, and their 
infantry, advancing with admirable steadiness, fired a volley : 
but the Punjabis, and the British with their Enfield rifles, 
speedily replied ; the artillery opened out with grape and 
shrapnel ; and, although the mutineers resisted bravely, many 
of them pressing right up to the guns, while their cavalry made 
repeated rushes upon our flanks and rear, they were soon over- 
whelmed by sheer weight of metal, and driven back upon the 
river, leaving a hundred and twenty dead upon the field. Many 
more were drowned.^ The survivors took refuge upon an island 
in mid-stream. 

Unable to follow up his success, owing to want of cavahy 
and the dangerous depth of the river, Nicholson fell back on 
Gurdaspur, leaving a small force to keep watch at the Ghat. 
Three days afterwards he heard that only about 
three hundred of the mutineers remained upon 
the island. He therefore at once resolved to destroy them, 
and procured boats for the passage of the river. 
Next mormng he crossed on to the island, and ni 
a few minutes gained an almost bloodless victory. A few of 
the mutineers died like brave soldiers, fighting to the last the 
only gun that they possessed. The rest fled, and were either 
slain at the water's edge, or drowned, or seized and reserved 
for military execution.-^ 

The column then returned to Amritsar ; while Nicholson went 
to Lahore, to confer with the Chief Commissioner. ^,. , , 

_ , ' , ..,•,. ... Nicholson 

On the ■24th he re]omed his men, bringing them marches for 
the news that they were to march at once for Delhi. 
Their joy was intense. Their only fear was lest Delhi should 
fall before they could arrive. But, as they marched south- 
wards, they knew that, if they should be too late to join in the 
assault, it would not be the fault of their General.^ 

' Pari. Papers, vol. xliv. (1857-58), Part 3, pp. 55-7 ; W. S. Moorsom's Hist. 
Records of the. Fifty-Second Regiment, pp. 375, 397. 

" Cave-Browne, vol. ii. p. 79. * Bourchier, p. 24. See App. L. 


The tale of mutinies in the Punjab is not yet complete. 
On the last day of July some villagers near Bal- 

Cooper nnn, */ »/ <-> ^ 

the mutineers ghdt, ou the left bank of the Ravi, were surprised 
oi the 2bth. j^y ^^g appearance of a body of disarmed sepoys, 
who asked to be directed to the nearest ford. The villagers 
scented mischief, and, sending messengers to warn the authorities, 
kept their visitors waiting on one pretence or another. Before 
long the tahsild^r of Ajndla arrived with his police, and found that 
the sepoys belonged to the 26th Native Infantry, 
July 30. who, on the previous day, had mutinied at Lahore, 
and murdered four of their officers. Then ensued a fight in 
which a hundred and fifty sepoys were destroyed by the 
police and the villagers. Towards evening Frederick Cooper, 
the Deputy-Commissioner of the district, appeared with seventy- 
six sowars and six or seven volunteer horsemen. Before him 
lay a grim record of the day's work. The grass on the banks 
was trodden down, and plastered into bloody slime ; and on an 
island in mid-stream a number of sepoys, crouching like a flock 
of wild fowl, were waiting for death. Pressing their palms 
together, they crowded down to the shore when they saw the 
burra-sahib's men making for the island in their boats ; and, 
in another moment, thirty-five of them flung themselves into 
the river in despair. The rest submitted to be pinioned and 
stacked in the boats ; and a number of others were brought 
in by the zealous villagers. The entire number, amounting to 
two hruidred and eighty-two, were then conveyed by Cooper 
to Ajnala. Then came the question, what Avas to be done with 
them. The Moveable Column was hundreds of miles away. 
There was no means of transporting them to a place where 
they could be formally tried ; for the sowars and the police 
were far too few to guard them. They were all mutineers ; 
they were all virtually murderers. On the other hand, if they 
were summarily executed, other regiments and intending rebels 
might take warning by their fate, and thus further bloodshed 
be prevented. For these reasons. Cooper, fully conscious as he 
was of the enormous responsibility which he was undertaking, 
resolved to put them all to death. Next morning, 
accordingly, he brought them out in tens, and 
made some Sikhs shoot them. In this way two hundred and 
sixteen perished. But there still remained sixty-six others, 
who had been confined in one of the bastions of the tahsil. 


Expecting resistance, Cooper ordered the door to be opened. 
But not a sound issued from the room. Forty-five dead bodies 
lay upon the floor ; for, unknown to Cooper, the windows had 
been closely shut, and the wretched prisoners had found in the 
bastion a second Black Hole. The remaining tAventy-one were 
shot like their comrades.^ 

For this splendid assumption of responsibility Cooper was 
assailed, as other men of his mettle, both in the East and the 
West Indies, have been, by the hysterical cries of ignorant 
humanitarians. But Eobert Montgomery unanswerably vindi- 
cated his conduct by proving that he had saved the Lahore 

It was not only the sepoys, however, who were becoming 
demoralised by the spectacle of the successful 
resistance of the Delhi mutineers. The minds of Edwardesaiid 
the Punjabis generally had gradually passed of Peshawar. 
from confidence in the power of the English to 
doubt, and from doubt to disbelief.^ An unniistakeable sign 
of this appeared in Peshawar. About the middle of July, 
Edwardes summoned the chief native gentlemen of the city to 
consult on the loan which had been lately opened. They 
looked very grave when he introduced the subject, and, though 
professing themselves quite superior to the vulgar belief that 
the British power was coming to an end, evidently thought 
that no one would care to risk his money in supporting it. 
They promised, however, to send the chief capitalists to 
Edwardes, to discuss the question. Next day, accordingly, 
but two hours after the appointed time, the capitalists apj^eared, 
slinking into the room, and each trying to keep himself as far 
as possible in the background. Edwardes began by fining 
them all round for unpunctuality, and then asked them what 
they had to propose. After deliberating apart, they replied 
that they thought fifteen thousand rupees might possibly be 
raised by good management in a few months. Edwardes saw 
at once that the matter was resolving itself into a trial of 
strength between the Government and its subjects, and that, 
if the former were beaten, its prestige would be destroyed. 

' Cooper, pp. 154-6 ; P. M. R., p. 39, par. 65, pp. 104-5 ; Enclosures to Secret 
Letters from India, 24 Sept. 1857, pp. 310-14. 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. ii. pp. 101-3, note ; Cooper, pp. 167-70. 
3 P. M. R., p. 18, par. 48. 


He therefore bluntly told the capitalists that they could easily 
afford to subscribe five hundred thousand, and must do so. 
Seeing that he was in earnest, they gave in at once. The 
Government treasurer was appointed to assess their respective 
shares ; and in the end about four hundred thousand rupees 
were collected. The victory thus gained was as decisive as 
the disarming of the mutinous regiments had been. The 
people chuckled over the defeat of the capitalists, and felt an 
increased respect for the Government. The capitalists them- 
selves saw that thenceforth their interests must be identical with 
those of the Power to which they had lent their money.^ 

Other dangers, however, still remained to be confronted. At 

the end of June, a party of Hindustanis, the 

theborfe?" emissaries of a restless border-chief, had stolen 

into the Peshawar valley, to instigate the villagers 

to withhold their revenue. This spark of rebellion had been 

extinguished. But now special messengers from 

^'" Delhi were busily proclaiming the overthrow of 

the Nazarenes ; and a number of Ghazis, catching up the 

cry, swarmed out of their fastnesses with a moulvi at their 

head, and planted their standard in a strong mountain 

village called Nowrunjee, just outside the Peshawar frontier. 

Though speedily put to flight, the moulvi re- 

Juiy 21. appeared in a few days : but this time the force 

Aug. 3. that moved against him was stronger than before : 

the village was destroyed ; and the borderers were 

awed into tranquillity.^ 

Peshawar itself was the next point threatened. Towards the 
end of August a number of incendiary letters, 
Pe"hawar* ^^nt by a mendicant fanatic named Syad Amir, 
found their way into the native lines. The dis- 
armed sepoys became violently excited. Cotton saw the danger, 
and resolved to take the initiative. Accordingly on the 28th 
he caused the lines to be searched. Swords, muskets, pistols, 
and ammunition were found hidden in floors, roofs, bedding, 
and even drains. The 51st, in despair at the discovery of their 
treason, seized the piled arms of a newly-raised 
irregular regiment, rushed upon the regiment 
itself, ajid overpowered the officers. Cotton, however, had 
made all his preparations, and was not for a moment dis- 
1 P. M. R., pp. 74-5, paxs. 111-18. ■ lb. pp. 73-4, pars. 103-8. 


concerted. In a few minutes the troops were under arms : the 
civil officers brought up their levies and police ; and, though 
the heat was so dreadful that several horses dropped down 
dead, and the colonel of the 51st perished before evening, the 
mutineers were never allowed a moment's respite. Not more 
than sixty escaped. The rest were either slain in the pursuit, 
or executed by sentence of drum-head court-martial on the 
following day. " Seven hundred comrades," wrote Edwardes, 
" who yesterday were ripe for the murder of European officers, 
and ladies, and little children, to-day lay dead in three deep 
trenches." Thenceforward their surviving comrades were as 
still as they.^ 

And now, as it became known that Delhi was indeed to be 
assaulted, the anxiety of all, Europeans and 
natives alike, became hourly more intense. As Syad Amir 

£inu. tii6 

each successive message came in from below, the Mohmands. 
natives closely scanned their rulers, to see how 
the news had affected them. The outlook, indeed, was even now 
gloomy enough. All was still at Peshawar : but the horizon 
was overhung by black thunder-clouds. With Nicholson at 
Delhi, Delhi must soon fall, but the Punjab might first give 
way under the strain upon its loyalty. Suddenly Syad Amir 
reappeared with a few of the survivors of the g f q 
51st and a horde of Mohmands, and presented 
himself by night before the fort of Michni. The garrison had 
hitherto remained faithful among the faithless ; but would they 
stand such a test as this ? The Mohmands, eager to recover a 
fief of which they had been deprived by the Government, as a 
punishment for former misconduct, were sending the fiery cross 
to the neighbouring tribes. There were no troops to send 
against them. But the emergency only revealed more clearly 
the quality of Edwardes's statesmanship. His one course, he 
saw, was to yield gracefully. He therefore sent to tell the 
Mohmands that they did not know their own interests. Their 
true policy was to support the Government. For instance, let 
them send Syad Amir a prisoner to Dost Mahomed. Then 
he would intercede with the Governor-General for the restitu- 
tion of their fief. The Mohmands listened and obeyed. Syad 

1 P. M. E., pp. 77-8, pars. 129-34 ; Cotton, p. 202. Tliere were also less 
serious mutinies at Ferozepore (Aug. 19), UmbuUa (Sept. 30), and Meean Wali. 
P. M. R., p. 22, par. 5. 


Amir was sent off to Kabul ; and Edwardes felt that a great 
load had been taken oif his mind.^ 

Still, however, Delhi held out. The general disbelief in the 

vitality of the British power was fast begetting 
suspense.^ "^^ general disaffection, which was encouraged by the 

fact that the province had been denuded of its 
best troops. While the Chief Commissioner was waiting for 
the news that Delhi had fallen, he heard that the storm of 
rebellion, which had been so long gathering, had burst at last 
on the Murree Hills, and over the jungle-covered plains of 

On the 7th of August Nicholson arrived at Delhi, having 

hastened on in advance of his column to consult 
ft Ddhr with Wilson. On the night of his arrival he dined 

at the headquarters mess. His entertainers, 
always gay and unrestrained among themselves, were surprised, 
perhaps awed, by the stern and majestic reserve of his manner. 
They felt his power at once ; but they did not at once welcome 
him as a friend. The events of the past few months, indeed, 
could not but have had the effect of deepening the natural 
seriousness of a nature like his. His lot had been cast amid 
some stormy scenes : but no man had ever known anything like 
the hurricane beneath which the imperial pile was now groan- 
ing and trembling to its foundations. Henry Lawrence, his 
revered master, had passed away ; and he felt how far he was 
from being able to follow the example of that noble soul. But 
Edwardes was still left to him ; and to him he turned for 
sympathy, as he braced himself for the hero's work, the desper- 
ate deed which he had come down from the Punjab to do.^ 
That work was soon to begin. A few days after his arrival 

he went out to meet the MovealDle Column, which 

"■ ' was now fast approaching, and marched back into 

camp at its head. The effective force now amounted to eight 

thousand men. Some days later it became known that the 

siege-train, so long expected, was on its way down. Un- 

^ P. M. R., pp. 78-9, pars. 136-8. Edwardes wrote: "They have sent me 
word that they would rather uot kill him, as he is a Syiid and has got a flag with 
Mahomed embroidered on it, but that they don't mind plundering him." MS. 

2 P. M. R., pp. 15-16, pars. 43-4 ; p. .50, par. 109. 

^ Lives of Indian Officers, vol. ii. p. 474 ; Greathed, p. 179 ; History of the 
Siege of Delhi, by an Officer who served there, p. 223. 

To ftice -page 361. 



illixstrative of tlie 



B.RisiriQgt'oimAlinihcfTVb of 

oxtracL'aJvce . 
C.Lirie ofattujck on. Serai- consisttng 

riqili Z^'^Fimjablnr.pnUn,. 
J).DJ).3 VMaqe.s held hvEtvenvif 

iv prevent Ertemy threatening our rear. 
]\ Grm.s hramjiht Tn'JEnetnv ioptqy orv 

Jhidge when, held iy ihs. 
G.Oiir Guns brou^Jvf'Uptv silence theirs. 

London : Macmillan & C?L'^ 

Stan/ords Geog'- £siabt Zondcrt. 


fortunately, however, it had been impossible to spare more 
than a weak native detachment to escort it.^ Aware of this, 
the enemy resolved to intercept it, and with this object sent 
out a large force in the direction, as was supposed, of a suburb 
called Bahadurgarh. To frustrate their design, Nicholson 
started in the same direction at daybreak on the 
25th, with about two thousand men. The only Najaf^arh 
road open to him was a mere bullock-track, rendered 
almost impassable by the rains, and surrounded by swamps and 
floods. The infantry kept slipping as they tried to march ; 
and the gunners had over and over again to put their shoulders 
to the wheels of their gun-carriages, and force them out of the 
slough. All through the morning rain fell in torrents. At 
length, after a struggle of seven hours, during which he had 
only advanced nine miles, Nicholson learned that the enemy 
were, after all, not at Bahadurgarh, but moving towards 
Najafgarh. He therefore struck off from the Bahadurgarh 
road, and pressed on to overtake them. About four o'clock he 
came upon a branch of the Najafgarh jheel canal, and saw 
them drawn up on the opposite side. Their right rested on 
a bridge crossing the canal itself, which ran at right angles to 
the branch. In front of their left centre was a serai ; and on 
their right front and right rear, close to the canal, were two 
villages, which they had occu})ied. They had three guns at 
each of these villages, four at the serai, and three at the bridge. 
On their extreme left they occupied the village of Najafgarh. 
By five o'clock the whole of the British force had forded the 
branch of the canal. After a hasty reconnaissance, Nicholson 
resolved to begin by attacking the serai, which he saw to be 
the strongest point in the position of the enemy. Turning to 
the European infantry, whom he had ordered to lie down, he 
thus harangued them in his deep, sonorous voice : "Now, 61st, 
I have but a few words to say. You all know what Sir Colin 
Campbell said to you at Chilianwdla, and you must also 
have heard that he used a similar expression at the battle of 
the Alma, that is, ' Hold your fire till within twenty or thirty 
yards of that battery, and then, my boys, we will make short 
work of it.' " 2 

1 P. M. R., p. 15, par. 40 ; p. 27, par. 26 ; Lord Roberts, vol. i. p. 208. 
- History of the Siege of Delhi, by an Officer who served there, p. 228. The 
words were preserved by a soldier of the 61st 


The British artillery opened the battle. After they had fired 
a few rounds, the infantry sprang to their feet, and, with 
Nicholson at their head, advanced through a shower of grape 
and musketry, holding back their OAvn fire till they were Avithin 
twenty yards of the enemy. Then, with a loud cheer, they 
fired a volley, charged, captured the guns, and, after a short 
sharp struggle, drove the mutineers out of the serai. Changing 
front to the left, they swept down the line and turned the guns 
between the serai and the canal ; while the enemy ran before 
them, and fled, hunted by our artillery, over the bridge, leaving 
all their guns upon the field. MeauAvhile the 1st Punjab 
Infantry had won the town of Najafgarh. A few of the enemy, 
however, were found to be still lurking in a little village on 
our right rear. The Punjabis Avere therefore sent to expel 
them : but the rebels, seeing their retreat cut off, fought des- 
perately ; and the village was not carried till reinforcements 
were sent down.^ 

The conquerors were obliged to bivouac upon the wet field 
without food or covering ; for it would have been dangerous to 
attempt to bring the baggage across the ford. 
"^' ' Next day they returned to the Ridge.^ 

On the 4th of September the siege-train arrived. The excite- 
ment among all ranks now became intense. Delhi must be 
taken within a few days at latest, if only their General willed 
it. But some uneasily suspected that he would even now hold 
back if he dared. Anxiety had broken down his health ; and 
his nerves trembled as he thought of the magnitude of his task 
and the probability of failure. The truth was that he had 

Au' 20 written a few days before to Baird Smith, explain- 

wiien shall ii^g why it had been impossible to attempt an 

be^deHvered? ^^sault earlier, and saying that, though he intended 

to begin more active operations on the ai'rival of 

the siege-train, he could not hope to succeed until he was 

reinforced by the army from below. Baird Smith had insisted 

in reply that to deliver the assault as soon as possible would 

be the most prudent course, as the enemy would otherwise 

have time to learn our intentions, and strengthen their defences. 

1 ■' Indeed," says Sir H. Norman (Forrest's Selections from State Papers, vol. i. 
p. 464), 'more properly speaking, it was not taken, bnt was evacuated by the 
enemy during the night." 

2 Cave-Browne, vol. ii. pp. 150-2, and pp. 332-4 (Nicholson's report). 


Then Wilson had yielded, confessing that, though his belief as 
to the improbability of success was unshaken, he could suggest 
no way out of the difficulty. He had thus virtually thrown the 
responsibility of the siege upon Baird Smith. What wonder 
then that indignation should have burst forth against him ? 
What wonder that Nicholson should have written 
to Lawrence, " Had Wilson carried out his threat 
of withdrawing the guns, I was quite prepared to appeal to the 
army to set him aside, and elect a successor." ^ 

There was no longer, however, any danger of Wilson's 
postponing the assault. He might argue and expostulate and 
conjure up alarms : but Baird Smith was determined that he 
should not go back from his word. Baird Smith was as ill as 
Wilson. He was suffering intense pain from a neglected wound, 
and was so enfeebled by chronic diarrhoea that he could only 
keep himself fit for work by taking brandy and opium : but his 
strong, calm, buoyant nature triumphed over physical prostra- 
tion. He had established an ascendency over his chief ; and 
his chief knew it. He pestered Baird Smith with letters, 
opposed his plans, at last refused to communicate with him 
except through the staft' : but he leaned upon his support. On 
the 7th he issued an address to the troops, which _ 

. Wilson s 

Baird Smith was believed to have written for him. address to 
He warned them that the hardest part of their tii«army. 
task was now about to begin, but assured them that, if they 
maintained their discipline, they could not fail to succeed, and 
bade them spare women and children, but give no 
quarter to mutineers.^ About the same time the 
last reinforcements arrived. 

It was fortunate for the British that this increase of strength 
was not counterbalanced. The mutineers were still about 
twice as numerous as their opponents, of whom little more than 
a third were European troops ; and, if an able leader 
had arisen, who could have made himself obeyed, nmtiiieers to 
their superiority might have been greatly increased. sXcicn™^'^ "^ 
But the mutineers throughout India were acting in 5^''^"°'^'^ "P"*^ 
groups, without concert or definite aim ; and forces 
which might, for a time, have turned the scale, were wasting 

^ Lord Roberts, vol. i. yi\j. 213-16 ; Life of Lord Lawrence, 6th ed. vol. ii. 
p. 112 ; Vibart's Richnrd Bcird Smith, pp. 49-54. 
- lb. pp. 75, 128-9, 135-7, 149. 

2 B 


their strength between the Jumna and the Nerbudda and on 
the east of Oudh. 

Meanwhile the engineers, directed by Baird Smith, and 
immediately supervised by Captain Alexander 

The sie^e */ i »/ x 

Taylor, an officer of rare ability and inex- 
haustible energy,^ were hard at work. The same causes 
indeed which had originally made it impossible to invest the 
city, forbade them to follow the prescribed routine of siege 
operations. All that they could do was to select that portion 
of the defences against which the bombardment could be 
directed, and the assault afterwards delivered, with the greatest 
possible effect and the least possible loss. This portion Avas 
the front already invested. On the evening of the 6th they 
had run up a light battery on the Ridge, to cover the opera- 
tions of the working parties who were to construct the heavy 
siege-batteries below. On the 7th the first heavy battery was 
traced seven hundred yards from the Mori bastion. This 
battery was to be the key of the attack. It was to consist of 
two parts, the right of which was to bombard the Mori 
bastion itself, while the left was to hold in check the fire of 
the enemy from the Kashmir bastion. While the work of 
tracing was going on, strings of camels kept coming down, 
laden with fascines and gabions, and by their incessant groan- 
ing kept the working party in a fever of anxiety lest the enemy 
should suspect what they were about. As soon as the camels 
were got rid of, the artillery-carts began to arrive, laden with 
shot and shell ; and soon the siege-guns followed, each drawn 
by twenty pairs of bullocks. It was now near 
dawn ; and the first faint light revealed a strange 
scene, — helpless oxen bellowing, and struggling with each other 
in an entangled heap, drivers ctirsing and slashing with their 
whips, sappers, pioneers, and infantry volunteers working at the 
unfinished battery and magazines, artillerymen storing ammu- 
nition. Wilson was in despair, and talked of withdrawing 
the guns : Major Brind, the officer in command, would 
not listen to the suggestion. Every man Avorked his hardest ; 
but only one gun had been dragged on to its platform, when 
the enemy in the Mori bastion saw what was going on, 
and instantly opened fire. Round after round of shot and 
grape came crashing against the battery : but Brind replied 
^ Riducrd Baird Smith, pp. 78-80. 


as well as he could with a single howitzer : the Europeans 
worked on at the remaining platforms : one gun after another 
was mounted and fired ; and then, as the masonry of the 
bastion crumbled, and tottered, and soon began to fall in ruins 
under the cannonade, the enemy gradually lost heart, and by 
the afternoon had ceased to fire. For the next 
two days, however, the guns in the left section of ^^^ ' " ' 
the battery were utilised for holding the fire of the Kashmir 
bastion in check. ^ 

Meanwhile the other batteries on the left were being con- 
structed with but little interruption ; for the fire of No. 1 
deluded the enemy into the belief that the British attack was 
to be delivered from the right only. No. 2, which was to 
batter down the Kashmir bastion, and breach g^ ^ g 
the adjacent curtain, consisted, like No. 1, of (nighV 
two sections, the left immediately in front of (nfgiit). 
Ludlow Castle, and the right a little to the right Sept. 9 
front of the same building. No. 3 was erected sept.'i2 
inside a ruined office of the Custom House, which ("lorniug)- 
the enemy had foolishly neglected to occupy. It was only one 
hundred and sixty yards from the Water bastion, against which 
its fire was to be directed. A mortar battery was 
also thrown up near a palace called the Kudsia sept. o 
Bagh, to play upon the curtain between the Kash- (°'sht). 
mir and the Water bastions.^ 

On the morning of the 11th, No. 2 was to open. There was, 
however, some unavoidable delay ; and the enemy in the 
Kashmir bastion, seeing eighteen guns unmasked, but not 
firing, turned the delay to good account. With strange want 
of forethought they had neglected to mount heavy guns behind 
the curtains, to support the fire from their bastions ; and, 
though they had not time now to remedy the error, they 
dragged a number of light guns into convenient nooks, from 
which they kept up an oblique cannonade. By eight o'clock,^ 
however, the left section of No. 2 was ready. Nine guns were 
discharged simultaneously ; and, the smoke clearing away, the 
gunners cheered exultingly as they saw the huge blocks of 

1 Greathed, pp. 259, 265 ; Medley, pp. 74-8. 
- Greathed, p. 261 ; Medley, pp. 80-2. 

* lb. p. 87. Major Gaitskell, commanding the artillery brigade, in his 
official report, raeutious 5.30 a.m. as the hour. Jiiujlishman, Nov. 11, 1857. 


stone tumbling over on to the ground beneath from the Kash- 
mir bastion and the curtain. In ten minutes the hostile suns 
were silenced. Still the work of breaching went on ; but the 
enemy, seeing with consternation the ruin of their defences, 
strove hard to make up for their past remissness. Ever and 
anon a round shot, hurled from an enfilading gun on the right, 
tore through the interior of the battery from end to end ; while 
infantry, lining the trenches in front, or skirmishing over the 
broken ground, maintained a galling musketry fire. Yet the 
British gunners, unheeding their losses, regardless of the fear- 
ful heat, went on fighting their guns hour after hour, with no 
other thought than to prepare the M^ay for their impatient 
comrades to deliver the assault. Now, too, No. 3 battery was 
at work ; and the Water bastion was hurled by its fire into a 
chaotic mass of ruins.^ 

The end, for good or for evil, was fast approaching. On the 
„, , ,^1 3th, Wilson and Baird Smith arranged the plan of 

Plan of assault. i^^ m i • c i i • ■ i i 

assault. Ihe attacking force was to be divided 
into four columns and a reserve. The first column, under 
Nicholson, was to storm the breach near the Kashmir bastion, 
and escalade the face of the bastion itself. The second, under 
Brigadier Jones, was to storm the breach near the Water 
bastion. The third, under Colonel Campbell, was to make its 
way into the city through the Kashmir gate, which was first to 
be blown open. The fourth, under Major Reid, was to expel 
the enemy from the suburbs of Kishenganj and Paharipur, and 
then toienter the city by the Kabul gate, which was to be opened 
from within. The reserve, under Brigadier Longfield, was to 
follow the first column. Speaking generally, the outer defences 
of the city were to be taken possession of, and secured by the 
establishment of posts ; while the succeeding operations were to 
be determined by circumstances and the discretion of the leader, 
it being understood that the palace was ultimately to be bom- 
barded, and the king made a prisoner.- Who the leader must 
be, could not admit of doubt. If Nicholson had appealed to 
the army to elect a new general, and he would have done so if 
Wilson had refused to permit the assault, their choice would 
have fallen upon him. They heard of his wild ride in 
pursuit of the mutinous 55th. They had heard of, some of 

1 Medley, pp. 85-92, 
2 7ft. pp. 94, 102-3 ; Kaye, vol. iii. p. 590. See App. M. 


them had followed him in his victorious march through the 
Punjab, his onslaught at Najafgarh. And, since he had 
appeared among them, he had made them feel that what they 
had heard of him was not in excess of the truth ; that he had 
come destined, as he himself believed, to put an end to their 
weary waiting, to lead them to the slaughter of their enemies, 
to give them possession of the imperial city. Even Wilson, 
though he might shrink from acknowledging his influence, could 
not but own his power.^ To him, therefore, he entrusted the 
general direction of the assault. 

But, before the assault could be delivered, it Avas first neces- 
sary to examine the breaches. Two engineer 
officers. Medley and Lang, arranged to start on fi^^^XSe" °^ 
this errand soon after sunset, with six picked men. 
There was no moon : but the heavens were bright with stars ; 
and flashing rockets and fire-balls were continually lighting up 
the sky ; while the roar of the guns, and the clear, sharp report 
of the shells alone broke the stillness of the air. Suddenly, as 
the clocks struck ten, the batteries ceased firing. Then the 
explorers, drawing their swords, and feeling for their revolvers, 
began to creep towards the breach near the Kashmir bastion. 
In a few minutes they reached the edge of the ditch. The 
officers and two of the men slid down. Quiet as they had 
been, however, they knew that they had startled the enemy ; 
for they could hear the sound of feet moving towards the 
breach. They therefore climbed back again to their own side, 
and lay down on the grass to wait. Unseen themselves, they 
could see dark figures moving about in the breach and heard 
the sound of voices, and presently the ring of ramrods. Still 
they lay waiting, hoping that the enemy would go away, but in 
vain. Medley could see, however, that the breach was a good 
one, and, knowing that it would be hopeless to attempt to 
examine it further, gave the signal to return. As the eight 
started to their feet, the enemy fired, and the bullets whizzed 
about their ears ; but no one was hurt, and all made their way 
safely back to camp. Medley then reported to Baird Smith 
that the breach, though capable of improvement, was still 
practicable ; and Lieutenants Home and Wilberforce Greathed, 
who had examined the breach near the Water bastion, told him 
that there also the result was satisfactory. Upon this, Baird 
^ Life, of Lord Lawrence, vol. ii. p. 206. 


Smith advised Wilson to deliver the assault at daybreak. He 
pointed out that during the past week every man in the force 
had been working at the highest pressure, and that they could 
not endure the strain much longer. Wilson admitted the force 
of this argument, and issued the necessary orders at once. But, 
as the fateful moment drew near, his heart misgave him again ; 
and he wrote to tell Baird Smith that he feared that it would 
be hopeless to assail the Water bastion. " What do you pro- 
pose 1 " he asked : " you are determined I shall not have a 
moment's sleep to-night." Baird Smith promptly reassured 
him ; and he lay down for a brief repose.^ 

About three o'clock the whole camp was astir. There were 
Sept 14 some who looked forward to the struggle upon 
Preparations which they Were about to enter, not merely with 
or eassa . ^^^ martial ardour of soldiers, the stern longing of 
men Avho had the blood of innocent women to avenge, but with 
an enthusiasm as solemn as that which inspired the Ironsides 
who fought in the Civil War. The chaplain had administered 
the Holy Communion to a few officers and men at their own 
desire ; and in some tents the Old Testament lesson for the 
day had been read. The chapter was that in which the doom 
of Nineveh was foretold. The words must have sounded 
strangely prophetic to those plain soldiers : " Woe to the 
bloody city ! it is all fu.ll of lies and robberj'^ . . . draw thee 
waters for the siege, fortify thy strongholds . . . then shall 
the fire devour thee ; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat 
thee up like the canker-worm." ^ 

The columns fell in on the road leading from cantonments 

to the city, all but Reid's, Avhose place was on the 
^t^coimniis I'igliti. There were some four thousand five hundred 

men, British soldiers with bronzed, war-worn faces, 
wearing uniforms which had been dyed dust-colour, Sikhs with 
their long hair twisted up behind, and tall, muscular Pathans 
with faces as fair as those of Englishmen.^ Eager as they were 
to move on, they were depressed and wearied by delay ; for 
the enemy had filled up the breaches in the night ; and it was 
necessary for the batteries to reopen. But at length the signal 

^ Life of Lord Lawi-cnce, vol. ii. p. 212 ; Medley, pp. 96-100 ; Tivies, May 11, 
1858, p. 6, col. 3 ; Lord Roberts, vol. i. pp. 222-4 ; Forrest's Selections from Stale 
Papers, vol. i, p. 392 ; Vibart, p. 61. 

'^ Rotton, pp. 259-60 ; Cave-Browue, vol. ii. pj). 156-7. 

" Medley, p. 64. 


was given ; and, while the heavy guns still thundered at the 
breaches, answered by the heavy guns from the city, and shells 
burst, and rockets, flashing along the dark sky, hissed above 
their heads, the columns tramped silently and steadily down. 
Wilson rode up as they advanced, looking nervous and anxious. 
Near Ludlow Castle they halted, and took up their respective 
stations. The engineer officers with their ladder-men moved 
on in front. Then Nicholson went to Brigadier Jones, who 
commanded the second column, and asked whether he was 
ready. ^ The Brigadier replied that he was. Nicholson put his 
arm round his comrade's shoulder, and then hurried off" to join 
his own column. The guns ceased firing ; the Rifles, in 
skirmishing order, dashed to the front with a loud cheer and 
opened fire ; and the columns streamed after to the assault of 

The ladder-men moved quickly on : but the enemy, crowding 
in the breach, received the men of the first column r.^_„..„„„ „f 

' _ Operations or 

with a terrible musketry-fire, and, catching up the the first and 

1 1 , 111x1 1 \i • second columns. 

loosened stones, hurled them down upon their 
heads, yelling, cursing, and daring them to enter. For a 
moment it seemed as if the avalanche would overwhelm them : 
man after man was struck down : but in another moment two 
ladders were thrown into the ditch : the stormers closed up 
behind : Nicholson, as ever in the front, slid down and mounted 
the scarp : the rest followed : the enemy, feeling that the 
breach was lost, fled ; and the victorious column poured into 
the city, and took up its position in the main-guard.^ 

The shout of the Riflemen had served as a common signal 
for the first three columns ; and the second, on hearing it, had 
started for the left breach. But they too were received with a 
musketry-fire so severe that out of the thirty-nine ladder-men 
twenty-nine were in a few minutes killed or wounded.'* Not- 
withstanding, the ladders were planted ; and the stormers 
plunged into the city, some at the Water bastion, others 
through the Kashmir curtain. Then, turning to the right, 
and joined by some of Nicholson's men, they ran down the 
road past the ramparts, sweeping the enemy before them like 

^ Kaye, vol. iii. p. 591. 

^ Cave-Browne, vol. ii. p. 172 ; Medley, pp. 104-6 ; Memorials of Gen. Sir 
E. H. Greathed, p. 58, by Lieut. -Gen. A. C. Robertson. 
^ lb. pp. 106-7 ; Cave-Browue, vol. ii. p. 175. 
^ Medley, p. 108. 

376 THE PUNJAB AND DELHI cha.p. x 

frightened sheep, and, rushing into the Mori, bayoneted the 
gunners, who stood resolutely to their guns, then leaped on to 
the parapet, and waved their caps to their comrades on the 
Ridge. Leaving a party to hold the bastion, they pressed on 
till they came to the Kabul gate, where they had been ordered 
to remain until they should hear that the third column had 
captured the Jamma Masjid. The bugles were sounded to 
collect the men of the various regiments, who had become 
scattered in the confusion ; and Colonel Greathed, who com- 
manded the 8th regiment, walked back to see that the gates 
and bastions Avhich had been passed were in safe keeping. 
Meanwhile Jones, fancying that he had stopped at the wrong 
gate, pushed on again until he found himself unexpectedly 
under the Lahore bastion. With one bold rush he might have 
taken it. But he had received no orders to do so ; and he was 
not a man to act without them. Falling back, therefore, on 
the Kabul gate, he planted his flag there, and awaited Nichol- 
son's arrival.^ 

Before this, numbers of the mutineers, dismayed by the 
overpowering violence with which the columns swept through 
the breaches into the city, had begun to retreat, and actually 
crossed the bridge of boats : but soon, perceiving that the con- 
querors hesitated to follow up their advantage, they plucked up 
courage to return ; and many of them occupied houses abutting 
on the Chandni Chauk, from which they would be able to fire 
upon the stormers, when they should advance to assault the 
Lahore bastion.'^ 

Thus the further progress of the first two columns was likely 
to be disputed. But it had been provided in the 
^oiumii^ai"!'^ V^^^ of assault that the fourth column should fight 
tiie cavalry Jts Way to the Kabul gate to their support. At 
five o'clock all the detachments which composed 
this column were mustered for the start. The Jammu Con- 
tingent, lent by the Maharaja of Kashmir, Avas there, the 
stalwart Guides infantry, and the fearless little Gurkhas, who, 
though sadly thinned in numl)ers, were as confident as ever in 
themselves and in the leader under whom they had already 
gained twenty-five victories. Three guns, however, which had 
been promised, were late in arriving, and so inadequately 

^ See App. M. 
'^ MS. Memo, and letters from an otiieer who served with the tirst eolumu. 


manned that Eeid had to send for more gunners. As he was 
waiting, he heard that a portion of the Jammu troops which he 
had sent to make a diversion on the right by attacking a fort 
called the Eedgah, had prematurely engaged the enemy. He 
therefore decided to advance without further delay. Two 
breastworks lay before him, which the enemy had thrown up 
as a jorotection to Kishenganj, the first point which the column 
was to attack. The Rifles and Gurkhas carried the first with a 
rush. The enemy seemed to hesitate ; and the column, press- 
ing on, began to cross a bridge spanning the canal under the 
walls of Kishenganj. Now, however, the want of guns was 
felt. Thousands of rebels from the city were seen pouring 
doAvn the dry bed of the canal to reinforce their comrades. 
Still, Reid was confident of success. Standing on the parapet 
of the bridge, he was just going to direct a false attack to be 
made on the enemy's front and a real one against their left 
flank and rear, when he fell wounded. The Gurkhas, dispirited 
by the loss of their leader, hung back : but the 1st Bengal 
Fusiliers, followed by the 61st regiment, rushed across the 
bridge. A few minutes later Eeid came to his senses, and 
made over the command to Captain Richard Lawrence. But 
the battle was already lost. The various detachments of the 
column, crowded together, and harassed by a severe musketry- 
fire which the enemy poured into them from loopholes in the 
wall, had become so confused that their officers could not make 
themselves heard : the Jammu troops on the right, flying before 
their assailants, rushed panic-stricken into the column, and in- 
creased its disorder ; and at last the situation became so des- 
perate that Captain Muter of the 60th Rifles, assuming command 
independently of Lawrence, withdrew the troops around him to 
Hindu Rao's house, followed some time afterwards by Lawrence 
and the Kashmiris.^ The enemy, following up their success, 
were threatening this vital point of the British position, when 
the Cavalry Brigade under Brigadier Hope Grant, which had 
hitherto been covering the assaulting columns, moved down 
close under the Mori bastion, to support the beaten column. 
The enemy, clustering in the houses and gardens near Kishen- 

' Cave-Browne, vol. ii. pp. 181-4, 336 ; Letters from Gen. E. Lawrence and 
Col. Muter (Kaye, vol. iii. App. pp. 693-4, 698-700) ; Memoranda by Major 
Reid and Sir H. Edwardes (Malleson, vol. ii. App. A. jjp. 579-89) ; Forrest's 
Selections from State Papers, vol. i. pp. 407-13. 


gaiij, turned upon their new opponents with so sharp a musketry- 
fire that it was necessary to send Tombs with his horse-artillery 
troop to the rescue. The musketeers were soon subdued : but 
the brigade was now exposed to a steady fire of grape from the 
Lahore bastion. The carnage was terrible. Forty-two men 
and six officers of the Lancers, twenty-five out of the fifty 
ofiicers and men composing Tombs's troop, were struck. But 
for two hours the brigade never moved. The horses stood still 
under the iron storm : the men sat in their saddles as patiently 
as the sentries at the Horse Guards : Tombs never ceased fight- 
ing his guns ; and at length the enemy's fire slackened and died 
away, and Hindu Rao's house was safe.^ 

Meanwhile a struggle not less severe had been going on 
within the city. It Avas not till after Jones planted his 
flag on the Kabul gate, that Nicholson arrived thither ; for he 
had been forced to diverge from his prescribed route, to silence 
a body of musketeers harassing his left. When he did join 
Brigadier Jones, the enemy near the Lahore bastion, misunder- 
standing the temporary inaction of the columns, were firing 
down the road ; and the 75th regiment, after vainly attempting 
to force a passage, had fallen back upon the Kabul gate. 
Seeing that the mutineers were regaining courage and resolved 
not to give way to an enemy whom he despised, Nicholson 

gathered together a number of men from both 
Lahore basUon. columns, and advanced to assault the bastion. Then 

was seen how much Jones had lost by neglecting 
his opportunity. To reach the bastion, a narrow lane, all but 
choked in places by projecting bastions, had to be ti'aversed. 
The enemy had planted a gun some distance down this, and 
another at the bottom ; while their sharpshooters swarmed at 
the windows and on the flat roofs of the low houses on the left, 
and behind the parapets of the bastions. The danger was in- 
creased by the fact that the fourth column had failed to 
accomplish its task. Officers crowded round Nicholson, and 
tried to persuade him to be content with occupying the houses 
near the lane. But it was not in Nicholson's nature to wait. 
The column entered the lane. The leaders soon took the first 
gun, and advanced to within ten yards of the second ; Lieu- 
tenant Butler of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers ran right past it, and 

J Hodson, p. 290 ; Hope Grant's Incidents of the Sejjoy War, pp. 123-7 ; MS. 
Memo, by Sir N. Chamberlain ; Life of Sir Ho^je Grant, vol. i. pp. 248-9. 


in single combat encountered the enemy behind : but the fire 
was so appalling that the men could not steel their hearts to 
follow him, and fell back behind the first gun, bafiled and 
dispirited. For a few moments they halted : then they were 
told to try again, moved onward, and recovered and spiked the 
first gun ; and now the ofiicers, still nobly leading, strove by 
passionate exhortations, by heroic example, to nerve them for 
the last fatal rush. But they felt that they could not try. 
Showers of grape tore their ranks open ; bullets flew down upon 
them like hail from above ; stones and round shot were pitched 
among them ; two ofiicers fell mortally wounded ; five more 
were struck, and the shattered column, hurled back in confu- 
sion, stood cowering under the storm. ^ Then Nicholson himself 
strode forward, and, raising his sword above his head, indig- 
nantly apjDealed to them to advance. In another moment he 
had fallen shot through the chest. 

The historian will best express his reverence for the fallen 
hero by going on without a pause to narrate the course of the 
struggle, on the chances of which his thoughts were fixed, even 
while he was being lifted up and carried back to the Ridge. 
Just before the first and second columns had begun 
the assault, Lieutenants Home and Salkeld of the ga^. 
Engineers, Bugler Hawthorne of the 52nd, and 
Sergeants Carmichael, Smith, and Burgess of the Bengal 
Sappers, started in advance of the third column, to blow up 
the Kashmir gate. Outside the gate, the ditch was spanned by 
a wooden bridge, the planks of which had been removed, leav- 
ing only the sleepers intact. Passing through the outer gate- 
way. Home, who was in front, crossed one of the sleepers with 
the bugler under a sharp musketry-fire, planted his bag of 
powder, and leaped into the ditch. Carmichael followed, but, 
before he could lay his bag, was shot dead. Then Smith, who 
was just behind, planted his own and his comrade's bag, and 
arranged the fuses ; while Salkeld, holding a slow match in his 
hand, stood by, waiting to fire the charge. Just as he was 
going to do so, he was struck down by two bullets. As he 
fell, he held out the match, telling Smith to take it and fire. 
Burgess, who was nearer to the wounded man, took it instead, 

^ Blackwood's Magazine, January 1858. Article — "The First Bengal Euro- 
pean Fusiliers in the Delhi Campaign," p. 133. Lord Roberts, vol. i. pp. 233-4 ; 
Cave-Browne, vol. ii. pp. 177-8 ; information from Sir Seymour Blane. See App. M. 


but presently cried that it had gone out, and, just as Smith 
was handing him a box of matches, fell over into the ditch, 
mortally wounded. Smith, now, as he thought, left alone, ran 
close up to the powder bags, to avoid the enemy's fire, struck 
a light, and was in the act of applying it, when the port-fire in 
the fuse went off in his face ; and, as he was plunging through 
a cloud of smoke into the ditch, he heard the thunder of the 
explosion, and barely escaped being dashed to pieces by the 
masses of masonry falling from above by clinging fast to the 
wall. For this gallant service Salkeld, Home, Smith, and Haw- 
thorne 'were recommended for the Victoria Cross ; but only the 
two last lived to wear it.^ 

The column passed through the ruined gate into the city, 

and pushed on to the Chandni Chauk ; but Camp- 
thcfthirT"^ ° bell, finding it impossible to advance further with- 
reserve ^"^^ ^^^ ^^^ Undue loss, and learning that the other columns 

had not been able to penetrate the city far enough 
to support him, fell back to the church, between the Water 
bastion and the gate, and there joined the reserve, which had 
followed him and occupied the posts from which he had ex- 
pelled the enemy .2 

Meanwhile those who remained on the Ridge had been 

waiting with intense anxiety for the issue of the 
day's'lighttos! struggle. They heard the sullen roar of artillery 

and the rattle of musketry in the city ; they saw 
the litters, filled Avith dead, and dying, and wounded men, 
pouring in an endless stream to the hospital ; but no one could 
tell them how their comrades were faring. But at last they 
heard a loud cheer resounding from the walls, and knew that 
all was well.^ Gradually the din of battle began to be hushed ; 
for the troops, though their lust for blood was still unappeased, 
were becoming too exhausted to do more. Towards evening 
Wilson rode through the city, map in hand, to ascertain what 
progress had been made. The space between the Water bastion 
and the Kabul gate was in our hands. Taylor had already 
taken every possible precaution for securing the position of the 

^ MS. notes sent to me by Lieut.-Col. Tnrnbiill ; Cave-Browne, vol. ii. p. 173; 
Forrest's Selections from State Papery vol. i. p. 401. The accounts of the ex- 
plosion naturally vary in details. I have followed that of Sergeant Smith, who, 
as far as I can jud^e, had tlie best opportunity of observing what took place. 

- Norman, p. 43 ; Cave-Browne, vol. ii. jip. 179-80 ; Medley, p. 112. 

^ G. Bourchier's Eight Months Campaign, p. 63. 


assailants, by loopholing, fortifying, and garrisoning the cap- 
tured houses, throwing up barricades across the streets, and 
posting piquets to keep up communication between the three 
columns. But Wilson was ill -satisfied with what he saw. 
Owing to the failure of Eeid's attack, the right flank was still 
exposed ; and even the first three columns had done little more 
than enter the city. Sixty-six officers and eleven hundred and 
four men had fallen during the day.^ The mutineers had 
suffered heavily ; but tens of thousands of them still remained. 
The finest soldier in the camp was mortally wounded. Irri- 
table and weak from anxiety and illness, and having no firmness 
of character to support him, Wilson petulantly spoke of with- 
drawing the troops altogether. But Baird Smith, to whom he 
turned for advice, insisted on his holding on.^ 

The night of the 1 4th passed away ; and another day broke, 
a day of shame and humiliation for the victorious 
army. The enemy, knowing the weakness of Spt is!'"''^ °^ 
British soldiers, had cunningly strewn the deserted 
shops and the pavements with bottles of beer, wine, and spirits. 
Many of the troops, indeed, were not exposed to, or resisted 
the temptation ; but numbers drank themselves drunk. Lying 
helpless and senseless as a herd of swine, they had bartered 
away their lives for a few hours' debauch, — if the enemy had 
had the sense to butcher them. But the opportunity was lost ; 
and Wilson, trembling at the thought of what might have been, 
ordered every remaining bottle to be destroyed.^ 

The citizens and the more prudent or less resolute of the 
mutineers were now fast hurrying out of the city. ,pj^g exodus. 
Many, however, failed to escape ; for the British ^^ 

soldiers, though they treated the women and the British 
children with forbearance and even kindness, 
showed no mercy to the men. Harmless citizens were shot, 
clasping their hands for mercy. Trembling old men were cut 
down. But, in justice to the soldiers who committed these 
cruelties, it should be said that they had received great pro- 
vocation. Many of their comrades, rashly wandering from 

^ MS. Correspondence ; Medley, p. 114. Neville Chamberlain stated the 
number at 1145 — GO officers and 1085 men — killed and wounded. Pad. Papers, 
vol. xliv. Part 1, p. 360. The loss of the Delhi Field Force in killed, wounded, 
and missing from May 30 to Sept. 20 amounted to 2151 Europeans and 1686 
natives. Ih. Part 3, p. 230. 

2 See App. M. » See App. M. 


their posts, had been enticed by lurking fanatics and bud- 
mashes into dark alleys, and there foully murdered.^ 

Meanwhile, the army was forcing its way by slow and pain- 
„ ^ p ful steps into the heart of the city. On the 15th 

Capture of J- . i i i i c i • 

Delhi com- the magazine was reached, and the enemy of then' 
^^^' own accord evacuated Kishenganj. On the 16th 

the magazine was stormed and carried. On the 17th the Bank 
was captured. The formidable Lahore bastion, however, still 
held out. On the 18th and 19th, therefore, the houses leading 
to it were sapped through by Taylor's suggestion, and in this 
way it was won without exposing the troops to the perils of 
street-fighting. Next day the Lahore gate, the Jamma Masjid, 
and the Selimgarh were taken. Finally, the gates of the palace 
itself were blown in : a few Ghazis, who had remained in it, 
were slaughtered : the British flag was hoisted ; and the city 
of the Moguls, now resembling a city of the dead, was again 
subject to the Nazarenes.- 

The King, however, was still at large. Bakht Khan had 
urged him to share the flight of the mutineers ; but 
S7S*'°^ one of his nobles, Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh, wishing to 
purchase the favour of the conquerors by some 
signal service, had persuaded him that, by separating himself 
from his army, he would gain the credit of having originally 
acted under their compulsion. Yielding to the tempter, he had 
consented to remain with his family for a short time at the 
tomb of the Emperor Humayun, which was situated about six 
miles from Delhi. Hodson, who presided over the Intelligence 
Department, was promptly informed of his whereabouts by a 
spy named Rajab Ali ; and at once resolved to carry out a pur- 
pose which he had long formed, by eff"ecting his capture. 

The fame which this officer won for himself in the history of 
the Mutiny is out of all proportion with the rank 
which he held. Following the path prescribed by 
ciistom for military men of ability, he had, early in his career, 
obtained work as a civil officer. He had the good fortune to 
be one of Henry Lawrence's disciples, and won, for a time, his 
confidence and regard.^ But, after some years of unbroken 

* Histwy of the Siege of Delhi, by an Officer who served there, pp. 256-7 ; 
Kaye, vol. iii. p. 636. 

'^ Cave-Browne, vol. ii. pp. 188-90 ; Norman, p. 44 ; Boiirchier, pp. 73, 7->. 
^ Life vf Sir II. Lam-eiwe, pp. 411-12, 436. 

X iace page 382 

London Macimliaii &. ( " L ** 

StanfittrU Groa' gstal 


success, t