HC Deb 16 February 1846 vol 83 cc963-4

I wish to ask a question of the noble Lord, whom I see in his place, interesting to the country, with reference to the recent outbreak of war in India. I find that in a former instance the Morning Herald, and very lately the Times, anticipated intelligence from India; and my question is, whether Government has yet received information of the state of the war which had broken out in India? If such information be in the hands of Government, it is desirable that it should be made known, and I trust that the noble Lord will be able to satisfy the public anxiety on the subject. At present it appears that Ministers are behind the newspapers in their intelligence.


I regret to say that Ministers have no further information than what has already appeared in the public prints relative to the late transactions on the frontiers of our Indian possessions. No official despatches have been received by the authorities in this country from the Governor-General; but a private letter has come to hand from the Governor of Bombay, addressed to the noble Lord at the head of the department to which I belong. It inclosed a communication from the Governor-General, dated from Ferozepore on the 23rd of September, stating that between the 5th and 14th, large bodies of Sikh troops had invaded the country, in violation of the treaty of 1805, and menaced Ferozepore. They then attacked the advanced guard of the British forces, but were repelled, and the British troops were prevented from following them owing to the darkness of the night; they were consequently obliged to give up the pursuit. On the 21st the main body of the army moved against the enemy, the centre being led by the Governor-General, and the right by the Commander-in-Chief. The enemy had thrown up a fortified entrenchment, which was attacked, and the entrenchment was taken on the evening of the 21st. On the next morning a great number of the enemy's guns were captured, and the communication with Ferozepore was opened. We have no further communication than that private letter from Sir Henry Hardinge to the Governor of Bombay; but I have no doubt that in a few days we shall be in possession of information satisfactory to the country and to the hon. Baronet.