HC Deb 10 December 1857 vol 148 cc462-4

said, he wished to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether any more regiments than the 95th, 89th, and 13th had been sent from the Cape to India; whether the 95th was not under orders for New Zealand, and the 89th relieving them; whether the two regiments so deducted from the forces at the Cape are all the set off against the addition of the German Legion on full pay, equal to four regiments in strength; and whether the total result of an increase of forces at the Cape by two regiments is wholly at the expense of this country?


Sir, I propose to-morrow to lay upon the table a paper which will give the House full information with regard to the conduct of the Governors of Colonies in the vicinity of India when they received direct intelligence of the recent revolt. I refer to the Governors of Ceylon, the Mauritius, and the Cape of Good Hope. With regard to the Governor of Ceylon, I may state that Sir Henry Ward, having received a despatch from the Governor General of India, stating that he should be glad to have every soldier he could spare, did send to India almost every European soldier in the Colony, and thereby afforded most effectual assistance to the Governor General. Lord Elphinstone sent an officer in a vessel to the Mauritius, and thence to the Cape of Good Hope, to ask for succours. The Governor of the Mauritius sent one regiment and a company of Artillery, which, considering the state of that Colony, must, I think, have included every soldier he could possibly spare for the assistance of India. With regard to the Cape of Good Hope, Sir George Grey, the Governor, sent three regiments at once to India; two only of those regiments belonged to the Cape establishment, the other was on its way to New Zealand, but Sir George Grey very properly took upon himself the responsibility of diverting it; and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that he is mistaken if he supposes that Sir George Grey's efforts to send succour to India were limited to those I have described. Besides the troops I have mentioned, at the same time Sir George Grey sent two companies of Artillery, and knowing that there was a great want of specie at Calcutta he remitted £60,000 from the colonial chest, trusting to the public spirit of the Colonists to bear him harmless. This sum was most gratefully received by the Government of India. The hon. Gentleman also asks if the Governor of the Cape has since sent further succours to India. I have this morning received a letter from Sir George Grey, in which he states that he has sent another regiment, the 80th, to Ceylon. Whether the whole will remain at Ceylon or any part go on to Calcutta I am not aware; but at any rate he has sent that regiment practically for the service of India. With regard to another most important mode of rendering assistance, Sir George Grey, with his usual promptitude and energy, anticipating orders which I had sent (that he should immediately supply 1,000 horses for the same service), had begun at once, and I find by the letter received this day, had either prepared for embarkation, or already caused to be embarked, 1,000 horses, of which 500 or 600 were taken from corps on service, and therefore already trained. In fact the number of horses sent by Sir George Grey from the Cape before receiving any orders from home seems only to have been limited by the amount of forage which could be obtained to send with them. While mentioning this I cannot forbear alluding to the manner in which the Colonists of the Cape have come forward to support the Government on this occasion. Sir George Grey writes that, in order to enable him to send more troops, the inhabitants of Cape Town volunteered to do garrison duty in that Colony when it was more than usually onerous, because the town was full of Kafir prisoners. Assuming that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) means to infer that, considering the large number of troops at the Cape, more succours can be sent to India, it only remains for me to say that what Sir George Grey has hitherto done has been without any precise instructions, and that some months ago, by command of the Government, I sent instructions to him to despatch six regiments to India, unless some very novel and unexpected circumstances should arise in the Colony making it necessary to retain a larger force. I have every reason to believe that Sir George Grey will act upon these instructions. I have the utmost confidence in the promptitude, spirit, energy, and discretion of Sir George Grey, and I am perfectly satisfied he will render to the army in India every assistance in his power. As an instance of zeal on the part of the Cape Colonists, I may state that Sir George Grey and the leading men gave up their own private horses, and the inhabitants generally sold their horses at the usual prices, not allowing them to be affected by this increased demand. I believe I may say that the Cape Colonists have, in every possible manner, co-operated with the public authorities in assisting the service of the country towards quelling the Indian rebellion.