§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
having risen to propose the Vote of Thanks which stood in his name upon the Paper,
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, he rose to order. He must appeal to Mr. Speaker whether upon an Order night it was not usual for Orders of the Day to take precedence of Motions?
§ MR. SPEAKER
It is the practice of the House that upon the occasion of proposing a Vote of Thanks, that Motion has precedence of any business—whether Notices of Motion or Orders of the Day—which may stand first upon the list.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Then, Sir, I wish to speak to a point of order, arising out of the manner in which the notice appears upon the Paper, and which I do not think is altogether regular. So far as my memory serves me it was, I think, on Thursday night that the noble Lord at the head of the Government gave notice of certain Motions which I understand are now to be brought before us. The noble Lord gave notice upon that occasion of a Vote of Thanks to the Army and Navy for their services in India. On Friday morning, when the Paper appeared, there was no intimation of the character of the Motion which the noble Lord was going to make, and certainly the general impression was that upon this evening the noble Lord would propose the Thanks of the House to the Army and Navy for their services in India. Now we had an opportunity on Friday morning of clearly understanding what were the intentions of the Government, and of receiving from the noble Lord those explanations which I think were desirable; because I am sure that it must be the wish of every hon. Gentleman that an expression of opinion of this kind should, if possible, be unanimous. But upon Saturday morning, to the great surprise of many, we first saw the propositions which the noble Lord is about to make introduced upon the paper, and no opportunity was then offered of making any inquiries of the noble Lord with respect to the intentions of the Government. The point of order on which I wish for your direction, Sir, is whether these notices which the noble Lord has put upon the 866 Paper and is about to propose are altogether regular. If the House will allow me, I will point out the very painful and embarrassing position in which we are placed by a course of conduct which on the part of the Government could not, I am sure, have been intentionally disingenuous. The first notice on the Paper is for a Vote of Thanks to the Governor General of India, of which no notice was given by the noble Lord on Thursday night. Sir, I am far from wishing to raise any discussion upon this occasion on the merits and conduct of the Governor General. I have my own opinion of the policy which he has adopted, and I know that there are some hon. Members who have thought that this policy ought to have been brought under the consideration of the House; but I have always dissuaded hon. Gentlemen from taking that course, because, in a great emergency I thought that it would be premature and precipitate to ask the opinion of Parliament on the conduct of the Governor General. Sir, I merely make these observations to show—what I assure you most sincerely is the case—that I have no personal or party feeling in the course which I am now adopting. We are, however, asked to-night to vote our thanks to the Governor General of India, and I maintain that we have had no proper notice of that intention. The notice on Thursday night, by which we were guided, was a notice of a Vote of Thanks to the Army and Navy. Now, Sir, I put it to Her Majesty's Ministers whether it is not most desirable, in a case like the present, that there should be a unanimity of feeling, and whether the noble Lord ought to press a Motion which comes before us in so irregular a manner? If the noble Lord thinks it right to propose a Vote of Thanks to the Governor General of India, it is perfectly open to him to give a notice of his intention. He then can have a debate upon the whole policy of the Indian Government during the last twelve months, and there may be a call of the House, if necessary, in order that upon that important subject a fair verdict may be given. But I ask the noble Lord, and I ask you, Sir, whether the noble Lord is justified in taking the course which he intends to take to-night by proposing a Vote of Thanks to the Governor General of India, while the notice that was given to us was simply a Vote of Thanks to the Army and Navy? That, Sir, is a point of order on which I should like to hear your opinion.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The noble Lord gave in the first instance a general verbal notice of his intention to move a Vote of the Thanks of this House. The noble Lord afterwards placed upon the table a Paper which I now hold in my hand, containing the terms of his Motion, being the very same as those which appear in the Votes of today. This notice was printed on Friday and delivered with the Votes on Saturday morning. I have no hesitation in saying that, in my opinion, ample notice has been given by the noble Lord of his intention to propose the Motion in the terms in which it stands on the Votes.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
I rise, Sir, to a point of order. You will believe me, I trust, when I say that I should be the last person in this House to dispute the correctness of any point of order ruled by you; but I may venture most respectfully to say that the answer which you have now given does not meet the appeal of my right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire. It appears from the answer you have now given that your own recollection of the facts is not quite distinct. In your reply to the appeal of my right hon. Friend you have said that the noble Lord on Thursday last gave a general notice. Now, Sir, the appeal which my right hon. Friend has made to you, and which I beg with great respect to repeat, is founded upon the fact that the noble Lord did not give a general notice. The notice of the noble Lord was specific, and not general. The notice of the noble Lord—I am in the recollection of the House, and I think that you, Sir, will admit the accuracy of what I say—was, that on this day he should move the Thanks of this House to the Army and Navy. I do not believe that there is a man in this House who had any idea until he saw the notice in the Votes delivered on Saturday morning that there was to be a Vote of Thanks to the Governor General of India, and yet that is the first and most important part of the Motion of the noble Lord. Now, Sir, this is the point of order which I venture, with the greatest respect, to put to you—whether it is consistent with the rules of this House, or ought to be consistent with its practice, that a Minister shall give a notice on one day, in a certain form of words, and then substitute for it a written notice of a totally different character?
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Allow me to say, Sir, that there never was a dis- 868 cussion on a point of order which seemed to be more completely irrelevant to the Orders of the House than the present. Why, Sir, if we come to order it is not necessary, in point of order, to give any notice. The Orders of the House would permit any hon. Member to get up on the spot to move a Vote of Thanks. Therefore, when hon. Gentlemen appeal to the Orders of the House, they ought to know and remember what those orders are. Now, with regard to the practice of the House, on which the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Pakington) had laid so much stress, it is this—any hon. Member who intends to propose a Motion first gives a verbal notice of it, and is next hound to put upon the Votes the distinct and detailed words of his Motion. Now, I gave notice on Thursday that I should move a Vote of Thanks to the Army and Navy; but the right hon. Baronet now says that I am about to propose the direct contrary.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
The notice that I have given in the Votes does include the Army and Navy, and the only difference between my verbal and my written notice is that the latter goes beyond the Army and Navy. I should think that it shows grounds and reasons why the Governor General of India, the Governors of the Presidencies, and Sir John Lawrence, are entitled to be included in the Vote of the House. The right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) and the right hon. Baronet have been arguing, not upon the Orders of the House, but their opinion of the propriety of the Motion which I am about to move. I appear to you, Sir, whether there is any question about order.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, he must repeat his opinion that due notice had been given of the Motion as it stood in the Votes.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
I rise, Sir, to perform a duty at once painful and gratifying to the person who has to perform it—one which I am sure will excite in the minds of every Member of this House who hears me feelings of a similar character. The occasion upon which we are assembled is of no ordinary character, and the Motion I am about to submit may be considered in one sense as productive of unmixed congratulation. The House should bear in mind those great events which in the last year have happened in India, and which 869 have called forth from the British residents in every part of that country all those high and distinguished qualities which characterize our race, and which never in the history of the world have been more eminently displayed. That great mutiny, which has extended to almost the whole of our Bengal army and to some small portion of the armies in the other Presidencies, was an event unexpected by anybody. It was foreseen by nobody before it happened, although there have been many prophets after the fact. There were those to whom it was known that as to particular matters of local concern certain regiments of Sepoys had manifested a discontented and mutinous feeling; but those who best knew the Sepoys, and who had had the longest experience of them, reposed the most perfect confidence in their general loyalty and fidelity. Sir Charles Napier, who had, as he said himself, for six years the command of the Bengal force, in a paper which I laid upon the table last Session, dated 1849, described the Native troops as proverbial for their fidelity. It is true that in that very paper he mentions that Lord Hardinge—who had not had so much experience of the character of the Indian soldiers, but who, judging, probably more correctly as it has turned out, by the general principles of human nature, thought that it would not be expedient to collect a large body of the Native troops together for the purpose of military exercise or parade lest they might be led to revolt. But Sir Charles Napier, alluding to that opinion, distinctly said that he entertained no such apprehension, and that he thought we might confidently rely upon the fidelity of any number of Native troops that might be collected together in large masses for the purpose of instruction. This great mutiny, which began by small degrees, but gradually extended itself over a vast extent of the country and withdrew an immense amount of the military force of India, took the Europeans in that country almost entirely by surprise. Those officers who were best acquainted with the character of their troops had so much confidence in their fidelity that they could not be persuaded, even at the last moment, to believe in the danger that had arisen, and some of these gallant men unfortunately fell victims to the over confidence which they reposed in their troops. Well, Sir, the great evil coming unexpectedly, and taking the civil and military servants of the Company and of the Crown in India by surprise, greater opportunities have been 870 afforded than if warning had been given for the display of that energy, that resource, that self-reliance, that courage and perseverance which they have shown upon so many and such great occasions. Though we rejoice at the triumphs which have been obtained, and are proud of the successes which our troops have gained over superior numbers, yet it would be unworthy of this House, and not in consonance with the feelings of the people of this country, if we were not to mourn over the loss of the many great and brave men who have fallen in this great revolt. I do not allude to those private afflictions which have been the consequence of acts of barbarity committed upon many occasions throughout India. That is an affair which, however painful it must be to the feelings of every man who has heard of those barbarities, is yet one with which it is not the duty of Parliament to concern themselves in their collective capacity. We look to what concerns the public service of the country. At the same time, in passing a vote of thanks to the living, it would be unworthy of us not to pay a passing, but well deserved tribute to those whom this country has lost. We have lost many men, some of whom gave promise of future distinction, and some of whom, by their active career had already entitled themselves to the gratitude of the country. The first man whom I should mention, because he was the first to perish, is General Anson, who was Commander in Chief when the mutiny first broke out. General Anson, though in a state of health which hardly permitted him to undertake any active operation at the moment, immediately assumed the command of such troops as he could collect, and pressed forward with them to Delhi. General Anson has been reproached by certain persons in this country, who were unacquainted with the facts, with having unnecessarily delayed the investment of Delhi and with having waited for a siege train which was not required. Now, Sir, so little informed were the people of this country with regard to the state of things in India that many persons imagined that Delhi was an open town, which could be at once walked into by any force which might be brought against it, and few were aware that it was surrounded by forts and batteries. General Anson, however, unfortunately fell an early victim to his zeal for the public service, and was succeeded by General Barnard, who marched to Delhi, and who, during the short time that his life 871 was spared, displayed the finest qualities of a general. General Barnard, on arriving before Delhi, gained a considerable advantage over a body of Sepoys who were outside the town. Some officers might have paused after an engagement in which, although success had been achieved, it had been achieved with great exertion and after a long and harassing march; but General Barnard saw that if the Sepoys were allowed to remain outside the town they would strengthen their position, and consequently he would have two sieges to undertake, one against that advanced position, and the other against the city itself; he therefore pushed on, and having routed the enemy, drove them within the town, thus gaining a great advantage for the besiegers. Well, Sir, General Barnard also fell a victim to his zeal, and was succeeded by General Wilson, who, more fortunate, was able to bring the siege to a close, and happily is still spared to us. The list of those indeed who have perished either by disease or by the sword in this unhappy struggle would be too long for me to recapitulate, but I may, perhaps, be allowed to mention the names of some who have performed actions which have been most prominent in the public view, and in doing so I must not be supposed to imply that there are not others whose names I do not mention who are equally deserving of public esteem. Sir Henry Lawrence was a man whose great services we all know and appreciate. He was a man who had for years held most distinguished positions, both military and civil, and every man who is acquainted with India knows how admirably he discharged the duties which fell to his lot. Then there was General Nicholson, an officer of surprising merit, and whose services would have continued to be, had he lived, of the utmost value to the country. Sir Hugh Wheeler, too, fell in the midst of his arduous attempts to defend Cawnpore, regretted by all. It is sufficient merely to mention the name of Havelock, for all must feel the loss which the country has sustained in his death, and we all know how deep was the lamentation and regret of the country at his death. Then there was General Neill, an officer of great merit, and whose death was a great loss to the country. Lieutenant Willoughby early distinguished himself by one of the most daring attempts ever made, and, although when he blew up the magazine at Delhi he at the time escaped, he fell a victim afterwards either to disease or 872 to the assault or ambuscades of the enemy. Then there was Salkeld, whose name in conjunction with that of Lieutenant Home will go down to posterity as that of men who in the performance of a desperate duty, blowing in the gate of Delhi, displayed a cool judgment and an indifference to danger which have never been surpassed Well, Sir, there have been many others whose names I forbear from enumerating, but whose services we ought not upon the present occasion to forget. We ought to clearly show, when referring to those who are happily still alive, and performing good service in India, that we do not forget the exertions of those that have fallen, but that we associate with their memories the bitter recollection that those exertions are no longer available for their country. There is one consolation, however, in this matter, and that is, that the display which we have seen of those great and manly qualities, which adorn the people of this country, has been so general, that it is impossible not to believe that many persons, who have had no opportunity of distinguishing themselves, would have shown qualities equal to those which have earned for their more fortunate brethren the grateful recollection of their country. I then come to those whose good services have happily been still spared to us, and I will state to the House the Resolutions which I propose to move. I propose, in the first instance—and it is the usual practice upon such occasions—not only to thank the military and naval officers and men for the services which they have rendered, but also to thank those persons at the head of the civil government, who by the arrangements which they made, and by the means which they have placed at the disposal of the military officers, have essentially contributed to the success which has happily attended our efforts. I propose, also, to thank, not only the officers and men of the sister services, but to add a Resolution of which I have not given notice; but I am sure that, although it is a departure from the strict practice of the House, it will not be objected to upon any point of order. I think that this House, in recognizing the services of the naval and military officers and men in India, will at the same time be most willing to acknowledge the services of a great number of persons who, although not belonging to the military profession, have in different parts of India defended their posts when attacked, and have ably co-operated with the mili- 873 tary. Some objection may be taken to the first Resolution, which relates to the services of Viscount Canning, Governor General of the British Possessions in the East Indies; Lord Harris, Governor of the Presidency of Madras; Lord Elphinstone, Governor of the Presidency of Bombay; Sir John Laird Mair Lawrence, G.C.B., Chief Commissioner of the Punjab; and Henry Bartle Edward Frere, Commissioner of Scinde. Now, Sir, if those different officers had not performed the services which they have performed—if they had not evinced the utmost diligence and care, by which alone they were enabled to place at the disposal of the military commanders a considerable force even before the arrival of a single man from England, the successes which we have obtained might probably not have befallen us; Delhi and Cawnpore might not have fallen, nor might the garrison of Lucknow have been relieved. When first the mutiny assumed a shape which displayed its formidable extent and magnitude, Lord Canning, knowing that a considerable period must elapse before large reinforcements could arrive from England, began to consider whence he could obtain troops; and he wrote to Lord Elgin, strongly urging him to permit the force which had been placed under his directions for China to be diverted from its destination, and to proceed to the assistance of the army in India. Well, Sir, Lord Elgin, with prompt and ready zeal, immediately acquiesced, and consented to denude himself of that force on which he depended for the success of the mission upon which he had been sent—Lord Elgin, I say, feeling the vast importance of suppressing the mutiny in India, immediately consented to part with his force, and for the time abandon the negotiation with which he had been intrusted. Lord Canning sent also to the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope for assistance, and Sir George Grey, although there were certain symptoms with regard to the Kaffirs calculated to excite some uneasiness, seeing the importance of the emergency, sent him men, horses, artillery, and money,—in short, everything which could assist Lord Canning upon the occasion. The Governor of the Mauritius did the same. The Governor of Ceylon did the same. Indeed, Sir George Anderson and Sir Henry Ward stripped their respective colonies to an extent which, perhaps, nothing but a great emergency could have justified, and took upon themselves a responsibility which did 874 great honour to their public spirit. Lord Canning took steps also to procure from Persia, from the Mauritius, and from Australia, horses to mount the cavalry and artillery which he expected to arrive, or which he had already at his disposal. Lord Canning, knowing that, when the troops from England arrived, there would be a difficulty in sending them from Calcutta up the country, and knowing, from experience, that the bullock-carts, the animals and vehicles of the peasantry, were taken, as was the custom, by conscription, and that the peasantry, therefore, hid them and carried them away, and that it was difficult to obtain the means of transport—Lord Canning, I say, wisely resolved to pay the peasantry for the use of these carriages, and the result was that, so far from there being no means of transport, after the arrival of 20,000 troops, a great number of bullock-carts were obliged to be sent away, which had been brought to the railway station by the people in the hope that they would be employed. I say, then, that Lord Canning is justly entitled to the acknowledgments of this House for the energy he showed on that occasion. Sir, Lord Canning has been the object of much attack; and I will give the House a specimen of the justice and truth of those attacks. A statement, I am told on authority which I can trust, although I did not see it myself, appeared in a Calcutta newspaper, published at the time when Lord Canning appointed the staff officers for the expedition to Persia, in which it was said, in regard to one of those appointments, "that Lord Canning had now crowned all his former follies by confiding to a worn-out red-tapist, and a man totally unfitted for such a post, an important military command." In short, the officer so selected was held up by this newspaper to ridicule and contempt, as a man fit for nothing else but to sit at table with a dinner before him. And who does the House think was the officer thus assailed? Why, no other than the distinguished General Havelock. I hope, then, the House will not allow themselves to be led away by the vituperation cast upon Lord Canning by the Calcutta press, or by the reports sent home in private letters from that capital. I entreat them to look at the public services which Lord Canning has performed in providing our officers with the means requisite to enable them to accomplish their military operations with success; and I think that no man of generous 875 mind will be disposed to refuse to the Governor General the meed of acknowledgment so justly due to him. I may say the same, in a lesser degree, of Lord Elphinstone and Lord Harris, who did the utmost in their power to strengthen our forces at the immediate scene of action by sending every disposable man to Bengal, and thus stripped their respective Presidencies of troops which, even under ordinary circumstances, might have been thought necessary for their tranquillity, and which, if there were to be a mutiny in their armies, would have been doubly essential in those Presidencies. The services of Sir John Lawrence were really beyond all praise. Sir John Lawrence, by his ability and judgment, not only kept the Punjab tranquil, but organized a large force of Sikhs—the very men who were before regarded as the most dangerous to our rule—threw himself upon them for support, and then sent almost every European soldier within his reach to Delhi, by which means General Wilson was enabled to effect the capture of that great stronghold. I trust, therefore, that this House, ever generous in its appreciation of distinguished public services, will concur in the first Resolution which it is my duty to propose. I must not, however, omit to mention the name of Mr. Frere, the Commissioner of Scinde, who is also included in this vote—a man whose services are so well known and appreciated that it is superfluous for me to allude to them at greater length. The second Resolution which I have to submit is—That the Thanks of this House be given to his Excellency General Sir Colin Campbell, G. C. B., Commander in Chief of India; Major General Sir James Outram, G.C.B.; Major General Sir Archdale Wilson, Hart., K. C.B.; and Major General John Eardly Wilmot Inglis, K.C.B., for the eminent skill, courage, and perseverance displayed by them in the achievement of so many and such important triumphs over numerous bodies of the mutineers.No warmth of approbation which this House can express can be greater than the services of Sir Colin Campbell deserve. Sir Colin Campbell has displayed the highest qualities which can distinguish a general in the field. The alacrity with which he left England to take the chief command was characteristic of his country, of his Highland extraction, and of his military career. When requested to proceed to India he replied that he would be proud to have the trust committed to him; and on being asked when he could start, 876 he answered, "To-morrow evening." He wanted no time for preparation, no delay for arranging his military equipments. He could get every thing he required, he said, at Calcutta, and he would not lose an hour in leaving England by the first steamer then under orders to sail. He arrived at Calcutta, and presented himself at the residence of the Governor General; and, whatever may have been reported from India to the contrary, I am able to slate that the most perfect confidence, the most perfect harmony, the most perfect reciprocal esteem and goodwill prevailed between him and the Governor General from the moment that he reached that country down to the latest hour to which our intelligence extends. I know that Sir Colin Campbell has written to the Governor General, expressing his lively sense of the public services performed by Lord Canning in the course of this general and wide-spread mutiny. Sir Colin Campbell has the rare merit of uniting to the greatest intrepidity and the most daring courage that caution, that combination, that facility of adapting the means to the end which is best calculated to accomplish the object in view with the least possible sacrifice of life to his troops. This most admirable quality is one which, perhaps, few of the great leaders whose deeds are recorded on the page of history can be praised for displaying; but it is nevertheless a quality which his illustrious predecessor (the Duke of Wellington) eminently possessed, and which is always sure not only to command the confidence of the army, but to render its services doubly effectual when the day of battle arrives. In his splendid advance upon Lucknow, in the manner in which he extricated that large train of women and children, and of sick and wounded from the beleagured Residency, Sir Colin Campbell has shown a military skill and ability that were never surpassed. And when he returned to Cawnpore, and had to attack the Gwalior Contingent, instead of rushing to the encounter without preparation, he paused to mature his plans and complete his arrangements for the safety of those entrusted to his care, and then inflicted upon the enemy a discomfiture all the more signal and decisive for his previous delay. It is a great consolation for the country to know that it possesses so great a commander as Sir Colin Campbell has proved himself to be; and it is equally satisfactory to feel that we have men who 877 the moment they are placed in situations of great responsibility show themselves fully equal to the occasion, and entitle themselves to the applause and gratitude of their country. Then, Sir, there is General Wilson who came accidentally to the command of the force before Delhi by the death of his two predecessors. General Wilson has shown that the officers of the scientific branches of the service are not less capable than their comrades of the other branches to command armies and achieve great and glorious results. The skill he exhibited in the various engagements which took place before the great rebel stronghold, the talent he has evinced in conducting the siege, and his judgment in not attempting the assault until he had a sufficient force under him to insure success, entitle him to the high approbation and Thanks of this House. General Outram, too, after performing with great ability the service upon which he was sent to Persia, returned to India and was appointed to a command which entitled him to supersede General Havelock, who had been earning by repeated successes those laurels which now, alas! can only crown his monument. Yet Sir James Outram, with a spirit of chivalry equal to his gallantry and skill—with that generosity which is so often the accompaniment of true courage, declined to take from General Havelock the command of that force with which he had acquired such brilliant distinction, telling him that "Until you have succeeded in relieving Lucknow, the object of your successive efforts, I will serve under you as a volunteer, and will not step in to deprive you of that glory which you so justly deserve." It is gratifying, then, to see that those who distinguish themselves in arms also show themselves to be endowed with the magnanimity so nobly displayed in this instance by General Outram. The exertions of General Cotton and Colonel Edwardes were also of important service in conjunction with Sir John Lawrence at Peshawur, while by General Hope Grant, an officer of great distinction and great promise, very brilliant achievements have been performed, which lead us to hope that, from his time of life, he may yet long continue to be an honour to his profession and a glory to his country. Then there is Brigadier Chamberlain, who greatly distinguished himself at Delhi, and also General Greathed, whose gallant feats have won him so much fame. I mention 878 these names because, although some of them cannot be formally mentioned in the Resolution, it would yet be a suppression of the feelings of this House were they not inscribed in the records of our discussion. Still I cannot name them all even orally, but must content myself with only pointing out those who happen to have had the greatest opportunity of making themselves prominent. There is Colonel Jones, of the 31st Foot, who made himself conspicuous at Delhi; Colonel Campbell, of the 32nd, and Colonel Jones, of the 60th, who also distinguished themselves on the same occasion. Colonel Baird Smith, of the Engineers, had the merit of conducting, under General Wilson, all the siege operations of Delhi with the greatest ability, and succeeded in placing a battery within fifty yards of the wall to be breached,—a feat worthy the highest admiration; Lieutenant Rayner and Lieutenant Forrest co-operated with Lieutenant Willoughby in that gallant exploit of blowing up the magazine at Delhi. General Woodburn, of the Bombay army, and Brigadier General Stuart have also rendered essential service, while General Van Cortlandt has acquired great reputation by his achievements in the Punjab. There was Brigadier General Burnes; Colonel Vincent Eyre, who performed most gallant and most important services; Colonel Inglis, a name never to be forgotten, and made illustrious by that gallant defence of Lucknow, which he conducted in the presence of overwhelming numbers of the enemy, through three months of unexampled suffering and difficulty. Then, Sir, there was another man, not, indeed, belonging to the army, but who was always to be found where fighting was going on—Captain Peel, who has distinguished himself equally at sea and on land, and who was always foremost in battle. I shall also move,—That the thanks of this House be given to the other gallant officers of Her Majesty's Army, Navy, and Marines; and, also, of the Hon. East India Company's Service for the intrepidity, the patient endurance, and other high military qualities which have marked their discharge of those arduous duties which they have so successfully performed. That this House doth highly approve and acknowledge the high courage, the devoted loyalty, and the brilliant services of the noncommissioned officers and men of Her Majesty's military and naval forces, of the European troops in the service of the Hon. East India Company, and of the great body of those Native corps throughout India who have remained faithful to their standards; and that the same be signified to them by the commanders of their several corps, who are desired to thank them for their gallant behaviour.879 I am happy to say that, even in the Bengal army, some corps have remained faithful to their allegiance; that, in the very town of Lucknow, there were Bengal troops who not only bravely and gallantly co-operated with the European garrison in defending the place, but being within talking distance of the mutineers, and being repeatedly and constantly solicited to be faithless to their oaths, and to join their rebellious countrymen, steadily resisted all the allurements which were held out to them, and resolved to shed the last drop of their blood in conjunction with their European allies. That honourable fact ought to be remembered in justice to a portion, at least, of the Bengal Sepoys. In the Madras army there was hardly any, and in the Bombay army only slight disaffection; and it is, I think, due to those troops—a large portion of our Native army—who have remained faithful to their standards, that their fidelity should be recorded and acknowledged. In addition to these Resolutions, Sir, I would move one of which I have not given notice, but which I trust the House will nevertheless accept, namely:—That this House do highly appreciate and cordially approve the courage, self-devotion, and exemplary conduct of those persons who, though not holding military rank, have nevertheless performed valuable military service in defence of the various posts throughout the disturbed districts in India at which they were resident; and that the Governor General be requested to thank those persons for their spirited and patriotic exertions.We should not be doing justice to those persons, if we did not include them in our thanks. To name them would be impossible, because the reports which we have received would not enable us to do so. There are, however, many of them who have performed heroic actions; there are many who have shown the greatest military capacity, who have resisted superior numbers, not only with courage and perseverance, but also with the greatest possible skill; and, taking a large view of these transactions, we should not do justice to our own feelings, or the feelings of the country, if we did not include them in our Resolutions. With these observations I beg leave to propose the votes of which I have given notice. It must be satisfactory to the people of this country to see that our countrymen, whether they have been brought up to the military or naval profession, or whether their habits have been those of civil life, ate always found equal to any circumstances in which they may be 880 placed, to any difficulties by which they may be surrounded, and that their conduct in all emergencies does honour to themselves, and to the country which has given them birth.
The noble Lord concluded by moving the following Resolutions:—"Resolved, Nemine Contradicente, That the Thanks of this House be given to the Right Honourable Viscount Canning, Governor General of the British Possessions in the East Indies; the Right Honourable Lord Harris, Governor of the Presidency of Madras; the Right Honourable Lord Elphinstone, Governor of the Presidency of Bombay; Sir John Laird Mair Lawrence, G. C. B., Chief Commissioner of the Punjaub; and Henry Bartle Edward Frere, Esquire, Commissioner of Scinde, for the energy and ability with which they have employed the resources at their command to suppress the widely-spread mutiny in Her Majesty's Indian Dominions."Resolved, Nemine Contradicente, That the Thanks of this House be given to His Excellency General Sir Colin Campbell, G.C. B., Commander in Chief in India; Major General Sir James Outram, G.C.B.; Major General Sir Archdale Wilson, Baronet, K. C.B.; and Major General Sir John Eardley Wilmot Inglis, K.C.B, for the eminent skill, courage, and perseverance displayed by them in the achievement of so many and such important triumphs over numerous bodies of the Mutineers."Resolved, Nemine Contradicente, That the thanks of this House be given to the other gallant Officers of Her Majesty's Army, Navy, and Marines; and also of the Honourable East India Company's Service, for the intrepidity, the patient endurance, and other high military qualities which have marked their discharge of those arduous duties which they have so successfully performed."Resolved, Nemine Contradicente, That this House doth highly approve and acknowledge the high courage, the devoted loyalty, and the brilliant services of the Non-commissioned Officers and Men of Her Majesty's Military and Naval Forces; of the European Troops in the service of the Honourable East India Company; and of the great body of those Native Corps throughout India who have remained faithful to their Standards; and that the same be signified to them by the Commanders of the several Corps, who are desired to thank them for their gallant behaviour."Resolved, Nemine Contradicente, That this House doth highly appreciate and cordially approve of the courage, self-devotion, and exemplary conduct of those persons, who, though not holding military rank, have nevertheless performed valuable Military Service in the Field, or in defence of various Posts throughout the disturbed districts in India at which they were resident; and that the Governor General be requested to thank these persons for their spirited and patriotic exertions.
Motion made and Question proposed,—
That the Thanks of this House be given to the Right Honourable Viscount Canning, Governor General of the British Possessions in the East Indies; the Right Honourable Lord Harris, Governor of the Presidency of Madras; the Right Honourable Lord Elphinstone, Governor of the Presidency of Bombay; Sir John Laird Mair Lawrence, G.C.B., Chief Commissioner of the
Punjaub; and Henry Bartle Edward Frere, Esquire, Commissioner of Scinde, for the energy and ability with which they have employed the resources at their command to suppress the widely spread mutiny in Her Majesty's Indian Dominions.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, although I believe that no differenee of opinion can possibly prevail among us as to the unprecedented lustre of the actions of our countrymen generally in India, I must still express my regret that, on an occasion like the present, the noble Lord should have, as I think, unnecessarily introduced any elements of controversy. I quite agree with the noble Lord in his view of the conduct of individuals during the last year in India. I do not think there has ever been an instance in which the vigour of personal character has been so remarkably exhibited, and in which individual energy has shone with so much splendour. Indeed, the story is quite epical. The narrative reads like the Homeric poems—every scene produces a hero. In these remarkable events there are two incidents which, by their importance, immediately attract our attention, and it is curious that in these two instances our countrymen were placed in exactly opposite positions. In one they were besiegers, in the other besieged; and in both cases they achieved complete success and gained immortal glory. Between the siege of Delhi and that of Lucknow there was, however, one passage which ought not to be forgotten on this occasion; the connecting link between them, the march of Greathed—worthy, I think, of Caesar. The noble Lord has very properly reminded us that, on an occasion like the present, when we are expressing the thanks of this House for the heroic efforts of our countrymen in India we ought not to forget those who are departed—those who deserve, but who, unfortunately, cannot receive the tribute of our admiration and our gratitude; and I was glad that he did justice to one who long sat in this House, and who, had he had the opportunity, would, I believe, have proved equal to the occasion. I mean the sagacious and gallant Anson, who, had he lived, would have maintained, I think, the reputation of an illustrious name. The noble Lord has also reminded us that there was a distinguished General who fell before Delhi, but who, before he fell, had the satisfaction of achieving great results for the interests of his Sovereign and of his country—General Barnard. These are the 882 names of men who were prematurely cut off, therefore cannot be included in a Vote of Thanks of this House, but who, had they been spared, might have been inscribed upon that roll of heroes on which we find the names of Nicholson, of Have-lock, and of Neill—names which will ever be remembered by the firesides of their country. Lucknow also produced a cluster of illustrious names not inferior to those to whom I have referred. They are contained in one of the votes which will come under our consideration this evening. All remember the charge of Outram, the chivalry of which was not more distinguished than the generous sentiment which placed him in a subordinate position. One of those eminent men whom we shall be called upon to thank to-night, for his gallant conduct in the defence of Lucknow not only excited the interest of all Englishmen, but, owing to peculiar circumstances, created a special sentiment in this House. There were in this House many whose hearts throbbed with sympathy for the beleaguered fortunes of the gallant Inglis, and who will, with peculiar appreciation, join in the vote of approbation of his signal services. The noble Lord has with great happiness described the character of our Commander in Chief. Sir Colin Campbell has, I believe, only one fault—a courage too reckless for his country. An union of personal valour so eminent, with strategy so prudent, has seldom been presented in the history of great military commanders. The noble Lord has also referred, at least in his votes, to the conduct of the other branch of Her Majesty's service, and although it appears somewhat singular that Her Majesty's Navy should take part in a great war in India, still by that happy destiny which in some degree seems to connect the danger and the glory of our country with that eminently national branch of the service, even in this strange war the achievements of our Navy have been most signal and distinguished. Those who remember the early career of Sir W. Peel in the Crimea may not be astonished at his actions in India; but when we read of his bringing heavy artillery across a country through which there were no roads, and presenting it before the countenances of our astonished enemies, who had reckoned upon the absence of such means of attack, one is almost reminded of the character of Sir Sidney Smith, who, half a century ago, won the admiration and gratitude of his coun- 883 try by his romantic energy. However alarming may have been the course of events during the past year, however troubled and gloomy even may now be our prospects in India, every one must feel that the nation which produces such men is not destined to a declining empire. I wish the noble Lord had permitted us this evening to give an unanimous vote with respect to the heroes, whether officers or privates, to whom we are under such obligations; for it is not merely the officers of the army and navy who have distinguished themselves; there has not only been conduct of general valour, but there have been instances of individual heroism on the part of the common soldiers which cannot be too highly praised. Many of the noncommissioned officers and men have shown an elevation of sentiment and a purity of feeling which I am sure this country will always appreciate. In the moment of their severest trial I can conceive what may have sustained and animated these illustrious men, from the highest general to the rank and file. We know by the confession of many warriors how in the hour of danger they were animated to such determined valour and energy by the thought that they might obtain the approbation of their Sovereign and their country. The favour of their Sovereign and the Thanks of Parliament have armed many a gallant spirit with new courage and fortitude in the moment of peril, and who can conceive what may have been the feelings of a man like General Inglis during his ninety awful days at Lucknow with respect to those influences. We know what it was in the case of the heroic Havelock. Perhaps at the darkest and most trying moment, among other moral rewards, even the vote of the House of Commons may have suggested itself to his mind, and sustained him in the hour of danger. That shows how important it is that we should take care that votes of this kind are not degraded by being unworthily bestowed. Let us not depreciate the value of our thanks by conferring them upon men whose conduct has been little meritorious. When I am told, if I make any observation on the manner in which these votes have been brought forward, that it is the usual form and the usual precedent to name in the same votes persons whose actions are of far different degrees of excellence, I will say that we should beware that we do not make our votes mere votes of form, because, without honouring those who receive them unde- 884 servedly, we shall destroy the distinction to those who have been prepared to give their lives, in order to obtain it. Permit me to explain myself distinctly with regard to the first vote which the noble Lord has proposed. Among the noblemen and gentlemen mentioned in that vote there are some respecting whose services there can be no question. The country is grateful to Sir John Lawrence, and recognizes him as a man who has placed himself in the highest position,—as a man who evidently not only possesses great qualities, but knows how to exercise them without regard to personal feeling. So far as we can appreciate the course of events, the conduct of the Governors of the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras may be, and I believe is, deserving of public thanks. So far as I have been able to obtain information, Lord Elphinstone has shown great facility in the discharge of the duties of his high office, and I have always understood that it was owing to him that those troops were obtained from the Cape to which the noble Viscount has referred, though, for what reason I know not, he has given the credit to another individual. Now I am desirous upon this occasion to enter into any controversy with respect to the conduct of Lord Canning. Her Majesty's Ministers were perfectly justified in proposing, if they think his Excellency deserves them, the thanks of this House to Lord Canning; but then I think that upon a subject like that due notice should have been given. It should not have been considered a mere form; it should not have been a surprise. After all we have heard, I think that the friends of Lord Canning, not to speak of his Excellency himself, could not desire that a vote of such a kind should be surreptitiously obtained. I have never brought any charge against Lord Canning, but if the noble Viscount challenges me to-night I must express my opinion, which I am sure is not one influenced by prejudice or passion. There are passages in the conduct of Lord Canning which require great explanation and a vindication which I have not yet heard. I am not prepared to say that a satisfactory explanation cannot be given, or that a triumphant defence may not be made, but I am prepared to say that we ought not to vote these thanks, and Lord Canning ought not to deign to accept them, until we have arrived at the clear conviction that his services are entitled to our approbation. The noble Viscount says no one expected 885 what he persists in calling the "mutiny" in India. It took everybody by surprise. There are prophets after the event who explain everything, but nobody expected anything to happen at all. Of course that is intended as an excuse for Lord Canning, but I am still of opinion that it is not a prima facie proof of excellence in a Governor General that he should be taken by surprise when there is an insurrection. I confess I should like to have upon that subject an explanation far more satisfactory than that given by the noble Viscount. But there are passages of policy in the conduct of the Government of India which demand the most careful investigation before the House can be so unwise as to commit itself to the approbation of measures which afterwards it may find it its duty to impugn. We want information as to the negotiations that took place between the Governor General and the ruler of Nepaul. That is a matter entirely left in mystery. Why were negotiations commenced with the ruler of Nepaul to induce him to pour troops into Oude at a particular moment? Why were they afterwards countermanded, and why were they once more renewed? It is possible that the friends of Lord Canning may be able to explain his conduct in that particular, but surely the subject is one which requires explanation; and before we have thoroughly investigated the facts we cannot prudently pass a vote of thanks to his Excellency. I should also like to know what were the motives which induced Lord Canning to order troops from Rangoon, and then to countermand them? In the conduct of the Administration of India—which, I repeat, may possibly be triumphantly explained and defended—I see inconsistency and incoherency, and to ask us to thank the Governor General for pursuing a policy which appears on the surface to have led to great public disasters seems to me to be most unreasonable and impolitic. The noble Viscount tells us, as one claim for our approbation of the conduct of Lord Canning, that his Excellency has distinguished himself by the manner in which he has forwarded troops up the country. No doubt the noble Viscount is in possesssion of information of the highest kind. He says that newspapers are not to be trusted, and that private letters should not be attended to. What, then, are we, who have no official despatches, but who are obliged to get our information as we can, to 886 do in order to ascertain the facts? I am bound to say that, having given careful attention to that subject, and endeavoured to obtain information from authentic sources, I have all along been under the impression that there was a lamentable deficiency of transport at Calcutta. We have heard of troops arriving there without any preparations having been made for their reception. In the month of November last, we had an official telegram announcing the arrival of troops, and at the same time confessing and deploring that there were no means of forwarding them up the country. The charge against Lord Canning is, that he did not take those steps which were absolutely requisite, and upon which the results of the campaign depended, and that by that neglect we are about to enter into that which I took the liberty at the end of last Session to warn the House was a most dangerous course—a third campaign. We want to know why Lord Canning did not send to Madras for 20,000 bullocks, which might have been obtained? Upon the means of transport depended whether the hostilities in India should be prolonged; and yet, without any inquiry into the conduct of the Governor General in that particular, we are asked to agree to a vote which would prevent us hereafter from impugning or criticising any part of his public policy. There are many other questions of the same kind which ought to be answered satisfactorily before I can give my consent to such a step. For instance, I should like to have had a clear account, before I came to a vote of this kind, of the motives which influenced Lord Canning to adopt the measures which he did with regard to suppressing the English press in India. I am convinced myself, from information which I possess—not from writers of anonymous letters in Calcutta papers—that it was an unnecessary step, and that it has entailed great mischief on our interests. I do not want the House to come to a decision upon that subject upon an occasion like the present, though I believe it is one which requires grave deliberation; but I do say that it is monstrous to ask us of a sudden to come to a vote which precludes us from hereafter ever offering an opinion upon it, or upon all those topics to which, without preparation, I have referred. There are many other topics which, if I had thought the debate would take this course, I might have intimated to the House. It is of the utmost importance, 887 not that the House should come to any precipitate conclusion, or encourage any prejudice in relation to Lord Canning, but that the House should keep itself perfectly free to give a calm decision whenever occasion offers, and not be estopped from future criticism upon the conduct of an Administration which has had to deal with remarkable events, and has had recourse to extraordinary modes of meeting them. Another subject, which cannot be introduced into a debate of this kind, but which appears to me to require the clearest information, is the relations between the Government of Calcutta and the kingdom of Oude since the rebellion commenced. It has been reported to me, and I believe the information is correct, that since the rebellion commenced in India the most considerable persons in the kingdom of Oude, chiefs of high character, of vast possessions and influence, have been attempting to negotiate with our Government and would have been desirous to assist in a settlement, which, in my opinion, was not only for the advantage of England, but one which the interests of justice demand. I am told that these negotiations were commenced long before the fall of Delhi; that Lord Canning was aware Delhi would fall a considerable period—at least three weeks—before the event took place; and that it was in the power of the Government of India not only to have accomplished the fall of Delhi, but at the same time to have pacified Oude. I give no opinion upon that matter, but it is an important consideration for the House if hereafter, when any hon. Gentleman brings forward the subject, which may be the pivot on which our fortunes in India turn, we are to be precluded discussion, and asked by the Minister, "How can the House entertain this charge against the Governor of India, when it has come to a unanimous Resolution approving the conduct which it is now called upon to impugn and to censure?" I make these observations not to commit the House against Lord Canning. I am not myself committed against Lord Canning. I am perfectly prepared to listen with candour to any defence which is offered to me; only let us have an opportunity of bringing forward the charges in a mature and complete manner, and let the House come to a decision upon them. But do not let the House in this surreptitious manner be precluded from exercising its highest functions. Do not let the House 888 betray the interests of the country, and by passing a Vote of Thanks prevent themselves from visiting with censure those who may be guilty of maladministration, and may be the direct or indirect cause of all the disasters and dangers yet impending. Do not let the House be hurriedly drawn into a course which will shut their mouths for ever. Now, I want to recommend a course to the noble Lord which shall not be invidious to Lord Canning. I want to treat Lord Canning with fairness. I do not take Lord Canning out of the category of eminent or illustrious persons in which the noble Lord places him. No one doubts the services of Sir John Lawrence. No one wishes to question the services of the other individuals whose names are in this first Resolution, besides the Governor General's. What I wish the noble Lord to do is to postpone this first Resolution. It cannot be invidious to Lord Canning. It cannot be unjust to him, because we shall then postpone the vote to all the eminent civilians whom we are called upon to thank to-night. There is nothing offensive or unjust to Lord Canning if we also postpone the vote to Sir John Lawrence, who has probably deserved more than any other man in India, whether soldier, sailor, or civilian. Therefore, I say, let us agree to-night in a unanimous Vote of Thanks to the army and navy, to the troops of the Company, and all who are included in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Resolutions. Let us offer no opinion whatever upon the first. Let the noble Lord postpone that, and give due notice hereafter of his intention to bring it forward; and if we then pass a Vote of Thanks to the Governor General, let it be in a manner gratifying to him. Do not let the mail go out and tell him, "Well, we have smuggled a Vote of Thanks to you through Parliament." Will that reward him, and will that sustain him in his labours? Will that add to his moral influence in Calcutta? No! There is not an; hon. Gentleman in this House but must feel that a Vote of Thanks under these circumstances is worse than nothing. It excites the passions of party, and, instead of Lord Canning being held forth as a statesman who has deserved well of his country, an impression will go about that he is used as a stalking-horse, and that for factious purposes the vote has been bestowed. Let the noble Lord withdraw this vote. Let him give fair notice of his intention to bring it forward on a future occasion. Let 889 us have the conduct of Lord Canning fully and fairly discussed, and if the charges brought against him are satisfactorily met and explained in a manner which will carry conviction to a candid mind, I will be the first person to vote unqualified approbation of his conduct. The noble Lord must permit me also to say that it is notorious a memorial has been sent to this country, very numerously signed, against Lord Canning. I will not give the slightest opinion as to the merits of that document; but that document had it not been for an informality, would have been lying on our table, and if it had been lying on our table it would have been the subject of discussion, and if it had contained charges which were unjust those charges would have been refuted by her Majesty's Ministers. Why is not that document on our table—a document, as my right hon. Friend reminds me, signed by more than 2,000 of the most considerable Europeans in Calcutta, praying for the recall of Lord Canning? I do not in any way connect myself with the charges contained in that memorial, but they are grave charges, coming from persons of character and influence. That document ought to be on our table, and had it been, the truth would have been established in discussion. It is not on our table through a quibble. The document praying for the recall of Lord Canning was forwarded to Her Majesty's Ministers for presentation to Her Majesty. By a rule of etiquette no document can arrive in this country in a perfectly orthodox manner unless it is transmitted by the Governor General himself. It was, of course, a matter of gentleman-like delicacy not to intrust a memorial praying for his recall to the Governor General; yet in these days, when empires are in danger and when one would suppose that the spirit of routine might be a little modified, I understand the memorial was sent back to Calcutta in order that it might be returned to England by the Governor General himself. Our fellow-countrymen in Calcutta have not the advantage of what is called representative government. Some of them want representative government. I give no opinion to-night upon that point. But if any of our countrymen residing at a great distance have grievances to allege against their governors, and have no other means of bringing those grievances before the notice of persons in authority than memorials to the Sovereign or petitions to Parliament, I think if we avail ourselves of an infor- 890 mality to prevent the subject of these complaints being before us, and at the same time vote thanks and approbation to the Governor whose conduct is impugned, we go a great way to make them dissatisfied with the home Government. I hope the noble Lord will not put me in the painful position of making a hostile Motion tonight, but will yield to my suggestion and postpone his first Resolution. But in case the noble Lord does not do that, I shall feel it my duty to move the previous question.
§ Previous Question proposed, That that Question be now put.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House had done as much as any person could do by a speech to divert the House from the real issue before it, and to place the question in a false light. Anybody would suppose, from the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman, that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to ask the House, by concurring in this vote, to pass a general vote of approbation upon the whole Indian administration and the policy of the Governor General of India. Had any such intention existed, he would admit with the right hon. Gentleman that not only would it have taken the House by surprise, but it would have been most improper for the Government to have mixed up with the expression of their approbation of the successful exertions of their soldiers what was a totally distinct question—the civil policy of the administration under which the Government had been conducted. But that was not the case. If the right hon. Gentleman looked at the terms of the Motion, he would see that, so far from the Motion approving of the conduct of Lord Canning with regard to the civil policy which he had pursued—his policy with regard to the press—the Arms Act; with regard to Oude and other questions on which great diversity of opinion might reasonably exist—it addressed itself simply to the one Bingle point of the manner in which military operations had been conducted, and Lord Canning was in no way connected with it except so far as in his capacity of Governor General he had directed and superintended those opera- 891 tions. The right hon. Gentleman said something about the House having been taken by surprise. He (Mr. Labouchere) knew that in that House that was always a popular cry; there is nothing of which this House is so jealous, and so reasonably jealous, as an attempt at surprise; but anybody who had watched the course of proceedings in that House, and had referred to precedents, could tell them that the House would have been taken far more by surprise if the name of the Governor General had been omitted upon the present occasion. In every former occasion upon which Votes of Thanks had been given by the House for military operations in any part of Her Majesty's dominions, the names of the distinguished civilians under whose Government those operations had been achieved had been invariably mentioned, and coupled with the names of those by whom those operations had been performed. If the assertion was any comfort to the right hon. Gentleman, he would inform him that Her Majesty's Government would hold no Member of the House precluded in any future discussion from arraigning, blaming, or, if needs be, from moving a Vote of Censure for any political or civil act of the Governor General or the Government of India which was not connected immediately with the military operations of the country which were now the subject of approbation. If the name of Lord Canning and the other civilians were left out, it would imply censure upon the part of the House; their being mentioned was merely in accordance with the usual practice, and no special reason had been shown why they should depart from it upon this occasion. But beyond this he had no hesitation in saying, that with regard to the general policy of the administration of Lord Canning the Government were perfectly willing to defend it, and had no wish whatever to avoid any suitable occasion of discussing his acts with those who wished to arraign them. What he contended was, that the present was not the proper time for such a discussion, for it had reference entirely to the manner in which the military force of that country had been conducted and managed; and when they remembered the circumstances under which Lord Canning was placed—recollecting the surprise with which so tremendous a calamity had fallen upon them, how wide-spread the Indian mutiny was—and what a most inadequate supply of troops Lord Canning had at his immediate 892 disposal—when they witnessed his wisdom, the calm courage with which he encountered danger, and the admirable tact evinced by him in applying the forces at his command so as to meet and overcome the dangers by which he was surrounded, he thought that no just man, who had watched the current of events in India, would consider it right for the House to pass such a slight upon Lord Canning as would be implied in the omission of his name from a vote of thanks for military operations, in which it was always customary to include civilians who had conducted the affairs of the country where such operations had taken place. It was very well for them to talk at their ease in this country of this thing and the other thing that ought to have been done, but he considered that no human being had ever been placed in a situation of greater responsibility than Lord Canning was at the breaking out of the mutiny. The noble Lord went out to India with his mind filled with the desire and intention of carrying out peaceful reforms, extending civilisation and advancing the material improvement of the country intrusted to his charge. Scarcely had he been there a year when this terrible storm broke upon his head, and be had dealt with it in a manner which had inspired all around him with confidence and courage. When all the circumstances attending this frightful mutiny came to be inquired into, the people of England, who were always just and generous to their public men, would see that full justice was done to Lord Canning, and he (Mr. Labouchere) believed that in the end the result would be that the country would feel that they owed a deep debt of gratitude to that noble Lord, for the able manner in which he had conducted its affairs at so terrible a crisis. But this was not the time for a discussion of this kind. He asked the House fur no general vote of approval for Lord Canning on this occasion, but he implored them not to depart from the ancient and recognised course taken by them; but he asked the House, that when they were about (as he was sure they were) to express unanimously, in the name of their country, their cordial approbation of those gallant soldiers who, under so many perils and difficulties, had displayed qualities which had not only served the interests of their country, but had inscribed another page of imperishable glory on the annals of history, they would not forget the past services conferred by Lord Canning in superintending and directing 893 those efforts, and that they would not do anything which could be even misinterpreted so as to cast a stain upon Lord Canning's name. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire had certainly surprised and entertained him, when he said that nothing could be fairer or less liable to misconstruction than a course which he recommended. There was, said he, the case of Sir John Lawrence, a man whom they all delighted to honour, and he (Mr. Labouchere) agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that they could hardly mention another man to whom the country was so much indebted; it was hardly possible to say what might have occurred if Sir John Lawrence, by his consummate policy, firmness, and indomitable civil courage—a quality rarer and not less precious than military courage—had not met and overcome the innumerable difficulties in the manner which has rendered his name famous. There was no knowing what turn affairs might not have taken in India had not Sir John Lawrence displayed such talents. But what did the right hon. Gentleman suggest? Why, that they should postpone the Vote of Thanks to him in order that in consequence of so great an act of injustice being done to him, no other man could complain of being left out of the vote. He hoped the House would not deal with the question in this spirit—would not listen for a moment to such a suggestion, for its adoption would, indeed, be to make a solemn vote of approbation by that House, which he considered the highest honour England could bestow, or to which an Englishman could look forward, a mere mockery and delusion. No, let them pursue the course invariably adopted on great occasions like the present; let them vote thanks to those brave men who had sustained the interests and the honour of the country in the late calamitous circumstances of India, and reject a suggestion in support of which no argument had been offered; let them include in the same Vote of Thanks not only those who had fought their battles, but those who had directed those operations with an energy and skill to which no small part of the successes with which they had been attended was attributable. He did not say this because he entertained a doubt that the civil policy of Lord Canning would not bear investigation. He believed that Lord Canning had been made the victim of as much misrepresentation and the object of as many acrimonious attacks as 894 any man alive. He was a man of a sensitive disposition, and felt these attacks deeply, but at the same time he had been supported under them by the conscientiousness that he had done his duty; and when his country calmly investigated the whole matter, and had before them all the information upon which the attacks and the defence were made, they would do him justice. He would only mention one circumstance to show the groundless nature of some of those attacks. His noble Friend has touched upon one class of the calumnies which have been freely circulated in this country—that he was anxious to thwart Sir Colin Campbell with respect to the policy to be pursued in the conduct of military operations. My noble Friend said that mere assertions were not only false, but ridiculously false, absurdly false. He (Mr. Labouchere) happened to have several letters of Sir Colin Campbell, not written with any expectation that they would be published or shown to any one, in which Sir Colin Campbell spoke in terms of the highest admiration and deepest affection of Lord Canning, stating that nothing could be more satisfactory than the manner in which they worked together. He spoke also of his many admirable qualities as a man of business, of his character for honour, and what was more marked than anything else, of the calm deliberate courage which he had shown on the occasion of the calamitous outbreak, the result of which they were now suffering. His (Mr. Labouchere's) object in rising was to implore the House not to believe what the right hon. Gentleman had attempted to persuade them was the fact, that by passing this vote they were precluding themselves from considering on some future occasion the whole policy of Lord Canning. The present vote implied no such general approbation as that, and the time would come when the House would be called upon to express their opinion upon it, and when, it would be brought before them upon, perfectly distinct grounds.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
Sir, I deeply regret to learn from the right hon. Gentleman's speech that the noble Lord will not accept the suggestion which has been made by my right hon. Friend with so much moderation. I deeply regret the course which he has taken because, since I have had the honour of a seat in Parliament I do not remember any circumstances more painful than those in which the House is now placed by that refusal. The right 895 hon. Gentleman has just told us that this vote does not involve approbation of Lord Canning's conduct. What, then, is the meaning of the language employed in the Motion before us? What are we asked to thank Lord Canning for? The Motion says, "for the energy and ability with which he has employed the resources at his command for the suppression of the rebellion." Is not that approbation of Lord Canning? In the absence of any proof to the contrary I am sorry to say that I am irresistibly brought to the conclusion that, instead of Lord Canning's conduct being marked with energy and ability, it has been marked with great vacillation, great indecision, and a great want of that statesmanlike capacity which was requisite for the discharge of his duties. I don't for a moment doubt that Lord Canning has acted for the best. I don't for a moment deny that he has been placed in a position of extreme difficulty; and I think that great allowances ought to be made for the unexpected emergency in which he found himself involved; but I submit to the House that Votes of Thanks ought not to be lightly complimented away. The thanks of Parliament are one of the greatest honours that can be conferred upon any Englishman, and it is the duty of the House to take care that they are not voted except in cases where there can be no doubt whatever that they are well deserved. I am sure I need not state that my mind is free from anything like prejudice against Lord Canning. So far from it, if I have any wish with regard to Lord Canning, it is, that as a public man he should prove a good title to the name of his great and distinguished father. As I have already said, I hardly recollect anything so painful occurring in this House as the necessity under which we now find ourselves of taking exception to the course proposed by the Government; and I submit that that course is not fair to this House, and that it is not fair to Lord Canning. Why did not the noble Lord, last Thursday, when he gave his notice, tell us fairly and honestly what his Motion would be? Why did he not tell us that the first Vote of tonight would be one of thanks to the Governor General? I think, Sir, that we have great reason to complain of the course which the Government have taken in thus attempting to obtain by surprise a vote of this nature. Was the omission accidental? I can't help strongly suspecting that the noble Lord withheld the announcement of a Vote of Thanks to the Governor General 896 because he felt that it was doubtful how far it would be well received in this House, and that it would be better to keep it back till the latest moment. But this is not all. Let me remind the House and the Government of the extraordinary circumstances under which they ask for this Vote of Thanks. My right hon. Friend has referred to a memorial which was sent from Calcutta to the Queen, praying for the recall of Lord Canning. I think that those who have read that memorial will feel that, if the allegations it contains are true, Lord Canning ought to be recalled instead of being thanked. Before the holidays I asked the noble Lord opposite whether that memorial was to be placed on the table of the House, and the answer that I received was that, for the reasons which have been stated by my right hon. Friend, it was necessary, not merely as a matter of form, but as a matter also of fairness and of justice, before it was produced, that it should be sent to Calcutta for the answer of Lord Canning. I could take no exception to the perfect propriety of that course; but we have not yet seen that answer, and the noble Lord now asks the House to pass a Vote of Thanks and approbation of the conduct of Lord Canning at a moment when a serious document of that kind, desiring his recall, has been referred back to Calcutta, and we have not seen what the answer of Lord Canning is. I understood the noble Lord on a former occasion to say that the answer had been received. [Mr. VERNON SMITH: We are awaiting it.] Then that only makes the case the stronger. At all events, we have not yet seen the answer which has been received from Lord Canning to the serious allegations contained in the Calcutta memorial. The noble Lord says that the conduct of Lord Canning has been judicious, and that he has done all that he possibly could to apply the resources at his command to the repression of the rebellion in India. I am sorry to say—if we are to believe the allegations in the document referred to—that the instances are most numerous in which Lord Canning has shown the greatest vacillation and the utmost infirmity of purpose. I must impress upon the House that it is very difficult to arrive at anything like a fair opinion on this question without bearing the dates in mind. On the 10th of May occurred the massacre at Meerut. On the 11th of May, Delhi was captured by the rebels. On the 19th, the revolt took place at Lucknow. On the 897 21st of May a loyal deputation went up to Lord Canning offering their services as volunteers in Calcutta. The answer of Lord Canning was a decided refusal of their offer, accompanied by a rebuke for the imputations which they were throwing out against the loyalty of the Bengal army. On the 25th of May another offer was made by, I believe, the whole of the European residents in Calcutta to enlist as volunteers, in order that Lord Canning might be enabled to send up every available soldier to the disturbed province. Again Lord Canning refused their offer in an abrupt and-offensive manner, telling those gentlemen that the "partial disturbance was nearly quelled." But that was not all. Those offers were made to Lord Canning on the 21st and 25th of May, and on the 19th—two days before he rebuked the loyal inhabitants of Calcutta for having thrown imputations upon the loyalty of the Bengal army—Lord Canning had written home to the Court of Directors speaking of the alarming events which had just taken place at Meerut and Delhi, and alluding to the dangerous state of the whole of the Native army in Bengal. I do not for a moment contend that it was Lord Canning's duty to hold the same language to those deputations which he held in his correspondence with the Court of Directors; but it is clear that on the 19th of May, Lord Canning was aware of the disaffection of the Bengal army, and I say that the answer which he gave to those deputations was most improper and injudicious under the circumstances, and that it was hardly worthy of Lord Canning, considering the statement which he had just sent home to England. On the 12th of June, Lord Canning was obliged to accept the offer of those loyal inhabitants of Calcutta to perform those services which a fortnight before he had rejected offensively and contumeliously. But there is another and more serious instance of vacillation on the part of Lord Canning. I allude to his conduct with regard to Nepaul; and here again I must entreat the House to bear the dates in mind. Delhi was captured by the rebels on the 11th of May. No sooner was that fact made known to the Government of Nepaul than an offer was made to Lord Canning by Jung Bahadoor of a large force of Ghoorkas. Lord Canning accepted the offer and the Ghoorkas marched, so that by the end of May they were nearly at Lucknow. On the 22nd of June the first massacre at Cawn 898 pore took place, and it was about the middle of July that those horrible events occurred which will be associated in history with the "well of Cawnpore." Now, what was the conduct of the Governor General of India? At the end of May, when the Ghoorka force had actually marched and had nearly arrived at Lucknow, Lord Canning changed his mind and sent word to the Government of Nepaul that he would not keep their contingent. Those forces were accordingly marched back into Nepaul, and afterwards, when it was too late, Lord Canning changed his mind again and was obliged to entreat the Government of Nepaul to send back the soldiers. If these things are not true let them be disproved. I have no wish to be harsh on Lord Canning, and I adopt every word that was so well and judiciously said by my right hon. Friend with respect to him. I shall be thankful to be persuaded that these accusations against Lord Canning are not deserved; but I say, if they are true, that we cannot resist the conviction that on the vacillation of the Governor General at Calcutta must rest the blame of all those unhappy events at Cawnpore and Lucknow. If that Ghoorka force which was offered by the Nepaul Government and absolutely sent down to Lucknow at the end of May, had been allowed to stay where it was, and had not been most rashly and imprudently sent back to Nepaul, there is every reason to believe that what subsequently took place at Lucknow and Cawnpore might have been averted. [Mr. VERNON SMITH dissented.] I shall heartily rejoice if the right hon. Gentleman can disprove that; but what I complain of is the proposal to pass a Vote of Thanks to the Governor General pending these accusations, and while the British public, who are not in possession of official information, are under the impression of their correctness. It may be a false impression—then disprove it; but are you prudent, are you even fair to Lord Canning in asking for a Vote of Thanks and approbation while the British public entertain that impression, right or wrong? But even this is not all. Let me remind you of what took place at Dinapore in July. Remonstrances after remonstrances, both public and private, were addressed to Lord Canning, warning him that the regiments at Dinapore must be disarmed. At last the public patience was exhausted. The usual mode of communicating with the 899 Government was found to be ineffectual, and a deputation of influential merchants requested an audience of the noble Lord, and pressed upon him the absolute necessity of disarming the Native troops of Dinapore. They were treated as the volunteers had been treated; their advice was rejected; the Dinapore regiments were not disarmed, and not a week elapsed before a revolt occurred, and the horrible scenes of Arrah were enacted. Allow me to refer to the case of Allahabad. Allahabad is the most important station in a military point of view in India. Allahabad stands, as hon. Gentlemen are well aware, upon the junction of the Jumna and the Ganges. It was all important to us as a military position. If we had lost Allahabad we must have lost all the Upper Provinces, and the gallantry of our troops would have been utterly unable to avert the greatest calamities. In what spirit did Lord Canning deal with Allahabad? At the time of the outbreak at Meerut, Delhi, and Lucknow, there was not an European soldier at Allahabad. Remonstrances were made. The press was not gagged at that time. The press cried out. On the 23rd of May, and not before, sixty-five European invalids arrived at Allahabad, and I believe that among the many providential circumstances connected with these events, for which this nation has to be thankful beyond what we have language to express, there has been nothing more providential than that we did not lose that important station. I will not go further. My right hon. Friend near me has adverted to what I have no hesitation in saying we regard as the most questionable act of Lord Canning—namely, his suppression of the English newspapers. That Lord Canning was right in suppressing the Native papers I am not disposed to question; but I think that Lord Canning was ill-advised in drawing no distinction between the European and the Native press. I am perfectly ready to give every consideration to what Lord Canning's friends urge in his behalf on that subject; but the only grounds upon which we can found our judgment are the papers which Government have laid on the table, and I must say that those papers do not exculpate him in my mind. On what does he rest his policy with regard to the press in India? Why, upon language held by Sir Charles Metcalfe, to the effect that invidious distinctions ought not to be made between the 900 European and the Native press in India. But that was a general proposition made in a time of peace and tranquillity, and would hardly bear the inference drawn from it by Lord Canning, that such a distinction was also impolitic in a time of rebellion. I believe that Lord Canning was unable to vindicate the policy he had adopted, not that he had any reason whatever to complain of the spirit in which the English press was conducted. Entertaining these feelings, it is impossible for me, however painful the avowal, to concur in a Vote of Thanks to Lord Canning, I beg the House and Her Majesty's Ministers to remember that, although these charges against Lord Canning have been before the public for a considerable time, we on this side of the House have made no attack upon Lord Canning. We have acted with the greatest moderation. As my right hon. Friend has said, we were willing to incur risks rather than take a course which, so long as Lord Canning enjoyed the confidence of Her Majesty, and Her Majesty was advised by hon. Gentlemen opposite to retain Lord Canning as Governor General, might have the appearance of embarrassing the Government of India in such a crisis. But when the noble Lord at the head of the Government comes down to the House to propose a Vote of Thanks to Lord Canning, it is impossible for us not to resist such a proposition. We have but one course to take. For my own part, I take that course with the greatest pain; but until the imputations on the wisdom and judgment of Lord Canning are removed it is impossible for me to concur in the vote of approbation of the policy of that noble Lord.
said, that he had hoped he should have been able to give a silent vote on this Motion. He thought that when the House was called upon to acknowledge the debt of gratitude which was due to our gallant soldiers such a vote would have been unanimously passed. Nor did he know any reason why those who had rendered great services, although filling a civil office, should be omitted, especially considering their great exertions during this remarkable contest. A great deal of hostility which had found vent in language had been manifested with regard to Lord Canning, and he knew no man who deserved it so little. He could not sit still and hear the conduct of Lord Canning condemned as it had been, under a certain appearance of candour, by the right hon. 901 Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli). That right hon. Gentleman had used the remarkable expression that the Votes of the House would be degraded if this Resolution were passed.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Allow me, Sir, to inform the hon. Gentleman that he has entirely misinterpreted what I said. I said that if the Votes of the House ever became treated as mere forms, they would be degraded. I did not refer to this particular case.
, after that explanation, would not pursue that branch of the subject further; but he desired to bear his humble testimony to the remarkable degree of foresight and vigour that Lord Canning's measures for the suppression of the mutiny had evinced. He had manifested the greatest coolness in a great emergency, in a crisis unparalleled in the history of the empire. From the very commencement of the outbreak Lord Canning set himself to use every means in his power to get troops from Ceylon, Burmah, the Cape of Good Hope, and other places. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) stated that the troops which had been sent for had been countermanded. The fact was that no such transaction took place at all. The foundation for it was a statement in the Calcutta press, but it arose out of a transaction which was utterly different. The charge made was, that troops were ordered from Rangoon, and that the steamer which brought them was under orders to take them back. That was the charge. He did not believe it was true, but such as it was, it was entirely different from that which had been advanced by the right hon. Gentleman. Then, again, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington) had repeated certain charges against Lord Canning, and he had called particular attention to dates. He (Mr. Mangles) accepted the right hon. Baronet's challenge, and he could do so with the most perfect impunity, considering that in respect to the particular transactions alluded to the right hon. Baronet was wrong in every one of the dates, for he stated the transactions took place in the month of May, when, in point of fact, they took place in the month of June. [Sir J. PAKINGTON: What transactions?] The transactions which took place with respect to the troops from Nepaul. The right hon. Baronet stated that in the early part of June the troops from Nepaul had nearly reached Lucknow—the fact was that they 902 had not left the territory of Nepaul when the Governor General wrote declining the offer. Between the 13th and 19th of June the Governor General received intelligence that Sir Henry Lawrence was blockaded at Lucknow, and that assistance was required. Then it was that the Governor General wrote to Nepaul for the troops, having received in the meantime information which was not in his possession before, and consequently he thought it right to accept the offer made. But in that case the difference in the dates was not the only misstatement of the right hon. Baronet, who was so precise as to the matter. He said that the Government first wrote and asked for troops, and then declined them.
§ SIR J. PAKINGTON
I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I am very glad if he is in a position to correct those statements. I have had no official information, only the general knowledge that others might have had. Still my statement was not that the Governor General had written and asked for troops, but that he had accepted the offer made by the Government of Nepaul, and that after the troops had moved near to Lucknow they were sent back again and then subsequently recalled.
But such was not the case. The fact was, a letter dated the 10th was received from the Resident at Nepaul, stating that the Government had made the offer, and the Governor General wrote on the 13th, declining it. No blame could be laid to him for that. Really, it appeared that such a taste seemed to have been created for charges against the Governor General that, if the public could have swallowed them, it might not only have led them to believe that the Governor General was a most inefficient man, but was actually a traitor to his country. All the stories mentioned that night as reflecting upon the character of Lord Canning had been concocted in Calcutta, and he would give the House another instance, in order to show their nature, and the amount of reliance which may be placed upon them. It was stated in a Native Calcutta newspaper, and the statement had found its way into the English press, that two men had been detected at Fort William hauling down the Queen's flag and hoisting a green one, which was to be the signal to 13,000 "nice young fellows"—that was the expression of the paper—to march on the fort, and that such was the irresolution and weakness of Lord 903 Canning, that nothing bat the appearance of mutiny in the European troops could induce him to allow the sentence of death, which had been passed on the detected persons, to be executed, and two men, added the correspondent, were executed accordingly that morning. Now, what was the explanation of this affair? Would the House believe that the whole foundation on which it rested was this—that one evening when the Bun had just gone down information was given by a sentry that some person had been pulling down the standard from the walls. On the matter, however, being inquired into, the report was found to be utterly untrue, for the standard remained in its usual place; and yet, on this slight foundation, the story to which he had referred had been trumped up about the matter, and it was said that two men were executed on account of it on the following morning. This was a fair specimen of the stories which had been current at Calcutta. He was sorry to say that on the part of a portion of the inhabitants of that city—and it was but a portion, much injustice had been shown towards Lord Canning at a time when this great public functionary had to encounter unparalleled difficulties. This hostile feeling towards Lord Canning arose from the animosity of the press in consequence of the Governor General finding himself compelled to put a certain check on it. No man was more attached to the liberty of the press than he (Mr. Mangles) was; nevertheless, he considered it impossible for Lord Canning to have taken any other course with a view to the future security of India than to interdict the mischievous and lying writings of many of those papers in India. For when in Calcutta there was one paper telling the whole Native population that it was intended to trample them under foot, and another which designated certain persons, such as the Maharajah of Gwalior or the Nawah of Moorshedabad, who had remained constant to the British rule, as traitors, surely it was high time to put some constraint upon men who showed themselves so devoid of prudence and moderation. It had been stated that Sir Colin Campbell had had differences with Lord Canning, but there were many hon. Gentlemen in the House who had seen Sir Colin's letters, and he would appeal to them to say in what manner Sir Colin always spoke of the Governor General. One matter spoke volumes in praise of Lord Canning. The country leading to 904 Cawnpore had been only partially in our hands; while that between Cawnpore and Lucknow had been in the hands of the enemy; but he would appeal to the House whether they had ever seen a single complaint with regard to the commissariat supplies furnished to the troops who marched to the relief of the Residency? Even to him (Mr. Mangles), who was acquainted with the Indian commissariat, it was perfectly marvellous to think how complete the arrangements must have been, to enable the relieving columns to move with such rapidity. He would challenge any hon. Member to point out a single complaint which had found its way into the papers to the effect that the troops were brought to a stand for want of means of transport, or were distressed by the absence of supplies or provisions. Was there no reason in this for voting thanks to Lord Canning? He said nothing about Delhi, because he knew the credit of the commissariat supplies for that place was due to that great man, Sir John Lawrence; but Sir John Lawrence had dome no more for the troops before Delhi than the Governor General had done for those at Cawnpore and Lucknow. He hoped the House, therefore, would not listen to the recommendation of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and withhold their thanks from Lord Canning, He (Mr. Mangles) believed—and of course he had seen more of the papers than perhaps any other man—that, in spite of all the aspersions which had been cast upon the noble Lord, there was no one more honourably or more eminently entitled to the thanks of the House for the great judgment and energy which he had displayed. He (Mr. Mangles) trusted he might be allowed to take this opportunity of explaining an expression which he had made use of in another place, and which he found had given pain to a lady to whom he would not for the world have willingly caused a moment's uneasiness. He had said that when General Wilson assumed the command before Delhi he adopted a different system of tactics than that previously pursued—a system which spared the troops more. That remark, he regretted to learn, had been interpreted by a near connection of General Barnard as intended to disparage the conduct of that distinguished commander. Nothing, however, could have been further from his thoughts than to presume to criticise the military conduct of General Barnard. He had no doubt that General 905 Barnard acted rightly, and be took this most public opportunity of disclaiming any intention to disparage his conduct. With, regard to the valour shown by both the Queen's and the Company's troops there could not be two opinions; but, having been in the country, there was one thing that appeared to him even more surprising than the courage they had shown when before the enemy—he meant their endurance under what Lord Macaulay had once called "that terrible sun." With regard to the civil servants, perhaps the House would allow him to say he felt heartily glad to find that the noble Viscount had thought right to introduce them into the vote. There were men amongst them, who, though not soldiers by profession, had nevertheless proved that they could fight as bravely as the rest. Not the least wonderful thing in this year of wonders had been the fidelity of the Sikhs. In that little siege of Arrah, the garrison consisted of forty or fifty Sikh soldiers, and when the enormous body of mutineers who were attacking the place found that they were unable to obtain an entrance by force, they adopted every means they could think of to win them over. They called to them that every man should have fifty pounds if they would come out; but the only answer they received was, "come a little nearer, we can't hear you." They went nearer, and the gallant Sikhs instantly shot them down. It would perhaps scarcely be credited, but the Native commanding officer had upon him six or eight wounds, which he had received from the English in the Sikh war. He (Mr. Mangles) hoped the House would reject the Amendment and agree to the Motion.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he should be sorry to give a silent vote upon this occasion, although the House seemed unanimous except in the case of the Governor General. He (Colonel Sykes) had not had the same means of judging of Lord Canning's conduct as the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Mangles) had, but he enjoyed some means not accessible to other hon. Members, and he felt sure the Governor General deserved the thanks of the country for the great services he had performed. It was his firm conviction that Lord Canning, placed as he was, in a perilous position, and surrounded by a factious European population which ought to have been his support, had acted with a judgment, a perseverance, a fertility of resource, and a humanity befitting a Christian gen- 906 tleman, which did him the highest possible honour. To give the House some idea of the difficulties that the Governor General had to encounter from some portion at least of the European population which he had to manage, he would read an extract or two from a Parliamentary paper which had been laid on the table so recently that hon. Gentlemen might not have had an opportunity of perusing it. The first ex-tract was from an unofficial letter, dated Allahabad, 6th of July, 1857, and was as follows:——had adopted a policy of burning villages, which is, in my opinion, the most suicidal and mischievous that can be devised; it prevents the possibility of order being restored; the aged, women, and children are sacrificed, as well as those guilty of rebellion. Cultivation is impossible; a famine is consequently almost certain. The sternest measures are doubtless necessary. and every possible endeavour should be made to apprehend and punish those actually engaged in plunder or rebellion, but here there seems to be no discrimination. A railway officer, whose report you will probably see, did excellent service, and seems to have behaved very gallantly when sent with a small guard to restore the railway where it might hare been injured; but, in accordance with the custom, as he met with opposition from some plunderers and mutineers, he burnt ten villages, which he found deserted. The trunk road now passes through a desert; the inhabitants have fled to a distance of four or five miles; and it seems to me to be obviously the proper policy to encourage all peaceable per-sons to return, not to destroy the villages and render the return of the people impossible. Some five persons have been invested with the powers of life and death in the Station of Allahabad; each sits separately, and there are also courts-martial in the fort. You will do the State, service if you can check the indiscriminate burning of villages, and secure the hanging of the influential offenders instead of those who cannot pay the police for their safety.His next extract was from an unofficial letter, dated Benares, 13th of July, 1857, which stated:—I have had in many of the principal men of Dobee, against whom the first attack was made, and they are all willing to keep quiet now. I hope the same of the Dugaon men, who helped them on their march into Benares. It is quite against my feelings and policy to bare any bloodshed which can possibly be avoided.——is much more, severe; the young men of course require to be kept in. Mr.——, a daring and unscrupulous partisan, requires a great deal to be kept in.This last extract he would quote was from an unofficial letter, dated Allahabad, 22nd of July, 1857, viz.:—The true version of the story alluded to in your letter of the 17th inst. is this: there is one, and only one, zemindar in this neighbourhood who behaved well to us during the disturbances here, namely, Mohummud Takee, of Mundoolee. This man saved the lives of several Christians, and re- 907 ceived certificates to that effect from Colonel Neill and myself. On the 22nd of June, Mohummud Takee came to my cutchery, and complained that a Mr.——a railway employé, had entered his Tillage with armed followers and driven away his flock of goats. I immediately went to Mr.——'s house, Mohummud Takee accompanying me, and asked if the complaint was true; Mr.——admitted the act, and the goats were produced and made over to Mohummud Takee in my presence. I remonstrated with Mr.——, and told him we could never hope to restore order if Europeans continued to plunder the people. He justified his act. Mohummud Takee appealed to me for protection in future. I told him I could give him no material protection, adding, however (and particularly explaining the addition to Mr.——), that if Mr.——came again into his village with armed men to plunder, that he (Mohummud Takee) would be perfectly justified in treating all such men as common dacoits and robbers; that he might resist such plunderers to the death. Mr.——never plundered in that village again. You have no conception of the dangers and difficulties created by lawless and reckless Europeans here. One of them cocked his pistol at Captain Brasyer in the fort; the ruffian was as likely as not to have pulled the trigger, and in that case, as Captain Brasyer himself observed to me, his Sikhs would have slain every European in the fort. This was before Colonel Neill took the command; if it had happened in his time the probability is that the offender would have been tried and hanged.With such a feeling on the part of Europeans who were not under control, hon. Gentlemen would see the extreme difficulties with which the Government had to contend. When men of this kind were called to account they brought every species of accusation against the person who reprehended their conduct, whether he was their immediate superior or the Governor General. It was, therefore, easy to account for the innumerable tales told about Lord Canning in Calcutta, and which were about as credible as the details of the mutilation of the poor ladies who were reported to have come down the Ganges in steamers, and to have been conveyed home in the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Company's vessels, when it was well known that not one had ever been seen on board of those vessels. As to the memorial of the inhabitants of Calcutta not having been taken up here, what would any hon. Gentleman think if an accusation made indirectly against him were determined upon by an authority remote from the locality and without affording him the means of making his defence? The meanest ryot in India had the power of memorializing the home authorities; but his petition must go through the Governor General, that it might be accompanied by a proper explanation. He could not sit down 908 without expressing his opinion that public gratitude was due to Lord Elphinstone for the resolution of purpose and sound judgment with which, when peace with Persia had been signed, he took upon himself the responsibility of withdrawing two regiments from Persia which would otherwise have been exposed to the dangers of the intense coming heat. The effect of this measure was that these two regiments were most opportunely in Bombay harbour when troops were telegraphed for from the opposite extremity of India. His conduct in, sending troops contrary to the usual practice during the monsoon by sea to Vingorla, in order to prevent sedition in the Southern Mahratta country, where there were only 100 Europeans in a district half as large as England, was deserving of the highest praise, and had been attended with the best results, as it enabled Major General Lester to punish traitors, and keep the country quiet. He begged to be allowed to correct an error which had appeared in the papers, by stating that the powder-bag party which blew up the Cashmere gate at Delhi was led by Lieutenant Home, Lieutenant Salkeld, his junior officer, having been associated with him in the perilous enterprise. It was to be regretted that the forms of the House did not admit of the mention of the names of many officers who had performed important services in the preservation of order in the southern Mahratta country, at Hyderabad, and other parts of the Deccan. He further wished to say that he cordially concurred in the honourable mention made of the civil servants in the Resolution.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he thought that the House was placed in a very unfortunate position in regard to this question. On the one hand, no one could wish not to recognise the services of all those, whether military officers or civilians, who shared in the great struggles in India; and, on the other hand, nobody could wish to prejudge any question which might hereafter be brought before the House; and still less would wish that the Vote of Thanks offered by the House to any persons for eminent services should be degraded into a mere form, which might be the case if they followed the example set them on the present occasion. He owned, if he were asked to give his opinion, apart from the present discussion, as to the conduct of Lord Canning, he should arrive unhesitatingly at the conclusion—considering all the difficulties 909 the noble Lord had had to go through—that he has exhibited wonderful calmness and firmness; and though there might be some solitary occasion when a person could put his finger upon a passage in the life of a person occupying such a position, which might be regarded in the light of a blot upon his public character, he was of opinion, upon reading all the documents before them, that Lord Canning deserved the gratitude of his country. Though he said that, he wished also to be understood as expressing his regret that this Vote should have been brought forward at the present time, because he thought that, unless the vote received the unanimous, or almost unanimous, concurrence of the House, it would lose half of its virtues and; its merits in the eyes of those for whom it was specially intended. But, more than that, he thought that this House was called upon, for the first occasion he knew of, to express a Vote of Thanks to a distinguished functionary at a time when a memorial was in a manner before them, in which the conduct of that person to whom they were about to give their thanks was impeached, in reference to the very subject matter for which their thanks were asked. It was for that reason he regretted most deeply that the noble Viscount had thought it necessary to extend the vote he proposed to Lord Canning for his services, and that he did not confine it, as his first notice intimated, to the military and naval operations alone. Well, but they were placed in this position. They had great difficulties in the passing of this vote, because it might be supposed that they were giving an opinion as to the conduct of Lord Canning while a memorial impeaching the noble Lord's conduct was actually brought under their notice. On the other hand, they were placed in a still more disadvantageous position—at least he thought it a more disadvantageous position—when this matter was actually brought before them, of appearing, as it were, to pass over the eminent persons whose names were specially mentioned in the Resolution by at least seeming to intimate that the vote at the present time was not desirable. Now, he must look at all the consequences of their proceedings—to those in India as well as to their probable effect on the future deliberations of this House. He feared that, if they refused to express their opinions upon the subject, now that it had been regularly brought before them, 910 they would be placing the Governor General of India, who had still the responsibility of conducting the operations there, in a most disadvantageous position, as a public servant under a cloud, and as a man whose conduct had neither been condemned nor approved of by the House of Commons. Looking, then, at the matter in all those points of view, he owned, if his right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire were then in his place, he should be induced to press upon him the propriety of not persisting in his proposition. And ho would request him to refrain from doing so upon a ground on which he thought his right hon. Friend might fairly acquiesce, while still retaining those opinions which he had so ably, so clearly, and so judiciously expounded. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies had told them that, in passing this vote as it stood, they were not to be considered as prejudging the memorial which might be yet presented against Lord Canning. Now, if the assent of the noble Viscount to that proposition be given, it would enable them to get out of the difficulty in which they were placed; and, upon that understanding, he would press upon his right hon. Friend the propriety of withdrawing his Motion. He must add, taking the view of the question which he had expressed in reference to Lord Canning's conduct, that, if his right hon. Friend did not take that course, but the proposition of his right hon. Friend were pressed to a division, he should feel it his duty to vote against it. With regard to the merits of the persons referred to in the other portions of the Resolution, the House was, he believed, unanimous: there were not two opinions on the matter. He would only add, that when this question came regularly before them, regarding the conduct of Lord Canning, he trusted sincerely that the opinions which he had formed of the conduct of the noble Lord, on his present information, would be confirmed by the subsequent papers that would he laid on the table. If the suggestions he ventured to make be now adopted, he thought that the House would be enabled to do its duty, both to Lord Canning and to the officers who were specially mentioned in the Vote of Thanks, in a much better manner than by taking any division or raising any controversy which might have the effect of implying a doubt as to the conduct of those functionaries, who, until the mutiny was entirely suppressed, 911 would be still placed in most responsible situations, and whose future efficiency might be more or less impaired in consequence.
§ ADMIRAL WALCOTT
It is a grateful change to turn from the retrospect of unparalleled atrocities, wreaked during an insurrection unprovoked, upon our fellow-countrymen, their wives and children, and from their bitter entail of desolation of families at home, so terrible as to excite the sympathy of every European nation to the brilliant achievements of our heroic generals, officers, and soldiers. As a member of the sister service, to me it is an augmented pleasure to offer to their merit this slender meed of commendation, and recognition of abilities and vigour of the distinguished commanders, and the alacrity with which their followers supported their heroic efforts. Delicacy alone forbids me to allude in stronger terms to the earnest and invaluable co-operation with the land forces of the blue jackets under that gallant officer Captain Peel. I can conceive no campaign more arduous, no difficulties or harass more trying, and, indeed, ordinarily insurmountable, than had to be endured only to be triumphed over by those brave and determined men. They had to face an enemy far outnumbering them by thousands the army they formed—a foe disciplined by our own hands, taught our own strategy, armed with our own weapons, and still more formidable because rendered desperate by the consciousness that defeat would only change for them the form and scene of death. The highest distinction which this country can bestow, those noble spirits have deserved; they ennoble, and are worthy of the name of Englishmen. Titles and honours, if justly awarded, constitute the cheap defence of nations. They must be given with discrimination, but without dilatoriness; or, perchance, as in a late instance, the posthumous honour will devolve upon a survivor bowed down by a loss which admits of no consolation. Those who have already fallen, whether the general highest in rank, or the private soldier, the same heroic feeling animated and sustained; each ended his life as a true soldier ought, fighting for his country, his Queen, religion, and honour; his soul willingly departing from his body, leaving behind the lasting fame of having behaved as every valiant man is bound to do. Their gallantry will bear its proper ruits; their memory will be one of the 912 highest and most enduring possessions and great bulwarks of their native land. We may well be at a loss whether to admire most the rapid advance of the conquering Havelock, the generous self-denial of Outram, the storming of Delhi, held by a maddened garrison, or the passive indomitable courage displayed in the heroic defence of Lucknow, a defence scarcely if ever surpassed in history—or the masterly advance, the admirable tactics, and the memorable retreat of Sir Colin Campbell, crowned by his victory at Cawnpore; but of this he was quite certain, that all these actions would conduce to one and the same end, the establishment, on a sounder basis, of the British supremacy in India. He had the greatest satisfaction in supporting this Vote to the Army and Navy, founded as it is on the strictest and most constraining principles of justice and national gratitude.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
I rise to say that I hope the House and the Government will accept the very wise and temperate suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole). I will not enter into the question whether it was in the first instance wise to propose this Vote of Thanks to Lord Canning. It might, perhaps, have been better that this vote should be deferred until we had more complete information. There can be no doubt whatever that the army and navy have distinguished themselves; but there is one thing which I wish to say of Lord Canning. I do not pretend to judge of the manner in which he has conducted these operations. Her Majesty's Government appear to be satisfied with the general ability with which the noble Lord has acted in his difficult situation, and I am bound to say that I believe a great portion of the stories which have been told, and the comments which have been made on the other side, to be founded upon falsehood. There is, however, one very remarkable thing, and one which deeply affects the future welfare of India, to which I wish to call the attention of the House. We all know that the atrocities committed by the mutinous Sepoys very naturally roused a deep spirit of resentment, and it cannot be doubted that at first revenge was carried to great lengths. Now, I believe that if Lord Canning had yielded to that which was a very natural feeling among those who were in India, 913 there might have been created a degree of animosity between Europeans and Natives which would have made it impossible for us, with all the bravery of our soldiers and all the skill of our commanders, to keep possession of India for any length of time. Lord Canning, however, took the only course becoming his Christian character, and withstanding the clamour that was raised, exposing himself to an odium which only a man of calm conscience and determined wisdom could have borne, issued proclamations which have been much misunderstood and much blamed, but the spirit of which was, I think, that the guilty should be punished, but that resentment should not be extended so as to involve the whole Native population of India. There was much misapprehension in this country, and I myself waited for information, because I did not know what would be the explanation of the proclamation called the "clemency proclamation" of July. It now appears that there were other orders given in May and June—orders very effective and very sufficient for the punishment of the mutineers—some of them directed to different parts of the country where the mutiny had broken out, and others, general orders, by which courts-martial could be assembled, and civilians might be added to those courts, for the immediate punishment of the mutineers. It was after the issuing of these orders—which were not known in this country—that there came out that proclamation of July, by which Lord Canning thought fit to temper and complete his other orders. Without completely approving the manner in which that was done—because I think it would have been better to publish the whole together as a consolidation of all the minutes upon the subject—still I conceive that the course which the Governor General then took was a right one, and one, moreover, which will hereafter produce very great benefit to this country. I did not think it right, as there had been questions raised with respect to the conduct of Lord Canning—upon which questions I give no opinion whatever—to conceal my conviction that the measures he has adopted to prevent unnecessary animosity between the Europeans and Natives does great credit both to his wisdom and his humanity. I hope, in conclusion, that the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman opposite will not be pressed to a division.
§ LORD JAMES STUART
said, that 914 having the honour to represent the county to which the late lamented General Neill belonged, and knowing the affection in which his memory was held by the people of the county of Ayr, he could not help expressing his deep gratification at the terms in which both the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman had awarded to that brave officer the highest meed of honour and praise. The people of Ayrshire were determined to do all they could in honour of his memory, and they had already raised a considerable subscription for a monument to be erected to him in the county town; and he was sure they would have considered it to be a great omission on his part if he, as their representative in the House, had not taken this opportunity of making those few observations.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, he could not refrain from expressing the regret which he felt at their being unable to come to an unanimous vote on this occasion; but he must say, after listening attentively to the whole debate, every succeeding speaker had convinced him more strongly of the impolicy of the course pursued by the noble Lord in forcing the House into so painful a position. He would abstain from passing any opinion upon Lord Canning in his capacity of Governor General of India, and he regretted that such a course had not been more strictly adhered to during the debate. Still he felt bound to say, and he was perfectly justified in saying, that not only were there general allegations of mismanagement, not to say misconduct, but that certain specific charges had been brought against the noble Lord holding that high post. There was a strong feeling in the country, and a strong feeling in India, that many of the horrible atrocities which had been committed there might possibly be traced to the consequences of his mismanagement, and it was, therefore, putting the House into a false position and dealing unfairly with the country to call upon them to offer an opinion, either directly or indirectly, upon Lord Canning's conduct before all the information necessary for the purpose was before them. He thought the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies perfectly untenable. That right hon. Gentleman said the House was called upon to pledge itself only to one portion of Lord Canning's conduct, and that the military portion. Even upon that portion of Lord 915 Canning's conduct there might be a difference of opinion, but he could not understand for his part how the House of Commons could pronounce an opinion of high praise and unqualified approbation on one portion of the noble Lord's conduct, reserving to themselves the right of passing at some other time an unqualified condemnation, if subsequent information should justify them in doing so, upon some other portion of his conduct which might have been going on at the same time. That course was not in accordance with reason, nor, he might add, with common sense. He held in his hand the official copy of a correspondence which had taken place between the Governor General in Council and the Directors of the East India Company; and though he would not read any portion of that document nor comment upon it now, he must contend that there was matter in those letters which would require the strictest investigation as to the way in which Lord Canning had dealt with the military resources under his control. He thought, therefore, that the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary fell entirely to the ground; for, he would ask, suppose they Were to agree to this vote now, and; if it should afterwards be discovered that many of the horrors that had occurred in India had occurred through his mismanagement, in what position would the House then be placed? Whatever the result of the present discussion might be, whether the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman was pressed to a division or not—if it were he would vote for the Amendment—but if it were not, then he wished to record his humble protest against being precluded, by what had passed to-night, from hereafter exercising his unbiassed judgment on the conduct of Lord Canning.
§ MR. SYDNEY HERBERT
I wish to say a few words upon the subject under discussion before a division takes place, or, as I rather hope, before the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University is adopted and Amendment withdrawn. I stand in a somewhat different position from any hon. Gentleman who has yet addressed the House. I desire to express my cordial assent to the proposal of the Government to include the civilians, and, among others, Lord Canning, in the Vote of Thanks, without reservation or qualification. I think it would have been unworthy of the 916 Government, at such a moment, to pass so marked a slight upon Lord Canning as to have omitted his name from the Resolution before the House,—especially when they knew that to his firmness and courage they owe, in a great measure, the success which has attended our military operations in India. I maintain this without going into those various questions which have been raised to-night. We are not called upon, as the right hon. Member for Cambridge University has remarked, to discuss the general policy of Lord Canning's government in India, and therefore I must decline to go into the questions raised by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington) as to whether or not Lord Canning approved the annexation of Oude, or whether or not he refused to enter into negotiations, subsequent to the mutiny, with the deposed family of Oude, in order that a compromise might be effected.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
The right hon. Gentleman is labouring under a mistake; I never touched upon the annexation of Oude.
§ MR. DISRAELI
I may be allowed to explain that the reference to Oude was made, not by my right hon. Friend, but by myself. But I did not allude to the deposed family of Oude, or to the annexation of that kingdom. What I said was, that Lord Canning had refused to negotiate with certain chieftains of Oude with a view to a settlement of differences.
§ MR. S. HERBERT
If that be so, it adds to the cordiality with which I agree to the proposed Vote of Thanks, for it was the business of Lord Canning not to negotiate with the chieftains of Oude, but to re-conquer a country in a state of mutiny. His military conduct is, however, all that we had to do with on the present occasion, and I maintain that the fame of Lord Canning will rest upon his proclamation and upon the masterly manner in which he made his arrangements for conveying troops from Calcutta to the scene of action—of the first the noble Lord the Member for London has spoken with well-deserved praise for the courage with which Lord Canning interposed to prevent what would have been a war of races; as to the second, I need not remind the House that in England civilians are not famous for their direction of the operations of armies in the field. But here was a case of very great difficulty, in which troops were forwarded, for the first time, in a novel manner with com- 917 plete success, and with an expedition never before contemplated. They were sent to the railway station which was the furthest on the route to the scene of action, and, for 400 miles from the termination of the railway, relays of bullock-carts and horses were provided, by which they were conveyed at a rate of speed increased by three times of the rate of speed which could have been accomplished by marching. Large buildings, at intervals on the line of march, were provided for the soldiers to repose in during the heat of the day, and provisions were cooked and ready for their use. The result was, that all the troops were passed up in one continuous stream. Calcutta was never burdened with a single regiment for which carriage could not be found, and not a foot-sore man, I believe, arrived at the scene of action; and the whole of this was done without resorting, or almost without resorting, to the system of pressing for carnages and animals. These things seem very slight when done, but are very difficult when undertaken; and this particular operation had never been attempted before, and therefore never done before. It was done for the first time, and with complete success. I, like every one else, have heard these accusations against Lord Canning; but, day by day, and one by one, they melt away, like snow before the sun; and I find things, which at first were asserted with such minute particulars as to almost render it impossible to refuse credence to them, turn out to be without a particle of a shadow of a foundation. God alone knows for what purpose these stories were invented; but, for the future, I have made up my mind, whenever I hear any story with the name or date of Calcutta to it, to be upon my guard as to believing it. I must say, however, that even the opponents of Lord Canning sometimes do him justice. The author of the Second Red Pamphlet, who writes in a spirit certainly of no favour to Lord Canning, gracefully eulogizes the attitude of courage and determination which has marked his conduct throughout all these transactions. I shall give my cordial assent to the vote proposed by the noble Lord, without qualification and without restriction, because I believe Lord Canning's conduct has been most honourable to himself and advantageous to the empire, which by his courage and firmness he has, in a large degree, contributed to save.
§ SIR CHARLES NAPIER
said, he was gratified to hear the high encomiums 918 which the noble Lord had pronounced on the conduct of Captain Sir William Peel and the naval service of India; but as he had restricted the vote to the names of general officers only, he found the name of Sir William Peel omitted from the vote because he was not an Admiral in command. He supposed that it would be said, in justification of this omission, that there was no precedent for it; but he could tell the noble Lord there was a very good precedent, for Colonel Stuart, who held a similar rank with Sir William Peel, and who was in command of a very small body of land troops at the attack on Copenhagen, was yet included in the Vote of Thanks agreed to on that occasion. He trusted, therefore, the noble Lord would yet put in Sir William Peel's name. He was a very gallant officer, as they all knew. He (Sir C. Napier) had the honour to know him in the Syrian campaign, when he was a very young man, though even then he distinguished himself. Since then he bad done excellent service in the Crimea, and he believed that he commanded the ladder party who accompanied the stormers at the attack on the Redan; and in the present service he had left his ship and marched his crew up to the scene of action, carrying their heavy guns with them, though without any land carriages; and it was most extraordinary how they got them there. He hoped the noble Lord would not object to the insertion of Sir William Peel's name.
said, he felt the greatest pleasure in expressing his cordial concurrence in this Motion. There were no men who more deserved the thanks of this House than the gallant officers and soldiers now in the district of Bengal. There was another thing he could not omit to mention—the admirable conduct and entire fidelity of the Madras army, and the general and almost entire fidelity of the Bombay army. There could be no doubt that under God it was to the continued loyalty and fidelity of these bodies that we owed much of our present position of comparative safety. With regard to the Governor General, though it was now agreed that this Vote of Thanks did not include any opinion of the policy pursued by Lord Canning, yet he was of opinion that that noble Lord was entitled to the thanks of this House for the calm and unruffled front with which he had contended against the unparalleled difficulties in which he was placed—difficulties which were much enhanced by the short period during which 919 Lord Canning had resided in India. What be had been most blamed for would, he believed, in the end redound most to his credit—he alluded to those wise methods he had adopted to allay those feelings of exasperation which were too naturally excited in the minds of the whole Anglo-Indian population on the first information of the atrocities committed by the mutineers. The greatest fault with which he was charged appeared to him to be no more than this, that he had impressed upon the agents of the Government who were entrusted with unlimited powers for the suppression of the rebellion, the necessity of caution, and the importance of discrimination between the guilty thousands and the innocent millions. It was a pleasure to him to find the name of Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of that Presidency to which he had himself been so long attached, in the list of those to whom thanks were voted; and to those thanks he was amply entitled, whether they looked at his conduct in denuding the Presidency of European troops, of which he himself stood greatly in need, or whether they looked at his sagacity and foresight in sending, to the Cape and to the Mauritius for reinforcements. He was glad to find also' that his friend, Mr. Frere, the General Commander of Scinde, was singled out for praise. It was said of Sir John Lawrence, the Commissioner of the Punjab, that he had saved India, and he might say of Mr. Frere, that he had saved the Punjab; for if it had not been for the appearance of a British regiment, and of the Beloochee troops from Scinde, at Mooltan, matters might have assumed a very different aspect there. He was gratified to find that the noble Lord had included in his vote the civilians, several of whom had greatly distinguished themselves in the recent disturbances. The fact was, that in India civilian officers were often so placed that they might be called upon to act as soldiers, even in ordinary times. What achievements of late had been more entitled to admiration than the conduct of the twenty volunteers, most of them civilians, who were engaged in the charge at Agra? The gallant conduct of Mr. Cowper, of Lucknow, had called forth general approbation, and so had the defence of Arrah by Mr. Wake. He might also mention the son of the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Mangles,) who, though wounded himself, had carried a wounded man into the fort on his shoulders. He might also allude to the conduct of Mr. 920 Hume at Dacca, and Mr. Montgomery in the Punjab, as well as the conduct of his friend Mr. Wedderburn at Agra, and Mr. Tucker at Cawnpore, all of whom had shown themselves fully entitled to the thanks of this House.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
said, that he entirely concurred in the terms in which the vote had been proposed, and greatly regretted the painful discussion which had been raised by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire; for though the introduction of the Governor General's name into the Vote of Thanks to the army was doubtful, still, considering that he was a public servant, unconnected with party, he thought the best course would be to adopt the suggestion of the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole). Undoubtedly the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) must be gone into at one time or another; but, as Lord Canning was now Governor General of India, charged with duties not less important than any man in the empire had to perform, it was most desirable that they should not weaken his hands. On that ground, unequivocally, he hoped that the House would come to a unanimous vote. With regard to the military part of the subject, the noble Lord, with a very proper feeling, and in very eloquent terms, had named a great number of officers who had performed signal services, although those officers were officers under the rank of major general. At the same time, the noble Lord seemed to have some little consciousness that the list of names mentioned in the record of the nation's gratitude was extremely limited. In addition to Sir Colin Campbell, who had performed such brilliant services, there were but three names of military officers mentioned. There never was a war in which so many officers under the rank of major general had performed signal services; and yet not one of them was mentioned in this Vote of Thanks. He was certain the omission did not arise from the noble Lord himself. Perhaps the gentlemen at the War Office had told the noble Lord that this was according to custom. He maintained that it was totally contrary to custom; and why should it be so under those peculiar circumstances? A great number of officers under the rank of brigadier had been very properly mentioned by the noble Lord—General Hope Grant, who had just performed most brilliant services—General Chamberlain, 921 and others; but not one of them was named in the Vote of Thanks. The noble Lord's speech would go forth; it would go to India, and would be, no doubt, most gratifying to those officers; but it would not go into the general orders of the army—that was the important point, and that was what he regretted. If ever there was a war in which the ambition of officers and men should be stimulated in every possible manner, this was that war. The course pursued was a total departure from custom. Too short notice had been given of the terms of the rote; on a matter of that kind more than a few hours' consideration was due. With regard to brigadier generals it was a complete departure from custom. He had a memorandum of about twenty or thirty occasions on which Parliament had voted thanks to the army, and in those votes he found that sixty officers of that rank had been mentioned. Why should these precedents be departed from on the present most peculiar occasion? The hon. and gallant Member for Southwark (Sir Charles Napier) had alluded to the omission of Sir William Peel's name. Even if there was a red-tape custom which excluded the name of that brilliant officer, it ought to have been set aside. He hardly recollected in our naval history an officer who had displayed such heroism as Captain Peel, and yet he was not mentioned. Colonel Stuart at Copenhagen had been quoted; he commanded the 49th regiment, and was not relatively in such high rank as Captain Peel. He recollected seeing in Votes of Thanks the names of Lieutenant Colonel Packe, afterwards the distinguished General Packe; and Lieutenant Colonel D'Urban, afterwards the distinguished Sir Benjamin D'Urban. He deeply regretted that the noble Lord had been advised to omit so many justly appreciated names from the vote; and if the error were not corrected, he should perhaps himself deem it a duty to propose to the House to rectify this omission; for it was competent to any hon. Member to do so. There were several precedents during the Peninsular war for the subsequent introduction of names improperly omitted. He was quite sure that the noble Lord, with his generosity of feeling, was not the perpetrator of this omission. It was only of late that officers of lower ranks had been allowed to participate in honours at all. In the high aristocratic times of the Peninsular war general officers alone were per- 922 mitted to receive decorations; but now very properly captains, subalterns, and sometimes non-commissioned officers, were decorated. A rule had recently obtained, which was much to be condemned—it had first prevailed in the Crimean war—that the names of all those, even of the highest distinction, were omitted who had fallen in battle. Their names neither appeared in the lists of military decorations, nor in the Thanks of Parliament. Why should that be? Why should not that man, whom everybody in the nation regarded as one of our most glorious soldiers—Sir Henry Lawrence—be mentioned in this vote? Though they could not give their thanks to these men, they might record those thanks. A custom had been certainly introduced lately of inserting a notice in the Gazette with respect to such men, that had they survived they would have been made a C.B. or K.C.B., as the case might be. This was, after all, a bungling mode of signifying the distinction which they had earned, and he would have a Gazette issued, dated on the day of the battle in. which these men were killed, conferring on them the actual distinction. These points, he trusted, were worthy of consideration. With regard to the progress of the war in India, he regretted that reinforcements had not been sent in sufficient numbers to have enabled Sir Colin Campbell to follow up with more complete success the victories he had already so nobly achieved. But, as a military man, he took no gloomy view whatever of the state of affairs. He believed that the neck of the revolt had been completely broken. In fact, when Delhi was taken, he considered that the affair was, in point of fact, achieved. Though a great deal of hard service remained to be done, the rebellion was essentially put down; and be was happy to think there was no occasion to doubt of an early termination of the war.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he hoped that the suggestion of the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) would be adopted, but, at the same time, he felt bound to express his gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman opposite for bringing this question under discussion. He himself had been taken by surprise on seeing the notice of Motion in the paper on Saturday morning, and many hon. Gentlemen around him shared in that feeling. The Chairman, two of the Directors of the East India Company, and 923 the Government had taken part in this discussion, but what did the mass of hon. Members really know of the merits of the case? He did not wish to prejudge the matter, but really he felt that he was about to give a vote on a question upon which he had no information. For instance, the annexation of Oude had been alluded to; and, though he had been credibly informed that whereas before that step the people were favourable to us, now the measures adopted under the orders of the Governor General for changing the tenure of land there had entirely turned them against us; yet, in the absence of authentic information, it was impossible to form a satisfactory opinion on this important subject. Several papers on the mutiny in India had been promised to the House, and it was most important they should have the answer of the Governor General before they passed a Vote of Thanks to him. However, he was prepared to accept it in the sense that it did not commit them to approving of the policy of Lord Canning.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
observed, that he thought that every successive speech must convince the Government how rash they had been in bringing forward this Motion without proper notice. Had they taken the precaution to give notice of the terms of the vote and to ascertain the general feeling of the House on this very important point, they would have avoided a discussion painful to all present and most unfair to Lord Canning. It was desirable that such a vote should be unanimous, but the introduction of Lord Canning's name into this vote without notice had led to a discussion showing that he was not entitled to ask a great compliment from the House, because the documents on which alone the House could form a deliberate opinion on his conduct were not before it. The very eminence of Lord Canning's position had prevented the House from knowing all that had passed between him and the Government. With respect to the other distinguished gentlemen named in the vote connected with the civil service, the House had had the official and published despatches of Lord Canning himself, but they were not possessed of such facts with regard to the conduct of the Governor General as would enable them to form a just and deliberate opinion upon it. He thought, therefore, that the Government had placed Lord Canning in a most unfair position, because by this hasty and premature proposition they had de- 924 prived him of the means of meeting the charges which had been made against him. He believed that Lord Canning had prepared an elaborate defence to the charges which had been brought against him, and it was very possible that he might be able to prove that his conduct deserved the highest meed of praise which it was possible for the House to offer. However that might be, the house was placed in this painful position by the premature measure of the Government, that under any circumstances the proceedings of that night must convey pain and not pleasure to Lord Canning. Considering, then, the position in which Lord Canning had been placed for so many months, and the manner in which he had fought against unexampled difficulties, he repeated that he looked upon the proposition of the Government as most unjust to that noble Lord. Lord Canning was ready and anxious no doubt to meet every charge that could be preferred against him, and it would have been desirable that the Government should have given him the opportunity of clearing himself, and of demanding an acquittal from his country before this Vote of Thanks was proposed. He (Lord Claud Hamilton) confessed that no vote which he could give upon the Motion before the House would be thoroughly satisfactory to himself; for while, on the one hand, he refused to condemn Lord Canning unheard, he protested, on the other hand, against the sweeping denunciations which some gentlemen had indulged in against the whole population of Calcutta. He thought that they ought to suspend their judgment until they had access to all the documents which would enable them to arrive at a just conclusion. LORD HARRY VANE said, that no doubt the discussion which had arisen was of a very painful nature; but what, he asked, would have been said if, although it was customary to introduce the name of the Governor General in these votes, it had been omitted on the present occasion? It would have been looked upon as a slur cast on the name of Lord Canning, and as a disapproval of his policy by the Government which employed him. That course, then, could not, he thought, have been followed with propriety, and he would recommend the House to adopt the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Walpole), because he was persuaded that it would have a very ill effect in India if Lord Canning's name were omitted from the present rote. That would, 925 in his opinion, be of itself a sufficient reason for including Lord Canning in the Vote of Thanks; but he agreed with his right hon. Friend the Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. Sidney Herbert) that there were other reasons for thanking Lord Canning. After a careful examination of all the accusations that had been made against the noble Lord, and a careful review of all the papers that had been laid before them on the subject, he had come to the conclusion that Lord Canning had perfectly refuted the different charges which had been brought against him at Calcutta, and had come out triumphantly from the accusations which had been levelled at him. It had been distinctly stated by the members of the Government that the House was not asked by this vote to pronounce an opinion upon the policy of Lord Canning. They were asked to thank him for the energy and ability which he had shown in directing the military operations in India. Such questions as the annexation of Oude hardly came under consideration in discussing the present propositions, and it would be competent to the House to discuss those matters subsequently quite independently of this vote. This was a specific vote for a specific purpose. No charge had been substantiated against Lord Canning, and he thought that it would be unjust if the House were to hesitate to give him the Vote of Thanks which had been proposed. He trusted that that expression of thanks would be unanimous; but if net, Lord Canning, however painful that want of unanimity might be to his feelings, would at least have the satisfaction of knowing that a large majority of the House were anxious to tender him their thanks for his firmness and judgment, combined with humanity, for he was not ashamed to confess that he thought humanity was a merit.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
The noble Lord (Lord C. Hamilton) professed to be actuated by a great desire to do justice to Lord Canning, and the mode by which he shows that such really is his wish is that of asking us, when about to pass a Vote of Thanks to the Indian Government and its agents, civil, military, and naval, for great, unexpected, and extraordinary successes, to leave out the name of Lord Canning, and to give thanks to everybody else but him. Such is the justice to Lord Canning which the noble Lord recommends. Now, if it were indeed true, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), said, that we 926 were asked to give a vote of approbation of all Lord Canning's conduct from the time that he became Governor General of India, I confess the right, hon. Gentleman's deduction could not be easily denied—namely, that we had been entrapped into that vote. But no such thing is intended, nor is it in the words of the Motion. The Motion is simply confined to the question in hand—the conduct of the naval and military commanders, guided as they have been by the civil administration, in suppressing the most formidable mutiny which ever broke-out in any country in the world. Now, the right hon. Gentleman says, that among the things for which Lord Canning is to be blamed is that he did not foresee this mutiny. Why, if he had he certainly would have been the most extraordinary man in the world. How was it possible for, Lord-Canning to know anything of a country of which he was ignorant previous to entering it as its Governor, except by the information which he could obtain from persons who had lived there for years? If he had asked the Indian Directors in this country, who had lived in India, whether they suspected a mutiny in India, they would have laughed in his face. Have we not been reminded to-night of the melancholy truth that so completely did the European officers repose on the fidelity of their regiments that they answered for that fidelity with their lives? How possibly could Lord Canning anticipate this mutiny in any way? It is somewhat curious to observe the difference in the countenance of people in this House before and after dinner. You may sometimes judge by their little mild cheer and their little mild sneer what is passing in their minds. When the noble Lord at the head of the Government spoke with approbation Lord Elgin sending his troops from China, of Sir Charles Grey sending troops from the Cape of Good Hope, and Sir Henry Ward sending troops from Ceylon, there was great cheering for these acts, but not a single cheer for the man who sent for those troops, for the man who induced all these gentlemen to take these bold steps. Why, it was Lord Canning solely that did so. The noble Lord opposite (Lord C. Hamilton) thinks it very unfair to speak with disrespect of Calcutta information. Now, I am one of those who never will believe anything I see in the Indian press. I believe that when you go to the bottom of the question you will find that that press, which Lord William Bentinck so foolishly 927 gave to the Indian people, has been the main cause of this mutiny. I will give you an instance or two of the false statements which have caused my disbelief in that press, One of these papers stated that Sir Patrick Grant took his passage in a steamer to go to a particular place, and it professed to report a conversation which he had had on that steamer upon things in general and Indian politics in particular, in which he expressed himself as opposed to the views of Lord Canning, and in favour of those of that paper. Now, it was found that Sir Patrick Grant did not go by that steamer, but by another. Now, mark you, there could be no mistake about the matter. It was a wilful, premeditated lie. There is no room for explanation. There was no need for audi alteram partem. It was a pure, unmitigated falsehood. I go to another story. Shortly after Sir Colin Campbell's arrival at Calcutta he dined with Lord Canning and several other people. It appears that there is in Calcutta some paltry military prison or other which was under the control of the Governor General, but now under that of the Commander in Chief. Some court martial was held, and a conviction was brought in to be signed. Sir Colin signed it, and afterwards found out that he had no authority to do so. At the dinner I have mentioned Sir Colin treated the matter as a joke, remarking, with a laugh, that the first thing he had done was to commit an act of mutiny against the Governor General. This story was the origin of the reported differences between the Governor General and Commander in Chief. This was one of the charges in one of the Calcutta papers, and it is to English newspapers, to which these falsehoods have been transferred, that the hon. Gentlemen in this House, who have to-night attacked Lord Canning's character, have looked for information about Indian affairs. An attack was made in one of the Calcutta papers upon Lord Canning for not having performed some act of severity which they recommended. In a few days or a week afterwards another paragraph appeared in that same paper, praising Lord Canning for having done some act of severity which they had recommended, and we were told that the three men whom they had pointed out to the Governor General as deserving of punishment had just been executed in such and such a square. All a lie! Pure falsehood from beginning to end. Now, I 928 think I have shown reasons why I at least shall never believe a Calcutta paper. This debate has been entirely confined to Lord Canning's conduct with regard to the mutiny. Lord Canning has also been the victim of anonymous writers in English newspapers. It is from them that hon. Gentlemen have taken their inspiration. I have spoken of those English papers before, and I will speak of them again, but not anonymously. You shall hear of them by the names of the writers, and if you who talk about superstition in India will put your heads underneath a Juggernaut in England, you must abide by the consequences.
§ MR. HENLEY
Having formed an opinion upon this question, which involves the character of a very high functionary of the Government, I do not like to give a silent vote on the occasion. I have taken some pains to read the papers that have been circulated upon the subject, and I have formed a distinct opinion, which, as far my judgment goes, nothing stated tonight should induce me to alter. I think that for the last six months Lord Canning has been placed in a situation of difficulty almost unprecedented; that he has acted in the main with great resolution, and that he is one of those rare men who have the moral courage to be just. He is not to be swayed or driven from one side to the other against his own judgment, and there is nothing to lead me to think that he has acted wrongly. There is no doubt that in this great crisis many people may differ as to whether this or that particular act of Lord Canning's might not have been better done; but I think that when a man has been placed in such extraordinary circumstances, if his conduct on the whole has been right, it is unjust and ungenerous to withhold our approbation. That, I think, is the view we should take if our own conduct were in question. I cannot say whether the many things that have been alleged against him are true or not; but I do not think that they rest upon a foundation that should induce us to withhold this mark of approbation, and therefore I, for one, am disposed not to do so. I should feel extremely sorry if any division were to take place upon the question, because there can be no doubt that it would take something from the value of the thanks of this House if they are not unanimously accorded. I sincerely hope that the recommendation of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) will 929 have weight with the House. Lord Canning has dealt successfully with a state of things for which it was impossible to be prepared. We are not now asked to say whether any other man might have dealt with the crisis more ably. All that we are asked to pronounce upon is whether his conduct deserves our thanks. I think it does, and I shall join in the Vote. I cannot, however, sit down without saying that the noble Lord at the head of the Government hardly played fairly or candidly with us when on Thursday he did not openly and manfully say it was his intention to propose this vote. I think it is quite possible that this discussion might have been prevented. It seems, I must say, an ungracious thing to Lord Canning that his name should now be tacked on as it were to the vote to the army and navy, and should not have been mentioned when the noble Lord first gave his notice. I deeply regret that omission, because, let what will be said as to the point of order, people will have an idea that there was some wish to conceal his name, and that the mention of it has come suddenly upon the House.
said, that he must protest against being called upon to thank Lord Canning for the ability which he had displayed in the late emergency; he felt it impossible to do so when, from letters which he had seen from India, he perceived that people of all classes agreed in condemning the course which he had adopted. He must deny that they were actuated by any desire to slander or traduce the noble Lord, for it was notorious that in Bengal not more than one out of ten of the residents could be found to speak in praise of the Governor General, and, that being the case, it appeared to him to be almost an insult to Sir John Lawrence to couple his name with that of the Governor General in a Vote of Thanks.
§ GENERAL THOMPSON
was anxious, as one who had some experience of India, to express his opinion that if Lord Canning had had his way, all the mischief which had fallen upon us would have been prevented. Lord Canning was the successor of those great and able men who for 250 years had made India an honour to the British Crown. Since then, a new race had sprung up, with whom the noble Lord had to contend. Lord Canning had had to struggle with maniacs and reprobates; in proof of which he would 930 only refer to what had been read to the House by his old Indian friend (Colonel Sykes) on his right. The mischief came from the European immigrants or colonists, who brought from the slave-penns of America that detestable term which was among gentlemen non nominandum. Their great fear was that an Indian native should be promoted to any place of trust or profit. There was but one way to prevent this, and that they took. They broke faith with that Indian army, which was the Magna Charta—the Constitution—the Bill of Rights—of the Indian people; for while there was a Native army of 350,000 men, they knew that England must, and would, treat them with justice. The only means by which the Indian soldier could be driven into resistance was by attacking him in his religion—the free exercise of which had been guaranteed to him when he enlisted. Why could they not let the Indian army alone? Why did they insist on filling the mouths of the soldiers with hog's lard? If the Life Guards or Blues were invited to trample on the cross—or the Connaught Rangers to do what they considered equivalent to spitting on the Host—he took the phraseology from an eminent literary authority, the columns of The Times—the same kind of results would follow, as in fact they did in the time of the Second James. It was a guet-á-pens. He had said in the summer that it was a breach of military faith and honour, and he said so now. There had been times and places where a man making such a declaration would be asked to account for it. He was glad to have the opportunity of expressing his opinion of the merit of the Governor General of India, by supporting the present Vote.
§ MR. TOWNSEND
said, he trusted that the Amendment would be withdrawn and the Motion unanimously adopted. He thought that under existing circumstances it was their duty to do all they could to strengthen the hands of the Indian Government by showing their confidence in it.
§ MR. DISRAELI
intimated that he would not press his Amendment to a division, and added that if the statement which had been made that evening had been made by the noble Lord before, namely, that by agreeing to this vote they were not to be held committed to any expression of approbation in reference to 931 the general policy of Lord Canning, he should not have interposed any objection.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
I should have made that statement had I thought it necessary, but I imagined it would be taken for granted. I thought the shape in which the Resolution was proposed sufficiently showed that the thanks were intended to apply simply to the measures taken by Lord Canning in support of the military operations, and had no reference to the general policy of the Government. I am quite ready to state now that I consider the House, if it agree to this vote, will still be perfectly free to take any course in respect to Lord Canning's general policy they may think fit, and will be in no way bound except as to the conduct of that noble Lord in supporting the military operations which have been rendered necessary by the outbreak of the mutiny.
§ Previous Question, by leave, withdrawn.
SIR FREDERICK SMITH
said, that as a British Officer he could not but feel grateful to the noble Lord at the head of the Government for the cordial manner in which he had acknowledged the brilliant services of our troops in the East. He (Sir F. Smith) very much regretted that certain Returns for which he had moved some time since had not yet been produced, as they would have shown the House the relative proportion between the European and the native troops in India at the outbreak of the mutiny. Still, in the absence of Official Returns, it was probable that the European soldiers did not exceed 25,000, while the aggregate native force numbered 289,000. The successes achieved by our troops under such an overwhelming numerical disparity were perfectly marvellous, and this country showed in the glory which was reflected by such splendid exploits as the marches of Have-Jock and of Greathed, the marvellous relief of Lucknow by Sir James Outram, and the striking display of skill and energy made by Sir Colin Campbell. But, perhaps, the most memorable episode in the whole of those operations was the defence made by the garrison of Lucknow, than which he knew of nothing more admirable in ancient or modern history. A few hundred men had, in that case, successfully defended a weak position during a period of eighty-seven days, against an army numbering many thousands, and able to bring to bear against the little garrison heavy guns from 932 a distance of not more than fifty yards. He wished, however, to call particular attention to the heroic conduct of Brigadier Inglis and the garrison of Lucknow, to which there was no parallel in ancient or modern history. His feeble voice, however, could do but small justice to the glorious exploits of this gallant garrison, and he would, therefore, take the liberty of quoting to the House the words of Major General Outram, in his divisional Order of the 5th of October last. Sir James Outram said—The Major General believes that the annals of warfare contain no brighter page than that which will record the bravery, fortitude, vigilance, and patient endurance of hardships, privation, and fatigue displayed by the garrison of Lucknow, and he is very conscious that his unskilled pen must needs fail adequately to convey to the Right Hon. the Governor General of India and His Excellency the Commander in Chief the profound sense of the merits of that garrison which has been forced on his mind by a careful consideration of the almost incredible difficulties with which they have had to contend. The term 'illustrious' was well and happily applied by a former Governor General of India to the garrison of Jellalabad; but some far more laudatory epithet, if such the English language contains, is due, the Major General considers, to the brave men whom Brigadier Inglis has commanded, with undeviating success and untarnished honour, through the late memorable siege; for, while the devoted band of heroes who so nobly maintained the honour of their country's arms under Sir Robert Sale were seldom exposed to actual attack, the Lucknow garrison, of inferior strength, have, in addition to a series of fierce assaults gallantly and successfully repulsed, been for three months exposed to a nearly incessant fire from strong and commanding positions, held by an enemy of overwhelming force, possessing powerful artillery, having at their command the whole resources of what was but recently a kingdom, and animated by an insane and blood-thirsty fanaticism.The House ought to know that by the exertions of the men and officers, and without the assistance of a single miner, Brigadier Inglis succeeded in discovering no fewer than seventeen mines which the enemy were about to explode under the ramparts of the Residency. He earnestly hoped that Her Majesty's Government would take the necessary steps for bestowing the due rewards on the small band of heroes who had added so much lustre to the British name.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ The other Resolutions were then severally agreed to, Nemine Contradicente.
§ Ordered, That the said Resolutions be transmitted by Mr. Speaker to the Governor General of India, and that his Lordship be requested to communicate the same to the several Officers referred to therein.