HC Deb 18 March 1858 vol 149 cc346-78

said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the treatment which, it appeared, the mutinous Sepoys and other insurgents in India had received and were receiving at our hands; and to move for certain papers on the subject. In the earlier slages of the revolt when men's minds were astonished by the suddenness of the outbreak and exasperated by the atrocities which attended it, a temperate discussion of the subject could not be expected; but the time had now arrived when we might look the frightful calamities which had occurred in India fairly in the face, and dispassionately hold up the scales of justice. He hoped, that in the observations he was about to make, he should not be misunderstood. He loathed and detested as strongly as any man the atrocious crimes which had been committed by the rebellious troops and other insurgents in India; but the very fact of this strong feeling which he shared with the nation at large, made him anxious that England should not expose itself to the charge of retaliating in a similar spirit. He had no wish to enter into a lengthened detail with respect to the commencement of the mutiny, and would pass over the violent outrages which then occurred, as well as the sharp repressions which were resorted to under the influence of uncertain dangers and exaggerated statements. One could well make allowance for those handfuls of our countrymen scattered in remote parts of India, who, suddenly finding themselves besot by treachery and murder, did as resolutely as sternly defend themselves and everything dear to them. One could make some allowance also for the inhabitants of Calcutta and the Lower Provinces who day by day were horrified by reports of the murder and mutilation of their relatives and friends in other parts of the country. But while making these allowances he felt all the more bound to applaud the manly fortitude with which Viscount Canning and his Council upheld the scales of justice, for the defence of the people of India, unswayed by the heartrending atrocities of the mutineers or by the impassioned demands for vengeance of our countrymen. He wished that the late Government, in defending Viscount Canning against the many aspersions which had been east upon him, had dwelt more strongly upon this very honourable part of his conduct at a time when it exposed him to much temporary obloquy; and it was, therefore, doubly creditable to the present Chancellor of the Exchequer and to the present First Lord of the Admiralty that last autumn, when the outcry for indiscriminate slaughter was at its highest, that they manfully withstood it, and asked, not for mere mawkish mercy, but for justice — of strict justice if you will, but still justice. He could make small allowance for those gentlemen who won their popularity at the cost of Indian blood, giving currency, on the platform and in the press, to extravagant tales of horror, for which they had no honest authority. They told of ladies and children, violated and mutilated, arriving almost by shoals in Calcutta and in England; so that their tales ran through the country like wildfire, making the blood run cold with horror and hot with vengeance. For much of the results of this vengeance they are answerable, for their facts were false. A number of gentlemen fully competent to conduct such an inquiry—the members of the committee for relieving the distress of those who had suffered by the calamities in India—after investigating the whole matter, have declared themselves unable to discover a single case of a mutilated person having arrived in England. They do not deny that such cases may have occurred, but they distinctly state that, being in a position to ascertain them, they have not, after the most diligent inquiries extending over a period of six weeks or two months, been able to verify a single case. Lady Canning also makes the same declaration from Calcutta. He thought it right that this statement should be made in the House of Commons, because, while we detested and abhorred the atrocities which had been committed, it was our bounden duty to see that our countrymen were not hounded on to vengeance by false and wicked exaggerations. Let us remember that we had heard one side of the question only. It is probable that much of what was now accepted as true might be explained away or disproved if we could have had the evidence on the other side. So also he believed that a great number of what were heralded as the retaliatory exploits of our officers and detachments were gross exaggerations. The newspapers had published reports of the hewing down and the cutting to pieces of large bodies of mutineers, and of the burning of villages, upon the same reckless hearsay evidence, thinking to glorify our soldiers, while, in fact, they were doing them a cruel injustice. After all these deductions, enough, and more than enough, of cruelty and outrage had been perpetrated by the rebellious troops to demand, not that wholesale extermination which those who rivalled their opponents in bloodthirstiness demanded, but that justice, enlightened by facts and a due discrimination of guilt, which characterized civilized men. In this view we must search a little into the mutiny itself. We must see whether it had sprung from a deep-laid plot on the part of the Sepoys, or whether it had arisen from a combination of circumstances originating partly in our neglect and partly in their credulity. Now, no one could read the despatches and correspondence of Sir Charles Napier without seeing that a mutinous spirit occasionally cropped out in the Bengal army even in his time; but no one could read him attentively without seeing that he attributed this not to disaffection but to mismanagement on our part; and Sir Charles justly attributed this to an utter want of discipline, not that want of discipline which was implied in an inability to wheel into line or execute with precision any ordinary military manœuvre, but that fatal defect which was the root of evil in all armies — the absence of a thorough communication and confidence between officers and men. He would cast no reflections upon the Officers of the Indian army; it was not their fault that they were miserably under-officered, that nearly all the best officers were drafted off to the civil and other services, and that the Sepoy regiments were left in charge rather than under the command of a few young subalterns and one or two old worn-out officers. Lord Ellenborough testified in strong terms to the decreasing tone and confidence between men and officers. But, besides this fact of the ill-discipline of the Native army, there was another circumstance which ought to be borne in mind, and that was, that the European force which the Government was bound to maintain was most unjustly diminished, and so improperly distributed as not to hold in check the Native forces in our Bengal dominions. Out of 18,000 Europeans in the Bengal Presidency no less than 12,000 were in the Punjab and 4,000 in Pegu, leaving only one regiment of Europeans for the whole 800 miles length of territory between Calcutta and Agra. Now the Marquess of Dalhousie, in one of his despatches, warned the Government that the Russian war had produced a very serious effect on the public mind in India. Four regiments of cavalry had, notwithstanding his remonstrances, been withdrawn to feed that war, and two more regiments of infantry were called for. The noble Marquess then again remonstrated in almost pathetic, and certainly prophetic, words, for he said that if a war were to break out with Persia he would not answer for the safety of the country. But they were removed; that Persian war, too, did break out; and four more regiments were then removed; and we see the result. In this state of things, then, with the European troops placed at two extremes of the Presidency, on the Indus and in Pegu, the annexation of Oude took place. If the Marquess of Dalhousie could see how much the Russian war affected the public mind in India, he wished that noble Lord could have contemplated how much the violent annexation of Oude would increase that agitation. He would not enter on the vexed question of annexation. It was sufficient for him to say that the annexation of Oude did produce a very serious effect on the Indian mind, and more especially on the Bengal army, 40,000 of whose men came from Oude itself. With the Indian mind thus shaken by the Russian war, by the annexation of Oude, and subsequently by the war with Persia, which removed far more than those two regiments without which the Marquess of Dalhousie said he could not answer for the safety of the country—when opinion was thus alert, and discontented, when our means of repression were at their lowest ebb and most remote stations, the last blow was given, and fire set to the train by the weak and we all know wicked enforcement of the greasod cartridges, of the prejudices of the Natives, upon whom the fear of degradation from caste is stronger than the fear of death. It might be that these cartridges were not what the Natives sup- posed them to be, although a committee reported otherwise, and recommended a substitute. Still would it not have been well to respect prejudices so vital even though mistaken. A frank and manly public order would have calmed the Sepoy mind. But instead of this, all the mischiefs of alternate concession and repression were incurred. The cartridges were privately condemned — publicly upheld— then partially withdrawn—partially enforced, and finally publicly condemned and universally withdrawn. Amidst all this vacillation, the mutinies were breaking out. Still they were but mutinies, and were successively suppressed, until the fatal misconduct and disasters at Meerut changed the whole face of affairs. He was at a loss to understand why no inquiry had been instituted into those proceedings. He looked on Meerut as the focus whence the mischief exploded. He did not pretend to say upon whom the blame lay; but this he knew, that at Meerut there were nearly as many Europeans as Natives, and the country had a right to know by whose laches it was that those Europeans had not then and there crushed that mutiny on its outbreak. He would not dwell on the horrors which followed—cantonments burnt and women outraged. It was now no longer a mutiny, but an insurrection. For a few weeks we had 80,000 Sepoys, a vast military force, with many of the inhabitants of the province, in array against us. By a careless distribution, our European force was for a time out of reach, and our brave countrymen were shut up in detached posts of the country. He had entered into these details for the purpose of showing that there was less reason to believe in a preconcerted plan of revolt than that the outbreaks arose from a fortuitous combination of circumstances which, by due prudence, might have been averted. Be this as it may, the mutiny having resolved itself into an insurrection and struggle for supremacy, what became our duty? That question was nobly answered by Wilson, Outram, Havelock, and Colin Campbell. But a second question arose, how were the revolted men to be treated? Undoubtedly justice must take its course. But the face of things was changed—these men were no longer a handful of mutineers—they wore insurgents, waging a cruel war, with vast armies and great natural resources. This is a distinction which has not been sufficiently regarded. A savage cry had been raised in India, and to a certain extent re- echoed in this country, for indiscriminate slaughter. He trusted that such a cry would be put a stop to by the voice of that House, and by a declaration of opinion on the part of the Government. Viscount Canning, in reference to the treatment even of the mutineers, had in his proclamation laid down, with great propriety, different grades of offence and of punishment, and he trusted that the Government would give their adherence to those wise and humane views. There was a broad distinction between the deep-dyed scoundrel who rose in mutiny, murdered his officers, and burnt the cantonments, and the Sepoy who, hurried away by fear and dismay, left his colours and sought refuge in his own village; while between these two again there were various shades of guilt. Some regiments had been deprived of their arms for the time by the advice of officers of experience, and the men have faithfully obeyed these orders, had subsequently, under the force of example, or a not unnatural terror at the violent language which had been used with regard to all Sepoys, fled to the rebels or to their own villages. It should be recollected, too, that many of the revolted regiments had spared the lives of their officers, while in others many soldiers had risked or sacrificed their own lives in rescuing or striving to rescue those of their officers. He was aware that in martial law great latitude must be left to the commanding officer; but, at the same time, he should be glad to hear that some general instructions had been conveyed to the chief military authorities in accordance with the spirit of the instructions issued by Viscount Canning. That some such orders were necessary appeared from circumstances narrated in the public press. By the last telegram from India we had received information of four affairs with the rebels, in which cannon had been captured and 1,250 of the rebels cut down, with a loss to us of only three men in all those four affairs. Now it was clear that no real resistance was made by those insurgents; and it was unworthy of England and the English soldier that such a state of things—little short of butchery—should continue. Without looking higher, it was plain that such proceedings were highly detrimental to military discipline. Then, again, with regard to the contingent troops, our treatment of them was precisely the same as if they owed direct allegiance to the British Grown. He found a formal statement that on a recent occasion some 400 of the soldiers and subjects of an allied Native Prince had laid down their arms, and were subjected to trial by our commanding officer: that on the first day 149 of these men were tried, found guilty, and every one of them forthwith put to death by our people—by our European soldiers, who surely were not enlisted to be wholesale executioners for Native Princes. As a very natural result, the remainder, seeing the issue of this first day's trial, broke loose from confinement; and those of them who were not cut down by our dragoons, no doubt joined the hostile ranks. In private letters, too, gross and flippant expressions with reference to the slaughter of the Sepoys and other Indians were ostentatiously published in our newspapers, and thence retransmitted to India to work further mischief there. In one just published it stated, "We are hanging them by dozens; every Sepoy without a certificate is hung at once; the Zemindars are giving them up to us to be hanged right and left—those who harbour them, or who do not give instant information of their where about, are hung themselves. We are making good work of it;" and as an instance, the writer cites the "pithy remarks made on two ' brutes,' "as he calls two wounded Sepoys who were too much disabled to crawl, and therefore were handed up to the gallons, Now, those letters were no doubt written by young men without much thought, and who would shrink from doing that which they lightly affected to applaud. But as they were published and adopted by a certain portion of the public and the press, he felt anxious to hoar from Her Majesty's Government a declaration that they did not share in such opinions. It was sad to see how easily men and even nations apparently humane could be hurried away by their passions, and how thin then became the partitions between civilization and barbarism. In the early part of the American War, in which a largo portion of the people of England looked upon the Americans with feelings as fierce as those now displayed against the Sepoy, the zealots of that day, worthy of their present disciples, were loud for letting loose upon those rebels the Red Indians; and actually laid before Parliament a paper for providing five gross of scalping knives. Lord Chatham saved us from that ignominy; and Carlton, the English general, a pupil of Wolfe, shortly after a victory, issued a proclamation inviting those of the rebels who had retired into the woods, and who were suffering from wounds and from privations, to conic into his camp for relief, at the same time promising that they should, when relieved, depart without molestation. He would not compare those Americana with the Indian Sepoys, but he might say that a sense of justice and forbearance, and of the ties of kindred and of country, are not to be measured by degrees of longitude or latitude, or by difference of colour. This brought him to a consideration of the Oude insurgents, who surely stood on very diffeaent grounds from the mutinous Sepoys, and who were therefore entitled to very different treatment. The kingdom of Oude was, two years ago, governed by an independent or quasi independent Sovereign. That Sovereign and his ancestors, through many successions, had been most faithful allies of the British nation. True they had misgoverned their country, and it was our duty to correct this. We might even, by virtue of treaty, take the administration into our own hands, but specially and entirely apply the whole surplus revenue to Oude itself. This did pot suit our financial extravagance; and, therefore, in defiance of all remonstrance, we, by a coup d'etat, seized on the King and his territories. All his public officers were dismissed; his army disbanded; the whole system of government abruptly reversed; the leaseholders disturbed, and the great landowners called upon to show their title deeds. When a similar demand was made upon the mailed barons of England, they pointed to the hilts of their swords, and many of the men of Oude finally did the same; and they had some reason, for Sir William Sleeman tells us that in the half of Oude that was ceded to us fifty years ago, not a single great landowner is left—all is one dead level of Government officers and ryots. But those chieftains did not join in the mutinous rebellion against England. One of their leading members sheltered and defended English fugitives from the wrath of our own infuriated soldiery; others did the same. It is therefore a rank perversion of justice to confound these men of Oude and their followers with our own mutinous Sepoys. But even of those Sepoys, we must remember that some 40,000 had recruited our ranks from that kingdom, and, prior to its annexation, had owed allegiance to their Native Sovereign. Great numbers of these had, when their regiments revolt- ed, returned to their native villages without the commission of, or participation in, any outrage whatever; their regiments were broken up, and nothing remained for them to do but to return to their homes. These and other like facts ought to enter into the consideration of the Government when they were discussing how the Oude rebels should be dealt with. He (Mr. Rich) was prepared to do everything towards maintaining the superiority of England, hut he contemplated with horror the war of extermination which some people proposed that we should carry on in Oude. If we should capture Maun Singh and hang him, we should disgrace ourselves. He had sheltered some thirty-six of our wives, and sons, and daughters, in their hour of sorest peril; and if now he was indeed fighting against us, he was at least fighting a fair tight for his rights, his properly, and bis country. We should have no right to hang him; it would be contrary to the laws of God. Those were questions of deep importance; they touched the honour of our arms, the fame of England, and the peace of India. Were we to believe in the civilization of England or in the vengeance of Calcutta? He had seen in the Calcutta papers a recommendation that Oude should he made one great slaughterhouse, that all those who escaped our fire and our shell should be put to death by our bayonets, that those who escaped our bayonets should fall under the knives of the Ghoorkas, and the miserable remnant be driven to perish in the swamps, where it was humanely hoped that those whom famine and the pestilence spared, the wild beasts might devour. [Captain SCOTT: Hear, hear!] He should be glad to hear the hon. Gentleman who cheered those sentiments get up and declare that a nation fighting for its independence should have no quarter, no consideration, no mercy shown to it. It would grieve him (Mr. Rich) to find that the sentiments of the hon. Gentleman were in accord with those of this nation, of the House, or of Her Majesty's Government. They were, he trusted, actuated by very different and far more manly sentiments. There were some people very humane, no doubt in their own eyes, who declared that forbearance and mercy and generosity were all very well towards civilized nations, but that towards these black fellows nothing of the kind should be shown; that is to say, they desired to exorcise against the Indians that very absence of humanity which they cursed them for exercising against us Pharisees. Was this the dispensation that taught us to believe in the intrinsic value of mercy and forbearance, and to leave its issues to a higher power than to a mere debtor and creditor humanity. If a war of extermination were to be carried on, where would it end? If devastation were in the van, discontent and disaffection would follow in the roar. Some persons—half fanatics, half despots —said, that we must rule India by an English army alone; but that, fortunately, was impossible. The climate, population, extent, and remoteness of India forbade it. No, we must govern India mainly by Indians and for Indians, if we wish to retain it for any honourable and useful puposes. Let us not forget that the Sepoy had done us good service—that he had been tried during 100 years, and seldom found wanting. It was impossible to think of Plassey and deny that the Sepoy had a brave heart, nor should it be forgotten how he had resisted the temptations, the tortures, and the religious influences brought to bear upon him against our cause by Hyder Ali and Tippoo Sahib—that for us he had borne the pestilence of Burmab, and, what to his temperament was more trying, the snows of Jellahabad? Moreover, he had aided us in Java, in China, the Mauritius, Persia, and Egypt; and was he now, with 80,000 of his comrades, to be crushed under foot as a foul fiend, because, in a moment a fanatic and credulous phrensy, not unaided by our own acts and negligence, he had broken into a mutinous revolt, at the outbreak of which (as in all such mutinies, whether European or Asiatic,) villainous atrocities had been committed, not by the mass, but by individual scoundrels, and those generally not even Sepoys. Let us remember that we have two other Sepoy armies looking on, not altogether without observation. Indeed he (Mr. Rich) felt ashamed at having to defend such plain propositions. He hoped that he would not be supposed, in any expressions which had fallen from him, to have reflected upon the general conduct of our brave officers and men in India. No one could admire more highly than he did the courage and fortitude they had displayed, and no one was more anxious than he was, that stern and resolute justice should be dealt out to the villains and miscreants who had perpetrated loathsome atrocities and fomented mutiny; but he was sure Her Majesty's Government would admit that the punishment inflicted should be proportioned to the offences committed. It was by moderation and by the calm administration of justice, as much as by the force of our arms, that we had hitherto maintained India, and he trusted that it was by the same virtues that we should retain and civilize it. With regard to the papers for which he was about to move, he understood there would be no objection to the production of those which related to the case of Maun Singh. He believed those papers would show the manner in which that chieftain had acted at a period of great danger and difficulty. He was aware that there was an objection to the production of papers relating to military instructions; and as he felt certain that a declaration would be made in that House in full accordance with the views expressed by Viscount Canning, he would not press for any papers, as to the production of which there might be the least difficulty. With respect to the case of the Natives of Oude, he thought there was so wide a distinction between it and that of the Sepoys that some instructions must surely have been given by the Government of India with regard to the treatment of its inhabitants. He begged to move for Copies of any report or despatch relative to the protection afforded by Maun Singh and others to fugitive Europeans at the outbreak of the Sepoy mutiny; of any instructions given to officers in command of troops as to the treatment of mutinous Sepoys or deserters; and, as to Natives of Oude (not being Sepoys) found in arms within the territory of Oude.


seconded the Motion.

Motion made and Question proposed,— That there be laid before this House, Copies of any Report or Despatch relative to the protection afforded by Maun Singh and others to fugitive Europeans at the outbreak of the Sepoy Mutiny: Of any Instructions given to Officers in command of Troops as to the treatment of mutinous Sepoys or Deserters: And, as to Natives of Oude (not being Sepoys) found in arms within the territory of Oude.


said, he was not surprised that the hon. Gentleman had felt it his duty to submit his Motion to the House, but he confessed he had been somewhat surprised that, looking to the terms of the Motion, the hon. Member should have entered into a general discussion as to the origin and cause of the Indian mutiny and the annexation of the kingdom of Oude. He (Mr. Baillie) was, however, the latter person who ought to complain of this latter subject being brought before the House, inasmuch as not many weeks ago he had occupied their attention upon that subject at some length, and he felt, therefore, that it was unnecessary for him now to trespass upon its attention by going over the same ground. The hon. Gentleman had commenced his speech by referring to the excesses of the English soldiers. It might be perfectly true that, when in the first instance the horrible atrocities committed at Cawnpore and other stations were made known some exasperation was manifested on the part of the British troops; but he believed that feeling had now passed away, and that there wore very few who did not concur in the opinion expressed by the hon. Gentleman, that little advantage was to be gained even by carrying out what, perhaps, might be regarded as the principles of stern justice. It had been said the offenders were so numerous that some other punishments must be adopted, for that it would be impossible to think of inflicting the same punishment upon so many different classes of offenders. The hon. Gentleman had asked what instructions had been sent out to the Government of India relative to the administration of martial law, but he must be well aware that the question of martial law was one of great difficulty and delicacy. The usual practice was, when the adoption of martial law became necessary, to leave its execution to those upon whom in duo course the duty of carrying it out devolved. No special instructions had been sent out on the subject, nor was it the practice to send out special instructions to the Governor General under such circumstances. If the English officers had received instructions on this subject, they must have been issued by the Commander in Chief, who was charged with the duty of carrying out martial law throughout the whole of India. The Commander in Chief, however, was perfectly acquainted with the views and opinions entertained by the Governor General of India and by the Government at home, for the Governor General and his Council had issued rules and instructions on the subject. The Government of India, by Resolutions dated the 31st of July, 1857, laid down rules and regulations for the treatment of every class of offenders, and some of those regulations referred expressly to persons in the situation of the inhabitants of Oude. The 8th Resolution said— The Governor General in Council is anxious to prevent measures of extreme severity being unnecessarily resorted to, or carried to excess, or applied without due discrimination in regard to acts of rebellion committed by persons not mutineers. That Resolution would apply expressly to the population of Oude. The 9th Resolution was in those terms: — It is unquestionably necessary, in the first attempt to restore order in a district in which the civil authority has been entirely overthrown, to administer the law with such promptitude and severity as will strike terror into the minds of the evil-disposed among the people, and will induce them, by the fear of death, to abstain from plunder, to restore stolen property, and to return to peaceful occupations. But this object once in a great degree attained, the punishment of crimes should be regulated with discrimination. Many other rules of the same kind wore laid down in these Resolutions, all tending to show what were the opinions of the Governor General, and no one could suppose that the Commander in Chief would not consider it his duty to act in accordance with those instructions. He (Mr. Baillie) had therefore little fear that such excesses as the hon. Gentleman had alluded to had really taken place. No doubt accounts had appeared in some newspapers of terrible executions, but he agreed with the hon. Gentleman in thinking that they must have been exaggerated. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the case of Oude, and he (Mr. Baillie) thought no one could for a moment imagine that the people of that country, assembled under the banners of their Native Prince, and fighting for what might be in their opinion the independence of their country, could for a moment be placed in the same category with mutinous Sepoys who had murdered their officers and committed the most frightful atrocities. He did not entertain the slightest doubt that proper instructions had been given on this subject by the Commander in Chief. With respect to the case of Maun Singh, he had, since he reached the House, received some despatches relating to his conduct. The statement they contained was that, at the commencement of the rebellion Maun Singh declared himself in favour of the British Government, and took under his protection some ladies, children, and officers; but he was sorry to say that Maun Singh appeared subsequently to have changed his course, and to have marched at the head of a very largo army to the assistance of the mutineers. He was, however, quite ready to lay upon the table all the information which the Government possessed respecting the conduct of Maun Singh and the protection afforded by others to fugitive Europeans; but as to the other papers he had no information to give, and therefore he hoped the hon. Gentleman would consent to withdraw the other two clauses of his Motion.


said, he rose at the invitation of the hon. Gentleman opposite to express a hope that the House would not be carried away by the feeling of morbid sensibility evinced by the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Rich) on behalf of our mutinous Sepoys. He was perfectly certain that this feeling was not generally participated in by the country; and as for India, he ventured to say that those who lived on the spot, and near the scene of the late frightful atrocities, entertained a very different feeling. As an instance of this, he need only mention to the House that on an Act being passed a short time since by the Legislative Council of Calcutta to enable Government to brand a mutineer, that Branding Act created the greatest alarm and apprehension among the inhabitants, and induced the belief that Government looked to transportation as the punishment of mutiny. Now, he was a civilian, but be had always understood that the crime of mutiny must be expiated by death. At the present moment such a penalty was required not only by justice, but by a political necessity. All India knew that Sepoys had outraged Englishwomen. All India knew that every man who mutinied expressed by his mutiny his sympathy with that outrage. All India was looking with intense anxiety to see whether the English would or would not avenge the inexpiable insult— Which turns the sluggard's blood to fire, The coward's heart to flame. If we did not—if any thought of the number of criminals, if any feeling of compassion, interfered with the executioner, there was an end of our character in Indian eyes. There was another order of the Government of India, which had also given great dissatisfaction, for the punishment was so inadequate and so unwisely lenient. It had reference to the disposal of Sepoys returned from furlough, who were divided into two classes. The Governor General said most justly, "The corps is dissolved by its own act, and they must take the consequences." In the same breath, however, he added, "that men belonging to mutinous regiments who returned to head quarters are to be paid and discharged." What, then, he asked, were the consequences? To him it seemed rupees and immunity! With regard to the second class, the Governor General said:—"Sepoys having proved themselves free from taking any part in the mutiny are to be readmitted to the ranks. What, then, became of the order, "the corps is dissolved by its own act"? There was no doubt that these Sepoys, who at best were waverers, were not to be trusted, and were quite ready to join their comrades at a moment's notice, should have been at once discharged, because, whatever their conduct, they ought to have rejoined their regiments and assisted in suppressing the outbreak. He believed it was distinctly specified by the English Mutiny Act that "neglect to use a soldier's best effort to suppress mutiny is a capital crime." Although a civilian, he did not hesitate to say that, in his humble opinion, this system of conciliation pursued by Viscount Canning towards the abettors and commuters of these crimes had been carried too far. To the treacherous Hindoo, to the bloodthirsty Mahomedan, and to the plundering Mahratta, conciliation meant fear, concession inability to command, and clemency was to be repaid on the very first opportunity by the infliction of the most inexpressible horrors and devilish torments that the human mind could conceive on poor unoffending women and helpless children.


said, he hoped that it would not be supposed that in supporting this Motion he was casting any slur on the men by whose wisdom and gallantry our empire had been re-established in the East. No one who recalled the splendid deeds done by our countrymen in the last few months but would anxiously shrink from seeming to throw any blame upon them, or to discourage them in the work they had so nobly begun. But so far from an expression of opinion by the House, such as that sought by his hon. Friend, having any tendency to throw cold water on the Indian Government, it would be of great help to them in carrying out the humane and conciliatory policy they were engaged in; it would strengthen their hands in putting a curb on the too passionate vehemence of those under them. The fury that had been kindled by Viscount Canning's humane and manly proclamation showed how hard it was for the authorities to keep their subordinates within due bounds amid such a whirl of excitement, and how needful it was for Parliament to back them up by speaking out its mind. That need was as strong as ever. There seemed to be no slackening in the tempest of rage against the Sepoys, and even against the whole Native population. Of course, there were thousands of high-minded men who had withstood the impulse by which their brethren had been carried away; but the bulk of the Europeans in India were possessed with an abhorence of the Natives, which though most natural—though after what had befallen, even excusable—yet if unchecked, would be most disastrous, both to the rulers and the ruled. The letters from India were filled with expressions of that feeling. In a pamphlet which had just gone the round of that House, a lieutenant-colonel was quoted as saying, that "such is the hatred towards the Bengalee, whatever his calling, that he will be treated like a ferocious wild beast." The English seemed to be now looking on the Natives as if they were mere tigers. He doubted not that had we seen what they had seen, had we stood on the spot where our countrymen with their wives and little ones had been butchered, had we looked into the well at Cawnpore, we should, like them, have been carried away by an irresistible access of indignation. In fact, we had all shared that feeling. Was there any Englishman so cold as not to have joined heart and soul in the cry for vengeance? Nor even now, when we had grown calmer, could any man scarcely ask ruth or pity for the butchers of our countrymen. Death would be the righteous expiation of every Sepoy who was present at the murder of his officers, either doing it or allowing it to be done. Let no man say that he was pleading for murderers. For all who had part, actively or passively, in those massacres, the bayonet-thrust and the gallows would be the fit reward. But he thought that it was our duty who were in a position to reflect, to exorcise that moderation which was not to be expected from our countrymen in India, and give our aid to the Indian Government, not in excusing the guilty, but in keeping down that wild zeal which would confound the guiltless with the guilty. The truth was that the awful tales of horror, of the violation of women, of the torture of children under their mothers' eyes, which wrung all hearts a short while ago, were enough to fill every man with boundless scorn and hatred for the whole race of those who were thought to have done such deeds. But we ought now to hear in mind that alter thorough investigation the highest Indian authorities had satisfied themselves that those tales, if not wholly groundless, were much exaggerated, while some were without any foundation. Sir J. Lawrence and Mr. Cecil Beadon and others had stated this to be an ascertained fact in their despatches to the Court of Directors. Doubtless, it was bad enough that so many of the mutineers were bent, not merely on upsetting the Feringhee dominion, but on rooting out the Feringhees themselves. At the same time it would not be just on that account to regard the whole race as made up of unmitigated scoundrels—one loathsome compound of treachery and murder. He would not excuse any one of those Sepoys who had murdered their officers from the full punishment of death, but at the same time we ought not to forget that, even in the midst of this outburst, in despite of the torrent of fanatic feeling, numberless deeds of faithfulness and valour had been done by the Sepoys themselves. In numberless cases, at the risk of their own lives, they had withstood the fury of their comrades, and saved their officers. We should remember the signal bravery and devotion with which the Native infantry fought for us in the unparalleled defence of Lucknow. He would be the last to palliate the atrocities that too many of them had committed; but it was unjust and shallow to assume, because under a panic which, though groundless, was intense, they burst forth into murderous mutiny, that therefore they were mere vermin, to he killed off without mercy. He would rather judge them by the experience of a hundred years, by the testimony of those who had fought with them, and lived with them, and watched their behaviour both in peace and war, than by the things they had done in a hurricane of panic and passion. With the exception of the Duke of Wellington the almost unbroken testimony of those who had dwelt most among them had been that, though tainted with Oriental vices, they possessed many eminent qualities and were worthy of affection and esteem. Sir Charles Napier called the Sepoy a "glorious soldier," and in the opinion of Sir Thomas Munro they were in many respects hardly inferior to the people of Europe. Taking all this into account, we ought to consider whether we were to look forward to a system of extermination, and whether in bayoneting every man, wounded or not, that we came across, we were acting in a manner worthy of ourselves. It might, perhaps, be said that they would do the same by us if they could. But were we to copy that cruelty which we decried so loudly? Our provocation had, no doubt, been terrible; so had been our vengeance. The plains of Hindostan were reeking with the blood of the mutineers. When would the time come when we should say that— Though by their high wrongs we are shook to the quick, Yet with our nobler reason 'gainst our fury Will we take part: the rarer action is In virtue, than in vengeance. Had not the time come to stay the avenger's hand, to revert to the usages of civilized, instead of going on with the atrocities of savage war? Ought we not to spare those who resisted no longer, at least until a careful trial had shown whether they belonged to a regiment that murdered its officers, or to one that saved them? He thought that a generous and Christian nation should now offer terms that would enable those who had been guilty, not of murder, but of insurrection, and of insurrection alone, to lay down their arms and undergo some lesser penalty. Let them bear in mind for what it was that the mass of the rebels were now fighting. No one would deny that since the mutiny burst forth the one aim of those misguided men Lad been to throw off our yoke—a yoke which, however beneficent, was hateful as being that of foreigners in blood, of infidels in religion, of haughty and ill-mannered masters. In Oude especially, the seat of the present campaign, this war had been a war of the people of Oude against our novel and abhorred dominion. It was but two years since our army had swooped suddenly upon that kingdom, snatched its King away, and set up an English Commissioner in his stead. With all that he found no fault. He had some hopes that there were fair grounds for that proceeding. But this was worth marking, that both in Oude and in Hindostan the cry of the rebels had been, "Away with the raj of the Feringhee! Up with our Native Kings!" Foolish enough, no doubt; we English were, of course, better rulers than their own Kings would be. But still the fact stood that, either because we were so skilled in taxation, or because we were alien from themselves in blood, in habits, in feelings, in colour, and in creed, our rule had not been to their mind. Seizing a moment when our power seemed wrecked, they rose against us. That uprising we were now putting down. And in what fashion were we putting it down? In this fashion—not only were we giving no quarter to those in arms, but we were tracking out every man, civilian or soldier, who had given countenance or food or shelter to the rebels, or written to them, or, in fact, in any way shown disaffection to our rule, and he was at once consigned to the gallows or the gun. The point with those who tried him was not, "Has this man taken part in massacres of our countrymen? Has he been within 100 miles of them?" but simply, "Has he shown disaffection to our rule?" And if that were shown, often, too, on the most slender evidence, he was at once doomed to die. He would not go back to events of three or four months ago, but he would simply take the last one or two numbers of Allen's Indian Mail, a journal which was favourable to the continuance of the rule of the Indian Government, and would therefore be desirous of softening down the case against our soldiers and officers, and see whether it bore out what he had been saying. The editor said— We have been willing to grant every allowance for the atrocious provocation afforded by the fiendish cruelties of the mutineers. We acknowledged, while we deplored, the necessity of making some terrible examples; but we hoped, against hope, that the first burst of fury would soon pass away, and give place to a stern, impartial sense of justice. But were we longer to preserve silence under this prolonged and barbarous system of retaliation we should render ourselves accomplices, as it were, in a state of things which we deprecate and abhor. British magistrates, we grieve to say, can bring themselves to write exultingly of the number of misguided fellow-creatures they have despatched to their last home. Such a one has boasted that he has already hanged ninety-five human beings, and that he ' hoped' to complete the round hundred on the morrow. Another affects to take pleasure in the shrieks of the writhing victims beneath the blood-stained lash. A third, in base imitation of the ancient tyrant, dares to express a wish that 'all the niggers had only one head.' Blood!" he went on, "the cry is still for blood! Is the reign of terror never to cease? Here, again, was a letter from an officer, describing what was going on in his own district, and describing it with jubilant approval. His letter began— December 29th. Capital news …;" and it went on—"Every village where the telegraph wires or telegraph posts are found injured has its head man hanged' We were hanging the chiefs of villages, not for having murdered our countrymen — not even for rebellion — but because the telegraph posts were injured. He besought the House to give its mind for a moment to this fact. He did not know what the House thought of it; but his opinion was, that the man who did that did murder. Another officer wrote— A lot more rebels were strung up this morning; they were being thinned fast. I wish the authorities would set some more of the higher class swinging; it would do a vast deal of good. Listen, again, to this:—An officer wrote after a battle in which the Sepoys had been routed with great slaughter without the loss of a single European:— We champagned it that night, and drank confusion to the Pamdies…, Let not the people of England be in the least alarmed at proclamations of the Governor General, or of any one else. We do not care one straw for them… The stragglers that are brought into camp by the Natives (for the dear villagers are beginning to sell the Pandies to us—unarmed, thirty rupees; armed, fifty rupees) are hanged, shot, or blown away from guns. We polished off a russeldar yesterday. The spirit displayed in those letters showed how little the subordinate officers could be trusted to act with due moderation, and how great was the necessity for that House to assist Viscount Canning in keeping them within due bounds. The principle of punishing simple disaffection to our rule with death was acted on even by that noble hero Sir Colin Campbell. In a despatch, also contained in that number of Allen's Indian Mail, Sir Colin wrote that "the march of the troops must be deliberate. Time was thus afforded to the magistrates to visit rebellious towns and villages" (this was in Oude) "and to display to the people, in an unmistakable manner, the resolution of your Lordship's Government to visit punishment on all those who have during the last few months set aside their allegiance." A few lines after he mentioned that some "rebels belonging to the villages in the neighbourhood had been disposed of by the magistrate." What being disposed of by the magistrate meant they could easily guess—"a short shrift and a long halter." In Oude, then, '' all those who had set aside their allegiance" were being put to death; and in Hindostan Proper we are acting on the same principle. Again, in that paper was the case of the Rajah of Bullubghur, who had saved the lives of Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Roods, and in many other Europeans. He had been hanged, because, as he pleaded, under the compulsion of the rebels, and from mere terror, he had given them aid, and joined with them. Let no one, then, talk about our severities being aimed at murderers alone. Here was a Rajah who not only did not do murder, but who actually saved the lives of many Europeans. Yet he was calmly tried and hanged, simply and solely because he was a rebel. These cases, then, brought the matter to a most vivid issue. The question was, did the people of England think it right and good to hang in cold blood every man who sought to free his fatherland from the sway of strangers? That was the point at issue. They who stood here on behalf of their countrymen were called upon not merely to say, "It is well done, or it is ill done," to this doing or that; hut they were called upon, in the sight of God and the world, in the sight, be it remembered, of Italy, of Poland, of Hungary, of Austria, of Russia, to lay down a maxim which, if applicable to Oude, must be applicable in all regions and in all times. Was it, then, their clear mind that, when a land had fallen, by fraud or force, into the hands of conquerors, death was the fair and fitting penalty for ail who tried to shake them off? He for one felt assured that the heart of England would be with him while he repudiated such a dogma with horror and disgust, He could not but ask himself what would our feeling be if Italy had risen against Austrian sway, and every Italian who had given countenance to the rebellion were put to death in cold blood? Let it be not replied, "Oh, there is this difference, that in our ease the Europeans in many places were murdered." He had demonstrated that what we were now executing for was distinctly, not for murder, but for "setting aside their allegiance." Yes, that was the expression Sir Colin Campbell used,— "setting aside their allegiance." He remembered how our blood boiled within us when but some twenty-five of the Hungarian leaders were consigned to the gallows. What a harsh thing we thought it of the Pope and of the King of Naples merely to keep in prison those who tried to overthrow their power! And, turning to our own history, what names stank most foully? Were they not those of men who, after all, did but enforce the law against traitors; and those, traitors, not to foreign conquerors, but to their lawful king? And could it be that we, who were so horror-struck at such deeds when done by other men and in other times—could it be that we Englishmen, who had felt so warmly for every people that had risen to dash aside a foreign tyranny—could it be that we, who took such delight in a spirit of independence, who loved freedom so dearly, who paid so tender a reverence to human life—could it be that we, at this day, were encumbering the reputation of our country with memories bloody and terrible as the memories of Taunton and of Culloden? Yes, that was so. That was literally and accurately so. It was the case, and at this very day we were laying waste village after village with fire and sword, that we were hanging men in cold blood, he might say by thousands, on the sole ground that they had set aside their allegiance. He did implore the House to record that night its emphatic will that butcheries as cruel as those of Danton or Collot d'Herbois should cease. He was aware that he should be roundly abused for using such strong words. But he did feel from the very bottom of his heart that not merely in doing these deeds in India, but in not lifting up our voice against them here at home, we were involving our country in a crime worse than the crime of mutiny; in a crime that would be the ruin of our fame; in a crime that would make our remonstrances with such tyrants as the King of Naples seem a humbug and a sham; in a crime that would brutalize our own character; of a crime that would stir up the deadly hate of the men in India, and would thus cut away the only groundwork on which our sway over them could repose—the groundwork of their esteem and love. By acting thus we would be staining not alone our glory, but our souls, with that darkest and most awful stain—the stain of innocent blood.


said, he fully concurred with the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Control in his opinion that the treatment of the Sepoys might, so far as official interference was concerned, be left with perfect safety in the hands of Lord Canning. That noble Lord had, throughout the whole of the difficult crisis with which he had had to deal, displayed a mixture of firmness and moderation which was beyond all praise, but which had exposed him to an unpopularity most unmerited among his countrymen in India, and on that account especially he (Mr. Mangles) regretted that any opposition should have been offered to the inclusion of the noble Lord's name in the Vote of Thanks, He had, however, been proof against the clamour which had been raised against him, and had pursued with undeviating steadiness that course which he felt to be right. Indeed, so strongly impressed was he with the feeling that his policy was the sound one to pursue, that in a letter, which he (Mr. Mangles) had received from the noble Lord some months ago, he had given expression to an apprehension that, although he was at the moment accused of exhibiting undue leniency, he should eventually be censured for having acted with too much severity. And he was happy to find that the noble Lord's policy was beginning to receive that approval to which it was entitled, and that he would be supported in his adherence to that policy by the opinions which the House of Commons had that evening so unmistakably pronounced. In the observations which had fallen from the hon. Member for Richmond.(Mr. Rich) he (Mr. Mangles) to a considerable extent concurred; but he could not at the same time help remarking that the hon. Member had sought to palliate the conduct of the rebellious Sepoys in a greater degree than they deserved. He had mentioned, among other things, that those greased cartridges, which might be termed the matches by which fire was applied to the train of disaffection, had been issued to all the Native regiments in India despite their protestations and remonstrances. The fact, however, was, as far as could be ascertained from the papers which he had seen upon the subject, in which some trifling contradictions occurred, that no cartridge had been issued to a single regiment of the line as a regiment, within our own provinces, although they had for some time been issued to some of the troops upon the Afghan frontier at Peshawur, without the slightest complaint upon their part. Cartridges had also in some instances been issued to those who were being instructed in the use of the rifle in the rifle schools, but that was the exception and not the rule. He might add, with reference to the case of the mutineers of the 3rd Cavalry, upon the treatment of whom, and the severity of their punishment, so much stress had been laid, that the cartridges which they had refused to use contained no grease whatever, and were of the same description as those which had been served out to them for years previously without any remonstrance being made. He should next advert to the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Buxton), who had referred to the exaggerated language in which the proceedings of the Sepoys had been characterized, and would submit to the House that it was no marvel that those newspapers which had so overstrained the case against Lord Cunning as to represent him as talking of "the poor dear Sepoys" had run into a similar error in describ- ing the conduct of the Sepoys themselves. That they had perpetrated in so many instances those frightful atrocities of which they were said to have been guilty in the mutilation of women and children he, for one, did not believe. Much had been said about the horrible cases which had arrived in England, but the strictest investigation had hitherto been unable to verify a single instance; so also with regard to the atrocities in India, he believed that in the majority of cases there was no proof whatever of any such outrages having been committed. There might have been isolated instances, but in passing judgment upon statements respecting them, it was but right to remember the fact that all the English witnesses, who could bear testimony as to the conduct of the Sepoys and rebels, had been removed by death, and that therefore the question of their guilt depended upon stories told by one Native to another—evidence upon which no reliance could be placed. To prove how exaggerated were the statements with respect to the atrocities which were said to have been committed in India, he might mention that he had been informed by Captain Lowe, who had acted as aide-de-camp to Sir H. Barnard, who had been engaged throughout the whole of the siege and storm of Delhi, that the captors Lad been unable to discover that there was the slightest foundation for the charges which had been made against the Sepoys in that respect, not withstanding that a strict investigation as to the truth of those charges had been made. He (Mr. Mangles) had particularly inquired from Captain Lowe as to the case of Miss Jennings, whose death was said to have been preceded by the infliction of the most horrible cruelties and indignities, the relation of which had excited so much horror in this country. Captain Lowe assured him that it had been established beyond all doubt that her death had not been attended by any circumstances of aggravation. She was simply murdered, as her male companions were. It was bad enough that our women and children should have been slaughtered in cold blood, but it was something to know that these horrible atrocities had been spared them. Most hon. Members, no doubt, had read the able letters in The Times, signed "Judex,"—written, it was generally understood, by Mr. G. Campbell, He stated that when at Delhi he did not hear of any atrocities being committed there, but he was told there was no doubt that such had been committed at Cawnpore. When he got to Cawnpore people said, "We've had nothing of the sort here, but there is no doubt that atrocities did take place at Delhi," and so on at all the places which public rumour had fixed on as the scenes of those occurrences. Then, again, with regard to the inscriptions which were said to have been found written on the wall of the room where the women had been confined at Cawnpore, he had been told on the authority of an officer, who was present with the English army, that on the first day, when the troops entered Cawnpore, there were no such inscriptions there, and that they had been written subsequently by some person who had a strange taste for exaggerating the real horrors of the spot, He differed entirely also from the hon. Member for Newport, in regarding the mutiny as a popular rising against a foreign rule. [Mr. BUXTON: I said that it was in Oude.] He had certainly understood the hon. Gentleman to speak much more generally; but, at all events, the hon. Gentleman had made a great mistake in supposing that the expressions which he had quoted from Sir Colin Campbell's despatch referred to Oude. They were confined entirely to the territory on our side of the Ganges, which had been a British province for more than fifty years, He did not believe that, in any place, any Native had been hung on mere suspicion of disaffection, without some overt act being proved against him. What might have been done in hot blood in the excitement of conflict was a different matter; but certainly no such acts had ever been perpetrated after the pretence of a judicial proceeding. It was said that a Rajah who had assisted the English refugees had been executed; be had previously heard the report, and a despatch had recently gone out to India, directing a full inquiry into the circumstances of the case. As to Oude, if the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the India Board (Mr. Baillie) could have foreseen, a few weeks ago, that he would so soon be placed in his present office—in which no doubt he would do good service—it was more than probable that the House would not have been favoured with the speech which he then delivered on the annexation of Oude. He must wish now that he had said nothing about it; but, at any rate, now that they were in office, it was not likely that the House would hear anything more either from him or the noble Lord the Member for North Leicestershire (Lord J. Manners) on the duty of restitution. When the hon. Member for Newport) Mr. Bus-ton) compared the people of Oude to Hungarians or Italians fighting for their nationality, he ought to know that no Asiatic since the world began had ever been animated by what we call national feelings. It was not possible to translate "patriot," "patriotism," or "nationality" into any language in India. They had no idea there what those words meant. Many years ago he recollected Sir James Mackintosh telling him that there was no language in Asia which had a word for "republic," and in the whole course of Asiatic history there was no instance of an attempt to establish anything like constitutional government. All rulers there were despots, and when one despot became intolerable he was pulled down, and another despot was put up in his place. The people of Oude were not fighting for anything approaching to a national cause, and the more closely the matter was looked into the more certain it became to his mind that the annexation of Oude had very little, if anything, to do with the mutiny. True, there might be 50,000 or 100,000 rebels assembled now in Luck-now; hut the population of Oude was about 5,000,000, and this large force might easily be accounted for by taking into consideration the number of mutinied Sepoys who must be there, and the large force of armed retainers which the great Talookdars were in the habit of keeping up. The revenue measures which had set these people in opposition to our rule wore measures of right and justice. The Talookdars were not the real owners of the soil in Oude. They had got possession of largo tracts generally by most iniquitous means, and not unfrequently by murdering the rightful owners, and we had made them our enemies by endeavouring to do justice to the great body of the agricultural population. It redounded in fact, to the honour of the Government of India, that those spoilers were our enemies. He had no objection to the production of the papers for which the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Rich) had moved, for he believed that their production would strengthen Viscount Canning's hands. So long as that nobleman remained at the head of the Indian Government—and it was to be hoped he would long remain — the country might be assured that no system of indiscriminate punishment would be adopted. Distinction would be carefully made between different offences, and justice would be tempered with mercy.


wished to mention one circumstance with which he was acquainted, and which he thought would show that the rebels did not deserve to be treated with too much lenity. A gallant officer under whom he had served for nearly twenty years, in the town which he had now the honour to represent, had a son and daughter who went out to India. The son, who was in the civil service, was a very young man, and when the mutiny broke out in Lucknow he fled with his sister into Oude for protection. The young man, however, was immediately taken and blown from a gun, while his sister, it was to be feared, had been reserved for even a worse fate. He (Captain Scott) was anxious to state that circumstance in order to justify his feelings upon this matter, and that the hon. Member for Richmond might not regard him as a bloodthirsty monster in desiring justice to be dealt out to those who had committed such frightful atrocities.


said, there was one body of men to whom justice ought to be done, and, as military men in that House were perhaps precluded by feelings of delicacy from dealing with the subject, he, as a civilian, felt himself called upon to express his sentiments upon that occasion. Throughout the discussion he could not but think that a very scanty measure of justice had been dealt out to the officers of the army at present employed in India. It had been assumed, he might say upon no authority at all, that those officers had committed acts that were totally inconsistent with the character which English officers had hitherto borne. The only authority for those charges appeared to be odd scraps cut from various newspapers, and even the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Rich) had felt bound to admit that in many cases the charges were grossly exaggerated, while in others they rested upon no authority at all. While our officers were fighting the battles of their country under every difficulty in a distant land it seemed scant justice that all the apologies heard in that House should be for the Sepoys, and none for the British officer. He was glad to hear that evening from the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Mangles) that the atrocities committed by the mutineers were not quite so bad as had been supposed; but still it must have been a horrible state of affairs when the best that could be said in palliation was that the women and children weré not tortured but only massacred in cold blood. If, indeed, under the excitement of almost witnessing the gross atrocities which certainly were committed in India, while the wail of the widow and the cry of the dying children rang in their ears, officers did in some degree exceed the prescribed limits of calm judgment, surely it was not an offence to be visited with too severe a punishment. The officers of our armies in India deserved the thanks of their country and every reward that could be bestowed for their gallant services, their many sacrifices, their persevering bravery under every difficulty, and it was an ill return for all their exertions that the House should be called upon to believe the slanders of anonymous accusers. Such charges as had been made should not have been suggested without some better foundation. All were agreed that indiscriminate slaughter would be a stain upon the character of our officers as well as upon the character of the nation; but what proof was there that such a thing had ever occurred? Although it was quite right to protest against any wild vengeance on the part of those in high command (of which there was no evidence), yet in the course of this discussion there had been too much of what might be termed maudlin sentiment—a desire to excuse those who were proved to be great offenders, and had, at all events, committed great atrocities. And when it was said that justice and mercy should be shown to those men now assembled at Lucknow, he asked the House to remember what those men were. They were not men fighting independently for the defence of their native land, but they were men who had eaten of our salt, had received our pay, and fought us with the arms we had supplied them. They were not enemies, but the remnants of bodies of rebels gathered from Delhi and all parts of the country in Lucknow, as a rallying place to make a final stand, and he only hoped, when that last horde was overcome, that although there ought not to be any indiscriminate slaughter, there would be nothing to prevent every step being taken that might be necessary to restore peace and quiet to a country so long distracted —in which so much blood had been shed by those rebels whom we had fostered and encouraged by the misplaced lenity and consideration which had been shown to them. He had been surprised to hear from the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Rich) an expression of regret at two recent occurrences in India, in each of which 200 or 300 rebels had been killed with only the loss of a single life upon our part. It appeared to him (Mr. Adams) that these facts testified the highest strategical skill on the part of the commanders. Unless it was intended to allow the rebels after a defeat to withdraw to another point where joining other bands they could reorganize their force and again make head against us, it seemed to be a natural course to pursue them in their flight, and thus prevent a renewal of their iniquitous warfare. As a civilian, connected with a very different profession from the military profession, he trusted the House would pardon any warmth which he might have exhibited in the course of his remarks; but he felt called upon to express a hope that, while. no indiscriminate severity should be shown in punishment, they would never forget the justice which was due to the British officers in India.


said, that he had addressed the House so often on the subject, that there could be no doubt what was the opinion which he himself entertained; but he was glad to learn that the views which he had formerly expressed were reciprocated by his hon. Friend the Secretary for the Board of Control. It was necessary to execute justice, but in dispensing justice, the officials ought to discriminate and remember mercy. These were the views of the Governor General, and it would undoubtedly give great satisfaction as well as encouragement to Viscount Canning to learn the sentiments of the Government. He had read the proceedings of the court martial in the case of the Meerut mutineers, and his hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Mr. Mangles) was right in stating that no greased cartridges had been issued to the troops of the line; but what he had said might lead to the conclusion that the refusal of the men of the 3rd Cavalry to take the cartridges which were served to them was occasioned by no overt act of the authorities. Unfortunately, however, there had been a change in the cartridges, and new paper with a glaze upon it had been used which created suspicion. Three weeks before the mutiny the men had said that they knew these were not greased cartridges, because they were intended for their old carbines, and not for the new rifles; but yet they asked not to be forced to use them, as their comrades and relatives and friends would believe that they were greased, and would behave towards them as if they had lost caste in consequence. His hon. Friend had said, that in the East they had never known anything but despotism, and that therefore nothing but despotism ought to be dealt out to the people. He (Colonel Sykes) believed that statement to be contrary to historical facts. He learnt from the annals of Buddhism that at Vasali, the present Allahabad, 2,000 years ago the citizens elected their own magistrates, and that, under the ancient Hindoo system in India, remnants of which still existed, every village was a little republic in itself, consisting of a chief and a council, in which every man had a right to a seat who had land in the village constituting self-government. Political storms swept over the country, but did not touch those little republics, many of which had lasted to the present day; moreover, Arrian expressly said, that a characteristic of the Indians was, that they Were all freemen and had no slaves amongst them. With regard to their acceptance of despotism, several of the largest principalities in Rajpootana at this day elected their own Princes, and he was, therefore, justified in questioning the broad statement of the hon. Member for Guildford.


said, that on the part of the supporters of the hon. Member for Richmond he wished to disclaim the existence of any feeling of disrespect towards the officers of the British army. He respected them for the manner in which they had protected the interest of our countrymen in India and elsewhere, and therefore, he thought it was not altogether fair to endeavour to avoid the real question for consideration, by the imputation of motives by which those to whom they were imputed were not actuated. Happily the insurrection in India was now narrowed within a small space, and he thought that in our administration of that empire we ought to temper justice with mercy. Let it be remembered that there was a very great difference between the man who would free his country from oppression, and the assassin. And it would be a wise and a statesmanlike course to show that we had no idea of preaching an exterminating war, but of settling as soon as possible the state of society in India. He thought it right to raise that point as a disclaimer of the statements of the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Adams).


said, that he thought they owed a debt of gratitude to the hon. Member for Richmond as the point raised in this discussion was one not to be dealt with by enactment, but by public opinion and the opinion of that House. He was confident that neither the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Rich), nor the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. C. Buxton), had any intention to apologize for the Sepoys or to cast reflection on the officers who were so gloriously fighting our battles in the East. They only meant to call attention to the state of feeling in India which supported officers and men, not only of the British, but of the Company's service, in inflicting greater severities than were just and politic. There was one point which he thought it, was worth while for the House to take into consideration—it was a negative fact, but spoke volumes as to the character the war had assumed. Let the House remember that we had been at war in India for ten months, had engaged with, perhaps, 100,000 mal-contents, in, perhaps, fifty different contests, and as far as official or non-official knowledge extended, there was not a prisoner of war—by which he meant a man taken in conflict or pursuit—in our hands. That was a great fact. The King of Delhi was understood to have given himself up, and could scarcely be properly denominated a prisoner, although he was a State prisoner. The inference that he drew, however, was that quarter was not given, and in many places it was stated broadly, and seemed almost to be gloried in, that quarter was not, and would not, be given. He did not mean to bring any general charge against the officers or men who had been engaged in the recent outbreak. Cruelty was not natural to Englishmen, or to brave men of any nation— and it could only be owing to extraordinary circumstances that our soldiers should lend themselves to the perpetuation of extreme severities. It was owing to the state of public feeling in the country. He could understand how when the outbreak first commenced, accompanied as it was by outrages against women and children, the feelings of Europeans in India would be aroused, and that they would entertain even a vindictive feeling against the Natives. That feeling had been transmitted to England and reflected back. What he looked for from this discussion was, that there should be such an expression of opinion as that which he believed had been produced, which he trusted would react upon India, and teach the people there that in England we did consider that the moment for mercy had arrived, that sufficient blood had been shed, and that now they might temper justice with mercy. In no way did he impute wanton cruelty to the officers, for he considered that what had boon done had depended on the state of public feeling. No orders had been issued by the Commander in Chief, or the officers under him, forbidding men to grant quarter; but the men, irritated and infuriated by what they had seen and heard, were in the habit of not granting quarter, and he trusted this feeling would no longer find favour in their sight. This mode of inflicting undue severity on the Indians was not only un-English and unchristian, but was also highly impolitic. If they looked to the future of India it was impolitic to widen the breach between themselves and the Natives more than was necessary. It was quite impossible that we could look to govern India as a conquered country through the fears of the people. If we attempted to do that we should suffer grievously on the score of the actual draining of our military resources, as well as on the ground of expense. The occupation of India, on such terms, instead of being a source of profit and glory to England, would be in the first instance a public loss, and ultimately end in dishonour. Looking, then, not only to the present but the future, we should seek to open up the means of reconciliation with the Natives. He did not say that an amnesty should be proclaimed at once such as been granted by Mr. Colvin, but that might be gradually prepared for; and that could only be done by mitigating the horrors of war and putting an end to the system of not giving quarter and other undue severities.


in reply, said it was easy for the hon. and learned Member for Boston (Mr. Adams), or any other hon. Gentleman, to catch a certain amount of applause in defending what no one impugned—namely, the honour and gallantry of the British soldier. If, however, hon. Members had attended closely to what he had said about the statements in the newspapers referring to the atrocities in India, it would have been found that he had said that those atrocities seemed to be grossly and wickedly exaggerated on both sides. He had also borne testimony to the general good conduct of the officers and men, and could do so with a warmer heart than the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Adams), inasmuch as he had enjoyed the honour of serving his Sovereign as a soldier. This discussion would prove advantageous to public opinion both at home and in India, where he trusted full attention would be paid to the humane declaration of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Control, that due discrimination would be shown in all the cases that might come under consideration. He rejoiced that the humane spirit displayed by Viscount Canning in his instructions to the civilians would be extended to the military authorities. It was satisfactory to know that the House applauded the merciful consideration of Viscount Canning. Some of the despatches it seemed could not be produced, but he should be glad to see the despatch relative to the conduct of Maun Singh without delay laid upon the table of the House,

Copy ordered,Of any Report or Despatch relative to the protection afforded by Maun Singh and others to fugitive Europeans at the outbreak of the Sepoy Matiny,