HC Deb 20 August 1860 vol 160 cc1576-7

said, he wished to address a few words to the House on behalf of his noble and gallant Friend Lord Clyde. It will be in the recollection of the House, that in the course of the discussions respecting the amalgamation of the Indian forces, an hon. and gallant Member referred to certain supposed opinions of Lord Clyde, to the effect that in his (Lord Clyde's) opinion, none of the General Officers of Her Majesty's Indian forces were qualified to hold divisional command. He (Sir De Lacy Evans) stated at the time he was convinced that could not he an accurate representation of his noble Friend's opinions; and he was pleased now to find that his conjecture was perfectly correct. The shortest and most direct way to correct the mistake, would be to read two or three lines from a letter he had just received from Lord Clyde: "I never intended," said Lord Clyde, "to draw an invidious comparison between the officers of the Royal and Indian Services, or to desire to exclude from employment or divisional commands a fair proportion of the officers of the local army, so many of whom served with great distinction under my command." His noble Friend never wished to contend for more than a fair proportion of divisional commands being given to officers in the Royal service, on grounds that he laid down in much detail; but he was much hurt at finding that passages from some of his letters that were printed in the Parliamentary papers had had an interpretation put on them which they would not bear; and he therefore expressed an earnest wish that he (Sir De Lacy Evans) "would be good enough to state publicly to the House that the interpretation put on a passage in Lord Clyde's letter on the 8th of March, by Major-General Birch, was overstrained and inaccurate." This candid and honourable tribute to the services of the officers referred to by their illustrious Commander-in-Chief, together with his frank disclaimer of what he had been unfairly accused of, can but enhance the high public estimation my gallant Friend has so nobly won; while it will be a consolation to the distinguished officers, whose services are thus remembered and acknowledged, for the wholly unmerited depreciation their professional characters were lately so unhandsomely exposed to in this House. It was impossible to add anything to this statement, especially as the new order of things might be said to be consummated; but it was desirable that Parliament should know that no prejudice against those officers existed in the mind of their late Commander-in Chief.