HC Deb 08 June 1860 vol 159 cc185-6

said, he had read in The Times of the 30th of May the announcement that,— It is intended that the officers of those Native regiments which mutinied shall be allowed to retain those staff appointments by means of which nearly the whole of them have been provided for. It must be conceded that this, if just, is a very liberal justice. On reading that statement it occurred to him to inquire, if those officers who had lost their corps were to be thus rewarded, what was to be the reward of those officers who had retained their troops. It was manifest that if the soldiers belonging to the 74 regiments of the Bengal army had remained faithful there would have been no mutiny, and, therefore, those officers who had managed to retain the obedience of their regiments had accomplished a public service for which the country could hardly show sufficient gratitude. The only four regiments which remained faithful were the 21st, 31st, 66th, and 73rd. The 66th was a Ghoorka regiment, composed for the most part of Nepaulese, with hardly any admixture of Hindostanees, and was, therefore, drawn from the class which was least likely to mutiny. The 21st and 73rd had never been disarmed, but he believed had not been employed on any active duty. The Ghoorka regiment and the 31st, on the contrary, had rendered important military services, which were referred to in the General Orders, under date 8th September, by the Governor General in Council. The manner in which the mutineers were encountered was there detailed, and the Governor General went on to say, "The 31st Native Infantry prominently distinguished itself by its loyalty under severe trials." Compliments had been paid to other regiments; but when the Indian army was thanked no reference was made to this distinguished corps. The only reward of which he had heard was, that the distinction of making it a light infantry regiment had been conferred. Being convinced that neither the House nor the country would be niggardly in rewarding the services of those Gentlemen who had so highly distinguished themselves, he begged to ask the Secretary of State for India, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to reward the services of those Officers of the Bengal Native Army whose regiments remained faithful to the British Government during the late Mutiny?