HL Deb 12 December 1857 vol 148 cc672-3

My Lords, before the House adjourns I wish to perform what I consider a public duty, but which would have been performed by the illustrious Duke at the head of the army had he not unfortunately mistaken the hour at which the House was to meet. He supposed it was five o'clock instead of three o'clock, and appointed at the latter hour a levee which he cannot leave, and which has prevented him from being present on this occasion. It was His Royal Highness's intention to set right before the public a distinguished and gallant officer of the army, and to have made to your Lordships the statement which I am now about to make. He has authorised me to make it for him in justice to that gallant officer Sir Colin Campbell; and I, on the other hand, not only make it in justice to that gallant officer, but as a Member of Her Majesty's Government, and, as a colleague of Lord Canning, also in justice to the Governor General of India. Your Lordships must be well aware that, for reasons I shall not attempt to divine, certain persons have attempted most industriously to persuade the public that disagreements existed between Lord Canning and Sir Colin Campbell. It has been also in vain that a distinct denial has been given to these statements on the part of Her Majesty's Go- vernment. Such denials have, however, been made, and they have been generally believed. But what I shall now read to your Lordships, which is an extract of a letter from Sir Colin Campbell, will put the matter beyond a doubt, and must quench for ever in the public mind the malicious intentions of those who have invented this story. It is an extract from a letter from Sir Colin Campbell to His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief, dated October 26, 1857, and written upon the occasion of that gallant officer's quitting Calcutta to take the field at the head of his troops, with, I hope, a full prospect of leading those troops to victory. My Lords, the extract is as follows:— Now that I am on the point of leaving Calcutta, I would beg, with the greatest respect to the Governor General, to record my deep sense of the obligation I entertain towards his Lordship. Our intercourse has been most cordial, intimate, and unreserved. I cannot be sufficiently thankful for his Lordship's confidence and support, and the kindly manner in which they have been afforded, to my great personal satisfaction. One at a distance, not acquainted with the ordinary mode of transacting business in this country, can hardly estimate the gain to the public service which has thus been made, but I allude principally to my own feelings of gratification. Thus, my Lords, Sir Colin Campbell bears testimony to the fact that Lord Canning, setting aside the ordinary mode of transacting business in that country, has afforded him a support which had tended greatly to the advantage of the public service. My Lords, I thought it my duty to make this statement to your Lordships and the public before Parliament adjourned, in order that we might set at rest at once and for ever the calumny which has been circulated, that between the Governor General of India and the Commander in Chief disagreements have existed.

House adjourned at half-past Three o'clock, to Thursday the 4th February next, at half-past Four o'clock.

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