§ LORD PANMURE
My Lords, I thank 810 my noble Friend (the Earl of Shaftesbury) for having so readily given way on this occasion, and permitting me, at the earliest possible period of the evening, to introduce the subject of a Vote of Thanks to the Indian Services. The Motion of which I have given notice is one that naturally falls into my hands from the situation I have the honour to hold, and it is one that could not but afford the greatest pleasure to any person who might be called on to propose it. I feel, however, that the duty is an important and delicate one, and I dread lest, in the discharge of it, I should, by any feebleness of expression or any inadvertent omission, cause disappointment to any one. Your Lordships, therefore, must perceive how much I stand in need of indulgence on such an occasion, and I trust it will be freely extended to me.
My Lords, the honour which is conferred by the Thanks of this House is, to all those who serve their Queen and country, the greatest and the highest that can he, bestowed. These Thanks are rarely given, and they are only expressed when Parliament feels it is thereby giving utterance to the concentrated feelings of the nation at large. There is not a man who serves his Queen and country who does not, in all the duties he performs, constantly bear in mind what his country thinks of his performance of those duties. When Sir John Moore was wounded and dying at Corunna, almost his last words were, "I hope they will do me justice at borne."—"I hope, they will do me justice at home"—"What will they think of us at home?" express the feelings that pervade every, noble and patriotic mind in the performance of every duty; and the result of the judgment given at home cheers many an hour of uneasiness and irksomeness, and sustains the soldier's heart in many a hard-fought field. It is my duty to draw your Lordships' attention to circumstances which have run over a considerable space of time, and extend over a wide field of action. There are three classes of individuals to whom I shall ask your Lordships to tender the expression of your thanks. The first of these are the individuals high in station in India, under whose administration the operations for putting down that mutiny, which we all so deeply regret, have been carried on. The second class includes those heroic commanders who have achieved for their country additional honours, and for themselves those distinctions which have been conferred upon them for the singular services 811 they have performed. The third class are those who, not belonging to the military service, have nevertheless volunteered to aid in various parts of India, either in putting down the mutiny in the service of the Queen, or in defending posts at which they had been placed.
Following this category, my Lords, the first individual to whom I shall refer is the noble Lord who, in the trying circumstances in which it has been his lot to be placed, has administered the government of India—to Lord Canning, the Governor General of India. It is my conviction that the Thanks of this House, and not the Thanks of this House only, but its gratitude also, are due for the calm, courageous, and prudent manner in which he has borne himself in the midst of the greatest difficulties. There is no one, I think, who will assert that, had there even been at the helm of Indian affairs a Clive or a Wellesley, he could have prevented or anticipated the outbreak of this disastrous mutiny. This mutiny, my Lords, was as little expected in India as it was here; it precipitated itself on the country like an avalanche, and it came at a time when Lord Canning had at his command nothing more than the ordinary resources for maintaining the peace of the country. But, my Lords, notwithstanding this, the detailed narratives of the past exhibit the readiness and the calm courage with which he at once applied himself to the duty of putting the resources at his command in motion for the mitigation and suppression of the revolt. He sent out orders conferring almost unlimited power on the local governments in the districts in which the mutiny had presented itself, and applied all the resources within his reach to aid and reinforce the British troops already in Bengal. He applied in the first place to Lord Elgin for the loan of those troops which had been destined for another purpose. Already had the Government at home given orders, on the information which had reached them from India, that those troops should be so diverted; but of this Lord Canning could know nothing; that already had instructions been sent out to Point de Galle that the ships conveying those troops should on arriving there be sent on to Calcutta, and thus to Lord Canning was offered the first military assistance which enabled him to reinforce the frontiers of India. Lord Canning, furthermore, forwarded a requisition for aid to Sir Henry Ward, in Ceylon; and Sir Henry Ward, 812 with the same alacrity which Lord Elgin had shown, at once consented to send to Calcutta all the assistance in artillery and infantry which he could possibly spare. He made a similar application to Sir George Grey at the Cape, with an equally favourable result. He received from these governors the utmost assistance, not only of men, but of horses, stores, and artillery. To Lord Elgin, Sir Henry Ward, and Sir George Grey, the approbation of their Sovereign has already been conveyed for the zeal and promptitude with which they responded to the appeal of Lord Canning for aid, and furnished reinforcements before they could possibly be received from England. Lord Canning not only sent for aid from without, and applied the resources he had within for the purpose of putting down the mutiny, but he set himself at work to organize the means of forwarding the troops to the disaffected districts as they arrived from Europe; and I have it in my power to state on unquestionable authority that in that endeavour he entirely succeeded. Since the mutiny first broke out, although the channels of communication had been interrupted, and difficulties far greater than could have been anticipated had been thrown in the way of obtaining the means of carriage, upwards of 20,000 troops have been moved from Calcutta to the central provinces, most of them by land, and those troops were brought to the scenes of action where their services were required in the most efficient state. For that purpose a system of carriage by bullock carts was admirably organized. Lord Canning had often been blamed for not insisting on the violent seizure of all the means of conveyance in the country in this great emergency, and thereby running counter to all the prejudices of the ryots and the various small landed proprietors; but by the more temperate course he pursued, by working on the feelings of that class of individuals, and by his uniform calmness and decision, Lord Canning has not only avoided the necessity of resorting to a forcible seizure of their conveyances, but has procured the hearty co-operation of the ryots themselves, and to such an extent that, according to the last accounts, the means of conveyance for his troops were so abundant, that in one day no less than 500 carts, with all their appurtenances, were found in superfluity at the railway stations. Therefore, my Lords, I think I am justified in asserting that Lord Canning has used every means at his disposal for the purpose of meeting the 813 extraordinary state of things in the country over which he rules. But it is not for these reasons alone that I think Lord Canning deserving of the grateful consideration of your Lordships. I cannot but admire his entire bearing through all the trials and difficulties he has had to encounter. I believe, my Lords, it is not too much to say that no one placed in a position of such difficulty could have exhibited a greater degree of moral courage, moral readiness, or more determination to meet the exigencies which surrounded him, than the noble Lord to whom I am now moving the Thanks of your Lordship's House.
My Lords, the next individual, high in rank and eminent for his abilities, to whom I invite your Lordships' thanks, is Lord Harris, the Governor of the Presidency of Madras. To Lord Harris we are indebted, during all the troubles which have prevailed in Bengal, for maintaining the peace of his Presidency entirely undisturbed; and not only has its tranquillity remained wholly undisturbed, but its soldiery have remained uniformly faithful to their standards and loyal in their attachment to the British rule. Lord Harris has been enabled to send not only such of the Queen's troops as were in his Presidency to Bengal, but also the gallant Neill at the head of his Madras Fusileers; I think your Lordships will be of opinion that Lord Harris has earned a title to the thanks of your Lordships' House.
Again, in another Presidency of India, another noble Lord, well known to your Lordships—I mean Lord Elphinstone—has rendered services well worthy your Lordships' approbation for the manner in which he has administered the Presidency of Bombay. In all that has occurred no man has shown greater decision of character, greater readiness of resource, or greater desire to contribute relief to his noble Friend at the head of the Presidency of Bengal than he has done. It was by Lord Elphinstone's arrangement that reference was made to the Mauritius for troops, and there, as at the Cape and at Ceylon, the Governor cheerfully contributed the force at his disposal. It was by Lord Elphinstone's arrangements that an organization was formed at Bombay for the purpose of getting overland such troops as could he forwarded by that route. It was by Lord Elphinstone's sagacity that almost throughout the Presidency of Bombay peace and order were preserved, and he was thereby enabled to send that aid 814 to Lord Canning which proved so useful. In doing so he displayed a courage which cannot be too highly estimated, for he did it at a time when the troops in his own Presidency afforded ground for much anxiety; but still he did not hesitate to make the sacrifice which he believed the public interest demanded.
Then, my Lords, there is another civil officer to whom I think our thanks are eminently due. That officer is Sir John Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner of the Punjab. It is hardly possible to mention the name of Lawrence without exciting in the breast of every one who is acquainted either with the government or the country of India feelings of the deepest gratitude and admiration. Sir John Lawrence was the Chief Commissioner of the Punjab at the time of the outbreak in India. By him and his noble brother that country had been converted from a conquered foe to a faithful ally; the bitterness of conquest had passed away, and the province was incorporated into the general system and government of this country. At the time of the outbreak Sir John Lawrence hastened to send to the army before Delhi all the aid he could contribute—troops both European and native—and not only did ho send those troops, but he at once set about raising new levies and organizing fresh forces. Indeed, I may almost say without offence to those who gallantly conducted the siege of Delhi that to the able and constant exertions of Sir John Lawrence the great success of that undertaking was mainly due.
There remains one other individual connected with the civil Government of India to whom I must invite your Lordships to tender your thanks—Mr. Frere, the Commissioner of Scinde. That gentleman's name, probably, is not so familiar to the public as those others whom I have mentioned, but it is certain there is no man to whom India owes a deeper debt of gratitude. As Commissioner of Scinde he has reconciled the people of that province to British rule, and by his prudence and wisdom confirmed the conquest which had been achieved by the gallant Napier. He was thereby enabled to furnish aid to the centre of revolt, or wherever it was needed; while by his prudent management he maintained, during the whole of this period, order and peace throughout the province with which he was charged. To these Gentlemen I will, in the first place, ask your Lordships to accord your cordial thanks.
815 My Lords, I now come to the second class of persons whom I mentioned—those gallant officers who have distinguished themselves in arms during the recent occurrences in India. I am aware that in moving a Vote of Thanks to the army it is often invidious and always a very difficult task to select from so large a number of deserving officers the particular names of those whom it is intended especially to honour. Upon this occasion I have selected the four gallant Generals who have held chief commands at different points, and the mere mention of their names will, I am sure, satisfy your Lordships of their just claims to pre-eminence. The first is the Commander in Chief of the array in India, a gallant officer who has on other occasions earned and received the Thanks of this House. The name of Sir Colin Campbell will, I am sure, be received with honour by your Lordships. It would be superfluous to refer to his former military career—it is within the knowledge of every man. Upon the present occasion Sir Colin Campbell within two days after the offer was made to him, accepted the chief command in India; within a day after that acceptance he was en route for his post, and he reached Calcutta in a space of time unprecedentedly short. Upon arriving at Calcutta, although he found fields of action inviting him in every direction, Sir Colin Campbell did not at once proceed to take command of the army in any place. He knew that considerable reinforcements were expected from England; he found that these reinforcements were to be moved considerable distances; and he, therefore, prudently remained at Calcutta for a time in communication—and I may add in harmonious communication—with the Governor General, settling the means by which the reinforcements could be forwarded, and organizing the system which has enabled him to receive such rapid accessions to his forces in the field. But the news of the straits of the garrison of Lucknow reached his ears, and as soon as he could collect an efficient force Sir Colin Campbell marched to the relief of our beleagured countrymen and women. His first great action was the relief of Lucknow, the garrison of which consisted of the troops which had been led there by Outram and the gallant Havelock, in addition to those under Inglis, the remains of the original defenders of the Residency. The manner in which Sir Colin Campbell performed that service, and the skilful military 816 strategy that he displayed were scarcely more than his high character as a soldier justified us in expecting; but still it was executed with a degree of courage, ability, and success, which commands the admiration and gratitude of all. Sir Colin Campbell, once in possession of the Residency of Lucknow, did not think it prudent to remain there, or to make it the base of his operations. He determined to withdraw from the position, and in that withdrawal he displayed the finest military tactics perhaps which have been exhibited in recent times. In the face of an overwhelming hostile force, encumbered with numerous sick and wounded, and a large body of women and children, with all his stores, all his baggage, and all the treasure, he accomplished his retirement—I will not call it a retreat—without the loss of a single man, and by such well-devised arrangements that for twenty-four hours the enemy was unaware of his departure. He conveyed his force to Cawnpore; but before reaching that place the distant booming of cannon warned him that his presence was needed. He pushed on with his small army, covering, at the same time, all those whom it was his duty to protect, and then, took up a position which enabled him in the course of a few days to defeat and disperse the Gwalior Contingent, and to capture the greater portion of its artillery. That Contingent, it must be remembered, was the most formidable force that the British troops would have to encounter in India, as it was the highest disciplined, the best organized, and the most completely equipped Native force in the country. Those, my Lords, are the actions which I submit fully entitle Sir Colin Campbell to your thanks and to the thanks of the country upon this occasion.
The next Commander I have to mention is Major General Sir James Outram. That gallant officer had just returned from the command of the successful expedition in Persia when he was called upon to render his services to his country in the suppression of the mutiny in India. In Persia he had achieved all that he was called upon to accomplish. Thence he came back with victory upon his crest, and was appointed to the civil and military command in Oude. Then it was that he found the gallant Havelock devising his plan for the first relief of Lucknow. With a chivalry which could be equalled only by his gallantry, Sir James Outram forbore to take out of the hands of his brother officer the command of those operations in which much had 817 already been done by him towards the attainment of success. When, however, my Lords, the first relief of Lucknow was accomplished. General Outram assumed the direction of operations, and distinguished himself by the continuance of that defence which Inglis had so gallantly carried on. After the evacuation of Lucknow he was left to maintain his position against a vastly superior force at the Alumbagh, and he has since greatly distinguished himself by the resistance which he has offered to the attacks which were made upon his position—attacks which he repulsed with a vigour which inflicted an immense loss upon the enemy, while that which was sustained by his own forces was comparatively trifling. For achievements such as these, it is, my Lords, that I propose that the Thanks of this House be given to Major General Sir James Outram.
I now come to another name which I am sure your Lordships will be disposed to regard as one which ought to occupy a prominent place upon this occasion. It is that of Major General Sir Archdale Wilson, the conqueror of Delhi. In adverting to that gallant General I may be permitted to remark that the honours of the struggle in which we have been engaged in India do not altogether belong to the officers in Her Majesty's service, but are shared by those who are employed in the service of the Company. Sir Archdale Wilson commenced his career some years ago in that service, and was in command, at the time of the outbreak of the mutiny, in the district of the Punjab. The division of which he was at the head was destined to join the army which was ordered to advance to the siege of Delhi. When he arrived in the vicinity of that city he found himself second in command to Sir Henry Barnard, and his first operations against the fortress consisted of a combined movement with that gallant General, which combined movement he executed with a skill that gave the strongest evidence of his capacity, and clearly presaged the glory which crowned his subsequent career. The movement to which I refer enabled Sir Henry Barnard to conquer and to occupy in one day that most important position which was subsequently held by our army before Delhi, and from which operations were conducted with an advantage to which it is to be attributed that the siege of that city was not still further prolonged. After the death of the gallant and lamented Sir Henry Barnard the chief command fell to the lot 818 of Major General Wilson. He then, with a coolness, deliberation, and judgment which merit our praise, deferred making an assault upon the fortress until he should find himself sufficiently reinforced to be able to do so with a probability of success. He knew perfectly well the effect which failure in the attempt to take Delhi would produce among the Native population of India. He paused, therefore, until he could operate with advantage, and when he found himself in a position which rendered success feasible, he achieved the great object which he had in view, and achieved it in a manner which clearly proved that he is eminently well qualified to discharge the arduous duties which attach to an officer in high command. But, my Lords, while General Wilson was waiting for reinforcements before Delhi, the army under him was by no means idle. He covered their position with great skill and attended to the comfort of his troops in a way which was well repaid by their devotion, as was testified by the success with which they assaulted the enemy and repelled the attacks made upon them Upon no less than twenty-six or twenty-seven different occasions. Then came the final triumph. Delhi was captured, and I am sure your Lordships will deeply sympathize with its conqueror, who immediately after this great success had been achieved was obliged, owing to the state of his health, to retire for a season from active military command. Let us hope, my Lords, that it is only for a season, and that he will soon be able to return with increased vigour to the service of his country. In the meantime no better panacea can, I am sure, be administered for the restoration of his infirm and broken constitution than those thanks which I feel confident your Lordships will cordially and unanimously accord him.
There is another general officer whom I have now to mention to you, and whose name need only be mentioned in order to be met by the expression of your warmest approbation—I allude to the name of Major General Inglis. There is, I apprehend, in the history of the defence of fortified places, scarcely a single instance which can exhibit such persevering bravery, a list of privations so great, endured for so long a period, or with a front so dauntless, and ending in a success so complete as the defence of Lucknow. For eighty-seven days, before relief reached it, partly under the direction of the gallant and lamented Sir Henry Lawrence, 819 and partly under the command of Colonel Inglis, upon whom the mantle of Lawrence had worthily fallen, did Lucknow hold out against its besiegers. Supplies were during that period from time to time received by the garrison, but, I may add, that upon all hands, from the highest officer down to the humblest individual in the fortress, those eighty-seven days formed but one series of continuous fighting. Although the name of Inglis has been selected for especial mention, in connection with that immortal defence, in asking a Vote of Thanks at your Lordships' hands, yet I must say that while all, from the highest officer to the lowest private, faithfully, nobly, and courageously fulfilled their duty, though I cannot mention all their names, yet I may say that gratitude is especially due to his true-hearted 32nd regiment, who so gloriously aided him in the trying position in which he was placed. Our gratitude is also due, my Lords, to those men of the Native Bengal Infantry who, notwithstanding the inducements held out to them, remained nevertheless faithful to their standards and to their Queen. These faithful men were not to be led astray by the persuasion of their faithless fellow countrymen, they would not give up their foreign allegiance, as it was termed, and to the last they obeyed with brave fidelity the officers under whose command they were placed. We cannot too much admire troops who under such circumstances acted as they have done. In the case of the men who have so gallantly signalized themselves in the defence of Lucknow, his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief has recommended—and the Government have cheerfully consented to act upon the recommendation—that they should be allowed to count one year's service towards their retirement and pension as a distinguishing mark of the bravery which they have displayed. It remains for me, my Lords, only to propose as one of their number Major General Inglis as entitled to a special Vote of Thanks at your hands.
I come now, my Lords, to another part of the subject, but certainly not the least in importance. I mean that brave body of officers in Her Majesty's and in the East India Company's service, European and Native, who have taken a prominent part in the victories which have been achieved. I hold in my hand a list containing the names of several officers both in Her Majesty's service and in that of the East India Company, who have distinguished 820 themselves in India. That list, however, embraces too many names to be mentioned on this occasion; but there are some which I think it is but fair I should bring under your Lordships' notice although they may not form the subjects of a special Vote of Thanks at your hands. We cannot altogether pass over such names as those of Chamberlayne, of Greathed, and of Colonel Baird Smith, who was the engineer under whose directions Delhi was taken. Such a man as Tombs who commanded the artillery in the various movements which took place before the capture of that city, is also entitled to our notice? nor must I omit the name of Colonel Vincent Eyre, who in another part of India furnished to the world so brilliant an example of all that is admirable in a soldier. But, my Lords, I must pause. The list of those officers who have won for themselves distinction during the recent struggle in India is far too long for recital. All I can say is, that taken in conjunction they form a band of which England may well feel proud, and from which great achievements may be fairly anticipated in any future emergency.
With the officers of the Army I wish also to couple those of the Navy now in India, to whom our thanks are eminently due. Connected with that service there is a name already widely known and widely reverenced by all in this country—I mean the name of Peel. Captain Peel, as your Lordships may remember, held a command in the naval brigade which assisted so effectively in the siege of Sebastopol and the operations in the Crimea; and he brought the experience which he had gathered there to the aid of Viscount Canning in India; for no sooner had the Shannon cast anchor in the waters of the Ganges than he organized and placed at the disposal of the Governor General a Naval Brigade, distinguished, as Naval Brigades ever are, for courage, for readiness to undertake any enterprise, and for the hardihood which especially belongs to our sailors. His services were accepted, and he was first of all Bent up to Allahabad, of which place he was made commandant. But the tedium of a garrison life was hardly suited to the tastes of Captain Peel. He sought for more active employment, and in an engagement which took place with part of the Dinapore mutineers he distinguished himself conspicuously at the head of his Brigade. In the final relief of Lucknow none showed greater valour, none gave 821 greater assistance to the Commander in Chief than did Captain Peel and his gallant blue jackets, aided as they were by a party of Marines. In the same category with the Officers of the Army, therefore, I ask your Lordships to include Captain Peel and the officers of the Naval Brigade.
It now remains for me to address myself to the last, though by no means the least, important resolution on the paper—I mean that which is to convey your Lordships' thanks to the Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of Her Majesty' Service who have fought the battles of their country with no less devotion and gallantry than those of higher rank, to whom I have already proposed you should do honour. In no quarter of India where this mutiny has called the Queen's troops into the field has there been anything like failure, or anything like a want of entire success. I am proud to say that the honour conferred on their country in other fields by the armies of England has been fully upheld by them upon the shores of India, and that we may look with confidence to our troops there to maintain that honour for the future. The men belonging to the Navy and Marines have done their duty in the same faithful and gallant manner. The European troops in the East India Company's Service have performed good service wherever they have been called upon. The Native troops of Madras have all proved faithful; so likewise has the greater part of the Bombay army; and the few Native soldiers of Bengal who remained true to their standards—an honourable remnant—have discharged their duty with an energy and a courage which demand the recognition of the country and of Parliament. In thus calling upon your Lordships to do honour to the troops upon this occasion I believe I may assure you that, equally as in the case of persons holding high positions and administering responsible offices under the Crown, the praise of Parliament is looked upon as the highest honour they can obtain, and there is nothing which so much gratifies a regiment as to hear, upon parade, that their countrymen have awarded to them for their deeds of valour the thanks they have deserved by their great and chivalrous acts.
I have now, my Lords, discharged the duties which devolved upon me with reference to those who have been spared in this mutiny to receive honour for their services from your Lordships' House. But I think 822 I should ill perform my task were I not to refer to those who have in this war (as I may call it) been gathered to their rest, whose ears are now deaf to praise, and to whom your thanks cannot, alas! be conveyed. There is a long list of officers, I grieve to say, in that category. Some of these there are who have fought our battles in the most distinguished manner, who have gained for themselves imperishable renown, who have left behind them brilliant examples to the world of what a British officer should be—how bravely he can fight his country's battles, and how nobly he can die as a Christian soldier. Foremost among those to whom I shall refer is one who, though perhaps not the first in rank, is undoubtedly the first in fame, Sir Henry Havelock. It would be impossible to refer to one who had seen more service; and who had discharged more perfectly the duties of his station. A soldier almost from his cradle, at least from the moment when he left school, where he and I passed many hours together, he has served uninterruptedly to the day of his death as a soldier in the field. I will pass over his early training, and will merely allude to the fact that after having risen to a rank which entitled him to serve as Adjutant General of Her Majesty's Forces he was selected to command a brigade in the force under Sir James Outram in Persia. I have heard that that appointment was at the time very much commented upon as an act of feebleness on the part of the Government, which was described as having appointed a man utterly worn out, whose energies were gone, and who was fit to do nothing but to look into the plate before him. In this instance we see a specimen of how the public will sometimes undertake to prejudge a man, and how their prophecies may be found to be utterly groundless? Sir Henry Havelock discharged his duties in Persia with eminent skill and bravery, as, indeed, he did upon all occasions; for I think it was said of him by General Nott, that Havelock never blundered and his men never misbehaved. When the Persian war was over he returned to India, and resumed his duties as Adjutant General of the army; soon after which, his services being required in another place, he accepted the command of a brigade. Appointed to his brigade, which consisted of two weak English regiments, one Native regiment, and one European regiment in the Company's service, he fought those nine actions 823 which have signalised his name and established his character as a general and a soldier. Finally, by the generosity of Sir James Outram, he achieved the relief of his friends, who were beleaguered in Luck-now, and scarcely had reached the pinnacle of honour, not indeed surviving to hear of the rewards conferred upon him by his Queen and country, ere he sank under the disease which was incident to his exertions, and now lies buried upon the scene of his exploits. He lies buried by the side of one whose services in India and whose military fame are equally great, and who was his dearest friend, I mean the late Sir Henry Lawrence. Every one who knows the character of that distinguished man knows the loss which India has sustained in him. He was not only a great soldier, but a great statesman. Every Governor General of India who has witnessed his career admits this. Not only, too, was he a great statesman and a great soldier, but he was eminently a Christian; and in all his acts he was gifted with so rare a kindness of demeanour that he never made a quarrel with anybody, never made any man his enemy, and in all that he did ever resorted to persuasion before he appealed to force. Yet he did not hesitate to appeal to force when necessary, and in doing so always displayed the greatest energy and promptitude, when convinced that no other course was open to him. I cannot pass over his career without alluding to the exertions of this great and good man in conferring benefit upon the British soldier in India, whether of the Queen's or the Company's service, which I had occasion to notice on Saturday, and which I mention again now. It was Sir Henry Lawrence's love of his profession, and his regard for those who served under his command, that led him to establish in India those institutions for the reception, of the children of European non-commissioned officers and privates who may fall in India while discharging their duty to their country, which will descend to posterity as the legacy of his benevolence, and which will prove of the utmost advantage to the European soldier whose destinies lead him to service in India, by protecting his children from the contamination of the barrack-yard, and from those diseases which are so incident to soldiers' children in that country. I think, therefore, the name of Sir Henry Lawrence deserves the warmest sympathies of your Lordships. I may further mention 824 the names of Neill, Wheeler, and Nicholson, and, descending to inferior ranks, those of Salkeld, Home, and Willoughby, Of General Neill I can state that he was as gallant and distinguished a soldier as I have ever known. I had the honour of his personal acquaintance, from the fact of his having volunteered, early in the Russian war, while at home on leave of absence, to join the Turkish Contingent during the war in the East. His services were accepted, and I am fully convinced that, had that branch of the army been called into active service, General Neill would have exhibited similar courage, perseverance, and activity to that which he displayed in India in conjunction with the gallant Havelock. Of General Wheeler I can only say, that he is reported to have been a soldier who greatly distinguished himself during a long career in India. He entered the military service in that country in 1803, and served with great distinction at the first siege of Delhi under General Lake. He also distinguished himself on various other occasions, and latterly under the command of the late Lord Hardinge, of my noble and gallant Friend opposite, Lord Gough, and of Sir Harry Smith. We must all regret the circumstances under which General Wheeler fell—cooped up within the walls of Cawnpore, and unable to demonstrate before the enemy those powers of military command which he undoubtedly possessed. With respect to General Nicholson, I may state that no one, during the recent operations in India, commanded more entirely the confidence and approbation of every one under whom he acted than that lamented officer. Indeed, in the conduct of all the operations against Delhi, no man distinguished himself more than General Nicholson; but it was his unhappy fate to be slain in the hour of victory, just when the town was captured, and it was our misfortune to lose the services of so good and so gallant a soldier at the very time, probably, when they were most needed to carry the conflict to a successful issue. These, my Lords, constitute the prominent losses which we have sustained during the recent mutiny in India; but there are others to whom I cannot abstain from paying a tribute of admiration and regret. I cannot forget that the first victim whose loss we had to deplore, at the commencement of the operations against Delhi, was the Commander in Chief of the army, General Anson. I think this is a fitting occasion for me to do justice to the 825 memory of my hon. and gallant Friend. I am quite certain that, had Providence been pleased to spare him, he would have proved himself equal to the emergency with which he had to deal; and it is some small satisfaction to his friends to know that the course of military operations upon which he had determined—namely, to wait for a siege train before making an assault upon Delhi, and to gather round him an efficient force before attempting such assault—was afterwards carried out by the other officers in command. It seems, indeed, as if General Anson had anticipated the very operations which were subsequently so successfully adopted by General Wilson. I am quite convinced, my Lords, that my friend General Anson possessed all the requisites which constitute a good soldier; I believe that he possessed great talents for organization and system, and certainly he had the talent of conciliating the respect and esteem of those who were associated with him in command. I deeply grieve that he was not spared to attain that high reputation which, had he lived, I feel assured he would have established. The next victim after General Anson was his successor in command. After an early and most important victory before Delhi, General Barnard succumbed to disease, and followed his predecessor in the command to the tomb. He was a gallant soldier of the Crimea; he was descended from a race of soldiers; throughout his career he displayed, whenever the opportunity was afforded him, high professional acquirements; and he died in the hour of victory, regretted and lamented by all to whom he was known—more lamented, perhaps, by those with whom he was associated in command than even the gallant Sir Henry Havelock. I might allude to the names of Colonel Finnis and of other officers whom we lost during the mutiny; but I will only refer to those gallant and illustrious men—Home, Salkeld, and Willoughby—who rendered the most important services. Lieutenant Willoughby by destroying, at his own peril, the resources of the enemy and endeavouring to prevent large stores of ammunition from falling into his hands, and Lieutenants Salkeld and Home by undertaking to blow open the gates of Delhi. I will not do more than mention their names, but it is impossible to pass by this last exploit without singling out and mentioning, in conjunction with Home and Salkeld, Sergeants Carmichael and Smith, and the bugler who engaged with 826 them in the bold attempt which cost those gallant men their lives.
There are many others who have sacrificed their lives in putting down the Indian mutiny, but I will not detain your Lordships by entering further into the subject. I will simply conclude the observations I have thought it necessary to address to you by submitting to your Lordships an additional Resolution which is not included among those of which I have given notice. I trust that, in undertaking to bring before you this very wide, and in some respects very difficult subject, I shall not, by any omission I have made, occasion pain, which assuredly I am most anxious to avoid giving, to the mind of any gallant soldier. Your Lordships will, I hope, understand, that in submitting these Resolutions I propose to thank the whole Army which has been, concerned in the suppression of the mutinies in India. I propose to thank every Private and every Non-commissioned Officer, as well as every Officer in the service. I have named the Generals as supreme in command; I have mentioned others who are well known, and whose deeds are familiar to the public; but I entreat your Lordships to give to all the meed of your thanks, and to adopt the Resolutions which I shall have the honour of placing in the hands of the Lord Chancellor.
1. 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 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.
2. 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 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
The other Resolution which I shall move is as follows:—
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 per-, formed 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.
I thank your Lordships for the attention with which you have listened to me, and I now beg to move the Resolutions.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
My Lords, it has been my lot, on more than one occasion, standing where I now stand, to support propositions similar to that which has just been submitted to the House, and the purpose of which is to convey the Thanks of the House to those to whose activity, energy, bravery, and public spirit, the country is indebted; and I may say that I have on all those occasions addressed myself to the task with unmingled satisfaction, except so far that I might fear I should fall short in discharge of the duty I had undertaken. I think, my Lords, that on occasions of this kind it is of the greatest importance that there should be not only unanimity in the vote, but unanimity also in opinion among the Members of this and of the other House of Parliament; and I never approached any subject with greater regret than when I feel myself compelled to say that, though I do not mean to offer any opposition to the whole of the Resolutions laid on the table, I cannot regard the proposition brought forward by the Government on the present occasion with the same unmixed satisfaction as similar propositions on former occasions; and I think the form in which the present proposition is submitted is one well calculated to interfere with that unanimity of opinion and feeling which it is so desirable should prevail on such an occasion. The noble Baron, in his opening observation, made a statement, and repeated it in the latter part of his speech, to the effect that the Thanks of 828 Parliament constituted the very highest honour which could be bestowed on any individual, an honour most highly appreciated by those in the public service, and which is granted only on rare occasions, when the expression of the views of Parliament embodies the concentrated opinions of the public at large. Concurring in those views, I regret that this Motion is not more restricted: for if there be any value in these Parliamentary Votes of Thanks—and I do not question that there has hitherto been the highest—that value must depend on their being conveyed not only rarely, and on great and signal occasions, but with discrimination with respect to the individuals on whom the thanks are bestowed. They must not be bestowed on individuals merely because they filled high situations at the time of great events, but should be granted only to those persons who, according to the unanimous opinion of the country, have fully and entirely vindicated their claim to so high a honour. Now, my Lords, I believe it to be an unusual course of proceeding to grant the Thanks of Parliament to a person filling the high situation of Governor General of India until the whole series of events for which thanks are given have been brought to a close. Now, I wish I could express my opinion that this Indian revolt is at present put down thoroughly and utterly. I wish I could say that there would not still be much more labour, anxiety, and toil, and sickness, but that we might now address ourselves, in the conviction that the evil has passed by, deliberately to the contemplation of the principles on which India should be hereafter governed. If this war had been brought to a successful issue—if it were made clear to the country that those who directed the civil affairs of India were entitled, from the commencement to the close of the transaction, to the honour now proposed to be paid to them, nothing would be more gratifying, not only to my public, but to my personal feelings, than to join in a vote of cordial approbation and thanks to the noble Lord now at the head of affairs in India. But I must express my opinion that, in the bringing forward of this Vote of Thanks, particularly at the present time, and in this manner, the Government have not only placed that noble Lord in an invidious and painful position, but have placed in a position of the greatest difficulty those who, anxious to avoid passing anything like the shadow of a censure on him, yet cannot concur in a 829 Vote of Thanks signifying an entire approval of his conduct, taking into consideration the period at which it is submitted and the limited information before us. It is not, then, my fault, but the fault of the noble Baron opposite, who has demanded in such emphatic terms approval of the conduct of the Governor General of India, if I feel myself compelled to discharge a most painful and invidious task, and to submit to your Lordships, not a condemnation of that conduct, but at all events considerations which make it questionable whether yet the time is ripe for conferring such honour as is now asked. I have already said that I think it would be more consonant with usage not to thank the Governor General until the close of those great operations which attach to. his high office, and I certainly think it would have been expedient not to do so until we had further information as to what has been actually done, by whom and how it has been done, and until an opportunity had been given to the noble Lord, the Governor General, to refute the charges not sparingly brought against his administration in India. My Lords, I am far from wishing to cast any blame; but when I am desired in this Resolution to return the thanks of Parliament for the energy and ability with which Lord Canning applied the resources at his disposal for the suppression of the mutiny, I cannot but inquire how the language of the noble Baron opposite is justified by the facts within our knowledge. I at once and frankly give to Lord Canning the highest credit on account of the moral and personal courage, the firmness, calmness, and temper which he has exhibited on all occasions. I think, my Lords, his conduct so far has been distinguished in these respects, and deserving every praise. I think, moreover, that in a paper not laid on the table of the House, but which has appeared in the public newspapers, the noble Viscount has succeeded to a great extent in vindicating the course he pursued in reference to the charges of undue leniency and an improper interference with the military authorities. I think he has satisfactorily shown that those "orders to which reference was made were not of the supposed lenient character, and that they well vindicated the authority of the law, and the enforcement of justice. But when the noble Baron opposite proceeded to say that if it had been Clive, or any of Lord Canning's most distinguished predecessors in the Governor Generalship, 830 no one of them could have foreseen the storm which recently burst upon India, I must differ from him. The noble Baron said it was an avalanche which overwhelmed the country without a moment's warning. Now, so far from that being the case—although there may have been few who appreciated the magnitude of the peril—unless State papers, instead of being authentic documents, are tales and romances, there is no question that the Government had warnings, and continually disregarded them, from quarter after quarter, of the danger that was imminent. The noble Baron opposite calls on me to bear testimony to the Governor-General's energy and ability; I must say that after the events broke out—I am really compelled to refer to these matters—energy was not displayed so early, so rapidly, or so effectually, as they might have been and, ought to have been. I think the warnings were disregarded. I think that the Governor General blindly and wilfully shut his eyes to what others clearly saw; and that he perceived too late the peril, deeming and describing it previously as not serious. But, I admit, that when his eyes were opened, and when he was awakened to the magnitude of the danger, that then he did the best to meet the danger, and applied himself with ability and energy to encounter it. In the first instance, however, he rather underrated the nature of the revolt, and then I think the conduct of the Indian Government was characterised not by energy and resolution, but by vacillation. I am far from endorsing or affirming all the allegations of the Calcutta petition; but recollect that at this very moment, when it is proposed to vote thanks to the Governor General of India for his energy and ability, a very large proportion of the inhabitants of Calcutta have sent to this country a petition praying for his recall, founding that prayer on what they state to be his weak management of public affairs, and attributing to him qualities the very opposite of ability and energy—namely, vacillation and irresolution. Lord Canning's answer to that petition is not before the public; but I must say, that to pass a vote of thanks to Lord Canning with that petition unanswered, and before there has been any opportunity of discussing its allegations, appears like screening Lord Canning from the effects of future charges, and prejudging a case which deserves the fullest inquiry. If I 831 were to refer to one or two cases exemplifying the culpable vacillation of Lord Canning's Government in the early period of the mutiny, I would refer in the first place, to the way in which Jung Bahadoor's troops were treated. It was found necessary to ask for the assistance of these troops. They were first asked for, their assistance was next repudiated, and then finally it was accepted. Now, that was not a proof of great energy and foresight on the part of Lord Canning, but of uncertainty and vacillation of purpose. Again, look at Lord Canning's conduct in regard to the 84th regiment. They were summoned up hastily from Rangoon; they were then in a short time ordered back to Rangoon, in the belief that their assist, once would not be required; the order that they should be sent back being again countermanded. I will take another instance in the course of proceeding adopted by Lord Canning when the inhabitants of Calcutta volunteered to arm themselves, and to take upon themselves a large portion of the military service, and thereby to set at liberty a large body of Her Majesty's troops. This offer was at first rejected—I will not say scornfully, but rejected with an expression of opinion that it proceeded under the influence of a groundless panic; that the revolt was nothing in the world, and that their services would not be required. In a very short time it appeared that this opinion was erroneous, that the panic was not so groundless, and that the Government were glad to avail themselves of the assistance they had refused. My. Lords, I am exceedingly loth to have the appearance of being the accuser of Lord Canning, but what I wish to impress upon your Lordships is this, that while circumstances remain thus, with the imperfect information we have, and with the present feeling of the country in regard to Lord Canning, this vote will not and cannot carry with it, so far as relates to the officials at the head of the civil departments, that weight which it is desirable the unanimity of the House should give to its vote on all occasions. I will not say a word against Lord Harris, whose claims were not put very highly by the noble Baron (Lord Panmure). Those claims seemed to be that having his province of Madras in a state of tranquillity he was able to despatch certain troops to the assistance of the Governor General. That may be creditable to Lord Harris, but it is notorious that there never has been of late 832 years any disaffection in the Madras army, and that circumstances were totally different in that province from those of Bengal. It may be very creditable to him to have had his province tranquil and to be able to despatch troops, but that does not entitle him to receive the thanks of this House, and to appear in company with such names as those to which I shall shortly refer. I hope my noble Friend will set me right if I am wrong, but I am not sure that he did not claim for Lord Canning praise which I believed up to this moment belonged to another noble Lord—that of having despatched from Ceylon the regiments which had been intended for service in China, I always thought that the diversion of those troops was the spontaneous act of Lord Elgin, and I have always given him, and always shall give him, the greatest credit for having manifested so complete an abnegation of personal interest, and for taking upon himself, when the safety of India was at stake, the diversion of the troops intended for China. I have not one word to say whether it was necessary or proper in these cases to draw a distinction between the different officers. I have not a word to say against your being called upon to pass a Vote of Thanks to Lord Elphinstone. For from first to last he has appeared to have been fully aware of the magnitude and importance of the crisis. He has been found acting energetically and most ably on every occasion, and I believe that a great portion of the success which has attended our arms in India has been owing to the wise foresight and activity displayed by Lord Elphinstone in forwarding supplies to the Indian army. Nor will any humane being object to the name of Sir John Lawrence in these votes. The name of Lawrence and the services of both brothers must be held in the highest esteem. Their services to India cannot, indeed, be too highly estimated, and I believe that it is to their activity, energy, prudence, and wise and conciliatory management, we owe, in a great measure, the safety and freedom from disturbance of the newly-conquered countries committed to their care. I take it for granted that a similar debt of gratitude is due to Mr. Frere, although I confess his name is not so familar to me as that of Lawrence. What I regret in this vote is that in the first paragraph there should have been the introduction of any names with regard to whom there might be a shadow of doubt whether, in the mind of any reasonable 833 man, they had fully substantiated their claim to what the noble Baron justly states is the highest honour Parliament can bestow. That Lord Canning does not stand in that position I am bound to express my opinion. Further than that I will not go; and I trust that Lord Canning himself, and his friends—and he has and deserves to have many friends—will not believe that I am endeavouring to insinuate censure or pass a slur upon him because, in the present state of affairs, I doubt the prudence and expediency of introducing his name and the Governors under him in a Vote of Thanks which is especially due to the military and naval services of the country.
I have now a much more agreeable task in expressing my entire and hearty concurrence in the following votes, in which Her Majesty's Government do justice, and do but mere justice, to the inestimable merits of the military and naval services. Nor do I think that any one can justly complain if from the list of names of those who are left alive the Government should have made the selection of those four names specially submitted for the Thanks of Parliament. The noble Baron, very properly, considering his official capacity, went at length into the individual services of these and other gallant officers. I do not feel myself entitled or called upon to follow the noble Lord through that enumeration. I believe, too, that there was hardly one of the survivors enumerated by the noble Lord to whom I have not endeavoured on a former occasion to give my meed of praise for their services. I may be permitted, without in the slightest degree disparaging the services of any of the other officers, to express my opinion, as I did before, that of all the events of this war, even the successful siege of Delhi and the successful relief of Lucknow are not exceeded in interest and importance by the gallant and unparalleled defence of that small garrison of Luck now. I believe that, without disparaging those other events, the existence of that garrison with their feeble means, against overwhelming odds, and under circumstances which might well have led them to despair, will stand almost unparalleled in history. I believe that from the general who held that important command down to the humblest soldier who shared in that unparalleled defence, and especially including those Native troops to whom the noble Baron has properly referred—I am firm in my conviction that there is not one of that 834 gallant and heroic garrison who does not deserve, and who will not, I hope, receive, some signal individual mark of Her Majesty's favour. If the Victoria cross can ever be well bestowed en masse, it would not be thrown away on men who could so endure, who had so dared, and had so nobly sustained. It is contrary to my wish and principles that either in this or the other House of Parliament there should ever be any discussion upon the character or nature of the rewards bestowed by the Crown or the persons who ought to receive them. But I cannot refrain from calling the attention of the noble Duke on the cross benches (the Duke of Cambridge) to a circumstance which was only made known to me this morning. It refers to the 32nd regiment, which suffered so severely and behaved so heroically at Luck now. I understand that, although a certain portion of the officers have succeeded to their promotion by death vacancies, there remain six lieutenants who have derived no advantage or promotion, and who have, in point of fact, nothing to show for the siege except the labours they have undergone and the wounds they have sustained. Of that six, three have returned invalided to this country,—one with a broken leg, another with a ball in the back of his head, still unextracted, and the third in a state of paralysis, arising from fever and exposure. I do not ask whether these officers are about to receive any honours or rewards, but I trust the illustrious Duke will forgive me for having thus publicly stated what I hear to be the case in that distinguished regiment. But I pass on, before I sit down, to one point which I certainly rejoice has been introduced by my noble Friend on the part of the Government. I mean an expression of the gratitude of the House and the country to those civilians who have so nobly distinguished themselves in our emergency. I recollect that in the Speech from the Throne mention was made of "the many civilians who, placed in extreme difficulty and danger, have displayed the highest qualities, including, in some instances, those that would do honour to veteran soldiers." In commenting upon the Queen's Speech I inadvertently, in running over the topics which it contained, omitted to mention the services of the civil officers. That omission did not escape the watchful eye of my noble Friend the President of the Council, for he, in reply, spoke of the conduct of these gallant civilians, and observed that, unlike "the noble Earl opposite," he 835 would couple them with those of the military. But, my Lords, great was my surprise when, on reading the Vote of Thanks that was to be moved on the part of the Government, I found that, unlike my noble Friend the President of the Council, Her Majesty's Government had altogether forgotten to introduce any thanks whatever to those civilians. I hoped that I should have been enabled to supply on this occasion this deficiency, and I actually prepared a Resolution which I intended to propose, but in which I am happy to find I have been anticipated by my noble Friend opposite (Lord Panmure)—I intended, at the close of the third paragraph of the vote to propose that the Thanks of the House be granted, in the words of the Queen's Speech, "to the many civilians who, placed in circumstances of extreme difficulty and danger, have displayed the highest qualities, including such as would do honour to veteran soldiers." I suppose the noble Lord considered it injudicious to select any name from among the list of civilians who have distinguished themselves. He went over the military officers who have taken the principal part in the suppression of the mutiny, but the civilians, though he certainly acknowedged their services, he passed over, as I thought, rather abruptly. Now, there are among them names that deserve to be mentioned with the highest approbation in this House. I am sure none of your Lordships who have studied the papers laid before us can have forgotten Mr. Venables, the indigo planter, who, when the authorities deserted the station of Azimghur, defended it with his own ryots and maintained it against the enemy for a period of six weeks. Then there was Mr. Gubbins, a most distinguished man, who successfully, and by the influence of his own character, kept down and maintained in entire subordination the important district of Benares. Again, there was the civil engineer, Boyle, who, at the head of the garrison of Agra, successfully set an example for the future defensive operations of Lucknow, and held the position against odds with a heroism which almost entitle it to rank by the side of that noble defence. There was also Money, who, by a splendid act of insubordination, disobeyed the orders of his superiors to abandon his post, maintained, in spite of those orders, the station of Gya, and succeeded, in the face of a large body of insurgents, in carrying off a large amount of treasure. Then there is another gentleman whose 836 conduct has not received the sanction of the Government. I mean Commissioner Taylor, of Arrah. His conduct has been disapproved by the Government; but the papers appear to me to show that he had a more enlarged view of the crisis, a keener sense of the danger, and a better idea of the remedy than the Government itself. I rejoice, my Lords, that the noble Lord has thought fit to introduce a Vote of Thanks to the civilians. With regard to the military officers and the soldiers, and with regard to all concerned in the military operations, there is no language that can be used too high, and no encomiums that can go beyond their merits, whether they have survived or whether they are now past the praise or censure of men. I wish I could give the same unhesitating approval to the first of these Resolutions. I will not take upon myself the responsibility either of dividing your Lordships against the Resolution, or of suggesting that it should not be passed; but I cannot permit it to be passed without entering to a certain extent my protest, and observing that the merits of these parties have not been made sufficiently manifest and sufficiently indisputable to the public to entitle them thus prematurely to receive the highest honours of Parliament. Depend upon it, the great merit of these distinctions is the universal acceptance given to them by the country. I should be sorry to see either the House of Commons or the House of Lords pass these Votes of Thanks in a merely formal manner, in consequence of the positions occupied by the parties; for I think they should be restricted—I had almost said severely—to those whose services have been such that the country would not only regret that the honour was not conferred, but consider it an injustice if it was not done promptly.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
My Lords, I am sure every Member of this House will share in the regret expressed by the noble Earl opposite, that any matter of difference should have been introduced into this discussion. But I cannot admit that the responsibility of raising any such question rests with the Government. It would clearly have been impossible to thank any of those eminent civilians who by the exercise of administrative powers have contributed so powerfully to our triumph in India, and who by unanimous assent must be included in this Vote, and at the same time to omit the governors of the Minor Presidencies, or above all the Governor General, without virtually passing upon 837 them a vote of censure. It is not, however, for this reason alone, nor on grounds of so negative a character, still less, as the noble Earl opposite suggested, because merely of their occupying a high position, that we call upon Parliament to give a Vote of Thanks to those distinguished men. In objecting to that Vote as regards the Governor General, the noble Earl has expressed his dislike of the task; and it is but just to the noble Earl to admit that the sincerity of this feeling was apparent in his manner. I am sure there is no noble Lord in this House who would willingly look upon this question in any party spirit; and I can only account for the reluctance expressed by some noble Lords to concur in this Vote by supposing that their judgment of Lord Canning has been warped by the credit they have given to the many false representations of his conduct which have undoubtedly obtained a wide circulation is this country. Now, my Lords, I have taken some pains to examine almost all the charges brought against Lord Canning, whether in Parliament or in the press, and I venture to affirm that there is not one of those charges of the least importance, which cannot be clearly refuted from papers which are already in possession of the House. Every one of them has emanated from the Calcutta press, whose enmity has been incurred by Lord Canning, in consequence of those restrictive measures which at an early period of the mutiny he considered it his duty to adopt. The noble Earl has alluded to a petition from Calcutta to which no reply has as yet been made. Now, without admitting for a moment that the fact of such a petition having been drawn up in Calcutta affords any reason whatever for delay in voting our thanks to Lord Canning, I am happy to say that a copy of that petition has been received with comments by Lord Canning on the allegations it contains. That petition has been moved for in another place, and will soon be in the possession of this House, when it will be seen that to almost every paragraph Lord Canning has been able to oppose a complete and conclusive contradiction. As, however, this document is not yet before us, I shall make little or no use of it to-night, and shall confine myself to those Parliamentary papers which are accessible to all.
Let me now recall to the recollection of the House some of the principal charges which have been brought against Lord Canning, and which from having been re- 838 peated in Parliament, or from the general credit they have received, have acquired some importance.
First it was said that in the earlier stages of the mutiny, when the first symptoms of it appeared at Barrackpore and Berhampore, no steps were taken by Lord Canning to pacify the Sepoys, or to reassure them on the subject of the greased cartridges. No assertion could be farther from the truth. Lord Canning at once adopted the suggestion made by General Hearsey, that the Sepoys should be allowed to select for themselves the grease to be applied to the cartridges, so as to be assured as to its nature and composition. Careful orders were issued in accordance with this suggestion, and careful explanations given to the men. Again, it has been asserted with equal confidence that for a whole month no precautions on the same matter were taken at the more distant military stations. This, again, is grossly false. At the same moment that the step I have already mentioned was taken in Bengal, identical orders were telegraphed to Meerut, to Umballah, and to Sealkote. Another charge, much dwelt upon by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) on a former occasion, was the alleged undue delay in punishing the mutineers of the 19th and 34th regiments, and the undue leniency of the punishment when at last administered. Now, I will not renew, on this occasion, the debate of December last, farther than to say that I appeal with confidence to those papers on the table for conclusive evidence, first, that there was no delay in dealing with the mutineers other than that which was absolutely necessary for the establishment of individual guilt; and, secondly, that the punishment ultimately inflicted on the guilty was the severest punishment short of death to which any military body can be subjected. Yet it is in reference to this transaction that Lord Canning had been accused of vacillation and of weakness, and his conduct has been contrasted with that of Sir H. Lawrence. It was asserted that the resolution to disband the 34th regiment was one to which he was incited by the example of Sir H. Lawrence, under similar circumstances, at Lucknow. Now, my Lords, what are the facts, which any one of your Lordships may verify by taking the trouble to refer to the Parliamentary paper? Why, that Lord Canning's order disbanding the 34th regiment was dated several days before he received from Sir H. Lawrence a recom- 839 mendation that the same course should he pursued with reference to another body at Lucknow.
And now, my Lords, let me call your attention to yet another accusation against the Governor General, which has been repeated with as much confidence as the rest, and which the noble Earl has this very night referred to, as requiring an answer before we can properly be called upon to vote our thanks. We are told that Lord Canning refused the offer of the Calcutta Europeans to form volunteer corps. My Lords, my answer to this assertion is, that it is absolutely false, and that no reply is needed from Lord Canning to prove it to be so. I hold in my hand the paper, which has been for months on the table of this House, and in which the whole transaction is authentically recorded. Lord Canning did not refuse, but accepted, the offer made by the Calcutta volunteers. That offer was first made on the 20th May, in the following terms:—At a special general meeting of the members of the Calcutta Trade Association … it was resolved that this body do send up to Government a statement that they are prepared to afford the Government every assistance in their power towards the preservation of order and the protection of the Christian community of Calcutta, either by serving as special constables or otherwise, as may appear most desirable to the Government.And here, my Lords, I must observe, that in this offer the first symptom is apparent of that disposition, on the part of what is called the Calcutta public, which has all along been only too apparent, to establish an invidious and unjust distinction between the Christian and Native community, and thus to give the contest the aspect of a contest, not between the mutinous soldiery and the peace and good order of society, but between race and race, and between faith and faith. Now, what is the answer of Lord Canning? In the first place, he administers an indirect, but a most just and necessary rebuke to the disposition to which I have referred. He treats the offer in a larger and more liberal spirit than that in which it was made. He receives it as an offer for the protection of the whole "community of Calcutta," and in this sense he cordially accepts it. He says—In the event of a disturbance of order in Calcutta the mode in which the services of the members of the Association could be most easily and effectually rendered would undoubtedly be, as suggested by the Association, by acting as special constables, under the direction of the civil authority; and the Governor General in Council, therefore, proposes to the Association that those who are willing so to act should register their names and places of abode at the office of 840 the Commissioner of Police, who has been authorised to enrol them.My Lords, if an assertion so grossly false as that Lord Canning refused this offer has been repeated and believed by the noble Earl opposite, who has had full access to the papers from which it receives so direct a refutation—and I must say noble Lords opposite are bound to have read those papers more carefully than they appear to have done—can we be surprised that the public out of doors, whose access to authentic information is less direct, should have been misled by the innumerable assertions as injurious, and as absolutely false, propagated by the Calcutta press, and repeated here. There s another point connected with the same subject, to which continual reference has been made, as indicative of the ignorance of the supreme Government during the gathering of the storm. In an answer given by Lord Canning to an address from French residents in Calcutta, presented about the same time, he used some strong expressions deprecating on the part of the public a "groundless panic." But this does not indicate on the part of Lord Canning any ignorance of the dangers which were then undoubtedly existing. It was his policy, and a wise one, to allay the exaggerated fears which were then prevalent in Calcutta, and which were doing much to increase the danger in Bengal, where there was a large body of Native troops with but a very small proportion of Europeans, and who, if they had felt themselves exposed to the fear and hostility of the Government as they were to those feelings on the part of the Calcutta public, would in all probability have been precipitated into immediate revolt. But to judge of the energy and of the foresight of the Government I only ask your Lordships to look in the same Parliamentary papers to their action at the time. You will find that Lord Canning was at that very moment sending telegraphic messages to every part of India, directing and organizing the means of resistance, and showing a full appreciation of the danger where it really existed. The answer to the French residents was an answer simply intended to calm a violent and local panic, and to prevent it from communicating itself to the numerous Sepoy regiments in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, at a time when as yet they had shown no symptoms of disaffection.
I now come, my Lords, to a charge against Lord Canning which concerns a 841 transaction of much more real importance. It has been referred to by the noble Earl to-night, and like many others of the same kind has made considerable impression on the public mind. I refer to the alleged conduct of Lord Canning in regard to the offers of assistance made to them by the Sovereign of Nepaul. And here, my Lords, in passing, I must say that noble Lords opposite speak rather lightly of the considerations involved in accepting foreign aid, towards the suppression of domestic treason. Those considerations are of the gravest kind, and the policy of accepting such aid, doubtful as it must be in general, must depend entirely on the circumstances under which such an offer is made. The offer of Jung Bahadoor was made in the first place later than is generally supposed, and under circumstances which did not appear favourable to Lord Canning.
It was an offer to send a comparatively small body of troops in three separate divisions of 1,000 each, partly upon Oude, and partly upon our own older Provinces. It was the opinion of the Governor General that the direction proposed for these columns was not one in which they were likely to do good, or to have sufficient support. But at a subsequent period the aid of Jung Bahadoor was offered for the purpose of operating towards Lucknow, and was at once cordially accepted by Lord Canning. I cannot doubt, my Lords, that the despatch shown by the Nepaulese Sovereign to the British cause in India, throughout this crisis, and the bravery exhibited by his troops wherever they have met the enemy, will be remembered as it deserves to be, with gratitude by this country.
Another accusation against Lord Canning, which had, perhaps, a more plausible appearance than many others, was founded on his refusal to disarm the Native regiments at Dinapore, which did ultimately join the mutiny. Now, my Lords, the truth is, that at the moment when the deputation waited upon Lord Canning, asking him to disarm those regiments, General Havelock was making his first advance upon Lucknow, and the Governor General was straining every nerve to send up every European soldier at his disposal for the relief of that heroic garrison. It was then a matter of the last importance that not a moment's delay should take place in the forwarding of the few troops which the Government had to send; and it would have been in the last degree unwise to have sacrificed that first great object for another which at the time was of very doubtful policy. Lord Canning's answer accor- 842 dingly was, that he could not then stop any of the troops advancing towards Luck-now, but he would empower the officer com marking at Dinapore to do so, should, he seed any signs of disaffection among his Native regiments, and should think it necessary to disarm them. The mutiny at Dinapore eventually arose out of that very attempt—unhappily not well managed—at disarmament, which it would have been perhaps better not to have made at all. At all events, Lord Canning had before him a choice of evils—and under the circumstances in which he was placed, I am sure the House will be of opinion that he exercised a wise discretion.
These, my Lords, are some of the leading charges which from time to time have been made against Lord Canning, and which, passing, as they have long done, without authentic contradiction, have in the aggregate left an unfavourable impression upon the public mind. I maintain with confidence that this impression, in which at least some noble Lords opposite appear to share, has no other foundation than these, or other allegations as utterly without foundation.
I am sorry to have detained the House so long on what may seem to be trivial details; but there is one broad general view of Lord Canning's policy and conduct which does not require any tedious investigation, yet which affords, I think, a more adequate ground of judgment than any other. The conduct of Lord Canning has been compared with that of Sir J. Lawrence in the Punjab—of Mr. Frere in Scinde, and of others in similar positions in India. I am willing, my Lords, to enter upon that comparison; and I especially desire to direct the attention of the House to one point in that comparison which is of cardinal importance—I mean the proportion which the Native bore to the European troops in the different Provinces of India. In the Lower Provinces, being those more immediately under the command of the Governor General, and under the influence of his personal conduct, there were at the time of the outbreak about 29,000 Native troops, against whom in case of disaffection, Lord Canning had to rely on only 2,362 European soldiers. Yet those are the provinces in which alone the mutiny never assumed those dangerous proportions to which it rapidly swelled in others. My Lords, it is not enough to say that in the then aspect of affairs, Lord Canning acted for the best. It is not less true to say that all our knowledge of subsequent events does but confirm the 843 wisdom and prudence of his moderate and forbearing policy. It was that forbearance and the confidence which by means of it, he inspired into the Native troops, that they would not be harshly dealt with, or prejudged to be traitors without sufficient cause,—it was this alone which prevented an early outbreak in Bengal, and saved those provinces from the fearful convulsion which took place elsewhere. The "energetic measures" which were not taken by Lord Canning, and which were so constantly urged on him by the Calcutta public, were unfortunately taken at Meerut by men of inferior judgment, and instantly the mutiny swelled to the magnitude of a rebellion. In the North Western Provinces the proportion between Native and European troops was equally unfavourable—about 45,000 to 3,537—and there assuredly equal caution and gentleness should have been used. But now let us look to another quarter—to the provinces ruled by Sir J. Lawrence. The mutiny there broke out through no act of his, but in consequence of the events at Meerut and the capture of Delhi. But when it did break out, or threatened to do so, Sir John was in a very different position from Lord Canning in respect to European supports. In the provinces of the Punjab and the Sutlej he had 12,424 European soldiers against only 42,000 native troops, showing an enormous difference from the proportion with which Lord Canning had to deal. Sir J. Lawrence had also a warlike and well-affected Native population, whom his own wise measures had rendered heartily loyal to our rule. I hope, my Lords, it will not be thought for a moment by any Member of this House that I am seeking to detract in the smallest degree from the eminent merits of Sir J. Lawrence. But since his conduct has been placed in invidious contrast with that of Lord Canning, I think it right to direct your Lordships' attention to the essential difference between the circumstances in which they were respectively placed.
The fact is, my Lords, that most of the accusations against the supreme Government of India have been founded on the notion that this great mutiny has been the result of a vast preconceived conspiracy, the existence of which ought to have been detected by that Government. But, surely, if such a conspiracy had been open to detection it ought to have been first discovered by the officers of the native army. I do not wish to anticipate the results of those inquiries which must be conducted in India; but I know it to 844 be the clear opinion of many of the most distinguished men in that country, and of some of those to whom by universal consent we are to vote our thanks to-night, that no such conspiracy existed. And indeed, my Lords, why should we hunt for mysterious causes, of which there is no evidence whatever, when we have staring us in the face causes not mysterious, yet amply sufficient to account for the results? For many years the army of Bengal has been undergoing gradual changes in its system and organization to which I need not farther allude at present, and for a considerable time, from the progress and completeness of our dominion, it has been comparatively idle. Its discipline had become relaxed. And as military discipline, when it is good, is one of the noblest influences which can be brought to hear upon human character, so when it is bad, it is the very worst, giving men the habits of organization without the habits of obedience and the sense of power without the sentiment of duty or of honour. This, I believe, to have been the real secret of the mutiny, although, of course, there were other proximate causes of the out break; and among these, I am convinced, that a real panic upon the subject of religion or of caste had more to do with it than we have been willing to admit.
My Lords, I cannot omit this opportunity of expressing the deep regret which I am sure must be shared in by every Member of this House, on account of the absence—and above all, on account of the cause of the absence—of my noble Friend Lord Dalhousie, who must take the keenest and most painful interest in these events, and who would have been so able to assist and inform the House in the debates to which they are giving rise. It was inevitable, perhaps, that this great convulsion, occurring so soon after the close of his administration, should subject him to many accusations from those who judge more from impressions than from reasoning, or from careful investigation of facts. But I feel assured, that when the smoke of this contest shall have been cleared away, the great reputation of Lord Dalhousie, will reappear in the eyes of his countrymen; who ought not, even now, to forget that during this very contest, if one thing more than another has contributed to the salvation of India it has been the Government which Lord Dalhousie organized in the Punjab, and the admirable selection he made of the men by whom that Government has been conducted. To them, my Lords, and to the other illustrious men who are to be 845 included in our vote to-night, the House and the country may well be grateful, not merely for the individual gallantry they have displayed, but, far more, for the proof they have given that those qualities by which we gained India have not decayed; above all, that the power and art of converting to our own military use the people whom our arms have recently subdued, is not lost to our military and civil servants in the East. There has been nothing more remarkable during the whole of this struggle than the fact that the forces with which we have conducted it have in all cases been two-thirds, or even in larger proportion, Native. At Delhi every one of the storming columns was composed of Native troops in the same proportion; and in the memorable defence of Lucknow, one of the most distinguished portions of its heroic garrison was a small body of Sepoys.
In these facts we may see a clear indication that our hold on India has not been so relaxed—-as many seem to fear—that it will depend in future only on the maintenance of a vast European army. The same powers of organization and of Government which founded the empire under Clive and Hastings are as strong as ever in our hands.
I had almost omitted, my Lords, to refer to one point on which the noble Earl opposite seemed to question the accuracy of the language used by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for War with reference to the diversion of the China troops. The noble Earl seemed surprised that my noble Friend should attribute to Lord Canning the merit of that diversion, having himself understood, he said, that it belonged exclusively to Lord Elgin. But the facts were as indicated by my noble Friend, the merit of that proceeding being equally divided between those two noble Lords, inasmuch as the one asked for, and the other assented to the diversion. Lord Elgin did not divert the troops of the China expedition of his own mere motion, as the noble Earl supposed—indeed be would hardly have been justified in so doing. But on receiving from Lord Canning a statement of the gravity of the crisis in India, and a requisition that he would allow of an alteration in the destination of the troops at his disposal, Lord Elgin at once assented, without waiting for any orders from the Government at home.
And here, my Lords, I may mention as some indication how little Lord Canning is open to the charge of inactivity or supineness in the early stages of the mutiny, that not long after the effects of the out- 846 break had become apparent in Upper India, a telegraphic message was received from Sir J. Lawrence, suggesting a variety or steps which might be usefully taken by the Supreme Government, and to that message Lord Canning was able to reply that every one of those measures had already been resorted to.
My Lords: I must again repeat, that in placing Lord Canning's name at the head of those whom this House is invited to thank, Her Majesty's Government have not been actuated by the mere negative consideration that the omission of his name would be in fact a censure—but by a sincere conviction that among those to whom the salvation of our Indian Empire has been due, Lord Canning holds, and will hold in future history, a place not less prominent than that which we have thus assigned to him. During this last year our Indian Empire has been saved by almost every kind of virtue and every form of valour. I doubt, my Lords, whether among all those virtues there has been any more remarkable, or for which we ought to be more grateful, with a view to the preservation of our dominion, than the perfect calmness, the strong will and clear head which Lord Canning has maintained amid the storms of passion and of panic which have raged around him. By these he has succeeded in impressing on the Native mind the invaluable conviction that for the future, as in the past—no matter under what name our Government may be administered, whether in the name of the Imperial Crown, or in the name—now but a name—of the East India Company, our rule is not to be the rule of a dominant and exasperated race over a subject people, but the rule of a just and equal Government, maintaining perfect equality before the law, between race and race, and between faith and faith. On that principle, my Lords, alone has our dominion been acquired, on that principle alone can it, or ought it to be preserved.
§ THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE
Although, my Lords, allusion has been made by the noble Lord at the head of the War Department, in terms such as they deserve, to the names of all those military officers who have been brought prominently forward on this occasion as being entitled to your Lordships' thanks, yet I think that it is due to that army, of which I have the honour to be at the head, that I should express my entire concurrence in the terms in which its achievements have been mentioned, and the high sense of the gallantry which it has displayed in the conduct 847 of vast operations which I entertain. Before, however, I say one word upon that subject, your Lordships will, I feel assured, permit mo to state that the most cordial good feeling exists between myself and the Commander in Chief in India, and that in the case of that gallant Officer and the noble Lord who holds the position of Governor General of India similar cordiality and good feeling have prevailed from the moment of his arrival in that country. I may add that the existence of such sentiments has not been notified to me merely once or twice, but that it has formed a subject of almost every communication which I have received. I have, therefore, deemed it only due to Lord Canning and Sir Colin Campbell that I should make this public mention of the fact. Now, my Lords, with reference to another subject—the military operations which have recently taken place in India—I am happy to be able to give expression to my high sense of the extraordinary zeal and vigour which have been evinced by our present Commander in Chief in that country from the moment of his landing. My noble Friend the Secretary of State for the War Department has observed that that gallant General was prepared to set out upon his arduous mission upon a notice of forty-eight hours; but I believe, my Lords, the fact to be that it did not take him two hours to come to a decision, and that within twenty-four hours he had actually received his appointment at the hands of Her Majesty's Government. As to the mode in which he has conducted the military operations which he has undertaken, I need only say that his achievements are patent to the world. It is a tiling almost unprecedented in military annals that a large force such as that under his command, encumbered and cramped as it was with numbers of sick, of women, and of children—in short, by every impediment which renders the movements of an army difficult—should have accomplished its withdrawal from Lucknow, as has been the case, without, I believe, the loss of a single man. So marked, indeed, was the ability with which its withdrawal was conducted that the enemy actually fired into the positions which our piquets had occupied, under the impression that our troops were still upon the spot. There were other subsequent operations, also, my Lords, carried out by Sir Colin Campbell, with an ability with respect to which nobody can entertain a doubt. It would, however, ill-become me—an Officer so much his junior in professional experience—to comment at 848 any length upon his great military capacity. His merits as a soldier are not new to us. They have been published to the world during the long series of remarkable events by which his life has been chequered. From the day on which he commenced his career in arms up to the present moment he has invariably manifested that capacity for military pursuits which has raised him to the proud position which he now so worthily occupies. Having said thus much in reference to Sir Colin Campbell, I may be permitted briefly to allude to the next name upon the list of those to whom your Lordships have been asked to pass a Vote of Thanks—I mean Sir James Outram. We are all aware of the mode in which he conducted the operations which he undertook in Persia. It is needless for me to say that, in my opinion, they do him the utmost credit, and while giving expression to a similar opinion with reference to his achievements in India I must not forget to notice the circumstance that when, as senior officer to Sir Henry Havelock, he might of right have laid claim to the command of the expedition for the first relief of Lucknow, he, with true soldier like feeling, allowed his junior to retain the command, and acting in subordination to him brought the expedition to a glorious consummation. Alas, my Lords, that it has not been permitted to us to pass a Vote of Thanks upon this occasion to that distinguished junior, upon whom your praise or blame now falls alike unheeded. But, the other day it was that this House passed a Vote of Thanks to him individually, and little did we then anticipate that his gallant life would so soon be sacrificed in his country's cause. To revert, however, to those who still remain. I am happy to be able to express my concurrence with my noble Friend in all that has fallen from him with reference to the next name on the list—that of Sir Archdale Wilson. The gallantry which was exhibited by the troops engaged before Delhi was, I believe, something extraordinary. Let it be borne in mind that the resources necessary for the prosecution of the siege of that city had to be collected from every part of the country, and that one false move in the conduct of that siege might have tended to the ruin not only of General Wilson and the army under his command, but to the annihilation of our power in India. The responsibility of the Commander was, therefore, great—almost beyond conception. Sir Archdale Wilson, however, was equal to the task which had 849 been imposed upon him, notwithstanding that he bad but very recently been placed in the onerous position which be occupied. He conducted his operations to a successful issue, and it was not until the hour of his triumph bad come that he found himself forced by the state of his health to withdraw from active service. The next name which has been brought under your Lordships' notice is that of Major General Inglis. I need only mention his name to ensure your Lordships' applause—his very name is associated with the idea of bravery. The defence of Lucknow under the direction of that gallant officer is, as my noble Friend at the head of the War Department observed, one of the most remarkable in history. I have seen in connection with that great exploit the names of many officers and men to whom, in all probability, your Lordships' attention has not been directed. I can, however, state a fact, which probably has not been brought to your Lordships' knowledge, that during the eighty-seven days which were occupied in the defence of Lucknow, every soldier and every Native employed in the garrison was, as far as I have been able to ascertain, actually under arms and upon duty. Each day during that eventful period every man was, I believe, obliged to shoulder his musket, and was not only under fire, but tinder fire of a character the briskest and the most severe. So far, indeed, was this discharge of duty upon the part of all carried that the officers shouldered their muskets and did duty as sentries, in order that their men might, to some slight extent, obtain that rest which nature demanded. Circumstances such as these are, I believe, almost unparalleled in the annals of history. I may add, and it is most important so far as the Native troops are concerned, that such was the proximity of the Native troops who remained faithful to us throughout the siege to the mutineers against whom they were fighting, that they were actually able to carry on a conversation with them, and that, although every inducement was held out to them by those mutineers to desert, no solicitation, no inducement, on the part of the enemy could persuade those faithful men to swerve from their duty, nothing could induce them to desert the British standard. I am happy, therefore, my Lords, that those faithful soldiers share in the honour which has this evening been conferred upon the rest of the army. I have now adverted to all those names which have been brought prominently under your Lordships' notice. There are, however, 850 many other names which possess high claims to our admiration. There are such men as Hope, Grant, Greathed, and Walpole. There are, too, various younger officers who have earned for themselves distinction, and who will no doubt, when circumstances call upon them to do so, prove themselves equal to any emergency which may arise. But, while we compliment the officers who have been engaged in this struggle, we must not lose sight of the services of those non-commissioned officers and privates of our army who have rendered great services to their country. Bear in mind, my Lords, the climate under which those services were performed. Recollect that the greater part of the late operations in India were carried on at a season when it was deemed impossible that European troops could march or fight in India; that one division of the army had to march to Cawnpore, a distance of fifty miles in forty-eight hours; in short, that all that could be done by men under the influence of the finest climate has been accomplished by the Queen's and the Company's troops, and I am anxious your Lordships should be informed that the utmost cordiality has prevailed between both branches of the service, under the burning sun of India; the two services, in short, have vied with each other in performing the important duties which they were called upon to discharge. There are many names, my Lords, not mentioned in the Vote of Thanks, the bearers of which have, alas, long since ceased to exist. There are the names of Nicholson and of the gallant Neill, of the intrepid Salkeld, Home, and Willoughby, and a host of others no less distinguished. But the fact is that the list of those who have won honour for themselves during these operations is so long that it is impossible to bring each individual case under your Lordships' consideration. My noble Friend at the head of the War Department, in alluding to the particular operations which took place at Lucknow, named especially the 32nd regiment as deserving of notice; but I think it right to state that a portion of the 84th regiment was also at Lucknow, as well as a considerable body of Artillery. All those troops are entitled to be placed in the same category, and it seems to me desirable that some special mark of favour should be conferred upon men who have performed services so eminent. I may mention that I have been in communication with the Government on the subject of the rewards to be given to the gallant garrison of Lucknow, and I am delighted to find 851 that the Government feel disposed to allow the officers and men to count a year's service—the officers on retirement and the men on pension—which will apply to the whole European as well as, I have no doubt, the Native force engaged. This is in itself a great distinction. We have a precedent for it, but the case is a very rare one; and I am persuaded that it will be received by the army as the highest compliment which could be paid to this body of troops. Of course, the services of the officers belonging to the garrison will receive every consideration. My noble Friend will recollect that on a former occasion I stated that we only waited to receive such details and correct information as should warrant us in bestowing an adequate reward on the gallant officer in command of the garrison; and that information having since been received, and the Government concurring with us in the steps we thought called for, this distinguished officer has been promoted in a way which I think will be gratifying to his feelings. The claims of other officers will also be considered. I am much obliged to the noble Lord for drawing attention to three who have returned to this country, a fact of which I was not aware, though I knew they had been severely wounded. Your Lordships, I trust, will pardon me for entering into these details, which I have done as a military man, feeling bound to express in the presence of your Lordships my sense of the great services rendered by our army in India. I trust I have omitted nobody in my allusions; if I have done so it has been unwittingly; and I have now only to express my cordial concurrence with the Vote of Thanks which has been moved.
§ VISCOUNT FALKLAND
, alluding to what had fallen from a noble speaker respecting Mr. Frere, said that he knew pretty well the nature of the services rendered by that gentleman during the mutiny in India, and should like to say a few words respecting them. Mr. Frere arrived in Scinde early in the summer of 1857, after having been on leave of absence in England. Almost immediately on his arrival, news of the outbreak at Meerut reached him. Without hesitation, and acting upon his own responsibility, he at once sent two regiments—the 1st European Bombay Fusileers and a corps of Sikhs—to the Punjab to the assistance of Sir John Lawrence. The former of these rendered essential service in chastising a regiment of Bengal light cavalry which had mutinied; the Sikhs escorted the heavy siege train to Delhi, a service of no 852 slight importance, and afterwards assisted in the assault upon the magazine of that city. Not content with this, Mr. Frere sent down into the northern provinces of the Bombay Presidency half of the only European corps which remained; and afterwards, when the Mohurrum, the great Mahomedan festival, approached, such was the feeling of irritation in Bombay, that he found it necessary to denude Scinde even of the small number of Europeans then with him, retaining only a skeleton, so to speak, of the 2nd Bombay Light Infantry. Mr. Frere likewise opened a new line of postal communication between the Punjab and Calcutta and Bombay. He found the communication between those places, via Agra, completely closed; and had he not, by dint of great exertions, re-established it by a new line, the Punjab would have been entirely cut off from the rest of India. This, he (Viscount Falkland) thought, was no slight service; and he could not help feeling that, as he had lately seen it observed in a public print, a man who, by his own unaided exertions, held a newly-conquered country containing 6,000,000 of inhabitants entirely by his own energy, and through the respect entertained for his personal character by the Natives, and his known ability and firmness, at a time; when he had only 170 Europeans within the whole of that province—such a man had performed essential services to his country; and to have withheld the thanks of Parliament from him, when it was given to every man in the same position, would have been most ungenerous and unjust.
§ Resolutions agreed to, Nemine Dissentiente.
That the Lord Chancellor do communicate the said Resolutions to the Governor General of India; and that his Lordship be requested to communicate the same to the several Governors, Commissioners, and Officers referred to therein.