HL Deb 12 February 1858 vol 148 cc1249-50

said, he would take that opportunity of repairing an injustice which he had involuntarily committed on Monday evening, with regard to a gentleman in India to whose gallantry and perseverance the country was extremely indebted during the late struggle, and the omission of whose name had, he understood, caused some annoyance to his relatives and friends in this country. In supplying what he thought an omission on the part of the noble Lord the Secretary for the War Department (Lord Panmure), he took the opportunity of mentioning the names of some of those civilians who had most distinguished themselves in the recent troubles in India; and he alluded, among other circumstances, to the defence of the military garrison and post, or, rather he should say, the bungalow, of Arrah, than which, on a small scale, he did not think he had heard throughout the whole course of these transactions of a more heroic, achievement. With the mention of that defence he coupled the name of Mr. Boyle, the engineer of the railway, to whose science and engineering skill the garrison were much indebted for the ultimate success of their gallant defence. But, certainly, the person who was the chief of that handful of British and Sikhs, who took upon himself, in the first instance, the responsibility of defending the post, which had been abandoned as untenable by his superior officer,—who had the chief responsibility and consequently the chief share in the merit of the transaction, was the resident magistrate of the district, Mr. Wake, and he found that the omission of that gentleman's name had caused annoyance to his friends in this country. He was quite aware that the mention of a name either for praise or censure by a private individual had much less weight than if it had been made by a Member of the Government; at the same time the place where his (the Earl of Derby's) observations were made and the audience before whom they were made gave them a degree of weight and importance that otherwise they were not entitled to. He was not surprised, therefore, at jealousy being felt at the supposed slight. He believed that Mr. Wake was a near relative of a right rev. Prelate, whom he did not then see in his place in the House; but he (the Earl of Derby) now assured him through the ordinary means by which what passed in that House became known out of doors, that nothing could have been further from his intention than to cast any slur, or slight, or imputation upon the signal merit of a gentleman, whose defence of Arrah had been pronounced by Major General Eyre, in his official despatches, as "little short of miraculous."


said, that nothing could be more fair or just than the explanation of the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby). The reason that had influenced his noble Friend (Lord Panmure) in not mentioning in his speech of Monday night the names of all the civilians who had distinguished themselves in so remarkable a manner during the recent events in India was simply the great number of those who had been so engaged, and which rendered it almost impossible to mention one without causing annoyance to others.

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