HL Deb 07 June 1858 vol 150 cc1586-7

wished to ask his noble Friend the Under Secretary for War a question relating to a subject in which he felt a very deep interest, as affecting the character of a military friend of his. It would be recollected that early in the history of the unfortunate mutiny in India a very considerable outbreak of Sepoys took place at the station of which Colonel Johnstone of the 87th Regiment was the commandant, and that he was generally accused throughout India of two very great derelictions of duty,—first, of not having in proper time disarmed the regiments that afterwards mutinied; and secondly, of having exhibited great remissness in following up the mutineers after they did mutiny. Colonel Johnstone, labouring under these imputations, communicated with him at the time he had the honour of filling the office of Secretary for War, but he informed him that it was not competent for his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief, or himself, to make any inquiry into the matter, or take any notice of it, as it must be investigated in India. Now, he believed that a full and elaborate inquiry into the accusations had taken place, first by the Deputy Judge Advocate, subsequently by the Judge Advocate General, and afterwards by the Commander in Chief, Sir Colin Campbell; and, as there were no possible means in this country of officially promulgating to the army the judgment that had been come to, he had thought it right to bring the matter under the notice of his noble Friend who was aware that there was nothing which an officer so highly prized as his military reputation. He had, therefore, to ask what judgment Sir Colin Campbell had formed of the conduct of Colonel Johnstone, and whether or not he had entirely acquitted that officer of the charges and insinuations that had been brought against him?


said, he was glad this question had been put to him, as it enabled him to do justice to a gallant officer. His noble Friend had correctly explained that certain charges were brought against Colonel Johnstone, and that the fullest inquiry had taken place. The result of the inquiry had been that the Commander in Chief, Sir Colin Campbell had expressed a strong and decided opinion that Colonel Johnstone had been most fully and honourably acquitted of all the charges against him, and freed from all the imputations cast upon his conduct. He was glad to have an opportunity of making this short statement, as he understood Colonel Johnstone was a most gallant and deserving officer, who had been very un fairly attacked.