HL Deb 25 February 1859 vol 152 cc853-5

asked the First Lord of the Treasury Whether in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, the Time had not arrived for Public Thanksgiving for the great successes which God in His mercy has granted to the British Arms in India in the Suppression of the late Rebellion. He observed that for some time the safety of the possessions of this great country in the East almost trembled in the balance, and a day was then set apart by Royal ordinance for a solemn fast and national humiliation, in order that the Divine favour might be implored for the preservation of our Indian empire. Following that observance, most remarkable events took place. Among others, the fall of Delhi almost immediately after was witnessed, and the salvation of the Indian empire was ultimately secured. He was aware that every one would acknowledge how much was due to the individual services of our troops, and for the dangers and successes they had experienced; but at the same time he was quite sure that every thoughtful and reflecting mind must feel that those successes were owing not only to the bravery of the army, but to the blessing and favour of Almighty God. Therefore, he hoped in putting the present question to the Government he should receive an answer, as he bad every reason to believe he would, to the effect that it was the intention of the Government to testify the gratitude of this nation to Almighty God for our successes in India. He did not say in what manner this should be effected, but he thought that there should be some expression of gratitude, either by a day set apart or by a special prayer for the purpose.


hoped that the noble Duke who put the present question would relieve that he was not one of those who considered lightly or disregarded the interposition, whether immediately apparent or not, of a higher Power than our own in the conduct of human affairs. He so entirely and cordially assented to this sentiment, that it was not Indian affairs only, but the experience of every day and every hour confirmed his full and deep conviction that, however men might in their fancied wisdom shape their human affairs, they were very little able to calculate the result of their efforts, and were utterly unable to obtain success without the sanction and superintendence of a higher Power. The interposition of the protection and blessing of that Power had been signally manifested during the course of the disastrous affairs in From the commencement of this unfortunate rebellion down to the present time there had been many instances in which neither the valour of our troops nor the skill of our commanders would have been sufficient to achieve success without the extraordinary favour and interposition of the Divine protection; and Het Majesty in Her most gracious Speech from the Throne had, with a due feeling of gratitude and devotion, acknowledged that the Divine blessing had been vouchsafed to her arms. He joined cordially in the belief and expectation expressed by Her Majesty that the time was not far distant, though he could not say it had yet arrived, when Her Majesty would be enabled to announce to Parliament the complete pacification of the Indian empire. When that time should arrive he was sure that, on the one hand, neither the Sovereign nor the Parliament of this country would be slow to pay the tribute of thanks to those human beings by whom these great events had been humanly achieved; nor would they, on the other hand, be slow to ascribe the glory and praise where glory and praise were highly due—namely, to that God without whose aid our arms on this or any other occasion would be powerless. In his opinion, the time when we should suitably thank the troops for the suppression of the rebellion, or gratitude to Providence, had not yet arrived, though he hoped it was fast approaching: it would be better to wait until the Government should be able to affirm that our arms have finally secured that inestimable blessing, the complete pacification of the Indian empire.