§ SIR JOHN HOBHOUSE
Mr. Speaker, in pursuance of the notice which the courtesy of this House, founded on established usage, enabled me to place first on the list, I rise to propose a vote of thanks, such as is detailed in the paper which I hold in my hand. I was in hopes when I was permitted to have the honour of seconding the Motion for the vote of thanks passed in May, 1846, proposed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth, that the occasion would be the last on which I should be called upon to take a part in recording the gratitude of Parliament for Indian victories. I was in hopes that, after the great battles which had then been fought, the time was come 735 when the inhabitants of our Indian empire would be permitted to pursue their occupations in tranquillity, and the Government be enabled to promote the interest of the country by fostering the arts of peace. But, if those hopes have been frustrated, and those expectations baulked, I think I may fairly say that on no former occasion had the House more reason to congratulate itself on the result of our arms than on the present. For I have now to call your attention to a series of gallant exploits, and to one of the most memorable conflicts that ever was recorded in the military annals of our glorious Eastern empire. It will not be necessary for me to preface this Motion with the ample and interesting details with which the right hon. Member for Tamworth introduced his vote of thanks for the victories on the Sutlej. He was then compelled to say much of the nation which had taken up arms against us, and were but little known to us except through the fame of their great chieftain, Runjeet Singh. Since that period we have become too familiar with that warlike people—a people with whom, however, it has long been foreseen that we should have to contend for empire on the western frontier of our dominions. I find that the historian Robertson, writing more than half a century ago, foretold in singularly apposite words the struggle that has now taken place:—If on the one hand (says Dr. Robertson), that firm foundation on which the British empire in India seems to be established by the successful termination of the late war, remains unshaken—if, on the one hand, the Sikhs, a confederacy of several independent States, shall continue to extend their dominions with the same rapidity that they have advanced since the beginning of the current century—it is highly probable that the enterprising commercial spirit of the one people, and the martial ardour of the other—who still retain the activity and ardour natural to men in the earliest ages of social union—may give rise to events of the greatest moment. The frontiers of the two States are approaching gradually nearer and nearer to each other, the territories of the Sikhs having reached to the western bank of the river Jumna, while those of the Nabob of Onde stretch along its eastern hank. This Nabob, the ally or tributary of the East India Company, is supported by a brigade of the Bengal army, constantly stationed on his western frontier.And he concludes—In a position so contiguous, rivalry for power, interference of interest, and innumerable other causes of jealousy and discord, can hardly fail of terminating, sooner or latter, in open hostility.These passages will be found in one of the notes to the Dissertation on India. This prophecy has been literally fulfilled; and if 736 our rivals have been subdued by that power which crumbled into dust the Viziers of Bengal, the Peishwahs of the Deccan, and the Sultans of Mysore, it is but due to the Sikhs to say that they contended with an energy and courage worthy of a more fortunate issue and of a better cause. The last papers which were presented to Parliament on this subject in March, 1847, informed the House of the treaty by means of which the late Governor General of India, Lord Hardinge, had undertaken that the Punjab should be managed during the minority of Maharajah Duleep Singh. It was at the special request of the Sikhs' Sirdars that we undertook to control the civil internal administration of the country, and to preserve tranquillity within, as well as to provide for its external security. The consequence of this arrangement was, that a peace ensued in the Punjab, which had long been a stranger to that country. The House will find on perusing the papers which will shortly he presented to Parliament, that at no period of late was the peace of the country so well preserved, or the lives and properties of the natives so well secured and so safe, or the prosperity of the Punjab so perfectly maintained, as during the interval between the close of the last war and the spring of the year 1848. But in the month of April last year there happened that unhappy circumstance to which must be traced all those occurrences that we now so much deplore—I mean the treacherous murder at Mooltan of Mr. Vans Agnew and Lieutenant Anderson, both of whom were young men of the highest promise, and who had already greatly distinguished themselves. This occurrence gave rise to commotions in Mooltan, which speedily spread into other provinces, and ended in the general insurrection of the Punjab.
When the Governor General of India, the Earl of Dalhousie, saw that all his hopes that this commotion at Mooltan might be extinguished or die away, either by the submission of the Dewan Moolraj, the chieftain commanding at Mooltan, or by the force applied to put down the rebellion, he made every preparation for entering into a vigorous war. The late Governor General—I mean Lord Hardinge—had not left the frontier Punjab in a defenceless state. So far from that, the late Governor General left, between Meerut and Lahore, a force of 54,000 men of all arms, having 120 field guns and 100 siege guns of a large, 737 calibre; and, in the reductions which he was called upon to make, Lord Hardinge did not diminish one man or reduce one single gun of that most essential arm, the artillery, nor did he reduce any of the cavalry regiments. The Earl of Dalhousie gave orders that additional regiments should move up from Bengal, and at the same time directed that a large force should be despatched from Bombay, and march through Scinde, to take part in the siege of Mooltan. The Governor General repaired to the frontier, and the Commander-in-Chief made preparations for the coming campaign. It is fitting that I should call the attention of the House to the events which took place previous to Lord Gough taking the field. The House is too well acquainted with the achievements of Lieutenant Edwardes to render it necessary for me to detail them now. It is sufficient for me to say that so great were those services that it was thought due to that gallant officer, that the Government should advise Her Majesty to depart from the common form, and to confer upon Lieutenant Edwardes, before the end of the campaign, those rewards which are usually reserved until the termination of the war. That officer was not only promoted to the local rank of major, but Her Majesty was graciously pleased to send him out the Companionship of the Bath. Being only on detached service in one of the western provinces of the Punjab, and not being assisted at the time by a single European, having by his own personal influence raised some Mahomedan regiments, and disciplined these raw levies, he went down upon the Indus, and soon found himself in conflict with a large force sent against him by the rebel Moolraj. It was on the 18th of June of last year that he gained his first victory; and on the 2nd of July, having been joined by the troops of the Newaub of Bahawalpore under Lieut. Lake, he fought a second battle, and again completely routed the army of Moolraj. Although, in the first instance, the Governor General of India and the Commander-in-Chief considered that the season would not admit of the march of European troops, yet, in consequence of the great efforts made by these two young officers, it was thought advisable by Sir F. Currie, the Resident at Lahore, to despatch a force amounting to about 7,000 men of all arms, under Major General Whish, from Lahore to Mooltan. That army was accompanied by a body of Sikhs under Rajah Shore 738 Singh amounting to above 5,000 men. The House is acquainted with the occurrences that took place when General Whish made his first attack upon Mooltan. The troops then in the field were not found sufficient for the capture of that city and of the citadel, and it was thought necessary to wait for the arrival of the reinforcements from Bombay before making any serious renewal of the attack. That force marched through Scinde, went partly up the rivers, and appeared before Mooltan on the 26th of December; and, to show its complete equipment, and the way in which this large force of between 9,000 and 10,000 men had been moved up, I might read a communication from the Commander-in-Chief at Mooltan, General Whish, expressing his admiration of the condition of the newly-arrived columns from Bombay. He says that when he first saw the troops appear before him after a long march of a month, they seemed as fresh as if they had only come out of cantonments the day before. On the 27th of December they made their first attack, and on the 2nd of January they carried the fortified city of Mooltan by storm, after a most vigorous and gallant defence. When the city was taken, it was supposed by competent judges that the citadel would fall almost immediately. I shall take the liberty of reading two letters I have in my possession, one written to me by Major Edwardes, and the other by Sir H. Lawrence, announcing the fall of the city. Major Edwardes, in a letter dated. General Whish's tent, Mooltan, 5 P.M., 2nd of January, 1849, said—The post for England leaves Mooltan to-day, and it is doubtful whether the news of our victory will be in time from any other place; so I take the liberty of informing you that the city of Mooltan, after a week's battering, was stormed this day at two breaches; one of which was found impracticable, but the other carried at once. The assault commenced at half-past 3, P.M., and the whole city was in our possession from end to end by half-past 4. Loss believed to be trifling. The citadel has been already well battered; the enemy are now driven into it; it will be untenable from shelling in forty-eight hours; and I hope to God we shall hoist Old England's flag over its walls before three days are over,On the same day, the 2nd of January, 1849, Sir H. Lawrence wrote—As I don't see how the fort can hold out forty-eight hours, I am just starting for the Governor General's camp.But, so far was this prediction from proving true, that the citadel held out for three weeks; and I find that during the bombardment no less than 36,000 shot and shells 739 were thrown into it, and such was its state that there was no place of safety within the walls, except under the gateway, where Moolraj took shelter; and when the gates were forced, there still remained within the fort 3,000 men, who were able and well-disposed, had circumstances allowed, to have fought their way out. I mention these circumstances to show to the House that this was no trifling enterprise, and the result proves how perfectly just was the observation of the Duke of Wellington at the farewell dinner to Sir C. Napier, when he said that he considered when Mooltan was taken the great object of the war was accomplished. On this account I am justified in proposing a separate vote for this exploit, and in directing the especial attention and thanks of the House to those officers and troops who achieved this chief object of the campaign. The siege of Mooltan being in progress, Lord Gough took the field, and nothing was omitted which could give effect to his movement. Additional resources were called up from the lower provinces; forts were occupied, garrisons strengthened, and every precaution that skill or sagacity could suggest was adopted. I find that Lord Gough's army consisted of 26,580 men of all arms, of whom there were 505 European officers, and 7,328 European soldiers. This was a noble and well-appointed army; and I especially draw the attention of the House to the ready and efficient manner in which it was called into the field, in order that it may be seen how perfectly justified is that vote of thanks which it is my intention to move should be agreed to in honour of the Earl of Dalhousie. But although it is true that Lord Gough was at the head of a powerful army, yet it must be recollected that the Sikhs presented a most formidable aspect. Shere Singh, with his 5,000 men, had treacherously deserted from his post at Mooltan, revolted from the British Government, and had joined the main force of the Sikhs. His father, Chuttur Singh, had before broken into open rebellion; as did, ultimately, the Sikh regiments at Pesha-wur, which had been kept in obedience for many months by the marvellous exertions and influence of Major Lawrence. The Sikh troops in the western province of Bunnoo also revolted and murdered their officers; and, at last, after a gallant defence, Attock fell into the hands of the rebels. Whilst the provinces were thus in rebellion, the main body of the Sikhs under Shere Singh amounted, at least, to 740 35,000 men. Lord Gough marched towards them. He passed by Lahore, and advanced to the banks of one of those rivers of old fame, so well known to us under their classical names, now lost in their barbarous Indian designations. He found Shore Singh strongly encamped on the banks of the Chenah with 18,000 regular troops and 18,000 irregulars, but who were most of them old soldiers. Shere Singh had then seventy-five pieces of cannon, besides a largo number of swivel guns mounted on camels. Lord Gough had about 18,000 men of all arms. Two partial affairs took place—one at Ramnugger, and another at Saadalopore. Then came the bloody battle of Chillianwallah. We have all heard the result of that battle. I hold in my hand a letter written by an artillery officer in command at Chillianwallah, who thus describes it:—How I escaped I know not; round shot and musketry streaming close to my head and body. Five men were knocked over with musketry close to me in the battery; but besides these and a few horses and other casualties from round shot, no officer was hit. If I had halted to fire at 600 or 800 yards instead of where I did, close up, all their shot which flew over us, would have pitched into and knocked us all to shivers. The horrible carnage and sights that met one's eye over the bloodstained field, I will not attempt to describe; all battle-fields are the same, but there was something in the prolonged and thundering shouts our follows gave after the enemy had fled, and left us standing victors on that field, heaped with slain, that was a new and thrilling sensation which I shall never forget.It is such a letter as this that conveys the real impressions of an engagement, and tells the story of it better than the columns of the Gazette. After the battle of Chillianwallah, Shere Singh removed to a short distance from the scene of action, so short a distance that he could hardly be said to have retreated, and he entrenched himself strongly in the vicinity at Russool, on the banks of the Jhelum. He was there joined by the troops under the command of Chuttur Singh. Whilst the army was in that position, new dangers arose, for the Affghans were again in the field, and Dost Mahomed had again unfurled the green banner on the banks of the Indus. He was accompanied by two of his sons. One of his sons seized upon Attock, whilst another son, with 1,500 horse, joined Shere Singh; so that this chief had under his command at Russool a force of not less than 60,000 men. The Sikh chieftain was not, however, able to hold his position there so long as he had intended to do. 741 He decamped, but in a direction which rendered it necessary for Lord Gough to intercept him, in order to prevent his going to Lahore. Shore Singh was preparing to cross the Chenab, in order to march on Lahore, when he found in his front the advanced pickets of General Whish's division, who had marched from Mooltan to join Lord Gough. The time in which the distance is traversed by troops is generally twenty-two days; those performed it in seventeen days, and were on the banks of the river Ghenab just in time to stop Shore Singh's advance on Lahore. This was one of the important consequences following upon the fall of Mooltan. I find from a despatch of Brigadier General Dundas's, who commanded the Bombay column, that—On the 18th inst the division made a forced march of thirty-two miles into Ramnuggur, which town it reached late in the evening. Marching the next morning at eleven o'clock, it reached Lord Gough's camp at night, after a harassing march of nineteen miles, and marched in order of battle the net morning, the 20th. A company of I the 19th Regiment had to escort the prisoner of war, Moolraj, to a village six miles on the Lahore road, and return, but it joined head-quarters by four o'clock in the afternoon, after a march of about thirty-two miles, with only one absentee. This was the light company under Captain liar-row. Marching thus for days in succession, nearly throughout the day, the men have had little time for meals, and the scarcity of wood in this part of the country had prevented all from having had a regular meal for four days. No complaint has, however, been made.Writing, after the victory, on the 1st of March, on the bank of the Jhelum, Brigadier General Dundas also says—Having marched a distance of 238 miles without a day's halt, over a country where there are no roads, and over routes chiefly lying through corn fields, our men and followers suffered severely from the continual march and want of firewood, so that lately they were unable for about five days to cook their food.Sir, it is due to those gallant men that not only their exploits in the field should be known, but also what they endured before they came upon the field, for I cannot help thinking that the mere fighting business is to the British soldier that which causes him, perhaps, the least of suffering. By this junction of the Bombay column with the main army, the whole force under the Commander-in-Chief on the 20th of February consisted of 25,000 men, with 100 pieces of cannon, of which about twenty were 18-ponndcrs. The army of Shere Singh was said to consist of 60,000 men, but it contained most certainly 50,000 effective troops; and then occurred that 742 great and decisive battle, in consequence of which principally I venture to propose this vote of thanks to Lord Gough and the Lidian army. Sir, the battle of Goojerat has been truly described by the Governor General as one which will be ever recollected as the most memorable of all that have boon fought by the English army in Lidia. In referring to it, I will not make use of the published despatches, which must be in the hands of every man; but I will pursue the same course which I took the liberty of adoping with reference to the battle of Chillianwallah—I will read extracts from one or two private letters. The first was handed to me this morning, and is from one of Lord Gough's aide-decamps. He says—Aurungabad, opposite to Jhelum, "Feb. 27, 1849.Our fire completely overpowered that of the enemy, but they behaved most gallantly. The artillerymen and gun-cattle were shot down time after time, and as often did they bring up fresh men and cattle to replace them. Three several times did I see them attempt to take three of their guns away, and at last they carried off two. On our reaching the village of Habrat, in front of Goojerat, some guns opened grape on our 70th Native Infantry and 2nd Europeans; and on sending in a company to feel the village, it was found to be strongly held by several corps of regular troops: they had made it the Hougoumont of their position. It was, therefore, immediately stormed, and carried by the 2nd Europeans after upwards of half an hour's hard fighting, our men having to take house after house filled with armed men. The effect of it was most tremendous. I was standing near the troop (Horse Artillery), and saw whole bodies of Sikhs all falling at the same time. A splendid regiment of regular horse, headed by an Affghan chief, one of Dost Mahomed's nephews, came down to the attack, and were charged by a wing of the Scinde Horse and a squadron of the 9th Lancers in the most gallant style. They met us, and were cut down and driven back like sheep—their chief and a host of others killed. Those who witnessed it say, it was the most dashing thing ever seen. Our cavalry and horse artillery pursued the enemy for some fifteen miles, cutting up immense numbers: they did not stop till it was dark. I followed with Lord Gough for five miles, and never beheld such a scene. The whole country was strewed for three miles in breadth with property thrown away to hasten their retreat—such a medley you can scarcely fancy—tents, clothes, ammunition, carts, camels, tobacco, opium, trunks and boxes, silver-mounted riding whips, palanquins, champagne, women and children, guns and timber, camels and mules, swords, pistols, and a host of other things too numerous to mention. The Sikhs can never stand again; they are utterly routed and dispersed. Nearly half have gone to their homes, the greater portion of whom are regular troops.In describing this battle, Sir, I must refer to the great value of that art, and 743 to the perfection to which it has been brought, for which the Indian service has for a long time, and now will for ever, be celebrated. Addiscombe had reason to be proud of her scholars upon that day. I find, according to a return from General Whish, that the hundred guns, which were every one of them manned by Addiscombe scholars, kept up for three hours a continuous fire from their field batteries, and that not from one position, for they continued to advance as the Sikhs retired, and took up fresh positions in that advance, which, of course, very much impeded the celerity of their fire; yet, notwithstanding, they fired on the average no less than forty rounds an hour; and I find that that was the average of firing at Waterloo. I say, then, that the Indian army has reason to be proud of its advance in the art of gunnery—an art, let me take the opportunity of saying, which adds to the science and diminishes the horros of war. In another private letter I find a circumstance that has reference to Lord Gough himself:—Thirty Affghan horsemen, armed in mail, were appointed with orders to capture Lord Gough. Watching their opportunity, they made a dash, and were met by the body guard, commanded by Lieutenant Stannus. Our men finding their swords made no impression, sheathcd them, and took to their fire-arms, and a hand-to-hand conflict ensued, which ended in the destruction of the Affghans, one man excepted.To show, Sir, that these opponents of ours were in no way despicable foes, I have to mention that Major General Gilbert, one of the most distinguished of our officers, states, in his report of the battle, that the fire of the Sikhs was terriflc and well directed. But the victory was complete. The Affghans and the Sikhs, after they quitted the field, did not draw bridle until they reached the banks of the Jhelum. Our troops followed for fifteen hours on horseback, and destroyed vast numbers of the enemy. And now, having mentioned the general result, I cannot help recording that in this great conflict every arm did its duty. Not only was the greatest courage called into play, but every quality which the British officer should possess was fully displayed—qualities so well employed as to make even men of the same religion as our opponents behave as well as British soldiers. Among the force which was ordered up from Bombay was a corps of Mahomedans raised by a most distinguished officer. Major Jacob; and that corps of 400 or 500 Scinde horse was sent under the 744 command of Lieutenant Malcolm. There was not a white man amongst them; and Lieutenant Malcolm led them from the banks of the Indus, and came into line upon the 21st February. And this is the manner in which I find the exploit of those Mahomodans fighting against Mahomcdans, led by a British officer, described by Brigadier General Dundas:—About the same time an opportunity was given for Lieutenant Malcolm to charge with the Scinde horse. I am sorry I did not witness that charge, which was made homo upon a body of Affghan cavalry, and in which a chief of rani:, said to be a son of Dost Mahomed, was killed, with many of his followers. This excellent regiment has again equally distinguished itself, and Lord Gough expressed to me on the field that their conduct was magnificent. Major General Sir Joseph Thackwell, who saw this feat, calls it a glorious charge.Not only, then, did the cavalry and artillery—I need say nothing of the infantry; their merit is too well known—perform their duty; but even the very fleet of boats, which was engaged to take them across the Chenab to join Lord Gough, performed most essential service. I find the following in a despatch from Lord Gough:—I have also the satisfaction to report to his Excellency the zealous and able manner in which Captain Cunningham and Lieutenant Paton performed the duty assigned to them, by bringing up the fleet of boats ordered by his Excellency from Ramnuggur, and placing them so as to enable the portion of the army on the other side of the Chenab to co operate and come up.And, now, having described the general action itself, and having mentioned some of the principal persons whose names will be found in the vote of thanks, I think it my duty to call the attention of the House to some of those officers who were on detached service, besides Major Edwardes and Lieut. Lake. When the issue of the war was doubtful, before even the army could be said to be in the field, they performed services which entitle them to the gratitude of their country; and this they did alone, unassisted, by their own individual energy, and by that moral influence with which their courage and character have invested them. I will first mention the name of Captain James Abbott, who was detached to the provinces in which Sirdar Chuttur Singh was in command. There, by his own individual efforts, he raised the Mahomedan population, and kept Chuttur Singh for more than two months from joining the rebel army. I find in an extract from a letter of the Governor General to the Secret Committee the following expressions:—Captain Abbott has boon heard of up to the 745 25th of February, at which time be was quite safe, and confident in his resources, although at that time he had not heard of the decisive victory at Goojerat. It is a gratifying spectacle to witness the intrepid hearing of this officer in the midst of difficulties of no ordinary kind—not only maintaining his position, but offering a hold front, at one time to the Sikhs, at another to the Affghans—notwithstanding that religious fanaticism must have been at work to seduce the Mahometan levies to desert his cause. He must have secured the attachment of the wild people amongst whom he has been thrown, by his mild and conciliatory demeanour in times of peace, as well as by his gallantry as their leader in action; thus enhancing the credit of our national character, and preparing the way for the easy occupation of an almost impregnable country.And, the Hazareh country is now in our hands entirely in consequence of the admirable conduct of Captain Abbott. I next come to the exploits of another officer—exploits, if possible, almost as extraordinary as those of Captain James Abbott—I mean Lieutenant Herbert. That officer was detached on the 1st September from Peshawur for Attock. There he found a force of 800 Mahomodans, of whom he took the command. But at the fall of Peshawur, his troops became mutinous; and the Governor General, writing of Lieutenant Herbert on the 22nd NovemberIt cannot he expected that the garrison will continue loyal after the open revolt of their brethren at Peshawur.On the 6th of December, Lieutenant Herbert himself writes thus—The tenure of the fort of Attock is becoming extremely precarious. Serious symptoms of insubordination have exhibited themselves among the men. No effort is spared to excite treachery within. Though anxious to make a sally upon the enemy's guns, I am prevented by being unable to place any longer confidence in my men. Scarcely a night passes without desertions. We have now been blockaded for twenty-seven days.December 19, Lieutenant Herbert says—It is not so much physical force that I fear, as the effect of the constant efforts of the enemy to spread treachery. The Almighty has, in his great mercy, permitted of my holding the fort for forty days, and on him I hope that I may be able to do so longer; but, humanly speaking, it would appear almost impossible.'That gallant officer did, with all those disadvantages—with a very small force, on whom he could not rely—surrounded by 8,000 or 10,000 of the enemy with heavy batteries—hold it until the 2nd of January, when, having assembled the leaders of that small force, they informed him that they could not defend their position any longer, and he and one other man let themselves down from the fort into a boat on the Indus, and escaped—though, unfortu- 746 nately, but for a short time, for that gallant officer is now in confinement. Lieutenant Taylor, also another gallant officer, performed achievements as brilliant on the Bunnoo frontier, aided only by one English officer; and if time would permit I would gladly detail his exploits. Having mentioned the names of those young officers, I think that we may fairly associate them, if not in our vote, in our grateful recollection of the exploits of this campaign; and it is one of the peculiar advantages and distinctions of the Indian service, that men, at a comparatively early period of life, being placed in situations of isolated responsibility, show themselves equal to that responsibility, and perform their arduous duties with all the judgment and foresight that can be expected from matured and long experience.
And, whilst mentioning those who have been fortunately spared, I must not forget those who in that campaign have fought on their last battle-field. We must not forget Cureton, nor Havelock, nor Fitzgerald, nor Pennycuick, nor others whose names I might mention, whoso memory will be long dear to us, and who, though they have not survived to share in these thanks, have still left behind them an example which will prove a benefit to their country, and a glory to their families. And here I may perhaps be excused for mentioning an anecdote of melancholy interest. But a few weeks before this great battle, the son of Brigadier General Pennycuick wont to a young relation of my own at Sandhurst, and, showing him a letter, said, "There now, I know you will envy me. "It was the order to join his father in India. He went; he saw his father fall, rushed to cover his body, and in five minutes after was himself a corse.
It is not for me to presume to say anything of the Commander-in-Chief, whoso good fortune it has been to close a long and honourable career with this great and decisive victory. He, Sir, has received from a gracious Sovereign and from a grateful Parliament rewards which will hold him up, and deservedly, to his country, as one of its bravest soldiers. And I am sure. Sir, that amongst all those honours and all those distinctions, there is none which he will more prize than the thanks of the representatives of that people to whose military glory he has added so much, and to whose dominions he has contributed additional security.
Sir, I beg pardon of the House for haying detained it so long. I have only 747 further to mention that the East India Company have this day given their vote of thanks to those, their meritorious servants; and I feel no doubt but the House of Commons also will readily perform the same grateful office.
The MARQUESS of GRANBY
I rise, Sir, to second the proposal of the right hon. Baronet the President of the Board of Control. I am sure the House must have heard with foelings of gratification and pride this detail of the glorious achievements and vmdaunted valour of our gallant army in India; and if anything could add to that gratification, it would be the thought that the victory is so complete that we may hope there will be no further occasion for warlike operations in India. But after the very able narrative which the right hon. Baronet has submitted to the House, I will only say, on my own behalf, and for those with whom I have the honour to act, that I most cordially concur in the vote of thanks which the right hon. Baronet has proposed.
SIR E. PEEL
Sir, I trust the House will permit me to express the cordial satisfaction with which I shall give my vote for the proposal of the right hon. Baronet the President of the Board of Control. I should not have presumed to add my voice to that of the right hon. Gentleman on this occasion, if it were not that on four previous occasions I have been a party to proceedings by which the merits of Lord Gough have been brought under the consideration of the Commons' House of Parliament for his services in the Chinese war, for the battle of Ferozeshah, afterwards for the battle of Sobraon, and, lastly, upon the occasion when I had the satisfaction of announcing to the House the distinctions conferred by Her Majesty upon Lord Gough for his glorious achievements, and of asking the House to perform that duty, which they so readily and cordially discharged, of marking their sense of his services by a pecuniary provision. It was with the utmost satisfaction that I heard that that noble soldier had closed a long career of victory and of glory by au achievement worthy of his former exploits. He has now, I believe, for fifty-four years served the Crown as a soldier. If at the earlier period of the recent campaign in the Punjab, doubts were entertained by some as to the ultimate result of that campaign, in those doubts I never shared. I felt the utmost confidence that the final issue of it would redound to the honour of Lord Gough, and would give new security 748 to the British dominion in India. I do rejoice at the glorious termination of this campaign; I rejoice especially at the numerous proofs given by the right hon. Gentleman that great exploits have been performed, not only by veterans inured to the service, but by men young in years, assuming great responsibilities, and discharging the highest functions in a manner worthy of the name of Englishmen. When such things are done by the aged, and such examples are set by the young, I never will despair of the security of our Indian empire. I trust the House will excuse me for bearing this superfluous testimony to the services of Lord Gough; but I could not permit his military career in India to close, without taking advantage of a fifth occasion to take a part in proceedings which do honour to his name.
§ SIR J. W. HOGG
begged to add his testimony to the importance of the services which had been rendered to the country by the noble Earl at the head of the Government of India, by Lord Gough, and by the gallant army under his command. He knew that when the Earl of Dalhousie proceeded to India, he did so in the confident hope and expectation that his would be the pleasing duty of developing and disclosing the resources of that country. At that time there was peace, and every prospect of the continuance of peace; but, unfortunately, that prospect was soon blighted by the outbreak at Mooltan. When the accounts reached Calcutta of the treacherous murder of two British officers, in the discharge of a public duty, the Earl of Dalhousie hesitated not a moment as to the course to be taken. He at once determined, at all cost, to avenge that atrocious act, and to vindicate the honour of the British Government. He therefore adopted, with vigour and energy, means to bring about that end in a manner that entitled him to the thanks of the House and of the country. He applied the vast resources of India in such a manner as to enable him to place at the disposal of Lord Gough the army which had achieved the victory for which the House was about to express its thanks. The last battle was doubly gratifying. It was gratifying, as giving a death-blow to the rebellion in the Punjab; and it was gratifying as gloriously maintaining to the last the character of the veteran chief as a gallant and successful general. It was now thirteen years since Lord Gough proceeded to India. For two or three years 749 he commanded the army of Madras. For nearly three years he commanded the expedition to China. For nearly six years he held the chief command of the army in India. During that period Lord Gough had fought fifteen pitched battles, and triumphed in all. If the House would permit him, he would read Lord Gough's own account of his last battle, written in confidence to a private friend. The letter was dated, "Camp Goojerat, March 4, 1849," and it said—I send you a rough sketch (but a very true one) of my last and best action—I say my last, as I have this day applied to his Grace to recommend a successor to Her Majesty for the proud position I have so long occupied. I say best, because both for the action itself, and its annihilating effects, I feel it well and justly merits that observation. The Sikhs have successively evacuated all the strong passes in the hilly country towards Rawull Pindec. The few guns they have are scattered in twos and threes. Several Sirdars have surrendered, or are about to surrender, themselves. How far the Dost will attempt to defend his ill-gotten territory it is difficult to conjecture; but I have pushed forward my very best and most energetic officer. Sir Walter Gilbert, with a force capable and willing to carry out the views of the Government.A more complete victory, he believed, had never been won. It was not only complete as a victory, but final and complete in its results. The retreat, it appeared, was almost immediately converted into a flight; the Sikh soldiers first flung away their arms, and then the fugitives threw away their uniforms and clothes, that they might escape detection. The House could not have any better proof of the impossibility of the Sikhs reassembling in force so as to compote with the British army, than in the letter just read. Would Lord Gough have asked the Duke of Wellington to relieve him from the command, if he had not been confident there would be no further requisition for his services? Lord Gough would soon return home; and he (Sir J. W. Hogg) trusted his life might long be spared to enjoy the honours awarded to him by a grateful Sovereign and country. His right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control had dwelt upon the fall of Mooltan. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) thought they had been most fortunate in finding, in General Whish, an officer of experience in the nature of the operations he was called upon to perform. This was not the first time that General Whish had been present at a siege. On two former occasions he had taken an active part in sieges in India; and in the siege of Mooltan they 750 could not too much admire the moderation and the prudent and cautious reserve which he had imposed upon himself when he found that by the treacherous desertion of Shore Singh he was no longer in a position to succeed in his operations without a waste of life which he believed would be unjustifiable. They could not too much admire the conduct of a victorious general, who paused in the course of victory to save the lives of his soldiers from unnecessary slaughter; but the very day after reinforcements had reached him, he reinvested the city, and prosecuted the siege to a successful result. Again, when immediately after the capture of Mooltan, he marched to join the army of Lord Gough, he displayed the most consumimate skill when, on reaching Ramnuggur, he despatched a sufficient force of cavalry and artillery to Wuzecrabad, and by that manœuvre stopped Shore Singh's advance, and prevented him from crossing the Jhelum. Throughout this campaign all their troops, native as well as European, vied with each other in valour and discipline. It was enough for him to say that they had, throughout, maintained their previous high character. He used the expression "maintained" deliberately, because they could not increase it. But while they were shocked at the perfidy and ingratitude of these Sikh Sirdars, after the indulgence and favours that they had received from Lord Hardinge, it was surely gratifying to find that of the four regiments of Sikhs, of-ficered by British officers, not one man had deserted or left his post. Two of these regiments had been actually engaged in putting down the rebellion, and the other two had volunteered their services. The circumstance was most gratifying, and strengthened him in his belief that the Sikhs, if well treated and well paid, and if they felt that, when disabled from wounds or long service, they would be pensioned and taken care of, would render as good service as any of their other native troops. They must all regret the recurrence of war under any circumstances; but, at the same time, it was a gratification to know that as it had taken place, the cause of it was righteous, and the result successful. Another point that had been reverted to by his right hon. Friend was also gratifying. It was, that if they had ever to take the field hereafter, they would find among the junior officers in the present army able generals to conduct any operations that might be considered necessary. He was 751 glad, indeed, that his right hon. Friend had taken occasion to name so many distinguished young officers, in connexion with the recent actions. No man who had not been in India could tell how great was the responsibility that rested with officers serving in that country, or the number of difficulties that they had to encounter. They had not the public eye upon them. They were not cheered on by the public voice in their proceedings. They had nothing but a sense of duty alone to console them under their privations; but it would not he without its effect in future that they would know that, no matter in what station they might he placed, the eye of the country was upon them, and that they would not fail to receive the notice of a gracious Sovereign, and of a grateful country. He hoped and believed, now that peace was restored to India, that they might look forward to a long continuance of it, and that the distinguished nobleman who presided in that country (the Earl of Dalhousie), would be able, without having his attention diverted by the distractions of war, to devote his energies to the internal improvement of the country, and to the advancement of the condition of its countless inhabitants.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
said, he did not rise to interfere with that course of eulogy in which Members on both sides indulged, in bestowing their praises on those who had deserved well of their country; but he was unwilling, whilst just and eloquent tributes were paid on every side to the skill and talent of those who had conducted the late military operations in the Punjab, to omit to give utterance to the expression how much they were indebted to a higher and stronger Power than any which had been directly and visibly exerted. He wished, in the words of Lord Gough himself at the commencement of one of his despatches in the early part of the year, and in the language of the distinguished young man whose letter was quoted by the right hon. the President of the Board of Control, that the House should recollect that it was the "God of armies" to whom they owed all this success, and not to the skill of the old or the valour of the young. He should have been conscious of a dereliction of his own duties, if he had not endeavoured for himself, and, he trusted, for every one who heard him, to give utterance to these feelings. He was one who never despaired of the success of Lord Gough; he never depreciated his talents; no man dared to de- 752 preciate his courage; and he trusted that although, by a coincidence which might be called happy, Lord Gough appeared to have solicited his recall at the very moment that a successor was named in this country. Her Majesty's Government would not fail to advise their Sovereign to confer some mark of Her gracious favour on that veteran and excellent officer. But he stood not alone. There were other men whoso names ought to have been brought forward, and who would not have disgraced the eloquent speech of his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control. On a former occasion, without having the honour of knowing him, he took the liberty of referring to the splendid services of Sir Joseph Thackwell, upon whom the President of the Board of Control had not passed so full an encomium as, in his opinion, the circumstances of the case would justify. He trusted that in what he had said he had expressed the feelings of every one, and gave a cordial support to the Motion.
§ MR. HUME
said, that no man could rejoice more than he did to find that there were in the Company's service men of such high ability and talent, and he merely rose for the purpose of expressing his regret that by the present regulations they could not confer the honour of the Bath on any of the officers of the East India Company who had recently so signally distinguished themselves. Anything more disgraceful than such an arrangement he had never heard of. He wished to know if it was not a fact that Her Majesty had it not in her power, as the regulations now stood, to confer the honour of the Bath on any officer in the Company's service, no matter how meritorious his services might have been during the recent actions? Such were the rules and regulations made by Earl Grey; but he hoped that such ill-advised restrictions would be laid aside, and that Her Majesty would be left at liberty to confer the honour of the Bath on such officers as might be deemed most signally worthy of it. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Honiton had alluded to the gallant men who fell on the field of battle, and had stated that it must be a consolation to their relatives to know that these brave soldiers had helped to uphold the glory of their country. But he hoped that this was not to be the only consolation that would be offered to them, but that those who had the power would consider it a duty to make some provision for the families of some of them who most 753 wanted it. He could more especially name one of these brave men, who, with his son, fell upon the field of battle, but whose sole property was vested in the commission which he bore. He would only say, in addition, that he looked to the resources of India being developed by peace alone, and that he believed the Earl of Dalhousie, who would now, he hoped, be able to devote his attention to such matters, was the individual best adapted for advancing the real improvement of that country.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, that he did not rise for the purpose of taking any part in the debate, but simply to allude to a remark which had been made by the hon. Member for Montrose, and which he believed to be unfounded, or, at all events, which ought to be explained on authority. The hon. Gentleman had stated that the honour of the Bath could not be conferred on any officer of the East India Company's service; but he believed that the limitation which prevented the Order from being conferred on any officer below a certain rank, applied equally to officers in the Company's service and in Her Majesty's forces.
§ MR. HUME
said, the last rules, as laid down by Earl Grey, provided that not more than 100 officers in the Company's service should receive the honour of the Bath. He believed that there were 140 officers in the Company's service having that honour, and it followed that no now creations could be made until the number was reduced to a hundred.
§ SIR J. C. HOBHOUSE
said, it was true that the number was limited; but the limitation was not confined to the Company's service alone; and it should be recollected that there had been an extension of the Order in favour of the civil service of the Company.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
The hon. Gentleman is mistaken. The Order of the Bath was extended in 1815, but there was a limitation fixed at the same tune in point of numbers; and, in fact, unless there were a limitation, it would hardly be a distinction at all. Earl Grey advised a new statute, which limited the numbers, both in the military and civil honours; but in any ease calling for an extraordinary statute, the number may no doubt be extended.
§ MR. MANGLES
said, that the soldiers in the East India Company's service were as much the soldiers of Her Majesty as those of the regular Army; and, therefore, there ought to be no distinction in the rewards offered to both services. He did not think that sufficient confidence had been placed by this country in the gallant men commanding the Indian army during the recent campaign. He remembered when the news of the battle of Chillian-wallah arrived, that his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose came down to the House and asked what was to be done for "the Indian army, and that the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown, in afterwards alluding to the matter, had admitted that the Indian army was in imminent peril.
§ MR. MANGLES
said, considering that they had such officers as had been so justly praised that evening, with the army, the general tone of despondency that had prevailed was surely not justified, as they had officers in the field who, it must be admitted, were fit to take the command of any army. When they had such officers in India as they had heard eulogised on that occasion, it must have been unnecessary to send over a general officer to take the command of the army there. Surely it could not be necessary to send a general from this country, a distance of 15,000 miles, to lead the army to victory.
§ VISCOUNT JOCELYN
begged to remark, in reference to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Montrose, that the limitation in the honours of the Bath applied to the Queen's troops as well as to the Company's service, and that the latter were not in any worse position than the officers in Her Majesty's service.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
I wish to say one word in reference to what has fallen from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Guildford behind me. When the hon. Member for Montrose alluded to the accounts that had been received from India, I certainly did say that the subject was under the consideration of the Government, but I expressed no despondency or anxiety with regard to the fate of the army. On the contrary, I stated that I felt entire confidence in the army, but I informed the House that I did think it was a proper step to take, to advise Her Majesty to appoint Sir Charles Napier to the chief command in India. But then Sir Charles Napier 755 was no new officer, sent to India for the first time, and having no previous connexion with the Indian army. He had served in India before, when his services were of the most brilliant and distinguished kind. We are of opinion that sending Sir Charles Napier to India was a step calculated to maintain the credit of the British army. Everybody knows that Lord Gough's usual service had expired, and that we might at any moment expect to receive such an announcement from him, as we have in point of fact now received, begging that a successor might be appointed in his place. The hon. Gentleman having really attributed words to me that I never uttered, I thought it necessary to make this explanation. I beg in addition to say, that I rejoice most sincerely that Lord Gough has had an opportunity to meet the enemy in the field, and to give him that discomfiture which has contributed so much to the glory of his own military services.
§ MR. MANGLES
explained. He did not attribute despondency to the noble Lord, but what he had stated was, that despondency prevailed throughout the country.
§ MR. GRATTAN
said, that the laudations that had been poured out on the gallant Commander-in-Chief in India would be responded to not the least warmly by the country to which Lord Gough belonged. It was the misfortune of that part of the empire to which he had just alluded, to have incurred the indignation of the vehicles of public news, and, he would add, of private slander, in this country; and it happened that when the career of Lord Gough was a little obscured, they opened their batteries upon him, and not the least serious of the charges against him was, that he happened to belong to his (Mr. Grattan's) unfortunate country. It was said that he was an old man, that he had not head, and that he never would gain a victory, though he might suffer a defeat. A great deal was said about his Tipperary tactics; but, unfortunately for the Times, there was a letter extant, from the pen of Sir Charles Napier, his successor, praising these very Tipperary boys that were abused so much. He believed that Lord Gough happened to be a true Irishman, and he only hoped that the country would have many Lord Goughs, many Sir Charles Napiers, and many such bad Tipperary gentlemen.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
begged, before the 756 Resolutions were put, to express his concurrence in all that had been said in praise of Lord Gough. He wished, at the same time, to call the attention of the House to the great services of Sir Joseph Thack-well, who, from the age of thirteen, when he first entered into the service of the British Crown, had, throughout a brilliant career, in connexion with the cavalry branch of the service, at all times conducted himself in a manner to deserve the gratitude of the country. He held in his hand a list of the actions in which Sir Joseph Thackwcll had been engaged; but at that hour he would not trespass on the time of the House by reading them. He had served in most brilliant cavalry encounters, and lost an arm at Waterloo.
The first Resolution, of thanks to the Governor General of India, having been put.
§ SIR R. PEEL
said: I have the impression. Sir, that this ought to be agreed to as a separate Resolution. I have very cordially to state to the House the satisfaction with which I join in this expression of its approbation of the character and conduct of the Earl of Dalhousie. That noble Lord has worked his way to public eminence and high station by the exhibition of those qualities that would have insured success, though he had not had the advantages of rank and title—by judgment, by temper, and by persevering industry, which conciliated confidence, and won the good opinion of all who came in contact with him. I think the noble Lord and Her Majesty's Government are entitled to great credit for acquiescing in the recommendation of the East India Company, and appointing to the high position of Governor General of India a man who stood in no immediate political connection with them, and whose political independence they did not in any way seek to fetter. They are entitled to take credit for the way in which they looked alone to the interests of India, and appointed a man whom they conscientiously believed to be the best qualified to discharge the duties that must necessarily devolve upon one holding his high and important office.
The Resolution was then agreed to; and the remaining Resolutions, having been read by Mr. SPEAKER, were also agreed to.
Resolved, nemitie contradicente—That the Thanks of this House be given to the Right Hon. the Earl of Dalhousie, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Governor
General of India, for the zeal and ability with which the resources of the British empire in the East Indies have been applied to the support of the Military Operations in the Punjab.
Resolved, nemine contradiccnte—That the Thanks of this House be given to General the Right hon. Lord Gough, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in India, for the conspicuous intrepidity displayed by him during the recent Operations in the Punjab, and, especially, for his conduct, on the 21st of February, 1849, in the Battle of Goojerat, when the British Army obtained a brilliant and decisive Victory.
Resolved, nemine contradicente—That the Thanks of this House be given to Major General Sir Joseph Thackwell, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Batii; to Major General Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert, Kniglit Commander of the Most Honourable Oriler of the Bath; to Major General William Samson Whish, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; and to Brigadier Generals the Hon. Henry Dundas, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Colin Campbell, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Hugh Massey Wheeler, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath; and James Tennant; and the several Officers, European and Native, under their Command, for the indefatigable zeal and exertions exhibited by them throughout the recent Campaign.
Resolved, nemine contradicente—That the Thanks of this House be given to the Non-Commissioned Officers, and Private Soldiers, European and Native, for the service rendered to the British Empire, by the signal overthrow of the numerous enemies combined in arms against them; and that the same he signified to them by the Commanders of the several Corps.
Resolved, nemine contradicente—That the Thanks of this House be given to Major General William Samson Whish, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, for his eminent services in conducting to a successful issue the Siege of the Fort and City of Mooltan.
Resolved, nemine contradicente—That the Thanks of this House be given to the several Officers, European and Native, under the command of Major General Whish, and to the Officers of the Indian Navy employed on that occasion, for their gallant Conduct during the Siege of Mooltan.
Resolved, nemine contradicente—That the Thanks of this House be given to the Non-Commissioned Officers and Private Soldiers and Seamen, European and Native, for the bravery and fortitude manifested by them during the Siege of Mooltan; and that the same be signified to them by their several Commanders.
Ordered—That these Resolutions be transmitted by Mr. Speaker to the Governor General of India, and that he be requested to communicate the same to the several Officers referred to therein.