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Wellesley had abolished the immolation of female children ; Lord William Bentinck the suttee, Lord Glenelg the pilgrim-tax; and in 1841 the East India Company sent orders to the Governor-General to have nothing to do with the native temples, to make no presents to them, and to employ no troops in doing them honour. But Lord Ellenborough had departed from the neutrality inculcated; he interfered in the concerns of an idol temple; made a gift to it, and sent troops with his present, that temple being dedicated to “Siva the Destroyer,” and to the most repulsive rites. Nor was he even a popular divinity ; for his temples were supported only by the Brahmins, and owned but small congregations. A proclamation which had excited such agitation in India, such condemnation in England, and such mockery in Europe, proved Lord Ellenborough's incapacity for his office. He should like to know if the Directors did not await the arrival of the next mail in extreme nervousness; could they answer the general cry, “What next 2 " Had Lord Ellenborough been his brother, Mr. Macaulay remarked, Lord Auckland could not have used more assiduity to leave him every advantage on assuming the functions which devolved on him ; the requital of Lord Ellenborough was the proclamation of the 1st of October, stigmatising Lord Auckland in his absence, and moreover, violating official decency and that state unity which is so necessary to the good government of such distant and extensive possessions. The date was even falsified to correspond with Lord Auckland's
roclamation of the 1st October, 1838; for Lord Ellenborough could
not know on the lst of October, that the prisoners were safe. (Mr. Hogg said that he received official information on the 4th.) Such a method of procuring a paltry triumph by the contrast, exhibited a mind and temper utterly unfitted for the high responsibility of his government. For the purpose of that paltry attack on Lord Auckland, he even incurred the liability of the reproach that he had disregarded the fate of the prisoners. Were the present Government prepared to carry out the late proclamation, to sanction the expectation of the Hindoos that there was to be a triumph for them, and that they were to be governed on Brahminical principles? Did they mean to authorize the restoration of the temple of Somnauth? or, rather, would not the gates be laid aside, and the gratification of the Hindoos be succeeded by disappointment 2 For the first time in history, the natives were beginning to laugh at a Governor-General. They acknowledged and respected the plainness and solidity of the English character; and though they bowed in the streets of Calcutta to the ostentation of a Nabob, with a beard to his waist, and turban and jewels of paste, they would have thought Sir Charles Metcalfe out of his wits had they met him in the same guise. Nor was the proclamation a real imitation of Eastern style; it was ratheranimitation of thetrashy addresses issued by the French Directory during the Revolution. It afforded, too, a very serious indication of the relation in whic
Lord Ellenborough stood to the civil service of India. It never could have had the approval of Mr. Maddock, by whom it was countersigned; and it was inexplicable, except on the assumption that the Governor-General, distant from his Council at Calcutta, had no one near him entitled to give him advice. . If the Directors would not recal him, at least let them send out orders for him to go back to his Council ; it was something to interpose the delay even of twenty-four hours between the conception of an absurdity and its execution. After some observations on the same side from Lord Palmerston the debate was continued by Lord John Russell, who endeavoured to prove, that the military leaders in Afghanistan had the real merit of the operations in that country, and he wound up the attack by declaring, that Lord Ellenborough would relieve this country from a great difficulty, and India from a great peril, if he retired. The defence was opened by— Mr. Emerson Tennent, in a speech of some length, defended the restoration of the gates as an act of policy, soothing to the vanity and sympathies of the Indians, and justifiable also, as enabling the Governor-General to record in Affghanistan the presence of a victorious British army without stain to the national reputation for humanity. As to the style of the proclamation, it ought not to be judged by English standards, having been promulgated not in English to English readers, but to Hindoo readers in Hindee. Mr. Tennent gave two extracts to illustrate the prevailing *. from native state papers, the flowery and figurative language of which occasioned much laughter in the House. He avowed his firm belief that Lord Ellenborough's mind was uninVol. LXXXV.
fluenced by the slightest feeling of partiality or of deference for the superstitions of the Hindoos. He saw the object of the motion, in the vain attempt to palliate the policy of the preceding GovernorGeneral by impugning the policy of his successor, and in the denunciations began by Lord Palmerston last year in that House, and continued for months by the press: the Opposition had discovered something to find fault with in a particular document, and found it convenient to forget the Governor-General's long vigilance and activity at the seat of War. After a few words from Mr. Hogg, who protested against this attempt to run down a distinguished public servant, and from other honourable Members, the defence of Lord Ellenborough was resumed by Lord Stanley, who remarked on the disposition of the Members who had assailed Lord Ellenborough to pick out small faults; he said that in his twenty years parliamentary experience, he did not recollect a time when such great events had occurred in India as within the last three years; yet he never, knew the party opposite so studious to abstain from touching upon the main features of the case, and to dwell pertinaciously on small items of the account, in order to inflict censure on an individual. “What have we seen occurring in India for the last two years? It was admitted by the late GovernorGeneral of India, that the British power in India had been shaken to its foundation. We hear nothing now from the noble Lord, the Member for Tiverton. Last year the noble Lord was loud in his threats of impeaching the Go
vernment for daring to withdraw from the last scene of our triumphs, for abandoning the large inlet which was just ready to be opened up to our commerce. We have withdrawn from our advanced position; we have sacrificed our commercial advantages; we have retired from the banks of the Indus; we have abandoned all the day-dreams, all the visions of glory and conquest, and possession, which possessed the mind of the noble Lord—and, I now ask of honourable Members opposite, whether any of them will impeach us for having done so : or whether they will not rather sanction, by their consent, our tacit condemnation of the line of policy which was proposed to be pursued by the noble Lord P.” Lord Stanley did not concur in Mr. Tennent's defence of the proclamation, which was “too boast. ful” and “too pompous,” and he did not think it judicious to abandon the open, frank, plain style of English state papers, without acquiring the ornaments attempted; but he objected to the extreme ingratitude of casting censure upon one to whose exertions the country was so much indebted. Sir R. Peel spoke of the proclamation in the same tone. With respect to the contemplated withdrawal of the troops, which formed one of the charges against Lord Ellenborough, Lord Auckland needed defence on the same point. “At the close of the Session last year, in that boastful and magniloquent tone which he so much reprehends in Lord Ellenborough's proclamations, the noble Lord (Palmerston) triumphantly asked, “Who is the man who contemplated retirement from Afghanistan P” I contented myself by
saying, “I could tell you;” but I said no more, because I was afraid that a premature declaration might compromise national interests and the safety of the British troops. But then, when the noble Lord was charging with disgrace and cowardice any Governor-General who could contemplate retirement from Affghanistan, I was in possession of a letter from his own Governor-General, dated the 3d December 1841, in which occurs the following passage : —[Here Sir Robert Peel read extracts from the dispatch by Lord Auckland, dated the 3d December 1841, in which, on learning the insurrection in Cabul, he distinctly anticipated the total withdrawal of the troops, should the military possession of the city be lost.]Did Lord Durham never issue a proclamation of which his Government disapproved? But then, they argued that a single error must be passed over. Be it so; and what were the circumstances under which Lord Ellenborough arrived in India 2–You say that you are continually asking the question “What next?” in connexion with Lord Ellenborough's acts. That was the sole occupation of Lord Ellenborough for four or five months after he reached India; and that was your doing. He landed at Madras on the 15th April, in full dependence upon your statements of the condition of that country—in full dependence upon the information furnished him by his predecessors in office. He landed, and the first thing he hears is, that there is an insurrection in Cabul; that the representatives of Her Majesty, Sir William M'Naughten and Sir Alexander Burnes, have been murdered; and that there are strong doubts entertained of the safety of the British army in Afghanistan, What next 3 He proceeds to Calcutta; and what does he hear there? He there hears for the first time of the order issued by his predecessor in the government to evacuate Afghanistan with as little discredit as possible. He then repairs to Benares; and what next 2 At Benares he hears the tremendous news that not only had we lost all military power in Aff. ghanistan, but that the spirit of the native army has been so weakened and depressed, as to render its recovery almost impossible. At Benares he hears the facts which caused Major-General Pollock to write this letter to Captain Macgregor—[Sir Robert Peel here read the note dated 12th March, 1842, which described General Pollock's helpless condition in Peshawur, unable to advance to the relief of General Sale, because he wanted reinforcements, and because four regiments of Native troops were in a state of panic and consequent disaffection.] —What next P. On the 17th April he hears of the failure of General England in the Bolan Pass. What next He hears that Ghuznee has fallen; that it is no longer in our possession; that the barony of Ghuznee has no longer any territorial connexion with the title. These were the questions that Lord Ellenborough had to ask from day to day ; these are the questions which he had to consider during a period of four or five months daily and hourly.” Sir R. Peel closed his speech by remarking, that it would give a ten times more fatal blow to religion than anything in the injudicious proclamation, if party hos
tility to Lord Ellenborough were cloaked under the sacred garb of religion. On a division, the motion was negatived by 242 to 157. On Tuesday, the 14th February, the following resolutions with respect to the services of the fleet and army employed in the late operations in China, were moved in the Houses of Lords and Commons, by the Duke of Wellington and Lord Stanley, and were unanimously agreed to:— “That the thanks of this House be given to Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough, Baronet, G.C.B., Vice-Admiral Sir W. Parker, G.C.B., and Commodore Sir Gordon Bremer, K.C.B., for the distinguished skill, intrepidity, and indefatigable zeal with which they have conducted the combined operations of Her Majesty's naval and military forces on the coasts and on the inland waters of China; whereby a series of brilliant and unvaried successes has been concluded by an honourable peace on the terms proposed by Her Ma
“That the thanks of the House be given to Major-General Lord Saltoun, K.C.B., Major-General George Burrell, C.B., MajorGeneral Sir Robert Bartley, K.C.B., Major-General Sir James Holmes Schoedde, K.C.B., and the other officers of the Navy, Army, and Royal Marines, including those in the service of the East India Company, both European and Native, for the energy, ability, and gallantry with which they have executed the various services which they have been called upon to perform.
“That this House doth acknowledge and highly approve of the gallantry, discipline, and uniform good conduct displayed by the petty officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, of the Navy, Army, and Royal Marines, including the troops in the service of the East India Company, both European and Native; the cordial good feeling which has subsisted between all the branches of the United services; and the honourable emulation exhibited by all in the discharge of the various duties required by the peculiar nature of the operations to be performed ; and that the same be communicated to them by the commanders of the several ships and corps, who are respectively desired to thank them for their gallant behaviour.” And on the 20th of the same month, the Duke of Wellington, in the House of Lords, moved the following resolutions with respect to the services of Afghanistan:— “ 1. That the thanks of this House be given to the Right Hon. Lord Ellenborough, Governor-General of the British possessions in the East Indies, for the ability and judgment with which the resources of the British empire in India have been applied to the support of the military operations in Affghanistan. 2. That the thanks of this House be given to Major-General Sir George Pollock, G.C.B., to Major-General Sir William Nott, G.C.B., to Major-General Sir John M'Caskill, K.C.B., to Major. General Richard England, and the other officers of the Army, both European and Native, for the intrepidity, skill, and perseverance displayed by them in the military operations in Affghanistan, and for their indefatigable zeal and exertions throughout the late cam
paign. 3. That this House doth
highly approve and acknowledge the valour and patient perseverance displayed by the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers, both European and Native, employed in Afghanistan; and that . same be signified to them by the commanders of the several corps, who are desired to thank them for their gallant behaviour.” The Duke, in support of his motion, in a concise and very interesting manner, showed the state of the country shortly before the outbreak of the insurrection in Cabul in the month of October, 1841, and detailed the unfortunate operations subsequent to the outbreak—the loss of the Commissariat fort—the continued attacks on the cantonments—and the effects of harassing duty and insufficient supplies upon the spirits and health of the garrison. It almost always happened that soldiers, when their health suffered, lost their spirits, and the energy which is generally co-existent with health of body. The natural results of such a condition of the army was the breaking up of general subordination and obedience to orders. In fact, the discipline of the army was gone; the animals were famishing; the soldiers were in almost a state of mutiny; and the followers of the army were in a condition of complete disorder. Never were men in a worse state than those men were before and for more than a month after the attack upon Captain Burnes's house. It was, as many of their Lordships already knew, thought proper that a Commissioner should be appointed to negociate with those who had been at the head of the insurrection, and who had been concerned in guiding the measures of the in