Roberts, Coopland, Alexander Duff and many others regarded it as a long concocted Mohammedan conspiracy against the supremacy and rule of the English in India. John William Kaye and C B Malleson were of the view that the rebellion as a joint endeavour of the two great communities -- Hindus and Muslims. John Bruce Norton regarded the uprising as a rebellion of the people rather than merely a mutiny of the soldiers. Many English writers, such as Malleson and Kaye, subscribed to this view and considered the uprising of as an organised campaign to drive away the English from India.
Benjamin Disraeli, the British prime minister, while speaking in the House of Commons, recognised the real character of the upheaval and declared the movement as a national revolt. Jawaharlal Nehru also wrote: However, R C Majumdar expressed a radically different view. He said that the 'so- called First National war of Independence in is neither First, nor National, nor a war of Independence'. He holds the view that a general revolt or a war of Independence necessarily involves a definite plan and organisation, broad in perspective.
The uprising of was however limited only to a greater part of UP and a narrow zone of its east, west and south. Historians remain divided on whether the rebellion can properly be considered a war of Indian independence. Arguments against this include the fact that a united India did not exist at the time in political terms or that the rebellion remained confined to the ranks of the Bengal army which nonetheless was the largest of the armies in India and in North-Central India.
Arguments in favour say that even though the rebellion had various causes sepoy grievances, British high-handedness, the Doctrine of Lapse, etc , most of the rebel sepoys set out to revive the old Mughal Empire, which signified a national symbol for them, instead of heading home or joining services of their regional principalities, which would not have been unreasonable if their revolt were only inspired by grievances. However, it is clear that most of the Indian people accept the latter view and consider it as the First War of Independence.
After , the British scaled down their programme of reform, increased the racial distance between Europeans and native Indians, and also sought to appease the gentry and princely families, especially Muslims, who had been major instigators of the revolt. After , the zamindars regional feudal officials became more oppressive, the caste system became more pronounced, and the communal divide between Hindus and Muslims became marked and visible. This as some historians argue, led to the policy of 'divide and rule'.
As a boy he was fond of a joke, quick in wit and ready in repartee, a writer of poetry and romance: John Hope of Netley in Shropshire, where he used to pass his summer holidays. In he was attending classes at King's College. His friend Cowley Powles writes: At that he worked hard: Amongst his friends at college were Charles Kingsley, Fitz- James Stephens, Nassau Senior and Benjamin Shaw, with whom he used to carry on wordy duels in their dusty lodgings.
When some one advised him to take more sleep for the sake of his constitution, he replied, " Constitution indeed! Life is nothing, time is nothing, but the things for which we live are all that is to be regarded. Sir Richard consented, and years after, when the fame of Herbert Edwardes in Bunnu came to England, Sir Richard wrote to a kinsman in Salop, " I congratulate you upon the high name young Edwardes has gained for himself by exploits so brilliant and so advantageous to his country. I feel much elated with the thought that I have been the means of placing such a man in the Company's service.
A fellow-passenger thus describes him: He did not often join in the active games and amusements in which young men on board ship generally engage. An amusing letter to his friend Cowley thus describes the daily routine: Well, a black rascal makes an oration by my bed every morning about half an hour before daylight. I wake and see him salaaming with a cup of hot coffee in his hand. I sit in a chair and wash the teaspoon till the spoon is hot and the fluid cold, while he introduces me gradually into an ambush of pantaloons and Wellingtons. I am shut up in a red coat, and a glazed lid set upon my head, and thus carefully packed ride a couple of hundred yards to the parade.
Here two or three hundred very cold people are assembled and we all agree to keep ourselves warm with a game of soldiers, and we wheel and turn about till the sun gets up to see what the row is about ; then, like frightened children, we all scamper off" for our home. If there be no parade, I take a gallop with my dogs: His chief pleasure was in showing kindness and sympathy to any who needed it, and many were the prayers that went up to bless him, even when he was only a subaltern. In he began to write for the Delhi Gazette a series of letters, called " the Brahminee Bull letters,'"" dealing critically with the mistakes and follies of the military events of the day.
He was inwardly amused to hear them discussed at mess, pronounced to be written by some general who had long experience in the field. These letters were the first step to promotion: But before he went to Lahore he saw, as aide-de-camp to Sir Hugh Gough, two victories won over the Sikhs, the battles of Moodkie and Sobraon. Lahore was the capital of the Sikh kingdom of the late Runjeet Singh: Henry Lawrence, as Resident at this court, was surround- ing himself with a band of earnest and vigorous young men who should help him in his endeavour to guide the govern- ment and protect the oppressed.
Out of these Henry Lawrence chose Edwardes as his private secretary: The Punjab had been misgoverned, and Lawrence was bent on steering the ship of State into less troubled waters. When at last annexation was found to be necessary, Lawrence became the President of a Board of three members appointed by the Governor-General, who was sent out by the Court of Directors and was more autocratic than our modern viceroys. So with Lawrence there was no " red tape,"" no acting according to law and rule ; but he sent out his assistants into wild districts, leaving it to their wisdom and discretion to settle the country and make the people happy.
That was the early history of our Punjab. Thus, in February , Edwardes was sent in command of a Sikh force to make an amicable settlement with the people of Bunnu, an Afghan valley west of the Indus, who had for twenty-five years failed to pay their annual tribute to Runjeet Singh, the "lion of the Punjab.
Little did England then know how important Edwardes"" services had been: His brave and generous nature made the natives 58 THE CHRISTIAN KNIGHT love him ; his confidence in them bred confidence in return ; and when the storm of revolt surged about Peshawur, and Edwardes and Nicholson called for levies to fill the place of disarmed mutineers, readily the faithful wild men sprang up to answer to the call, and joyfully they marched to help us in the siege of Delhi.
Edwardes had gone through great exposure in the summer heat and had defeated the traitor Moolraj in two pitched battles ; he had had many hairbreadth escapes in battle and from assassination ; a price had been set on his head, and his servants had been bribed to poison him. An attack of fever made a change of climate necessary, so in the close of Edwardes left Lahore with John Nicholson and the two little girls of John Lawrence and dropped down the Indus in boats to Bombay, stopping every night to give the children a run on the sandy shore.
In that long boat journey the two heroes cemented a friendship already begun, and from papers left it is clear they discussed the coming storm of revolt and the con- spiracy that occurred in The Commander-in-Chief, Lord Gough, was going home in the same steamer to England, and as Edwardes stood on the paddle-box watching his countrymen cheer his Chief, he was surprised to hear, " Edwardes, come down ; you are called for. His modesty comes out again a few weeks later, when he was being feted at the Mansion House and was returning thanks in the presence of the Duke of Wellington and other distinguished officers.
For, turning to his friend John Nicholson seated at his side, he said, " Here, gentlemen, here is the real author of half the exploits which the world has been so ready to attribute to me. It was their first home together: In ten days they had to start, after selling house and furniture, and in their new abode there was no house and an Englishwoman had never been seen there before.
The Commissioner much regretted his departure: There is not a corner of the district where his impress has not been already felt — I grieve over his departure more than I can tell. One Sikh regiment with four officers, two of whom were married, formed the whole society of the place ; but sorrow and trouble came to them. The Sikhs on being ordered to build their own huts, refused ; they were not coolies, they said. This looked like mutiny, and the Government called for a court-martial upon the commanding officer.
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He was only twenty-seven, and, fearing disgrace, shot himself, leaving a young wife and two little children. Keith, died of fever: The Sikhs were ashamed of what they had done, and began to build their huts before the new commander arrived. In October the news came that Edwardes' com- missioner, Colonel Mackeson, had been assassinated at Peshawur, as he was hearing appeals in the verandah of his house. For a very devout man, to all appearances, had spread his carpet near the commissioner's house, and had engaged in devotions through the day. Towards evening he went up and presented a petition: As Peshawur was full of armed Afghans, the excitement was great ; officers slept with their boots on, ready for an immediate call, and the Europeans felt as though they were living on the verge of a volcano.
In a few days Edwardes received a letter from Lord Dalhousie, offering him the commissionership of Peshawur. God speed you in it ; both for your own sake and for the sake of this Empire. Whenever a plundering party raided the district, Edwardes barred the whole tribe from dealing at the Peshawur market until restitution was made: His next stroke of policy was to bring about a friendly feeling with Cabul, and to get a treaty signed with the Ameer. Sir John Lawrence, the chief commissioner at Lahore, wrote to Edwardes: They would say, ' Yes, yes, Nicholson was undoubtedly a great man, but he would not have kept us true to govern- ment.
He was so stern ; we feared him, but we did not love him. Edwardes compelled us to like him better than any other Feringhee. To the honour of Dost Mohamed Khan we must record that all through the Sepoy war he remained true to the treaty, and abstained under great temptations from raising the green flag of Islam and marching with his wild legions into the Punjab. Had he done so, it is doubtful if we could have kept India.
Such power had the moral force of Edwardes to stay the great mutiny! In February , John Nicholson, who had been holding the post of deputy-commissioner at Bunnu, had had some differences with Sir John Lawrence, and, feeling himself aggrieved, had asked to be removed. Often they fell at his feet as their guru, or religious teacher, and though Nicholson flogged them soundly for doing it they remained as devoted as ever, and at his death some of them pined away and died.
After having the charge of Cashmere for six months Nicholson was sent to Peshawur as deputy-commissioner, and the two friends once more were together, sympathising in each other's views and working in accord. In March , Edwardes had to take his sick wife to Calcutta for England: On his way back to the north-west Edwardes visited his spiritual father and friend, Sir Henry Lawrence, at Luck- now. He wrote home to his wife: He laid great stress on, ' Enable us to live in love with many and charity to all. Edwardes advised Sir John Lawrence, by wire, to collect a movable column in order to march on any disaffected station and put down revolt with the bayonet.
Sir John had not yet awoke to the danger of the revolt and did not wish any new troops to be raised! Neville Chamberlain went down, at their request, to see Sir John, for already time was being lost ; but Sir John summoned Edwardes down to Rawul Pindee, where he stayed two days. After this friendly meeting Lawrence opposed the raising of levies no more, and indeed became most eager to sanction any number.
The time lost had operated in discouraging the chiefs in sending in levies of horse and foot for the purpose of overawing the dis- affected Hindoos: Edwardes and his friends in the Punjab were aghast at the failure of the Meerut division to strike a blow, and at the delay of the commander-in-chief at Umballa. But there was another Mutiny hero up and doing: Lieutenant Alexander Taylor of the Engineers cut away the bridge of boats, and thus prevented the 55th Native Infantry from joining the rest of the mutineers.
The commanding officers were summoned and a painful scene followed: But Nicholson and Edwardes had persuaded General Cotton over to their views, and he settled the question by saying, " Gentlemen, no more discussion. These are my orders, and I must have them obeyed.
To their officers it was a most affecting sight to see their men putting their firelocks into the artillery waggons: But the good result was instantaneous. On the return from the disarming parade hundreds of Khans who had stood aloof the day before, watching which way the cat would jump, now offered their service: The sepoy regiments were in revolt, but the people of India — the patient, industrious millions — never stirred!
When we went to India we found the Hindoos being oppressed by the Mahommedans: Nicholson set off to bring the 55th Regiment, at Murdan, to order. When his column came in sight of the fort, all but a hundred and twenty men had mutinied and gone off towards Swat. Colonel Spottiswood, their commander, had blown his brains out with a pistol: The mutineers were pursued, after the fort had been secured ; but only the cavalry could hope to catch them.
Nicholson on his big grey charger rode in front, was twenty hours in the saddle and rode seventy miles. Here and there the cavalry hunting the enemy in villages and ravines overtook desperate parties of mutineers, of whom a hundred were killed, a hundred and fifty taken prisoners, and about four hundred got clear away into the hills: But he had only half as many men and guns as the enemy, and succour could not arrive from home for three months or more. Fortunately Dost Mahomed Khan was true to his friendship and treaty of peace, and the chiefs of all the hill tribes were eager to send levies: And we must remember that it was Herbert Edwardes who won over the Ameer.
One day while Edwardes sat in his study, busy with reports and orders and letters, one of his men ran in and cried, " O Sahib, armed hill men are coming into the cantonment and calling out for your house. Edwardes made them sit down on the lawn and seated himself in their midst: Each man who had done a wrong or injury was adjudged to pay a fine to the injured party before he was allowed to put his name down as a recruit.
They might have cut me in pieces and dispersed themselves immediately.
Habit has taught me this: Edwardes himself had told the chief commissioner that if the order to retreat came from Lahore he should resign his post at once, and inform Lord Canning of his reasons: Meanwhile Multanee horse and foot, volun- tary levies, were being fitted out to reinforce Nicholson. These men had fought against us in the war of , and had been liberally treated after their defeat: What a blow it is! What a number of hearts loved him, at home and here, black as well as white. He was our master, friend, example, all in one ; a father to us in the great earnest public life to which he led us forth Trials and mercies, storm and sun, had ripened him for a better world, and poured that drop of the love of Christ into his heart which hallows the love of our neighbour.
But he was equal to the trial: He clung to Herbert Edwardes spiritually, as a child to his mother! It was very trying to Edwardes to have to stay at Peshawur collecting levies, disarming traitors, and arming the faithful for the conflict, while his greatest friends were risking their lives in the struggle. But no less was he working for the crushing of the Mutiny, almost exhausting the Punjab of troops in order to strengthen the Delhi force.
Nicholson wrote to Edwardes: He did not forget his wounded friends, but visited them, or escorted them when convalescent. In October, Edwardes heard that Agra had been relieved. For after the capture of Delhi, General Wilson dispatched a corps of men, under the command of Colonel Edward Greathed of the 5th Foot, to open the country between Delhi and Agra. Greathed started on the 24th of September in a south- east direction and punished where he found the natives had committed atrocities.
He took Bulanshahr and Malagarh. In the latter he had the misfortune to lose, by an accident. Lieutenant Home of the Engineers, one of the survivors of the gallant officers who had blown up the Kashmir gate at Delhi. On reaching the next town, Khurja, the fury of the troops was roused by the sight of a skeleton stuck up on the roadside for all to see — the medical officers pronounced it to be the skeleton of a European female.
There was a cry for instant vengeance, but the civil officer accompanying the force con- trived to calm the troops and spare the city. When forty-eight miles from Agra, Greathed received a letter from the authorities at Agra imploring help. He therefore sent off that night of the 9th October, the cavalry and horse artillery, and four hours later followed with the infantry, mounting his men on elephants, carts, and camels. It was a spacious grassy plain having some high crops about yards distant. The camp was pitched, the horses picketed, and the men threw off their accoutrements and betook themselves to breakfast.
Greathed had been informed that the rebels were ten miles away, so few precautions were taken. He did not know they were lying hidden in the tall crops close at hand. Presently four of them, dressed as conjurers, came strolling up to the advanced guard of the 9th Lancers. Our soldiers needed no further alarm: But French, who led the Lancers, was killed, and Jones, his subaltern, was dangerously wounded. Still, this gave Greathed time to deploy his line, covered by a battery of Eurasian soldiers under Pearson, which rendered excellent service.
The sudden transforma- tion of a sleeping mass of men into an organised army scared the rebels, and they fled to their camp seven miles away. They were pursued by horse and guns to the river ; thirteen guns and vast quantities of waggons full of ammuni- tion were brought back. The weary victors had done over sixty miles in thirty-six hours before this battle ; so splendidly was Agra saved and law and order once more established. Edwardes at Peshawur heard the news with a feeling of relief. Edwardes made the Afghans our friends, and so rendered the Punjab secure and able to send all its troops down to Delhi.
Men in India understood this, but away in England his services were for a long time overlooked. Lumsden wrote from Candahar in January Will England never learn to recognise the right men? Taylor took Delhi ; and some people we know saved the Punjab. Such men are apt to be over- looked by the distributors of honours. It was not until that Edwardes received the honour of knighthood, K. In January , Sir Herbert and his wife again set sail for India to take up his new appointment of Commissioner of Umballa, whence he returned in They were both worn out with work and anxiety, and when Lady Edwardes told the doctors she was strong enough to stay on in India for his sake, they replied: Among his last words were: I trust entirely to Jesus: I put full confidence in Jesus, and I couldn't do more if I lived a thousand years.
The " Edwardes Gateway " at Peshawur and the well- fountain at Bunnu,now called Edwardes-a-bad, commemorate his services in India. In the midst of a brilliant career of soldierly daring he committed one act which has been regarded from different points of view: We shall see later what was the ambiguous deed which Hodson committed: Like Sir Herbert Edwardes, he was the son of a country rector, who lived at Maisemore Court, near the Severn, to the north of Gloucester.
May Stephen, be- longed to a family of lawyers, intimate with Wilberforce and Macaulay. Born in , he grew up a shapely, slim lad with frank blue eyes and yellow hair: At fifteen he was sent to Rugby, being older than most boys at entrance: He was a good hand at keeping order, and when Cotton's house was growing unruly from lack of pragposters, Arnold transferred Hodson from Price''s house to Cotton's — in a week all disorder ceased!
His faults were arrogance, rashness, and a domineering temper ; if one bears this in mind, it is easy to understand the errors into which he fell in India. By the time Hodson took his degree he was too old to get an Indian cadetship: On leaving Guernsey, Sir William wrote him a flattering testimonial, in which he remarked: On the voyage to Calcutta Hodson was deeply grieved at losing his dog: Hodson was a great lover of animals ; dogs and cats instinctively clung to him for love and protection. After staying three weeks with the Chief Justice of Bengal at Garden Reach, a pretty suburb by the river- side, Hodson went by river towards Agra, to join a native regiment, 2nd Bengal Grenadiers, which was to form part of Sir Henry Hardinge's escort from Agra to Ferozepur.
Thomason gave Hodson a horse, which carried him many a march, from 4 a. During the Mutiny he grieved over the wounds of his charger as of his dearest friend. The officers used to ride before the band, and frequently Hodson would dismount in the cold dawn and run seven or eight miles to keep himself warm.
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At Umballa he saw 12, of the finest troops drawn up in one line: Sir Hugh Gough, the commander-in-chief, was preparing to meet these warriors. Hodson's first battle, Mudki, was fought after a fasting march of twenty-five miles: In the battles fought against the Sikhs the sepoys often refused to face the grape, and only the British regiments stood firm. After four days' fighting, and nights spent on the ground in great cold, they got a rest and some real food, and water flavoured with gunpowder!
Infantry attacking guns — that was his first ordeal of war, and the enemy were the proudest and bravest fighting race in the East. In sixty days the Sikh army was over- thrown. My own regiment received a volley from behind as we advanced! The 1st Europeans fell before our eyes in numbers by a volley from our own 45th Sepoys. In disgust he asked to be transferred to a European regiment, the 1st Fusiliers ; war had decimated them, but they had covered themselves with glory.
He stayed a month and enjoyed a friendship with that good and great man which lasted all his hfe. I get a good deal of help from him ; he works willingly and sensibly. A motley army went with them, composed of stalwart Sikhs in small blue turbans and giant Afghans with voluminous headgear, Brahmins and Gurkhas — all bent on frightening the men of Cashmere into submission to Gulab Singh, whom we had placed over them for a large concession!
This maharaja, with all his engaging person- ality and gentlemanly manner, had a habit of skinning his personal enemies alive! When accused of having flayed 12, men, he rephed indignantly: I have only skinned three — what!
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The women of Cashmere, Hodson describes as a wretched set, only good for beasts of burden, dirty, and atrociously ugly. Lawrence for the children of our soldiers among the pines of Himalaya. He had to learn how to cut down trees and make planks, doors, and windows ; how to quarry rocks and make bricks — and then teach all this to his native workmen. He liked the work, because it was to rescue the soldier's child from an infancy of contamination and ignorance, and perhaps from an early death.
And yet this was the young Englishman whom some moralists pronounced more un- feeling than the dissolute princes of Delhi! Sir Henry had lately formed a new and splendid corps — the Guides — he now asked Hodson to accept the adjut- ancy of this regiment. As first raised it consisted of one troop of horse and two companies of foot, and was placed under Lieutenant H. Lumsden, afterwards Sir Harry Lumsden. Amongst the men enlisted were old Sikh soldiers, Pathans, and Hindostanee soldiers who had served with the Sikhs. The object of this corps was to train men in peace to be efficient in war: In addition to all this work, Hodson was still kept on the staff at Lahore, and worked in Sir Henry Lawrence's office.
But in November Henry Lawrence had to go to England on sick leave for two years, and the friends were parted. Among those who rejoiced at Hodson's appointment to the Guides was Herbert Edwardes, who wrote home: So venerable a beast, they said, should have fair play. In the second Sikh War and the siege of Multan occupied Edwardes, and the Guides distinguished themselves by courage and Hodson by strategy: In a letter home Hodson describes one of his little affairs — one bold hill-man had beaten off four sowars troopers one after another.
He then rushed at Hodson like a tiger, and closed with him, yelling, " Wah guru-ke- jai," and wielding his tulwar fiercely. At length I pressed in my turn so sharply upon him that he missed his blow, and I caught his tulwar with my bridle-hand, wrenched it from him and cut him down with the right, having re- ceived no further injury than a severe cut across the fingers.
Hodson's plain speaking offended the older officers — for he inveighed against promotion by seniority or senility ; all elasticity, he said, was gone when men became colonels ; all energy and enterprise was worn out. One cavalry com- mander at Chilianwala could not mount his horse unaided. A brigadier of infantry was so blind he could not see his regiment until his horse's nose touched the bayonets, and even then he asked plaintively, " Pray, which way are the men facing, Mr. At the close of Hodson went down to Calcutta to meet the lady he was to marry, the widow of John Mitford.
The wedding took place privately in the cathedral, and, after a visit to Mr. Thomason at Agra, Hodson had to leave his bride at Umballa. For he was obliged to make his way to Ludhiana, " to try a lot of gentlemen who had devoted their youthful energies to strangling their neighbours by the simple art of Thuggi. An expedition among the wild tribes of the Hazara gave him an opportunity of showing how he could handle his men in mountain warfare.
In it was bruited about that Hodson was very un- popular with his regiment and with military men generally ; but Sir Richard Temple said he had marvellously attached the Guides to himself by the ties of mutual honour, daring, and devotion. But there is no doubt that this young soldier, who took war so seriously and scientifically, began to be disliked by the slow-moving men of the old school.
One of his bitterest enemies was his own adjutant, Turner, who was transferred in from the Guides to a regiment of Punjab Cavalry. Hodson's chief commissioner, John Lawrence, must have heard stories to his discredit ; for he wrote to Hodson and stated that neither the European nor the native officers were contented under his command. Hodson had taken great pains to discover the men who had plotted the murder of Mackeson ; he had seized and imprisoned a border chief named Khadar Khan, for it was one of his servants who dealt the blow.
Major Edwardes reported the case to Lord Dalhousie as one of wrongful imprisonment. Soon after, the Court of Directors decreed that Hodson should never again be employed in any civil capacity. Fools may make mistakes, but if a genius trips every dullard is eager to hound him down and impute low motives. Turner had been going about saying that Hodson had falsified the regimental accounts ; in December a court of inquiry sat at Peshawur, and Hodson was ordered to give up his command during the sitting.
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A most extraordinary order was published, calling upon all who had claims upon Hodson to bring them forward without delay. Such an order among Orientals was grossly unfair; of course all the scoundrels in the regiment came forward with false claims. Lord Napier did what he could for Hodson, and urged him to have all the Persian accounts translated into English. By working night and day Hodson managed to get the translation finished. He asked for a full and public examination of the whole case, and said he did not fear the result, if only they would hear him on his defence.
The Court decided that Hodson's accounts were most unsatisfactory. Then Hodson de- manded a court-martial, but John Lawrence asked Major Reynell Taylor to examine and report upon Hodson"'s alleged misdealings. For three months the Major worked at the accounts ; he did not like doing it, but as he pro- ceeded he found that all had been quite satisfactory, though unbalanced and undetailed — but Hodson had taken the accounts over from Lumsden in considerable confusion.
Colonel Lord Napier was delighted ; he was a good soldier and rejoiced that Hodson had been found honourable and upright. But there it ended! Taylor's report to Simla was filed and put away and forgotten. Hodson quietly made his way to the hill-station of Dagshai and resumed his place as regimental subaltern in the 1st Fusiliers.
So the Prince of Scouts might have remained unnoticed ; but when real warfare begins we cannot afford to throw away such talent. Of course Hodson felt the reverse very keenly: Sorrows have a habit of coming in jolly troops ; the best way is to fight against despair, and not put down every disagreeable contretemps to an overruling Pro- vidence. Subsequently Hodson had an interview with General Anson, the commander-in-chief, who had never heard of Major Taylor's good report!
General Anson was most kind and cordial, and promised to write to Lord Canning about the case. Meanwhile the Mutiny broke out, and no letters could pass between Simla and Calcutta ; but General Anson gave Hodson a staff appointment on his own responsibility. As soon as the telegraph wires flashed to Simla the news of the bloody revolt at Meerut on 10th May, and of the atrocities at Delhi, where English men, women, and children were butchered in street and square and palace, within sight and hearing of the king and his sons, General Anson at once ordered the dispatch of the white troops that garrisoned the hill-stations of Kussowlie, Dagshai, and Sabathu.
So Hodson marched with his regiment to Umballa, and met his chief on the 15th May. This was no time for snubbing young heroes because they were arrogant and masterful. But he did more: Hodson started from Kurnal for Meerut on 20th May with a troop of Sikh horse — at dawn the next day he galloped through the pickets, having ridden seventy-six miles. He interviewed General Wilson, took a bath and some breakfast, had two hours' sleep, and then rode back, having had to fight his way some thirty miles of the distance. How men talked of this daring and successful ride!
All old libellous tales were forgotten when the presence of danger called for a real man. The officers at Kurnal sat watching him in awestruck silence as, after a wash, the tired rider tackled his plate with ravenous appetite. When he had finished, someone wishing for more, said " Well?
For Hodson was the life and soul of the whole force marching down to Delhi. Pathan and Sikh listened to his merry voice, and the spirit of worship grew in their brave and generous souls. Here was a white man who knew not fear: Meanwhile Hodson began to raise recruits for his Irregular Horse — if he could get them. In batches they kept on coming to Delhi, where Hodson and two or three subalterns set to and drilled them into form. Seaton had just ridden to the Ridge, escaping from his mutineers, and Hodson shared his tent with him: General Thomason gives a lively account of one of Hodson's single-combat fights near Delhi.
I shall never forget Hodson's face as he met this man. It was smiles all over. This went on for a short time, when a neat point from Hodson put an end to the performance! When the men of the Guides saw their old commander, they shouted " Hodson sahib! Officers hearing the hubbub and seeing the crowding round the tall, yellow-haired Englishman, ran out of their tents, crying, " What is it? Are they mobbing him? Almost every day there were fights and alarms, sorties to be repelled, houses to be cleared and blown up. Sometimes Hodson would ride and take a look round. Some officers grumbled and said the way he exposed himself to iire was sheer madness ; but Hodson, like Nicholson, preferred to see things for himself.
When he caught a severe cold, General Barnard insisted on having him in his own tent. He could not help feeling proud at being earnestly requested to resume a command of which his enemies had deprived him out of jealousy. On 23rd June, the centenary of Plassey, the rebels came out with all their available men and guns: All day long the fight went on under a burning sun which knocked over many officers and men ; Hodson was in the saddle most of the day and bears testimony to the conduct of his old Guides and his new Sikhs and Gurkhas.
We might have suffered more than we did from this fierce sortie, but Hodson's native spies had warned him of the coming danger. These spies, says Seaton, came in at all hours and in all disguises, carrying mysterious little scrolls about their person: The English soldiers soon got to know and appreciate the great scout. Major Coke with a force of all arms and the Guides set out to intercept the rebels and had to struggle through swamp and marsh; both men and horses were terribly knocked up, and could hardly crawl back to camp.
One day the laugh was raised against the wily scout: But Captain Hodson too must needs ride up to them ; he accosted them, and a friendly and even merry conversation ensued — " A party of the 9th Irregulars, are you? Then we're all irregular! They were rebel cavalry in retreat! How they laughed at mess that night when the story was told how the cunning intelligence officer had chummed with the enemy, and had seen at a glance that they were friendly sepoys!
To catch that weasel napping was a comedy worth laughing at. A distinguished officer writes: It was strange how many hairbreadth escapes Hodson had: General Reed was ill ; Chamberlain was wounded, because his men hesitated and he jumped his horse over a wall into the throng of rebels to give them a lead ; Wilson of the Bengal Artillery took the chief command, but he was unequal to the strain, and had little force of will.
On the 19th of July, the news of the Cawnpur massacre came in: General Wilson met this by ordering a regimental band to play cheerful tunes every morning: On July 23rd, Colonel Seaton was wounded and carefully tended by Hodson. On 4th August, the news came that Havelock had fought his way into Cawnpur, but was too late to save the women and children. Hodson''s mouth closed with a grim deter- mination. May our vengeance be as speedy as it will un- questionably be sure.
Nicholson rode into camp, and men took heart again as the Punjab column, strong, marched into camp with bands playing and followed by cheering soldiers. An officer who served before Delhi thus describes Hodson's manner: A beautiful swordsman, he never failed to kill his man ; and the way he used to play with the most brave and furious of these rebels was perfect. I fancy I see him now, smiling, laughing, parrying most fearful blows as calmly as if he were brushing off flies, and calling out all the time, ' Why, try again now! There were men sick in hospital, and General Wilson had lost all nerve.
But on 4th September came the heavy siege guns and mortars drawn by elephants, and miles of bullock-carts laden with shot and shell. All through the first week in September the troops were busy making ready for the assault soon to be made upon the city. On the morning of the 12th some fifty heavy guns and, mortars were playing upon the crumbling walls and giving the rebels little rest from their constant hail.
It was arranged, at Nicholson's request, that Hodson should accompany the column which Nicholson would lead in pursuit of the mutineers after the capture of Delhi. But Nicholson was to lead one of the storming columns on the 14th, and this " gambler's throw," as the sick General Wilson called it, might prove fatal. For the rebel gunners were every whit as skilful as the British, since it had been the practice of the English in India to train the sepoys to serve the guns. The besieged had seen what was impend- ing, and had mounted heavy guns all along the northern face: Home leaped into the diich unhurt.
Salkeld, who was shot through the arms and leg, handed the port-fire to Burgess, who fell dead before he could take it. Then Sergeant Carinichael lit theirain, and with a deafening crash the gate was blown open. This trench they lined with infantry and sharpshooters. On the afternoon of the 13th, Wilson directed that the breaches should be examined. Medley and Lang inspected the Kashmir bastion, Greathed and Home the Water bastion ; both reported the breach practicable. Then Baird- Smith advised Wilson to assault on the morrow.
Thus at 3 a. The bags were laid and the men were turning back when the rebels opened fire. Home jumped into the ditch unhurt ; Salkeld was shot through the arms and leg, and fell back on the bridge. But Burgess fell dead. Then Sergeant Carmichael sprang forward and lit the fusee: The next moment a fearful explosion shattered the massive gate. Home then told the bugler, Hawthorne, to sound the advance. The bugle-call, three times repeated, was never heard in the din and tumult. But Campbell, the commander of the third column, had noticed the explosion and ordered the advance.
They entered the city just as the first and second columns had won the breaches. For two hours, whilst these assaults were being made, Hodson and his men had to sit on horseback under heavy fire, waiting to prevent the enemy from coming out. That afternoon Wilson removed his headquarters into that part of Delhi which the columns led by Nicholson, Jones, and Campbell had won at the cost of so many brave lives: The death of Major Jacob made Hodson a captain: Hodson assisted at his burial, and said, " I would far rather have served on as a subaltern than gain promotion thus.
General Wilson was sadly discouraged by the day's work. He had been told that Delhi would fall, but his columns had been stopped and one had been driven back: Wilson shook his head! But the fact that the British had beaten the sepoys in hand-to-hand fight and were firmly lodged on the rampart cowed all, — from the old king in his palace to the meanest sowar. On the 16th the British stormed the great magazine and captured guns and ammunition. Bit by bit the city was being wrested from the rebels.
Alexander Taylor did splendid work on the 19th in effecting the capture of the Burn bastion, and Brigadier Jones seized the Lahore gate. There were still many thousand armed rebels in the city and its surroundings, and we had only left fit for service. From a hill they could see the native camp under the king's general, Bakht Khan, formerly a lieutenant of artillery, Hodson was looking through his glass. On their confirming his guess, Hodson got leave to carry the news to Wilson.
After seeing the General, Hodson took M'Dowell and 75 men and rode right round the city to the Delhi gate on the extreme right, which they found open. By evening they had ridden some miles beyond Delhi and executed many a straggler, brought away three guns and many camels and the mess plate of the 60th Native Infantry with their standards and drums. Delhi had been evacuated during the night, and India was saved. But the old king, Bahadur Shah, was still alive and might become a focus for fresh rebellion. Hodson pleaded with Wilson for leave to fetch him back a prisoner: As they reached the tomb of Humayun, the second great Emperor of the Tartar line, Hodson drew rein at the noble gateway of the wide court, in which rose the dome-capped glory of the marble tomb, glistening white.
Concealing his men in a building near, Hodson sent his faithful Rajah Ali inside to negotiate the terms of surrender, and himself awaited the result not far off" the gateway. For two hours he waited, and his cold blue eyes sparkled angrily at the long delay. At last his messenger reappeared, saying: So at length there issued out of the gate a train of palkis conveying the royal prisoners, but closely guarded on either side by Hodson's sowars.
The march back to Delhi by a circuitous road, to avoid the seething crowd of angry Mahommedans, was the longest seven miles, Hodson says, which he ever rode. For his eyes had to turn on every side, watching the throng of fanatics, who were eager to strike a blow on behalf of their captive king: Passing slowly along the street of Silversmiths, the little band of troopers approached the red sandstone walls, loopholed and crenelated, which enclosed the Dewan Khas: For there was imminent danger at every step, though some writers who wish to belittle Hodson assert that the natives were too cowed to offer any resistance to these 50 horsemen!
So Hodson saluted the new commissioner, Charles Saunders, and made over his royal charge for safe lodgment in the royal palace. Saunders stood agape, admiring the brilliant audacity of the man. Hodson,"" he exclaimed, " they ought to make you commander-in-chief for this. The General greeted him gruffly, saying, " Well, I am glad you have got him, but I never expected to see either him or you again. What they thought, when all the facts were staring them in the face, far outweighs any peaceful opinions written down in the seclusion of the study long afterwards.
So now Delhi had fallen, and the Bahadur Shah, the figurehead of the rebellion against English rule, was safe in British hands. Hodson was not yet satisfied: General Wilson at first refused his consent: He posted his men so that none could enter or come forth, and then sent in one of the lower members of the royal family and his one-eyed maulvi. Rajah Ali, to bid the shahzadas come forth. Two hours again were spent in arguing and protesting, and then there came forth Mirza Moghul, Mirza Aboo Bukr, and Mirza Kisz Sooltan, the last being the grandson of the king.
They asked Hodson if the Government had promised them their lives. Hodson then formed his troopers across the archway and slowly drove back into the courtyard the armed mob of retainers who were following the princes. Then riding in with M'Dowell, he ordered all to lay down their arms. The natives looked from one to another, but a second loud command had its effect. Five hundred swords and guns were piled up in carts, and left in charge of a small guard, then Hodson galloped away to overtake the princes.
This he did near Delhi. We will now give his own words as to what befell. I rode in among them at a gallop, and in a few words I appealed to the crowd, saying that these were the butchers who had murdered and brutally used helpless women and children, and that the Government had now sent their punishment. Seaton shall now say what he heard: Hodson stopped the carriage and made the three prisoners descend. The wretches, seeing that something was about to happen, put up their hands and fell at his feet, begging that their lives might be spared, and that an investigation might be made into their con- duct.
All that Hodson said was, ' Choop ruho be silent ; take off your upper garments,' and they did so. Hodson, then putting out his hand and taking a carbine from one of his men, shot Mirza Moghul, and immediately after, the two others. Hodson's men shouted, 'Now justice has been done'; and the crowd dispersed.
I am not cruel, but I confess I did rejoice at the opportunity of ridding the. I intended to have had them hanged, but when it came to a question of they or us, I had no time for dehberation. I must be prepared to have all kinds of bad motives attributed to me. Critics jumped to the conclusion that if he could bring in the King of Delhi safely, he could have brought in the princes also. His act has been branded as " a stupid, cold-blooded, threefold murder. Before they were shot, Hodson addressed our men, explaining who they were, and why they were to suffer death.
The effect was marvellous: It is clear that a critic safe at his desk, writing in security years after, is not a fit umpire to decide whether the threats of the crowd made such drastic treatment necessary. If it were so, every sane person would deeply regret that a brave man should have been tempted to take the law into his own hands to his own discredit. But of what sort of human beings were these shahzadas? An officer who knew the princes thus describes them: Anderson, surgeon to Hodson's Horse, when asked if he thought the escort were really in any danger, replied, " All I can say is that I dressed the wounds of my own orderly, who came back with his ear half cut off.
I hope you will bag many more! Let us also confess that some of Wilson's officers dis- approved of the shooting: Sir Hugh Gough, for instance, regrets that Hodson should have placed himself in a position unworthy of so brave a man. It was not Hodson's duty to expose himself and his 50 or 60 sowars — a guard had been left at the tomb — to be overpowered by the fanatic throng and torn to pieces.
He may have erred: On my way back I was rather startled to see the three life- less bodies of the king's two sons and grandson lying exposed on the stone platform in front of the kotwali. My own feeling is one of sorrow that such a brilliant soldier should have laid himself open to so much adverse criticism: There is no doubt he was too hasty in temper, and his severe critics have been too hasty in judgment, possibly from the highest motives.
Jealousy still haunted the steps of Hodson: It may be enough for us to remember that when he died Hodson had not enough money left to pay his widow's passage back to England. We have related in the chapter on Seaton how, after the capture of Delhi, Hodson helped his friend in guarding the convoy and clearing the country of rebels. Some one wondered why Hodson had not been given a V. But there is a better reason: When Hodson rode seventy miles from Brigadier Seaton to Sir Colin's camp with dispatches, the news went round the 93rd Highlanders like wildfire: He and Sir Colin are in front of the camp: Sir Colin is showing him round, and the smile on the old chiefs face shows how he appreciates his companion.
Little did I then think that in less than three short months I should see Hodson receive his death-wound, and that thirty-five years after I should be one of the few spared to give evidence to save his fair name from undeserved slander. Forbes-Mitchell had sent two men back to the breach in the outer wall for some bags of gunpowder to pitch into a dark room which was full of the enemy. Instead of finding Colonel Napier and his engineers they saw Hodson, who had come with Napier as a volunteer for the storming of the palace.
Hodson told the men where to find the powder and came running up, sabre in hand, crying, " Where are the rebels hiding?
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The Scot implored him not to do so, saying, " It's certain death ; wait for the powder, sir. Hodson gasped out a few broken words — " Oh! That the major was killed through his own rashness cannot be denied. Anderson came, he found the ball had gone through the liver and just avoided the lungs: Hodson's feet and hands were cold, for there was much internal bleeding, and he suffered great pain.
At midnight he fell asleep: I should like to have seen the end of the campaign, and — to have returned to England to see my friends, but — it has not been permitted. I trust — I trust I have done my duty. On the evening of 12th March his body was buried in the garden of the Martiniere at the foot of a clump of bamboos. Sir Colin Campbell, who attended his funeral in order to show his respect for " one of the most brilliant officers under my command," burst into tears as his remains were being lowered into the grave.
Lord Napier of Magdala, one of Hodson's friends, set a wall round the tomb: Sir Henry Lawrence, he had tried to do his duty. Of all the heroes of the Indian Mutiny this soldier's fate is most pathetic, because somehow he made enemies as well as friends: His father, whose family possessed estates in West Meath and Con- naught, joined Wellington's army in the Peninsula, and afterwards served in America and India, and was at the siege of Ghazni.
Henry Daly was sent home to be taken care of by his grandmother, Mrs. M'Intosh, at Newport, Isle of Wight. In , Daly was given a nomination to the East India Company's service, and was posted to the 1st Bombay Fusiliers now 1st Dublin Fusiliers , but he did not go round by the Cape as most travellers did in those days. The passengers landed in Gibraltar and saw the mixed races of the East for the first time: At Alexandria they found one British man-of-war riding at anchor at the mouth of the harbour ; to prevent the egress of the whole Turkish fleet!
Mahomet Ali kindly permitted them to pass through Egypt.
But each man was given two donkeys and a boy ; at his shouts and shrieks the donkey trotted forward, taking no notice of any vagaries of the rider expressed by whip or rein. They accomplished the 80 miles under twenty-four hours, and found at Suez a sea-going steamer. Thus they left on the 23rd September and reached Bombay on the 10th October. Daly's regiment was at Aden, but his father got him attached to a corps at Poona that he might learn Hindustani for the Presidential Examination.
So, on landing, Daly started for his father's house at Kirkee, miles from Bombay, where he stayed some months. In May he returned to Bombay to be examined in colloquial Hindustani, and came out first as Qualified Interpreter. We may note how men who rose early to distinction in India were often helped to the first steps by knowing how to speak to the natives: In his leisure Daly learnt a second language, Mahratti, and in May passed his examination well. Lady M'Mahon, wife of the commander-in-chief, had laughingly promised that if he passed she would obtain from her husband two months' leave for him to go to the hills.
Next day Daly was sent for by Sir Thomas, who said, " Daly, I have a reward for your industry — you are to be adjutant of an irregular infantry regiment. The Guzerat battalion to which Daly was appointed was stationed at Kaira, where Daly's mother had been buried: Here began a friendship with a fellow-officer named Anderson which only ended with his death at Mult an. They were in the same regiment and had the same tastes ; they used to sit in the cool nights talking of the days to come, of hopes and fears and successes: If he had gone no farther than the Cape or Egypt, he could by the rule of the service have kept his staff appoint- ment: Daly travelled with a friend through Sicily, Naples, Leghorn, to France ; there he again met Anderson and with him visited his friend's family in Scotland, and thus his days passed joyously.
But he began to realise mentally the prophecies of those who had warned him against going home. If he spent his full three years of leave, what would he not miss? However, in March , during the Sutlej campaign, came an order: A few days' delay, and he would have lost a favourable opportunity. Daly's friend, Anderson, after travelling through Persia, joined him at Karachi, and there they lived in the same house for many months, until Anderson went to Multan.
As Sir Charles left for England in , his soldiers near the pier preserved a sad silence — they all felt his going so much: In the Punjab seemed to be profoundly peaceful: The dewan, or ruler, of the Province of Multan, to the south of the Punjab, was Mulraj ; he had succeeded his father, who had amassed great riches and constructed strong fortifications at Multan, a city more than two miles in cir- cumference, having walls of sunburnt bricks forty feet high.
Now this Mulraj came to Lahore and told -Tohn Lawrence he wished to resign. The escort consisted of Sikh infantry, a Gurkha regiment, cavalry and artillerymen with 6 guns. Anderson, writing to Daly from a boat on the Ravi, says: