Complete Books

Forty-One Years in India
From Subaltern to Commander-In-Chief











































































(See p. 97)


The 9th Native Infantry, to which Captain Donald Stewart belonged, was divided between Aligarh, Mainpuri, Bulandshahr, and Etawa, Stewart being with the Head-Quarters of the regiment at Aligarh.

The news from Meerut and Delhi had caused a certain amount of alarm amongst the residents at Aligarh, and arrangements had been made for sending away the ladies and children, but, owing to the confidence placed in the men of the 9th, none of them had left the station. Happen what might in other regiments, the officers were certain that the 9th could never be faithless to their salt! The Native officers and men were profuse in their expressions of loyalty, and as a proof of their sincerity they arrested and disarmed several rebel sepoys, who were making for their homes in Oudh and the adjoining districts. As a further proof, they gave up the regimental pandit for endeavouring to persuade them to mutiny. He was tried by a Court-Martial composed of European and Native officers, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was carried out that same afternoon. It was intended that the regiment should witness the execution, but it did not reach the gaol in time; the men were therefore marched back to their lines, and Stewart, in his capacity of Interpreter, was ordered to explain to them the purpose for which they had been paraded. While he was speaking a man of his own company shouted out something. Stewart did not hear the words, and no one would repeat them. The parade was then dismissed, when the same man, tearing off his uniform, called upon his comrades not to serve a Government which had hanged a Brahmin. A general uproar ensued. The Commanding Officer ordered the few Sikhs in the regiment to seize the ringleader; they did so, but not being supported by the rest they released him. The Subadar Major was then told to arrest the mutineer, but he took no notice whatever of the order. This Native officer had been upwards of forty years in the regiment and was entitled to his full pension. He had been a member of the Court-Martial which tried the pandit, and, though a Brahmin himself, had given his vote in favour of the prisoner being hanged; moreover he was a personal friend of all the officers. Stewart, who had been for many years Adjutant, knew him intimately, and believed implicitly in his loyalty. The man had constantly discussed the situation with Stewart and others, and had been mainly instrumental in disarming the sepoys who had passed through Aligarh; and yet when the hour of trial came he failed as completely as the last-joined recruit.

The British officers went amongst their men and tried to keep order, but the excitement rapidly spread; some of the young soldiers began to load, and the older ones warned the officers that it was time for them to be off. The[Page 545] sepoys then plundered the treasury, broke open the gaol doors, released the prisoners, and marched in a body towards Delhi.1

Stewart, being thus left without a regiment, attached himself to the magistrate of the district, and took command of a small body of volunteers sent from Agra by the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces, to aid the civil authorities in restoring order. Not caring for this work, and thinking he might be more usefully employed, Stewart made up his mind to find his way to Delhi; his idea was to try and get there viâ Meerut, but before deciding on the route, he went to Agra, where he had been invited by the Lieutenant-Governor. At the interview, Mr. Colvin advised Stewart to travel viâ Muttra, as the safer of the two routes, and told him that despatches had been received from the Government in Calcutta for the Commander-in-Chief, then understood to be with the army before Delhi. At the same time the Lieutenant-Governor impressed upon Stewart that he was not giving him any order to go, and that if he undertook to carry the despatches it must be a voluntary act on his part, entailing no responsibility on the Government of the North-West Provinces.

Stewart accepted the duty, and took his leave of Mr. Colvin as the sun was setting on the 18th June, delighted at the chance of being able to join the army before Delhi. He reached Muttra, thirty-five miles distant, without mishap. The streets of this city were crowded with men, all carrying arms of some sort; they showed no signs of hostility, however, and even pointed out to Stewart the house of which he was in search. The owner of this house, to whose care he had been commended by the Agra authorities, was a Brahmin holding an official position in the town. This Native gentleman behaved with civility, but did not attempt to conceal his embarrassment at the presence of a British officer, or his relief when Stewart announced his intention of resuming his journey an hour or so before daybreak.

The Brahmin provided him with two sowars belonging to the Raja of Bhartpur with orders to accompany him as far as Kosi. They were cut-throat-looking individuals, and Stewart felt rather inclined to dispense with their services, but, thinking it unwise to show any signs of distrust, he accepted them with the best grace he could.

After riding fifteen or sixteen miles, Stewart's horse fell from exhaustion, on which his so-called escort laughed uproariously, and galloped off, leaving our poor traveller to his own devices.

Believing the horse could not recover, Stewart took off the saddle and bridle and tramped to the nearest village, where he hoped to be able to buy or hire an animal of some kind on which to continue his journey. No one, however, would help him, and he was forced to seize a donkey which he found grazing in a field hard by. About sunset he reached Kosi, thirty-seven miles from Muttra. The tehsildar2 received him courteously, and gave him some bread and milk, but would not hear of his staying for the night. He told him that his appearance in the town was causing considerable excitement, and that he could not be responsible for his safety. Stewart was much exhausted after his hot ride, but as the tehsildar stood firm there was nothing for him to do but to continue his journey, and he consented to start if he were provided with a horse. The tehsildar promptly offered his own pony, and as soon as it was dark Stewart set out for the Jaipur camp. His progress during the night[Page 546] was slow, and it was not until eight o'clock the next morning that he reached his destination, where he was hospitably received by the Political Agent, Major Eden, who introduced him to the Maharaja's Wazir. This official at first promised to give Stewart a small escort as far as Delhi, but on various pretexts he put him off from day to day. At the end of a week Stewart saw that the Wazir either could not or would not give him an escort, and thinking it useless to delay any longer, he made up his mind to start without one.

There were several refugees in the camp, and one of them, Mr. Ford, collector and magistrate of Gurgaon, offered to join Stewart in his venture.

Stewart and his companion left the Jaipur camp on the afternoon of the 27th June, and reached Palwal soon after dark. Ford sent for the kotwal,3 who was one of his own district officials, and asked him for food. This was produced, but the kotwal besought the sahibs to move on without delay, telling them that their lives were in imminent danger, as there was a rebel regiment in the town, and he was quite unable to protect them. So they continued their journey, and, escaping from one or two threatened attacks by robbers, reached Badshahpur in the morning. Here they rested during the heat of the day, being kindly treated by the villagers, who were mostly Hindus.

The travellers were now not far from Delhi, but could hardly proceed further without a guide, and the people of Badshahpur declined to provide one. They pleaded that they were men of peace, and could not possibly leave their village in such evil times. Suddenly a man from the crowd, offered his services. His appearance was against him, and the villagers declared that he was a notorious cattle-lifter, who was strongly suspected of having set fire to the collector's (Mr. Ford's) office at Gurgaon, in order that the evidences of his offences might be destroyed. Not a pleasant compagnon de voyage, but there was nothing for it but to accept his offer.

As soon as it was dark a start was made, and at daybreak on the 29th the minarets of Delhi rose out of the morning mist, while an occasional shell might be seen bursting near the city.

On reaching the Hansi road, the guide, by name Jumna Das, who, in spite of appearances, had proved true to his word, stopped and said he could go no further. He would not take any reward that it was then in the power of Stewart or Ford to offer him, but he expressed a hope that, when the country became settled, the slight service he had performed would not be forgotten. They gratefully assured him on this point, and thanked him cordially, giving him at the same time a letter testifying to his valuable service. Stewart then went to the nearest village, and for a small reward found a man who undertook to conduct them safely to one of our piquets.

One curious circumstance remarked by Stewart throughout the ride was that the peasants and villagers, though not generally hostile to him, had evidently made up their minds that the British raj was at an end, and were busily engaged in rendering their villages defensible, to meet the troubles and disturbances which they considered would surely follow on the resumption of Native rule.

It is difficult to over-estimate the pluck and enterprise displayed by Stewart during this most adventurous ride. It was a marvel that he ever reached Delhi. His coming there turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him, for the qualities which prompted him to undertake and carried him through his dangerous journey, marked him as a man worthy of advancement and likely to do well.

[Footnote 1: While the regiment was in the act of mutinying one of the sepoys left the parade-ground, and running round to all the civilians' houses, told the occupants what had happened, and warned them to make their escape. He asked for no reward, and was never seen again.]

[Footnote 2: Native magistrate.]

[Footnote 3: City magistrate.]

[Return to p. 97]


[Page 547]



(These two memoranda are referred to in the note on page 196.)

Memorandum by Lieutenant McLeod Innes.

'1. Sir H. Lawrence joined at Lucknow about the end of March, 1857, succeeding Mr. Coverley Jackson in the Chief Commissionership.

'2. On his arrival he found himself in the midst of troubles, of which the most important were these:

I. A general agitation of the empire, from the discontent of the soldiery.

II. A weak European force at Oudh, with all the military arrangements defective.

III. Grievous discontent among several classes of the population of Oudh, viz., the nobility of Lucknow and the members and retainers of the Royal Family, the official classes, the old soldiery, and the entire country population, noble and peasant alike.

'3. This third was due to disobedience of, or departure from, the instructions laid down by Government at the annexation, as very clearly shown in Lord Stanley's letter of October 13, 1858. The promised pensions had either been entirely withheld or very sparingly doled out; the old officials were entirely without employment; three-quarters of the army the same; while the country Barons had, by forced interpretation of rules, been deprived of the mass of their estates, which had been parcelled out among their followers, who, for clannish reasons, were more indignant at the spoliation and loss of power and place of their Chiefs than they were glad for their own individual acquisitions.

'4. The weakness of the European force could not be helped; it was deemed politic to show the country that the annexation did not require force.

'5. But the inefficiency of the military arrangements arose from mere want of skill, and was serious, under the threatening aspect of the political horizon.

'6. The discontent of the province, and the coming general storm, had already found vent in the brigandage of Fuzl Ali, and the seditions of the Fyzabad Moulvie.

'7. And with all these Sir H. Lawrence had to grapple immediately on his arrival.

'8. But I may safely say that ten days saw the mass of them disappear. The Fyzabad Moulvie had been seized and imprisoned. Fuzl Ali had been surrounded and slain. The promised pensions had been paid, by Sir H. Lawrence's peremptory orders, to the members and retainers of the Royal Family. A recognition had been published of the fair rights of the old Oudh officials to employment in preference to immigrants from our old provinces, and instructions had been issued for giving it effect. The disbanded soldiers of the Royal Army of Oudh were promised preference in enlistment in the local corps and the police, and a reorganization and increase to the latter, which were almost immediately sanctioned, gave instant opportunities for the fulfilment of the first instalment of these promises. While last, but not least, durbars were held, in which Sir Henry Lawrence was able to proclaim his views and policy, by which the landholders should be reinstated in the possessions which they held at the annexation, the basis on which the instructions had been originally issued, which had been hitherto practically ignored, but to which he pledged himself to give effect.

'9. To strengthen his military position, he placed Artillery with the European Infantry; he distributed his Irregular Cavalry; he examined the city, decided on taking possession of the Muchee Bawn and garrisoning it as a fort; and summoned in Colonel Fisher and Captain George Hardinge;[Page 548]
and with them, Brigadier Handscombe and Major Anderson, consulted and arranged for future plans against the storms which he saw to be impending.

'10. Much of this, and his policy for remaining in Oudh, and the conduct of the defence of Lucknow, I know from recollections of what he occasionally let drop to me in his confidential conversations while inspecting the Muchee Bawn. He told me that nearly the whole army would go; that he did not think the Sikhs would go; that in every regiment there were men that, with proper management, would remain entirely on our side; and that, therefore, he meant to segregate from the rest of the troops the Sikhs and selected men, and to do his best to keep them faithful allies when the rest should go; that, if Cawnpore should hold out, we would not be attacked; but that if it should fall, we would be invested, and more or less closely besieged; that no troops could come to our relief before the middle of August; that the besieging forces would, he thought, be confined to the sepoys, for the people of the country had always liked our European officers, whom they had frequently had to bless for the safety of their lives and the honour of their families; and the whole Hindu population had a lively recollection of our friendly line of conduct in the late quarrel with the Mussulmans regarding the Hunnooman Gurhee; that to hold out where we were was necessary, for the slightest appearance of yielding, or of not showing a bold front, would result in annihilation; that to hold out we must get provisions; that to got provisions and prepare for an efficient defence we must keep open our communication with the country, and keep the city quiet; that to the former end the retention of the cantonment was necessary, and of the Muchee Bawn to the latter, while the site of the permanent defences, in case of the need of concentration, should be the Residency.

'11. All this I know, as before said, from Sir Henry Lawrence's own casual and hurried remarks to me. Whether they are officially recorded anywhere I do not know; but they must have been written in letters to various persons, and repeated to others of his subordinates at Lucknow. I mention these matters thus early, as although the facts on which they bear did not immediately occur, still, Sir Henry Lawrence had prescience of them, and had decided on his line of policy.

'12. I understand, further, but not on authentic grounds, that Sir Henry wrote at a very early stage to Sir H. Wheeler, urging him to construct entrenchments at the magazine at Cawnpore, and to ensure his command of the boats, whatever might happen; that he wrote early to the Government, entreating them to divert one of the European regiments in the course of relief, and divide it between Cawnpore and Allahabad; and that subsequently he urged on Government to employ the troops of the Persian expedition in Bengal, and to stop the Chinese force for the same end, and to subsidize some of the Nepal troops for the protection of our older provinces east of Oudh.

'13. To revert to the narrative, the measures already mentioned so entirely pacified the province, that, in spite of the previous discontent, the previous troubles, the proverbial turbulence of its inhabitants, and the increasing agitation throughout the empire, there was no difficulty experienced in collecting the revenue by the close of April. And the subsequent disturbances were, as will be shown, entirely due to the soldiery, and, till long after Sir Henry's death, participated in only by them, by the city ruffians, and by a few of the Mussulman families of the country population. The mass of the city people and the entire Hindu population held aloof, and would have nothing to say to the outbreak; and, with one single exception, every Talookdar, to whom the chance offered itself, aided, more or less actively, in the protection of European fugitives. This phase in the[Page 549] character of the disturbances in Oudh is not generally known; but it is nevertheless true, and is due emphatically and solely, under Divine Providence, to the benignant personal character and the popular policy of Sir Henry Lawrence.

'14. The 1st of May saw our disturbances commence with the mutiny of the 7th Oudh Irregular Infantry. This, its suppression, and the durbar in which he distributed rewards and delivered a speech on the aspect of affairs, have been fully described elsewhere, and need not be repeated by me.

'15. The durbar was held on the twelfth. I am not aware whether he had any intelligence at that time of the Meerut outbreak. The telegrams, when they did arrive, were vague; but he indubitably kept on his guard immediately on receiving them. The Cavalry were piqueted between the cantonments and the Residency, and the Infantry and Artillery were kept prepared for movement. His plans were evidently already decided; but they were to be effected simultaneously and not successively, and the movements of the Europeans were somewhat dependent on the arrangements of the Quarter-master-General's Department. It was not until the sixteenth that the tents required for the 32nd were ready; and the morning of the 17th May saw an entirely new and effective disposition of the troops. Half the Europeans were at the Residency, commanding the Iron Bridge; half, with the Artillery, were at the south end of the cantonments; the bridge of boats was moved and under control, while the Muchee Bawn, not yet sufficiently cleansed from its old conglomeration of filth, was garrisoned by a selected body of Native troops. The whole of these dispositions could not have been effected at an earlier date, and Sir Henry would not do them piecemeal or successively. Simultaneous, they were effective, and tended to paralyze any seditious plots that may have been hatching. Successive and piecemeal, they would have incited the sepoys to mutiny and the turbulent to insurrection.'


Memorandum, 18th May, inserted in Sir Henry's own hand in his ledger book.

'Time is everything just now. Time, firmness, promptness, conciliation, and prudence; every officer, each individual European, high and low, may at this crisis prove most useful, or even dangerous. A firm and cheerful aspect must be maintained—there must be no bustle, no appearance of alarm, still less of panic; but, at the same time, there must be the utmost watchfulness and promptness; everywhere the first germ of insurrection must be put down instantly. Ten men may in an hour quell a row which, after a day's delay, may take weeks to put down. I wish this point to be well understood. In preserving internal tranquillity, the Chiefs and people of substance may be most usefully employed at this juncture; many of them have as much to lose as we have. Their property, at least, is at stake. Many of them have armed retainers—some few are good shots and have double-barrelled guns. For instance [name illegible], can hit a bottle at 100 yards. He is with the ordinary soldiers. I want a dozen such men, European or Native, to arm their own people and to make thannahs of their own houses, or some near position, and preserve tranquillity within a circuit around them.'

[Return to p. 196]


[Page 550]


(Referred to at p. 351.)

The column was composed as follows:


   Men. Guns.
F Battery, A Brigade, R.H.A., commanded by Colonel W.Sterling   135    6
One squadron 10th Hussars, commanded by Major Bulkeley   102  
G Battery, 3rd Brigade, R.A., commanded by Major Sydney Parry     83    3
2nd Battalion 8th Foot, commanded by Colonel Barry Drew   620  
Wing 72nd Highlanders, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel F. Brownlow   405  
  ——–   —
Total British troops 1,345    9
12th Bengal Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Hugh Gough, V.C.   337  
No. 1 Mountain Battery, commanded by Captain Kelso   136    4
7th Company Bengal Sappers and Miners   113  
2nd (Punjab Frontier Force) Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tyndall   647  
5th (Punjab Frontier Force) Infantry, commanded by Major McQueen   502  
5th (Punjab Frontier Force) Gurkhas, commanded by Major Fitz-Hugh   438  
21st Punjab Infantry, commanded by Major Collis   496  
23rd Pioneers, commanded by Colonel Currie   650  
29th Punjab Infantry, commanded by Colonel J.J. Gordon   671  
  ——–   —
Total Natives 3,990    4
  ——–   —
Grand total 5,335   13

Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Lindsay commanded the Artillery, Colonel Æneas Perkins was Commanding Royal Engineer. Colonel Hugh Gough commanded the Cavalry, Brigadier-Generals Cobbe (17th Foot) and Thelwall (21st Punjab Infantry) the two Infantry brigades. Major W. Galbraith (85th Foot) was Assistant-Adjutant-General; Major H. Collett, Assistant, and Captains 'Dick' Kennedy and F. Carr, Deputy-Assistant-Quartermasters-General. Captains G. de C. Morton and A. Scott, V.C, Brigade-Majors. Captain A. Badcock, Chief Commissariat officer; Captain J. Colquhoun, R.A., Commissary of Ordnance; Major Moriarty, Captain Goad, and Lieutenant F. Maisey, Transport officers; Captain A. Wynne (51st Foot), Superintendent of Field Telegraphs; Captain R. Woodthorpe, R.E., Superintendent of Surveys; Deputy-Surgeon-General F. Allen, Principal Medical officer; Rev. J. W. Adams, Chaplain.]





(Referred to at p. 391.)

Translation of a letter from MAJOR-GENERAL SIR FREDERICK ROBERTS
to His Highness THE AMIR OF KABUL.

ALIKHEL, 18th September, 1879.

(After the usual compliments.) Your Highness's letter of the 28th Ramazan, with the enclosures from Herat and Turkestan, reached me last night. I have acquainted myself with the contents. I am glad to find your Highness is in good health, but sorry to hear of the unfortunate disturbances in your Highness's dominions. Your Highness's letter, in original, has been sent with enclosures to His Excellency the Viceroy. I have already informed your Highness of the wishes of His Excellency the Viceroy, and the reasons for the movements of the British troops, and I have requested your Highness to send a confidential representative to my camp. I am awaiting a reply to that letter, and the arrival of your Highness's confidential representative.

In the meantime I have sent a Proclamation to the tribes, and letters to some of the Logar maliks, your Highness's subjects, to assure those not concerned in the hateful massacre, and asking them for assistance in carriage and supplies on payment. As it appears to me proper I should inform your Highness of what I have done, I enclose copies of the Proclamation to the tribes and of my letter to the Logar maliks, and hope that your Highness may also issue necessary orders for the furtherance of our plans. Rest assured of the support of the Government of India.

[Return to p. 391]




(Referred to at p. 391.)

Dated ALIKHEL, 23rd September, 1879.

After compliments, General Roberts intimated to the Agents that at their desire he had granted them a second interview. He now requested them to be good enough to speak freely all that they wished him to know.

The MUSTAUFI then spoke in the following sense: The interests of England and Afghanistan are the same, and the Amir and his officials are deeply grieved at the late occurrences in Kabul. Moreover, the Amir is anxious to do whatever the British Government wishes, and most desirous that the dignity of the British Government should be maintained by any means which may seem proper to the Viceroy. But His Highness cannot conceal from himself that the mutinous troops and his people in general, ryots as well as soldiers, are in fear of an indiscriminate revenge, which will fall alike upon innocent and guilty. He hopes, therefore, that measures will be taken to guard against the possibility of a general rising consequent on fear.

The Mustaufi was here reminded of the tenor of General Roberts's Proclamation on 15th September. He answered that the people were too ignorant to be acted upon by a Proclamation, and then went on as follows:

Of course, it is possible that no such combination may take place. The Afghans are selfish, and divided against themselves. Still, lest he should be[Page 552] blamed if it should occur, the Amir thinks it right to express his opinion, and give the British Government all the information in his power. On the whole, his advice, as an earnest friend, is that the advance of a British force on Kabul should be delayed for a short time ('Panjroz'). In the interval he will endeavour to disarm the Regular troops, raise new levies, and, by the aid of the latter, punish all concerned in the late abominable outrage. His idea is to get rid of Sher Ali's soldiery—always a source of danger—and keep only 15,000 men for the future. It would be very desirable to delay the advance until he could establish his power. The Amir does not mean to imply that any Afghan army, were it 50,000 strong, could resist the British. The mutinous troops have neither organization nor leaders. But the mutinous troops are of all tribes; and if the British army destroys them, as it would undoubtedly do in case of resistance, the whole country may combine against the British and the Amir. It is for this reason that he advises delay, and that the punishment of the guilty be left to him. The Viceroy may rest assured that he will show no mercy. He will make an example which will be conspicuous in the eyes of the world as the sun at noonday. Already everyone in Kabul regards the Amir as an infidel, because of the way in which he and his have thrown in their lot with the British Government.

Notwithstanding all that has been said, however, things might go right if the mutinous troops would keep together and attempt a stand. But the Amir fears they will not do so. They are more likely to scatter here and there, and raise the country. In that case there will be constant attacks on the communications of the force, and the gathering of supplies will be difficult. They would come chiefly from the direction of Ghazni, partly also from Logar. If the tribes rise it would be hard to collect them. Only one month remains before the setting in of winter. Of course, it is impossible to say what may happen. There may be no opposition, and the Amir is in any case ready to do what the British Government desires. But he feels it is his duty to express his strong opinion that the present season is unsuited for a forward movement.

General Roberts replied that on behalf of the Viceroy he thanked the Amir for his kind advice, which he was confident was the advice of a friend. He said the matter was important, and required careful consideration, and asked whether the Agents had anything more to bring forward.

The Mustaufi then spoke as follows: The Amir's advice to delay the advance is that of a sincere friend, and it is the best he can give. But if the British Army is to march on Kabul, there is one thing more which I am desired to say: let it march in such strength as to crush all hopes of mischief, and put down all rebellion throughout the country. You cannot wait for reinforcements. If you come, you must come in full strength—in sufficient strength to put down all opposition. There may be no opposition, but you cannot count on this.

General Roberts replied: The Amir's advice is of great importance, and must be carefully considered. When His Highness first wrote, announcing the outbreak at Kabul and asking for help, the first desire of the Viceroy was to send British forces without delay. I was ordered to Kuram at once to lead the force here. Simultaneously the Kandahar force was ordered by telegram to return to Kandahar, which it was then leaving, and to advance towards Kelat-i-Ghilzai, and instructions were issued to collect a third force at Peshawar; all this was to help the Amir. The Viceroy from the first contemplated the possibility of such a general rising as the Amir now fears, and the several armies were, therefore, by His Excellency's order, made up to such strength that all Afghanistan combined could not stand against them for a moment. The Kandahar troops were ready in a very short time, and are now[Page 553] beyond Kandahar, on the road to Kabul.1 The Peshawar force was rapidly collected and pushed on; and the Amir may rest assured that the British army is advancing in ample strength. I will think over the Amir's advice, nevertheless, for it is important. But His Highness must remember that the late occurrences at Kabul do not affect only the English officers and the fifty or sixty men who were treacherously killed—the honour of the English Government is concerned; and so long as the bodies of these officers and men remain unburied or uncared for in Kabul, I do not believe the English people will ever be satisfied. They will require the advance of a British force, and the adequate punishment of the crime. Still, the Amir's advice, which I am convinced is that of a friend, must be carefully considered, and I will think over it and give an answer later.

The MUSTAUFI then said: We quite understand what has been said about the strength of the British army. Doubtless it is sufficient, and all Afghanistan could not stand against it. But the Amir asked us to mention, what I have hitherto forgotten, that there are in Turkestan 24 regiments of Infantry, 6 of Cavalry, and 56 guns. These troops were the first to show a disaffected spirit at Mazar-i-Sharif; and putting aside external enemies, there are Abdur Rahman and the sons of Azim Khan waiting their chance. Herat again is doubtful; when the troops there hear what has occurred at Kabul, there is no saying what they may do. If Abdur Rahman ingratiates himself with these people, Herat and Turkestan will be permanently severed from the Afghan dominions. This is another reason why the advance of the British force should be delayed, in order that the Amir may have time to gain over the Herat and Turkestan troops.

GENERAL ROBERTS replied: All these reasons will have full consideration. The Viceroy's first order was to push on at once to help the Amir; but I am sure His Highness's advice is friendly, and that in any case he will do his utmost to co-operate with the British Government. Therefore every consideration will be given to what His Highness has desired you to say.

The MUSTAUFI: The Viceroy may be sure the Amir will do what he pleases.

The WAZIR: When the Amir learnt from General Roberts's letter that the Viceroy had given General Roberts power to deal with the whole matter, he was very pleased, knowing General Roberts's character as a soldier and his kindness of heart.

GENERAL ROBERTS replied that he would carefully consider the proposals brought forward, and give an answer later on. Meanwhile, he must request the Agents to stay a day or two in camp until he should have thoroughly weighed the Amir's advice, which was of the utmost importance to both the British and Afghan Governments.

The interview then came to an end.

(Signed)          H. M. DURAND,
Political Secretary to General Roberts, K.C.B., V.C.,
Commanding Kabul Field Force.            

[Footnote 1: The Agents here seemed surprised and anxious.—H.M.D.]

[Return to p. 391]


[Page 554]



(Referred to at p. 421.)

From LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR F. ROBERTS, K.C.B., V.C., Commanding Kabul Field Force, to A.C. LYALL, ESQ., C.B., Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.

KABUL, 22nd November, 1879.

1. I Have the honour to submit a brief account of an interview which took place between the Amir Yakub Khan and myself on the 22nd October. The interview was a private and informal one; but recent events have lent some interest to what passed on the occasion, and I have, therefore, thought it desirable that a report should be prepared for the information of the Governor-General in Council.

2. After some conversation upon matters of no special importance, the Amir introduced his father's name, and thus gave me the opportunity I had often wished to have of leading him on to speak naturally and unconstrainedly about Sher Ali Khan's feelings and policy during the last ten years. I was most careful to avoid any expression of my own views upon the subject in order that I might, if possible, obtain from the Amir a perfectly spontaneous and truthful account of the circumstances which led, in his opinion, to Sher Ali's estrangement from ourselves and rapprochement to Russia. In this I think I succeeded. Yakub Khan spoke readily and freely of all that had passed, and needed no question or suggestion from me to declare his conviction regarding the cause of his father's unfriendly attitude towards us during the past few years.

3. The substance of the Amir's statement was as follows:

'In 1869 my father was fully prepared to throw in his lot with you. He had suffered many reverses before making himself secure on the throne of Afghanistan; and he had come to the conclusion that his best chance of holding what he had won lay in an alliance with the British Government. He did not receive from Lord Mayo as large a supply of arms and ammunition as he had hoped, but, nevertheless, he returned to Kabul fairly satisfied, and so he remained until the visit of Saiyad Nur Muhammud to India in 1873. This visit brought matters to a head. The diaries received from Saiyad Nur Mahomed during his stay in India, and the report which he brought back on his return, convinced my father that he could no longer hope to obtain from the British Government all the aid that he wanted; and from that time he began to turn his attention to the thoughts of a Russian alliance. You know how this ended.

'When my father received from the Government of India the letter informing him that a British Mission was about to proceed to Kabul, he read it out in durbar. The members of the Russian Embassy were present. After the reading was finished, Colonel Stolietoff rose, saluted the Amir and asked permission to leave Kabul. If permitted, he would, he said, travel without delay to Tashkent, and report the state of affairs to General Kauffmann, who would inform the Czar, and thus bring pressure to bear on England. He promised to return in six weeks or two months, and urged the Amir to do everything in his power meanwhile to prevent the British Mission from reaching Kabul.

'Colonel Stolietoff never returned to Kabul. He lost no time in reaching Tashkent, where he remained for a few weeks, and he then started for Russia.

'The Afghan official, Mirza Mahomed Hassan Khan, generally known as the "Dabir-ul-Mulk," who had travelled with Colonel Stolietoff from the[Page 555] Oxus to Kabul, accompanied him on his return journey to Tashkent. Here the Mirza was detained under pretence that orders would shortly be received from the Emperor, until the news of my father's flight from Kabul reached General Kauffmann. He was then permitted to leave. Two Aides-de-Camp were sent with him, one a European, the other a Native of Bokhara.

'My father was strongly urged by General Kauffmann not to leave Kabul. At the same time the members of the Embassy were ordered to return to Tashkent, the Doctor being permitted to remain with my father if his services were required.

'Throughout, the Russian Embassy was treated with great honour, and at all stations between Mazar-i-Shariff and Kabul, orders were given for the troops to turn out, and for a salute to be fired on their arrival and departure.'

4. I cannot, of course, vouch for the exact words used by Yakub Khan, but I am confident that the foregoing paragraph, which is written from notes taken at the time, contains a substantially accurate record of the conversation.

5. It would be superfluous for me to advance any proof of the fact that for one reason or another Sher Ali did during the latter part of his reign fall away from us and incline towards an alliance with Russia. But I think the closeness of the connection between Russia and Kabul, and the extent of the Amir's hostility towards ourselves, has not hitherto been fully recognized. Yakub Khan's statements throw some light upon this question, and they are confirmed by various circumstances which have lately come to my knowledge. The prevalence of Russian coin and wares in Kabul, and the extensive military preparations made by Sher Ali of late years, appear to me to afford an instructive comment upon Yakub Khan's assertions. Our recent rupture with Sher Ali has, in fact, been the means of unmasking and checking a very serious conspiracy against the peace and security of our Indian Empire.

6. The magnitude of Sher Ali's military preparations is, in my opinion, a fact of peculiar significance. I have already touched upon this point in a former letter, but I shall perhaps be excused for noticing it again. Before the outbreak of hostilities last year the Amir had raised and equipped with arms of precision 68 regiments of Infantry and 16 of Cavalry. The Afghan Artillery amounted to nearly 300 guns. Numbers of skilled artizans were constantly employed in the manufacture of rifled cannon and breach-loading small arms. More than a million pounds of powder, and I believe several million rounds of home-made Snider ammunition, were in the Bala Hissar at the time of the late explosion. Swords, helmets, uniforms, and other articles of military equipment were stored in proportionate quantities. Finally, Sher Ali had expended upon the construction of the Sherpur cantonments an astonishing amount of labour and money. The extent and cost of this work may be judged of from the fact that the whole of the troops under my command will find cover during the winter within the cantonment, and the bulk of them in the main line of rampart itself, which extends to a length of nearly two miles under the southern and western slopes of the Bimaru hills. Sher Ali's original design was apparently to carry the wall entirely round the hills, a distance of nearly five miles, and the foundations were already laid for a considerable portion of this length. All these military preparations were quite unnecessary except as a provision for contemplated hostilities with ourselves, and it is difficult to understand how their entire cost could have been met from the Afghan treasury, the gross revenue of the country amounting only to about eighty lakhs of rupees per annum.

7. I have referred to the prevalence of Russian coin and wares in Kabul as evidence of the growing connexion between Russia and Afghanistan. I am unable to find proof that the Czar's coin was introduced in any other way than by the usual channels of trade. It is quite possible that the bulk of it,[Page 556] if not the whole, came in gradually by this means, the accumulation of foreign gold in particular being considerable in this country, where little gold is coined. Nevertheless, it seems to me a curious fact that the amount of Russian money in circulation should be so large. No less than 13,000 gold pieces were found among the Amir's treasure alone; similar coins are exceedingly common in the city bazaar; and great numbers of them are known to be in possession of the Sirdars. Of course English goods of all kinds are plentiful here—that is inevitable, particularly with a considerable body of Hindu merchants settled in the city, but Russian goods also abound. Glass, crockery, silks, tea, and many other things which would seem to be far more easily procurable from India than from Russian territory, are to be found in great quantities. A habit, too, seems to have been growing up among the Sirdars and others of wearing uniforms of Russian cut, Russian buttons, Russian boots, and the like. Russian goods and Russian ways seem, in fact, to have become the fashion in Afghanistan.

[Return to p. 421]




(Referred to at p. 421.)

Translations of letters from GENERAL-ADJUTANT VON KAUFFMANN, Governor-General of Turkestan, to the address of the AMIR OF AFGHANISTAN, received on 10th, Shaban, 1295, through GENERAL STOLIETOFF, 9th August, 1878.

Be it known to you that in these days the relations between the British Government and ours with regard to your kingdom require deep consideration. As I am unable to communicate my opinion verbally to you, I have deputed my agent, Major-General Stolietoff. This gentleman is a near friend of mine, and performed excellent services in the Russo-Turkish war, by which he earned favour of the Emperor. The Emperor has always had a regard for him. He will inform you of all that is hidden in my mind. I hope you will pay great attention to what he says, and believe him as you would myself, and, after due consideration, you will give him your reply. Meanwhile, be it known to you that your union and friendship with the Russian Government will be beneficial to the latter, and still more so to you. The advantages of a close alliance with the Russian Government will be permanently evident.

This friendly letter is written by the Governor-General of Turkestan and Adjutant-General to the Emperor, Von Kauffmann, Tashkent, Jamadial Akbar, 1295 ( = June, 1878).


To the AMIR of the whole of Afghanistan, SHER ALI KHAN.

(After compliments.) Be it known to you that our relations with the British Government are of great importance to Afghanistan and its dependencies. As I am unable to see you, I have deputed my trustworthy (official) General Stolietoff to you. The General is an old friend of mine, and during the late Russo-Turkish war earned the favour of the Emperor by his spirit and bravery. He has become well known to the Emperor. This trustworthy person will communicate to you what he thinks best. I hope you will pay attention to what he says, and repose as much confidence in his words as if they were my own; and that you will give your answer in this matter through him. In the meantime, be it known to you that if a friendly treaty will be[Page 557] of benefit to us, it will be of far greater benefit to yourself.


GENERAL STOLIETOFF sent the following letter, on his return to Tashkent from Kabul, to the address of the Foreign Minister, WAZIR SHAH MAHOMED KHAN, dated 23rd of the holy month of Ramazan, 1295 ( = 21st September, 1878).

Thank God, I reached Tashkent safely, and at an auspicious moment paid my respects to the Viceroy (Yaroni Padishah means 'half king'). I am trying day and night to gain our objects, and hope I shall be successful. I am starting to see the Emperor to-day, in order to inform His Majesty personally of our affairs. If God pleases, everything that is necessary will be done and affirmed. I hope that those who want to enter the gate of Kabul from the east will see that the door is closed; then, please God, they will tremble. I hope you will give my respects to His Highness the Amir. May God make his life long and increase his wealth! May you remain in good health, and know that the protection of God will arrange our affairs!

(Signed)          GENERAL STOLIETOFF.


From GENERAL KAUFFMANN to the AMIR, dated Tashkent, 8th Zekada,
1295 ( = 22nd October, 1878).

(After compliments.) Be it known to you that your letter, dated 12th Shawal, reached me at Tashkent on the 16th October, i.e., 3rd Zekada, and I understood its contents. I have telegraphed an abstract of your letter to the address of the Emperor, and have sent the letter itself, as also that addressed to General Stolietoff, by post to Livadia, where the Emperor now is. I am informed on good authority that the English want to come to terms with you; and, as a friend, I advise you to make peace with them if they offer it.


8th October 1878.

First of all, I hope you will be kind enough to give my respects to the Amir. May God make his life long and increase his wealth! I shall always remember his royal hospitality. I am busy day and night in his affairs, and, thank God, my labours have not been without result. The great Emperor is a true friend of the Amir's and of Afghanistan, and His Majesty will do whatever he may think necessary. Of course, you have not forgotten what I told you, that the affairs of kingdoms are like a country which has many mountains, valleys, and rivers. One who sits on a high mountain can see things well. By the power and order of God, there is no empire equal to that of our great Emperor. May God make his life long! Therefore, whatever our Government advises you, you should give ear to it. I tell you the truth that our Government is wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. There are many things which you cannot understand, but our Government understands them well. It often happens that a thing which is unpleasant at first is regarded as a blessing afterwards. Now, my kind friend, I inform you that the enemy of your famous religion wants to make peace with you through the Kaisar (Sultan) of Turkey. Therefore you should look to your brothers who live on the other side of the river. If God stirs them up, and gives the sword of fight into their hands, then go on, in the name of God (Bismilla), otherwise you should be as a serpent; make peace openly, and in secret prepare for war, and when God reveals His order to you, declare yourself. It will be well, when the Envoy of your enemy wants to enter the country, if you send an able emissary, possessing the tongue of a serpent and full of deceit, to the enemy's country, so that he may with sweet words perplex the enemy's mind,[Page 558] and induce him to give up the intention of fighting with you.

My kind friend, I entrust you to the protection of God. May God be the protector of the Amir's kingdom, and may trembling fall upon the limbs of your enemies! Amen.

Write to me soon, and send the letter to the capital. Please write in Arabic characters, so that I may be able to read your letter.


Zekada (=26th November,

(After compliments.) I was much pleased to receive your letter, dated 24th Zekada, 1295 (=18th November, 1878), and to hear of your good health. I have also received a copy of the letter which you sent to the Governor-General. May God be pleased with you. The British Ministers have given a pledge to our Ambassador in London that they will not interfere with the independence of Afghanistan. I am directed by His Majesty the Emperor to communicate this news to you, and then, after forming friendship, to go to His Majesty. I intend to go to the Russian capital after I have arranged the affairs of this country (Turkestan). As I do not consider it advisable to keep your trusted officials, whom you are in want of, here any more, I send Mahomed Hassan Khan, Kamuah (Deputy-Governor), and Gholam Haidar Khan, with two officers, back to you. I hope you will consider me a well-wisher of your kingdom, and write to me now and then. I have given instructions that, until my return, every letter of yours which they receive at Turkestan should be forwarded to the capital. Your good fortune is a cause of happiness to me, and if any troubles come upon you, I also shall be grieved. Some presents have been sent by me through Mirza Mahomed Hassan, Kamuah; perhaps they may be accepted.


[Page 559] Translation of a letter from, GENERAL KAUFFMANN to GENERAL VOZGONOFF,
dated Zel Hijja, 1295 (=December, 1878).

The Amir knows perfectly well that it is impossible for me to assist him with troops in winter. Therefore it is necessary that war should not be commenced at this unseasonable time. If the English, in spite of the Amir's exertions to avoid the war, commence it, you must then take leave of the Amir and start for Tashkent, because your presence in Afghanistan in winter is useless. Moreover, at such a juncture as the commencement of war in Afghanistan, you ought to come here and explain the whole thing to me, so that I may communicate it to the Emperor. This will be of great benefit to Afghanistan and to Russia.


From GENERAL KAUFFMANN to the AMIR OF AFGHANISTAN, dated 25th December, 1878 (Russian, 13th Muharram, 1296).

Your letter, dated 27th Zel Hijja (=20th November), 1878, has reached me. I was pleased to hear tidings of your good health. The Emperor has caused the British Government to agree to the continuance of Afghan independence. The English Ministers have promised this. I earnestly request you not to leave your kingdom. As far as possible, consider your own interests, and do not lose your independence. For the present come to terms with the British Government. If you do not want to go back to Kabul for this purpose, you can write to your son, Mahomed Yakub Khan, to make peace with the English as you may direct him. Do not leave the soil of Afghanistan at this time, because it will be of benefit to you. My words are not without truth, because your arrival in Russian territory will make things worse.


From GENERAL KAUFFMANN to the AMIR OF AFGHANISTAN, received at Mazir-i-Sharif
on the 17th January, 1879

I have received your friendly letter, dated 13th Zel Hijja (=8th December, 1878). In that letter you asked me to send you as many troops as could be got ready. I have written to you a letter to the effect that the Emperor, on account of your troubles, had communicated with the British Government, and that the Russian Ambassador at London had obtained a promise from the British Ministers to the effect that they would not injure the independence of Afghanistan. Perhaps you sent your letter before you got mine. Now, I have heard that you have appointed your son, Mahomed Yakub, as your Regent, and have come out of Kabul with some troops. I have received an order from the Emperor to the effect that it is impossible to assist you with troops now. I hope you will be fortunate. It all depends on the decree of God. Believe me, that the friendship which I made with you will be perpetual. It is necessary to send back General Vozgonoff and his companions. You can keep Dr. Yuralski with you if you please. No doubt the doctor will be of use to you and to your dependents. I hope our friendship will continue to be strengthened, and that intercourse will be carried on between us.


From GENERAL KAUFFMANN to the AMIR SHER ALI, dated 29th December,
1878 (=17th Muharram, 1296)

(After compliments.) The Foreign Minister, General Gortchakoff, has informed me by telegraph that the Emperor has directed me to trouble you to come to Tashkent for the present. I therefore communicate this news to you with great pleasure; at the same time, I may mention that I have received no instructions about your journey to St. Petersburg. My personal interview with you will increase our friendship greatly.


Translation of a letter from MAJOR-GENERAL IVANOFF, Governor of Zarafshan,
to the Heir-Apparent,
MAHOMED MUSA KHAN, and others.

On the 26th of Rabi-ul-Awul, at an auspicious moment, I received your letter which you sent me, and understood its contents. I was very much pleased, and at once communicated it to General Kauffmann, the Governor-General. With regard to what you wrote about the friendly relations between the Russian and Afghan Governments, and your own desire for friendship, I have the honour to state that we are also desirous of being friends. The friendship between the two Governments existed in the time of the late Amir, and I hope that it will be increased and strengthened by Amir Mahomed Yakub Khan.

May God change the wars in your country to happiness; may peace reign in it; and may your Government be strengthened! I have been forwarding all your letters to the Governor-General, General Kauffmann. May God keep you safe!

The Zarafshan Province Governor,          

Written and sealed by the General.
Written on 29th Mart (March), 1879 (=5th Rabi-ul-Saui, 1296).


written from memory by MIRZA MAHOMED NABBI.

1. The Russian Government engages that the friendship of the Russian Government with the Government of Amir Sher Ali Khan, Amir of all Afghanistan, will be a permanent and perpetual one.

2. The Russian Government engages that, as Sirdar Abdulla Khan, son of the Amir, is dead, the friendship of the Russian Government with any person [Page 560] whom the Amir may appoint Heir-Apparent to the throne of Afghanistan, and with the heir of the Heir-Apparent, will remain firm and perpetual.

3. The Russian Government engages that if any foreign enemy attacks Afghanistan, and the Amir is unable to drive him out, and asks the assistance of the Russian Government, the Russian Government will repel the enemy, either by means of advice, or by such other means as it may consider proper.

4. The Amir of Afghanistan will not wage war with any foreign power without consulting the Russian Government, and without its permission.

5. The Amir of Afghanistan engages that he will always report in a friendly manner to the Russian Government what goes on in his kingdom.

6. The Amir of Afghanistan will communicate every wish and important affair of his to General Kauffmann, Governor-General of Turkestan, and the Governor-General will be authorized by the Russian Government to fulfil the wishes of the Amir.

7. The Russian Government engages that the Afghan merchants who may trade and sojourn in Russian territory will be safe from wrong, and that they will be allowed to carry away their profits.

8. The Amir of Afghanistan will have the power to send his servants to Russia to learn arts and trades, and the Russian officers will treat them with consideration and respect as men of rank.

9. (Does not remember.)

10. I, Major-General Stolietoff Nicholas, being a trusted Agent of the Russian Government, have made the above-mentioned Articles between the Russian Government and the Government of Amir Sher Ali Khan, and have put my seal to them.

[Return to p. 421]





(Referred to at p. 461.)

dated 15th April, 1880.

Whereas at this happy time I have received your kind letter. In a spirit of justice and friendship you wrote to inquire what I wished in Afghanistan. My honoured friend, the servants of the great [British] Government know well that, throughout these twelve years of exile in the territories of the Emperor of Russia, night and day I have cherished the hope of revisiting my native land. When the late Amir Sher Ali Khan died, and there was no one to rule our tribes, I proposed to return to Afghanistan, but it was not fated [that I should do so]; then I went to Tashkent. Consequently, Amir Mahomed Yakub Khan, having come to terms and made peace with the British Government, was appointed Amir of Afghanistan; but since, after he had left you, he listened to the advice of every interested [dishonest] person, and raised fools to power, until the ignorant men directed the affairs of Afghanistan, which during the reign of my grandfather, who had eighteen able sons, was so managed that night was bright like day, Afghanistan was, in consequence, disgraced before all States, and ruined. Now, therefore, that you seek to learn my hopes and wishes, they are these: that as long as your Empire and that of Russia exist, my countrymen, the tribes of Afghanistan, should live quietly in ease and peace; that these two States should find us true and faithful, and that we should rest at peace between them [England and Russia], for my tribesmen are unable to struggle with Empires, and are ruined[Page 561] by want of commerce; and we hope of your friendship that, sympathizing with and assisting the people of Afghanistan, you will place them under the honourable protection of the two Powers. This would redound to the credit of both, would give peace to Afghanistan, and quiet and comfort to God's people. This is my wish; for the rest, it is yours to decide.

[Return to p. 461]





(Referred to at p. 462.)

Letter from A. C. LYALL, ESQ., C.B., Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, to LEPEL H. GRIFFIN, Esq., C.S.I., Chief Political Officer, Kabul, dated Simla, April, 1880.

I have the honour to inform you that the Governor-General has received and considered in council your telegrams of the 22nd and 23rd instant, forwarding the translation of a letter received by you from Sirdar Abdur Rahman on the 21st instant, together with a summary of certain oral explanations which accompanied that letter, and a statement of the recommendations suggested by it to Lieutenaut-General Sir Frederick Roberts and yourself.

In conveying to you its instructions on the subject of this important communication, the Government of India considers it expedient to recapitulate the principles on which it has hitherto been acting in northern Afghanistan, and clearly to define the point of view from which it contemplates the present situation of affairs in that country. The single object to which, as you are well aware, the Afghan policy of this Government has at all times been directed and limited, is the security of the North-West frontier of India. The Government of India has, however, no less invariably held and acted on the conviction that the security of this frontier is incompatible with the intrusion of any foreign influence into the great border State of Afghanistan. To exclude or eject such influence the Government of India has frequently subsidized and otherwise assisted the Amirs of Kabul. It has also, more than once, taken up arms against them. But it has never interfered, for any other purpose, in the affairs of their kingdom. Regulating on this principle and limiting to this object the conduct of our relations with the rulers of Kabul, it was our long-continued endeavour to find in their friendship and their strength the requisite guarantees for the security of our own frontier. Failing in that endeavour, we were compelled to seek the attainment of the object to which our Afghan policy was, and is still, exclusively directed, by rendering the permanent security of our frontier as much as possible independent of such conditions.

This obligation was not accepted without reluctance. Not even when forced into hostilities by the late Amir Sher Ali Khan's espousal of a Russian alliance, proposed by Russia in contemplation of a rupture with the British Government, did we relinquish our desire for the renewal of relations with a strong and friendly Afghan Power, and, when the son of Sher Ali subsequently sought our alliance and protection, they were at once accorded to him, on conditions of which His Highness professed to appreciate the generosity. The crime, however, which dissolved the Treaty of Gandamak, and the disclosures which followed that event, finally convinced the Government of India that the interests committed to its care could not but be gravely imperilled by[Page 562] further adhesion to a policy dependent for its fruition on the gratitude, the good faith, the assumed self-interest, or the personal character of any Afghan Prince.

When, therefore, Her Majesty's troops re-entered Afghanistan in September last, it was with two well-defined and plainly-avowed objects. The first was to avenge the treacherous massacre of the British Mission at Kabul; the second was to maintain the safeguards sought through the Treaty of Gandamak, by providing for their maintenance guarantees of a more substantial and less precarious character.

These two objects have been maintained: the first by the capture of Kabul and the punishment of the crime committed there, the second by the severance of Kandahar from the Kabul power.

Satisfied with their attainment, the Government of India has no longer any motive or desire to enter into fresh treaty engagements with the Rulers of Kabul. The arrangements and exchange of friendly assurances with the Amir Sher Ali, though supplemented on the part of the Government of India by subsidies and favours of various kinds, wholly failed to secure the object of them, which was, nevertheless, a thoroughly friendly one, and no less conducive to the security and advantage of the Afghan than to those of the British Power. The treaty with Yakub Khan, which secured to him our friendship and material support, was equally ineffectual. Moreover, recent events and arrangements have fundamentally changed the situation to which our correspondence and engagements with the Amir of Afghanistan formally applied. Our advance frontier positions at Kandahar and Kuram have materially diminished the political importance of Kabul in relation to India, and although we shall always appreciate the friendship of its Ruler, our relations with him are now of so little importance to the paramount objects of our policy that we no longer require to maintain British agents in any part of his dominions.

Our only reasons, therefore, for not immediately withdrawing our forces from northern Afghanistan have hitherto been—first, the excited and unsettled condition of the country round Kabul, with the attitude of hostility assumed by some leaders of armed gatherings near Ghazni; and, secondly, the inability of the Kabul Sirdars to agree among themselves on the selection of a Ruler strong enough to maintain order after our evacuation of the country.

The first-named of these reasons has now ceased to exist. In a minute dated the 30th ultimo the Viceroy and Governor-General stated that 'the Government is anxious to withdraw as soon as possible the troops from Kabul and from all points beyond those to be occupied under the Treaty of Gandamak, except Kandahar. In order that this may be done, it is desirable to find a Ruler for Kabul, which will be separated from Kandahar. Steps,' continued His Excellency, 'are being taken for this purpose. Meanwhile, it is essential that we should make such a display of strength in Afghanistan as will show that we are masters of the situation, and will overawe disaffection.'... 'All that is necessary, from a political point of view, is for General Stewart to march to Ghazni, break up any opposition he may find there or in the neighbourhood, and open up direct communication with General Sir Frederick Roberts at Kabul.' The military operations thus defined have been accomplished by General Stewart's successful action before Ghazni.

With regard to the second reason mentioned for the retention of our troops in northern Afghanistan, the appearance of Abdur Rahman as a candidate for the throne of Kabul, whose claims the Government of India has no cause to oppose, and who seems to be approved, and likely to be supported, by at least a majority of the population, affords fair ground for anticipating that our wishes in regard to the restoration, before our departure, of order in that part[Page 563] of the country will now be fulfilled.

The Governor-General in Council has consequently decided that the evacuation of Kabul shall be effected not later than October next, and it is with special reference to this decision that the letter and message addressed to you by Sirdar Abdur Rahman have been carefully considered by His Excellency in Council.

What first claims notice in the consideration of that letter is the desire that it expresses for the permanent establishment of Afghanistan with our assistance and sympathy under the joint protection of the British and Russian Empires. This suggestion, which is more fully developed in the Sirdar's unwritten message, cannot be entertained or discussed.

As already stated, the primary object and declared determination of the Government of India have been the exclusion of foreign influence or interference from Afghanistan. This cardinal condition of amicable relations with Afghanistan has, at all times and in all circumstances, been deemed essential for the permanent security of Her Majesty's Indian Empire. As such, it has hitherto been firmly maintained by successive Governors-General of India under the explicit instructions of Her Majesty's Government. Nor has it ever been ignored, or officially contested, by the Russian Government. That Government, on the contrary, has repeatedly, and under every recent change of circumstances in Afghanistan, renewed the assurances solemnly given to the British Government that 'Russia considers Afghanistan as entirely beyond the sphere of her influence.'

It is true that negotiations at one time passed between the two Governments with a view to the mutual recognition of certain territories as constituting a neutral zone between their respective spheres of legitimate influence and action, and that at one time it was proposed by Russia to treat Afghanistan itself as a neutral territory. Those negotiations, however, having proved fruitless, the northern frontier of Afghanistan was finally determined by mutual agreement, and in 1876 the Russian Government formally reiterated its adherence to the conclusion that, 'while maintaining on either side the arrangement come to as regards the limits of Afghanistan, which is to remain outside the sphere of Russian action, the two Cabinets should regard as terminated the discussions relative to the intermediate zone, which promised no practical result.'

The position of Afghanistan as defined and settled by these engagements was again distinctly affirmed on behalf of the Queen's Government by the Marquis of Salisbury in 1879, and the Government of India unreservedly maintains it in the fullest conviction of its essential necessity for the peaceable protection of Her Majesty's Indian dominions. It is therefore desirable that you should take occasion to inform Abdur Rahman that the relations of Afghanistan to the British and Russian Empires are matters which the Government of India must decline to bring into discussion with the Sirdar. The Afghan states and tribes are too contiguous with India, whose North-Western frontier they surround, for the Government of India ever willingly to accept partnership with any other Power in the exercise of its legitimate and recognized influence over those tribes and States.

The Governor-General in Council is, nevertheless, most anxious that the Sirdar should not misunderstand the light in which his personal sentiments and obligations towards Russia are regarded by the Government of India. So long as the Rulers of Kabul were amenable to its advice, this Government has never ceased to impress on them the international duty of scrupulously respecting all the recognized rights and interests of their Russian neighbour, refraining from every act calculated to afford the Russian authorities in Central Asia any just cause of umbrage or complaint. The intelligence and[Page 564] good sense which are conspicuous in the Sirdar's letter and messages to you will enable him to appreciate the difference between conduct regulated on these principles and that which cost Sher Ali the loss of his throne. This Government does not desire, nor has it ever desired, to impose on any Ruler of Kabul conditions incompatible with that behaviour which Russia, as a powerful and neighbouring Empire, is entitled to expect from him; least of all can we desire to impose such conditions on a Prince who has received hospitality and protection in Russian territory. I am therefore to observe that, in the natural repugnance expressed by Abdur Rahman to conditions which 'might make him appear ungrateful' to those 'whose salt he has eaten,' the Governor-General in Council recognizes a sentiment altogether honourable to the Sirdar, and perfectly consistent with the sincerity of his professed goodwill towards ourselves.

These observations will furnish you with a sufficient answer to the question asked by Abdur Rahman as to the 'nature of our friendship' and 'its conditions.'

The frankness with which he has explained his position entitles him to receive from us a no less unreserved statement of our own. The Government of India cordially shares the wish expressed by Abdur Rahman that, between the British and Russian Empires, his 'tribes and countrymen may live quietly in ease and peace.' We do not desire to place them in a position of unfriendliness towards a Power which is pledged to us to regard their country as 'entirely beyond the sphere of its action.' The injury to Afghan commerce caused by the present condition of Afghanistan, to which the Sirdar has alluded, is fully appreciated by the Government of India, and on the restoration of peace between the two countries the revival and development of trade intercourse need present no difficulty. As regards our own friendship, it will, if sincerely sought, be freely given, and fully continued so long as it is loyally reciprocated. But we attach to it no other condition. We have no concessions to ask or make, and the Sirdar will therefore perceive that there is really no matter for negotiation or bargain between him and us.

On this point your reply to Abdur Rahman cannot be too explicit. Previous to the Sirdar's arrival in Turkestan, the hostility and treachery of those whose misconduct he admits and deplores had compelled the Government of India to make territorial arrangements of a material and permanent character for the better protection of our frontier. The maintenance of these arrangements is in no wise dependent on the assent or dissent, on the good will or ill-will, of any Chief at Kabul. The character of them has been so fully explained by you to all the other Kabul Sirdars that it is probably well known to Abdur Rahman. But in order that our present intercourse and future relations with the Sirdar may be perfectly clear of doubt on a point affecting the position he aspires to fill, the Governor-General in Council authorizes you, if necessary, to make him plainly understand that neither the district assigned to us by the Treaty of Gandamak, nor any part of the province of Kandahar, will ever be restored to the Kabul Power.

As regards this last-mentioned province, the Government of India has been authorized by that of Her Majesty to give to Sher Ali Khan, the present Wali of Kandahar, a distinct assurance that he will be not only recognized, but maintained, by the British Government as the Ruler of that province. Sher Ali Khan is one of the Native nobles of Kandahar. He is administering the province with ability, good sense, and complete loyalty to the British Government, which has promised him the support of a British garrison so long as he requires such support. The Governor-General in Council cannot doubt that Sirdar Abdur Rahman will readily recognize the obligation incumbent on the honour of the British Government to keep faith with all[Page 565] who, whether at Kandahar or elsewhere, have proved themselves true and loyal adherents. Yakub Khan forfeited our alliance, and with it his throne, by mistrusting the assurances we gave him, and falsifying those which he had given to us. If, misled by his example, Yakub Khan's successor attempts to injure or oppress the friends of the British Government, its power will again be put forth to protect or avenge them. Similarly, if the next Kabul Ruler reintroduces into his Court or country foreign influences adverse to our own, the Government of India will again take such steps as it may deem expedient to deal with such a case. These contingencies, however, cannot occur if the sentiments of Abdur Rahman are such as he represents them to be. Meanwhile, the territorial and administrative arrangements already completed by us for the permanent protection of our own interests are not susceptible of negotiation or discussion with Abdur Rahman or any other claimant to the throne of Kabul.

To the settlement of Herat, which is not included in these completed arrangements, the Governor-General in Council cannot authorize you to make or invite any reference in your reply to Abdur Rahman. The settlement of the future administration of Herat has been undertaken by Her Majesty's Government; with those present views in regard to this important question, the Government of India is not yet acquainted.

Nor can our evacuation of Kabul constitute any subject for proposals in your correspondence with the Sirdar. This measure was determined on by the Government of India long before the appearance of Abdur Rahman as a candidate for the government of the country we are about to evacuate. It has not been caused by the hostility, and is not, therefore, conditional on the goodwill, of any Afghan Power.

The Government of India is, however, very willing to carry out the evacuation of Kabul in the manner most conducive to the personal advantage of Abdur Rahman, whose interests we believe to be, more than those of any other Sirdar, in accordance with the general interests of the Afghan people. For this reason it is desirable that you should inform Abdur Rahman of our intention to evacuate Kabul, and our desire to take that opportunity of unconditionally transferring to his authority the whole of the country from which our troops will be withdrawn. You are authorized to add that our military and political officers at Kabul will be empowered to facilitate any practical arrangement suggested by the Sirdar for promptly and peaceably effecting, in co-operation with him, the transfer thus contemplated on his behalf. Such arrangement must, however, be consistent with our obligations towards those who have served and aided the British Government during our occupation of those territories.

For this purpose, it appears to the Governor-General in Council desirable that the Sirdar should lose no time in proceeding to Kabul, and there settling, in conference with General Stewart and yourself, such preliminary arrangements as may best promote the undisturbed establishment of his future government.

The Governor-General in Council has, however, no desire to press this suggestion, should it appear to the Sirdar that his presence at Kabul, previous to the withdrawal of our troops for the purpose of personal conference with the British authorities, might have the effect of weakening his popularity, or compromising his position in the eyes of his future subjects.

The point is one which must be left entirely to the Sirdar's own judgment and inclination.

But Abdur Rahman is doubtless aware that there are at present, in and around Kabul, personages not destitute of influence, who themselves aspire to the sovereignty he seeks, and that the family of Yakub has still numerous [Page 566] personal adherents, who may possibly take advantage of the withdrawal of our troops to oppose the Sirdar's authority if he is not personally present to assert it.

It should on both sides he remembered and understood that it is not the policy of this Government to impose upon the Afghan people an unpopular Ruler or to interfere uninvited in the administration of a friendly one. If Abdur Rahman proves able and disposed to conciliate the confidence of his countrymen, without forfeiting the good understanding which he seeks with us, he will assuredly find his best support in our political appreciation of that fact. Our reason for unconditionally transferring to him the government of the country, from which our forces will in any case be withdrawn a few months hence, is that, on the whole, he appears to be the Chief best able to restore order in that country, and also best entitled to undertake such a task. In his performance of it he will receive, if he requires it, our assistance. But we neither need nor wish to hamper, by preliminary stipulations or provisoes, his independent exercise of a sovereignty which he declares himself anxious to maintain on a footing of peace and friendship with the British Government.

The present statement of the views and intentions of His Excellency the Governor-General in Council respecting Abdur Rahman will enable you to represent them with adequate accuracy in your reply to the Sirdar's friendly overtures, and it will now be your duty to convey to Abdur Rahman, without any avoidable delay, the answer of the Government of India to the letter and message received from him. His Excellency feels assured that you will give full expression to the spirit of candour and goodwill in which these communications have been received and are reciprocated.

But I am to impress on your attention the importance of avoiding any expression which might appear to suggest or admit matter for negotiation or discussion in reference to the relative positions of the Sirdar and the Government of India.

In conclusion, I am to request that on receipt of this letter you will be so good as to lose no time in submitting its contents to General Sir Donald Stewart, should he then have reached Kabul. In any case, you will, of course, communicate them to General Roberts, and act upon them in consultation with the chief military authority on the spot.

[Return to p. 462]





(Referred to at p. 464.)

Extract from a Report by LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR FREDERICK ROBERTS, V.C., K.C.B., to the QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL IN INDIA, dated Kabul, 17th April, 1880.

25. I think I have now dealt with all the points of military importance connected with the military position in northern Afghanistan, but there are a few questions of more general interest which I desire to bring to the notice of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief and the Government of India.

26. First with regard to rations. The daily scale of issue to Native troops[Page 567] is given in the margin.

Daily ration of
Native soldiers:

Atta1 - - - 12 chittacks 2
Dall3 - - - 2 chittacks
Ghi4 - - - 1 chittack
Salt - - - 13 chittack
Meat - - - 1 lb. bi-weekly
Rum - - - 1 dram   "

It has been found throughout the campaign, even when the men were employed upon hard work, that '12 chittacks' of 'atta' daily are amply sufficient for the Native troops, supplemented, as of late, through the liberality of Government, by a bi-weekly issue of 1 lb. of meat. In a climate like Afghanistan, where the inhabitants are all meat-eaters, this liberality has been most wise. Every endeavour was made, before this sanction was granted, to supply the Native portion of the force with meat on payment, and I attribute to this in great measure the sound health and excellent stamina which they now exhibit.

With regard to the issue of rum, I would suggest that it should not be issued free to Native troops, except under exceptional circumstances of fatigue and weather, but that the Commissariat Department should be authorized to have in store a sufficiency of rum to admit of a bi-weekly issue to such troops as drink the spirit, on payment, and then only on the recommendation of the Medical Officer, and under the sanction of the General Officer commanding. On all occasions when rum is sanctioned, either free or on payment, those who do not partake of spirits should he allowed a ration of tea and sugar under similar conditions.

27. The scale of rations for Native followers requires no alteration.

28. The European rations now under issue in Kabul are as per margin, and with reference to them I would make the following remarks:

Daily ration of
European soldiers:

Meat - - -1¼ lb.

Bread - - 1¼ lb.
Vegetables - - -1¼ lb.
Rice - - - 4 oz.
Salt - - -  23 oz.
Tea - - -¾ oz.
Sugar - - - 3 oz.
Rum - - -  1 dr. 


The increase of ¼ lb. in bread and meat is, in my opinion, very desirable, for not only is the meat, as a rule, on service inferior to that served in cantonments, but the extras which can be procured from the coffee-shop are not here forthcoming. When the vegetable ration consists of potatoes, 1 lb. is sufficient, but when it is made of mixed vegetables 1¼ lb. is necessary. The substitution of dall for any portion of the vegetable ration I consider undesirable.

Tinned soups and meats and biscuits are most valuable, and should be liberally supplied to every force in the field. They are portable and liked by the men, to whom they furnish a very welcome change of diet. I would very strongly recommend that a much larger issue of these articles than has hitherto been sanctioned should be provided.

29. A question which has arisen during this campaign, and which may

crop up again, has been the provision of firewood for cooking to Native troops and followers. Throughout the winter firewood could not be purchased at Kabul, and it was absolutely necessary to issue it to these men. This was done at the rate of one seer5 per man, but this amount is not arbitrary, and might, under certain circumstances, be diminished. Since roads were re-opened and markets re-established the issue of wood has been discontinued. In framing any future rules for the guidance of a force in the field, the question of providing firewood through the Commissariat Department for Native troops and followers, free or on payment, should be vested in the General Officers commanding.

30. The scale of clothing authorized by Government for Native troops and[Page 568] followers was found, even in the rigorous climate of Afghanistan, to be most liberal, except that during the very coldest weather a second blanket was required. This want I was able to meet from stock in hand, and as the weather became milder these extra blankets were withdrawn and returned into store. Warm stockings, too, are very necessary in a climate where frostbite is not uncommon; fortunately, some thousands were procured locally

and issued to followers. The ordinary Native shoe of India, as provided by the Commissariat Department, is utterly unfitted for a country such as Afghanistan. Major Badcock will send to Peshawar (where they can easily be made up) a pattern Kabali shoe, which I am convinced would be found admirably suited for Native troops and followers crossing the frontier. We are now almost entirely dependent on the local market for our shoes.

A large supply of English-made ammunition boots should always accompany
Ammunition boots.     

a force in the field, in order to allow those Natives who use them, and who are often crippled by wearing other descriptions of shoe, to obtain them on payment at the moderate rate now fixed, viz., Rs. 4 per pair.

The country-made waterproof sheets, though slightly heavier, have proved
Waterproof sheets.     

themselves quite as serviceable, if not more so, than the English-made ones.


At the close of the campaign, I would very strongly recommend that an intelligent committee should be required to go thoroughly into these questions of clothing for troops, British and Native, and for followers. I would also suggest that when a decision is arrived at, sealed patterns of every article approved should be deposited at all manufacturing centres and in all the large jails, so that when certain articles are required they need only be called for, and precious time (often wasted in reference and correspondence) saved.

31. The number of doolie-bearers with the two divisions of the Kabul

Field Force now at Kabul is 3,536, with the very moderate sick report of 35, or 1 per cent. of strength.


Doolies and dandies are distributed as follows:

British troops {doolies,  3 per cent.
                    {dandies, 2 per cent.
Native troops {doolies,  2 per cent.
                    {dandies, 3 per cent.

—a percentage which I consider sufficient for field-service, as, in the event of any unusual number of casualties, transport animals could and would be made use of, and it is most undesirable to increase the number of followers.


The Lushai dandy.     

The Lushai dandy for this sort of warfare is much preferable to the carpet or dhurrie dandy, as it can be made into a bed, and men are not so liable to fall out of it.


Bourke's doolie.     

Bourke's doolie is very good, but liable to get out of order, and difficult to repair when broken; the ordinary kind is fairly good and serviceable.


32. I would urge that in future all field-service tents should be made after
Field-service tents.     

the pattern of the Mountain Battery tent, single fly for Natives, double for Europeans, and that the poles should be constructed on the telescopic principle: that is, that no thinning of the wood where it enters the socket should be allowed either on uprights or ridge-pole, and that the old system of paring away should be abandoned. Instead, the upper section should sit flat on the lower. Doubtless the sockets will have to be longer and stronger than those now in use, but this is the only means by which tents can be adapted to mule and pony[Page 569] carriage, which will no doubt in future wars be our chief means of transport.

33. The Waler horses of the Cavalry and Artillery have stood the strain
Waler horses.     

remarkably well, considering the hard work and great exposure they have had to bear, and also that for a considerable time they were entirely deprived of green food. I feel sure this information will be most satisfactory, seeing that, for the future, the Artillery and Cavalry in India must mainly depend upon the Australian market for their remounts.

34. As there are some minor points of detail which might advantageously
Committee to record     
suggestions on

be considered by those who have had the experience of recent service, I have convened a committee, with Colonel MacGregor, C.B., as President, which will take suggestions and record opinions regarding packing transport animals, equipment, kit, dress, etc., of both officers and men of the several branches of the service. From the constitution of the committee, I feel certain that their recommendations cannot but be valuable, and I hope to have the honour of submitting them shortly for the consideration of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief.

[Footnote 1: Flour.]

[Footnote 2: A chittack = 2 ounces.]

[Footnote 3: A kind of pea.]

[Footnote 4: Clarified butter.]

[Footnote 5: A seer = 2 lb.]

[Return to p. 464]





(Referred to at p. 517.)


20th. November, 1886.

The following general instructions for the guidance of Brigadier-Generals and Officers in command of columns are published by order of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief in India:

1st.—Columns sent out for the pacification of a district, or in pursuit of a particular gang of dacoits, must be amply provided and able to keep the field for ten days at least. To enable this to be done without employing an undue number of transport animals, it is necessary that every endeavour be made to obtain grain for Cavalry horses and Transport ponies from the villages passed through; careful inquiry must be made as to where supplies can be obtained locally, and the line of advance determined accordingly. Arrangements must be made for replenishing the supply when necessary from depots which must be formed at convenient centres when the nature of the operations may necessitate it. These depots should be pushed forward from time to time as the troops advance. The work of a column obliged to return to its base of supply before it has had an opportunity of completing the object of the expedition must be more harmful than beneficial, as its failure emboldens the enemy and weakens the confidence of the people in our power to protect them and to reach the offenders.

2nd.—Where two or more columns are acting in concert, the details of time and place of movement should be settled beforehand with the greatest nicety, and the commanding officers of all such columns should be provided with the same maps, or tracings from them, so [Page 570] that subsequent changes of plan, rendered necessary by later information, may be understood and conformed to by all. Officers commanding columns must do their utmost to get into, and keep up, communication with one another. This can be effected by:

Visual signalling,
Spies and scouts,

3rd.—Movements to be executed in concert with the troops in other brigades or commands, or likely to tell directly or indirectly on the districts commanded by other officers, will be fully communicated to those officers, both beforehand and when in progress.

4th.—Brigadier-Generals are empowered to give very liberal remuneration for the effective service of guides and for information involving danger to those who give it. They may delegate this power to selected officers in detached commands, but a close watch must be kept on expenditure under this head. Opportunities should be afforded to timid informers who are afraid to compromise themselves by entering camp to interview officers at some distance out and in secrecy.

5th.—Cavalry horses and Mounted Infantry ponies must be saved as much as is compatible with occasional forced and rapid marches. On ordinary occasions the riders should dismount, from time to time, and march alongside of their horses or ponies.

6th.—The special attention of all officers is called to the careful treatment of pack-animals, and officers in command of columns and parties will be held strictly responsible that the animals are properly loaded for the march, saved as much as possible during it, and carefully attended to and fed after it. Officers in command will ascertain by daily personal supervision and inspection that these orders are carried out.

7th.—It must be remembered that the chief object of traversing the country with columns is to cultivate friendly relations with the inhabitants, and at the same time to put before them evidences of our power, thus gaining their good-will and their confidence. It is therefore the bounden duty of commanding officers to ascertain that the troops under their command are not permitted to injure the property of the people or to wound their susceptibilities.

8th.—The most injurious accounts of our intentions have been circulated amongst, and believed by, the people, and too much pains cannot be taken to eradicate this impression, and to assure the people both by act and word of our good-will towards the law-abiding. Chief men of districts should he treated with consideration and distinction. The success of the present operations will much depend on the tact with which the inhabitants are treated.

9th.—When there is an enemy in arms against British rule, all arrangements must be made not only to drive him from his position, but also to surround the position so as to inflict the heaviest loss possible. Resistance overcome without inflicting punishment on the enemy only emboldens him to repeat the game, and thus, by protracting operations, costs more lives than a severe lesson promptly administered, even though that lesson may cause some casualties on our side. Arrangements should be made to surround villages and jungle retreats with Cavalry, and afterwards to hunt them closely with Infantry. In the pursuit the broadest margin possible will be drawn between leaders of rebellion and the professional dacoit[Page 571] on the one part, and the villagers who have been forced into combinations against us. Bohs and leaders will generally be found heading the column of fugitives, and a portion of the Cavalry should be directed to pursue them without wasting time over the rank and file of the enemy.

10th.—Unless otherwise ordered, columns of occupation should move in short marches, halting at the principal towns and villages. This will give civil officers opportunities for becoming thoroughly acquainted with their districts, and give military officers time to reconnoitre and sketch the country.

11th.—Where troops are likely to be quartered for some time, bamboo platforms should be erected to keep the men off the ground. Tents, if afterwards provided, can be pitched on the platforms.

12th.—The greatest latitude will be allowed to Brigadier-Generals and officers in local command in ordering and carrying out movements for the pacification of their districts. They will, however, report as fully as possible all movements intended and in progress, through the regular channel, for the information of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief.

13th.—Civil officers will be detailed under the orders of the Chief Commissioner to accompany columns. As they are in a position to reward loyalty and good service, they will be able to obtain more reliable guides and intelligence than the military officers can hope to get. The Chief Commissioner has authorized selected Burmans, men of position who may look for official appointments, being employed as scouts by the civil officers of districts and being attached to columns. These scouts should wear some distinguishing and conspicuous mark or badge to prevent them being fired on by the troops. They should not be called upon to take the front when approaching an unbroken enemy, or where ambuscades may be expected, but their services will be most valuable in gaining information, and later in hunting down the individuals of a broken-up gang.

14th.—Absolute secrecy must be maintained regarding movements against the enemy and every device resorted to to mislead him.

15th.—When civil officers accompany columns, all prisoners will be handed over to them for disposal. When no civil officer is present, the officer commanding the column will, ex officio, have magisterial powers to inflict punishment up to two years' imprisonment, or 30 lashes. Offenders deserving heavier punishment must be reserved for disposal by the civil officers.

16th.—Officers commanding columns will be held responsible that the troops are not kept in unhealthy districts, and that, when a locality has proved itself unhealthy, the troops are removed at the earliest possible opportunity. Military officers are responsible for the location of the troops. The requisitions of civil officers will be complied with, whenever practicable, but military officers are to judge in all matters involving the military or sanitary suitability of a position.

17th.—In the class of warfare in which we are now engaged, where night surprises and ambuscades are the only formidable tactics of the enemy, the greatest care must be taken to ensure the safety of the camp at night. To meet ambuscades, which usually take the form of a volley followed by flight, and which, in very dense jungle, it may be impossible to discover or guard against by means[Page 572] of flankers, His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief would wish the following plan to be tried: Supposing, for instance, the fire of the enemy to be delivered from the right, a portion of the force in front should be ready to dash along the road for 100 yards, or so, or until some opening in the jungle offers itself. The party should then turn to the right and sweep round with a view to intercepting the enemy in his flight. A party in rear should similarly enter the jungle to their right with the same object. The centre of the column would hold the ground and protect the baggage or any wounded men. The different parties must be previously told off, put under the command of selected leaders, and must act with promptitude and dash. Each party must be kept in compact order, and individual firing must be prohibited, except when there is a clear prospect. Past experience suggests the adoption of some such plan as the above, but in guerilla warfare officers must suit their tactics to the peculiar and ever-varying circumstances in which they may find themselves engaged.

18th.—The Government have ordered a general disarmament of the country, as soon as the large bands of rebels and dacoits are dispersed. The orders for this disarmament direct that all firearms are to be taken from the people, but that a moderate number may be returned to responsible villagers who are loyal and are able to defend themselves. No firearms will be returned save under registered licenses; and licenses will be given only for villages which can produce a certain number (5 to 10) guns, and are either stockaded or fenced against sudden attack. The duty of disarming lies on civil officers and the police; but as it is desirable that the disarmament should be effected as quickly as possible, officers commanding posts and columns will give such assistance as may be in their power in carrying it out.

[Return to p. 517]





(Referred to at p. 540.)



We, the undersigned, representing the Sikhs of the Punjab, most respectfully beg to approach Your Excellency with this humble address of farewell on Your Lordship's approaching departure from this country. We cannot give adequate expression to the various ideas which are agitating our minds at this juncture, relating as they do to the past, present, and future, making us feel, at one and the same time, grateful, happy, and sorrowful. The success which Your Excellency has achieved in Asia is such as makes India and England proud of it. The history of the British Empire in India has not, at least for the last thirty years, produced a hero like Your Lordship, whose soldier-like qualities are fully known to the world. The country which had been the cradle of Indian invasions came to realize the extent of your power and recognized your generalship. The victories gained by Sale, Nott, and Pollock in the plains of Afghanistan have been shadowed by those gained[Page 573] by Your Excellency. The occupation of Kabul and the glorious battle of Kandahar are among the brightest jewels in the diadem of Your Lordship's Baronage. Your Excellency's achievements checked the aggressive advance of the Great Northern Bear, whose ambitious progress received a check from the roar of a lion in the person of Your Lordship; and a zone of neutral ground has now been fixed, and a line of peace marked by the Boundary Commission. The strong defences which Your Excellency has provided on the frontier add another bright stone to the building of your fame, and constitute in themselves a lasting memorial of Your Excellency's martial skill. Never had any British General to face more arduous tasks, and none has proved more completely successful in overcoming them than Your Lordship. The result is that India has been rendered safe from the fear of invasion from without. Your Excellency is not only adorned with heroic qualifications, but the love and affection with which the people of India regard Your Lordship show what admirable qualities are exhibited in the person of Your Excellency. Terrible in war and merciful in peace, Your Excellency's name has become a dread to the enemies of England and lovely to your friends. The interest which Your Lordship has always taken in the welfare of those with whom you have worked in India is well known to everybody. The Sikhs in particular are, more than any other community in India, indebted to Your Lordship. We find in Your Excellency a true friend of the Sikh community—a community which is always devoted heart and soul to the service of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Empress of India. No one understands better than Your Excellency the value of a Sikh soldier, and we feel very grateful that the military authorities recognize the necessity of requiring every Sikh recruit to be baptized according to the Sikh religion before admission to the Army—a practice which makes the Sikhs more true and faithful, and which preserves the existence of a very useful community. The Sikhs are said to be born soldiers, but they undoubtedly make very good citizens in time of peace also. Unfortunately, however, they have had no opportunity of fully developing their mental powers, so as to enable them to advance with the spirit of the age. We thank God that Your Excellency was among those who most desired to see the Sikhs refined and educated by establishing a Central College in the Punjab for the use of the Sikh people, and we confidently hope that the Sikhs, of whom a large portion is under Your Excellency's command, will give their mite in support of this national seminary. The subscriptions given by Your Lordship, His Excellency the Viceroy, and His Honour the late Lieutenant-Governor, were very valuable to the Institution, and the Sikhs are highly gratified by the honour Your Excellency has lately given to the Khalsa Diwan by becoming its honorary patron. In conclusion, we beg only to repeat that it is quite beyond our power to state how much we are indebted to Your Excellency, and how much we are affected by the news that Your Lordship will shortly leave this land. The very idea of our separation from the direct contact of so strong and affectionate a leader, as Your Excellency undoubtedly is, makes us feel very sorrowful; but as our hearts and prayers will always be with you and Lady Roberts, we shall be consoled if Your Excellency would only keep us in your memory, and on arrival in England assure Her Most Gracious Majesty, the Mother-Empress, that all Sikhs, whether high or low, strong or weak, old or young, are heartily devoted to her Crown and her representatives in this country. Before retiring, we thank Your Excellency for the very great honour that has been done to the people of Lahore by Your Lordship's visit to this city.

[Return to p. 540]


[Page 574]



(Referred to at p. 540.)



We are proud to stand in Your Lordship's presence to-day on behalf of the Hindus of the Punjab, the loyal subjects of the Queen-Empress, who appreciate the countless blessings which British Rule has conferred upon this country, to give expression to the feelings of gratitude which are uppermost in their hearts. We feel it really an honour that we are able to show our appreciation of British Rule in the presence of the eminent soldier and statesman who has taken an important part in making the India of to-day what it is—contented within and strengthened against aggression from abroad. The Punjab is the province where the military strength of the Empire is being concentrated, and the bravery of the warlike races inhabiting it, which furnish the flower of Her Gracious Majesty's forces of the Army in India, has been conspicuously displayed on several occasions during the last thirty years. We Hindus have availed ourselves the most of the facilities which British Rule has provided for the progress of the people in commercial enterprise, educational advance, and political progress. We are, therefore, all the more proud that we have been allowed to-day to greet in person the mighty soldier, the sympathetic Commander, and the sagacious Statesman, the record of whose distinguished career in the East is virtually the history of nearly half a century of glorious victories—victories both of peace and war—achieved by the British Power in Asia, to show how intense is our gratitude towards the Queen-Empress and one of her eminent representatives in India, who have striven to do their duty by the people of this country, and done it to the satisfaction of the people and of their Gracious Sovereign. The interests of India and England are identical, and the Hindus of the Punjab regard British Rule as a Providential gift to this country—an agency sent to raise the people in the scale of civilization. Anything that is done to guarantee the continuance of the present profoundly peaceful condition of the country is highly appreciated by us, and we are, therefore, all the more grateful to Your Lordship for all that your courage, foresight, sagacity, and high statesmanship have been able to achieve. At a time when all the races and communities inhabiting this frontier province, which has been truly described as the sword-hand in India, are vying with each other in showing their high appreciation of the good work done by Your Excellency, of which not the least significant proof lies in the arrangement for the defence of the country at all vulnerable points of the frontier, the Hindus are anxious to show that they yield to none in the enthusiasm which marks the demonstrations held in your honour. But Your Excellency commands our esteem and regard on other grounds also. The deep interest that you have throughout your career felt in the welfare of the sepoy, and the closest ties of genuine friendship which you have established with many a notable of our community, have laid us under deep obligations to Your Excellency. The encouragement that you have given to the organization of the Imperial Service Troops of the Native States is also gratefully appreciated by us; and only the other day we were gratified to learn the high opinion Your Excellency entertained of the appearance and military equipment of the Imperial Service Troops of Jammu and Kashmir,[Page 575] the most important Hindu State in this part of India. We should be wanting in duty, we feel, did we not on this occasion give expression to the great regret which the news of your approaching departure from India has caused among the Hindus of the Punjab, who feel that they are parting from a kind friend and a sympathetic Ruler. At the same time, we feel that the country will not lose the benefit of your mature experience and wise counsel for long; for we are hopeful that you may some day be called upon to guide the helm of the State in India, a work for which you are so specially fitted. In conclusion, we have only to pray to the Father of All Good that He may shower His choicest blessings upon you and your consort—that noble lady who has, in addition to cheering you in your hard and onerous work in India, herself done a great deal for the comfort of the soldier and the sepoy, and that He may grant you many years of happy life—a life which has done so much for the Queen-Empress's dominions, and which may yet do much more.

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We, the Mahomedans of the Punjab, have dared to approach Your Excellency with this address with eyes tear-bedimmed, but a face smiling. The departure of a noble and well-beloved General like yourself from our country is in itself a fact that naturally fills our eyes with tears. What could be more sorrowful than this, our farewell to an old officer and patron of ours, who has passed the prominent portion of his life in our country, developed our young progeny to bravery and regular soldiery, decorated them with honours, and created them to high titles? Your Excellency's separation is the harder to bear for the men of the Punjab because it is our Punjab that is proud of the fact that about forty years ago the foundation stone of all your famous and noble achievements, which not only India, but England, rightly boasts of, was laid down in one of its frontier cities, and that the greater part of your indomitable energies was spent in the Punjab frontier defence. If, therefore, we are sad at separating from Your Excellency, it will not in any way be looked upon as strange. But these feelings of sorrow are mixed with joy when we see that the useful officer whom in 1852 we had welcomed at Peshawar, when the star of his merits was beginning to rise, departs from us in splendour and glory in the capacity of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of a vast Empire like India, and is an example of the highest type to all soldiers. This address is too brief for a detail of all the meritorious services rendered by your Excellency in the Punjab, India and other foreign countries from that early epoch to this date. Your zeal in the Mutiny of 1857, your heroic achievements in the Abyssinian and Afghan wars, your repeated victories of Kandahar, and your statesmanlike conduct of the Burma wars—all these are facts which deserve to be written in golden characters in the annals of Indian history. Your appointment as legislative and executive member of the Supreme Council of the Government of India for a considerable period has proved a source of blessings to the whole of India,[Page 576] and Your Excellency deserves an ample share of the credit due to the Council for all its useful regulations and reforms. The great liking that men of noble birth in India have been showing for some time towards military service is a clear demonstration of the excellent treatment received at your hands by military officers, as in the reforms made by you in the military pay and pension and other regulations. Another boon for which the Natives of India will always remember your name with gratitude, is that you have fully relied upon, and placed your confidence in, the Natives, thus uniting them the more firmly to the British Crown, making them more loyal, and establishing the good relations between the Rulers and the ruled on a firmer footing to their mutual good. Especially as Mussalmans of the Punjab are we proud that before Your Excellency's departure you have had the opportunity of reviewing the Imperial Service Troops of the Mahomedan State of Bhawalpur, one of the leading Native States of the Punjab, whose Ruler's efforts to make his troops worthy to take their place by the side of British troops for the defence of India is only one instance of the spirit of active loyalty which we are glad to say animates the entire Mussalman community of the Punjab. Disturbances arising from foreign intrusions are not unknown to us, and we have not sufficient words to thank your Lordship for the admirable management of the frontier defence work carried on to protect our country from all possible encroachments. The greatest pleasure and satisfaction, however, that we Mahomedans feel in presenting this address to Your Lordship emanates from the idea that you go on your way home to your native country with a high and favourable opinion of the Mahomedans of India, true and loyal subjects to Her Majesty the Queen-Empress, whose number exceeds six crores, and who are rapidly growing. During the Mutiny of 1857 the Chieftains and soldiers of our nation spared neither money nor arms in the reduction and submission of the rebels. Your Lordship is also aware what loyalty was displayed by the Mahomedans of India during the Afghan and Egyptian wars, waged against their own co-religionists, and the cheerfulness shown by them in following your Lordship in all your victories. Frontier services, such as the Kabul Embassy and the Delimitation Commission, rendered by the officers of our creed are also well known to you. We are therefore sanguine that Your Lordship's own observation will enable all the members of the Ruling race in India to form an opinion of the relations that exist between us and the British Crown. The Mahomedans of India and the Punjab are proud of being the devoted subjects of the Queen-Empress. In so acting we perform our religious duties, for our sacred religion enjoins upon us faithfulness and obedience towards our Ruling monarch, and teaches us to regard the Christians as our own brethren. The regard and esteem which we should have, therefore, for a Christian Government, as that of our kind mother the Queen-Empress, needs no demonstration. Although, for certain reasons which we need not detail here, our nation has been deficient in education, and we have been left much behind in obtaining civil employment, we hope that your long experience of our service will prove a good testimonial in favour of the warlike spirit, military genius, and loyalty of our nation, and if the circle of civil employment has become too straitened for us, the military line will be generously opened to us. We do not want to encroach upon Your Lordship's valuable time any further. We therefore finish our address, offering our heartfelt thanks to your Lordship for all those kindnesses you have been wont to show during your time towards India and Indians in general, and the Punjab and Punjabis in particular, and take leave of Your Lordship with the following prayer: 'May God bless thee wherever thou mayest be, and may thy generosities continue to prevail upon us for a long time.' While actuated by these feelings, we are not the less aware that[Page 577] our country owes a great deal to Lady Roberts, to whom we beg that Your Excellency will convey our heartfelt thanks for her lively interest in the welfare of Indian soldiers in particular and the people generally. In conclusion, we wish Your Excellencies God-speed and a pleasant and safe voyage. That Your Excellencies may have long, happy, and prosperous lives, and achieve ever so many more distinctions and honours, and return to us very shortly in a still higher position, to confer upon the Empire the blessings of a beneficent Rule, is our heartfelt and most sincere prayer.

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We, the representatives of the European community in the Punjab, are the prouder to-day of our British blood, in that it links us in close kinship, to one who has so bravely maintained the honour of the British Empire alike in the years of peace and storm that India has seen during the last three decades. During the Mutiny Your Excellency performed feats of gallantry that are historic. Since then your career has been one of brilliant success and growing military renown. Whenever, in the histories of war, men speak of famous marches, that from Kabul to Kandahar comes straightway to the lips. When our mind turns to military administration, we remember the unqualified success of Your Excellency's career as Quartermaster-General and as Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Forces in India, in both of which high offices you have added honour and glory to your great name, which will never be forgotten in India. When the private soldier, rightly or wrongly, thinks he has a grievance, his desire is only that somehow it may be brought to the notice of Your Excellency, from whom, through experience, he expects full justice and generous sympathy. When we look towards our frontier and see the strategic railways and roads, and the strong places of arms that threaten the invader, we know that for those safeguards the Empire is in no small degree indebted to the resolute wisdom of Your Excellency as military adviser to the Government of India. Last, but not least, as a Statesman, Your Excellency ranks second to none in the Empire in the opinion of your countrymen in this North-West frontier province; and we should gladly welcome the day, if it might ever arrive, when Your Excellency returned to India. It is here that we see most clearly the passage of events beyond our borders and mark the signs of brooding trouble; and our hope has always been that, when that trouble should break forth, yours might be the hand to guide England's flag to victory again. The Punjab is the sword of India, and Your Excellency has had the courage to lean most strongly upon that sword. It is here that the pulse of the army beats in India; it is hence that the enemies of our country shall feel the downright blow; and it is here that the greatest grief is felt in parting from so true a soldier and so far-seeing a Statesman as Your Excellency. It is meet, therefore, that here we should assemble upon this occasion of farewell to express the great sorrow which we, the representatives of the Europeans in the Punjab, feel at the prospect of[Page 578] losing so soon the clear brain and strong hand that Your Excellency has always brought to the control of the Army in India and to the solution of all questions of political or military moment. In doing so, we mourn for the loss of one of the best statesmen, the best general, and the best friend to the soldier in India. We say nothing of the kindly relations Your Excellency has always been able to establish with the other races in India; our fellow-subjects here will doubtless do so in their turn. We say nothing of Your Excellency's and Lady Roberts' charming social qualities, nor Her Ladyship's philanthropic work in India. We are here only to express our grief at parting with one whom we value so highly for the sake of our common country, and our hope that as your past has been full of glory to the Empire and honour to yourself, so may your future be; and that you may be spared for many years to wield the sword and guide the counsels of our country.

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We, the Talukdars of Oudh, as loyal and faithful subjects of the Empress of India, avail ourselves of the present opportunity of offering Your Excellency a most cordial and respectful welcome to the Capital of Oudh.

The long and valuable services rendered by Your Excellency to the Crown and the country are well known to, and are deeply appreciated by, us. Your Excellency's wise and vigorous administration of Her Majesty's Army in India has won for you our respectful admiration; while your prowess in the battlefield, and your wisdom in Council during the eventful period of your supreme command of Her Majesty's Indian Forces, have inspired us with confidence in your great military talents and your single-minded and earnest devotion to duty. In many a battle you have led the British Army to victory, and the brilliant success which has invariably attended the British Arms under Your Excellency's command has added to the glory of the British Empire.

But the pride and pleasure we feel at being honoured by Your Excellency's presence in our capital town give place to sorrow and regret at the approaching retirement of Your Excellency from the great service of which you are an ornament.

In grateful acknowledgment of the most important services rendered by Your Excellency to our Empress and our country, we beg to be allowed the privilege of presenting you with a Sword of Indian manufacture, which will, we hope, from time to time, remind you of us and of Oudh.

Wishing Your Lordship a safe and pleasant voyage home, and a long and happy life,

We subscribe ourselves,
Your Lordship's most humble
and obedient servants,

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Viewing with concern and regret your approaching departure from India, we beg—in bidding you farewell—to express our admiration of your life and work as Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Forces in India, and to request you to permit your portrait to be placed in the Town Hall of Calcutta, in token for the present generation of their high appreciation of your eminent services, and in witness to a future generation of the esteem in which you were held by your contemporaries.

With foresight denoting wise statesmanship, Governments which you have served have initiated and maintained a policy of Frontier Defence, and encouraged the increased efficiency of the Forces.

In the furtherance of these objects we recognize the salient points of your career and character whilst holding the high rank of Commander-in-Chief.

In your continued efforts to ameliorate the condition of the private soldier we recognize broad humanity. In the increasing efficiency of the Army, which, in our belief, characterizes your tenure of command, we recognize high soldierly qualities. In the state of strength which the Frontier Defences have attained, mainly due, we believe, to you, we recognize practical sagacity, conspicuous ability in discernment of requirements, and in pursuit of your aims an unwearying industry, a resolute persistence, and a determination that no difficulty can turn, in which a noble example for all true workers may be found.

In a word, your life and work are to us identified with Frontier Defence and Efficient Forces. We cheerfully bear our share of the cost, as in possession of these protections against aggression from without, we believe all who dwell within the borders of the land will find their best guarantee for peace, and in peace the best safeguard they and their children can possess to enable them to pass their lives in happiness and prosperity, and escape the misery and ruin which follow war and invasion. For all that you have done to give them such security, we feel you deserve, and we freely give, our heartfelt thanks.

Within the limitations of a farewell address, we hardly feel justified in personal allusions trenching on your private life, but we cannot refrain from noticing with responsive sympathy the feeling of personal attachment to yourself which is widespread throughout India, and assuring you that we share in it to the fullest extent that private feeling can be affected by public services. We endorse our assurance with an expression of the wish that, in whatever part of the British Empire your future life may be spent, it may be attended, as in the past, with honour, and, by the blessing of God, with health and happiness for yourself and all those you hold dear.

It is the prerogative of the Crown alone to bestow honours on those who have served their country well, and none have been better merited than those which you enjoy, and to which, we trust, additions may be made. It is the privilege of a community to make public profession of merit in a fellow-citizen where they consider it is due, and in availing ourselves of the privilege[Page 580] to make this public recognition of the great services which, in our opinion, you have rendered to India, we beg with all sincerity to add a hearty God-speed and a regretful Farewell.

We have the honour to be,
Your Excellency,
Your obedient servants.

11th March, 1893.

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