“The Sirdar Bahadur, Saiad Mir Khan Sahib, a pensioner receiving six hundred rupees a month, for aid rendered to the Kabul prisoners and good conduct in Afghanistan, who had, on hearing the disturbance, immediately joined the Commissioner, and offered to escort him to the European lines; but it was decided that there was no hope of the lady escaping through the crowd. He then went out to hold back the mob, and Was shot through the thigh, and his horse mortally wounded. This fine Afghan was obliged to retire to the city. He came to the Damdamah the next morning in spite of his wound, and was at the battles of the Hindan. When the mob attacked the house, the Commissioner and his wife, with the wife of one of the residents of the station, retired to the roof; when asked where their master and mistress were, the servants said that they had gone to church: though drawn swords were put to his throat, the Jamadar, Gulab Singh, persisted in this statement, and the other servants were faithfully silent regarding their master’s presence.” – Report of Mr. Commissioner Williams.
[The following is the evidence of Bakhtawass, or Bakhtawar Singh Chaprasi, as given at the trial of the King of Dehli.]
“I was the servant on duty supervising the repairs of the Fort ditch, and was going with the account book for Captain Douglas’ inspection. I was on my way, when a trooper came galloping up from the direction of the Calcutta Gate. The trooper had not reached the Palace Gate when I observed that Captain Douglas was standing there. I saw Captain Douglas speaking to the man; but before I reached the Palace Gate myself the trooper turned his horse and rode off. Captain Douglas told me to go up to his apartments, and said that he was going to the interior of the Palace and should return immediately-. Captain Douglas did so, and I stayed at the gate, Makhan, King Siahnsh and others accompanied him. Captain Douglas had hardly gone when Mr. Fraser arrived in his buggy and inquired for him. Mr. Fraser alighted and walked on through the covered way up to the opening. He then said to me he was going to the Calcutta, Gate, and that I was to tell Captain Douglas so on his return. I then
myself proceeded in the direction of the King’s apartments, and met Captain Douglas returning in a state of excitement. I gave him Mr. Fraser’s message. Captain Douglas went to the Lahor Gate of the Palace, and told the Native officer on guard there to close it, which was done. Captain Douglas at the same time gave orders that no crowd was to be allowed to assemble on the bridge leading into the Palace. Just about this time an officer of the King’s, styled a captain, also came there from the direction of the main street of Dehli. The gate had been closed and Captain Douglas’ buggy was inside, so he directed me to ask this Native officer for his buggy that he might go in it as far as the Calcutta Gate, whither Captain Douglas proceeded in it, I occupying the seat behind. At the Calcutta Gate we found Mr. Fraser, Mr. Nixon, head clerk, and four or five other gentlemen. The gate was closed after a short time. Mr. Fraser and Captain Douglas got into the buggy together, and were returning to the Palace accompanied by the other gentlemen on horseback, but had not proceeded far when four or five troopers came galloping up at full speed from the direction of the Ellenborough Tank. About this time, there was a general cry that the troopers had come. On reaching the party of gentlemen, one of the troopers wounded Mr. Hutchinson in the arm with a pistol shot; the others also fired, but without effect. On this Mr. Fraser and Captain Douglas both got out of the buggy and went out of the way of the mutineers, and stood by the guard-room of the Constabulary Force at the gate: two more gentlemen joined them there. Mr. Fraser got a musket from the Constabulary Force, and shot one of the troopers. This checked the others, and they turned and fled. A great crowd had by this time collected, and Captain Douglas and another gentle-man jumped into the Fort ditch, along which they came on to the Palace Gate, Mr. Fraser and others coming by the road; but there was such confusion at the time, I can’t say how. Captain Douglas was in a fainting state from the injuries he had received from jumping into the ditch, and we accordingly laid him on a bed in the Kalaiat Khana. In a short time Mr. Jennings, the clergyman, came down, and at his suggestion Captain Douglas was taken up to the apartments above the gate, where he was placed on a bed, Mr. Jennings sending. the servants away, and telling them not to crowd about the place. We then received an order to go for the King’s physician, Abdulah Chaprasi fetched him accordingly. The physician, Ashan Ullah Khan, had just left, when we servants who were sitting there saw some five Muhammadans, King’s servants, coming along the covered way calling out, Din, din!’ Just at this time Mr. Fraser happened to come down to the toot of the stairs, and these men immediately attacked him and killed him with their swords. While this was happening on the north side of the gate, a mixed crowd, armed with swords, bludgeons, &c., ran up the stairs on the south side, and gained the apartments above, those assembled on the north side joining them there.”
[The following passage from a letter written to Hodson’s biographer by the Military Secretary to the Panjab Commissioner, explains fully the circumstances referred to in the text. After speaking of the question of the regimental accounts and the action of the Court of Inquiry, the writer proceeds to say:]
“Still, in so far as the inquiry was concerned, Major H., had he survived, might perhaps have commanded the Guides to this day. His removal was entirely another affair. In addition to the command of the Guides, Lieutenant H. held the office of Accountant Commissioner in civil charge of Yusufzai. Lieutenant Godby, of the Guides, was severely wounded by an assassin at Mardan, the Guide Corps station, in December, 1853. The assassin was cut to pieces upon the spot by some men of the corps. His body was identified, but all efforts to discover the motives of the miscreant or his abettors proved fruitless. Lieutenant Hodson’s suspicions, however, fell upon Kadar Khan, the Malik of Turu (four miles distant from Mardan), the most wealthy and influential chief in Yusufzai. He even further entertained the hope of being able to convict this Kadar Khan of having caused the murder of the late Colonel Mackeson; but finally, and after a lengthened imprisonment of seven months in the Peshawar gaol, Kadar Khan was arraigned by him in the Commissioner’s Court on one charge only, viz., that of having instigated the attack upon Lieutenant Godby. The case completely broke down, and the trial ended in a full acquittal. Lieutenant Hodson’s proceedings were strongly condemned by Lord Dalhousie, who directed his dismissal from civil employ, and that he should not retain command of the Guides, it being incompatible with the public interests that he should ever again hold any position of authority in the district of Yusufzai, and that his getting another command thereafter should depend upon the result of the Military Court of Inquiry. The inquiry had not, however, closed so far as to produce any result, when the Court of Directors took notice of the trial of Kadar Khan of Turu, and in conveying their approval of the Governor-General’s decision upon it, they added their ‘desire’ that Lieutenant Hodson should not again be entrusted with any command whatever.’”
[The following extracts from the correspondence of Dundu Pant, Nana Sahib, illustrate the means by which he endeavoured by a succession of boastful lies to stimulate the animosity and to sustain the courage of his followers. These papers were sent in by Nana Narain Rao, of whom mention is made in the text, and placed in the hands of General Neill, who commissioned Major Gordon to translate them. The following is from the journal of that officer:]
“A relative of the Nana sent in a quantity of the Nana’s property and ten of his horses from Bithur this morning, and came himself and called on General Neill in the forenoon. He had been confined by the Nana. In the evening two boxes were brought in containing the whole of the Nana’s correspondence, and his letter-book containing copies of all his orders, written in the Persian language. They have been made over to me, which is a rich treat; and I sat poring over these letters until eleven o’clock at night, and finished with the one in which he ordered the destruction of all Europeans who left in boats.”
“A traveller just arrived at Kanhpur from Calcutta, had heard that, previous to the distribution of the cartridges, a council had been held for the purpose of depriving the Hindustanis of their faith and religion. The members of the council came to the decision, since it was a matter affecting religion, it would be right to have seven or eight thousand European soldiers that fifty thousand Hindustanis might be destroyed, and all (the rest) become Christians. This resolution was sent to Queen Victoria, and received her approval. Again another council was held, at which the English merchants assisted. It was here determined that the European force should be made equal to the Hindustani army (in numbers) so that when the contest took place there should be no fear of failure. When this representation (from the council) was read in England, thirty-five thousand soldiers were embarked in all haste and despatched to India, and the news of their departure has reached Calcutta. The Sahibs of Calcutta ordered the distribution of the cartridges with the especial object of making Christians of the Native army, so that when the army became Christians there would be no delay in making Christians of the ryots. These cartridges were rubbed over with the fat of pigs and cows. This fact has been asserted by Bengalis who were employed in the manufacture of the cartridges, and of those who related this, one has been executed and all the rest put into confinement. They (the Sahibs) made their arrangements here. This is the news from thence (Europe). The Turkish Ambassador wrote from London to the Sultan to inform him that thirty-five thousand men had been despatched to Hindustan for the purpose of making Christians of the Hindustanis. The Sultan of Rum – may God perpetuate his sovereignty – despatched a Firman to the Pasha of Egypt to this effect: You are an ally of Queen Victoria. But this is not the season for amity, inasmuch as my Ambassador writes that thirty-five thousand soldiers have been despatched to Hindustan for the purpose of making Christians of the Native ryots and troops. Therefore, in this case, whilst a remedy is in my power, if I should be negligent, how shall I show my face to God? And this day (i.e. conjuncture) may some time or other be my own [meaning this may some day be his own case] since, if the English make the Hindustanis Christians, they will make an attempt on my dominions.’
“When the Pasha of Egypt received this Firman, he, previous to the arrival of the (English) force, assembled and organised his troops at Alexandria, which is on the road to Hindustan. The moment the soldiers (English) appeared, the Pasha’s troops opened an artillery fire upon them from all sides, and destroyed and sunk their ships, so that not a single soldier escaped.
“When the English at Calcutta had issued their order for the distribution of the cartridges, and the disturbances had arisen, they anxiously looked out for the troops from London to aid them. But the Almighty, in his perfect omnipotence, had already disposed of these. When the news of the slaughter of the army from London became known, the Governor-General was greatly afflicted and distressed, and thumped his head.
“Persian Quatrain. – In the beginning of the night he possessed the power over life and property. – In the morning his body was without a head, and his head without a crown. – In one revolution of the cerulean sphere neither Nadir (Shah505) remained nor any sign of him.
“Issued from Painted Garden of the Peshwa.”
“You are hereby ordered to make known within your jurisdiction, that whoever may have in his possession any property plundered from the English, such as chairs and tables, china and metal dishes, arms, buggies, medical apparatus, horses, and wood, or railway officers’ property, such as beams, iron, wire, jackets, coats and trousers, goats and sheep, must, within four days, produce such property. Should any one secrete such things, and they be found hereafter in his house when searched, he will be visited with condign chastisement. Should any person have in his house an Englishman or any children (babalog), he must produce them, and will not be questioned; but any person concealing the above will be blown into the path of destruction from the cannon’s mouth.
“Dated 4th Zikad, or 24th June.”
[The following appears to have been written after the massacre at the Ghaut.]
“To Ragunath Singh, Bhowani Singh, &c.,
“Officers of the Regiment at Sitapur (Forty-first N. I.), and Walla Ali Khan, Naib Risaldar, First Irregular Cavalry, at Sikandra.
“Greeting. – Your petition presented by Mir Punah Ali, has been received. Its contents have become known to me. The report of your
bravery and gallantry has given me great pleasure, much praise be yours, thus should you ever act, thus let men act. Here (Kanhpur) this day 4th Zikad (27th June), the white faces have fought with us. The whole of them, by the grace of God, and the destroying fortune of the Jing, have entered hell. A salute in honour of this event has been fired as usual. It behoves you also to celebrate this victory with rejoicings and peals of artillery. Moreover, your request for permission to fight with the infidels has given me great satisfaction. In a few days, when order shall have been restored in this district, the victorious force which has now swelled to a large army, still daily increasing, will cross the Ganges, continue to hem in the infidels until the arrival of my camp. This event will take place shortly; and then display all your valour. Bear in mind that the people pertain to both faiths. They must be neither molested nor injured in any way. Have a care to protect them, collect supplies, and keep them in readiness.
“Dated 4th Zikad St. 1273, 27th June, 1857.”
“‘Whereas, by the grace of God and fortune of the king, all the English at Puna and in Panna have been slain and sent to hell, and five thousand English who were at Dehli have been put to the sword by the royal troops. The Government is now everywhere victorious; you are, therefore, ordered to proclaim these glad tidings in all cities and villages by beat of drum, that all may rejoice on hearing them. All cause for apprehension is now removed.
“Dated 8th Zikad, 1st July, 1857.”
“Greeting. – Your petition dated 6th Zikad (29th June), reporting the slaughter of the English, and the deaths in battle of your brother Sudhainan Singh, with two officers, and also begging for my favour as a reward for your self-devotion, has been perused. You are hereby informed, that I also am grieved at your loss, but the will of God must be submitted to. Moreover, this event (the death of his brother) has happened in the cause of Government, and you will ever remain the object of my protection. Have no manner of fear, Government will certainly befriend you.
“Dated 10th Zikad, or 3rd July, 1857.”
“Whereas sundry persons of the town, on hearing the report of European troops having marched from Allahabad, are abandoning their homes and seeking shelter in villages, you are hereby ordered to have proclaimed throughout the town that infantry, cavalry, and artillery have marched to repel the English. Wherever they may be met, at Fathpur, Allahabad, or wherever they may be, the revenging force will thoroughly punish them. Let all remain without fear in their homes, and pursue their usual avocations.
“Dated 12th Zikad, or 5th July, 1857.”
“I have been greatly pleased with your zeal, valour, and loyalty. Your labours are deserving of the highest praise. The organisation and scale of pay and rewards established here will have likewise to be established for you. Let your minds be at rest, all promises made will be fulfilled. Troops of all arms have this day crossed the Ganges en route to Lakhnao; you will be aided in every possible way to slay the unbelieving Nazarenes, and despatch them to hell. The greatest reliance is placed on your readiness and bravery to secure victory. On receipt of this order, certify to me, under your hand and seal, that you have learned its contents, and are ready to co-operate in the destruction of the infidels. Have no fears as regards ordnance stores. Any amount of ammunition and heavy guns is available. Sharfuddaulah and Ali Reza Beg, Katwal of Lakhnao, have been ordered to supply provisions. They will do so; but should they fail in this duty inform me, and a conspicuous example will be made of them. All of you display valour and fortitude. May victory speedily crown your efforts, thus shall I myself be at liberty to proceed towards Allahabad. There can be no hesitation on your part or on mine. After this rapid success, march to Allahabad and conquer there.
“Dated 14th Zikad, 7th July, 1857.”
“Greeting. – Your petition has been received, stating that seven boats containing Europeans were going down the river from Kanhpur, and that two parties of your men who were at the spot joined the Government troops and fired on them so unremittingly that they proceeded, slaying the English the whole way, as far as the villages of Abdul Aziz, when the horse artillery and yourself in person joined the rest, and sank six of the boats, the seventh escaping through the force of the wind. You have
performed a great deed, and I am highly pleased with your conduct. Persevere in your devotion to the Government cause. This order is sent you as a mark of favour. Your petition, with which a European was sent in, has also reached me. The European has been sent to hell, thus adding to my satisfaction.
“Dated 16th Zikad, or 9th July, 1857.”
“The victorious army of Government had marched towards Allahabad to oppose the Europeans, and it has now been reported that the latter have deceived the Government troops, attacked and scattered them. Some troops are said to remain there; you are, therefore, ordered to instruct the landholders in your jurisdiction and in Fathpur, that every brave man should join heart and hand to defend his faith, to put the Europeans to the sword, and send them to hell. Conciliate all ancient influential landholders, and persuade them to unite in the cause of their religion to slay and send to hell all the infidels. Moreover, tell them that Government will give every man his due, and that those who assist it shall be rewarded.
“Dated 20th Zikad, 13th July, 1857.”
“Greeting. – A force of one thousand British, with several guns, were marching towards Kanhpur from Allahabad. To arrest and slay these men an army was despatched. The British are advancing rapidly. On both sides men fall wounded and killed. The Europeans are now within seven koss of Kanhpur, and the field of battle is warmly contested. It is reported that Europeans are coming up the river in steamers, and strong defences have consequently been constructed without the town of Kanhpur. Here my troops are prepared, and at a distance the battle rages; you are, therefore, informed that the aforesaid British are opposite the district of Baiswara, on this bank of the river. It is very probable that they may attempt to cross the Ganges. You must, for this reason, send some troops into the Baiswara country to shut them in on that side. My force will press them from this direction, and by this combined action the slaughter of the infidels may be achieved, as is most desirable.
“Should these people not be destroyed, there can be no doubt they will press on to Dehli. Between Kanhpur and Dehli there is no one that could stand against them. We must without fail combine to destroy them root and branch.
“It is also said that the British may cross the Ganges; some English
still remain in the Bailey Guard and maintain the fight, whereas here there is not a living English person left. Send troops immediately across the river, at Sheorajpur, to surround and cut up the Europeans.
“Dated 23rd Zikad, or 16th July, 1857.”
[This is the last of the series. On that same evening Havelock’s force encamped near Kanhpur, and whilst victory was being proclaimed by the Nana’s order in the city, he himself was flying for his life, and his followers were being dispersed in all directions.]
[The following is the paragraph in Colonel Edwardes’s Mutiny Report, to which reference is made in the text. There is no contribution to the history of the great Crisis in the Panjab more valuable or more interesting than the document from which this extract is made:]
“Dehli was not to be recovered by a coup de main. The Hindu Sipahis, having mutinied about a cartridge, had nothing to propose for an empire, and fell in of necessity with the only policy that was feasible at the moment, a Muhammadan King of Dehli; and certainly no other policy could have given such life to the coming struggle. Hitherto the question had been purely domestic between the English and their Hindustani army, a quarrel in which the Afghan tribes would merely desire to be on the conquering side. But a war between the Muslim and the Christian for empire must needs agitate every village in which there was a mosque and a moolah; and the city of Peshawar in particular, with its sixty thousand inhabitants, had always been a hotbed of intrigue. Humanly speaking, I consider that the border at this critical period was mainly kept under by the levying of a militia. Afghans are fanatical, but avarice is their ruling passion. Every idle vagrant, every professional robber, every truculent student in the mosques, at whose finger-ends fanaticism was beginning to tingle, found a market for his sword. The population of the Peshawar Valley had never been disarmed. Being liable to raids from their neighbours, they had been allowed to keep arms in their houses; though none but outside villagers might wear arms abroad. It was not difficult, therefore, to collect any number of armed footmen at a short notice. Good horses are not plentiful in this irrigated country; but the head men of every village have two or three hacks, and the enlistment of their farm servants on these rips, attached all the hamlets, one by one, to our cause, and got up quite a hearty feeling, such as certainly I never saw before among them. One can smile now at the scenes that took place morning and evening at the hours of enlistment. It was necessary to sustain the dignity of the Imperial Government even in our distress. Long before the time crowds of candidates for employment thronged the gateways and overflowed into the garden, the jockeys of unconquerably vicious horses endeavouring to reduce them to a show of docility by galloping
them furiously about till the critical moment of inspection came. At last, sick at heart from the receipt of a bad telegram from the provinces but endeavouring to look happy, out I used to go, and face some hundreds of the chiefs and yeomen of the country, all eager to gather from the Commissioner Sahib’s countenance how the ‘King of Dehli’ was getting on. Then the first horseman would be brought up. The beast perhaps would not move. The rider, the owner, and all the neighbours would assail him with whips, sticks, stones, and Pushtu reproaches that might have moved a rock; but nothing would do till the attempt was given up, and the brute’s head turned the other way, when he went off at a gallop amid roars of laughter from the Pathans, who have the keenest perception of both fun and vice. No. 2 would make a shift to come up, but every man and boy in the crowd could see that he was lame on two or three legs. Then the argument began, and leg by leg, blemish by blemish, the animal was proved by a multitude of witnesses (who had known him for very many years) to be perfectly sound; and so the enlistment went on from day to day, affording immense occupation, profit, and amusement to the people, and answering a great many good ends. Now and then an orderly of the Hindustani Irregular Cavalry, admirably armed and mounted, would pass the spot, and mark his opinion of the ‘levies’ by a contemptuous smile. But, nevertheless, he told his comrades in the lines that the country people were all with the English, and it was of no use to desert or to intrigue.”
[The following letter was written to Lord Canning by Sir H. Barnard three days before his death. He seems to have desired that, in the event of his demise, its contents should be known to the world:]
“Camp above Delhi, July 2, 1857,
“My Dear Lord Canning; – Ere this reaches you, the business here will have been settled; if successfully, well; if a failure, I should like to leave behind me a brief record of the service of the little force.
“The work of reduction or re-occupation of Dehli was evidently greatly under-estimated. Dehli, when once its gates were shut, and its immense arsenal and magazine in the hands of insurgent troops, became a formidable operation to reduce. When added to this the passions of the people were roused, and the cry raised of a new ‘Mughul dynasty,’ it became as important as formidable.
“With means totally inadequate, this force was sent against it, reinforced by detachments from Mirath, who were to have provided sappers, gunners, and field implements; when all had formed a junction the force barely arrived at three thousand eight hundred. Mirath sent no gunners, and only a small number of sappers, and these unprovided. On the 8th June we started from Alipur, met the enemy at Badli-ki-Sarai, and from thence drove them from the height above Dehli. Here the Commanding-Artilleryman
and Chief Engineer proposed to commence the attack; batteries were planned and erected, but the distance was too great. After eight days, I found the side of the town which must be silenced before we got approaches quite as alive as ever. The Artilleryman admitted the distance too great, and the Engineer his inability to make batteries, having positively not a single sand-bag! I was promised reinforcements, and for their arrival I determined to wait. They have arrived, and now comes the decisive moment, and I confess to you I never was so puzzled. The force I have amounts to about five thousand, and comprises almost all the Europeans in the Upper Provinces; quite enough, if free, to re-establish the country, but quite insufficient to storm Dehli, guard the camp, and keep open my communications with the rear for supplies, &c. If I succeed in the gambler’s throw, well and good, but if I fail the game is up, and all I can expect to be able to do would be to effect an honourable retreat, carrying off sick, wounded, and guns. To add to my distresses, dissatisfaction is proved to exist in the Native troops just arrived, and some have been detected in trying to tamper with the men of Coke’s Corps. These fellows are to be hanged to-night; but the 9th Irregular Cavalry and some of the Sipahi Corps are known to be tainted, and would like an opportunity of doing us any mischief they could. Thus it is, with enemies without, traitors within, and a task before me I cannot in reason feel my force competent to undertake, I am called upon to decide. Much is said about the Native character and aptitude at turning tail, but where the treasure is I fear the heart will be found also, for all these miscreants are laden with plunder they will not abandon, and they know full well that every man’s hand is against them. They dare not fly.
“My men are very tired; we have had since the action of Badli-ki-Sarai no less than ten affairs, seven of which employed my whole force, cavalry and infantry; in each we experienced heavy loss, but inflicted greater. The traitors are, or rather were, tired; they openly said it was no use fighting, and that unless assisted they would fly in four days. Yesterday brought them the Bareli people, so we shall have our eleventh tomorrow. After that I think the game is over. The Gwalias are not coming on, and we shall have defeated them all in turn. But to be useful I must enter the city, and this will, I am fearful, be a sanguinary affair, for it is clear the Sipahi knows well how to sit behind stone walls.
“I hope to hear of the head of the European columns coming up from Calcutta, and then matters will begin to look up again.
“Pray excuse this scrawl; it is written in a gale of wind. The rain has fallen for two days, but it is again fine.
“Very truly yours,
505. Play upon words – “Nadir,” if I remember rightly, is the zenith. – Translator.
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage