Page images

of increasing our forces to the strength sufficient for the purpose, as Sir Henry Barnard, the general in command, had already every available soldier quartered in that part of India. And against that gallant little army had gathered all the mutinied regiments of Sepoys above Cawnpore, nearly 90,000 strong, as well as crowds of undisciplined and lawless soldiers, who had thronged together for plunder and a final effort to re-establish the ancient kingdom of the Great Mogul.

"In this crisis,” says Meadows Taylor in his “History of India,” “Sir John (now Lord) Lawrence trusted the Sikhs, and was trusted by them; and yet for some time the condition of the Punjaub was as desperate as any other portion of Upper India; and it was only the cool and determined will of its chief ruler that saved it, and made it the turning point of eventual triumph, Contrasting the utterly inadequate force with which Sir Henry Barnard invested Delhi with that which took it, the undying glory of assistance rests upon Lord Lawrence. Under the domination of his powerful will, Sikh levies, Goorkhas, the troops of Sikh rajahs and feudatories, the powerful siege train, supplies, money, and English soldiers had successively reached the camp on the ridge, and one and all contributed to the result, while the dauntless bravery of English and native soldiers crowned all."

From the many testimonies which have been

[blocks in formation]

borne to the worth of one of England's greatest men in the present day, it would be difficult to find another, after the late Duke of Wellington, who has left behind him a loftier reputation, or rendered greater services to his country ; for we owe it, as the Times justly remarked on his death, “in great part to Lord Lawrence that we have an Indian Empire to concern ourselves with.I will content myself with quoting three of these testimonies. "When," said Lord Granville, “our children's children and men of our race--all the world in future times—shall read the story of our rule in India, there was no man whose career they would look back to with more justifiable pride than that of Lord Lawrence; when they learned how in the great crisis of that terrible mutiny, by his force of character and strength of will, combined with the warmth of his heart, he turned the hearts of the brave soldiers he had conquered into faithful, devoted, and trusted followers, and won by the wisdom and

* The Dean of Westminster relates an anecdote concerning Lord Lawrence, which well displays his lofty sense of honour, as well as the good influence which he exercised on inferior minds. During the conduct of some important cause for a young Indian rajah, the prince endeavoured to place in his hands under the table a bag of rupees. Instantly the Viceroy addressed him : “Young man, you have offered to an Englishman the greatest insult which he could possibly receive. This time, in consideration of your youth, I excuse it. Let me warn you by this experience never again to commit so gross an offence against an English gentleman.” Very different was the conduct of some of the members of the Indian government of the time of Clive and Hastings in the last century, as will be seen in this sketch.

justice of his rule the respect-and not only the respect, but the affection of the people who were tempted to rise as one man to cast off our alien rule. But that was only one of the great deeds done by that great and brave Englishman.”

“Lord Lawrence's whole life," writes Sir James F. Stephen, one of the highest authorities on such a subject, "was devoted to the establishment and maintenance of the Indian Empire. He rendered to it services of unsurpassed value by organizing the Punjaub, and in the suppression of the mutiny. These are facts known to all the world. Most of those who had the honour and happiness to know Lord Lawrence personally know that he was unsurpassed by any man of our day in those simple cardinal virtues which enable men and nations of vigorous and healthy frames to rule over others, and which made that rule a blessing to the subject, and a crown of glory to the ruler.”

Last, but not least, I record with pleasure the just tribute of praise paid to the honoured name of Lawrence by Lord Lytton, the late Viceroy of India. On the news of his decease reaching Calcutta, the Governor-General in Council published the following order in a special Gazette on Monday, July 7th, 1879. “No statesman since Warren Hastings has administered the government of India with a genius and experience so exclusively trained and developed in her service as those of the illus

[blocks in formation]

trious man whose life has now closed in fulness of fame, though not of age. He bequeaths to his country a bright example of all that is noblest in the high qualities for which the civil service has justly been renowned, and in which, with such examples before it, it will never be deficient. The eminent services rendered to India by Lord Lawrence, both as ruler of the Punjaub, in the heroic defence of the British power, and as Viceroy, in the peaceful administration of the rescued Empire, cannot be fitly acknowledged in this sad record of the grief she suffers by his death, and of the pride with which she cherishes his name."

If we contrast the several monarchies which have been founded in India during the last three centuries, e.g., that of the Great Mogul by Babur in 1526, or that of the Mahratta Confederacy by the Emperor Sivajee in the seventeenth century, or that of the kingdom of Mysore by Hyder Ali in the eighteenth century, with the British Empire as founded by CLIVE, ruled by HASTINGS, and preserved by LAWRENCE, as it exists at this present time, may we not adopt the language of the ancient prophet, and exclaim, “What hath God wrought !"

It will be well for us to remember the great responsibility which the existence of the British Empire, especially its Indian portion, which constitutes a far greater empire than that of ancient Rome at the zenith of her power, imposes upon us as a people towards the millions of heathen who own our sway. Professor Monier Williams, in his recent work on Modern India, justly bids us ask ourselves the following questions :

"Have not we Englishmen in particular, to whose rule India has been committed, special opportunities and responsibilities, brought as we are here into immediate contact with these three principal religious systems-Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Islam?

“Let us look for a moment at any modern map of India. The first glance shows us that it is not one country, but many. Nor has it one race, language, and religion, but many races, languages, and religions. Its population now exceeds 240 millions. Of these, 185 millions are Hindus. Then nearly 41 millions are Mohammedans; so that England is by far the greatest Mohammedan power in the world, so that the Queen reigns over about double as many Moslems as the representative of the Khalifs himself.

“For what purpose, then, has this enormous territory been committed to England ? Not to be the corpus vile of political, social, or military experiments; not for the benefit of our commerce or the increase of our wealth ; but that every man, woman, and child, from Cape Cormorin to the Himalaya mountains, may be elevated, enlightened, Christianized.”

The foundation of England's greatness is dependent upon her adherence to the true principles of

« PreviousContinue »