페이지 이미지

tunity of attacking him on his march. I beg your Lordships to observe that Sir Harry Smith had not only to secure his communication with Loodiana, but likewise to secure his junction with General Wheeler, who, alone, was not able to contend against the enemy. He performed all those objects, was joined by General Wheeler, and then moved on to attack the new position which the enemy had taken up near the river. And, my Lords, I will say upon this, I have read the account of many a battle, but I never read the account of one in which more ability, energy, and experience have been manifested than in this. I know of no one in which an officer ever showed himself more capable than this officer has in commanding troops in the field. He brought every description of troops to bear, with all arms in the position in which they were most capable of rendering service; the nicest manoeuvres were performed under the fire of the enemy with the utmost precision, and at the same time with an energy and gallantry on the part of the troops never surpassed on any occasion whatever in any part of the world. I must say of this officer, that I never have seen any account which manifests more plainly than his does that he is an officer capable of rendering the most important services, and of ultimately being an honour to this country.

HOUSE OF COMMONS. A vote to the same effect was proposed by Sir Robert Peel in the House of Commons, from whose speech we extract the following:- The great battle was fought on the 28th of January, but earlier in that month Sir Harry Smith had sustained what some may consider a reverse. I allude to a period before his junction with Colonel Wheeler, and with the five regiments from Loodiana. In the absence of all intelligence he encountered the enemy, and was exposed to serious hazard. Writing to Sir Hugh Gough on the 21st, after he had succeeded in relieving Loodiana, he said that he had accomplished that object, but under circumstances not quite so fortunate as he desired, and he used these expressions: “When within a mile and a half to my left of Buddowal, moving parallel with my column (which was right in front ready to wheel into line), and evidently for the purpose of interrupting my advance, I saw the enemy. Nothing could be stronger for the enemy than the continued line of villages. He was moving by roads, while I was moving over very heavy sandbeds. He was in advance far beyond, on my right flank; so far did he extend, and so numerous did he show his infantry and guns, and so well chosen for him was this line of villages, that with my force he was not to be assailed; and he opened a furious cannonade of from 35 to 40 guns of very large calibre, and, as usual, right well served. My object being to unite myself with the force from Loodiana, which every moment I expected to appear in sight, for it was nine o'clock, I moved parallel with the enemy, resolving to attack the moment the Loodiana troops reached me. He, however, so pressed upon me, that I opened in one body my 11 guns upon him with considerable effect, and moved up the 31st, and was preparing to form line upon this regiment, when the enemy most rapidly formed a line of seven regiments, with their guns between, at right angles with the line I was about to attack, while a considerable force was moving round my right and front. Thus enveloped and overwhelmed by numbers, and such a superiority of guns, I had nothing for it but to throw back my line on its right, which represented a small line on the hypotenuse of a triangle. The enemy thus outflanked me and my whole force. I therefore gradually withdrew my infantry in echellon of battalions, the cavalry in echellon of squadrons, in the direction of Loodiana, momentarily expecting to see the approach of that force—viz., one regiment of cavalry, five guns, and four regiments of infantry, when I would have made a vigorous attack. The ground was very deep and sandy, and therefore very difficult to move on. The enemy continued to move on as described for upwards of an hour, and until I knew the Loodiana force was moving not a musket was fired. Nothing could exceed the steadiness of the troops. The line was thrown back, under this cannonade, as if on parade, Native as well as British, and the movements of the cavalry, under Brigadier Cureton, were, without any exception, the most perfect thing I ever saw, and which I cannot describe.” * * * * * * Of the battle itself I will not speak; the victory was complete, and it has been so admirably described by the illustrious commander, that I will not weaken the effect of his narrative. And what, let me ask, have been the services of this gallant officer? These recent events have given new lustre to his glory; but he was at the capture of Monte Video-at the attack upon Buenos Ayres; he served during the Peninsular war, from the battle of Vimeira to that of Corunna. He was then wounded in another action, but he was at the battles of Sabagal and Fuente d'Onor, and the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajos, at the battles of Salamanca, Vittoria, Orthes, the Pyrenees, and Toulouse. He was at Washington and at New Orleans, and finally he was at Waterloo. What a series of noble services, and how rejoiced I am that there should be an opportunity, through this new and signal victory, of bringing before the gladdened eyes of a grateful country a long life of military exertion, and an unbroken series of military honours. After he had achieved that success for which we are about to give him our special thanks— after he had driven back the enemy across the Sutlej, he instantly returned to rejoin his commanding officer, Sir Hugh Gough. He arrived on the 8th, two days before the decisive victory gained by the forces under Sir Hugh Gough and Sir Henry Hardinge. But for his services in the victory of the 28th of January, I propose that there should be a distinct and separate vote-distinct and separate from that which I shall recommend for that not more glorious, though perhaps more important achievement accomplished at a later date by the whole British army. * * * * * * * * * *

There is much to adorn and nothing to sully our victory and I do hope that now it has been achieved it will give lasting peace to India ; that a general conviction will be felt of our power-a conviction of the superiority of British arms that will ensure a long enjoyment of tranquility to that country, and the application of all our efforts for the improvement of its natural resources. I trust that this may be our last battle, and that hereafter we shall have nothing to do but to direct our attention to the amelioration of the condition of our Indian fellow-subjects. In that anticipation I am sure the House will permit me to refer to some events and some circumstances which may well fill our hearts with joy and exultation. The two leaders of our victorious army, the GovernorGeneral and the Commander-in-Chief, have throughout these operations set an example of cordial concert and communion-an utter forgetfulness of themselves, to which the happy result is greatly to be attributed. All matters of punctillio were sacrificed, and Sir Henry Hardinge consented to serve as second in command. On the other hand, there was not a suggestion offered by Sir Henry Hardinge which was not thankfully accepted by Sir Hugh Gough.

* * * I will now refer to a document, not of a public character, that has been put into my hand since I entered the house this evening—it is a letter from Sir Hugh Gough, which was never intended to meet the public eye, but it does him so much honour that I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of reading it. * *

I am sure the House will permit me, among expressions of gratitude to the surviving conquerors, to mingle some of deep regret at the loss we have sustained. On this occasion I have to deplore the loss of several officers of the highest reputation, and the first I shall name is Sir Robert Dick. He entered the service in 1800. He embarked with the 78th regiment for Sicily in 1806, and was wounded in battle. He accompanied the expedition to Egypt, and was present at the taking of Alexandria. He embarked with the 42nd regiment in 1829, and was again wounded at Fuente d'Onor. He commanded the second battalion of the 42nd regiment at Ciudad Rodrigo. He was at the battle of Salamanca, at the storming of St. Michel, and was present during the siege of Burgos. In 1815 he was severely wounded, and, after a life of honour, he at last fell in the battle, for the happy result of which we are about to make our grateful acknowledgments. On the day which deprived us for ever of the services of Sir Robert Dick, there also fell LieutenantColonel Taylor of the 29th regiment. When the father of this gallant officer was Lieutenant-Colonel of the 20th Light Dragoons, he lost his life in the Peninsula. The father fell at Vimeira—the son met an equally glorious death in India, and thus did those heroic men establish an hereditary and double claim to the gratitude of the country. Lieut.-Colonel C. J. Taylor commanded the light company of the 30th Foot, in the expedition against Khalapore, in 1827-8; served on the frontier during the Canadian rebellion, where, in the successful attack of a village occupied by the rebels, he rendered an important service; commanded a brigade of infantry in the actions of the 18th, 21st, and 22nd of December, 1845, wherein he was wounded ; the troops sent to keep up the communication between Sir Harry Smith and the main army, whilst the former was engaged in the operations which led to the battle of Aliwal; and a brigade of infantry at the battle of Sobraon, where he fell.

* The document here referred to will be found in full at page 118.


How many there are who have lost their sons and relatives in this conflict I need not say; but I have been thrown into intercourse I could not avoid with one, the life of whose gallant son has been sacrificed in this encounter; it has been my duty, my painful duty in some respects, to hold constant communication with Lord Fitzroy Somerset, whose brave offspring, had he survived, would have supported the honour of his family, and the military glory of his father. Lord Fitzroy Somerset himself has run an illustrious career. He accompanied the Duke of Wellington throughout all the battles of the Peninsula, but his pleasure in awarding honour to the living and the dead is now clouded by the loss of his son, who, had his lie been spared, would have added to his own and to his country's reputation. Although the rank of Major Somerset hardly entitles him to special notice, yet recollecting the services of his father and the long connection between him and his illustrious chief, the House will perhaps permit me to offer this poor consolation to the sorrows of a parent. I wish I could do justice to my own feelings by naming many others scarcely less distinguished or less lamented; but the list is so numerous of those entitled to grateful remembrance that I trust it will not be imputed to any want of a due sense of their claims and merits.

Sir Robert Peel then moved the votes of thanks, a copy of which is given under the report of the House of Lords. The

« 이전계속 »