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Suhind. This intention will not be divulged at the present moment, pending events at Lahore, and no step will be taken calculated to excite alarm which in prudence can be dispensed with. The commissariat arrangements are nearly complete, on a scale adapted for defensive purposes, enabling the forces to march in any direction at the shortest notice.
My views and measures will be anxiously directed to avoid a recourse to arms, as long as it may be possible. On this point my determination is fixed. At the same time it is very apparent, from the general aspect of affairs, that the period is fast approaching when further changes will take place at Lahore, and that the weak government of the Regent will be subverted by the violence of the troops, instigated by the intrigues of the party favourable to Raja Golab Singh.
Up to the present hour no act of open hostility has been committed.
I shall not consider the march of the Sikh troops in hostile array towards the banks of the Sutlej, as a cause justifying hostilities, if no actual violation of our frontier should occur. The same privilege which we take to adopt precautionary measures on our side must be conceded to them. Every forbearance shall be shown to a weak 'Government, struggling for assistance against its own soldiers in a state of successful mutiny.
I have no cause to doubt the loyalty of our admirable native army, but I have every reason to believe that endeavours have been systematically made, on a very extensive scale, to tamper with them; that promises of promotion and reward have been lavishly made; and that their religious prejudices have been forcibly appealed to.
Some chiefs of influence on this side, and with estates on both sides of the river, are anxious to come forward to prove themselves unconnected with the present movement against us, and to evince their adherence to our interests. The answer I have desired may be given to them is, that we do not anticipate that the Sikhs will proceed to unprovoked hostilities; but that, should such be the case, the parties who have estates on our side the Sutlej, and prove by their conduct their true adherence to the British Government, will be protected from any consequences to which such conduct might render them liable on account of their position in the Punjaub.
I have every reason to be satisfied with the ability, energy, and sound judgment displayed by Major Broadfoot in the course of these proceedings.
The Political Agent to the Commander-in- Chief.
Governor-General's Agency, November 20, 1845.
Sir,— Since I had the honour of waiting on your Excellency to-day, I have received Lahore letters of the 18th instant (morning).
During the night of the 17th the chiefs had agreed on, and the Durbar had ordered in writing, the following plan of operations :—
The army was to be divided into seven divisions, one to remain at Lahore, and the rest to proceed against Roopar and our hills, Loodiana, Hurreekee, Ferozepore, and Scinde, while one was to proceed to Pesljawer; and a force under Rajah Golab Singh was to be sent to Attock.
Each division was to be of 8,000 to 12,000 men against Ferozepore, under Sham Sing Attarewallah, whose estates adjoin the place against which it was to act. Against Hurreekee is to go Rajah Lal Singh; against Loodiana, Sirdar Tej Singh, the new Commanderin-Chief; and against Roopar, a brother of Sena Sing Mujeeteea.
The force under Sham Singh is to be 4,000 horse, and two brigades of infantry, with guns; under Raja Lal Singa, 4,500 horse; and two infantry brigades; under Sirdar Tej Singh, four brigades of infantry (one of them irregulars, and one new levies), and 1,000 horse, &c.; but till the plans of the Durbar are in actual execution they cannot be considered fixed, and therefore I do not trouble your Excellency with further details.
With respect to the probability of their actual moving, I must say that my correspondents in Lahore seem to doubt it, though they are perplexed. The causes, however, which have so suddenly led the Durbar to such lengths may carry it further; and indeed it is difficult to see how they can stop now without a change of government; a thing not unlikely; still prudence requires that we should act as if they would not change their minds, and I therefore most respectfully venture to submit to your Excellency the following suggestions:—
First, that the carriage of the troops in this division should be drawn into the stations, both for security, and to enable the troops to move at the shortest notice; and that the European troops in the hills should be held in readiness to march; to move them is a work of time, and needs some preparation. I shall write to the sub-commissioner and the other local authorities without delay to collect coolies; but I shall be glad to hear from your Excellency the numbers required, and also on what roads supplies, &c, should be got ready.
With respect to further measures, I must of course speak with extreme diffidence; on the whole I am inclined still to hold the opinions that I had the honour of expressing verbally; and I may now add, that the matter seems to have come to a pitch which makes some notice of it by our Government not easily avoidable; and this being the case, and as the Governor-General is so near, it may be desirable to await his arrival, or his decision as to the extent of what may be done, before making any movements, unless we hear of the Sikh army having actually crossed the Sutlej.
In all this, however, I speak with the utmost submission to your Excellency's better judgment; but I beg to add, that in whatever your Excellency may decide on, I shall esteem it an honour to give it whatever aid I can.—I have, &c.
(Signed) G. Broadfoot.
The Agent to the Governor-General to the Secretary to the Government of India.
Camp, Umballa, November 20, 1845. I have the honour to forward, for the information of his Excellency the Governor-General, a copy of a demi-official letter to his Excellency the Commander-in-chief, as affairs at Lahore assumed their present form.
Not to delay the messenger, I must reserve a fuller report till to-morrow; but I may add to what has been already communicated demi-officially, and what will be gathered from my letters, that no complaint of any kind has been made to me by the Durbar, and that the pretext of a grievance alleged has been dropped by the Durbar, and rejected by the troops. The truth is, all are in a false position, from the unlooked-for results of the cry against the English, to serve a party purpose, and all, moreover, are indifferent to war with us, from their firm persuasion that, if victorious, they will find new means of power and wealth, and, if beaten, that they will be, what most of them desire, the heads of a subsidiary, instead of an independent state.
This opinion has never received any countenance from me, but the very contrary; and the Durbar will by this time have received the perwunnah which I addressed to the Vakeel, when the intrigues which had led to the present state of things assumed a serious form. It will be seen from the enclosed copy of it, that no warning could be plainer, and, as therein indicated, that it is only a repetition of former warnings.
Continued letters from my assistants, respecting the rumours on the frontier, showed that our posts there were vigilant; and I abstained, therefore, from communicating with the military authorities, in order to prevent the Durbar having the smallest ground to say that any menacing preparations or movements on our part had been taken up, for this ground has been already alleged in their consultations, as justifying their present movements; nay, even after I had yesterday received a communication on the subject from the Major-General commanding the division, I forebore to write to Lis Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, and even to-day I ventured to recommend to his Excellency that no steps should be taken for the present. Since then, however, authentic intelligence has reached me that the Durbar has openly adopted, and ordered in writing, a fixed plan of operations against the English, and I accordingly addressed to his Excellency the Commander-inChief the letter, of which a copy is annexed.
I now only suggest abstinence from movement on account of the vicinity of the Governor-General, who will probably think the matter now one which has gone too far to be left unnoticed, whether the troops actually move from Lahore or not.
That I presumed to suggest any delay whatever is owing to this: It appears to me that the frontier is too long to be defensible in all points by any force we can move; that our two posts on the frontier are strong enough to maintain themselves till relieved; and that to attempt reinforcements, therefore, in anticipation of those of the Sikhs would be useless as protecting the open country, and might impede any operations which the Governor-General may resolve on. Moreover, the delay recommended is only one of two or three days, till an answer to this letter can be received.
The Sikh sirdars on this side of the Sutlej have for many months past been called on to keep their troops in readiness to repel the invasion of their territories, and I have now directed them to prepare to repel the threatening aggression. I have, &c.
(Signed) G. Broadfoot.
P.S.—It is right to add, that up to the last moment the regular troops were discussing the propriety of murdering Rajah Lai Singh and Sirdar Tej Singh, and sending for Rajah Golab Singh to /lead them. The two chiefs menaced look for escape to exciting enthusiasm against the English. This may delay or precipitate invasion.