페이지 이미지

ART. VII.-1. Rough Narrative of the Siege of Lucknow. By Lieutenant J. J. McLeod Innes, Bengal Engineers. Calcutta. 1857.

2. Letter containing Extracts from a Journal kept by Mrs. Inglis during the Siege of Lucknow. London (printed for private circulation only). 1858.

3. Private Copy of Letters received Thursday 28th of January from Lieutenant John Farquhar, 7th Bengal Light Cavalry. 4. Letters from Lucknow and Cawnpore, 1857. (For private circulation only.) Greenwich. 1858.

5. A Personal Narrative of the Siege of Lucknow, from its Commencement to its Relief by Sir Colin Campbell. By L. E. Ruutz Rees, one of the surviving Defenders. 3rd Edition. London, 1858.

6. The Defence of Lucknow: a Diary from 30th May to 25th September, 1857. By a Staff-Officer. London. 1858. 7. A Personal Narrative of the Siege of Lucknow. By Captain R. P. Anderson, 25th Native Infantry. London. 1858. 8. A Lady's Diary of the Siege of Lucknow, written for the Perusal of Friends at Home. London, 1858.


F the personal narratives of the siege of Lucknow which have already familiarised the people of this country with that remarkable event, there are some which are obviously out of the range of literary criticism. These are private letters and journals printed by the families of the writers to save the trouble of frequent transcriptions. The most interesting of these documents is naturally the journal of Lady Inglis, whose husband held an important command from the beginning of the transactions and succeeded to the whole responsibility of the defence on the death of Major Banks on the 21st of July. His despatch of the 26th of September to the Government at Calcutta has taken its place among our best specimens of precise and dignified military composition. Her narrative is that of a high-hearted English lady testifying throughout the unselfish spirit which made her, at the last, refuse the use of the litter prepared to carry her from her place of trial, and walk forth with those whose sufferings she had shared and whose sorrows she had lightened by her sympathy and her courage. This is now indeed all the more valuable from the loss of papers which Lady Inglis and her fellow-passengers have sustained in the shipwreck of the 'Ava,' that strange appendix to the tale of their calamities. Lieutenant Farquhar's letters are those of a young soldier who thinks no more of swallowing a bullet than he would of being peppered in a battue, and whose cheerful manliness is combined with sensible observation; while Major Lowe writes like a man who, regardless of

2 L 2


his own hardships, can feel deeply the miseries he graphically describes. The characteristics of the Staff-officer's diary are clear arrangement and impressive accuracy: he so entirely omits all allusion to his own part in the defence that it is difficult even for those who shared the dangers to trace his identity, and he has thus produced a valuable record of facts without offending against the strictest maxims of military reserve.* Mr. Rees, the author of the Personal Narrative, is a native of Spire, in Rhenish Bavaria, and the nephew of the late Professor of the same name at the Calcutta College and Superintendent of the Observatory. He left Germany at the age of fifteen, and was attached for several years to the Martinière College at Lucknow. The scenes, therefore, of the events in which he was destined to bear part had been long familiar to him, and the idiomatic language of the book can only have been acquired by a similar intimacy with Anglo-Indian life. He is from these circumstances enabled to write on the subject with a well informed impartiality which it would be difficult for an Englishman either new to the country or long habituated to the professional and social peculiarities of the British community to attain. The Lady's Diary, which is the production of the wife of the assistantchaplain, is the true woman's story of that perilous and mournful time. The book is equally remarkable for its representation of calm courage in the midst of fearful dangers, of meek resignation in the midst of the extremest mental and physical trials, and of unshaking confidence in Providence in the midst of events which might have led persons less pious to think themselves forsaken. Scenes so abounding in all which affects the deepest feelings of the heart needed no artificial embellishment, and such is the power of simplicity and truth that few could read this pathetic little volume with dry eyes.

It is beside our object to inquire whether it was necessary or judicious to include the names of the Governor-General and the Governors of the other Presidencies in the Votes of Thanks proposed in Parliament to the military commanders in the successful enterprises of which the defence of Lucknow forms so large a part. But it was assuredly unfortunate that on such an occasion there should have arisen any doubt or discussion, and that the whole attention and sympathy of both Houses should not have been concentrated on the deeds and sufferings of these heroic men. If parliamentary eloquence is ever to be displayed, never of late years has a more becoming occasion arisen for its exercise. The strange seclusion of the beleaguered garrison for near four months, as entirely from their

* Major Wilson, of the 13th Native Infantry, has the credit of this excellent little work.


countrymen thirty miles apart as from their country thousands of miles away-the yearning interest of the whole population of these realms towards that little band battling, as it were, on a solitary raft against an ocean of insurgent waves-the daily combat and the nightly vigil of above an hundred days and nightsthe baffled hope of Havelock's first advance, and the cruel voices which were at once rumours of the fate of many best-beloved by those to whom they were addressed, and menaces of their ownthe partial relief afforded by the force that made its way through a very strait of fire-and the final achievement of unerring strategy combined with the daring that distinguished the Lieutenant Campbell of St. Sebastian in the great war which is now long gone by-surely these were topics worthy to have suspended for one night the squabbles of party politics, and to have raised the mind and heart of the British Senate to a sense of a nation's glory and a nation's gratitude. But it was not so; and it must devolve on the essayist and the historian to bring together the main characteristics of this wonderful episode in our military annals, and to impress it as best they may on the memory of the British people. The pen which has lately vivified the details of the siege of Londonderry would be well employed on the siege of Lucknow, since the presence of Lord Macaulay in the House of Peers was not sufficient to obtain for it its just meed of eloquent commemoration.

It is a circumstance hardly to be accounted for as a coincidence that on the 10th May, the day of the mutiny at Meerut, the 7th Oude Infantry in the cantonments near Lucknow rudely refused to take the greased cartridges, and, when summoned, about 5 o'clock that afternoon, to give up their arms, declined to obey the order. They then left the camp and were pursued by her Majesty's 32nd Regiment, by the 13th, 48th, and 70th Native Infantry, a regiment of Native cavalry, and a troop of Artillery for about 10 miles, when they gave up their arms and several were taken prisoners; the rest were dispersed. On the evening of the 13th the news of the insurrection and massacre at Meerut and Delhi arrived at Lucknow, and Sir H. Lawrence consulted with the civil and military authorities as to the best means of preserving the public peace, of securing the lives and property of the European residents, and of meeting any outbreak that might take place. The European troops were three miles away from the cantonments, which were in the hands of the three Native infantry and one cavalry regiment, so that a revolt of the sepoys at that moment might have been as calamitous at Lucknow as at Delhi; nor did the 32nd march in before the 17th, by which time Colonel Inglis had received a letter from Captain Hayes, the mili


tary secretary, informing him that an immediate attack was expected. Under the protection of the cavalry and guns the noncombatants of the garrison were removed to Sir H. Lawrence's house in the cantonments, and thus saved from a repetition of the catastrophes of Delhi and Meerut, while no time was lost in placing the Residency in the city in as strong a state of defence as circumstances permitted, and in collecting within its walls the women, children, and sick,-in fact all the helpless portion of the European and much of the Eurasian (or half-caste) population. The evil spirit had indeed been laid for a short time by the effect of the address of the Chief Commissioner to the native troops. He placed distinctly before their minds the might and resources of England; he told them how 50,000 men had been sent to the Crimea and how twice that number, if necessary, could be despatched to India-he contrasted the certain rewards of fidelity with the certain ultimate failure of treason,—and the impression produced by his earnest words was so great, that, anywhere except in Oude, its results might have been permanent. But the elements of disorder were here too wide and too deep to be thus constrained, and the comparative tranquillity which for a time left open the communications through that country, and the surprise throughout India that the most dangerous of the provinces under British rule had not been one of the first to lead the revolt, remained the sole consequences of his tact and eloquence. Before the 30th May the non-combatants had all been removed from the cantonments, and the evening-gun of that day was the preconcerted signal for the mutiny. The regiments which twenty days before had followed and disarmed their insurgent comrades now broke out with the same bloodthirsty ferocity which has stultified all previous estimates of the native character_and clouded the hopes of the civilisation of a hundred years. They burnt whatever they could not plunder and murdered every officer they could find. Lieutenant Grant was dragged out to death from under a cot where a faithful soubahdar had concealed him, and Cornet Raleigh, who had joined his regiment three days before and had been left in his sick-bed by his soldiers, was hacked to pieces by them in their retreat. But after all this violence they seemed unprepared for any organised attack: 300 men of her Majesty's 32nd Foot, with some guns, kept the whole force at bay. Sir Henry cut off the communications with the city, and Lieutenant Hardinge patrolled the cantonments with some few sowars of the Irregular Cavalry under the very fire of the mutineers. Remnants of the 13th and 71st joined the British, and the chief body of the rebels was pursued the next day by this force and part of the 7th Cavalry, with considerable effect.


Some sixty prisoners were taken and tried, together with other persons suspected of a share in the mutiny-Sir Henry remitting the sentences of many, with what the Europeans thought a mistaken clemency.

We well remember the gratification with which the repression of this act of mutiny was received both throughout India and at home. The simultaneous success of Sir John Lawrence in disarming the Sepoy regiments, and in turning to our advantage the ancestral feud between the Punjaubees and the inhabitants of Hindostan, seemed almost a guarantee for the triumph of Sir Henry, so that the brothers stood forth in public esteem as the Dioscuri of the troubled darkness of the Indian world. It seemed that, difficult as was the position of Oude, Sir Henry's firmness and ability had arrested the rebellious spirit, and that the proximate capture of Delhi would speedily terminate the mutiny, confirm the tranquillity of Central India, and consolidate in the surest manner the British occupation of Oude. But Sir Henry Lawrence knew otherwise. We should have placed the late Sir William Sleeman's 'Journey through the Kingdom of Oude' at the head of this article had it not deserved a full and separate consideration, and we now only refer to it as showing what must inevitably have been the condition, feelings, and opinions of the people of Oude, and especially of the inhabitants of Lucknow, at the time when Lawrence and his fellow-countrymen had to maintain the authority and power of England against an armed population. Not only was Oude the nursery of soldiers for the Company's army, but it was the habit of the capital for every man engaged in the ordinary business of life to wear his tulwar or short bent sword, and the poorest idler in the streets swaggered along with his shield of buffalo-hide and matchlock or pistols. Since the assumption of British authority no attempt had been made to disarm any portion of the inhabitants, or to intimidate them by the presence of any adequate European force. The city itself was thronged with the disbanded minions and discharged servitors of a most dissolute court, now left without character and often without subsistence. The compensations and gratuities allotted to the more honest officials were necessarily but a poor pittance; and the whole commercial class were far more inclined to regret the lost opportunities of extravagance and abuse than to look forward with hope to the gradual development of prosperity under an alien rule. Throughout the country the dissatisfaction with our government may be measured as well by the violences we ourselves were compelled to commit as by those we were attempting to remedy. The cruelty which had become the customary mode of collecting revenue and was at the same time


« 이전계속 »