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THE STORMING OF DELHI.
strong brick building on the top of a high hill was made of it. This centenary was the 23d of on the north of the city, and half-way between June, 1857, and in London a meeting was held the former cantonments and the Moree Gate for the purpose of erecting a statue to Clive of Delhi. It was near this place that the in his native town. There was a good deal of camp was afterwards pitched, and the house talk about India, and reference was made was chosen as the position for bombarding both in and out of parliament to some disturbDelhi by means of three batteries constructed ing rumours, but nobody appeared to regard to throw shot and shell. In front of the camp the matter as very serious; nobody was aware was the old cantonment, in the rear a canal, that a wide-spread rebellion had been growon the left the river Jumna. The ground on ing for six weeks, that regiments were being which the troops took their position was high hurriedly collected in the Punjaub and the and rocky, so that it was well adapted for the north-west to join the small force at the siege siege, during which for nionths our small force of Delhi. Neither the anniversary nor the had to struggle against the efforts of the enor- prophecy was forgotten at Delhi, and the mous rebel army which had swarmed into the mutineers made a desperate sortie, great numcity. The fortifications of Delhi extended bers of them coming out and keeping up an about seven miles, with an area of about three attack on the English batteries, but only to square miles, the eastern sides being defended be driven back with crushing defeat. But both by the river Jumna and an irregular with the force at the command of the British wall with bastions and towers, solid walls of generals it appeared impossible to storm the masonry, parapets for musketry, and all the city, and during the heavy rains of July the regular appliances of a great stronghold. On troops lay in their encampment occupied the western side of the city the last spurs of chiefly in resisting the attacks of the enemy, a range of mountains made a low ridge and firing upon the city. First the health of where a number of ravines of considerable General Barnard and then the strength of depth formed a kind of hollow way, which General Reed gave way, and the latter made was of great use in protecting the besiegers; over the command of the army to Brigadierwhile the large quantities of trees, brushwood, general Wilson. Without heavy artillery it and masses of old building outside the city would have been futile to attempt to storm were also of some advantage by affording the strong walls and great fortifications of cover for the siege operations. We need not Delhi, and on the 25th of August it was evifollow the details of the siege, which went on dent that the enemy was moving out of the for week after week, during which the muti- city with the intention of crossing the canal neers would steal out of the city under cover and attacking our troops in the rear. General of the rocks and brushwood and endeavour Nicholson was at once despatched with 3000 to surprise our camp, but only to be driven men to the point at which it was supposed back by the Guides (a corps of Sikh soldiers), they would cross. The mutineers were drawn or by our riflemen, who would pursue them up in position between the bridge and the to the very walls of Delhi, every prisoner town, but the word was given to our men to who was taken being either shot or killed on cross a broad and deep ford, and directly they the spot. Day by day the British lines were had reached the other side they formed in line extended till our small besieging force reached and charged, broke the ranks of the enemy, the ridge nearest the walls, and lay near the and utterly routed them, forcing them to run Moree and Ajmeer Gates.
across the canal and leave all their guns. A legend had long been circulated among General Nicholson then blew up the bridge the disaffected natives that the hundredth an- and returned. Not till the 4th of September niversary of the battle of Plassy would witness did the siege train arrive from Meerut, and the downfall of British power in India. How then not a soldier from England, for all the the prophecy originated it would be difficult reinforcements which had by that time arrived to tell, but it is easy to imagine the use that were engaged between Calcutta and Cawnpore. But Delhi must be taken, and the siege- | wards died; but the match had been set, the guns were at once placed in position to silence explosion shook the air, the bugle sounded to ihe fire of the enemy from the walls in front the assault, and amidst the crash and roar the of the intended line of attack, between the entrance to Delhi was carried by the column Water Gate and the Cashmere Gate. On under General Nicholson. The men desperthe 13th the Cashmere Bastion was in ruins, ately fought their way into the city, re-formed, the Moree Battery nearly silenced, and the and moved to the direction of the Cabul Gate; magazine and works at the Water Bastion but their general had fallen, and their progress destroyed. Then out went an order to the was checked by the tremendous fire poured on army, declaring the general's reliance upon them from the guns that commanded the British pluck and determination, cautioning narrow pathway. But a second column had the men to keep together and not to straggle stormed the Water Gate and taken possession from their columns, reminding the troops of of the walls, where they turned one of the the murders committed on their officers and enemy's guns upon the Lahore Gate to silence comrades, as well as on women and chil- the heavy fire of the mutineers. A third dren; and while announcing that no quarter column followed through the breach of the should be given to mutineers, calling upon Cashmere Gate, took possession of the round the men " for the sake of humanity and the tower which had been the scene of the early honour of the country to which they belonged, massacre, and fought their way to the Great to spare all women and children who came in Mosque, which they could not force for want their way.” The Cashmere Gate was to be of artillery, its arches having been bricked up, blown up, and through the breach the army its gates closed, and a heavy fire of musketry was to force its way in and storm the city. | protecting it. Two troops of horse artillery It was a desperate service which was required and a cavalry brigade under Major Tombs and by the explosion party, and it was done in the Brigadier Hope Grant had formed in front of face of death. The sappers and miners, covered the walls, desperately fought their way to by the fire of the 6th Rifles, advanced to the the Cabul Gate, and under a terrible fire gate at double quick march; the first being prevented the enemy from attacking our those who carried the powder-bags, followed | batteries. Once within the city our troops had by Lieutenant Salkeld, Corporal Burgess, and to force their way, fighting with swarms of the remainder of the devoted band. The armed rebels, who had taken up every point advanced men of the forlorn hope reached the of defence in streets and buildings. As the gateway unhurt to find that part of the draw- men took up their hardly-won positions the bridge had been destroyed; but walking like light guns were brought forward and discats across the beams that remained, each charged on the houses of the neighbourlaid his bag of powder at the gate, though the hood. By the 20th the Lahore Gate was in enemy was firing at him through a wicket. our hands, and the city was practically taken. Sergeant Carmichael fell dead as he lodged The king had made his escape
from the palace his bag in its place. Havildar Mahor, of the with two of his sons, the people of the city native sappers, was severely wounded; but left it and went outside the walls, and at last the work was done, and the advanced party the rebel troops fled precipitately, abandoning slipped down into the ditch to make room for their camp, a great deal of their property, and Lieutenant Salkeld to bring up his party to their sick and wounded. Then 4000 to 5000 of fire the charge. Before he could set light to them retreated across the bridge of boats into it he was shot in the leg, and handed his slow- the Doab (the country between the Jumna match to Corporal Burgess, who fell mortally and the Ganges), while the remainder took wounded at the moment that he had accom- their way down the right bank of the river, plished the duty. A havildar and a Sepoy leaving Delhi in our hands. The gate of the of the Sikh regiment also fell, one wounded, palace was then blown in, and the headthe other killed, and Lieutenant Salkeld after- ! quarters of General Wilson established there.
HODSON OF “HODSON'S HORSE."
That building, supposed to be one of the minutes' purchase, and it would seem as though most magnificent palaces in India, with its he had deliberately made up his mind not to fine wall and splendid entrance, its hall of spare the king or the princes. General Wiljustice built of white marble, its royal throne son probably knew nothing of this, but had, inlaid with gold and mosaics, had been defiled in giving permission for the royal family to by the mutinous rabble. The interior was be arrested, stipulated that the life of the filthy and disorderly beyond description, for king should be spared. Hodson had already tho revolted Sepoy had revelled in its cool learned that the king had offered to surrender archways. “I went all over the state apart. himself on this condition; and with a small ments and the harem," wrote an officer. “The body of horse went to the place where the latter is a curious place, and had a remark- old man was concealed, and promising that able appearance: its floor covered with guitars, he should be personally protected, took him bangles, &c., and redolent of sandal - wood. back to Delhi. His captor then went at the The fair daughters of Cashmere had their head of a hundred men to the immense pile swing in the centre of the room. They had known as the tomb of Humayoon, to look for left in a great hurry: dresses, silks, slippers, the king's sons. After great difficulty they were lying on all sides. On leaving the place were induced to come out, were put in a carI met a doolie surrounded by some cavalry riage, and sent off towards Delhi under a small and a few natives on foot. Its inmate was a escort. thin-faced, anxious-looking old man. This was Hodson had entered the mausoleum, where the King of Hindostan, the descendant of the some thousands of mutineers and the rabble great Moguls, entering his palace in the hands of Delhi, armed with all sorts of weapons, had of his enemies."
assembled. The cool daring of the lieutenant To this reappearance of the king at the was equal to the occasion. He sternly called palace hangs a tale which, at the time when upon them to lay down their arms, and as his it became known, caused no little excitement manner implied that he had a sufficient force and some disapprobation. One of the officers to compel obedience, the weapons were relinwho held a prominent place in the suppression quished. Having seen that they were colof the mutiny was Lieutenant Hodson, the lected and removed, Hodson returned towards commander of a body of cavalry known as Delhi, and in the city overtook the escort, “Hodson's Horse.” He had once been in the which was in the midst of a disorderly crowd civil service in the Punjaub, and was reported apparently about to attempt a rescue.
Withto have left it in consequence of having exhi- out hesitation he galloped up and exclaimed, bited a high temper towards one of the native “These are the men who have not only rerulers which brought him under the implied | belled against the government, but ordered censure of his superiors; but being a man of and witnessed the massacre and shameful excool determined courage and considerable posure of innocent women and children, and ability he entered on a military career, and thus, therefore, the government punishes such soon became famous as the leader of a dashing traitors taken in open resistance.” He then troop.
borrowed a carbine from one of his men and At the taking of Delhi he was acting as shot them both on the spot. The effect is chief of the intelligence department, and had said to have been instantaneous, the Maholearned that the king and his sons had escaped metans of the troop and some influential to a large building, the tomb of the Mogul Moulvies who were among the bystanders, emperor Humayoon, and there taken refuge. exclaiming, “Well and rightly done! Their Hodson at once applied to General Wilson for crime has met with its just penalty! These leave to take them prisoners, and the authority were they who gave the signal for the death was given. He had already written to say of helpless women and children, and now a that if he got into the palace of Delhi the righteous judgment has fallen on them.” House of Timour would not be worth five This proceeding of Lieutenant Hodson was
not regarded with favour by the government, perpetrators of such crimes, it is not surprising however, and met with considerable reproba- that our commanders should have felt it necestion among many thoughtful men, who
recog- sary to follow up the victories of their small nized in it another example of a high-handed forces by adopting some methods of “striking way of dealing, not calculated to be of such terror” among the natives. “Whenever a permanent effect as a regular and legal course rebel is caught," wrote General Neill while of procedure. It is, however, exceedingly in charge of Cawnpore after his arrival from difficult to estimate the necessities or the ex- Benares, “he is immediately tried, and unless pediencies imposed by such a situation as that he can prove a defence he is sentenced to be in which those who were in command found hanged at once; but the chiefs or ringleaders themselves during the terrible period which I make first clean up a certain portion of the we have been considering, and an acquaint- pool of blood, still two inches deep, in the ance with some of the details of which is shed where the fearful murder and mutilation necessary for a clear understanding of subse- of women and children took place. To touch quent legislation with regard to India. blood is most abhorrent to the high-caste
Lieutenant Hodson was himself killed natives; they think by doing so they doom shortly afterwards. That the deed-which their souls to perdition. Let them think so. he had done on his own responsibility-was My object is to inflict a fearful punishment not regarded as itself outrageous may be seen for a revolting, cowardly, barbarous deed, by the fact that the other sons of the king and to strike terror into these rebels. The were executed almost immediately after they first I caught was a sabahdar, a native officer, were captured; and probably this was the a high-caste Brahmin, who tried to resist my dreadful alternative to prevent further plots order to clean up the very blood he had helped and conspiracies by which the mutiny might to shed; but I made the provost-marshal do have been revived or prolonged. “In twenty- his duty, and after a few lashes soon made four hours I disposed of the principal members the miscreant accomplish his task. When of the house of Timour the Tartar,” wrote done he was taken out and immediately Hodson after the deed was done. “I am not hanged, and after death buried in a ditch at cruel, but I confess that I do rejoice in the the roadside. The well of mutilated bodies, opportunity of ridding the earth of these alas! containing upwards of two hundred ruffians," Shocking words, no doubt, but women and children, I have had decently they found an echo not only in India but in covered in and built up as one large grave." England. The horrors of the mutiny, and To read this is very horrible now that the especially the atrocities of Cawnpore, had “large grave” has become “a garden and a aroused a fierce, nearly savage desire for re- shrine,” and the great Indian mutiny of 1857 tribution. Men, and even women, almost and 1858 has become only a terrible chapter in ceased to regard the bloodthirsty, cruel Sepoys history; but these reports of retribution were of Oudh as human beings. They would have very generally received with satisfaction, along had them hunted and slain like wild beasts; with accounts of the execution of mutineers by and the encouragement of this feeling of re- being blown from the mouths of cannon, a venge awoke, as it were, the wild beast nature mode of death which “struck terror," not only in themselves. Amidst the dreadful scenes because of its public display and its awful of carnage, and with the evidences of the suddenness, but because of the dismemberment cruelty and treachery of the mutineers yet and, one might say, the dispersion of the body before them, it can scarcely be wondered at of the criminal, and therefore, according to that even the generals should have ordered the native superstition, the prevention of a no quarter to be given. With the cries of future state of existence. There is no need tortured and murdered women and children to dwell upon these details; but there can be still their ears, and with the probability no doubt of the truth of Mr. Cobden's asserof having yet to cope with a horde of the tion that the Indian mutiny and much of our
BRITISH RULE IN INDIA- DISRAELI'S IMPERIAL POLICY.
experience in India had tended to demoralize , gagement not to tamper with their religion.” the nation, because of the feelings of fury and It is not difficult to see that these remarks revenge which accompanied and succeeded the were levelled against the policy of Lord Daldreadful conflict. Numbers of people not only housie, and they were made also to tell against would have excused cruelty, but seriously that of Lord Canning. The forcible destrucspoke of torturing the wretches who were tion of native authority in India, the disturcaught red-handed in the mutiny. Happily bance of the settlement of property, and the there were those who saw with deep distress tampering with the religion of the people, that the encouragement of such language and were, said he, the causes to which directly, or the perpetuation of a craving for vindictive indirectly, all our difficulties were to be traced. punishment would assimilate the people in But his opponents might have answered, the England to the Sepoys against whom they suppression of those robber chiefs wiro, by were demanding vengeance. Mr. Disraeli, their tyrannical exactions, kept the population who held very pronounced opinions against of the country in a state of misery, and prethe policy of Lord Canning, was among those vented any regular form of government,-the who protested agaiust the wild cry for torture introduction of a system of land laws, and of and revenge, the raising on our altars the succession designed to put an end to the constatue of Moloch instead of the image of dition of slavery in which the wretched ryots Christ. He reminded his hearers that the and the agricultural labourers among
the counsels of cruelty would make Nana Sahib Hindoos had been reduced, and the abolition himself the model of a British officer.
of the suttee, of dacoitry, and of the barbarous Mr. Disraeli, in the debate on the mutiny inflictions of a debasing superstition which on the 27th of July, first intimated a policy had become indistinguishable from public which may
be said to have foreshadowed the crimes,--were the cause of the difficulties of a "imperial” line of procedure of which he government which could not have continued afterwards made so prominent a feature in to exist unless these things had been firmly relation to our government in India. He and emphatically dealt with. The truth seems had urgently demanded further information to have been that, as Disraeli afterwards inon Indian affairs, and had denounced the dicated, there was not a sufficient impression policy which had been pursued. Our empire of imperial good faith among the Hindoos. in India was, he said, founded on the prin- | There was enough of high-handed interference: ciple of Divide et impera; but that principle too much of a half-missionary and half-miliwas put into operation by no machiavellian tary method of converting the natives; and devices, but by availing ourselves of the natu- by no means enough regard to implied conral circumstances of the country. There were tracts with the dethroned princes, and with in India so many independent states, so many those who could prove, even without undue princes of different races, so many religions, recourse to the Hindoo law of inheritance of and even so many languages, that if you landed property, that they were entitled to honestly performed your engagements, it was considerable indemnities or to large pensions totally impossible for a fatal combination to which had either been witliheld, reduced, or be formed against you.
"Why did the Mo- converted into small annuities. It would perhammedans and Mahrattas fail in India? The haps have been exceedingly difficult for Distwo principal causes of the downfall of those raeli to point out how the government of dynasties were: first, that they persecuted the India could have been upheld had the policy people whom they had conquered on account of non-intervention and of entire unintrusion of their religion; and secondly, that when been adopted, but he had a course to recomtheir treasuries became empty they confis- mend. It was this: “You ought at once, cated the land of the chief proprietors. Eng- whether you receive news of success or of land, on the contrary, always came in with a defeat, to tell the people of India that the guarantee of their lands, and a solemn en- relations between them and their real ruler