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A. N. Wollaston, Esq.

R. Hudson, Esq. Colonel Campbell. H. Barclay, Esq.
P. Cazenove, Esq. J. Brand, Esq. J. Haig, Esq.

Sir Albert W. Woods.
Sir Ranald Martin, C.B., M.D. J. T. Delane, Esq.

The Master of the Merchant Taylors' Company.

J. R. Melvill, Esq. Dr. Russell, LL.D. Mr. Alderman Allen.

J. H. Astell, Esq. Lestock R. Reid, Esq.

* The son of the heir of the deceased, Sir Frederick Pollock, who
was himself unable to attend through illness.
^ f Since created a Baron of the Court of Exchequer.


546 Life of Sir George Pollock.

W. Dent, Esq. J. Westwood, Esq. Charles R. Low, Esq.

Colonel Ewart. E. Jones, Esq.

Lieut-Gen. M. Smith. J. Thomson, Esq.

J. P. Allen, Esq. G. M. Craufurd, Esq.

On entering the Abbey the procession was met
by the Sub-Dean, Lord John Thynne, Archdeacon
Jennings, Canon Conway, and others of the clergy,
and the opening sentences of the affecting and sublime
burial service, " I am the R-esurrection," were sung as
the assemblage swept into the choir.

At this time the coup d'oeil presented in the sacred
edifice, as the brilliant uniforms and long line of
mourners, defiling through the cloisters door, and
winding snake-like along the aisle and nave, disap-
peared through the screen into the choir, was
indescribably solemn and impressive. Arrived in the
choir, the coffin was placed on trestles in front of the
altar-steps, while so numerous was the company of
officers and mourners, that they speedily filled the
choir, and the sacrarium had to be thrown open to give
them standing room ; distinguished personages, as the
Field-Marshal Commanding-in- Chief, and the Secre-
tary for War, were conducted to seats in the stalls.

The 90th Psalm, "Lord, thou hast been our
refuge," to the rendering of Purcell, was sung with
admirable taste and precision by the choir, accom-
panied by the organist, Mr. Turle. Then followed
the sublime lesson appointed by the Church for the
burial of the dead, after which the Artillery ser-
geants again took up their sad burden, with its pall

Life of Sir George Pollock. 547

of black velvet, covered by the glorious folds of the
Union Jack, and carried the coffin to the grave in
the aisle, close to the spot where lie two other noble
Indian warriors, Lord Clyde and Sir James Outram.

Around the grave stood the mourners, while the
military officers grouped themselves behind the Duke
of Cambridge and Mr. Cardwell, the clergy and cho-
risters facing them on the west side. The well-
trained voices now mingled with the organ in the
sentences beginning, " Man that is born of woman,"
and, " Thou knowest, Lord," sung to the composi-
tions of Purcell and Croft. No service could be
more impressive, nor would it be easy in our time to
bring together a more remarkable gathering than
that around the grave.

In that throng of gallant soldiers, some of whom
had won their spurs by deeds of as high emprise as
any performed by knights in the days of chivalry,
the eye was attracted by the noble bearing of Sir
Vincent Eyre, who, sixteen years before his heroic
relief of Arrah, had earned a name for the part he
bore in the memorable defence of the lines at Cabul,
of which he wrote so admirable an account ; oppo-
site him, in diplomatic uniform, stood Sir George
Lawrence, whose voice, in those disastrous days, was
ever raised against negotiation, and in advocacy of
energetic action, and who, at Peshawur in 1848-49,
and in Eajpootana in 1857, upheld the high renown
that should attach to the brother of Henry and
John Lawrence. It was proper that these gallant

35 *

548 Life of Sir George Pollock.

soldiers should follow to his last resting place the noble
veteran to whom they owed liberty and life itself.*
Also, conspicuous among the pall-bearers was
Sir Greorge Macgregor, who shared the honours of
the defence of Jellalabad with Sir Eobert Sale's
"illustrious garrison," not only as the Political chief
who answered Akbar Khan's haughty summons with
" No surrender!" but as an artillery officer, who
volunteered to work the guns in the field ; while on
the advance upon Cabul, he acted as Pollock's chief
political adviser, sharing with him and his son, the
small " paul " to which the General, with Spartan-
like simplicity, had restricted himself. Of the
other pall-bearers, Sir James Alexander commanded
Pollock's artillery at the forcing of the Khyber, and
Sir John Kaye wrote his eloquent and comprehensive
narrative of all the stirring incidents in which these
stout soldiers had acted such prominent parts.

With the exception of Sir George Lawrence, of the
Bengal Cavalry, all these officers, including Sir James
Brind, belonged to the old Bengal Artillery.
" Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona multi" The

* Time, as if taking into ac- following survivors : Generals
count the narrow escape the cap- Colin Troup, C.B,, Colin M'Ken-
tives of 1841-42 had from falling zie, C.B., Webb, C.S.I., and By-
under his avenging scythe, has grave ; Colonels Hugh Johnson
dealt mercifully with Akbar and G. Mein ; Dr. Campbell and
Khan's hostages and prisoners, of Dr.T. Thomson, F.R.S. Also Lady
whom, in addition to Generals Sir Macnaghten (now Dowager Mar-
Vincent Eyre.and Sir George Law- chioness of Headfort), Mrs. An-
rence, and Col. J. T. Airey (Cold- derson, Mrs. Mainwaring, Mrs.
stream Guards, also present on Boyd, and Mrs. Trevor, most of
this day), there still remain the whose eight children still survive.

Life of Sir George Pollock. 549

Bengal Artillery produced many brave " gunners "
before the time of Horsford and Pollock. May
the succession be kept up with undiminished honour
to the noble corps, now that its Indian " laurels "
have been intertwined with the European " bays " of
the Eoyal Eegiment !

Soldiers were there present who had fought
and bled in every Indian war during the past half
century. Some had served under Sir George in Bur-
mah (as General Campbell), or in Nepaul (as General
Twemlow), or in Afghanistan as (General Riddell,
who commanded three companies of the 60th N.I.
during the advance on Jellalabad.) There also was Sir
Archdale Wilson, who won Delhi, and thus " broke
the neck " of the Mutiny ; and the senior officer of the
Eoyal Artillery, General Wylde, whose first commis-
sion dates as far back as 1803. Some there had ren-
dered to their country services of no mean order in the
political department, yet, it seems, they are to be denied
the "bit of ribbon " which betokens distinction to the
world, who look only to titles as vouchers for service
rendered to the State. Such a man was present in the
person of Major-General James Abbott, of the Bengal
Artillery, whose military and political services at
Bhurtpore, Herat, and notably in Hazara in 1848-49
when he kept an entire province to its allegiance simply
by his force of character and personal influence, cer-
tainly merit the Star of India. The army generally
honoured Sir George Pollock's memory through their
Commander-in-Chief, His Eoyal Highness the Duke

55 Life of Sir George Pollock.

of Cambridge, Mr. Cardwell, the Minister for War,
and the Adjutant-General, Sir Eichard Airey.

Under the civilian's black coat of more than one
who took part in the procession, beat the heart of the
soldier who had served under Sir George Pollock a
generation back, and there were some officers (long
retired) of his own Eegiment, who came to pay
this last tribute of respect to one they had revered.
It was also gratifying to see the Household Brigade
represented by three officers Sir H. Felly, Colonel
Stuart, and, towering above the brilliant uniforms
and sombre-clad mourners, Colonel Marshall of the
2nd Life Guards. Strangely contrasting with these
officers, was seated close at hand, in extreme old age,
a relic of a mightier struggle than any we have
waged on Indian soil. It was Major Montagu, for-
merly of the Eoyal Artillery, one of the few remaining
survivors of the glorious 18th June; bent and feeble
to the last degree with the weight of many years, his
presence added the much-prized Waterloo Medal to
the galaxy of stars arid crosses which glittered on the
breasts of younger soldiers.

Conspicuous among the crowd of Indian civilians,
who have worked not less efficiently than their
military brethren in the grand task of building up
our Eastern Empire, the eye rested upon Lord
Lawrence, the greatest of them all. Many members
of the Indian Council were present, including
Sir Bartle Frere, one of the most able Civil servants
the old East India Company ever sent out to India ;

Life of Sir George Pollock. 551

Sir Frederick Halliday, the first Lieut enant- Govern or
of Bengal, who inaugurated the system of primary
education among the masses, and improved the
courts, police, and administrative machinery of the
province committed to his care ; Sir Robert Mont-
gomery, the right hand of Lord Lawrence in 1857,
and his successor in the Punjaub ; and Sir Henry
Eawlinson, who at Candahar, though young in years,
displayed the wisdom of the serpent in his dealings
with the perfidious Afghans, on whom his gallant
chief, lion-like, dealt fierce and rapid blows. Such
was the scene around the open grave of the Indian

The affecting sentences at the grave having been
sung, the coffin was lowered into the vault. At this
moment, as the Sub-Dean repeated the words, "Lord,
have mercy upon us," .the gloom that had hitherto
shrouded the nave was temporarily dispersed by a ray
of sunlight, which shot athwart the mourners, and
brought into bold relief the exquisite proportions of
the incomparable clustered shafts forming the pillars
of the nave.

On the polished lid of the coffin was a plate with
the following inscription :


G.C.B., G.C.S.I.,

Constable -of the Tower.
Born on the 4th June,


Died 6th October,

The aisle again rang with the consolatory sentences

552 Life of Sir George Pollock.

beginning, " I heard a voice ;" and after the short
litany and prayer, organ and choir burst out anew
into Handel's noble rendering of the words, "His
body is buried in peace, but his name liveth ever-
more." Eelatives and friends now took their last
look at the coffin, and scarce less touching than the
grief of the former, was the exhibition of unrestrained
sorrow on the part of the female servants, who came
to pay this last tribute of respect to their lamented

Thus, amid genuine manifestations of sorrow from
a numerous and distinguished company, the great
soldier who had humbled the Afghans, and freed the
Cabul captives, was left alone to take his rest.*

We cannot more appropriately conclude the record

* The following (hitherto unpublished) stanzas, by Sir Vincent Eyre,
form a graceful tribute to the memory of Sir George Pollock, from one
who has always entertained the liveliest feelings of gratitude towards
his deliverer:



" Once more the Abbey opens its wide portal !
Another Indian hero claims a grave
Beside his compeers ! Through the lofty nave
(Sacred to Britain's sons of fame immortal)
An aged warrior, borne by comrades brave,
Receives the last sad tribute to his worth ;
While solemn words of Holy Writ exhort all
Wisely to use, like him, life's span on earth.
Pollock ! 'twas thine thy country's wound to heal ;
Thine to restore the lustre of our arms ;
To teach the foe once more our power to feel ;
And snatch our captives back to freedom's charms.
Farewell ! lost friend, chief of a gifted race ;
Mourn'd by the brave and good, we yield thee to God's grace."

Life of Sir George Pollock. 553

of this closing scene in the life of this great and good
man, than by the following lines, which, though
applied by a friend to Addison, may not less truth-
fully be repeated of Sir Greorge Pollock :

" Ne'er to the chambers where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation, came a nobler guest ;
Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed
A fairer spirit or more welcome shade. "

Sir Greorge Pollock's lengthened career compre-
hended a space of time in which were wrought some
of the most momentous events of the world's history.
Born before the great French Revolution had con-
vulsed Europe and shaken half its dynasties, he had
left Woolwich before Sir Arthur Wellesley had won
Assaye, and Napoleon had assumed the Imperial pur-
ple ; while he had earned a reputation as an efficient
Artillery officer in one pitched battle and two great
sieges, before Nelson closed his career of glory on the
deck of the " Victory." Thus, until death so recently
removed him, he was a link between the days when
*' there were giants," and our time and "such mortals

as we are."

The record of his career which we have brought to
a close, is the best commentary on the distinguishing
features of his character. Though he cannot be called
a brilliant commander, he was not destitute of "dash"
when it was necessary, as was proved by his forced
march upon Tezeen, when he desired to spring
upon Akbar Khan before he had concentrated all the

554 Life of Sir George Pollock.

strength at his command. Steady, cautious, and
resolute, he could either play the part of Fabius
Cunctator, or astonish his foes by the rapidity of his
movements and the crushing weight of the blows he
inflicted. Thus his army placed the most implicit
confidence in his judgment, for they knew his resolu-
tions were prompted, not by self-interest and a desire
to acquire popularity, heedless of their safety, but by
sentiments of the purest patriotism, and a regard
solely for the honour and interests of his country.

It was owing to the perfection of Pollock's disposi-
tions on the 5th April, 1842, that his total loss in
killed and wounded was but 135 men. This should
be taken into consideration in estimating his claims to
be regarded as a military leader of no common order.

It is too much the fashion to consider a long
" butcher's bill " as the criterion of the magnitude of
a success, or of the degree of credit attaching to the
victorious general. The histories of the wars waged
between the Greeks and Persians, and of Alexander's
victories during his triumphal march from the Gra-
nicus to the Sutlej, afford signal examples of the
fallacy of regarding this as the chief test. But we
need not ransack ancient history in disproof of this
assumption, for the records of our Indian empire are
replete with instances. Lord dive's victory at Plassey
shows " how battles may be won " with inconsider-
able loss by a handful of men fighting against twenty
times their number ; while the carnage of Ferozeshu-
hur and Chillianwallah, may be adduced as striking

Life of Sir George Pollock. 555

proofs that hecatombs of slain may be sacrificed with-
out increasing the military reputation of the General.
Surely, a recognised great success is enhanced by the
immunity from severe loss enjoyed by the victor.

Sir George Pollock possessed many traits of
character in common with the greatest soldier this
country has produced. He had the same simplicity,
which was equally manifested in the camp as in
private life. Thus Sir George, during his famous march
from Jellalabad to Cabul, only took with him a com-
fortless Sepoy hill-tent, while in private life he was
equally remarkable for a total absence of osten-

Although not gifted with the intuitive genius for
war of the " Iron Duke," he possessed many of the
qualities that distinguished the latter, and are neces-
sary to constitute that rarest and most gifted of beings,
a great soldier. Like the Duke behind the lines of
Torres Vedras, he knew how to wait when all his
officers, the Indian public, and the Empire, were eager
for an advance. It denoted marvellous strength of
character to resist the pressing appeals of Sale and
Macgregor on the one side of the Khyber, and the
Indian press on the other, while he had to encounter
from the highest authorities a lukewarm support,
which he felt might at any time turn into an active
opposition to his plans. Then how commendable and
rare were the thoroughness of his preparation, his
attention to the minutiae of discipline and organiza-
tion, and the perfection of his arrangements for

556 Life of Sir George Pollock.

forcing the Khyber, by which every eventuality was
provided for, and no chance of failure that could
be obviated by human foresight was overlooked ;
thus, when the time for the advance arrived, he could
exclaim, like Nelson, when, having completed his
arrangements, he bore down upon the enemy's line on
the ever-memorable day of Trafalgar "Now I can
do no more ; we must trust to the Great Disposer of
events, and the justice of our cause." In all these
points, we think he may be compared to the victor of
Assay e and Waterloo, without disparagement to that
mighty chief.

The place and manner of his death, also bore a
curious similarity to that of the Duke of Wellington,
who not only expired at Walmer, but died at early
morning, suddenly and without a struggle. Both
these great soldiers met the last enemy, whom no
skill or prestige of victory can baffle, with a bold face,
and, spared the painful features of a long and linger-
ing illness, quitted the citadel of life which they
could no longer defend, with drums beating and
colours flying.

Longfellow's noble lines on the death of the
Warden of the Cinque Ports might almost be re-
peated entire of the Constable of the Tower, whom

" Shall no sunshine from the fields of azure,
No drum-beat from the wall,
No morning gun from the black fort's embrasure,
Awaken with its call ! "

Life of Sir George Pollock. 557

It was when

" The day was just begun,

And through the window panes, on floor and panel,
Streamed the red autumn* sun,"


" unseen, a single warrior,
In sombre harness mailed,
Dreaded of man, and surnamed the Destroyer,"

passed into the silent chamber of the " old
Field-Marshal," and, without pausing "to parley
or dissemble," struck him down with unrelenting
hand as he had smitten a former Constable just
a score of years before in that self-same ancient
sea- port.

The private character of Sir George Pollock was
as free from reproach as his public conduct. He
had a sensitive repugnance to display, and, being
the least egotistic of men, was averse either to much
talking about himself or to hearing his praises

By his friends he was greatly beloved, and his
hospitalities were dispensed equally without stint and
ostentation. We will not expatiate on his worth as
an husband and father; only those who were honoured
with his intimacy, knew the intensity of the affec-
tion with which he was regarded by those nearest
and dearest to him. Not only they, but many
of his friends, will mourn his loss, and ever enter-

* The Duke of Wellington died on the 14th September, 1852.

558 Life of Sir George Pollock.

tain sentiments of regard and veneration for his

Sir George Pollock never turned a deaf ear to the ap-
peals for aid of the poorer members of his service ; and
while the widow and orphan of the officer and soldier
found in him a consistent advocate in his official capa-
city as a Director of the East India Company, in
private life he was a generous supporter of every
service charity, as well as of other civil institutions
of a like character.*

His was a large, catholic-hearted charity, and to
him might justly be applied the words spoken by
Henry IV. of his graceless son :

" He hath a tear for pity, and a hand
Open as day for melting charity."

Sir Eobert Peel, in the splendid eulogium on Sir
George Pollock delivered by him in the House of
Commons, dwelt with admiration on the brilliant
operations connected with the forcing of the Khyber
Pass, but eloquent and gratifying as was the descrip-
tion of this achievement from the lips of that great
statesman, the comparison between it and Alexander's

* Though he acted on the fit of the Army, to which he
principle '* let not thy right hand largely subscribed, may be enu-
know what thy left hand doeth," merated the " Royal School for
numerous instances have come to Officers'Daughters," the " Soldiers'
our knowledge in which he liberally Daughters' Home," the "Cam-
assisted Indian officers, and others, bridge Asylum for Soldiers'
who, through misfortune, were in Widows," and the Corps of Corn-
distressed circumstances Among missionaires.
charities established for the bene-

Life of Sir George Pollock. 559

Indian triumphs, was not overstrained when the facts
stated by Sir Archibald Alison, in his " History of
Europe," (vol. viii. page 51,) are borne in mind, viz.,
that " This was the first time in the annals of the
world that the forcing of this terrible defile had been
attempted by armed men. Timour himself, at the
head of 200,000 men, had recoiled from its terrors,
and purchased a passage through by a large payment
to the Afreedie tribes which held its sides ; and Nadir
Shah, the great Persian conqueror, a century before
the British advance, had done the same."

The historian might have added, that the powerful
Mogul Emperor Akbar,in the year 1587, lost, it is said,
40,000 men in the attempt to force the Khyber Pass ;
and his scarcely less great descendant, Aurungzebe,
in 1673, failed to effect a passage.

This feat was reserved for Pollock to perform with a
small force, which, exclusive of a regiment of Dragoons
and fourteen guns, included only one battalion of
European infantry !

During the crisis of our century of Eastern rule,
more than one of the great soldiers, who have plucked
the crown of empire out of the abyss of disaster, have
been hailed with the title of " Saviour of India,"
and we advisedly, and not without warrant from the
highest authority, apply this proudest of appellations
to Sir George Pollock. History, when recounting
the deeds of this " great man," as Sir Eobert Peel
called him in the House of Commons, in that
admirable Afghan campaign, in which no single

560 Life oj Sir George Pollock.

military or political mistake was made by him, but
in which the prescient commander, the dashing
soldier, and the practised tactician were happily
and rarely blended, History will, with Sir James
Outram, allow that " India was saved to us " by Sir
George Pollock.

Wm. H. Allen & Co., Printers, 13 Waterloo Place, S.W.

Online LibraryCharles Rathbone LowThe life and correspondence of Field Marshall Sir George Pollock ...(constable of the Tower) → online text (page 40 of 40)