Henry Montgomery Lawrence.

Essays, military and political, written in India online

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mainly for the purpose of exploring the various ruins of
India, Lord Hardinge afibrded his encouragement and
assistance, and placed at their disposal the services of
any officer distinguished for his skill as a draughtsman.

The revenue survey of the Jullunder and Cis-Sutlej
States was nearly completed in Lord Hardinge' s time ;
others in Eajputana and Central India being set on
foot ; and no sooner did Mr. Thomason, the able Lieu-
tenant-Grovernor of Agra, project a college of instruction
for civil engineers at Eurki, near the head of the Ganges
canal, than the scheme was sanctioned, and an excellent
officer of the engineer corps. Lieutenant MacLagan,
placed at his disposal as its principal. As sanctioned
by the Governor-Gleneral, the grand trigonometrical
survey will also soon be extending its operations into
Cashmere and to the banks of the Indus.

Thus in no department are we aware that Lord
Hardinge was found wanting to the extent of his oppor-
tunities and the means at his disposal. He carried on


war in all its details, like a thorough, soldier, and in all
points encouraged the arts of peace, like a practised and
far-sighted statesman.

His last puhlic movement was a vice-regal visit to
Lucknow. The public had been for months on tiptoe
at the prospect of annexation, though the whole tenor
of Lord Hardinge's career might have satisfied people,
not only that he would not at the last stage of his
career open a new and wide field of diplomacy, but that
under any circumstances, and at any time, he would not
annex Oude to India in the manner many desired to do.
Our opinions regarding the great Indian " difficulty ''
are unchanged since, in a previous essay, we propounded
what might honestly and with advantage to all parties
be done for Oude,

Indian officials cannot be too careful to read treaties
in their spirit as well as in their letter; lest it be
thought that, like the Eomans of old, we diplomatize
only to deceive, — that our pacifications are only truces.
We should not only disdain such practices, but prove
to the world that we do so.

Premising thus much, we would ask those honest and
able men who advocate the annexation of Oude if, in
their opinion, the treaties with either Oude or Hyder-
abad contemplated our ever obtaining another rupee
from those countries? If such be the case, on what
possible plea can we take to ourselves territories, be-
cause they are mismanaged, more especially when there
is no concealing from ourselves that much, if not all, of
this mismanagement, has been caused by our own mea-
sures. No ; if mistakes have been made, let them be
honestly amended, as they would be with Burdwan or
with Betteah, or with any other private estate. Appro-
2Jriation is no more the remedy for the mischiefs of a


principality than of a zemindaiy. "We must abide by our
treaties, public as well as private, whatever be the incon-
venience. If Oude and Hyderabad affairs are really as
disordered as they are declared to be, let us by all
means temporarily, or, if need be, permanently assume
the management of part or all, but justice and the faith
of treaties forbid the appropriation of a rupee of their
revenue to the general purposes of the Indian Govern-
ment. It will be a reward, ample and sufficient, to re-
cover large tracts from anarchy, and to bring under our
influence a numerous population with whom our only
connection can be that of paternal protection. Twenty
or fifty lakhs of revenue will not increase our strength
so much as may the love and gratitude of people thus
rescued from oppression. Above all, we shall have pre-
served our reputation for justice and good faith — we
shall still be recognized as the reverers of treaties.

As the time for delivering over his charge drew near.
Lord Hardinge became restless and impatient. We
have heard him likened to a schoolboy on the approach
of holidays. He now counted the days till his release.
And can it be wondered that, at his age, after an ab-
sence from his family approaching to four years, and
borne down with such labour as at any period of life is
scarcely endurable, his heart should have bounded at the
prospect of release — of return to domestic happiness.

The bare perusal of our faint description of Lord Har-
dinge's Indian career may enable the reader to judge of
a Governor-Grenerars labours. Petitions and appeals;
every measure military, political, or civil ; every arrange-
ment, medical, scientific, police, or revenue, with the
hundred miscellaneous matters of the three Presidencies,
are all liable to be referred for his decision. The re-
sponsibility and anxious thought, the amount of bu-


siness and of office work which it entails, is almost
beyond belief, and is to be surmounted only by ability,
method, punctuality, and great industry.

In these attributes and in sound good sense, in quick
perception, in judgment, in resource, and in calm prompt
courage, we believe Lord Hardinge to have been excelled
by few men. His memory was good, though not exact,
vividly remembering facts and general circumstances
though not particular words. He seldom forgot faces,
even though names escaped his recollection.

Among other quahties, eminently useful in his high
station, by which the Governor- Greneral was distin-
guished, one of the most marked was his tact and ma-
nagement of men's minds, in soothing animosities, re-
conciling adverse spirits; and when differences proved
irreconcilable, in conciliating to himself the good will
of both the contending parties. Contrary to a practice
too common in India, Lord Hardinge may be said to
have been on excellent terms with almost every indivi-
dual with whom he had to transact business. He ex-
pected every man to do his duty conscientiously, yet in
marking his disapprobation of neglect or slackness, his
manner was so kindly, gentlemanlike, and consistent
as seldom to give offence. Many difficult questions
were offered for his solution; and his arbitration was
demanded even in personal quarrels.

Nor was Lord Hardinge' s career less marked by mo-
deration, we might almost say, by modesty, in his public
as well as in his private capacity. The unassuming
general order directing the proud march of the captured
Sikh ordnance to Calcutta, when contrasted with the
" Song of Triumph," which heralded the return of the
gates of Somnath to Hindoostan, might be adduced in
illustration of the former ; and the latter was most con-
spicuous in the quiet and unpretending style in which


he travelled, and wliicli marked his daily rides. Lord
W. Bentinck himself was not more unostentatious ; and
often, even when in the neighbourhood of the enemy,
Lord Hardinge might have been observed riding about
with a single attendant.

His habits were abstemious and regular. He was
liberal in his hospitality; no day passed in which
visitors did not sit at his excellent board ; and twice or
thrice a week large parties were given, to which all
strangers were invited. He was at first surprised at the
independence of the Indian service, but freedom of
opinion when allied to due subordination was too con-
genial to his nature to win disapproval. We have said
that Lord Hardinge was considerate and kind, and we
repeat that he was so to all, whether distant or around
him. His letters and orders were always courteous and
gentlemanlike ; never betraying anger, or forgetfulness
that those addressed were gentlemen, and that even if
wrong in particular cases their motives may have been
right, or that their previous services may have deserved
well of the head of the Government. All this is unde-
niable, but we fear it is equally true, that many who
partook of Lord Hardinge's hospitality left his house
annoyed rather than pleased. They considered them-
selves intentionally slighted, because the Governor-
General had not separately addressed his conversation
to them. Wounded vanity is hard to deal with, and
we believe that had Lord Hardinge been able more
frequently to divert his mind from cares of State to
the frivolities around him, he would have been what is
called a more popular man. On our own experience we
can testify to his desire to be affable and attentive to
his visitors. He was always indignant if his staff ap-
peared to fail in their duty to guests ; but it was not
always easy for an elderly man, worn down with labour


from early dawn, to remember the especial case of every
pompous field officer or self-complacent civilian. To
take wine and say a civil nothing was seldom omitted,
but the special remembrance of each individual's peculiar
case was often wanting. This we know gave offence,
especially to those who, having applied for private au-
diences, were refused them, but invited to dinner.

This refusal of audiences also offended many. Lord
Auckland gave them, but regretted it, and recommended
Lord Ellenborough not to do so; but his Lordship
was more ready of speech and more at home at a levee
or an evening party than was Lord Hardinge. We
are, however, of opinion that both were quite right.
Audiences waste much time : they give advantages only
to the forward and presuming and to parasites of the
Presidency and Simla. Every man can tell his story by
letter or viva voce to the Private Secretary. If there is
much in him, it will not require an audience to elicit it ;
his name, character, and particular merits are better
known at Army and Government head-quarters than in
any other service in the world, and Lord Hardinge was
the last man in the world to intentionally neglect an
individual, high or low, who had in any manner, by
courage or by ability, distinguished himself; indeed, by
his hearty and cordial converse, he soon won his way to
such men's hearts.*

In Europe, Lord Hardinge' s duties required the
smallest modicum of official correspondence, and up to
his sixtieth year he had little or no practice in writing ;
but restricting himself in his minutes, memoranda, and
letters, as in his speeches, to facts, and attempting no

* What we have stated relates who have worthy objects to promote,

more especially to all cases of appli- unconnected with any of the regular

cation for private interview, with services, a relaxation of the rule,

reference to the obtainment of per- under proper restrictions, might be

sonal favours, connected with any of at once politic and beneficial. —

the services. As regards individuals, H. M. L.


sort of display, the products of his pen may be placed
without disparagement by the side of those of any
statesman of his day. Clear and distinct in his percep-
tions, he has always desired to master every subject
before him, and would never be satisfied with slurring
over questions imposing even the necessity of perusing
voluminous papers on matters often affecting only the
particular interests of an humble individual, but which
he perceived did involve a principle.

This was a notable and a valuable feature in his
character. He took large views of all questions. He
saw them as Governor- Greneral ; looked on them from
the arena of Europe, as affecting England as well as
India, and not as referring to a particular class. Such
men are needed for this country, and it is on this
account we consider that, as a general question, India
can be best supplied with Grovernors-General from the
British senate. Large and enlightened views, influ-
enced but not loarped by local experience, with ability,
is what is wanted in India. The due admixture of
European and Native talent is one great secret of good
Government; a no less one is the introduction in all
places of fresh minds and fresh talent from the mother

Because Lord Hardinge was always cordial and kind
to his secretaries, some have jumped at the conclusion
that he was unduly influenced by them. Ear otherwise.
He was ready to hear the opinion of every man who
had a right to give one. But no Governor-General ever
more decidedly took his own line, and chalked out his
own course, than did Lord Hardinge. He is under-
stood to have usually drafted most of his own official
letters of importance, as indeed seems to have been the
practice with Lord EUenborough, and many of his
predecessors. Lord Hardinge' s quick perception at


sixty enabled him readily to master matters to which
his previous habits had been alien, and to which he had
before paid little attention; moreover, his experience
on the stage of Europe enabled him often to throw new
lights on the most abstruse Indian subjects.

Accustomed, as a constant attendant, for twenty
years, of Parliament, to turn night into day, he found
no difficulty in reconciling himself to Indian habits,
and not only to be stirring with the dawn, but as an
almost general rule to be at work one, two, and three
hours before daylight. It was this practice that enabled
him to get through so much business and to appear
more or less at leisure during the day. On an average,
however, he could not have worked less than ten hours
a day.

He was regular in his rides and walks, and took much
exercise ; pacing his room or verandah he would discuss
questions of interest with his advisers and secretaries,
and often with chance visitors, or those he met on the
road. Many of the younger as well as older members
of the service, in no way connected with his own staff,
have thus been honoured with his cordial and even
familiar conversation on the most interesting European
as well as Asiatic questions, and it was thus he elicited
opinions on Indian subjects, and obtained an insight
into the characters and merits of individuals. On such
occasions, it was no uncommon speech for him to make.
— " So-and-so must be a fine fellow, every one speaks
well of him;" or "It must be true, or some one would
say a word in his favour."

Much has been said and even written of Lord Har-
dinge's dispensation of patronage. We are among
those who believe that the last four Governors- Greneral
all dispensed theirs with scrupulous honesty ; none more
so than Lord Hardinge. Like other mortals he has



erred, but his nominations have been made carefully and
with perfect good faith. As in duty bound he has con-
sidered recommendations from the Court of Directors,
where they were in behalf of deserving individuals, in
the same way that he has recognized the superior claims
of the sons of distinguished officers ; but in the whole
circuit of his appointments we know scarcely an instance
of his putting a man into a wrong place, and not one of
his wilfully doing so.

We happen to be able to narrate the real circum-
stances of four of his most important nominations ;
two of which were at one time unreasonably arraigned.

Lord Hardinge may have originally thought that
thera was one other officer in the army who would have
made a better Adjutant-General than Colonel Grrant,
but he considered his strong claims, his long depart-
mental experience, his excellent business habits, his
recent gallant services in the field, his severe wound,
and last, perhaps not least, — but by no means the ground
of the appointment as some would say — his connection
with the brave Lord Grough, and confirmed him in the
appointment in which he had officiated throughout the
war. We know that he is now perfectly satisfied with
the choice he made, and we are not sure that if he had
to choose again he would not give the first, instead of
the second place to Grant.

Mr. John Lawrence was known throughout the Ben-
gal Presidency as a practical, clear-headed, and energetic
officer, who had for years, as magistrate of the turbulent
city of Delhi, enjoyed the confidence of all ranks.
When passing through Delhi, the Governor- General
admired his bold, frank manner, and was pleased with
his activity in forwarding supplies, carriage and stores
to the army, as well as with the cheerful, manly tone
of his conversation and correspondence. Before Colonel


Lawrence's arrival on the frontier, Mr. John Lawrence
was acordingly sent for to be employed in a judicial
capacity in the Cis-Sutlej States ; bnt the Lieutenant-
Grovernor, remarking that he conld not be spared at
such a time from Delhi, sent up another civilian, who
was considered a good judicial officer. Some disappoint-
ment and even disapprobation was expressed at what
Mr. Thomason had done ; and when, at the expiration
of the war, a commissioner was required for the Jul-
lunder Doab, Lord Hardinge again selected him, and
has assuredly had no reason to regret his choice ; nor
has a single voice ever pretended to assert that he has
failed in his duties, while those who know him say there
are few better civil administrators in India. No man is
more satisfied of this than Mr. Thomason.

Colonel Gouldie is our third instance. We doubt if
the Grovernor- General had seen him twice when he
made him Auditor- Greneral of the Bengal army.
Colonel Grouldie had been for many years a pension
paymaster, and had acquired a high character as a
man of business. He joined the army, and was found
to be a good soldier, a shrewd, sensible man, however
employed. This Lord Hardinge ascertained from va-
rious sources. We have it from an honourable man
that he was casually asked by Lord Hardinge what was
Colonel Gouldie's character, and that when he answered
favourably, his lordship replied, "that is much what
Colonel and Major said," mentioning per-
sons equally unconnected as our informant with Colonel
Gouldie. At the time we refer to. Lord Hardinge had
recommended Gouldie to the Court of Directors for the
appointment ; though some months later, when he was
sent for to be told of his selection, he had not the
slightest idea of the purpose for which his presence was

AA 3


In the same manner Mr. H. M. Elliot was selected
as Secretary to Government in the foreign department.
For a whole year preceding the vacancy, Lord Har-
dinge would ask, in conversation, all sorts and degrees
of persons as to Mr. Elliot's character and ability.
Thus, without — as far as we are aware — ever having
seen him, he selected the man whom the voice of the
services voted the best qualified for this important
ministerial ofiice.

We might adduce a dozen other instances equally
to the point. Every man cannot have his wishes, nor
perhaps all his deserts ; but it may be fairly asked,
where was the high influence, or what is called the
interest, of Littler, Currie, Elliot, the three Lawrences,
Thoresby, Wheeler, Campbell, Mackeson, MacGrregor,
Birch, Colvin, Sage,* Benson, Gouldie, Edwardes, the
four Abbotts, the Bechers, Lumsden, Holmes, Napier,
MacLagan, Taylor, Beadon, and a host of others whose
names Lord Hardinge probably never heard of before
he reached India ; before they approached him officially,
or were presented to his notice as suited to certain
offices ?

Although we have already exceeded the limits usually
allowed to a single paper in a Review, we must not
altogether omit mention of the cordial reception given
to Lord Hardinge by all ranks of the community of
Calcutta on his Lordship's return from the North-
West Provinces. Commendatory and congratulatory
addresses poured in on him, and the warm expressions
of the commercial, civil, clerical, and military commu-
nity of the metropolis of India, will be found not only

* We readily bear our testimony likely to be remedied by the Military

to Colonel Sage's zeal and ability, wc Board, working with and through

wish we could add to his urbanity Executive Engineers, than by irri-

and considerateness. There are tating a body of zealous and ho-

many abuses in the Department of nourable officers. — H. M. L.
Public Works, but they are more


to bear out the anticipations with which we opened tliis
essay, but our own statements may possibly appear
cold and heartless when contrasted with the glowing
and affectionate terms in which they recorded their

At the meeting of the inhabitants of Calcutta at the
Town Hall on the 24th of December, a letter from the
Bishop was read by the Chairman, regretting that in-
disposition prevented him from attending the meeting,
and in warm and energetic terms proposing that a statue
be voted to the retiring Governor- Greneral, towards the
expense of which the writer expressed himself ready
to subscribe £200. We can only find space for the
following portion of the letter : —

" To no one of our greatest Governor-Generals was such a task assigned
by Providence, as was allotted to Lord Hardinge. His victories at the
moment of conflict were only equalled by his discretion in avoiding all
previous causes of irritation, and by his moderation and wisdom in the use
of his success.

" None of our bravest Governors had the happiness of conveying, and
at once, to a fierce and tumultuous jjopulation, such wide-spread blessings,
social and moral, as the Punjab has already received.

" Nor can I forget the other services of my Lord Hardinge, the honour
he has shown to the Christian rehgion on all occasions, his prohibition of
the continuance of public works on the Lord's Day, his encouragement of
Col. Lawrence's Benevolent Asylum at Kussowli, and the impulse he has
given to public education by instituting periodical examinations into the
learning and good morals of the candidates for employment. In fact. Lord
Hardinge has crowded into one short administration all the services of the
highest order, both military and civil, which have commonly been divided
amongst several much longer ones."

Several Natives took the opportunity at this meet-
ing, in enthusiastic terms, to express their gratitude
to Lord Hardinge for the benefits he had conferred
on India, and, entirely approving of the address, as
far as it went, proposed to add to it the following
paragraph : —

" We cannot, on the occasion of your Lordship's departure, refrain from
expressing our grateful admiration of the lustre which your beneficent
policy in the encouragement of education, your resolute adherence to
peace until war became inevitable, and your paternal solicitude for the
welfare of the- people entrusted to your charge, have shed on your admi-


nistration. Brief as your sojourn lias been, you have represented the high-
minded benignity of the British sceptre no less than its majestic splendour,
the peaceful virtues of the Christian statesman no less than the indomi-
table courage of the British warrior, the humanizing influences of British
ascendancy no less than the invincible force of British arms."

Some discussion ensued, the only difference of opinion
being as to whetlier the sense of the proposed addi-
tional paragraph was not expressed in the address
already prepared. With the consent of all parties, it
was finally determined to insert a few words, exhibit-
ing the purport of the amendment in the original
address. We give the document in full as presented
on the 28th, placing the additional paragraph between
brackets : —

" To THE Right Honourable Lord Viscount Hardinge, G. C. B.,
&c., &c., &c.
"My Lord,

" The inhabitants of Calcutta addressed your Lordship on the occasion
of your return to the Presidency, and declared their sense of the dis-
tinguished services rendered by you to this country. In acknowledging
that address your Lordship expressed your conviction, that a pacific course
was the one best calculated to promote the honour and interests of Great
Britain and the welfare of the people of India. We feel that in this belief
your Lordship commenced your administration, and that it influenced you
until war became the necessity of self-defence. We can desire no happier
future for India and England than that this sentiment should prevail with
our rulers, and no more glorious achievements, when forced into the field,
than those which, under Divine Providence, have won imperishable honour
for our arms on the banks of the Sutlej.

"We cannot permit your Lordship to lay down the high office of Governor-
General of India, and quit these shores, without repeating our admiration
of your distinguished career. History perpetuates the memory of great
public benefactors, and its pages, which have already recorded your Lord-
ship's early services to your country, on the most desperate field of modern

Online LibraryHenry Montgomery LawrenceEssays, military and political, written in India → online text (page 29 of 39)