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Title: History of the War in Afghanistan, Vol. III (of 3) - Third Edition
Author: Kaye, Sir John William
Language: English
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Third Edition.

In Three Volumes.


Wm. H. Allen & Co., 13, Waterloo Place,
Publishers to the India Office.

Printed by W. Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street
and Charing Cross.






  Efforts at Retrieval—Close of Lord Auckland’s Administration
  —Embarrassments of his Position—Opinions of Sir Jasper
  Nicolls—Efforts of Mr. George Clerk—Despatch of the First
  Brigade—Appointment of General Pollock—Despatch of the
  Second Brigade—Expected Arrival of Lord Ellenborough—Further
  Embarrassments                                                       1


  [January-April: 1842.]

  The Halt at Peshawur—Position of Brigadier Wild—His Difficulties
  —Conduct of the Sikhs—Attempt on Ali-Musjid—Failure of the
  Brigade—Arrival of General Pollock—State of the Force—Affairs
  at Jellalabad—Correspondence between Sale and Pollock              34



  [January-March: 1842.]

  Situation of the Garrison—Letters from Shah Soojah—Question of
  Capitulation—Councils of War—Final Resolution—Earthquake at
  Jellalabad—Renewal of the Works—Succours expected                 53


  [April, 1842.]

  The Forcing of the Khybur Pass—State of the Sikh Troops—Mr.
  Clerk at the Court of Lahore—Views of the Lahore Durbar—Efforts
  of Shere Singh—Assemblage of the Army at Jumrood—Advance
  to Ali-Musjid—Affairs at Jellalabad—Defeat of Akbar Khan
  —Junction of Pollock and Sale                                      74


  [January-April: 1842.]

  The Last Days of Shah Soojah—State of Parties at Caubul
  —Condition of the Hostages—the Newab Zemaun Khan—Letters of
  Shah Soojah—His Death—Question of his Fidelity—His Character
  and Conduct considered                                             103

         *       *       *       *       *



  [November, 1841-April, 1842.]

  Affairs at Candahar—Evil Tidings from Caubul—Maclaren’s Brigade
  —Spread of the Insurrection—Arrival of Atta Mahmed—Flight of
  Sufdur Jung—Attack on the Douranee Camp—Continued Hostilities
  —Attack upon the City—Action in the Valley of the Urghundab
  —Fall of Ghuznee—Defence of Khelat-i-Ghilzye—Movements of
  England’s Brigade                                                  122


  [April-June: 1842.]

  The Halt at Jellalabad—Positions of Pollock and Nott—Lord
  Ellenborough—Opening Measures of his Administration—Departure
  for Allahabad—His Indecision—The Withdrawal Orders—Their
  Effects—The “Missing Letter”—Negotiations for the Release of
  the Prisoners                                                      189


  [January-April: 1842.]

  The Captivity—Surrender of the Married Families—Their Journey
  to Tezeen—Proceed to Tugree—Interviews between Pottinger and
  Akbar Khan—Removal to Budeeabad—Prison Life—Removal to Zanda
  —Death of General Elphinstone                                     215


  [December, 1841-June, 1842.]

  Stoddart and Conolly—Intelligence of the Caubul Outbreak—Arrest
  of the English Officers—Their Sufferings in Prison—Conolly’s
  Letters and Journals—Death of the Prisoners                       235


  [April-July: 1842.]

  Affairs at Caubul—Elevation of Futteh Jung—Opposition of the
  Barukzyes—Arrival of Akbar Khan—His Policy—Attack on the Balla
  Hissar—Its Capture—Conduct of Akbar Khan—Barukzye Strife
  —Defeat of Zemaun Khan—Situation of the Hostages and Prisoners   264

         *       *       *       *       *



  [June-September: 1842.]

  The Advance from Jellalabad—Instructions of Lord Ellenborough
  —The Question of Responsibility—Employment of the Troops at
  Jellalabad—Operations in the Shinwarree Valley—Negotiations
  for the Release of the Prisoners—The Advance—Mammoo Khail
  —Jugdulluck—Tezeen—Occupation of Caubul                         283


  [May-September: 1842.]

  The Advance from Candahar—The Relief of Khelat-i-Ghilzye
  —Reappearance of Akbar Khan—General Action with the Douranees
  —Surrender of Sufdur Jung—The Evacuation of Candahar—Disaster
  near Mookoor—The Battle of Goaine—The Recapture of Ghuznee
  —Flight of Shumshoodeen Khan—Arrival at Caubul                   313


  [September-October: 1842.]

  The Re-occupation of Caubul—Installation of Futteh Jung—The
  Recovery of the Prisoners—Their Arrival in Camp—The Expedition
  into the Kohistan—Destruction of the Great Bazaar—Depredations
  in the City—Accession of Shahpoor—Departure of the British Army  341


  [October-December: 1842.]

  Effect of the Victories—Lord Ellenborough at Simlah—The
  Manifesto of 1842—The Proclamation of the Gates—The
  Restoration of Dost Mahomed—The Gathering at Ferozepore
  —Reception of the Troops—The Courts-Martial—Conclusion          374

  APPENDIX                                                        403





 Efforts at Retrieval—Close of Lord Auckland’s
 Administration—Embarrassments of his Position—Opinions of Sir
 Jasper Nicolls—Efforts of Mr. George Clerk—Despatch of the First
 Brigade—Appointment of General Pollock—Despatch of the Second
 Brigade—Expected Arrival of Lord Ellenborough—Further Embarrassments.

At this time the Governor-General and his family were resident at
Calcutta. The period of Lord Auckland’s tenure of the vice-regal office
was drawing to a close. He was awaiting the arrival of his successor.
It had seemed to him, as the heavy periodical rains began slowly to
give place to the cool weather of the early winter, that there was
nothing to overshadow the closing scenes of his administration, and
to vex his spirit with misgivings and regrets during the monotonous
months of the homeward voyage. The three first weeks of October
brought him only cheering intelligence from the countries beyond the
Indus. The Envoy continued to report, with confidence, the increasing
tranquillity of Afghanistan. The Douranee insurrection seemed to have
been suppressed, and there was nothing stirring in the neighbourhood of
Caubul to create anxiety and alarm.

But November set in gloomy and threatening. The clouds were gathering
in the distance. It now seemed to Lord Auckland that his administration
was doomed to close in storm and convulsion. Intelligence of the
Ghilzye outbreak arrived. It was plain that the passes were sealed,
for there were no tidings from Caubul. There might be rebellion and
disaster at the capital; our communications were in the hands of the
enemy; and all that was known at Calcutta was that Sale’s brigade
had been fighting its way downwards, and had lost many men and some
officers in skirmishes with the Ghilzye tribes, which had seemingly
been productive of no important results. There was something in all
this very perplexing and embarrassing. Painful doubts and apprehensions
began to disturb the mind of the Governor-General. It seemed to be the
beginning of the end.

Never was authentic intelligence from Caubul looked for with so much
eager anxiety as throughout the month of November. When tidings came
at last—only too faithful in their details of disaster—they came
in a dubious, unauthoritative shape, and, for a time, were received
with incredulity. At the end of the third week of November, letters
from Meerut, Kurnaul, and other stations in the upper provinces of
Hindostan, announced that reports had crossed the frontier to the
effect that there had been a general rising at Caubul, that the
city had been fired, and that Sir Alexander Burnes had been killed.
Letters to this effect reached the offices of the public journals,
but no intelligence had been received at Government House, and a hope
was expressed in official quarters that the stories in circulation
were exaggerated native rumours. But, a day or two afterwards, the
same stories were repeated in letters from Mr. George Clerk, the
Governor-General’s agent on the north-western frontier, and from
Captain Mackeson at Peshawur; and the intelligence came coupled with
urgent requisitions for the despatch of reinforcements to Afghanistan.

Though no authentic tidings had been received from Caubul, the advices
from our political functionaries, on the intermediate line of country,
were of a character not to be questioned; and Lord Auckland, who a
day or two before had received letters from Sir William Macnaghten,
assuring him that the disturbances were at an end, awoke to the
startling truth that all Caubul was in a blaze, and the supremacy
of the Suddozye Princes and their foreign supporters threatened by
a general outburst of national indignation. Afghanistan—serene and
prosperous Afghanistan—with its popular government and its grateful
people, was in arms against its deliverers. Suddenly the tranquillity
of that doomed country, boasted of in Caubul and credited in Calcutta,
was found to be a great delusion. Across the whole length and breadth
of the land the history of that gigantic lie was written in characters
of blood. It was now too deplorably manifest that, although a British
army had crossed the Indus and cantoned itself at Caubul and Candahar,
the Afghans were Afghans still; still a nation of fierce Mahomedans,
of hardy warriors, of independent mountaineers; still a people not to
be dragooned into peace, or awed into submission, by a scattering of
foreign bayonets and the pageantry of a puppet king.

The blow fell heavily upon Lord Auckland. An amiable gentleman and a
well-intentioned statesman, he had made for himself many friends; and,
perhaps, there was not in all Calcutta at that time, even amongst the
most strenuous opponents of the policy which had resulted in so much
misery and disgrace, one who did not now grieve for the sufferings of
him whose errors had been so severely visited. Had it fallen at any
other time, it would not have been so acutely felt. But it came upon
him at the close of his reign, when he could do nothing to restore the
brilliancy of his tarnished reputation. He had expected to embark for
England, a happy man and a successful ruler. He had, as he thought,
conquered and tranquillised Afghanistan. For the former exploit he had
been created an earl; and the latter would have entitled him to the
honour. It is true that he had drained the treasury of India; but he
believed that he was about to hand over no embryo war to his successor,
and that, therefore, the treasury would soon replenish itself. The
prospect was sufficiently cheering, and he was eager to depart;
but the old year wore to a close, and found Lord Auckland pacing,
with a troubled countenance, the spacious apartments of Government
House—found him the most luckless of rulers and the most miserable of

Never was statesman so cast down; never was statesman so perplexed
and bewildered. The month of December was one of painful anxiety;
of boding fear; of embarrassing uncertainty. There was no official
information from Caubul. The private accounts received from Jellalabad
and Peshawur, always brief, often vague and conflicting, excited the
worst apprehensions without dispelling much of the public ignorance.
In this conjuncture, government were helpless. The Caubul force, cut
off from all support, could by no possibility be rescued. The utmost
vigour and determination—the highest wisdom and sagacity—could
avail nothing at such a time. The scales had fallen from the eyes
of the Governor-General only to show him the utter hopelessness of
the case. In this terrible emergency he seems to have perceived, for
the first time, the madness of posting a detached force in a foreign
country, hundreds of miles from our own frontier, cut off from all
support by rugged mountains and impenetrable defiles. Before a single
brigade could be pushed on to the relief of the beleaguered force,
the whole army might be annihilated. Clearly Lord Auckland now beheld
the inherent viciousness of the original policy of the war, and, in
sorrow and humiliation, began to bethink himself of the propriety of
abandoning it.

What Lord Auckland now wrote publicly on this subject is on record;
what he wrote privately is known to a few. That the Governor-General,
in this terrible conjuncture, succumbed to the blow which had fallen
upon him; that his energies did not rise with the occasion, but that
the feebleness of paralysis was conspicuous in all that he did, has
often been asserted and never confidently denied. But it may be doubted
whether his feelings or his conduct at this time have ever been fairly
judged or clearly understood. The truth is, that he had originally
committed himself to a course of policy which never had his cordial
approbation, and his after-efforts to uphold which he inwardly regarded
as so many attempts to make the worse appear the better reason. It is
plain that, very soon after the occupation of Caubul had for a time
brought the Afghan campaign to a close, the Governor-General began to
entertain very painful doubts and misgivings; and that, although he
by no means anticipated the sudden and disastrous fall of the whole
edifice he had raised, he had, long before the close of 1841, repented
of his own infirmity of purpose, in giving way to the counsels of
others; and had begun to doubt whether we had succeeded in the great
object of the war—the establishment of such a friendly power in
Afghanistan as would secure us against western aggression. He must have
seen, too—for he was, in the main, a just and an honest man—that the
policy, which he had sanctioned, cradled in injustice as it was, was
continually perpetuating injustice; and he must have heard the wrongs
of the Afghan chiefs and the Afghan nation eternally crying out to him
for redress. Macnaghten complained that Lord Auckland and Mr. Colvin
were too ready to believe all the stories of the unpopularity of the
government and discontent of the chiefs and the people, which reached
them through obscure channels of information; though those channels
of information were the local newspapers, whose informants were
generally officers of rank and character. But in spite of the Envoy’s
assurances and denials, Lord Auckland had begun to suspect that there
was something rotten at the core of our Afghan policy; and something
pre-eminently defective in the administrative conduct of those to whom
its working out had been entrusted. He did not, in the autumn of 1841,
believe that any sudden and overwhelming storm would cloud the last
days of his Indian government; but he had begun to encourage the belief
that he had made a fatal mistake, and that, sooner or later, the real
character of his Afghan policy would be revealed to the world.

But there was something more than his own doubts and misgivings to be
considered. Lord Auckland knew that the connexion he had established in
Afghanistan was distasteful in the extreme to the East India Company.
There was good reason for this. The necessity of sustaining Shah
Soojah on the throne of Caubul had drained the financial resources
of the Company to the dregs, and was entailing upon them liabilities
which, if not speedily retrenched, they might have found it impossible
to discharge. The injustice of the occupation of Afghanistan was not
confined to the people of that country. A grievous injustice was
being inflicted upon the people of India, the internal improvement
of which was obstructed, to maintain the incapable Suddozye in the
country from which he had been cast out by his offended people. No
man knew this better, or deplored it more deeply, than Lord Auckland
himself. The opinions of the East India Company upon this subject
had been well known from the very commencement of the war. But the
Court of Directors had no constitutional authority to suspend the
operations which they had not been called upon to sanction, and only
so far as they were represented in the Secret Committee had they any
influence in the Councils which shaped our measures in Afghanistan.
But no one knew better than Lord Auckland that there was scarcely
one of the twenty-four Directors’ rooms in the Great Parliament of
Leadenhall-street in which the continued occupation of the country
beyond the Indus was not a subject of perpetual complaint.

And when he turned his thoughts from Leadenhall-street to
Downing-street, it appeared to him that there were still weightier
reasons for the abandonment of our ill-omened connexion with the
countries beyond the Indus. The Whigs had sent him to India; the
Conservatives were now in office. At the end of August the Melbourne
ministry had resigned; and Peel was now at the head of the cabinet. It
was known that the Conservative party either were, or made a show of
being, radically opposed to the Afghan policy of the government which
they had displaced. It was natural, therefore, that Lord Auckland,
who was now awaiting the arrival of his successor, should have shrunk
from committing him to any extensive measures for the recovery of our
position in Afghanistan, which, in all probability, he would not be
disposed to carry out. Whatever amount of energy the old ruler might
now throw into the work before him, it was certain that he would only
be able to commence what he must leave to his successor to complete. To
have handed over to the new Governor-General the outline of a political
scheme, just sufficiently worked out in its details to render its
abandonment impossible, would have been to embarrass and hamper him,
at the outset of his career, in a manner that would have perplexed the
new ruler in the extreme, and jeopardised the interests of the empire.
He believed that the policy of the Conservatives was nearly identical
with that of the East India Company, and that they would eagerly
take advantage of the present crisis to sever our connexion with the
countries beyond the Indus, and to declare the failure of the original
scheme propounded in the Simlah manifesto of 1838.

It is right that Lord Auckland should have ample credit for suffering
these important considerations to exercise their due influence over
his counsels. It is right, too, that it should be clearly recognised
how great was the moral courage it demanded, either practically to
declare by himself, or to leave to others to declare, the utter
failure of a great political scheme for which he was responsible to
his country, and with which, from generation to generation, his name
will be indissolubly associated in history. But when all this has been
said, there still remains to be recorded the humiliating fact that a
great crisis suddenly arose, and Lord Auckland was not equal to it. He
had begun to doubt the justice and expediency of the policy of 1838.
And these doubts, added to his knowledge of the views of the Home
governments, forced upon him the conviction that it had now become his
duty to direct all his efforts to the one object of withdrawing our
beleaguered garrisons in safety to Hindostan. But he seems, in the
bewilderment and perplexity which followed the stunning blow that had
descended so suddenly upon him, to have forgotten that there are in the
lives of nations, as of men, great and imminent conjunctures, which not
only sanction, but demand a departure from ordinary rules of conduct
and principles of statesmanship. Such a conjuncture had now arisen;
and, important as were all the considerations recapitulated above,
they should have given place in his mind to the one paramount desire
of demonstrating to all the nations of the East the invincibility
of British arms. Neither the wishes of the East India Company nor
the opinions of the Conservative government had been declared in the
face of a great disaster. The withdrawal of the British army from
Afghanistan might, and I believe would, have been a measure of sound
policy; but only if the time and manner of withdrawal had been well
chosen. It could never have been sound policy to withdraw under the
pressure of an overwhelming defeat. To retire from Afghanistan was one
thing; to be driven out of it was another. A frank avowal of error,
calmly and deliberately enunciated, under no pressure of immediate
danger or insurmountable difficulty, would have denoted only conscious
strength. It would have been the dignified self-negation of a powerful
state daring to be just to others and true to itself. But to abandon
the country, precipitately and confusedly, under the pressure of
disaster and defeat, would have been a miserable confession of weakness
that might have shaken to its very foundation the British Empire in the

And such a confession of weakness Lord Auckland was inclined to make.
He seemed to reel and stagger under the blow—to be paralysed and
enfeebled by the disasters that had overtaken him. His correspondence
at this time betokened such painful prostration, that some to whom he
wrote destroyed, in pity, all traces of these humiliating revelations.
It was vaguely rumoured, too, how, in bitterness of spirit, he spent
long hours pacing by day the spacious verandahs of Government House;
or, by night, cooling his fevered brow on the grass-plots in front
of it, accompanied by some member of his household endeared to him
by ties of blood. The curse brooded over him, as it was brooding
over Elphinstone and Macnaghten, darkening his vision, clouding his
judgment, prostrating his energies—turning everything to feebleness
and folly. New tidings of disaster—misfortune treading on the heels
of misfortune—came flooding in from beyond the Indus; and the chief
ruler of the land, with a great army at his call, thought only of
extrication and retreat; thought of bringing back, instead of pushing
forward, our troops; of abandoning, instead of regaining, our position.
Fascinated, as it were, by the great calamity, his eyes were rivetted
on the little line of country between Caubul and Peshawur; and he did
not see, in his eagerness to rescue small detachments from danger, and
to escape the immediate recurrence of new disasters in Afghanistan,
that the question now to be solved was one of far greater scope and
significance—that it was not so much whether Afghanistan were to be
occupied, as whether India were to be retained. But there were old and
experienced politicians, well acquainted with the temper of the chiefs
and the people of India and the countries beyond, who believed that any
manifestation of weakness, in this conjuncture, would have endangered
the security of our position in India; and that, therefore, cost what
it might, a blow must be struck for the recovery of our military
supremacy in the countries beyond the Indus.

But from the very first Lord Auckland began to despond, and steadfastly
set his face against any measures of military re-establishment.
When, on the 25th of November, he received from Mr. Clerk and
Captain Mackeson intelligence which confirmed the newspaper accounts
received two days before, and read the pressing requisitions of those
officers for the despatch of more troops to the frontier, he wrote
to the Commander-in-Chief, who was then journeying through the Upper
Provinces of India: “It is not clear to me how the march of a brigade
can by possibility have any influence upon the events which it is
supposed may be passing at Caubul.... They may be at Jellalabad in
February, and could not march onwards to Caubul before April.... It
may be well, perhaps, that two or three regiments should be assembled
at Peshawur.... I wish the requisition had been made with less
trepidation.” Again, on the 1st of December, he wrote to the same
officer: “It seems to me that we are not to think of marching fresh
armies for the re-conquest of that which we are likely to lose....
The difficulty will not be one of fighting and gaining victories,
but of supplies, of movements, and of carriage.... The troops in
Afghanistan are sufficiently numerous. They would but be encumbered
by greater numbers, and reinforcements could not arrive before the
crisis will have passed. If the end is to be disastrous, they would but
increase the extent of the disaster.” On the following day he again
wrote to Sir Jasper Nicolls, setting forth the views of government,
to the effect—“1st. That we should not fit out large armaments for
re-conquest—such an enterprise would be beyond our means. 2nd. That
even for succours the season is unfavourable and impracticable, and
months must pass before it could be attempted. 3rdly. That if aid can
be given, the officer in command should not be prohibited from seizing
the opportunity of affording it. I fear,” added the Governor-General
in this letter, “that safety to the force at Caubul can only come from
itself.” On the 5th he wrote to the same correspondent, that “we should
stand fast and gather strength at Peshawur”—on the Sutlej, and on the
Indus. “Our power,” he said, “of giving succour is extremely limited,
and if it come at all, it can only come tardily.... We must look on
an advance from Jellalabad for some months as utterly out of the
question. An advance even to Jellalabad could only be to give security
to Sale, and with the aid of the Sikhs, one brigade, with artillery,
should be sufficient. If all should be lost at Caubul we will not
encounter new hazards for re-conquest.”[1] On the 9th of December he
wrote, still more emphatically: “The present state of affairs, whether
its issue be fortunate or disastrous, is more likely to lead within a
few months to the withdrawal of troops to our frontiers than to the
employment of larger means beyond it.” A week afterwards he wrote,
still to the Commander-in-Chief: “We must know more before we can
decide anything, or lay down any large scheme of measures.... There
are already more regiments beyond the frontier than we can feed or
easily pay.... You know I would not be too profuse in sending strength
forward.”[2] What Lord Auckland’s intentions were at this time may be
gathered from these letters. He thought only of saving all that could
be saved; and of escaping out of Afghanistan with the least possible

The Commander-in-Chief to whom these letters were addressed was, as
has been said, at this time on his way through the Upper Provinces of
India. Sir Jasper Nicolls had been consistently opposed to the entire
scheme of Afghan invasion, and had with rare prescience and sagacity
foretold the disastrous downfall of a policy based upon a foundation
of such complicated error. He had spent his life in the camp; but his
public minutes, as well as his private letters and journals, written
throughout the years 1840-41, indicate a larger amount of political
sagacity than we find displayed in the expressed opinions of his
official contemporaries, to whom statesmanship was the profession
and practice of their lives. He had all along protested against the
withdrawal of our troops from their legitimate uses in the British
Provinces, and urged that it was necessary either so to increase the
Indian army as to enable the government to keep up an adequate force
in Afghanistan without weakening the defences of Hindostan, or to
withdraw the British troops altogether from the countries beyond the
Indus. It was now his opinion—an opinion in which the Governor-General
participated—that, inasmuch as the Indian army, largely indented upon
as it was for service beyond the frontier, was greatly below the right
athletic strength, it would be impossible to pour strong reinforcements
into Afghanistan without weakening the British Provinces in such a
manner as to provoke both external aggression and internal revolt.[3]
But supineness, in such a conjuncture, was more likely to have provoked
aggression than activity, although the latter might have denuded
India of some of its best troops. Macnaghten told Runjeet Singh, in
the summer of 1838, that the military resources of the British-Indian
Government were such that 200,000 soldiers might at any time be brought
into the field to resist simultaneous aggression from all the four
sides of India; and although this may have been only an approximation
to the sober truth, it is certain that, if the dispatch of a couple
of brigades to Jellalabad, and subsequently to Caubul, would have
jeopardised the security of India, the military resources of the
government must have been in a very depressed state. When Sir Jasper
Nicolls, meeting the flood of intelligence from beyond the Indus, as he
advanced through the Upper Provinces of India, recorded, in letters to
the Governor-General, his belief that it would be unwise to prosecute
another war in support of the Suddozye provinces,[4] he expressed only
the sound opinion of a sagacious politician. But he seems to have
forgotten that there was something more than the restoration of the
Suddozye dynasty to be accomplished—there was the restoration of the
military supremacy of Great Britain in Central Asia to be achieved; and
whatever may have been the scruples of the statesman, in such a crisis
as this, the soldier ought not to have hesitated for a moment.

But whilst such were the opinions of the Governor-General and the
Commander-in-Chief, there were other functionaries nearer to the scene
of action at the time, whose feelings prompted, and whose judgment
dictated, a more energetic course of procedure. Among these were Mr.
Robertson, the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces, and
Mr. George Clerk, the Governor-General’s Agent on the North-Western
Frontier. Both of these able and experienced officers recognised the
paramount necessity of pushing on troops to Peshawur with the utmost
possible despatch. On the latter devolved, in the first instance, the
responsibility of moving forward the regiments which were in readiness
to proceed for the periodical relief of the troops in Afghanistan,[5]
as well as a regiment which was in orders for Sindh.[6] On the 16th of
November, he addressed letters to Colonel Wild, the commanding officer
at Ferozepore, and Colonel Rich, who commanded at Loodhianah, urging
them to send on to Peshawur, as speedily as possible, the regiments
named in the margin.[7] In compliance with these requisitions, the
64th Regiment crossed the Sutlej on the 18th of November and the 60th
on the 20th of November. The 53rd, which was accompanied by the 30th
Regiment,[8] crossed the river on the 26th.

Having expedited the movement of these regiments, Mr. Clerk began to
make preparations for the despatch of another brigade to Peshawur,
and addressed General Boyd, who at that time commanded the Sirhind
division, on the subject. At the same time, he addressed urgent letters
to the Court of Lahore, apprising them of the intended march of the
regiments through the Punjaub—calling on them to supply boats for
the passage of the river—and suggesting to the Maharajah that he
should “cause the immediate march of his son, Koonwur Pertab Singh, on
Peshawur, with 5000 of their best troops from the neighbouring district
of Chuck Huzara.” Captain Mackeson had before applied to the Sikh
authorities at Peshawur for 6000 men to march on Jellalabad; but had
been told by General Avitabile that he had few troops at Peshawur, and
that he required them all for the protection of the Sikh territory.

Lord Auckland, however, was strongly of opinion that the second
brigade, which was to comprise her Majesty’s 9th Foot, the 10th Light
(Native) Cavalry, and a troop of Horse Artillery, ought not to be moved
forward. “We do not now,” wrote the Governor-General in Council, on
the 3rd of December, “desire to send a second brigade in advance, for
we do not conceive it to be called for, for the objects of support
and assistance which we contemplate; and we think it inexpedient to
despatch any greater number of troops than be absolutely necessary
from our own provinces.” And two days afterwards he wrote privately
to the Commander-in-Chief: “I heartily hope that the second brigade
may not have been sent.” He could not, he added, “see of what service
it could be at present. One brigade, with the artillery which you
purpose sending, should be sufficient to force the Khybur pass; and ten
brigades could not, at this season of the year, force the passes to

But the “one brigade with artillery” never went to Peshawur. The Native
Infantry crossed the Punjaub under the command of Brigadier Wild. Some
artillerymen went with them;[9] but there was no Artillery, for there
were no guns. It was expected, however, that the Sikhs would supply the
ordnance which the British had left out of the account. “You have not
at present any guns,” wrote the Head-Quarters’ Staff to Brigadier Wild,
“but you have artillerymen, sappers and miners, and officers of both
corps. His Excellency is not aware of any difficulty likely to prevent
your being accommodated by the Sikh Governor-General, Avitabile, with
four or six pieces; and you will solicit such aid, when necessary,
through Captain Mackeson.” But when Brigadier Wild reached Peshawur,
a day or two before the close of the year, he found that difficulties
had arisen to prevent the preparation of the expected Sikh guns for
service. The artillerymen were disinclined to hand them over to the
British; and though great doubts were entertained as to whether they
were in reality worth anything, it was hard to compass a loan of the
suspected pieces. And so Brigadier Wild, urged as he was from all
quarters to push on to Jellalabad, with the provisions, treasure, and
ammunition he was to escort thither, sate down quietly at Peshawur,
whilst Captains Mackeson and Lawrence were endeavouring to overcome the
coyness of the Sikh artillerymen; and began to apprehend that his march
would be delayed until some field-pieces were sent to him from India.

His suspense, however, was of not very long duration. On the 3rd of
January, four rickety guns were handed over to the British officers;
but not without a show of resistance on the part of the Sikh
artillerymen. On the following day, one of the limbers went to pieces
under trial; and then it had to be replaced. Other difficulties, too,
met Wild at Peshawur. His camel-men were playing the old game of
desertion. The Afreedi Maliks had not yet been bribed into submission
by Mackeson; and the loyalty of our Sikh allies was so doubtful, that
they were just as likely, on Wild’s brigade entering the Khybur, to
attack him in rear as to keep the pass open for him. All these elements
of delay were greatly to be lamented. There was a forward feeling among
the Sepoys which might have been checked. They were eager to advance
when they reached Peshawur; and their enthusiasm was little likely to
be increased by days of inactivity in a sickly camp, exposed to the
contaminating influences of the Sikh soldiery, who, always dreading the
deep passes of the Khybur, now purposely exaggerated its terrors, and
endeavoured by other means to raise the fears, to excite the prejudices
of the Sepoys, and to shake their fidelity to the government which they

In the mean while active preparations for the despatch of further
reinforcements to Peshawur were going on in the North-Western Provinces
of India. Lord Auckland could not readily bring himself to recognise
the expediency of sending forward a second brigade: but Mr. Clerk
had taken the initiative, and the Governor-General was unwilling
to disturb any arrangements which already were being brought into
effect. The 9th Foot had been ordered to hold itself in readiness,
and another regiment, the 26th Native Infantry, was to be sent with
it, accompanied by some irregular horse, and a scanty supply of
artillery.[10] The Commander-in-Chief was “not prepared” for this
demand, and the Governor-General in Council thought it “undesirable”
to send more troops in advance. But it was obvious to the authorities
on the north-western frontier that the state of affairs in Afghanistan
was becoming every day more critical; and that it was expedient
to concentrate the utmost available strength on the frontier of
Afghanistan. Towards the end of the year, the Governor-General having
expressed a strong opinion regarding the necessity of attaching some
regular horse to the brigade, the 10th Cavalry were ordered to proceed
under Brigadier M’Caskill (of the 9th Foot), who, as senior officer,
took command of the force; and on the 4th of January the brigade,
consisting of 3034 fighting men, crossed the Sutlej on its way to

To command the body of troops now assembling for service beyond the
frontier, it became necessary to select an officer of good military
repute and unquestionable energy and activity, combined with a cool
judgment and a sound discretion. Sir Jasper Nicolls had, in the month
of November, when the despatch of a Queen’s regiment to Peshawur was
first contemplated, pointed to Sir Edmund Williams, as a general
officer well fitted for such command. But to the Governor-General it
appeared expedient to place an experienced officer of the Company’s
service at the head of affairs, and Sir Edmund Williams was a general
of the royal army, who had served but two years in India at the time
of the Caubul outbreak, and who knew as little of the Sepoy army
as he did of the politics of Afghanistan. Lord Auckland had made
his election. In Major-General Lumley, the adjutant-general of the
army, he thought that he saw all the qualifications which it behoved
the commander of such an army to possess. But there was one thing
that Lumley wanted; he wanted physical health and strength. When
the Governor-General sent up the nomination to head-quarters, the
Commander-in-Chief at once replied that Lumley could not take the
command; and again Nicolls recommended the appointment of Sir Edmund
Williams. Indeed, he had determined on sending for that officer to
his camp, and arming him at once with instructions; but subsequent
letters from Calcutta made it only too plain that the appointment
would be extremely distasteful to the Supreme Government; and so the
intention was abandoned. General Lumley was at head-quarters. The
Commander-in-Chief sent for him to his tent, placed in his hand a
letter his Excellency had just received from the Governor-General
relative to Lumley’s employment beyond the frontier, and called upon
him for his final decision. The General was willing to cross the
Indus; but, doubtful of his physical ability to undertake so onerous a
duty, placed the decision of the question in the hands of his medical
advisers, who at once declared that he was totally unequal to meet “the
required exertion and exposure” demanded by such a campaign.

The Commander-in-Chief at once determined to nominate another Company’s
officer to the command of the troops proceeding to Peshawur. His choice
then fell upon General George Pollock, who commanded the garrison of
Agra.—Receiving his military education at the Woolwich Academy, this
officer had entered the Indian army as a lieutenant of artillery in
the year 1803, when Lake and Wellesley were in the field, and all
India was watching, with eager expectancy, the movements of the grand
armies which, by victory after victory, were breaking down the power
of the Mahrattas. At the storm and capture of Dieg, in 1803, young
Pollock was present; and in 1805, during the gallant but unsuccessful
attempts of the British army to carry Bhurtpore by assault, he was
busy in the trenches. At the close of the same year he was selected by
Lord Lake to command the artillery with the detachment under Colonel
Ball, sent in pursuit of Holkar. From this time he held different
regimental staff appointments up to the year 1817, when, in command of
the artillery with General Wood’s force, he took part in the stirring
scenes of the Nepaul war. In 1818 he was appointed Brigade-Major;
and subsequently, on the creation of that appointment, held the
Assistant-Adjutant-Generalship of Artillery up to the year 1824, when,
having attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, he volunteered to join
the army which was assembling for the prosecution of the Burmese war,
and was nominated by Sir Edward Paget to command the Bengal Artillery
attached to the force under Sir Archibald Campbell, proceeding to
Rangoon. For his services during the war he received the decoration
of the Companionship of the Bath. From this time, except during an
interval of some three years spent in England for the recovery of his
health, he held different regimental and brigade commands, until, at
the close of 1841, being then Major-General, in command of the garrison
of Agra, he was selected by Sir Jasper Nicolls to take command of the
troops proceeding to Peshawur, and ordered at once to proceed to the
frontier by dawk.

The appointment of General Pollock gave the greatest satisfaction
to the Supreme Government, and not even a murmur of disapprobation
arose from the general body of the army. The nomination of this old
and distinguished Company’s officer was believed to be free from
the corruption of aristocratic influence and the taint of personal
favouritism. It was felt, that in this case at least, the selection
had been made solely on the ground of individual merit. And the merit
which was thus rewarded was of the most modest and unostentatious
character. There was not, perhaps, in the whole Indian army a man of
more unassuming manners and a more retiring disposition: there was
not one less likely to have sought notoriety for its own sake, or to
have put himself forward in an effort to obtain it. Pollock’s merits
did not lie upon the surface. He was not what is called a “dashing
officer;” he shrunk from anything like personal display, and never
appealed to the vulgar weaknesses of an unreflecting community. But
beneath a most unassuming exterior there lay a fund of good sense, of
innate sagacity, of quiet firmness and collectedness. He was equable
and temperate. He was thoroughly conscientious. If he was looked upon
by the Indian Government as a _safe_ man, it was not merely because he
always exercised a calm and dispassionate judgment, but because he was
actuated in all that he did by the purest motives, and sustained by
the highest principles. He was essentially an honest man. There was a
directness of purpose about him which won the confidence of all with
whom he was associated. They saw that his one paramount desire was a
desire to do his duty to his country by consulting, in every way, the
welfare and the honour of the troops under his command; and they knew
that they would never be sacrificed, either on the one hand by the rash
ambition, or on the other by the feebleness and indecision, of their
leader. The force now to be despatched to the frontier of Afghanistan
required the superintendence and control of an officer equally cool
and firm, temperate and decided; and, perhaps, in the whole range of
the Indian army, the Government could not have found one in whom these
qualities were more eminently combined than in the character of General

Hastening to place himself at the head of his men, Pollock left Agra,
and proceeded by dawk to the frontier. The second brigade was then
making its way through the Punjaub, under General M’Caskill; and the
authorities in the North-Western Provinces were exerting themselves to
push on further reinforcements to Peshawur.

On the 22d of January, the Commander-in-Chief and Mr. George Clerk
met at Thanesur, some two marches distant from Kurnaul. They had
received the melancholy tidings of the destruction of the Caubul force;
and they took counsel together regarding the measures to be pursued
in consequence of this gigantic calamity. Very different were the
views of these two functionaries. To Sir Jasper Nicolls it appeared
that the destruction of the Caubul force afforded no reason for the
advance of further reinforcements; but rather seemed to indicate the
expediency of a retrograde movement on the part of all the remaining
troops beyond the Indus. It was his opinion—an opinion to some extent
shared by the Supreme Government—that the retention of Jellalabad
being no longer necessary to support the Caubul army, or to assist
its retreat, the withdrawal of the garrison to Peshawur had become
primarily expedient; and that, as the re-conquest and re-occupation of
Afghanistan were not under any circumstances to be recommended, it was
desirable that, after the safety of Sale’s brigade had been secured,
the whole force should return to Hindostan. But Mr. Clerk was all for
a forward movement. He argued that the safety and the honour of the
British nation demanded that we should hold our own at Jellalabad,
until the garrison, reinforced by fresh troops from the provinces
of India, could march upon Caubul, in conjunction with the Candahar
force moving from the westward, chastise the enemy on the theatre of
their recent successes, and then withdraw altogether from Afghanistan
“with dignity and undiminished honour.”[11] It was gall and wormwood
to George Clerk to think for a moment of leaving the Afghans, flushed
with success, to revel in the humiliation of the British Government,
and to boast of the destruction of a British army. Emphatically he
dwelt on the disgrace of inactivity in such a crisis; and emphatically
he dwelt upon the danger. Coolly and quietly, as one whose ordinary
serenity was not to be disturbed by any accidental convulsions, Sir
Jasper Nicolls set forth in reply that the return of so many regiments
to the provinces, and the vast reduction of expenditure that would
attend it, would place the government in such a position of strength as
would enable it summarily to chastise any neighbouring state that might
presume upon our recent misfortunes to show a hostile front against
us. The demand for more troops he would have resisted altogether; but
the urgency of George Clerk was not to be withstood, and two more
regiments—the 6th and 55th Native Infantry—were ordered to hold
themselves in readiness to proceed to Peshawur. But when Clerk asked
for a detachment of British dragoons, Nicolls peremptorily resisted
the demand, and referred the question to the Supreme Government.[12]
Before the reference reached Calcutta, the Supreme Government had
received intelligence of the massacre of Elphinstone’s army; and wrote
back to the Commander-in-Chief that it was essentially necessary that a
commanding force should assemble at Peshawur—that it was particularly
important that the force should be effective in cavalry and artillery,
and that at all events two squadrons of European dragoons should be
pushed on to Peshawur. The 1st Regiment of Native Cavalry and a troop
of Horse-Artillery were subsequently added to the third brigade.

In the meanwhile increasing care and anxiety were brooding over
Government House. Gloomily the new year dawned upon its inmates. And
there was not in that great palaced city, or in any one of the smaller
stations and cantonments of India, an Englishman whose heart did not
beat, and whose hand did not tremble with anxiety, for the fate of the
Caubul force, when he opened the letters or papers which brought him
intelligence from beyond the frontier. No one who dwelt in any part of
India during the early months of 1842, will ever forget the anxious
faces and thick voices with which tidings were sought; questions and
opinions interchanged; hopes and fears expressed; rumours sifted;
probabilities weighed; and how, as the tragedy deepened in solemn
interest, even the most timid and desponding felt that the ascertained
reality far exceeded in misery and horror all that their excited
imaginations had darkly foretold. There was a weight in the social
atmosphere, as of dense superincumbent thunder-clouds. The festivities
of the cold season were arrested; gaiety and hospitality were not.
There were few families in the country which did not sicken with
apprehension for the fate of some beloved relative or friend, whilst
unconnected men, in whom the national overlaid the personal feeling,
in this conjuncture, sighed over the tarnished reputation of their
country, and burned to avenge the murder of their countrymen and the
insults that had been heaped upon the nation.

It would be pleasant to record that, in this great and melancholy
crisis, the public looked up with confidence and assurance to the
statesman upon whom was now thrown the responsibility of extricating
from the quickset of danger and difficulty that environed them, the
imperilled affairs of the British Indian Empire. But history can give
currency to no such fiction. As time advanced it became more and more
painfully evident that Lord Auckland was reeling and staggering beneath
the blow that had descended upon him. He appeared to be unable to
decide upon any consistent plan of action. At one time he seems to have
contemplated the withdrawal of the Jellalabad garrison to Peshawur,
leaving it to fight its own way through the pass; at another, he seems
to have been fully impressed with the necessity of retaining the former
post, if only for the protection of the Caubul force; then he talked,
as I have shown, of concentrating a large army at Peshawur, and almost
immediately afterwards began to think that it would be more expedient
to have our advanced post at Ferozepore. There was only one point
on which he seems clearly to have made up his mind. He was resolute
not to recommend a forward movement for the re-occupation of Caubul.
He believed that any such attempt would be attended with disaster
and disgrace; and he considered that it became him, on the eve of
departure, as he was, not to embarrass his successor by inextricably
pledging the Government to measures which the new Viceroy might
consider “rash, impolitic, and ruinous.”

On the 30th of January, the worst fears of the Government were
confirmed. An express arrived from Mr. Clerk, setting forth, on the
authority of letters received from Macgregor at Jellalabad, that
the Caubul force had been utterly destroyed. Some vague rumours of
this crowning disaster had obtained currency in Calcutta a day or
two before; and now the terrible apprehensions of the public were
found to have been only the presages of actual truth. The immediate
effect of this astounding intelligence upon the conduct of Government
was to rouse the Governor-General into something like a temporary
demonstration of vigour. He issued a proclamation declaring that he
considered the calamity that had overtaken the British arms only “as
a new occasion for displaying the stability and vigour of the British
power, and the admirable spirit and valour of the British-Indian army.”
But it was little more than a spasm of energy. The ink with which this
notification was written was hardly dry, before the Governor-General
in Council wrote to the Commander-in-Chief, that Jellalabad was not a
place which he desired to be kept at all hazards, and after succour
should have been given to Sir R. Sale’s brigade then, and relief should
have been given to parties arriving from Caubul, the Governor-General
in Council would wish General Pollock, rather than run extreme risks in
that position, to arrange for the withdrawal of it, and the assembling
of his force at or near Peshawur.[13]

As time advanced, the retrograde tendencies of Lord Auckland’s
determination became more and more apparent. On the 10th of February,
the Governor-General in Council wrote to the Commander-in-Chief,
instructing him to inform General Pollock that, “as the main inducement
for the maintenance of a post at Jellalabad—namely, that of being a
point of support to any of our troops escaping from Caubul—having
now unhappily passed away, it is the object of the Government that
he should, unless any unforeseen contingency should give a decidedly
favourable turn to affairs, confine himself to measures for withdrawing
the Jellalabad garrison in safety to Peshawur, and there for the
present, holding together all the troops under his orders in a secure
position, removed from collision with the Sikh forces or subjects.” And
on the same day, Mr. Maddock, the chief secretary, under instructions
from the Supreme Government, wrote to Mr. Clerk that “it would be
highly desirable that when Jellalabad was no longer held by us, our
detachments, which have been moved forward in support to meet a present
emergency, should be brought gradually back to their cantonments, in
order that any ulterior operations that may be determined upon for
another advance beyond the Indus (and that towards the Khybur and
Jellalabad is probably not the one to which preference would be given)
may be undertaken after full preparation, with a complete equipment,
and in fresh and well-organised strength.”[14]

Lord Auckland had been startled by the astounding intelligence of the
massacre of Elphinstone’s army into an ebullition of energy by no means
in accordance with the previous tenor of the measures which he had
initiated, and not more in accordance with those which were about to
emanate from him. After the first paroxysm of horror and indignation
was over, he began again to settle down quietly in the conviction that
it was best to do as little as possible on the other side of the Indus,
lest worse misfortunes should descend upon us, and the attempt to
recover our lost reputation should result only in further disgrace.

By this time the doubts of those who had speculated on the subject of
the succession to the Governor-Generalship had been set at rest by
the arrival of the Overland Mail. The despatches received in December
announced that the choice of the home ministry had fallen upon one
of their own body; and that the East India Company had ratified the
choice. Lord Ellenborough, who had before filled and was now filling
the office of President of the Board of Control, had been appointed
Viceroy of India. The question of the succession had been canvassed
with more than common eagerness, and its solution looked forward
to with unusual interest. When the intelligence at last arrived it
took the majority by surprise. The probability of the appointment
of Lord Ellenborough had not been entertained. Sir James Graham,
Lord Heytesbury, Lord Lichfield—nay, even Lord Lyndhurst, had been
named; but speculation had not busied itself with the name of Lord

But the intelligence, though unexpected, was not unwelcome. It
was, indeed, received with universal satisfaction. The Press, with
one accord, spoke of the appointment with approbation; and the
public confirmed the verdict of the Press. All parties were alike
sanguine—all prepared to look for good in the new Governor-General.
There is not a community on the face of the earth less influenced
by the spirit of faction, than the community of British India. To
support, or to oppose the measures of a Governor, simply because he
is a Whig or a Tory, is an excess of active prejudice wholly unknown
in India. There are no political parties, and there is no party
Press to play out such a game as this. Public men are judged, not by
what they belong to, but by what belongs to them; and thus was Lord
Ellenborough judged. Whig and Tory alike hailed the appointment: for
the new Governor-General was held in some degree of estimation as one
who had made India his study, and cherished a laudable interest in its
welfare. He was believed to be possessed of more than average talent;
to be assiduous in his attention to business; and rather an able man of
detail than a statesman of very brilliant promise. They, who thought
most about the matter, anticipated that he would make a good, steady,
peace-governor; that he would apply himself devotedly to the task of
improving the internal administration of the country; and by a steady
and consistent course of policy soon disengage the country from the
pressure of financial embarrassment which had long sate so heavily upon
it. They knew little and cared less about the personal eccentricities
which in England had been imputed to him. Neither the Press nor the
Public concerned itself about these manifestations of the outer man.
They thought of the newly appointed Governor-General as an able and
laborious man of business, with a more than common knowledge of the
history of India and the details of its administration. They knew that
not only had his occupancy, for many years, of the chief seat at the
India Board, rendered him familiar with the workings of the Indian
Government; but that, on every occasion, when Indian affairs had been
discussed in the House of Lords, in power or out of power, he had taken
a prominent part in the debates. In 1833, when the provisions of the
existing charter were under the consideration of Parliament, he had
distinguished himself as one of the ablest, but most moderate opponents
of certain of its clauses, contending in favour of the diminution of
the powers of the Indian Governors by the imposition of the wholesome
control of Council; and earnestly protesting against the perilous evil
of leaving too much to the unbridled passions or the erratic caprice of
a single man. In later days, he had denounced the war in Afghanistan,
in fitting terms of severe censure; and all things combined to render
the Indian public hopeful of a good, steady, peaceful administration.
Conservative exchanged congratulations with Liberal on the cheering
prospects, now opening out before them, of many years of peaceful
government and financial prosperity. Lord Ellenborough was believed to
be a moderate statesman—somewhat too liberal for the Tories of the
ministerial camp, but not for the modified conservatism of India, where
every man is more or less a Reformer; and as a moderate statesman all
men were prepared to welcome him.

In October, 1841, he was elected to fill the office of
Governor-General; and on the 4th of the following month, he attended
the usual complimentary dinner, given, on such occasions, by the
Court of Directors. The report of that dinner, which reached
India simultaneously with the intelligence of Lord Ellenborough’s
appointment, had a natural tendency to increase the confidence,
engendered by his Lordship’s previous history, in the judgment and
moderation of the new Governor-General. On returning thanks, after his
health had been drunk, Lord Ellenborough, at that farewell dinner,
on the 4th of November, 1841, made a most emphatic declaration of
his intentions to govern India upon peace principles; he abjured all
thoughts of a warlike, aggressive policy; and declared his settled
determination, on assuming the reins of government, to direct all the
energies of his mind towards the due cultivation of the arts of peace;
to emulate the magnificent benevolence of the Mahomedan conquerors;
to elevate and improve the condition of the generous and mighty people
of India. He spoke, it is true, in ignorance of the terrible disasters
which soon afterwards cast a pall over the land; but there was in
the speech so clear and explicit an exposition of what were supposed
to be fixed principles, that the Public could not but rejoice over a
declaration which promised so much eventual benefit to the people of
the soil. They looked forward to the advent of the new Governor-General
as to that of a man who, at the earliest possible moment consistent
with the dignity of our position, would sever at a blow our ill-fated
connexion with Afghanistan, and devote the remaining years of his
administration to the practical development of those high principles
which he had so enthusiastically professed.

It is probable that the nomination of Lord Ellenborough increased the
embarrassments of Lord Auckland, and strengthened him in his resolution
to suspend, as far as possible, all retributive measures until the
arrival of his successor. There was no public man in England whose
opinions, regarding the justice and policy of the war in Afghanistan,
had been more emphatically expressed than those of the Governor-General
elect. Lord Auckland knew that he was to be succeeded by a statesman
who had pronounced the war to be a blunder and a crime; and there was
a strong conviction within him that Lord Ellenborough would be eager
to withdraw every British soldier from Afghanistan, and to sever at
once a connexion which had been attended with so much disaster and
disgrace. As the responsible author of the war, this demanded from him
no small amount of moral courage. It was, indeed, to court a reversal
of the policy which he had originated, and to place the power of a
sweeping practical condemnation in the hands of a political rival.
If the conduct of Lord Auckland, at this time, were wanting in energy
and decision, it was by no means wanting in honesty. He saw that he
had committed a blunder of enormous magnitude, and he left it to
a statesman of a rival party, and an opposite faith, to pronounce
sentence upon it.

But it was not permitted to Lord Auckland so to suspend the progress
of events, as to enable him to hand over to his successor only the
chart of a virgin campaign, to be accepted or rejected by the new
ruler, as might seem fit to him, on taking up the reins of office. It
was decreed that his administration should set amidst the clouds of
continued disaster. There was nothing but failure to be written down
in the concluding chapter of his unfortunate reign. Scarcely had he
risen up from the prostration that followed the first stunning effects
of the dire intelligence of the massacre in the Caubul passes, when
there came from Peshawur tidings that the brigade under Colonel Wild
had been disastrously beaten in the Khybur Pass. The first scene of
the new, like the last of the old campaign, was a great calamity; and
Lord Auckland, now more than ever dispirited and dejected, earnestly
longed for the day when it would be vouchsafed to him to close his
portfolio, and to turn his back for ever upon a country where sloughs
of difficulty and thickets of danger seemed to cover the whole expanse.


 [January-April: 1842.]

 The Halt at Peshawur—Position of Brigadier Wild—His
 Difficulties—Conduct of the Sikhs—Attempt on Ali-Musjid—Failure of
 the Brigade—Arrival of General Pollock—State of the Force—Affairs
 at Jellalabad—Correspondence between Sale and Pollock.

The position of Brigadier Wild at Peshawur was not one to infuse
into a military commander any very overflowing feelings of hope and
exultation. He was called upon to encounter formidable difficulties
with slender means. Everything, indeed, was against him. He had four
Native infantry regiments, containing a large number of young soldiers.
They had been exposed for some time to the deteriorating contact of
the mutinous Sikh soldiery, who had done their best to fill our Sepoys
with that horror of the Khybur to which they had always abandoned
themselves. The only cavalry with the brigade was a troop of irregular
horse. The only guns were four pieces of Sikh artillery, which had a
bad habit of knocking their carriages to pieces whenever they were
fired. There was a scarcity of ammunition. Carriage was beginning to
fail altogether. It was believed that the camels had been hired at
Ferozepore to proceed as far as Jellalabad; but now the owners declared
that they had entered into no such contract, and resolutely refused
to proceed further than Peshawur. The most dispiriting intelligence
was coming in from Afghanistan. Every day seemed to add some darker
tints to the picture of our discomfiture, and to bring out in more
prominent colours the triumphant success of the Afghans. Sale and
Macgregor were writing from Jellalabad to urge the immediate advance
of the brigade; and General Avitabile was endeavouring, on the other
hand, to persuade the Brigadier that it would be dangerous to enter
the pass with the force which he then commanded.[15] The co-operation
of the Sikh soldiery, in spite of Avitabile’s exertions, seemed every
day to become a fainter probability. They peremptorily refused at one
time to proceed to Jumrood, from which point it was intended that the
operations should commence, and declared that they would return to
Lahore. Then threatening to kill Avitabile himself if he interfered
with them, they intercepted one of the guns which were moving forward
for our use, and carried it back to their lines. It was obvious,
indeed, that they desired our discomfiture more than our success; and,
in spite of the declared wishes of their Sovereign, whose sincerity at
this time is not to be questioned,[16] and the efforts of the local
governor, did everything that they could do, to render the latter the
more probable contingency of the two. The negotiations with the Afreedi
chiefs were not going on prosperously, and there was every prospect of
heavy opposition in the pass. Under such circumstances, Brigadier Wild
could only write that he was prepared to move forward whenever it was
expedient to do so, but that he could not answer for the consequences
of a precipitate advance.

It was not, however, permitted him to remain long in doubt and
inactivity. The fortress of Ali-Musjid lies some five miles within the
entrance of the Khybur Pass, and about twenty-five from Peshawur. It
consists of two small forts, connected by a wall of little strength,
and stands upon the summit of an isolated oblong rock, commanded on
the southern and western sides by two lofty hills. It has always
been regarded as the key to the Khybur Pass; and now that it was
lying between the two positions of Sale and Wild, it was of immense
importance that it should be held by British troops or their allies.
It had recently been garrisoned by a small detachment of a local
corps, composed of men of the Eusofzye tribe—some of whom, under
Mr. Mackeson,[17] had been true to their employers, and gallantly
commanded, had gallantly resisted the attacks of the Afreedi clan. But
there was now every chance of its falling into the hands of the enemy.
Nothing appeared to be of so much primary importance as the occupation
of this post. It was resolved, therefore, that one-half of the brigade
should be pushed forward, in the first instance to seize and garrison

Accordingly, on the 15th of January, Colonel Moseley with the 53rd and
64th Sepoy regiments, prepared to commence the march to Ali-Musjid.
They started under cover of the night, and reached their destination
soon after daybreak. They met with little opposition on the way;
but soon after their arrival under the rock of Ali-Musjid, Captain
Mackeson, who had accompanied the force, discovered to his dismay
that, instead of 350 supply-bullocks, for the advance of which he had
made suitable arrangements, only fifty or sixty now were straggling
in with the rear-guard. The remainder, by some mismanagement or
miscomprehension of orders, had been left behind. Thus had the two
regiments which, had the cattle come on to Ali-Musjid, might have held
that place in security for a month, shut themselves up in an isolated
fortress without provisions; and the plans which had been so anxiously
debated by our political officers at Peshawur, utterly frustrated by an
oversight of the most disastrous character, of which it is difficult to
determine on whom we are to fix the blame.[18]

The only hope of extrication from this dilemma, without disaster and
discredit, lay in the advance of the two other regiments, with the Sikh
guns and the Sikh auxiliaries. But day after day passed, and Mackeson
and Moseley gained no certain intelligence of the movements of their
comrades. They were more than once under arms to support the coming
reinforcements; but the reinforcements never appeared in sight. Wild,
with the two regiments, had made an effort to throw supplies into
Ali-Musjid, but had been disastrously beaten in the attempt.

Wild was to have moved forward with the Sikh auxiliaries on the morning
of the 19th of January, but on the preceding evening, at eleven
o’clock, the Sikh troops mutinied to a man, and refused to enter the
pass. They were at this time with the British at Jumrood. But when Wild
prepared to advance, they turned their faces in an opposite direction,
and marched back upon Peshawur.[19] General Avitabile sent orders to
his officers to close the city gates against the mutinous regiments;
and then shut himself up in the fort.

At seven o’clock, the 30th and 60th regiments with the Sikh guns
commenced their march to Ali-Musjid. The enemy appeared at the entrance
of the pass and met the advancing column with a fire from their
jezails. The Sepoys at the head of the column wavered, stood still,
crowded upon each other, fired anywhere, aimless and without effect.
The officers moved forward, but the regiments did not follow them. In
vain the Brigadier and his staff called upon them to advance; they only
huddled together in confusion and dismay. The Sikh guns, when brought
into action, broke down one after the other; and the Sepoys lost all
heart. Lawrence exerted himself manfully to save the guns; but he could
not induce the men to make an effort to carry them off; and one of the
heavy pieces was finally abandoned.[20] There was nothing to be done
after this but to fall back. The Brigadier himself was wounded in the
face; several of our officers were injured; one killed. The loss among
the Sepoys was severe. It was plain that they would not advance; so the
column fell back on Jumrood, and Ali-Musjid was not relieved.

How this disaster happened it is not easy to explain. Exaggerated
native reports of the immense hordes of Khyburees, who were assembling
in the pass, had been in circulation; and the regiments seem to have
commenced their march, anticipating such formidable opposition as they
were never doomed to encounter. The ominous intelligence from Caubul
had alarmed them. The lies spread abroad by the Sikhs had probably
alarmed them still more. The opposition was not strenuous.[21] Had the
regiments been in good heart, they would not have been beaten back.
But there was anything but a strong forward feeling among them when
they commenced their march. The defection of the Sikhs had damped their
ardour, and the breaking down of the guns now seemed to complete what
the misconduct of our allies had commenced. The first attacks of the
enemy threw the Sepoys at the head of the column into confusion; and
all hope of success was at an end before a battle had been fought.

The two regiments that occupied Ali-Musjid might have held that post
for any length of time against the Khyburees. But they had a lamentable
scarcity of provisions. The water, too, seemed to poison them. The
troops were put upon half-rations, but, in spite of this, in a few days
the supplies were nearly exhausted. Without bedding and without tents,
kept ever on the alert, under a severe climate, and under depressing
influences, the health and spirits of the Sepoys were giving way. They
were crowding into hospital. There seemed to be no prospect of relief;
so, on the 23rd of January, Colonel Moseley determined to evacuate the
fortress of Ali-Musjid, and to cut his way back to Jumrood.

To Mackeson, who saw clearly the political evils that must result
from the surrender of so important a position, this was a heavy
blow. Anything seemed better than the total abandonment of such a
post. A small party of resolute men might hold it; for a small party
might be fed. There were at least two men in the garrison eager for
the proud distinction of holding, in an imminent conjuncture, a
dangerous isolated post against a multitudinous enemy. Captain Burt,
of the 64th Native Infantry, volunteered to remain with a party of
regular troops; but the Sepoys would not volunteer. Captain Thomas,
of the same corps—the staff officer of the detachment—a man of
a bold and fearless nature, and of large acquirements—stepped
forward and volunteered to hold the fortress with 150 men of the old
Eusofzye garrison. The offer was accepted; arrangements were made
for the defence; but the fidelity of the Eusofzyes, which had been
long failing, now broke down altogether. They refused to occupy the
dangerous post after the departure of the Sepoy regiments; and so, on
the 24th, the entire force moved out of Ali-Musjid, and suffered it to
fall into the hands of the Afreedis.

“The regiments are safe through—thank God!” was the emphatic
announcement which Captain Lawrence, on the 24th of January, forwarded
by express to Mr. George Clerk. It had been a time of intense and
painful excitement. The communications between the two detachments
were cut off, and anxious as they were to act in concert with each
other, they had, up to the evening of the 22nd, failed to ascertain the
intentions of each other, and to effect a combined movement.[22] On
the 23rd, the two regiments which Wild had commanded, now, owing to
the Brigadier’s wound, under the charge of Colonel Tulloch, with the
two serviceable Sikh guns, went forward to line the pass, and cover
the march of Moseley’s regiments; but no sound of an advancing column
was heard, and about mid-day they returned to camp. On the following
morning they moved out again. Moseley had quitted Ali-Musjid, and was
making the best of his way to Jumrood. The Khyburees mustered strong;
but the Sepoy corps in both detachments did their duty well and the
regiments made good their passage. Captain Wilson, of the 64th, was
killed at the head of his men; and Captain Lock, of the 60th, fell
also with his sword in his hand. There was some loss of baggage on the
retreat—some of the sick and wounded were abandoned; and the general
conduct of the affair is not to be dwelt upon with pride or pleasure.
But when the four regiments were once more assembled together at
Jumrood, in spite of the disasters of the week, a general feeling of
relief was experienced; and our officers congratulated one another,
thankful that it was “no worse.”

Nothing was to be done now but to wait patiently for the arrival of
General Pollock and the reinforcements which were marching up through
the Punjaub. It was obvious that, without cavalry and without guns,
every effort to relieve Jellalabad must be a disastrous failure. The
want of guns was now severely commented upon. Everybody had something
to say about the remissness of those in high places, who had suffered
the advanced brigade sent for the relief of our beleaguered troops
to appear at the mouth of the Khybur Pass without a single piece of
British artillery. Brigadier Wild lamented the want of artillery:
Colonel Moseley lamented the want of artillery: Captain Mackeson
lamented the want of artillery. All were certain that the first effort
at retrieval would not have been a new calamity and a new disgrace,
if a proper complement of British guns had been sent on with the
Sepoy regiments. The omission was a great one, but it appears to have
been more the result of circumstances than of any culpable negligence
on the part of the military authorities. The four Sepoy regiments,
forming Wild’s brigade, were sent forward by Mr. George Clerk, on a
requisition from Captain Mackeson. Mackeson wrote for the immediate
despatch of the troops which, before the outbreak at Caubul, had
been warned for the ordinary relief. The regiments under orders for
Afghanistan were therefore hurried forward, and another regiment,
which was on the frontier, ordered to march with them. Expedition
rather than efficiency was then sought; and to have got artillery ready
for service would have delayed the despatch of the infantry corps.
Captain Lawrence, himself an artillery officer, saw the expediency
of despatching artillery to Peshawur, and did not omit to throw out
suggestions regarding the preparation of this important arm; but Mr.
George Clerk, who was Captain Lawrence’s official chief, and subject
only to whose confirmation that officer had any authority to call
for the despatch of troops, did not follow up the intimation of his
subordinate. “Your Excellency will have observed,” wrote Mr. Clerk to
the Commander-in-Chief,[23] “that I have limited the requisitions,
which I have presumed to make upon the commanding officers of
Loodhianah and Ferozepore, to the three infantry regiments which were
already preparing to march to Afghanistan. I consider that this is
what Captain Mackeson means in his urgent request for the despatch of
the brigade warned for the Caubul relief. I therefore have not followed
up the intimation made by Captain Lawrence to the commanding officer
at Ferozepore regarding artillery and cavalry, by requesting that a
detachment of either should move forward.”[24]

It appears, therefore, that Captain Mackeson, at Peshawur, limited
his requisitions to the troops actually under orders to proceed, in
ordinary routine, to Afghanistan—that Captain Lawrence, at Ferozepore,
suggested the expediency of sending forward some guns, if they could be
got ready; and that Mr. Clerk, at Loodhianah, declined to endorse the
suggestion, and left it to the Commander-in-Chief to decide whether any
artillery should be sent forward with the Sepoy regiments.

But the power of decision was not in the hands of the
Commander-in-Chief. The odium of having sent forward four Native
infantry regiments, without cavalry and without guns, has been cast
upon Sir Jasper Nicolls. But the truth is, that the regiments had
crossed the Sutlej before he knew that they had been ordered forward.
He was moving upwards towards the frontier when intelligence of the
outbreak in Afghanistan, and the consequent measures of Mr. Clerk, met
him as he advanced. On the 18th and 20th of November the two first
regiments crossed the Sutlej; and the Commander-in-Chief received the
notification of the demand for these regiments not before the 22nd. On
the 26th of November the two other regiments crossed the Sutlej; and
the Commander-in-Chief did not receive intelligence of their despatch
before the third of December.

Thus far it is plain that no discredit attaches to the
Commander-in-Chief, or to any other authority, for not having sent
forward any guns _with_ Wild’s brigade. But the question yet remains
to be asked why guns were not sent _after_ it. Though Mr. Clerk, in
the first instance, anxious not to delay the advance of the infantry
regiments, made no requisition for artillery, he directed General
Boyd’s attention to the subject soon after the despatch of those corps,
and suggested that one of Wild’s regiments should halt on the other
side of the Sutlej, whilst the guns were proceeding to join it.[25] As
there was no available artillery at Ferozepore, it was proposed that
Captain Alexander’s troop of Horse Artillery should move at once from
Loodhianah to the former station on its way across the frontier; but
on hearing that the Commander-in-Chief had ordered some details of a
foot artillery battery to be warned for service, Mr. Clerk withdrew
his requisition for the movement of the troop beyond the frontier,
but still suggested that it should be pushed on to Ferozepore. This
was on the 2nd of December.[26] On the 4th, having heard that some
delay must attend the despatch of the details warned by orders of the
Commander-in-Chief, Mr. Clerk wrote a letter to Captain Alexander,
requesting him, as the means of more rapid movement were at his
command, to push on across the Sutlej with all possible expedition.[27]
But a few days afterwards he received a letter from Sir Jasper Nicolls,
prohibiting the despatch of the Horse Artillery; and he accordingly
apprised Captain Alexander that the request made to him on the 4th
of December for the advance of the troop was withdrawn.[28] And so,
instead of a troop of Horse Artillery being sent to overtake Wild’s
brigade, which reached Peshawur at the end of December, half of a foot
artillery battery was warned to proceed with M’Caskill’s brigade, which
did not arrive before the beginning of February. But in the interval,
Wild had been disastrously beaten in the Khybur Pass, and Ali-Musjid
had fallen into the hands of the Afreedis.

Whatever may have been the causes of this first failure, and to
whomsoever its responsibility may attach, it is certain that its
results were of a very dispiriting and deteriorating character.[29]
The regiments remained inactive in the vicinity of Peshawur; and the
usual consequences of inactivity under such circumstances were soon
painfully apparent in the camp of Brigadier Wild. The Sepoys fell sick;
crowded into hospital; seemed to have lost all heart, and, without any
of the audacity of open mutiny, broke out into language only a little
way removed from it. Exposed to the alarming hints and the alluring
temptations of the mutinous Sikh soldiery, some began to desert their
colours, whilst others openly declared that nothing would induce them
again to face the horrors of the Khybur Pass. As General Pollock
advanced through the Punjaub, the worst reports continued to meet him
from Peshawur. Not only was he informed that the Sepoys of Wild’s
brigade were enfeebled by disease and paralysed by terror; but that
even the officers of the force were using, in an unguarded and unworthy
manner, the language of disheartenment and alarm.[30]

On the 5th of February, General Pollock reached Peshawur; and found
that the stories, which had met him on the road, had by no means
exaggerated the condition of the troops under Brigadier Wild. There
were then 1000 men in hospital; and the number was alarmingly
increasing. In a few days it had increased to 1800; so even with the
new brigade, which marched in a day or two after the General’s arrival,
he had, exclusive of cavalry, scarcely more troops fit for service than
Wild had commanded a month before.

An immediate advance on Jellalabad was not, under such circumstances,
to be contemplated for a moment. General Pollock had much to do, before
he could think of forcing the Khybur Pass and relieving Jellalabad.
The duties of a General are not limited to operations in the field.
When Pollock reached Peshawur he found that the least difficult part
of the labour before him was the subjugation of the Afreedi tribes.
“Any precipitancy,” wrote the Commander-in-Chief some time afterwards,
“on the part of a general officer panting for fame might have had the
worst effect.”[31] To have advanced on Jellalabad in that month of
February would have been to precipitate a strangling failure. Instead
of flinging himself headlong into the pass, Pollock made his way to
the hospitals. On the day after his arrival he visited the sick of
the different regiments, inquired into their wants, conversed with
their medical attendants, endeavoured to ascertain the causes of the
prevalent sickness, and encouraged by every means at his command, by
animating words and assuring promises, the dispirited and desponding

Nor was there less to do out of the hospitals. The _morale_ of the
troops was in the lowest possible state. It seemed, indeed, as though
all their soldierly qualities were at the last gasp. The disaffection
of the Sepoys broke out openly, and four out of the five regiments
refused to advance. Nightly meetings of delegates from the different
regiments of Wild’s brigade were held in camp; and the 26th Regiment
of Native Infantry, which had come up with M’Caskill’s brigade, was
soon invited to join the confederacy. In less than forty-eight hours
after the arrival of that corps, active emissaries from the disaffected
regiments were busy among the men, not only working upon their fears,
but appealing to their religious feelings.[32] The taint seems to
have reached even to some of the officers of Wild’s brigade, who
did not hesitate openly to express at the mess-table the strongest
opinions against a second attempt to force the Khybur, and to declare
their belief that very few would ever return to Peshawur. One officer
publicly asserted that it would be better to sacrifice Sale’s brigade
than to risk the loss of 12,000 men on the march to Jellalabad; and
another said that, if an advance were ordered, he would do his best to
dissuade every Sepoy of his corps from again entering the pass.[33]

To instil new courage and confidence into the waverers was no easy
task; but coolly and sagaciously, as one who understood the cause
of their disheartenment, and could make some allowances for their
misconduct, Pollock addressed himself to the work of re-animating and
re-assuring them. He made them feel that they had been placed under
the care of one who was mindful of their welfare and jealous of their
honour—one who overlooked nothing that contributed to the health
and comfort of his men, and who would never call upon them to make
sacrifices to which he would not cheerfully submit himself. There was,
in all that he did, such an union of kindness and firmness; he was
so mild, so considerate, and yet so decided, that the Sepoys came in
time to regard him with that child-like faith which, under prosperous
circumstances, is one of their most noticeable characteristics; and
when the hour of trial came they were not found wanting.

All through the months of February and March, Pollock and his
regiments remained inactive in the neighbourhood of Peshawur.
Mortifying as it was to the General to be compelled to halt so long at
the entrance of the Khybur Pass, no other course was open to him, at
the time, that did not threaten renewed disaster. Pollock’s position
was, doubtless, painful, but it was not perplexing. His duty in this
conjuncture was plain. The eyes of all India were turned upon him. The
safety of the gallant garrison of Jellalabad was to be secured by his
advance. Sale and Macgregor were writing urgent letters, calling upon
him to push on without delay; but it was still his duty to halt. The
Sepoys were gradually recovering both their health and their spirits.
But reinforcements were coming across the Punjab, with British dragoons
and horse artillery among them; and nothing did more to animate and
re-assure those who had been discouraged by previous failure, than the
knowledge that when they again advanced they would be supported by
fresh troops, strong in every branch, and numbering among them a good
proportion of stout European soldiers. Had the advance been ordered
before the arrival of these reinforcements, it is at least a probable
contingency that some of the native regiments would have stood fast,
and, by open mutiny almost in the face of the enemy, have heaped up
before us a mountain of difficulty, such as no prudence and no energy
on the part of a commander could ever suffice to overcome.

Still it required much firmness to resist the pressing appeals made
to Pollock by his comrades at the other end of the Khybur Pass. He
had not been many days at Peshawur before he received a communication
from General Sale, setting forth the exigencies of the Jellalabad
garrison, and urging him to advance to their relief. The letter was
written partly in English and partly in French, as was much of the
correspondence of the time, with the view of rendering the work
of translation more difficult. But Sale so often blurted out, in
one sentence of plain English, what he had wrapped up in another of
indifferent French, that his efforts at disguise could hardly have been
successful.[34] He was too old a soldier to be very clever in such
devices, and he had been too long fighting the battles of his country
in India to write very unexceptionable French.



 January-March: 1842.

 Situation of the Garrison—Letters from Shah Soojah—Question of
 Capitulation—Councils of War—Final Resolution—Earthquake at
 Jellalabad—Renewal of the Works—Succours expected.

With heavy hearts did the officers of the Jellalabad garrison perform
the melancholy duties, which devolved upon them, after the arrival of
Dr. Brydon. Horsemen were sent out to explore the surrounding country,
and to bring in, if any could be found, the bodies of the dead. Hopes,
too, were entertained, that some survivors of the terrible retreat
might still be concealed in the neighbourhood, or lying wounded by the
wayside, unable to struggle on towards the sheltering walls of the
fortress. Every effort therefore was made, and every precaution taken,
to indicate to the sufferers that succour was at hand, and to aid them,
in their extremity, to reach it. The stillness of the night was broken
by the loud blasts of the bugle, proclaiming from the ramparts, to any
stragglers that might be toiling through the darkness, the vicinity of
the British camp.

But profitless were all these efforts. The few who had escaped the
massacre in the passes were captives in the hands of the Afghans; and
the Jellalabad officers now asked one another whether the fate of the
prisoner were less to be deplored than the fate of the dead. It was
hard to believe that they who had butchered thousands of their enemies
like sheep, in the passes, would treat with kindness and respect the
few who had fallen into their hands. The only hope was, that Afghan
avarice might be stronger than Afghan revenge, and that the prisoners
might be preserved, like merchandise, and sold for British gold.

They sorrowed for their unhappy countrymen; but there was ever present
with them the best remedy for sorrow. They had abundance of work to do.
In the midst of their grief for the destruction of the Caubul army,
it was necessary to consider in what manner that great catastrophe
affected themselves. They reasoned that, perhaps, for some days, the
Afghans would be gorging themselves with plunder; dividing the spoil;
and burying the corpses of their countrymen; but that, this done, large
bodies of troops would be released, and that Akbar Khan might soon
be expected to come down upon Jellalabad, with an overwhelming force
flushed with victory, and eager to consign them to the terrible fate
which had overtaken the British army posted at the capital. It was soon
said, that the Sirdar was organising an army, at Lughman, some thirty
miles distant from Jellalabad. It was necessary, therefore, to prepare
for his reception.

To such good purpose had Broadfoot worked, that the defences of
Jellalabad were now fast becoming formidable realities; and the
officers said among themselves and wrote to distant friends, that
nothing but a failure of provisions, or ammunition, could give the
Sirdar a chance of carrying the place. Our fighting men, however, were
too few to man the works with good effect. Sale, therefore, embodied
the camp-followers; and thus enabled himself to employ his effective
troops beyond the walls. Day after day, foraging parties were sent
out with good results. Our great requirements were wood and grass. It
was expedient to obtain these as expeditiously as possible, for the
place might soon be invested; and then the garrison would be thrown
back entirely on its internal supplies. About the same time, all
the Afghans in Jellalabad, including 200 men of Ferris’s Jezailchee
regiment, were ordered to quit the walls, in the belief that in an
extremity they would certainly turn against us.

Then news came of Wild’s failure. To the younger and bolder spirits in
Sale’s brigade, this was scarcely a disappointment. They had expected
little from Wild’s advance. They believed, however, that the disaster
would necessarily retard Pollock’s forward movement; and in this there
was something discouraging. But they said among themselves that they
could hold out till May, that it was then only January, and that it was
hard, indeed, if Pollock could not relieve them within the next three

But whilst everything appeared thus plain to the younger and the
irresponsible officers of the Jellalabad force, difficulties were
rising up before the eyes, and doubts were assailing the minds of the
responsible chiefs. Already had they begun to question, whether the
Government at Calcutta had any intention to make a genuine effort, on
a sufficient scale, to relieve them. All that they had heard of the
views and measures of Lord Auckland led them to the painful conclusion
that they would be left to their fate; at all events, until the arrival
of his successor. In the meanwhile, not only was Akbar Khan collecting
an army in Lughman, but Shah Soojah himself, acting perhaps under
compulsion—perhaps not—was preparing to despatch troops both to
Ghuznee and Jellalabad for the expulsion of the Feringhee garrisons.
From the Shah nothing was to be expected beyond, at best, a little
friendly delay. On the 21st of January, Macgregor received a letter
from him. It contained much about the past; it alleged that if the
Shah’s advice had not been disregarded, all would have gone well;
that he alone could now hold the country, and that he wanted nothing
from us but money.[35] This was a long, private letter—somewhat
incoherent—the work of the King himself. But another also came from
the King, as from the head of the government, asking the English at
Jellalabad what were their intentions. “Your people,” it said, in
effect, “have concluded a treaty with us, consenting to leave the
country. You are still in Jellalabad. What are your intentions? Tell us
quickly.” What now was to be done?

The crisis was a perilous one; the responsibility was great. Sale and
Macgregor were sorely perplexed. It was plain that by continuing to
occupy Jellalabad, they could do nothing to support their comrades in
Afghanistan; for the Caubul army had been destroyed, and the Candahar
and Ghuznee garrisons would fall back, if at all, on Scinde. They were
not bound to support Shah Soojah, for the Shah himself declared that he
wanted nothing but our money, and was evidently compromised with his
own countrymen by our continued occupation of Jellalabad. The safety of
the prisoners appeared more likely to be secured by our departure from
Afghanistan than by our continuing in a hostile attitude in one of the
chief places of the kingdom. And it was at least doubtful whether the
policy of the Government at Calcutta would not be aided rather than
embarrassed by the withdrawal of the garrison to Peshawur.

All these considerations weighing heavily on his mind, Sale determined
to summon a Council of War. On the 26th of January, the Council met
at the General’s quarters. It was composed of the commanding-officers
of the different components of his varied force.[36] The political
officer, Macgregor, was also a member of the Council. On him devolved
the duty of explaining the circumstances which had induced the general
to call them together. All the letters and documents bearing upon the
great question were read and laid upon the table. Macgregor, acting
as spokesman, declared that it was his opinion, and that also of the
General, that little was to be hoped from the efforts of Government to
relieve them. It was obvious that they must trust to themselves. Shah
Soojah appeared to desire their departure; he had virtually, indeed,
directed it. Were the members of the Council, he asked, of like opinion
with himself and Sale, that it was now their duty to treat with the
Shah for the evacuation of the country?

Then Macgregor read to the Council the terms of the proposed letter to
the King. It set forth that his Majesty’s letter had been received;
that the British held Jellalabad and the country only for the King, and
that as it was his desire that they should return to India, of course
they were willing to do so. But that after what had happened, it was
necessary that the manner and the conditions of their withdrawal should
be clearly understood. The terms upon which the garrison of Jellalabad
would consent to evacuate the country were these: that they would give
four hostages in proof of their sincerity; that the King should send a
force to escort them in honour and safety to Jellalabad—that is, with
their arms, colours, guns, &c.; that the escort should be commanded by
one of the Prince’s own sons; and that carriage and supplies should be
furnished for our march; that Mahomed Akbar and his force were to be
withdrawn from Lughman before the British quitted Jellalabad; and that
hostages should be given by the Afghans to accompany the British force
as far as Peshawur, and there to be exchanged for our own hostages and
prisoners; these hostages to be a son of the Newab Zemaun Khan—a son
of Ameen-oollah Khan—Sooltan Jan, said to be a favourite cousin of
Mahomed Akbar—with some Shinwarree and Khyburee chiefs.

Great now was the excitement in the Council; earnest the discourse. Men
lifted up their voices together, in vehement debate, eager to speak,
little caring to listen. Arguments were enunciated with such warmth
of language, that they lost all their argumentative force. It was
apparent, however, that the feelings of the majority of the Council
were in favour of withdrawal. There was a prevailing sense amongst them
that they had been abandoned by the Government at Calcutta; that there
was no intention to maintain the supremacy of our arms in Afghanistan;
that Shah Soojah did not wish them to remain there; and that, if
they could make their own way to Peshawur, they would best fulfil
the desires of their masters, and that their first care should be to
further the views of the Government which they served. And yet their
indignation ran high against that Government, which had abandoned them
in the hour of their need.

But against all this there was one officer who steadfastly set his
face; who had viewed with horror and detestation the proposal to
capitulate, and flung the paper of terms indignantly on the ground.
This was George Broadfoot, of the Sappers. Eagerly he lifted up his
voice against the proposal; eagerly he declared it to be impossible
that the Government should leave them to their fate, and do nothing
to restore our lost national reputation in Afghanistan; eagerly
he set forth to his comrades that a new Governor-General was
coming, doubtless with new counsels, from England; that the Duke of
Wellington was in power at home, and that so inglorious a policy
could never ultimately prevail. But he lacked, in that conjuncture,
the self-restraint, the moderation of language, and the calmness of
utterance which might have secured for him respectful attention.
They said that he was violent, and he was. Even his best friends
said afterwards, that his warmth was unbecoming, and, doubtless, it
weakened his cause. It was soon apparent to him that in the existing
temper of the council, he could do nothing to change their resolves. He
determined, therefore, to endeavour to delay the final resolution, and,
with this object proposed an adjournment of the Council. The proposal
was carried; the Council was dissolved, and the members went to their
quarters or to their posts, to talk, or brood over what had happened,
and to fortify themselves with new arguments in support of the opinions
which they had determined to maintain.

The Council met again on the following day. There was much and earnest
discussion; but it was painfully obvious that the majority were in
favour of capitulation, and that at the head of the majority were the
military and political chiefs. The proposed terms were again brought
under review, and again George Broadfoot lifted up his voice against
them. He was told by his opponents in the Council that the warmth of
his feelings had obscured his judgment; but, resolute not to weaken
his advocacy of so great a cause by any frailty of his own, he had
submitted his views to writing, and had invited the sober criticism
of his calmer friend Henry Havelock.[37] With this paper in his hand,
holding his eager temperament in restraint, he now did resolute battle
against the proposal for surrender. First, he took the votes of the
Council on the general question of the propriety of any negociation;
and then, one by one, he combated the separate terms of the proposed
treaty of surrender. But, two only excepted, his comrades were all
against him. Backhouse, a man of fiery courage and of plain discourse,
though recognising the force of much of Macgregor’s reasoning, voted
against withdrawal. Oldfield said little, but that little, with his
vote, was against capitulation. Havelock, who attended only as the
General’s staff, was without a vote; but his heart was with those who
voted for the manlier and the nobler course.

The chief spokesmen were, George Macgregor on the one side, and
George Broadfoot on the other. The former, enunciating the views of
his military chief, contended that the Jellalabad garrison had been
abandoned by the Government; that after Wild’s failure, no movement
for their release was likely to be made; that there was no possibility
that their little force could hold its own much longer, and that it
could not retreat except under terms with the victorious enemy. He
believed that the terms, of which he had spoken, would be strictly
observed. Macnaghten and Pottinger had failed to take hostages from the
Afghans, and therefore our army had been destroyed; but hostages being
given, it was urged, the treaty would never be violated, and on the
arrival of the force at Peshawur, our prisoners would be surrendered.
Moreover, as Macgregor had contended from the first, the British troops
held Jellalabad, and every other post in the Afghan dominions, only on
behalf of Shah Soojah; and if the Shah directed our withdrawal, we had
no right, it was said, to remain, especially when our own Government
apparently desired the speedy evacuation of the country.

But this Broadfoot denied. He denied that the British troops held
Jellalabad only on behalf of Shah Soojah; he denied that the British
Government—under whose orders alone, he contended, the force could
with propriety be withdrawn from Jellalabad—had directed, or were
likely to direct, the immediate evacuation of Afghanistan. He denied
that the brigade could not hold out in Jellalabad; he denied that
it could not make good its retreat to Peshawur. He declared that
hostages had been given before, at Tezeen—that still our camp had been
attacked;[38] and that, so long as the enemy held our hostages and
prisoners in their hands, there was really little additional security
in such a resource. Sale said that he would execute an Afghan hostage
if the terms of the treaty were violated. “Would you do this,” asked
Broadfoot, “if the enemy threatened to kill, before our faces, two
English ladies for every man that we put to death?” It was urged,
by another officer, that if the British troops did not evacuate
Jellalabad, our hostages at Caubul would be murdered. “Then,” contended
Broadfoot, “in such a warfare, the most barbarous must be most
successful. Whoever is prepared to execute his hostages and prisoners
must gain his object, and triumph by the mere force of his barbarity.”

And thus, point after point, Broadfoot combated the arguments of
those who supported the policy of capitulation; and at last took his
stand boldly upon “first principles.” When it was said that a body of
troops, thus abandoned by Government, were entitled to look to their
own safety, he replied, that they had a right to save the troops only
when, by so doing, they would confer a greater benefit on the state
than by risking their loss. And when mention was made of the views of
the Governor-General, the chief officer of the state, he declared that
there was a higher duty still which they were bound to discharge. If,
as had been contended, the Government of India had abandoned them,
the covenant between them was cancelled by the failure of the higher
authority. But they had a duty to perform towards their country—a
duty which they could never decline. And it was plainly their duty, in
the conjuncture which had arisen, to uphold the honour of the nation.
In these views Havelock openly concurred; though, for reasons already
stated, he took little part in the debates.

The terms of the proposed capitulation were carried, with but one
exception. It was determined that hostages should not be given.
Macgregor volunteered himself to be one; and both he and Sale contended
vehemently in support of the proposal; but the voice of the assembly
was against it. Its rejection detracted little from the humiliation of
the surrender; and Broadfoot stood forward in the hope of persuading
his comrades to reconsider the remaining terms. He dwelt especially on
the discredit of demanding the withdrawal of Akbar Khan from Lughman,
as though they stood in fear of the Sirdar; he urged upon them the
expediency of requiring the surrender of all the British prisoners
in the hands of the Afghans, as a preliminary to the evacuation of
Jellalabad; and he implored them to consider whether, if they were
determined to abandon their position, they could not give some dignity
to the movement, by imparting to it the character of a military
operation, deceiving the enemy as to real intention, and fighting,
if need be, their way down to Peshawur. All these proposals were
overruled. At a later date, the last received some support from men who
had before condemned it.

And so, slightly altered in its phraseology—which Broadfoot had
denounced as too abject—the letter was carried through the Council
and prepared for transmission to the Shah. After the votes had been
given, Broadfoot sarcastically congratulated them on the figure that
they would make if the relieving force arrived just as the brigade
was marching out of Jellalabad, under the terms of a humiliating
convention. In such a case, Dennie, who had not the clearest possible
perception of the obligations of good faith in such matters, declared
that he would not go. Upon which he was told that he would be “made
to go;” and the Council broke up amidst greater hilarity than had
inaugurated its assemblage.

The letter was despatched to Shah Soojah, and, amidst varied and
contending emotions, the members of the Council awaited a reply. In the
meanwhile some of them recorded their reasons for the votes they had
given; and all earnestly considered the course to be pursued when the
expected answer should be received from Caubul. There could be little
difference of opinion upon this score. It was determined that, if the
answer received from the Shah should be a simple and unconditional
acceptance of the proposed terms, the garrison must at once evacuate
Jellalabad, and, if faith were broken by the enemy, fight its way to
Peshawur; but that, if the answer should be evasive or clogged with
reservations and conditions, they would be at liberty to adopt any
course that might seem most expedient to them.

The answer came. It called upon the chief officers at Jellalabad,
if they were sincere in their proposals, to affix their seals to
the letter. A Council of war was held. Sale and Macgregor urged the
members to put their seals to a copy of the original paper of terms.
Broadfoot, pleading that the nature of the Shah’s letter, expressing a
doubt, as it did, of their sincerity, liberated them from all foregone
obligations, proposed that the whole question of capitulation should
be reconsidered. He then offered to the acceptance of the Council
the draft of a letter, stating that as the Shah and his chiefs had
not answered their former communication—either by accepting or
rejecting the proposed terms—that they should be referred to the
Governor-General. There was much warm discussion. The proposed letter
was pronounced violent, and eventually rejected. Another letter to the
same effect, but more temperate in its tone, was proposed by Backhouse,
and also rejected. Sale denounced, in strong language, the opposition
of these men; some still more vehement discussion followed, and the
council was adjourned.

An hour afterwards the members re-assembled, they who had felt and
spoken hotly had cooled down; and the debate was resumed more gravely
and decorously than it had broken off. Colonel Dennie and Captain
Abbott had, by this time, determined to support the proposal for
holding out, and Colonel Monteith, who had before recorded his opinions
in favour of the course recommended by Major Macgregor, now prepared
a letter, which, though couched in much less decided terms than
those proposed by Broadfoot and Backhouse, was not a renewal of the
negotiation. After some discussion this was accepted by the council,
and a messenger was despatched to Caubul with the important missive.
It left them free to act as they should think fit;—most happily it
left them free, for the next day brought tidings from Peshawur that
large reinforcements were moving up through the Punjab, and that
strenuous efforts were to be made for their relief. It was clear that
the government had not abandoned them to their fate. It was now equally
clear to all, that it was their duty to hold out to the last hour.
There was no more talk of withdrawal.[39]

This was on the 13th of February. The garrison were in good heart,
and the fortifications of Jellalabad were rising rapidly around them.
In spite of all opposition at Caubul—in spite of the counsels of
Alexander Burnes, who heartily despised the enemy—in spite of a
sneering remark from the envoy, that the sappers would have nothing to
do but to pick a few stones from under the gun-wheels, Broadfoot had
insisted on taking with him a good supply of working tools, some of
which he had ordered to be made for him, by forced labour, in the city;
and had sent an urgent indent on the march for further supplies.[40]
It seemed, he said afterwards, “as though Providence had stiffened
his neck on this occasion;” for now at Jellalabad, he found himself
with implements of all kinds and with large supplies of blasting
powder, able alike to make and to destroy. And gallantly the good work
proceeded, in prospect, too, of an immediate attack, for Akbar Khan,
with the white English tents which proclaimed our disgrace, was within
a few miles of the walls which we were turning into formidable defences.

But a great calamity was now about to befall the Jellalabad garrison.
On the morning of the 19th of February the men were busied with
their accustomed labour. With their arms piled within reach, they
were plying axe and shovel, toiling with their wonted cheerfulness
and activity at the defences, which they had begun to look upon with
the satisfied air of men who had long seen their work growing under
their hands, and now recognised the near approach of its completion.
They had worked, indeed, to good purpose. Very different were the
fortifications of Jellalabad from what they had been when Sale entered
the place in November.[41] They were now real, not nominal defences.
The unremitting toil of nearly three months had not been without its
visible and appreciable results. It seemed, too, as though the work
were about to be completed just at the time when the defences were most
needed. Akbar Khan was in the neighbourhood of Jellalabad, and every
day Sale expected to be called upon to meet the flower of the Barukzye
horse on the plain. But on this 19th of February, when the garrison
were flushed with joy at the thought of the near completion of their
work, a fearful visitation of Providence, suddenly and astoundingly,
turned all their labour to very nothingness. There was an awful and
mysterious sound, as of thunder beneath their feet; then the earth
shook; the houses of the town trembled and fell; the ramparts of
the fort seemed to reel and totter, and presently came down with a
crash.[42] On the first sound of the threatened convulsion the men
had instinctively rushed to their arms, and the greater number had
escaped the coming ruin; but it is still among those recollections of
the defence which are dwelt upon by the “illustrious garrison” in the
liveliest spirit of jocularity, how the field-officer of the day—a
gallant and good soldier—but one who had more regard for external
proprieties than was generally appreciated in those days, was buried
beneath a heap of rubbish, and how he was extricated from his perilous
position by some men of the 13th, under circumstances which even now
they enjoy in their retrospect with a relish which years have not

But although the earthquake which threw down the walls of Jellalabad,
wrought in a minute more irreparable mischief than a bombarding army
could have done in a month, in nowise disheartened by this calamity,
the garrison again took the spade and the pick-axe into their hands,
and toiled to repair the mischief. “No time,” says Captain Broadfoot,
“was lost. The shocks had scarcely ceased when the whole garrison
was told off into working parties, and before night the breaches were
scarped, the rubbish below cleared away, and the ditches before them
dug out, whilst the great one on the Peshawur side was surrounded by
a good gabion parapet. A parapet was erected on the remains of the
north-west bastion, with an embrasure allowing the guns to flank the
approach of the ruined Caubul gate; the parapet of the new bastion was
restored, so as to give a flanking fire to the north-west bastion,
whilst the ruined gate was rendered inaccessible by a trench in front
of it, and in every bastion round the place a temporary parapet was
raised. From the following day all the troops off duty were continually
at work, and such was their energy and perseverance, that by the end of
the month the parapets were entirely restored, or the curtain filled in
where restoration was impracticable, and every battery re-established.
The breaches have been built up, with the rampart doubled in
thickness, and the whole of the gates retrenched.”—Such, indeed, was
the extraordinary vigour thrown into the work of restoration—such the
rapidity with which the re-establishment of the defences was completed,
that the enemy, seeing soon afterwards no traces of the great
earthquake-shock of the 19th of February, declared that the phenomenon
must have been the result of English witchcraft, for that Jellalabad
was the only place that had escaped.

If Akbar Khan, who at this time was within a few miles of Sale’s
position, knew the extent to which the defences of Jellalabad had been
weakened, he committed a strange oversight in not taking advantage of
such a casualty. The garrison felt assured that the Barukzyes would not
throw away such a chance; and they made up their minds resolutely for
the encounter. Intelligence had just been received of the publication
of the government manifesto of the 31st of January; and this spasmodic
burst of energy and indignation, welcomed as an indication of the
intention of the Supreme Government to wipe out at all hazards the
stains that had been fixed upon the national honour, fortified and
re-assured the heroes of Jellalabad, who had so long been grieving
over the apparent feebleness and apathy of the official magnates at

Sale published the proclamation in garrison orders; and the result did
not belie his expectation. Like the chiefs of the Jellalabad force, the
junior officers and men had felt, with acute mortification, the neglect
to which they had seemingly been subjected.[45] But now, that Lord
Auckland had declared that he regarded the disasters that had befallen
us merely as so many new opportunities of demonstrating the military
power of the British Empire in the East, the hearts of the brave men,
who had been so long defying the enemy that had destroyed Elphinstone’s
army, again began to leap up with hope and exultation; and as they saw
their defences rising again, almost as it were by supernatural agency,
before their eyes, they began rather to regret the caution of the
Barukzye chief, which seemed to restrain him from venturing under the
walls of Jellalabad.

There seems, indeed, to have been in the Afghan camp a strange
shrinking from anything like a hand-to-hand encounter with the intrepid
soldiers of Sale’s brigade. The reluctance of Akbar Khan to near the
walls of Jellalabad is a painful commentary upon the arrogance and
audacity of the Afghans, who a few weeks before had been bearding
Elphinstone and Shelton under the shadow of the Caubul cantonments.
Akbar Khan now seemed resolute to risk nothing by any dashing movement,
that might decide, at once, the fate of the Jellalabad garrison.
Instead of assaulting the place he blockaded it.

He seemed to trust to the efficacy of a close investment; and so
moved in his troops nearer and nearer to our walls, hoping to effect
that by starvation which he could not effect by hard fighting in the
field. And so, for some time, he continued, drawing in more and more
closely—harassing our foraging parties, and occasionally coming
into contact with the horsemen who were sent out to protect the
grass-cutters. Not, however, before the 11th of March was there any
skirmishing worthy of record. Then it was reported that the enemy were
about to mine the place. _Sungahs_ had been thrown up on the night of
the 10th, and the enemy were firing briskly from behind them. It was
plain that some mischief was brewing; so on the morning of the 11th,
Sale, keeping his artillery at the guns on the ramparts, sent out a
strong party of infantry and cavalry, with two hundred of Broadfoot’s
sappers. Dennie commanded the sortie. As they streamed out of the
Peshawur gate of the city, Akbar Khan seemed inclined to give them
battle. But ever as the enemy advanced the hot fire from our guns drove
them back. They could not advance upon our works, nor protect the
_sungahs_ which our skirmishers were rapidly destroying. It was soon
ascertained that the story of the mine was a mere fable; ammunition was
too scarce to be expended on any but necessary service; so there was
nothing more to be done. Dennie sounded the recall. The British troops
began to fall back upon their works; and then the enemy, emboldened by
the retrograde movement, fell upon our retiring column. No sooner had
our people halted and reformed, than the Afghans turned and fled, but
still they wrought us some mischief, for they wounded Broadfoot; and
those were days when an accident to the garrison engineer was, indeed,
a grievous calamity. Not a man, however, of Sale’s brigade was killed.
The carnage was all among the enemy.

The remainder of the month passed quietly away—but the anxieties of
the garrison were steadily increasing. Provisions had become scarce;
ammunition was scarce; fodder for the horses was not to be obtained.
It was obviously the design of the enemy to reduce the garrison by a
strict blockade. It would be difficult to exaggerate the eagerness
with which, under such circumstances, they looked for the arrival of
succours from Peshawur. Excellent as were Pollock’s reasons for not
proceeding to the relief of Jellalabad until his force was strengthened
by the arrival of the European regiments on their way to Peshawur, it
is easy to understand, and impossible to condemn, the eagerness with
which Sale and Macgregor continued to exhort him to advance for their

Pollock had expected that the dragoons would reach Peshawur by the 20th
of March; but on the 27th they had not arrived; and the General wrote
to Jellalabad, explaining the causes of delay, but still hoping that
he would be able to commence his march on the last day of the month.
“There appears,” he wrote, “to be nothing but accidents to impede the
advance of the dragoons. They were five days crossing the Ravee. I have
sent out 300 camels to help them in; and I hope nothing will prevent my
moving on the 31st. God knows I am most anxious to move on, for I know
that delay will subject us to be exposed to very hot weather. But my
situation has been most embarrassing. Any attempt at a forward movement
in the early part of this month I do not think would have succeeded,
for at one time the Hindoos did not hesitate to say that they would
_not_ go forward. I hope the horror they had has somewhat subsided; but
without more white faces I question even now if they would go. Since
the 1st we have been doing all to recover a proper tone; but you may
suppose what my feelings have been, wishing to relieve you, and knowing
that my men would not go. However desirable it is that I should be
joined by the 31st Regiment, your late letters compel me to move, and
I hope, therefore, to be with you by about the 7th. I cannot say the
day exactly, because I want to take Ali-Musjid. When that is taken,
your situation may, perhaps, become better.”[47] The dragoons reached
Pollock’s camp on the 30th, and on the following day he began to move


[April, 1842.]

 The Forcing of the Khybur Pass—State of the Sikh Troops—Mr.
 Clerk at the Court of Lahore—Views of the Lahore Durbar—Efforts
 of Shere Singh—Assemblage of the Army at Jumrood—Advance to
 Ali-Musjid—Affairs at Jellalabad—Defeat of Akbar Khan—Junction of
 Pollock and Sale.

Whatever embarrassments may have lain in the way of General Pollock
during these months of February and March, and compelled him, eager
as he was to advance to the relief of Jellalabad, to remain inactive
at Peshawur, it is certain that they were greatly increased by the
reluctance of our Sikh allies to face the passes of the Khybur. The
conduct of the Nujeeb battalions, which had mutinied on the very eve of
Wild’s movement into the pass, left no room to hope for any effectual
co-operation from that source. All the efforts of Captain Lawrence
to obtain any assistance from the Sikh troops at Peshawur, through
General Mehtab Singh,[48] had failed; and Lawrence was of opinion that
the General’s conduct, in admitting the Afreedis into his camp, had
established such a clear case of hostility, that he and his traitrous
followers ought to be dismissed with disgrace. But now that Rajah
Gholab Singh, accompanied by the Crown Prince of Lahore, was advancing
with his regiments to Peshawur, as those regiments were composed of
a different class of men, and the influence of the Rajah over these
hill-levies was great, it was hoped, that on his junction with General
Pollock’s camp, a new order of things would be established. But it
soon became painfully evident to the General that very little cordial
co-operation was to be looked for from the Jummoo Rajah and his troops.

When, early in February, Pollock, on his way back to Peshawur, reached
the Attock, he found the left bank of the river occupied by the Sikh
troops under Gholab Singh, whilst the Nujeeb battalions, which had
disgraced themselves a few weeks before, were posted on the opposite
side.[49] Captain Lawrence, who had left Peshawur to expedite the
Rajah’s movements, was then in the Sikh camp; and M’Caskill’s brigade
was a few marches in the rear. There appeared every likelihood,
therefore, of a collision that would impede the progress of the
British troops; but the exertions of Pollock and Lawrence were crowned
with success; and the Sikh force moved off before M’Caskill’s brigade
arrived on the banks of the river. On the 14th, Gholab Singh and the
Prince reached Peshawur. On the 20th, Pollock held a conference with
the Rajah—Lawrence and Mackeson being present—and a day or two
afterwards, forwarding an abstract of the conversation that had taken
place between them, wrote to the Supreme Government: “I confess that I
have no expectation of any assistance from the Sikh troops.”

On the conduct of Gholab Singh at this time, some suspicion has been
cast. It has been said that he not only instigated, through the agency
of an influential messenger, the Nujeeb battalions to rebel, but
carried on a friendly correspondence with our Afghan enemies at Caubul.
That there was no hearty co-operation, is true; but hearty co-operation
was not to be expected. Gholab Singh had other work on hand at that
time; and, whilst he was playing and losing a great game in Thibet,
it would have been strange, indeed, if he had thrown his heart into
the work which he was called upon to perform for others at the mouth
of the Khybur Pass. He had no confidence in his troops. He had no
inducement to exert himself.[50] The latter obstacle, it was thought,
might be removed; and Lawrence and Mackeson were of opinion that it
would be well to bribe him into activity by the offer of Jellalabad, to
be held by him independently of the Sikh ruler; but Mr. Clerk was of
opinion that such a measure would be neither politic nor honest.[51]
It would, indeed, at that time, have been an injustice done by the
British Government against both the other parties to the tripartite
treaty. It would have injuriously affected both Shah Soojah and Shere
Singh; and would have involved the Jummoo Rajah in difficulties and
perplexities from which he would have found it difficult to extricate
himself. Indeed, Captain Mackeson himself very soon came to the opinion
that, if we desired to bribe Gholab Singh into co-operation by promises
of territorial aggrandisement, it was necessary that we should lay
our finger on some other part of the map than that which represented
Jellalabad; and he asked whether Shikarpoor, which Runjeet Singh had
coveted, and which the tripartite treaty had snatched from him, “would
not do better.”[52]

In the mean while, it appeared to Mr. Clerk that his presence at
the Court of the Sikh ruler, would have the effect of cementing the
alliance between the two states, and enable him the better to obtain
from the Lahore Government the military assistance that was so greatly
needed. He had never doubted the good faith of the Maharajah himself.
Whatever selfish motives he may have attributed to him, it was not
to be doubted that at this time his feelings and his conduct alike
were those of a friend. Clerk declared that no native state had ever
taken such great pains to accelerate the movements of our troops by
preventing plunder, supplying boats at the ferries, and furnishing food
for the use of our army. The Maharajah had given us the best aid and
the best advice, and in the opinion of the British agent was willing to
act up to the spirit of the Tripartite treaty. He was, indeed, the only
man in the Punjab who really desired our success.

On the 2nd of March, Clerk arrived at Umritsur, resolute to “get what
he could out of the Sikhs.”[53] Early on the following morning he
waited on Shere Singh. The first visit was a visit of condolence on the
deaths of Kurruck Singh and his son. The attendance at the Durbar was
small. No troops were in waiting beyond a single wing of a battalion
drawn up to salute the arrival and departure of the British Mission.
The Court were in mourning of white. Everything about the Durbar was
quiet and subdued. It was a meeting of condolence on both sides.
Clerk’s expressions of regret were reciprocated by those which the
Sikh ruler freely uttered with reference to the death of Sir William
Macnaghten. Dhyan Singh and the Fakir Azizoodeen were both loud in
their praises of the envoy; and expressed a lively hope that the
treacherous Afghans would be duly punished for their offences. After
other complimentary interchanges, the Mission departed; and on the
following morning proceeded to pay a visit of congratulation to the new
ruler. The Court now wore a different aspect. Along the garden-walks
stretched walls of crimson broadcloth, and lines of armed Goorcherrahs,
in new appointments, glittered along the paths. Everything was bright
and joyous. The courtiers shone in splendid apparel. The Maharajah
himself was bright with jewels, of which the _Koh-i-noor_ was the
lustrous chief. The young Rajah Heera Singh, old Runjeet’s minion,
radiant with emeralds and pearls, sate beside Shere Singh, whilst his
father, the minister, stood beside the regal chair. The officers of the
British Mission sate on a row of chairs opposite; and the old Fakir
Azizoodeen was seated on the floor beside the chair of the British
chief. The conversation was of a general and complimentary character.
The _Khelat_ of accession was presented to the new ruler; the fidelity
of the Sikh Government and the character of its administration were
belauded; and then the Mission took its departure.

On the 5th, Clerk, having intimated his desire to wait on the
Maharajah, to discuss matters of business, was invited to attend at his
own time. He went in the afternoon; and at once solicited the honour
of a private audience. Heera Singh was sitting beside him, and other
courtiers were in attendance. A motion of the hand dismissed them all;
and Clerk was invited to seat himself in Heera Singh’s chair. But the
British minister, not wishing that the conversation should be carried
on without any witnesses, suggested the recall of Dhyan Singh and the
Fakir, who, with Heera Singh and one or two others, were present at
the interview. Clerk had a difficult game to play at this time. He had
to obtain the most effectual co-operation of the Sikh Government that
could be elicited in this hour of trial; and yet he was unwilling to
lay bare to the Sikh Durbar the real designs of his own government. He
had been directed to disclose those designs to the Sikhs—to intimate
that it was the intention of the British government, after rescuing the
Jellalabad garrison, to withdraw the army to the British frontier; but
inwardly indignant at the feebleness of the policy which was favoured
at Calcutta, he shrunk from avowing these intentions of withdrawal, and
endeavoured rather to elicit the views of the Lahore Cabinet than to
expose the designs of his own. But Shere Singh was not inclined to be
less cautious than the British envoy. When Clerk asked what he intended
to do to rescue Sale’s garrison from destruction, the Maharajah replied
that the Sikhs were very desirous to aid the British Government,
but that the matter called for consideration. Bristling up at the
coolness of this reply, Clerk said that the whole question of the
alliance between the two states might call for future consideration;
but that the present moment when the safety of a beleagured garrison
was at stake, was no time for consideration. Qualifying then his
former remark, the Sikh ruler said that he meant only that the mode
of procedure called for consideration, and he began to talk about the
advantage of erecting sungahs and crowning the heights of the Khybur
Pass[54]—to all of which Clerk readily assented.

Then Dhyan Singh, who all this time had been sitting silent, with
a dejected air and drooping head, looked up, and with a cheerful
countenance began to take part in the conversation. He had before
seemed to think that the purport of the discussion was to consign his
brother, Gholab Singh, to inevitable destruction; but he now said
that he was certain the troops under the command of that chief would
willingly co-operate with the British; but that “an iron lock required
an iron key.” He then abruptly asked why more British troops were not
sent;[55] and the Fakir Azizoodeen whispered the same question. Clerk
could have blurted out an answer to this; but it was one which would
have opened the eyes of the Sikh Durbar, more than it was desirable
to open them, to the true nature of British policy at this time, and
the true character of our rulers. He, therefore, answered in general
terms that the British government were collecting troops; but that,
nevertheless, the co-operation of the Sikh Government was much desired;
and, whilst he added that an intimation would be sent to General
Pollock regarding the manner in which the Durbar recommended the war in
the Khybur to be carried on, Shere Singh promised to send the desired
instructions to Gholab Singh; and so the conference ended.

True to his word, the Maharajah at once despatched instructions to
Gholab Singh to co-operate heartily and steadily with General Pollock
and Captain Mackeson; and it is believed that at the same time Dhyan
Singh wrote privately to his brother in a similar strain of exhortation
and encouragement. But it was plain to Mr. Clerk that both the
Sovereign and his minister regarded, with feelings of painful anxiety,
the necessity of avoiding an open rupture with the British Government,
by aiding in the perilous work that lay before the troops posted at
Peshawur. Mr. Clerk remained at the Maharajah’s Court, which had
removed itself from Umritsur to Lahore, and exerted himself to keep up
the fidelity of our ally to the right point of effective co-operation.
But as time advanced, Shere Singh became more and more uneasy and
apprehensive. It appeared to him that a failure in the Khybur Pass
would bring down such a weight of unpopularity upon him that his very
throne would be jeopardised by the disaster. One day—it was the 4th
of April—holding Durbar in the Huzooree-Bagh, the Maharajah appeared
ill at ease. Having conversed a little while on general topics, but
with an abstracted air, he ordered the intelligence forwarded to him
by the Peshawur news-writers to be read to the British envoy; then
took him by the hand and led him to another seat in the garden. Alone
with the English gentleman the Sikh ruler opened out his heart to him.
He was concerned, he said, to learn that the British authorities at
Peshawur were making no progress in their negotiations for the purchase
of a safe passage through the Khybur, and were disinclined to accept
the offers of the old Barukzye Governor of Peshawur, Sultan Mahomed,
who had declared his willingness to “divide, scatter, and make terms
with” our enemies. He apprehended that there would be much fighting
and much slaughter; and it was only too probable that the Sikh troops
at Peshawur, seeing clearly the danger of the movement, and not by any
means understanding the advantages that would accrue to them from it,
would refuse to enter the pass. Or if they entered it, it was probable
that they would suffer severely at the hands of the Afghans—and in
either case, as he had been continually writing to Peshawur to impress
upon the officers there the necessity of effective co-operation with
the British, the odium would descend upon him, and perhaps cost him his
throne. It was easier to listen to all this than to reply to it. Clerk
saw as plainly as the Maharajah himself, that as the Sikh troops had
always evinced an insuperable repugnance to enter the Khybur Pass, even
when the glory of the Khalsa was to be advanced by the movement, and
the dominions of the Lahore Government to be extended, it was hardly
reasonable to expect them to show greater alacrity in the advancement
of the objects of another nation whom they cordially detested, and
whose disasters they regarded with secret delight.[56]

But whilst Shere Singh was thus expressing his misgivings at Lahore,
and the British agent was inwardly acknowledging the reasonable
character of the Maharajah’s doubts, the Sikh troops at Peshawur were
settling down into a state of quiet obedience, and making up their
minds to penetrate the Khybur Pass. The letters despatched by Shere
Singh and his minister to Avitabile and Gholab Singh had not been
without their effect. A confidential friend and adviser of the Sikh
ruler—Boodh Singh—had arrived at Peshawur, charged with messages from
the King and the minister, which were supposed to have had an effect
upon the Jummoo Rajah, sudden and great. Lawrence, too, had been busy
in the Sikh camp, and little anticipating the circumstances under which
it was decreed that they should one day meet in that lovely province
of the old Douranee Empire over which the Jummoo Rajah since exercised
undisputed dominion, had been holding long conferences with Gholab
Singh.[57] The good tact, good temper, and quiet firmness of General
Pollock, had been exercised with the best results, and the arrival of
further reinforcements of European troops had done much to give new
confidence to the Khalsa. And so it happened, that when General Pollock
prepared to enter the Khybur Pass, the Sikh troops had resolved not to
suffer their faces to be blackened before all India; and really, when
the hour for exertion came, did more for the honour of their own arms
and the support of the British Government than the most sanguine of our
officers had ventured to expect.

The dragoons and the horse artillery reached Peshawur on the 29th of
March, and Pollock at once made his preparations to enter the Khybur
Pass. On the 31st he pitched his camp at Jumrood, in the expectation
of advancing on the following morning; but new elements of delay
arose. The camel-drivers were deserting. Gholab Singh had not moved
up his camp. And, above all, the rain was descending in floods. It
would have dispirited the troops to have moved them forward at such a
time and rendered more difficult the advance of the baggage. Pollock
had done his best to diminish to the least possible amount the number
of carriage-cattle that were to move with him into the Khybur Pass.
But an Indian commander has no more difficult duty than this. Under
no circumstances is the general addiction to much baggage very easily
overcome. Men are not readily persuaded to leave their comforts behind
them. A fine soldierly appeal was issued to the army;[58] and men of
all ranks felt that it came from an officer who was not less ready to
make sacrifices himself than to call upon others to make them.[59]
Circumstances, too, at this time, tended to reduce the amount of
the baggage. The camel-drivers had deserted in such numbers, that
there was not even sufficient carriage for the ammunition. The 33rd
Regiment, which had just arrived at Peshawur, could not come up to the
encamping-ground for want of cattle; and another day’s halt was the
result of the delay.[60] In the meanwhile, the Sepoys were deserting
from Wild’s Brigade; and no satisfactory progress was making in the
negotiations which Mackeson had been carrying on for the purchase of
a free passage through the Khybur from the Afreedi Maliks.[61] But
there was one advantage in the delay. It gave time for the Sikh troops
to prepare themselves, after their own fashion, to co-operate with
our army, and General Pollock felt that whatever might be the amount
of active assistance to be derived from the efforts of our allies, a
combined movement would have a good moral effect.

The order of march was now laid down, and was well studied by
commanding officers. Brigadier Wild was to command the advance guard,
and General M’Caskill the rear. At the head of the column were to march
the grenadier company of the 9th Queen’s Regiment, one company of the
26th Native Infantry, three companies of the 30th Native Infantry, and
two companies of the 33rd Native Infantry, under Major Barnewell, of
the 9th. Then were to follow the Sappers and Miners, nine pieces of
artillery,[62] and two squadrons of the 3rd Dragoons. After these, the
camels, laden with all the treasure of the force and a large portion of
ammunition, were to move on, followed by a squadron of the 1st Native
Cavalry. Then the Commissariat stores, protected by two companies of
the 53rd Native Infantry, were to advance, and a squadron of the 1st
Cavalry were to follow. Then the baggage and camp-followers, covered
by a Ressalah of Irregular Horse, and a squadron of the 1st Native
Cavalry, were to move forward, with a further supply of ammunition, and
litters, and camel-panniers for the sick.

The rear-guard was to consist of three foot-artillery guns—the 10th
Light Cavalry—two Ressalahs of Irregular Horse—two squadrons of
the 3rd Dragoons—two horse-artillery guns—three companies of the
60th Native Infantry; one company of the 6th Native Infantry; and one
company of her Majesty’s 9th Foot.

These details formed the centre column which was to make its way
through the pass. Two other columns, composed entirely of infantry,
were told off into parties, and instructed to crown the heights on
either side of the pass. Two companies of her Majesty’s 9th Foot,
four companies of the 26th Native Infantry, with 400 jezailchees,
were placed under the command of Colonel Taylor, of the 9th Foot;
seven companies of the 30th Native Infantry, under Major Payne; three
companies of the 60th Native Infantry, under Captain Riddle; four
companies of the 64th Native Infantry, under Major Anderson, with
some details of Broadfoot’s sappers, and a company and a half of her
Majesty’s 9th Foot; the party being commanded by Major Davis, of the
9th, made up the right crowning column.

The left crowning column was to consist of two companies of her
Majesty’s 9th Foot, four companies of the 26th Native Infantry, and
200 jezailchees, under Major Huish, of the 26th Native Infantry; seven
companies of the 53rd Native Infantry, under Major Hoggan, of that
corps; three companies of the 60th Native Infantry, under Captain
Napleton, of that regiment; and four and a half companies of the
64th Native Infantry, and one and a half companies of her Majesty’s
9th Foot, under Colonel Moseley, of the 64th. With these last were
to go some auxiliaries, supplied by Torabaz Khan, the loyal chief
of Lalpoorah. The flanking parties were to advance in successive
detachments of two companies, at intervals of 500 yards.

The order of march having been thus arranged and judicious rules laid
down for the guidance of commanding officers,[63] Pollock marched
his force to Jumrood. On the 4th of April, whilst the troops were
encamped at that place, he issued further and more specific orders to
regulate the movements of the following morning. In the evening, the
General went round to all his commanding officers to ascertain that
they thoroughly understood the orders that had been issued for their
guidance; and to learn from them what was the temper of their men.
There did not seem to be much cause for inquietude on this score. The
_morale_ of the Sepoys had greatly improved.

At three o’clock on the morning of the 5th of April the army commenced
its march. It moved off in the dim twilight, without beat of drum or
sound of bugle. Quietly the crowning columns prepared to ascend. The
heights on either side were covered with the enemy, but so little was
the mode of attack, which the British General had determined upon,
expected by the enemy, that it was not until our flankers had achieved
a considerable ascent that the Khyburees were aware of their advance.
Then, as the morning dawned, the positions of the two forces were
clearly revealed to each other; and the struggle commenced.

Across the mouth of the pass the enemy had thrown up a formidable
barrier. It was made of mud, and huge stones, and heavy branches of
trees. The Khyburees had not wanted time to mature their defensive
operations; and they had thrown up a barricade of considerable
strength. It was not a work upon which our guns could play with any
good effect; but it was a small matter effectually to destroy the
barrier when once our light infantry had swept the hills. And that
work was soon going on gallantly and successfully on both sides,
whilst the centre column, drawn up in battle-array, was waiting the
issue of the contest. Nothing could have proved better than the
arrangements of the General; and no General could have wished his
plan of attack to be carried out with better effect. On the left, the
crowning column was soon in vigorous and successful action. On the
right, the precipitous nature of the ground was such that it seemed
to defy the eager activity of Taylor and his men. But he stole round
the base of the mountain unseen, and found a more practicable ascent
than that which he had first tried. Then on both sides the British
infantry were soon hotly engaged with the mountaineers, clambering up
the precipitous peaks, and pouring down a hot and destructive fire
upon the surprised and disconcerted Khyburees. They had not expected
that our disciplined troops, who had, as it were, been looking at the
Khybur for some months, would be more than a match for them upon their
native hills. But so it was. Our British infantry were beating them in
every direction, and everywhere the white dresses of the Khyburees were
seen flying across the hills. The Duke of Wellington had said, some
time before, that he “had never heard that our troops were not equal,
as well in their personal activity as by their arms, to contend with
and overcome any natives of hills whatever.”[64] And now our British
infantry and our Bengal Sepoys were showing how well able they were to
meet the Khyburees on their native hills. The mountain-rangers, whom
Macnaghten wished to raise, because Sale’s brigade had been harassed
by the Ghilzyes, could not have clambered over the hills with greater
activity than our British troops, and would not have been half as
steady or half as faithful.

It was now time for Pollock to advance. The centre column did not
attempt to move forward until the flankers had fought their way to
the rear of the mouth of the pass. But when he had fairly turned the
enemy’s position, he began to destroy the barrier, and prepared to
advance into the pass. The enemy had assembled in large numbers at the
mouth, but finding themselves outflanked—finding that they had to deal
with different men and a different system from that which they had seen
a few months before, they gradually withdrew, and, without opposition,
Pollock now cleared his way through the barricade, and pushed into the
pass with his long string of baggage. The difficulties of the remainder
of the march were now mainly occasioned by the great extent of this
convoy. Pollock was conveying both ammunition and provisions to Sale’s
garrison; and there were many more beasts of burden, therefore, than
were used by his own force. But skilfully was the march conducted.
Encumbered as he was, the General was compelled to move slowly forward.
The march to Ali-Musjid occupied the greater part of the day. The heat
was intense. The troops suffered greatly from thirst. But they all
did their duty well. Whatever doubts may have lingered to the last
in Pollock’s mind, were now wholly dispersed; and when he reached
Ali-Musjid in safety, and had time to think over the events of the day,
nothing refreshed him more than the thought that the Sepoys had fairly
won back the reputation they had lately lost.[65]

The enemy had evacuated Ali-Musjid in the morning, and now Ferris’s
jezailchees were sent in to garrison the place. A part of Pollock’s
force, with the head-quarters, bivouacked near the fortress. The night
was bitterly cold; but the command of the heights was maintained, and
the men, both European and Natives, who had been under arms since three
o’clock in the morning, did not utter a complaint. They appeared to
feel that they had done a great work; but that the utmost vigilance
was necessary to secure the advantage they had gained. The enemy were
still hovering about, and all night long firing upon our people. It was
necessary to be on the alert.

It was a great thing to have accomplished such a march with so little
loss of life, and no loss of baggage. Avitabile said that Pollock and
his force were going to certain destruction. Had he moved precipitately
with his main column into the pass, he would probably have been driven
back with great slaughter; but the precaution he took in crowning the
heights and turning the enemy’s position, secured him, though not
without some fighting the whole way, a safe passage. The enemy are said
to have lost about 300 men killed, and 600 or 800 wounded.

The Sikh troops moved up by another pass to Ali-Musjid. Pollock,
still doubtful of their fidelity, and not desiring to have them
too near his own troops, suggested that when he pushed forward by
the Shadee-Bagiaree Pass, they should take the other, known as the
Jubogee.[66] Pollock had entered into a covenant with Gholab Singh for
the occupation of the pass by the Sikh troops until the 5th of June.
It was necessary that he should keep open his communications with the
rear; and the Sikhs undertook to do it. But when Pollock marched to
Jellalabad, they began to bargain with certain Afreedi chiefs, hostile
to our interests, to keep open the pass for the stipulated time, for
a certain sum of money, thus making known to the tribes the time for
which they had covenanted to hold it.[67] Early in May the Sikhs
suddenly quitted their position at Ali-Musjid and returned to Jumrood,
seizing some of our baggage-cattle on the way, throwing their loads on
the ground, and employing the animals to carry their baggage.[68]

In the mean while, Pollock had reached Jellalabad. “We found the fort
strong,” he wrote to a friend; “the garrison healthy; and, except for
wine and beer, better off than we are. They were, of course, delighted
to see us. We gave three cheers as we passed the colours; and the band
of each regiment played as it came up. It was a sight worth seeing. All
appeared happy.”[69] It was, indeed, a happy meeting. Sale’s little
garrison had been shut up for five months in Jellalabad. They had long
been surrounded with perils, lessened only by their own daring. They
had looked in vain for succours, until they became so familiar with
danger that they had begun to feel secure in the midst of it. But they
were weary of their isolation, and were eager to see their countrymen
again. Right welcome, therefore, was the arrival of Pollock’s force;
and happy the day on which it appeared with streaming colours and gay
music. But the prospects of the garrison had brightened; and if Pollock
had to speak of his victories, Sale, too, had his to narrate.

Pollock, before he entered the pass, had received intelligence of
the gallant sortie made by the garrison on the 1st of April, when
they swept away from the covering parties of the enemy a flock of 500
sheep and goats, which had secured them a further ten days’ supply of
meat.[70] Writing of this to General Pollock, Macgregor had said:
“Our troops of all arms are in the highest pluck, and they seem never
so happy as when fighting with the enemy. I verily believe we could
capture Mahomed Akbar’s camp, even with our present means, were it our
game to incur the risk of an attempt of the kind.”[71] This was lightly
spoken; a mere outburst of the abundant animal spirits of the writer;
but Pollock was scarcely on the other side of Ali-Musjid, when he
received tidings which made it clear to him that now the light word had
become a grave fact, and the capture of Mahomed Akbar’s camp had been
actually accomplished.

And now that they had reached Jellalabad, every one in Pollock’s camp
was eager for details of this great victory. It was, indeed, a dashing
exploit. On the 5th of April, Macgregor’s spies brought in tidings
from Akbar Khan’s camp that Pollock had been beaten back, with great
slaughter, in the Khybur Pass. On the morning of the 6th, the Sirdar’s
guns broke out into a royal salute, in honour of the supposed victory.
Other reports then came welling in to Jellalabad. It was said that
there was another revolution at Caubul, and that the Sirdar was about
to break up his camp and hasten to the capital. In either case, it
seemed that the time had come to strike a blow at Akbar Khan’s army; so
a council of war was held, and the question gravely debated. It is said
that councils of war “never fight.” But the council which now assembled
to determine whether the Sirdar’s camp should be attacked on the
following morning, decided the question in the affirmative. Unsurpassed
in personal courage by any daring youth in his camp, and ever eager to
fight under another man’s command, Sale sometimes shrunk from energetic
action when it brought down upon him a burden of responsibility. But
Havelock was at his elbow—a man of rare coolness and consummate
judgment, with military talents of a high order, ripened by experience,
and an intrepidity in action not exceeded by that of his fighting
commander. He it was who, supported by other zealous spirits, urged
the expediency of an attack on the enemy’s position, and laid down the
plan of operations most likely to ensure success. Sale yielded with
reluctance—but he did yield; and it was determined that at daybreak on
the following morning they should go out and fight.

Sale issued directions for the formation of three columns of infantry,
the centre consisting of her Majesty’s 13th Light Infantry, mustering
500 bayonets, under Colonel Dennie; the left, under Lieutenant-Colonel
Monteith, C.B.; and the right, composed of one company of the 13th
Light Infantry and one of the 35th Native Infantry, and the detachment
of Sappers, under Lieutenant Orr (the severity of Captain Broadfoot’s
wound still rendering him non-effective), the whole amounting to
360 men, commanded by Captain Havelock, of her Majesty’s 13th Light
Infantry. These were to be supported by the fire of the guns of No. 6,
Light Field Battery, under Captain Abbott, to which Captain Backhouse,
of Shah Soojah’s Artillery, was attached, and by the whole of the small
cavalry force under Captain Oldfield and Lieutenant Mayne.[72] Such
were the components of the little force that was to attack the camp of
the Sirdar.

At daybreak they moved out of the fort by the western gate. Akbar Khan
was ready to receive them. He had drawn out his troops before the camp,
with his right resting on a fort, and his left on the Caubul river. He
had not less than 6000 men. The plan of action proposed by Havelock
was, that they should make a sudden and vigorous onslaught on the
Sirdar’s camp and drive him into the river, which at that time was a
rapid and unfordable torrent. But, abandoning this simple device, Sale,
on issuing from the gate, ordered Dennie forward to attack a small
fort, several hundred yards to the right, from which the enemy had
often molested us before, and in which they were now strongly posted.
Gallantly, at the head of his men, went Dennie to the attack—a brave
and chivalrous soldier ever in the advance—but an Afghan marksman
covered him with his piece, and the ball passed through Dennie’s
body.[73] The movement was a false one; it cost us the life of this
good soldier, and well nigh lost us the battle. The force being thus
divided, the Afghan horsemen came down impetuously on Havelock’s weak
infantry column; and if he had not persuaded the General to recall
the 13th from the fort, the action might have had a different result.
The recall was not too late. Sale now gave his orders for a general
attack on the Sirdar’s camp; and his orders were carried into effect
with an impetuosity and success worthy of the defenders of Jellalabad.
In the forcible language of the General’s despatch, on which I cannot
improve, “The artillery advanced at the gallop, and directed a heavy
fire upon the Afghan centre, whilst two of the columns of infantry
penetrated the line near the same point, and the third forced back
its left from its support on the river, into the stream of which some
of his horse and foot were driven. The Afghans made repeated attempts
to check our advance by a smart fire of musketry, by throwing forward
heavy bodies of horse, which twice threatened the detachments of
foot under Captain Havelock, and by opening upon us three guns from
a battery screened by a garden wall, and said to have been served
under the personal superintendence of the Sirdar. But in a short time
they were dislodged from every point of their position, their cannon
taken, and their camp involved in a general conflagration. The battle
was over—and the enemy in full retreat in the direction of Lughman by
about 7 A. M. We have made ourselves masters of two cavalry standards,
recaptured four guns lost by the Caubul and Gundamuck forces, the
restoration of which, to our government, is matter of much honest
exultation among our troops, seized and destroyed a great quantity of
materiel and ordnance stores, and burnt the whole of the enemy’s tents.
In short, the defeat of Mahomed Akbar in open field, by the troops whom
he had boasted of blockading, has been complete and signal.” Although
our cavalry were not stopped in pursuit, as some held they might have
been with advantage, the enemy’s loss was severe. “The field of battle
was strewed with the bodies of men and horses, and the richness of
the trappings of some of the latter seemed to attest that persons of
distinction had been among the casualties.” The loss on our side was
small. Eight privates of the 13th Native Infantry, and two of the 35th
Native Infantry, were killed. Three officers and about fifty men were

Great was the joy which the intelligence of the victories of Pollock
and Sale diffused throughout all India; and in no one breast did so
much of gladness bubble up as in that of Lord Ellenborough. He wrote,
that although it was his misfortune not to be a soldier by profession,
he knew how to appreciate soldierly qualities and soldierly acts. It
was then that, being at Benares at the time, he issued that well-known
notification which conferred on Sale’s brigade the honourable title by
which it has since been so well known—the title of the “Illustrious
Garrison.”[74] That garrison had now done its work, and taken its place
in history. Sale ceased to command at Jellalabad; and soon letters
from Lord Ellenborough set aside the political functions of Macgregor.
In Pollock and Nott, on either side of Afghanistan, had been vested
supreme political authority; and Macgregor soon took his place beside
the General, simply as his _aide-de-camp_. By Pollock’s side, too,
holding the office of his military secretary, was Shakespear, who had
done such good service in liberating the Russian slaves at Khiva; who
had won his spurs by this Central-Asian exploit, and returned to India
Sir Richmond Shakespear. Pollock knew the worth of these men, and
turned their experience to account. But the reign of the “Politicals”
was at an end. Lord Ellenborough had determined to dethrone them.

The Governor-General knew his men. He did well in trusting Pollock and
Nott. But after the melancholy illustration of the trustworthiness of
military officers of high rank displayed in the conduct of affairs
at Caubul, the time hardly seemed a happy one for opening out the
question of political and military responsibilities, and their relative
effects upon the interests of the state. It is right, however, now
that it has been stated how the whole system, which exercised so
great an influence over events in Afghanistan, was abolished by the
Governor-General, that something should be said upon the general
character of the diplomatic functionaries employed on the great field
of Central Asia.

There is no single controversial topic which has struck out so many
sparks of bad feeling—so much personality, so much bitter invective,
and I fear it must be added, so much reckless mendacity, as this
question of political agency. At one time a “Political” was, by many
writers, considered fair game. To hunt him down with all conceivable
calumny and vituperation, was regarded as a laudable achievement.
Every one had a stone to throw at him—every one howled at him with
execration, or shouted at him in derision. Temperate men on this topic,
became intemperate; charitable men, uncharitable; sagacity ceased to be
sagacious; discrimination ceased to discriminate. All alike lifted up
their voices to swell the chorus of popular indignation.

The Caubul outburst, with its attendant horrors, filled this cup of
bitter feeling to the brim. It would be difficult to embody, in a page
of mere description, the popular notion of an Afghan “Political.” He
was believed to be a very conceited, a very arrogant, a very ignorant,
and a very unfeeling personage; a pretender, who, on the strength of
a little smattering of Persian and some interest, perhaps petticoat
interest, in high places, had obtained an appointment, the duties of
which he was not capable of performing, and the trust involved in which
he was well-nigh certain to abuse. He was looked upon as a creature
whose blunders were as mischievous as his pretensions were ridiculous;
one, whose ideas of diplomacy were limited to the cultivation of a
moustache and the faculty of sitting cross-legged on the ground; who
talked largely about Durbar, rode out with a number of Sowars at his
heels; and was always on the point of capturing some fugitive chief,
and never achieving it after all. But this was only the more favourable
aspect of the picture. There was another and a darker side. He was
sometimes represented as a roaring lion, going about seeking whom he
should devour; unveiling Afghan ladies and pulling Afghan gentlemen by
the beard; inviting chiefs to a conference and then betraying them;
blowing Sirdars from guns; conniving at wholesale massacre; bribing
brothers to betray brothers, fathers their sons; keeping fierce dogs
to hound them at innocent countrymen; desecrating mosques, insulting
Moollahs, trampling on the Koran—in a word, committing every
conceivable outrage that cruelty and lust could devise. There was no
amount of baseness, indeed, of which these men were not supposed to be
capable; no licentiousness to which they were not addicted; no crimes
which they did not commit. This was the popular notion of an “Afghan
Political.” It was constantly illustrated in oral conversation and in
the local literature of the day. Men talked and wrote upon the subject
as though the question—if ever question there were—had long ago
been settled by common consent; and it was not until the war had been
brought to a close, that a doubt was raised respecting the validity of
the charges so generally brought against the Ishmaels of diplomacy in
the East.

Very much of this is now mere exploded slander. I cannot say that
the political officers, who distinguished themselves throughout the
Afghanistan campaign, have _lived down_ the calumny of which they were
the victims. Very few of the number survive. But a reaction, in public
opinion, is discernible,—a growing disposition to do justice, at
least to the memories of the dead. Men speak and write more temperately
on the subject. Exaggeration no longer over-strides all our utterances
on this topic; and, in some cases, full justice has been done to the
noble qualities of head and heart which have adorned, perhaps do adorn
men amongst us, under the great “Political” reproach.

It would serve no good purpose to run from one extreme into the other.
It is the evil of sudden reactions of popular feeling, that men escape
from one error only to be precipitated into another of an opposite
class. The system of political agency is not one of unmixed good; nor
are political agents exempt from the common frailties of humanity.
Many mistakes were unquestionably committed; sometimes a stronger word
might without exaggeration have been applied to the things that were
done in Afghanistan by our diplomatic agents. Diplomacy is, at all
times, a dangerous game. It has seldom, if ever, been played in any
part of the world, without some loss of purity, some departure from
integrity. In Europe, the diplomatist treads a tortuous path. Guile
is met with guile. Fraud is often counteracted by fraud. Minister
overreaches minister. One state jockeys another. And, in the affairs
of nations, arts are resorted to, which, in the concerns of private
life, would stamp the wily plotter with infamy not to be escaped. But,
in the East, in the midst of the worst contagion, tempted on every
side, stimulated by the fear of failure, irritated by the duplicity
of others, far greater is the difficulty of preserving intact the
diplomatic integrity which is exposed to so many corrupting influences.
I am not asserting the propriety of fighting all men with their own
weapons. I have no faith whatever in the worldly wisdom, apart from
all considerations of right and wrong, of playing off wile against
wile—meeting treachery with treachery—lie with lie. Such tactics
may succeed for a season; but, in the long run, truth and honesty
will be found the most effective weapons. All I desire to plead in
behalf of our Oriental diplomatists is the extraordinary temptations
to which they have been exposed. Many of them were necessarily without
experience in the difficult game; and, therefore, apprehensive of
failure—little confident in themselves, when called upon to encounter,
perhaps for the first time, the deep duplicity of Eastern intrigue.
Fearful of being drawn into a snare, and deeply impressed with a sense
of the responsibilities resting upon them, they have sometimes, in
their eagerness to bring negotiations to a successful issue, departed
from that strict line of integrity, which we could wish our countrymen
ever to maintain. This much at least must be admitted—but who has ever
gained a reputation as a skilful diplomatist without some deviation
from the straight path of open and truthful manliness of conduct?

“If a man is too stupid or too lazy to drill his company,” wrote
General Nott, “he often turns sycophant, cringer to the heads of
departments, and is made a ‘Political,’ and of course puts the
government to an enormous expense, and disgraces the character of
his country.” Nothing was ever more unlike the truth. The Afghan
“Politicals” were among the best soldiers in the country. Many of them,
as Todd, Rawlinson, Nicolson, &c., were practised drill-instructors and
had shown an especial fitness for this particular duty in disciplining
foreign troops or raw levies. And no one, who takes account of the most
honourable incidents of the Afghan War, will overlook the military
services rendered by Pottinger, Macgregor, H. M. Lawrence, Mackeson,
Broadfoot, Outram, and others, who are known to us as Political Agents.
There have been no finer soldiers in the Indian Army than some of those
who distinguished themselves during the war in Afghanistan, under the
unpopular designation of “Politicals.”


[January-April: 1842.]

 The Last Days of Shah Soojah—State of Parties at Caubul—Condition
 of the Hostages—the Newab Zemaun Khan—Letters of Shah Soojah—His
 Death—Question of his Fidelity—His Character and Conduct considered.

It is time that I should pause in the narration of the retributory
measures of the British-Indian Government, to dwell, for a little
space, upon the events at Caubul which succeeded the departure of
Elphinstone’s army. It had been rumoured throughout India—and the
rumour had created no little astonishment in the minds of those who
had believed that the Caubul insurrection was a movement against the
Feringhees and the King—that ever since the departure of the former
Shah Soojah had continued to occupy the Balla Hissar, and had been
recognised as the supreme authority by the very men who had recently
been in arms against him. And the rumour was a perfect echo of the
truth. Ever since the departure of the British army Shah Soojah had
reigned at Caubul.

He had reigned at Caubul, but he had not ruled. His power was merely
nominal. The chiefs wanted a puppet; and in the unhappy Shah they
found the only one who was ever likely to stand between them and the
vengeance of the British nation. Day after day they made their salaam
to him in the Balla Hissar; but so imperfect even was their outward
recognition of his regal dignity, that money was still coined in the
name of the Newab Zemaun Khan. The Newab, who had been raised to the
sovereignty by the voice of the chiefs soon after the first outbreak
of the insurrection, had cheerfully resigned the honour that had been
thrust upon him, and accepted the office of Wuzeer. Ameen-oollah Khan
was appointed Naib, or deputy. For a little time there was some outward
show of harmony; but there was no real union between the King and
the chiefs. The Barukzyes spoke scornfully of the King; and the King
could not refrain from expressing his mistrust of the whole tribe of
Barukzyes. Ameen-oollah Khan, openly swearing allegiance to both, seems
to have held the balance between the two opposing factions, and was in
reality the most influential man in the state. He had amassed, by fraud
and violence, large sums of money, which the other chiefs, straitened
as they were by an empty treasury, and unable to carry out any great
national measure, would fain have made him disgorge. From the Shah
himself they contrived to extort some three or four lakhs of rupees;
but when Akbar Khan wrote pressing letters to Caubul for guns and
ammunition, that he might lay siege to Jellalabad, no one would move
without pay, and money was not forthcoming.

All parties were jealous of each other; and especially jealous of the
rising power of Akbar Khan. The young Barukzye was in Lughman; and the
elder chiefs at Caubul, even if they had possessed the money to enable
them to answer these emergent indents upon their military resources,
would have been little inclined to send him the reinforcements and
munitions for which he was continually writing. They talked about
raising an army of their own, and opposing the retributory march of
the British through the Khybur Pass; but the want of money presented
an insuperable obstacle to any military movement on a scale that
would afford a prospect of success. The Shah himself talked openly in
Durbar about standing forward as defender of the faith, and declaring
a religious war against the Kaffirs; but he privately assured Conolly
that he was heart and soul with the British, and he wrote long letters
to the Governor-General, Clerk, Macgregor, and others, declaring his
inviolable fidelity, and eagerly clamouring for money.

In the mean while the English hostages remained under the protection
of Mahomed Zemaun Khan. Nothing could exceed the kindness of the good
old man. Faithful among the faithless, he was resolute to defend the
Christian strangers at all risks; and never, when the popular clamour
ran highest, and other men of note were thirsting for the blood of the
captives, did he waver for an instant in his determination to shield
the helpless Feringhees from the malice of his remorseless countrymen.
He was a Barukzye chief—a near relative of Dost Mahomed Khan; and
there was not among the Sirdars of all the tribes one in whom the
spirit of nationality glowed more strongly and more purely. But whilst
the independence of his country was as dear to him as to any of his
brethren, he did not burn with that fierce hatred against the English
which broke out in other places, nor did he ever, in the advancement
of the most cherished objects of his heart, stain his patriotism with
those foul crimes from which elsewhere there was little shrinking.
Regarding with abhorrence the conduct of those who had betrayed our
unhappy people, he himself did all that, single-handed, he could do,
to atone for the cruelty of his countrymen; and no father could have
treated his children more kindly than the good Newab cherished and
protected the English hostages who found a sanctuary in his house.

But it was necessary, whilst the excitement ran so high at Caubul,
and there was a prospect of violent contention among the chiefs, to
do something more than this. Ameen-oollah Khan never slackened in his
exertions to obtain possession of the persons of the hostages. Having
tried every kind of stratagem, and failed to secure them by fraud, he
would have resorted to open violence. It was necessary, therefore, to
oppose force to force; so the Newab raised an army of his own. His
pecuniary resources were limited; but he did not hesitate to spend
his little store freely in entertaining followers. Mainly for the
protection of the English gentlemen he raised a body of 1000 footmen,
whom he armed with English bayonets; another body of 1000 horse, and
some Jezailchees—in all, about 3000 men. The English guns, too, were
in his possession, and he refused to yield them up to the Shah.[75]

The King regarded his proceedings with mistrust. There was no sort of
cordiality between them. The old Suddozye and Barukzye strife seemed
about to be renewed with all its pristine vigour. At last the Shah,
about the middle of the month of March, corrupted the commandant of the
Newab’s army, who went over with all his followers to the Balla Hissar.
This event, which threatened entirely to change the state of parties at
the capital, threw all Caubul into a ferment. The shops were closed;
the people began to arm themselves. The Newab demanded the restoration
of his troops; but the King only yielded a conditional assent. He
appears at this time to have been entirely in the hands of Ameen-oollah
Khan; and he replied, that if the hostages were sent to the house of
the Loghur chief, the recreant commandant should be sent there at
the same time. The Newab, however, resolutely refused to give up the
English gentlemen. The proposal seems to have strengthened Conolly’s
suspicions of the fidelity of Shah Soojah. It nearly cost the hostages
their lives.

It now seemed that Caubul was about to become the theatre of
internecine strife. The gates of the Balla Hissar were half closed,
and the Shah never ventured beyond them. The chiefs were all
mustering retainers. The King was endeavouring to cast suspicion on
the nationality of the Newab; and the Newab’s party were doubting
the fidelity of the King. The Populzye leaders of the insurrection
clustered round the monarch, but he had neither popularity nor power.
Money he had; but making an outward show of poverty, he resolutely
refused to produce it; and the people began to abuse him for his
parsimony. In this conjuncture he continued to write to the British
authorities, declaring that he could do anything for them if they
would only send him money; but the British authorities were deaf to his
entreaties, and only sent him advice.[76]

But the difficulties of the Shah were now drawing to a close; his
days were numbered. Whilst he was awaiting the receipt of answers to
his letters, the excitement in Caubul was increasing—the division
among the chiefs was becoming more and more irreconcilable. Horribly
perplexed and bewildered, anxious at once to appear in the eyes of his
countrymen true to the national cause, and to retain the good-will of
the English by some show of fidelity to them, he fell into every kind
of inconsistency, was suspected by both parties, and either way was
rushing on destruction. At last the chiefs called upon him to prove
his sincerity by placing himself at the head of all the available
troops, and marching down upon Jellalabad. The Shah yielded a reluctant
consent; and, on the 29th of March sent round his criers to proclaim
that he was about to march southward on the 31st; that the chiefs were
to accompany him, and to send out their tents on the preceding day.
The summons was scantily obeyed. The Kuzzilbash chief declared that as
neither the King nor the minister had supplied him with money, he could
not move. The King said that he had no confidence in the chiefs, and
that, therefore, he would not go, but that Ameen-oollah might go for
him. And so the expedition was postponed. In the mean while, Akbar Khan
was writing urgent letters to Caubul clamouring for reinforcements, and
urging that it was wretched policy to be eternally at variance with one
another—quarrelling for money and quarrelling for rank—instead of
making common cause against the hated Feringhees.[77]

After a pause of a few days the King again consented to march. His
suspicion of the Barukzyes, however, was not easily to be allayed. Nor
was it wholly without reason. Even impartial lookers-on prophesied
that if he left Caubul he would either be murdered or blinded by the
Barukzyes.[78] Aware of these suspicions, the Newab sent his wife to
Shah Soojah with a sealed Koran, assuring the King with a solemn oath
that the Barukzyes and other chiefs would be true to him. Fortified
by this assurance, the Shah moved out of the Balla Hissar on the 4th
of April, but before nightfall returned to the palace, determined
on the following morning to review his troops and then to start for
Jellalabad. Rising early on the morning of the 5th, he arrayed himself
in royal apparel, and, accompanied by a small party of Hindostanees,
proceeded under a salute, in a chair of state, towards his camp, which
had been pitched at Seeah-Sungh. But Soojah-ool-dowlah, the son of
the Newab, had gone out before him, and placed in ambush a party of
Jezailchees. As the Shah and his followers were making their way
towards the regal tent, the marksmen fired upon them. The volley took
murderous effect. Several of the bearers and of the escort were struck
down; and the King himself killed on the spot. A ball had entered his
brain. Soojah-ool-dowlah then rode up; and as he contemplated his
bloody work, the body of the unhappy King, vain and pompous as he was
to the very last, was stripped of all the jewels about it—the jewelled
dagger, the jewelled girdle, the jewelled head-dress; and it was then
cast into a ditch.

The news of the King’s murder spread like wildfire. Great was the
consternation. Futteh Jung, the second son of the Shah, on receiving
the sad tidings of his father’s death, made with all speed towards
the Balla Hissar; but the gates were guarded; so he turned back and
sought refuge in the fort of Mahomed Khan, Bayat. That night however,
Mahomed Khan, in concert with Ameen-oollah, who held the Balla Hissar,
restored the Prince to the palace; and they agreed to proclaim him
King. The body of Shah Soojah was recovered, and for some days it
lay in state. The royal family declared that until sentence had been
passed upon the murderer it should not be buried. The Moollahs were
assembled to expound the punishment due to so atrocious an offender;
and they pronounced, on the authority of their religious books, that
the murderer of the King should be stoned to death. But Ameen-oollah
Khan interposed. He said that it was not a time to carry out such a
sentence; all parties were bound to league themselves together to fight
against the Feringhees; and intestine animosities ought therefore to be

To no one were the circumstances of the Shah’s death a source of
deeper horror and regret than to the good old Newab, the father of the
murderer. He is said to have sworn an oath never again to see his son
beneath his roof, or to suffer him to be named in his presence.[79]
Various circumstances have been assigned as the proximate causes of
the murder of the unfortunate Shah. It was said that he had drawn down
upon himself the increased animosity of the Barukzyes, by appointing to
the command of the army a son of Ameen-oollah Khan. Akbar Khan, too,
had recently been wounded by an accidental shot from a Pesh-Khidmut,
or attendant, which was said to have been designed to take the life of
the Sirdar; and it had been rumoured that Shah Soojah had bribed the
man to make the murderous attempt. That the Newab Zemaun Khan was not
implicated in the foul transaction, all men are willing to believe;
but it was intended to strengthen the party of which he was then the
acknowledged chief. It was the consummation of the great strife which
for forty years had been raging between Shah Soojah and the Barukzye
Sirdars. Indeed, it would have been little in accordance with the
general tenor of Afghan history if this unfortunate Prince had not died
a violent death. After so eventful a life, it would have been strange
indeed if he had sunk to rest peaceably on his bed.

Among the obscurer points of Afghan history, there is not one more
obscure than that which involves the question of the fidelity of Shah
Soojah. That doubts were cast upon his sincerity has been already
shown. Conscious of this, he entered upon a defence of his conduct
in a series of letters to the British authorities which I have now
given to the world. Written hastily, and under the influence of
strong excitement, they carry very little conviction with them. The
main object of these letters appears to have been the extraction of
money from the British treasury. The Shah continued to assert, that
having no money he had no power, but that if money were sent to him
he would be able to do great things for his late allies. Death makes
many revelations. The death of Shah Soojah revealed the mendacity and
the avarice of the man. Some twenty lakhs of rupees, besides jewels
of large value, were found to have been in his possession when he
died.[80] This disagreeable circumstance, though by no means conclusive
against the general fidelity of the Shah, certainly will not predispose
the inquirer to take an unduly favourable view of his conduct.

It must, however, be always kept steadily in view, that the
circumstances of Shah Soojah’s position were such as to surround him
with an atmosphere of doubt and suspicion. That the chiefs made use
of the King’s name at the outset of the insurrection, and produced an
inflammatory document said to bear the royal seal, is one of the most
notorious facts in the entire history of the war. The seal was genuine,
but the document was a supposititious one. Nothing is more common,
in times of popular excitement, than for the Afghans to endeavour to
injure one another by giving currency to forged instruments. It was
to the last degree improbable that, at this time, Shah Soojah should
have committed himself by putting the seal to any documents which
might have fallen into the hands of his European allies, and laid
bare the blackness of his treachery. But that he would have been glad
to have cast off the Feringhee alliance, and to have ruled without
the restraint of our superintendence and interference, is not to be
questioned. He may, therefore, have regarded with inward satisfaction
the progress of the insurrectionary movement, and rejoiced in its
ultimate success; but he does not appear to have been more than a
passive instrument in the hands of others. It was obviously his policy
to appear all things to all people. He could not venture to take any
decided course. He never in the prime of life had been conspicuous for
manliness of character; and now, in his old age, he was more than ever
a waverer and a waiter upon fortune. Perhaps, I should not err if I
were to say that he was true neither to his own countrymen nor to his
British allies. He was prepared to side with either the one or the
other, according to the direction in which the tide of success might
be seen to flow. He had no affection for the English; but he dearly
loved English money. He knew the value of British aid; but he would
fain have had it from a distance. From the very first he had disliked
the obtrusive manner in which it had been forced upon him. He wanted
the _prestige_ of British support without the incumbrance of British
control. To retain our friendship, and yet to rid himself of our
presence, was unquestionably the desire of the Shah; but it is doubtful
whether his desire would ever have shaped itself into any overt acts of
hostility against the government which had restored him to the throne
of his fathers. He was not deficent of gratitude, even if there had
been anything to call it forth;[81] but he had sufficient sagacity
to know that his political existence was dependent upon the will of
the British Government. And he was cautious not to do anything to
provoke its vengeance. The chiefs believed, at the commencement of the
November outbreak, that though the insurrection would soon be crushed,
such a manifestation of popular feeling would in all probability cause
the British authorities to tremble for the safety of their position,
and induce them to evacuate the country in the ensuing spring.
Encouraging a similar belief, Shah Soojah may have regarded with inward
satisfaction the outbreak of the revolution. But he was surprised and
alarmed by the rapidity of its progress; and was wholly unprepared for
the sanguinary termination of his connection with his Christian allies.
That he was in a state of painful depression and prostration throughout
the entire period of the insurrection is not to be questioned; and
it is scarcely less certain that he never wholly recovered from the
terror which then bewildered him. The irruption culminated somewhat
too violently for a man of Shah Soojah’s temperament; and when he
found what a convulsion had been raised around him, he shrunk back in
dismay. On either side dangers and difficulties started up in his path.
He strove to save himself by doing little, and being to all outward
seeming the friend both of the Afghan insurgents and their European
foes. Duplicity is never long successful. Doubted by both parties, the
king became an object of general contempt. He trimmed between the two
contending hosts, and escaped the rocks on neither side of the vessel.

On such a question as this, it is right that the opinions of the
leading political officers, who were best acquainted with the character
and the conduct of the Shah, and had the best opportunities of
investigating the circumstances of the Caubul insurrection, should be
summarily recorded. “To my mind,” wrote Captain Mackeson to Mr. Clerk,
“there has ever appeared but little doubt that his Majesty Shah Soojah
was, in the commencement, the instigator of the Caubul insurrection.
Had the first blow struck by the rebels been effectual, his Majesty
might, perhaps, have thrown off the mask earlier; but our troops in
cantonments held their position though surrounded by foes without
number, whilst those in the Balla Hissar held his Majesty in check.
Nay, the chances were at one time so much in favour of our success,
that his Majesty discarded his own instruments, refusing all their
solicitations to place himself at their head. To such an extent did
he carry his reluctant adherence to us, that at length the rebels, in
their turn, were obliged to seek for a leader among the Barukzyes. His
Majesty then husbanded his own resources, allowing the Barukzyes and
our people to fight out the battle. Sir William Macnaghten would not
have treated with Mahomed Akbar Khan had he not been convinced of the
treachery towards us of Shah Soojah.”[82]

Captain Macgregor’s opinion coincides, but with some amount of
qualification, with that of the last witness. “I agree with you”
(Mackeson), he wrote, “in thinking that the Shah was more or less
implicated in the insurrection; but when he saw that it took such a
serious turn, I really believe that he repented—even so soon as he
heard of Burnes’s assassination, and of the massacre of the other
officers in the city. His Majesty pressed Sir William to remove all the
British troops into the Balla Hissar, which in itself looked like a
friendly feeling towards us.”[83]

The opinion of Major Rawlinson sets in an opposite direction. It throws
a side-light from Candahar on the conduct of the Shah at this time.
“From everything I can learn, I should say that the Shah was certainly
well inclined to us; and, if assured of our again placing confidence
in him, would cordially support our advance. He has certainly done as
little as he could, keeping up appearances with the Mussulman party, to
complicate our position at this place, and I learn that for some time
past the prevalent opinion in the Douranee camp has been that the Shah
desired our success.”[84]

Captain Mackenzie’s opinion, as to the conduct and motives of the
Shah, involves some considerations not noticed by others: “The king
highly esteemed and loved Macnaghten personally, as indeed all the
Afghans did who came into direct intercourse with that accomplished
and courteous English gentleman. Macnaghten’s chivalrous consideration
for the proud but dependant monarch, who felt his somewhat false
position keenly, had been unvarying and unremitting: perhaps more so
than the public interests warranted. But we can afford to admire the
high tone and delicacy of the envoy’s motives, especially as few public
functionaries are likely to be misled by similar knightly scruples. The
king more than once openly discussed with Macnaghten the likelihood
of attempts to sow dissension between them, by the propagation of
reports of his want of faith towards his British allies, and he always
added: “You are yourself aware that you are as necessary to me as
my nails are to my fingers.” Burnes was a man of totally different
temperament from Macnaghten, and his demeanour towards the king was
neither conciliatory nor deferential. It is not saying too much, that
the king hated him; he was aware that his friend the Envoy was about
to depart from Caubul, thus leaving him in Burnes’s hands; and after a
careful consideration of the character of his proceedings from first to
last, of the nature of the motives by which he was generally actuated
(_i. e._ petty and personal), and also of the opinion of many of the
most intelligent Afghans, the most probable conjecture is, that Shah
Soojah was aware of the plot and combination against himself and the
Feringhees before the outbreak; that he hoped it would be sufficient to
detain Macnaghten in the country, but not enough to baffle our military
power; and that, when he became thoroughly alarmed on the morning of
the 2nd of November, he did his best to quell the insurrection, and
openly expressed his astonishment and disappointment at the apathy and
inefficiency of the English leaders and their troops. He can scarcely,
with due consideration for the peculiarities of the Asiatic mind, and
the desperate circumstances of his position, be judged by the European
standard of honour and morality, if he subsequently temporised with the
dominant Barukzyes. He well knew what he had to expect at their hands,
and he fully anticipated the fate which afterwards overtook him.”[85]

But of all the officers connected with the British Mission, John
Conolly was the one who enjoyed the best opportunities of arriving at
a correct estimate of the conduct of the Shah. During the insurrection
he was in attendance on the king at the Balla Hissar, and he was at
Caubul up to the time of his death. Conolly’s opinions are on record.
He seems at one time to have entertained the strongest possible
conviction that the Shah was true to his British allies. “I believe,”
he wrote on the 17th of January, “that he is heart and soul in our
interest; and it is contrary to all reason to suppose otherwise.” But
by the 15th of February his belief in the fidelity of the Shah seems to
have been shaken; for he wrote to Macgregor: “It is generally believed
and asserted throughout the town that his Majesty instigated the late
rebellion. I have never been able to prove the accusation, though I
cannot but think that he was, directly or indirectly, the cause of
the revolution.” A month afterwards, writing still more distinctly to
General Pollock, he cast further doubts on the fidelity of the Shah.
“I would suggest,” he said, “that some direct understanding be come
to with his Majesty. It is generally believed that he caused the late
rebellion; and his conduct lately has been strange, to say the least
of it. He tried to raise a popular tumult against us, hoping thereby
to ruin the Newab. He did not interest himself in any way about our
sick when their wretched, helpless condition was formally represented
to him in a petition from me—added to the circumstance alluded to of
his telling our host to send us to Ameen-oollah, who is our most bitter
enemy. He is, moreover, surrounded by the Populzye leaders of the late
insurrection, whose persons, I presume, our government will demand. I
have not received a letter from him for a month; but the fear of being
suspected of being in communication with us may be the cause of his
disregard of us.” And again, at the end of the month, writing to Major
Rawlinson, he said: “The king is generally abused, and reported as the
instigator of the late rebellion. He has proved himself, I think,
unworthy of our friendship. If we are not able to prove his villany,
his cunning will, no doubt, prompt him to side with us on the near
approach of our troops, for he is well aware that his subjects would
seize him if he ventured out of the Balla Hissar. He is, as the Afghans
say, like grain between two mill-stones.”[86]

Many more passages might be cited from the correspondence of our
political officers, to show the opinions entertained at this time by
those most competent to determine the question of the Shah’s fidelity.
But, after all, the question remains an open one. The future historian
may still lose himself in a sea of conjecture. From the facts before
us, and from all that is known of the character of Shah Soojah, the
inference is, as I have said, that the king was faithful neither to
his own countrymen nor to his British allies. He was at best a poor
creature. He had few good qualities. But it should in justice be
remembered, that he was surrounded by circumstances against which an
abler and a better man might have struggled in vain. He had long been
greatly perplexed and embarrassed by the anomalies of his position.
He was tired of playing the part of the puppet; and had begun to long
for an opportunity either of becoming king indeed, or of throwing down
the trappings and the cares of royalty, and ending his days in the
calm security of his old asylum at Loodhianah. He used to say that
Macnaghten did all the good that was done in Afghanistan—and all the
evil too; for that he himself did nothing. Unpopular measures of which
he was not the author were executed in his name; he was compelled
outwardly to sanction much of which he inwardly disapproved; he saw
dangers thickening around him without the power of averting them, and
painfully felt that he had always been a cipher, and had now become a
hissing and a reproach.

Under the directorship which we had forced upon him, Shah Soojah was
not happy. He was altogether a disappointed man. He did not find
the sweets of restored dominion what he expected them to be. He was
an isolated being. The sympathies neither of the Afghans nor of
the English were with him. All men suspected him. None loved him.
When, therefore, he talked about leaving Caubul, he was probably not
insincere; but he may have thought sometimes that if the English would
leave Caubul, he might enjoy his sovereignty more. If to have desired
to rid himself of an incubus, which sate so heavily upon him, was to be
faithless to the British, Shah Soojah was unquestionably faithless; but
this is a kind of infidelity so common to humanity of all ranks and in
all places, that to record it against the Shah is only to say that he
was a man.

But as regards the actions of the King, it is to be observed that Shah
Soojah was not a man of action. His early life had been one rather of
strenuous passiveness than of genuine activity. Since the British had
taken him in hand, he had actually done nothing. When the insurrection
burst over Caubul, he sate down and waited. After the departure of
the British, he sate down and waited. He was afraid of both parties;
and unwilling to declare himself openly until he could clearly see
how the contest would end. He had not strength of mind sufficient to
keep him faithful to any one. He was not even true to himself. The
question is less a question of fact than of character. The solution of
the difficulty is to be found in the idiosyncrasy of the man. He had
led a very eventful life; but the vicissitudes of his career had not
strengthened his character. Anything decided, active, or energetic, was
not to be expected from him. The infirmity of age was now superadded
to the infirmity of purpose which had characterised his greener
manhood; and if he had taken any decided part in the great contest
which followed the outburst of the Caubul insurrection, it would have
been an inconsistency at variance with the whole tenor of his past
life. As it was, the conduct of the man in this crisis was in keeping
with all that was known of his character and his antecedents. Shah
Soojah was not a hero; and he did not play a heroic part. The British
Government had picked him out of the dust of Loodhianah, simply as a
matter of convenience to themselves; and they had no reason to complain
that, in a great and imminent conjuncture, he thought less of their
convenience than his own. He proved himself at the last to be very much
what we had helped to make him. We could not expect him to be an active
workman, when we had so long used him as a tool.



[November, 1841-April, 1842.]

 Affairs at Candahar—Evil Tidings from Caubul—Maclaren’s
 Brigade—Spread of the Insurrection—Arrival of Atta Mahmed—Flight
 of Sufdur Jung—Attack on the Douranee Camp—Continued
 Hostilities—Attack upon the City—Action in the Valley of the
 Urghundab—Fall of Ghuznee—Defence of Khelat-i-Ghilzye—Movements of
 England’s Brigade.

The attention of the reader ought now no longer to be withheld from
that part of the country where General Nott and Major Rawlinson were
gallantly and successfully holding out against the insurgent Douranees,
and maintaining the character of the British nation before the tribes
of Western Afghanistan. At the beginning of November, wrote Rawlinson,
in a summary of events, drawn up with such masterly distinctness and
comprehensiveness, that the historian has little to do, in this place,
but to submit himself to its guidance;[87] “affairs wore a more
tranquil and promising appearance in the Candahar province than I had
ever witnessed since my assumption of the charge of the agency. Akram
Khan, the leader of the Derawat rebellion, captured by Lieutenant
Conolly, had been executed at this place by his Majesty’s orders.
Eight of the most influential of his colleagues had been sent by me,
according to the orders of the Envoy, under the charge of Lieutenant
Crawford, to Caubul; that officer having my written instructions to
destroy his prisoners in the event of an attempt at rescue. The Hazareh
and the Belooch tribes had been effectually conciliated; the Douranees
of the northern and western districts had been humbled and overawed.”

The troops then at Candahar consisted of her Majesty’s 40th Regiment;
the 2nd, 16th, 38th, 40th, and 43rd Regiments of Bengal Native
Infantry; Captain Blood’s battery (Bombay Artillery); the Shah’s
Horse Artillery, under Captain Anderson; some regiments of the
Shah’s infantry, and some detachments of Irregular Horse (Shah’s
and Skinner’s), the weakness of the force lying in this arm. The
tranquillity of the country seemed to authorise the diminution of this
force, and a brigade, comprising the 16th, 42nd, and 43rd Regiments of
Bengal Native Infantry, was about to proceed, under Colonel Maclaren,
to the provinces of Hindostan. On the 7th of November it commenced
its march; but on the evening of that day some startling intelligence
was brought into Candahar. A detachment of 130 men under Captain
Woodburn—that officer who, in the month of July, had so distinguished
himself on the banks of the Helmund, in action with the Douranee rebels
under Akhtar Khan—was proceeding from Candahar to Caubul, when, on
the 2nd of November, after they had passed Ghuznee, they were attacked
by swarms of Afghans, through whom, with consummate gallantry and
skill, Woodburn fought his way to the little fort of Syedabad. The
place was occupied by a man supposed to be friendly to us;[88] and the
English officer, surrounded as he was by the enemy, gladly accepted his
offer of protection. But there was no safety within the fort. For a day
and a night he held his position against a besieging enemy, and nobly
he defended himself. But his ammunition fell short; and then there came
tidings of the success of the insurgents at Caubul. On this, the chief
admitted parties of the enemy into the towers of his own Harem, which
overlooked the court-yard, in which the Sepoys were quartered. Then the
massacre commenced. Many of the Sepoys were killed on the spot. Others
threw themselves over the walls, and were shot down outside the fort.
Woodburn himself, with a few of his men, took post in a tower of their
own court, and for some hours they gallantly defended themselves. But
they fell at last. The enemy burnt them out; and massacred them almost
to a man.

On receipt of this intelligence Rawlinson at once recommended the
General to halt Maclaren’s brigade. It was accordingly brought back to
Candahar. It was plain that some mischief was brewing in the country
to the north. A week of doubt and anxiety passed; and then letters
came from Macnaghten and Elphinstone, announcing that Caubul was in a
state of insurrection, and ordering Maclaren’s brigade to be despatched
at once to the capital. These letters came on with indorsements from
Colonel Palmer at Ghuznee, and Major Leech at Khelat-i-Ghilzye, which
showed that in the intervening country there were signs of the coming
storm.[89] On the 17th of November, accompanied by a troop of horse
artillery, the three regiments commenced their march to the northward.

Anticipating that some evil might arise from the presence of the
Prince, Sufder Jung, in the province, after his supercession by his
elder and better disposed brother, Rawlinson had invited him to come in
from Zemindawer, and he now suggested the expediency of his proceeding
to Caubul, with Captain Hart’s Janbaz regiment, which was to follow in
the rear of Maclaren’s brigade. The Prince yielded to the suggestion,
and went. The fidelity of the Afghan horse was doubtful, and Rawlinson
was glad to rid himself of the presence both of a discontented Prince
and a body of treacherous Afghan horsemen—soldiers raised, mounted,
armed, equipped and disciplined by Shah Soojah and his British
supporters, seemingly for the one sole purpose of drawing their swords
against the very power to which they owed their military existence.

All through the month of November Candahar remained tranquil. But it
was obvious that the course of insurrection was setting towards the
West. Tidings came in from the country about Ghuznee, which showed that
the road to the capital was infested by the insurgents. Lieutenant
Crawford, who was escorting the Douranee prisoners to Caubul had been
attacked by overwhelming numbers near Ghuznee; and had suffered his
prisoners to escape; or rather, had lost them, with all his baggage,
and a considerable number of his horses and men.[90] Soon afterwards
Guddoo Khan, an Afghan officer in the service of the Shah and his
British supporters, who had accompanied Crawford’s detachment—a
man of unimpeachable integrity and unquestionable gallantry and good
conduct—was on his return from Ghuznee to Candahar “overpowered by
numbers and slain, with seventeen of his best men, losing at the
same time forty-five horses, and all the arms and baggage of the
Ressaleh.” These incidents seemed to portend the near approach of the
thunder-clouds that were breaking over Caubul. Candahar was as yet only
beneath the skirts of the storm.

On the 8th of December Maclaren’s brigade returned to Candahar. How
it happened that these regiments had failed to make good their march
to Caubul is not to be satisfactorily explained. It is still stated
by officers who accompanied the detachment, that the difficulties of
the march have been greatly exaggerated; and that, at all events, they
might have been overcome. Nott sent the brigade with a reluctance
which he took no care to conceal. It was his wish to retain the
three regiments at Candahar; and he was not a man to shrink from the
utterance of his feelings on such a subject as this. “Remember,” he
said to Maclaren and his staff, when they presented themselves at the
General’s quarters to take leave of their old commandant, “the despatch
of this brigade to Caubul is not my doing. I am compelled to defer to
superior authority; but in my own private opinion I am sending you
all to destruction.” The brigade marched; but, starting under such
auspices, there was little likelihood of its reaching its destination.
There were few officers in the force who did not know that, on the
first colourable pretext, it would be turned back.

A pretext very soon presented itself. Two marches beyond
Khelat-i-Ghilyze there was a light fall of snow. On the following day
there was more snow, and some of the commissariat donkeys died upon
the road. On the next, Maclaren halted the brigade, and ordered a
committee to assemble and report upon the state of the commissariat
cattle, with reference to their fitness for the continuance of their
march to Caubul. The committee assembled; registered the number of
deaths among the carriage-cattle during the two preceding days; and
reported that as winter had now set in, and as the loss of cattle
would increase every march that was made to the northward, it would
be impracticable for the force to reach Caubul at all in an efficient
state. On this, about the end of November, Maclaren ordered the brigade
to retrace its steps.

But the snow had now ceased. The little that had fallen soon melted
away, and for weeks not another flake fell throughout the entire
country. The weather was remarkably fine and open; and there is not a
doubt that the brigade might easily have made good its way to Caubul.
But it does not appear ever to have been seriously intended that the
force should reach its destination. Maclaren and his officers knew
well that the return of the brigade to Candahar would be welcome to
General Nott, and that there was not likely to be a very close inquiry
into the circumstances attending the retrograde movement. There was in
reality little more than a show of proceeding to the relief of Caubul.
The regiments were wanted at Candahar; and to Candahar they returned.
How far their arrival might have helped to save Elphinstone’s force
from destruction can only be conjectured. But it is said that both the
English and the Afghan hosts looked with eager anxiety to the arrival
or the repulse of Maclaren, as the event which was to determine the
issue of the pending struggle. The relief of Ghuznee, would in itself
have been great gain to us, for it would have opened the road between
that place and Caubul, and have sent many of the rebellious tribes
to their home; and that the appearance of reinforcements would have
determined many waverers, the venal and vacillating Kuzzelbashes
included, to side with the British, may be recorded as a certainty.
It is right, however, to admit the belief, that if Nott had known to
what straits the Caubul army would soon be reduced, he would not have
uttered a word to encourage the return of the relieving brigade to

But whatever may have been the causes of the failure, soon after the
retrograde movement of Maclaren’s brigade became known, unmistakeable
signs of inquietude were discernible in the neighbourhood of Candahar.
Mahomed Atta Khan had been detached by the Caubul party to raise an
insurrection in Western Afghanistan. No sooner had the chief reached
the frontier than such unequivocal symptoms of popular excitement began
to manifest themselves, that Major Rawlinson at once perceived the
necessity of adopting active measures for the suppression of disorder
and the maintenance of the tranquillity of the surrounding country.
His efforts in the first instance were directed to the avoidance of
any actual collision with the people, and the preservation of outward
smoothness and regularity in the administration of affairs. With this
primal object, he withdrew from the outlying districts all the detached
troops, and concentrated them at Candahar. A single party of Janbaz,
protected by the Hazarehs from the possibility of attack, were left
in Tezeen, whilst all the other troops, Hindostanee and Afghan, were
posted in and around the city of Candahar. But this was not enough.
The safety of our military position might be provided for; but it was
not sufficient to feel confident of our ability to overcome any enemy
that might venture to attack us. It was obviously expedient to strike
rather at the root than at the branches; to prevent the growth of
rebellion rather than to beat it down full-grown. At all events, it
was politic to secure such a division of parties as would annihilate
even the possibility of a powerful coalition against us. Relying upon
the general unpopularity of the Barukzyes with the Douranee tribes,
whom the Sirdars had so long and so severely oppressed, Major Rawlinson
exerted himself to get up a Douranee movement in our favour. He bound
the chiefs, by all the most solemn oaths that Mahomedanism affords,
to stand firm in their allegiance to Shah Soojah and the Shah-zadah
Timour. The priesthood ratified the bond; and the families of the
Douranee chiefs were placed as hostages for their fidelity in the
hands of the British officers. The chiefs themselves, with Prince
Timour’s eldest son at their head, and accompanied by Meerza Ahmed,
the Revenue-manager of Candahar, a man of considerable talents and
unsuspected fidelity, to whom Major Rawlinson had entrusted a lakh
of rupees for the management of the movement, were despatched to the
eastern frontier to raise the tribes against the Barukzyes and their
Ghilzye allies. In the meanwhile the British at Candahar remained
apparently unconcerned spectators of the contest, which, it was hoped,
would resolve itself into a question of Suddozye or Barukzye supremacy
in the Douranee Empire.

The objects contemplated by Major Rawlinson were, however, only
partially attained. He succeeded in gaining time, and in removing the
Douranee chiefs from the neighbourhood of our camp. “The Douranees
quitted Candahar in the middle of December, delayed for a considerable
time the advance of Mahomed Atta Khan, and prevented to the utmost of
their power the spread of religious fanaticism among their tribes.”
But the good faith so apparent at the outset was destined soon to be
overclouded. As long as the Douranees believed that to carry out the
wishes of the British was really to fight the battle of the Suddozyes,
they were true to our cause; but they soon began to give credit to
the report that Shah Soojah himself was in the ranks of our enemies,
and then they fell away from us. Even Meerza Ahmed, in whom so much
confidence had been reposed, turned his fine talents against us, and
became the mainspring of a hostile Douranee movement.

But they did not at once declare themselves. For a while the Douranees
quietly watched the progress of affairs. Those events as they
developed themselves seemed more and more favourable to the spread of
insurrection in western Afghanistan. As the old year wore to a close,
it seemed that our difficulties were thickening, and the new year came
in with a crowd of fresh embarrassments. Sufder Jung had returned to
Candahar. On the retrogression of Maclaren’s brigade he had declared
that he could not trust the Janbaz to escort him to Caubul, and again
set his face towards the south. The presence of these traitorous
horsemen at Candahar had always been a source of considerable anxiety
to Major Rawlinson. The 1st Regiment of Afghan horse had been in
Zemindawer; and when the political agent recalled the other troops from
that part of the country, it was his intention that the Janbaz should
remain at Ghirisk. Their enmity to the surrounding tribes was so well
known, that there was less chance of their uniting with the rebels in
that part of the country than in any other. Owing, however, to the
miscarriage of a letter, Rawlinson’s intentions were defeated. The
Janbaz returned to Candahar with the other details of the Zemindawer
detachment, on the 9th of December. But Rawlinson was determined
to remove them. He suspected their treachery; but sooner than he
anticipated, they threw off all disguise, and openly arrayed themselves
against us.

Before daybreak on the 27th of December the men of the Janbaz regiments
were to have commenced their march to Ghirisk. There were 250 men of
the 1st Regiment under Lieutenant Golding, and 150 of the 2nd under
Lieutenant Wilson. Lieutenant Pattinson was to accompany them in
political charge. The object of the movement was two-fold—to escort
treasure and ammunition to Ghirisk, and to remove from Candahar a
body of men whose fidelity was more than suspected. Two hours after
midnight the party was to have moved and made a double march, for the
purpose of clearing the villages on the Urghundab, which had been
greatly excited during the few preceding days. Golding was ready at the
appointed hour; but, through some misconception of orders, Wilson’s
men were not prepared to march. So the movement was countermanded.
Golding and Pattinson, therefore, returned to the tent of the former,
and laid themselves down again to sleep. The 1st Janbaz regiment had
been drawn up ready for the march with their cattle loaded, and the
postponement of the movement now took them by surprise. They had laid
a plot to mutiny and desert upon the march, and they believed that the
conspiracy had been detected. After waiting for half an hour, drawn up
in the chill air of early morning, they determined at once to throw
off the mask; so they streamed into Golding’s tent with their drawn
swords, and attacked the two officers in their beds. When they thought
that their bloody work was complete, they rushed confusedly out of the
tent, mounted their horses, and fled. The treasure was plundered, and
some horses belonging to Golding and Pattinson were carried off; but
nothing else was touched by the assassins. Pattinson was stunned by a
blow on the head, but recovering his senses, he made his way out of the
tent, wounded as he was in seven places, mounted a horse which his
Meerza had saddled on the spot, and effected his escape.[91] Golding
was less fortunate. He rushed out of his tent, and fled on foot towards
the cantonments; but the Janbaz followed and cut him down when within a
short distance of our camp.[92]

A party of the Shah’s horse under Captain Leeson, and a detachment of
Lieutenant Wilson’s Janbaz, who had remained true to us in the face of
strong temptation, were sent out against the mutineers. The detachment
came up with the rebels about twelve miles from Candahar. There was a
brief but sturdy conflict. The mutineers charged in a body, but were
gallantly met by Leeson’s men; and after a hand-to-hand struggle, were
broken and dispersed.[93] Thirty of their number were killed by our
cavalry, who followed up their advantage; many more were wounded, and
the remainder fled in confusion to the camp of Atta Mahomed.

Two days after the defection of the Janbaz, Prince Sufder Jung fled
from Candahar, and joined the camp of Atta Mahomed. The Sirdar had
fixed his head-quarters at Dehli, about forty miles from Candahar,
and there, early in January, Rawlinson was eager to attack him. The
political agent saw clearly the expediency of crushing the insurrection
in the bud. Every day was adding to the importance of the movement,
and swelling the number of the insurgents. Some of the tribes were
standing aloof, unwilling to declare themselves against us, yet in
hourly expectation of being compelled to secure their own safety by
ranging themselves under the banners of the Prince. But the General was
unwilling to divide his force; and refused to send a brigade to Dehli.
Whilst Rawlinson urged strong political considerations in favour of
promptitude of action, Nott, with equal firmness, took his stand upon
military grounds, and argued that it would be inexpedient, at such a
season of the year, to send a portion of his force a distance of forty
miles from Candahar to beat up the quarters of a fugitive Prince.
“Sufder Jung,” wrote Rawlinson, “has fixed his abode at Dehli, and has
declared himself the leader of an insurrection, aiming at our expulsion
from the country. Up to the present time no very considerable number
of men have joined his standard, and the only chiefs in attendance of
any note, are those who have accompanied Mahomed Atta Khan from Caubul,
together with the Ghilzye leaders, Sumud Khan, Meer Alim Khan, and the
Gooroo. It would thus be an easy matter by the detachment of a brigade
to Dehli to break up the insurgent force, and whether the rebels fought
or fled, the consequences would be almost of equal benefit with regard
to the restoration of tranquillity. But I anticipate a very serious
aggravation of affairs if we allow the Prince to remain unmolested
for any length of time at Dehli, or to move from that place in the
direction of Candahar with the avowed purpose of attacking us. Our
inactivity would not fail to be ascribed by the great body of the
Ooloos to an inability to act on the offensive, and an impression of
this sort having once gained ground, the natural consequences, in the
present highly excited state of religious feeling, would be a general
rise of the population against us.”[94]

Reason and experience were both on the side of this argument, and
Rawlinson stated the case clearly and well. But Nott took a soldier’s
view of the question. He argued, that to send out a brigade at such
a season of the year, so far from its supports, would be to destroy
his men in the field, and to expose the city to the attacks of the
enemy. “I conceive,” he wrote in reply to Rawlinson’s letter, “that
the whole country is in a state of rebellion, and that nothing but
the speedy concentration of the troops at this place has saved the
different detachments from being destroyed in detail, and the city of
Candahar from being besieged.... Because this young Prince is said to
have assembled 1000 or 1500 followers at a distance of forty miles from
Candahar, it would, indeed, be truly absurd were I, in the very depth
of winter, to send a detachment wandering about the country in search
of the rebel fugitive, destroying my men amidst frost and snow, killing
the few carriage-cattle we have left, and thus be totally disabled at
the proper season from moving ten miles in any direction from the city,
or even have the means of falling back, should that unfortunately ever
become necessary.”[95]

The movements of the rebel army soon settled the question between
them. No attempt having been made to dislodge the insurgent chiefs,
they quietly moved down the valley of the Urghundab, and on the 12th
of January took post on the river, about five miles to the west of the
city of Candahar.

General Nott lost no time in moving out to attack them. Taking with
him five and a half regiments of infantry, the Shah’s 1st Cavalry, a
party of Skinner’s Horse, and sixteen guns,[96] a formidable body of
troops, weak only in the mounted branch—he made a four hours’ march
over a few miles of country, and came upon the enemy,[97] posted
near the fortified village of Killa-chuk, on the right bank of the
Urghundab. The British troops crossed the river, and at once advanced
in column of battalions, flanked by the artillery and cavalry, to the
attack. The action was of brief duration. At the end of twenty minutes,
during which our guns and musketry, telling with deadly effect upon
the heavy masses of the enemy, were answered by a wild and ineffective
fire from their ranks, the rebel army was in confusion and flight. The
Ghilzyes fled in one direction; the Janbaz in another; the people from
the villages[98] hastened to their own homes. Atta Mahomed attempted
to make a stand; but our troops moved forward—carried the village by
storm—and slaughtered every man, woman, and child, within its walls.
The British line was then reformed, and Atta Mahomed prepared to meet
a second attack. But the cavalry, with two horse-artillery guns, were
now slipped upon the enemy, who broke and fled in dismay; and the
humiliation of Atta Mahomed and his princely ally was complete.[99]

The Douranee chiefs now began to throw off the mask. They moved down to
the assistance of the rebel army, but the battle had been fought before
they could arrive upon the field, and they only came up in time to
see their countrymen in panic flight.[100] Sufder Jung, Atta Mahomed,
and the other rebel chiefs found an honourable refuge in the Douranee
camp; and from that time, they who had left Candahar as our friends,
presented a front of open hostility to our authority.[101]

Meerza Ahmed was the head-piece of the Douranee party. Nott had
pronounced him a traitor.[102] Rawlinson had now ceased to believe in
his fidelity; but he had never ceased to respect his talents. He knew
him to be an Afghan of rare ability, and he believed that the sagacity
of the Meerza would not suffer him to doubt the difference between
the power of his countrymen and that of the British Government. But
the Meerza had sounded the depth of the difficulties which surrounded
us with no little accuracy, and had estimated aright the nature
of the crisis. He saw in the distance our compulsory abandonment
of Afghanistan, and doubted the wisdom of leaguing himself with a
declining cause.

From the 20th of January to the last day of February the Douranees
remained encamped in the neighbourhood of Candahar. Nothing but the
genius of Meerza Ahmed could have kept together, throughout so long
a season of comparative inactivity, all the discordant elements of
that Douranee force. The winter had set in with its snowy accessories.
Nott was unwilling to expose his troops to the severities of the
winter season; and the enemy seemed equally disinclined for war whilst
the snow was on the ground. But during this period of suspended
hostilities very different were the occupations of the two contending
forces—very different the feelings with which they contemplated the
renewal of the struggle. The attitude of the British at this time
denoted a consciousness of strength. There was no despondency—there
was no excitement. Our officers and men, having nothing to do in the
field, fell back again into the ordinary routine of cantonment life,
as though the country had never been convulsed or disturbed. They rode
steeple-chases; they played at rackets; they pelted one another with
snow-balls. The dreadful snow which had destroyed the Caubul army was
only a plaything in the hands of their brethren at Candahar.[103]

The enemy, on the other hand, were kept continually in a state of
restless and absorbing activity. Meerza Ahmed saw the danger of
suffering the Douranee chiefs, disunited and jealous of each other
as they were, to dwell too intently upon the embarrassments of their
own position. He gave their thoughts an outward direction; and, by
skilful management, kept them both from risking prematurely a general
engagement with the British, and from breaking out into internal
dissensions.[104] “Meerza Ahmed alone,” says Major Rawlinson, in the
masterly despatch I have already quoted, “could have so long preserved
union among the discordant elements of which this camp was composed; he
alone could have managed, by the most careful revenue arrangements, to
have supported the concourse which was assembled round the standard of
Sufder Jung; he alone, perhaps, could have prevented the Douranees from
risking an action in which they were sure to be defeated; his measures
throughout have been most skilful and well sustained. The chiefs were,
in the first place, sent to recruit in the different districts where
their influence chiefly prevailed; revenue was raised in the usual form
for the support of the troops in anticipation of the coming harvest,
the ryots receiving an acquittance from Meerza Ahmed in case the
management should continue in his hands, and being assured that if our
power prevailed we were too just to subject the cultivators to a double
exaction; statements of the Shah’s connivance in the Caubul revolution
were industriously circulated; incessant attempts were made to tamper
with our Hindostanee troops (not altogether without success), and
letters were designedly thrown into our hands to render us suspicious
of such chiefs as adhered to us, whilst the most stringent measures
were adopted to deter the villagers around the city from bringing
supplies into Candahar. Such was the line of policy pursued by Meerza
Ahmed from the 20th of January to the 20th of February. In this interim
General Nott had laid in five months’ supplies for the troops; he
had repaired the fortifications to a certain extent; and, intending
on the 12th of February to march out and attack the enemy, he had
concurred in the advisability of disarming the population preparatory
to the movement of our troops.[105] Severe weather, however, rendered
a march impracticable at the time he meditated; and before it became
sufficiently mild to enable him to take the field, the tactics of the
enemy had undergone a total alteration in consequence of advices from

But there were many circumstances at this time to create uneasiness
in the minds of those to whom was entrusted the direction of affairs
at Candahar. The garrison was not threatened with a scarcity of
provisions; but fodder for the cattle was very scarce. The horses
were becoming unserviceable from lack of nourishment; the sheep were
so miserably lean as to be scarcely worth killing for food. It was
intensely cold; and fuel was so scarce, that the luxury of a winter
fire was denied even to the sick. The hospitals had their inmates;
but there were no medicines. And above all, money was becoming so
scarce, that the most serious apprehensions were entertained by Major
Rawlinson, who knew that there was no weapon of war so serviceable
as the money-bag in such a country as Afghanistan.[106] Under such
circumstances it may readily be supposed how anxiously the arrival of a
convoy from the southward was looked for, and how necessary it seemed
that the communications with Sindh should be opened in such a manner as
to secure the arrival of treasure and supplies.

But whilst the hopes of the garrison were directed towards the country
to the southward, their thoughts, with fear and trembling, turned
themselves towards the North. On the 21st of February a messenger
arrived at Candahar, bringing a letter from General Elphinstone
and Major Pottinger, ordering the evacuation of Candahar and
Khelat-i-Ghilzye.[107] The original had been written nearly two months
before; and that which now reached Major Rawlinson was a copy forwarded
by Leech from Khelat-i-Ghilzye.[108] There was no doubt in Rawlinson’s
mind about the genuine character of the document; but he could not
bring himself to recognise for a moment the obligations which it was
intended to impose upon him. He could not, however, help perceiving
that the turn which political affairs had taken in Caubul placed him in
a strange and anomalous position. Shah Soojah was now the recognised
sovereign of Afghanistan, ruling by the consent and with the aid of the
Barukzye chiefs; and it could no longer be said that the presence of
the British troops was necessary to the support of the Suddozye Kings.
The Douranee chiefs saw this as plainly as Rawlinson; and they did
not fail to take advantage of the circumstance. They now endeavoured
to reason the British out of Candahar when they found it difficult to
expel them; and Rawlinson and Nott found it less easy to rebut their
arguments than to repel their assaults.

On the 23rd of February, Rawlinson received a packet of letters from
the Douranee camp, the contents of which supplied much food for earnest
reflection. Sufder Jung and the Douranee chiefs wrote to the British
agent, setting forth that, as it had always been declared that the
British merely occupied the country in support of Shah Soojah, and as
the Shah was now recognised by the chiefs and the people, and had no
longer any need of our support, it was incumbent upon us to withdraw
from the country. If, it was added, the British would now consent
to retire from Candahar, an unmolested passage to Quettah would be
guaranteed to them; but that, if they insisted on maintaining their
position, they must expect that the fate of the Caubul army would be
theirs. Meerza Ahmed, in a private letter to Rawlinson, besought him
to retire before the whole Douranee nation rose against the British.
But perhaps the most important of the letters brought in that morning,
was one from Shah Soojah to Prince Timour, to the following effect:
“You must understand that the disturbances which you have, no doubt,
heard of at Caubul, have been a contest between the followers of Islam
and the unbelievers. Now that the affair is decided, all the Afghans
have tendered their allegiance to me, and recognised me as King. It
is necessary that you should keep me duly informed of all proceedings
in your government; and rest assured of my favour and affection.”
When Rawlinson took this letter to the Shaz-zadah Timour, the Prince
at once declared it to be a forgery; but the British officer knew how
to decypher stranger characters than those of a Persian _Dust-Khut_,
and to decide upon the authenticity of far more perplexing scriptures.
Rawlinson’s practised eye saw at once that the document was a genuine

The letter from the chiefs demanded an answer; and Rawlinson now took
counsel with the General. The hour for decision had arrived. It became
them to look their position boldly in the face, and to shape their
course for the future. Nott was not a man to listen patiently to the
language of insolent dictation from the Afghan chiefs. He had already
made up his mind to maintain his position at all risks, pending the
receipt of instructions from India issued subsequently to the receipt
by government of intelligence of the Envoy’s murder.[109] Rawlinson was
of the same opinion. So he drew up a letter to the Douranee chiefs,
setting forth that, as there was every reason to believe that Shah
Soojah was acting under compulsion, and that he in reality, in spite of
existing appearances, desired the support of the British, it would not
become the latter to withdraw from Afghanistan before entering into a
final explanation with the King. He drew the attention of the chiefs
to the difference of our positions at Caubul and Candahar—said that
any attempt to expel us by force must inevitably fail—and recommended
the Douranees to refrain from engaging in unprofitable hostility. But
he added, that the British had no desire to conquer the country for
themselves—that the Candahar army was only waiting for instructions
from government—and he believed it was the desire of that government
to restore to Shah Soojah the uncontrolled exercise of his authority,
and to be guided by the provisions of a new treaty which would probably
be negotiated between the two states.[110] On the following day,[111]
the despatch of the letter having been delayed by the difficulty
of finding a trustworthy messenger, Rawlinson added a postscript,
setting forth that intelligence had since been received, which clearly
demonstrated that the Shah was little more than a prisoner in the hands
of the Barukzyes; and he added, that forces were on their way from
India to avenge the murder of the Envoy.

The activity of Rawlinson, at this time, was unceasing. He exerted
himself, and often with good success, to detach different tribes from
the rebel cause; and was continually corresponding both with the chiefs
in the Douranee camp and in the neighbouring villages. It was his
policy to draw off the Barukzyes from the Douranee confederacy, and to
stimulate the Douranees against the Barukzyes, by declaring that the
Shah was a mere instrument in the hands of the latter. It was debated,
indeed, whether the Douranees could not be induced to move off to
Caubul for the rescue of the King.[112]

But, in spite of these and other favourable indications, it appeared,
both to the military and political chief at Candahar, that it was
necessary now to strike some vigorous blow for the suppression of
the insurrection and the maintenance of our own security. So Nott
determined to attack the enemy; and Rawlinson, after many misgivings,
to expel the Afghans from the city. This movement he had been painfully
contemplating all through the month of February; and now, at the
beginning of March, he believed that he could no longer postpone, with
safety, the accomplishment of this harsh, but necessary, measure of
defence.[113] All doubts regarding the wishes of the Indian Government
had been, by this time, set at rest by the receipt of a copy of a
letter, addressed by the Supreme Government to the Commander-in-Chief
on the 28th of January, in which letter the continued occupation of
Candahar was spoken of as an event which the British-Indian Government
believed would be conducive to the interests of the state; and it
afforded no small pleasure to Nott and Rawlinson to find how completely
they had anticipated the wishes of the Governor-General and his Council.

On the 3rd of March, Rawlinson began to clear the city of its Afghan
inhabitants.[114] Inspecting the census he had made, and selecting
a few who were to be permitted to remain—peaceful citizens, as
merchants, followers of useful trades, and a few members of the
priesthood, he expelled the remainder of the Afghan inhabitants—in
all, about 1000 families. No resistance was offered. The work was
not completed before the close of the 6th. The municipal authorities
performed their duties so remissly, that it was necessary to tell off
an officer and a party of Sepoys to each district, to see that the
clearance was more effectually performed. Some 5000 or 6000 people
were driven out of the city. Every exertion was made to render the
measure as little oppressive as possible; but the expulsion of so many
citizens from their homes could not be altogether free from cruelty and

The city having thus been cleared of all its suspected inhabitants,
Nott, on the 7th of March, took the field, with the main body of his
troops. The 40th Queen’s—the 16th, 38th, 42nd, and 43rd regiments
of Native Infantry—a wing of one of the Shah’s regiments—all the
cavalry in the force, and sixteen guns, went out against the enemy. The
2nd regiment of Native Infantry, with two regiments and a wing of the
Shah’s foot, remained behind for the protection of the city. All the
gates of the city, but the Herat and a part of the Shikarpoor gate,
were blocked up, and Candahar was believed to be secure against the
assaults of the whole Douranee force.

As Nott advanced, the enemy, who had been hovering about the
neighbourhood of Candahar, retired before him. He crossed the Turnuk
and advanced upon the Urghundab in pursuit of them; but they shrank
from meeting our bayonets, and it was long before they even ventured
to come within reach of our guns. The artillery then told with such
good effect on the dense masses of the enemy, that they were more than
ever disinclined to approach us. On the 9th, however, there seemed
some prospect of a general action. The enemy’s footmen were posted
on a range of hills, and, as our column advanced, they saluted us
with a volley from their matchlocks. The light companies of the 40th
Queen’s and 16th Native Infantry, under Captain F. White, of the
former regiment, were sent forward to storm the hills on the right;
and the Grenadiers of the 40th, under Lieutenant Wakefield, performed
the same good service on the ascents to the left. The hills were soon
cleared; and the enemy’s cavalry were then seen drawn up in front of
our columns. Their line extended across the plain; their right resting
upon a range of high ground, and their left on a ruined fort, built on
a high scarped mound.[116] Hoping to draw them within his reach, the
General now kept his guns quiet. But they were not inclined to meet us
in the field. They were planning another game.

Whether it had been the original design of the Douranee chiefs to draw
Nott’s army out of Candahar, and to strip the city of its defences;
or whether, awed by the magnitude of the force which the General had
taken out with him, they shrunk from the conflict, was not at first
very apparent.[117] But it subsequently became known to the British
authorities that the stratagem was planned by the subtle understanding
of Meerza Ahmed. The enemy, after the skirmish of the 9th instant,
retired before our advancing battalions, and, industriously spreading
a report that they purposed to attack Nott’s camp during the night,
recrossed the river and doubled back upon Candahar. Up to this time
the city had remained perfectly quiet; and the minds of the British
authorities had not been disturbed by any thoughts of coming danger.
But on the morning of the 10th it was seen that a number of Afghan
footmen had come down during the preceding night and taken possession
of old Candahar. Rawlinson at once despatched three messengers to
Nott’s camp, to inform him that the enemy had doubled back in his rear,
and that it was apparently their intention to attack the city. His
suspicions were soon confirmed. His scouts brought him intelligence
to the effect that the Douranee army was to concentrate during the
day, before Candahar, and to attack it in the course of the night.
All day long the numbers of the enemy continued to increase, and at
sunset Sufder Jung and Meerza Ahmed arrived and posted themselves in
the cantonments. Night came on with pitchy darkness; and the garrison
could not trace the movements of the enemy. They had no blue lights—no
fire-balls—no means of casting a light beyond the defences of the
city. The Ghazees were swarming close to the walls; and at eight
o’clock they commenced the attack. They had heaped up some faggots at
the Herat gate; and now they fired the pile. They had poured oil on the
brushwood, and now it blazed up with sudden fury.[118] The gate itself
ignited as readily as tinder, and the flames now lit up the mass of
white turbans, the gleaming arms, and the coloured standards, which had
before been only seen, in scattered glimpses, by the momentary light
of the kindled match of the Afghan jezails.[119]

Desperate was the attack of the Ghazees, and steady the resistance of
the garrison. A gun upon the bastion poured in its deadly shower of
grape among the besiegers; and the guard kept up a heavy fire from the
ramparts. But the Ghazees pressed on with desperate resolution. The
success of their first movement had given them confidence and courage;
and now they were tearing down the blazing planks with intrepid hands,
fearless of the red-hot bars and hinges of the falling gate. Many
of them, intoxicated with bang, were sending up the fearful yell of
the Afghan fanatic, and rushing upon death with the eagerness of the
martyr. Others were calling upon Prince Timour to come out and win
Paradise by aiding the cause of the true believers. At one time it
seemed that victory would declare itself on the side of the infuriated
multitude that was surging round the city walls. But there were men
within the city as resolute, and far more steady and collected in their
resolution, than the excited crowds beyond it, who were hungering after
our destruction. Major Lane commanded the garrison. Rawlinson was there
to counsel and to aid him. They brought down the gun from the bastion,
and planted it in the gateway. They brought another from the citadel to
its support. They strengthened the point of attack with fresh bodies
of infantry, and called out all the water-carriers to endeavour to
extinguish the flames. But more serviceable even than these movements
was one which opposed a solid obstacle to the entrance of the besieging
multitude. They brought down from the Commissariat godowns a number of
grain-bags, and piled them up at the burning gate. About nine o’clock
the gate fell outwards, and then a party of Ghazees climbed the lofty
barricade of grain-bags, as men weary of their lives. Many fell dead or
desperately wounded beneath the heavy fire of our musketry. Spirited
was the attack—spirited the defence. The fate of Candahar seemed to
tremble in the balance. For three more hours the Ghazees renewed, at
intervals, the assault upon the gateway; but they could not make good
their entrance to the city; and at midnight they drew off in despair.

Whilst this desperate struggle was going on at the Herat gate of the
city, attempts had been made upon the Shikarpoor and Caubul gates. But
the enemy could not fire the brushwood they had collected. The garrison
were too prompt and alert. It appears that Meerza Ahmed, confident
of the success of the attack upon the Herat gate, had arranged that
a given signal should announce this success, and that then he should
proceed to the assault of the Eedgah gate leading to the citadel. But
when at midnight the attack was finally repulsed, a council of war
was held. Baffled in their attempts on the city, the angry fanatics
levelled the most violent reproaches against Meerza Ahmed, and were
with difficulty restrained from laying violent hands on the man, who,
they declared, had betrayed them into an attempt which had sacrificed
the lives of hundreds of true believers, and ended only in failure
and disgrace. It is said that the Ghazees lost six hundred men in the
attempt. They were busy until daybreak in carrying off the dead.

It is not to be doubted that, during that night of the 10th of March,
Candahar was in imminent danger. Had the city fallen into the hands of
the enemy at this time, it is doubtful whether Nott’s force, on its
return, would have succeeded in recapturing it. The troops had gone
out without tents, and were insufficiently supplied with ammunition.
Everything, indeed, was against them; and even if the courage and
constancy of the force had prevailed at last, success could have been
achieved only after an immense sacrifice of life. That the General was
out-manœuvred, is plain. But it may be doubted whether he is fairly
chargeable with the amount of indiscretion which has been imputed to
him. It has been said that he left the city unprotected. But as he
was to have engaged the enemy himself in the open country, and all
sources of internal danger had been removed by the expulsion of the
Afghans and the disarming of the other inhabitants, it was confidently
believed that the troops left in the city were more than sufficient
for its defence. It must, however, be acknowledged that Nott was
lamentably ignorant of the movements of the enemy, who doubled back in
his rear without raising a suspicion of their designs in the British
camp. But this is no new thing in Indian warfare. To be ignorant of
the intentions of the enemy is the rule, not the exception, of Indian
generalship. Our intelligence-department is always so miserably
defective, that we lose the enemy often as suddenly as we find him, and
are either running ourselves unexpectedly upon him, or suffering him to
slip out of our hands.

General Nott re-entered Candahar on the 12th of March. The repulse
which the insurgents had received at the city gate gave a heavy blow
to their cause. It brought disunion into the Douranee camp, and made
the Ghazees denounce the chiefs who had plunged them into disaster, and
resolve to forswear the perilous trade of fanaticism which brought so
much suffering upon them. The ryots, who had joined the standard of the
true believers, now returned in numbers to their peaceful avocations;
and Major Rawlinson exerted himself to the utmost to re-assure the
public mind, and restore peace and prosperity to the surrounding
villages.[120] As the month advanced there were many encouraging signs
of the approaching dissolution of the Douranee camp. Some of its
components were already talking of moving off to Caubul; and it was
said that Meerza Ahmed had sent his family to the capital preparatory
to retreating in that direction himself.

But there is never anything sustained and consistent in Afghan
politics. The appearances of to-day belie the appearances of yesterday,
and are again succeeded by varied symptoms to-morrow. The Douranee
chiefs at one time seemed to be on the point of a general disruption;
and then, after the lapse of a few days, they met in council, and
cooling down under a shower of mutual reproaches, swore solemn oaths
to be true to each other, and to league themselves together for
another attack upon the Feringhees. At the end of the third week of
March they were again upon the move. Upon the 24th, they were within a
short distance of Killa-chuk, where Nott had before attacked them. On
this day the Parsewan Janbaz attempted to renew certain negotiations,
which they had initiated a few days before, but which had been coldly
received. They offered to quit the Douranee camp and to move off to
Caubul, if a month’s pay were given them to defray their expenses on
the march. But Nott indignantly rejected the proposal. “I will never
give them,” he wrote to Rawlinson, “one rupee; and if I can ever
get near them I will destroy them to a man. It is my wish that no
communications shall be held with them. They have murdered our people,
and plundered the country.”[121]

On the following day, our troops again encountered the enemy in the
field. A brigade under Colonel Wymer had been sent out, partly to clear
the country on the Candahar side of the Urghundab from the Douranee
horse, who were threatening our position, and partly to relieve the
garrison, which was straitened for forage, by sending out the camels
to graze in the open country. Wymer took with him three regiments of
infantry, a troop of horse artillery, and a party of some four hundred
mounted men. In the neighbourhood of Baba-Wallee the Douranee horse
crossed the river—3000 strong—to attack him. Having sent a messenger
to Candahar to inform the General of his position, Wymer prepared to
defend himself. He had to guard his cattle as well as to fight the
enemy; and the former necessity greatly crippled his movements. Weak,
as the Candahar detachments always were, in the mounted branch, he
found himself at a disadvantage opposed to the large bodies of the
enemy’s horse, who now appeared in his front. Our Hindostanee cavalry
were driven in by the Douranees under Saloo Khan, who gallantly charged
our squares.[122] But the fire of our guns and the volleys of our
musketry soon checked the audacity of the Afghan horsemen; and the
affair became one of distant skirmishes. But, in the mean while, the
roar of our artillery had been distinctly heard at Candahar, and Nott
had moved out to the support of Wymer’s brigade. The Douranees were
still surrounding our camp, when the General, with the reinforcing
brigade, entered the valley. What the men who followed Nott then saw,
is described as “a beautiful spectacle,” which will not readily be
forgotten.[123] The bright afternoon sun shed its slant rays upon
the sabres of the enemy, and lit them up like a burning forest. Our
infantry were drawn up in a hollow square covering a crowd of camels;
the horse artillery guns, which had done such good service before,
were playing gloriously, under Turner’s direction, upon the dense
bodies of the enemy’s horse, whom their heavy fire kept at a cautious
distance. “And just as General Nott,” adds an eye-witness,[124] “with
the reinforcements came in sight, Lieutenant Chamberlaine, of the
Bengal service, an officer in the Shah’s cavalry, who at the head of a
small party had charged the enemy, was driven back, and, emerging from
a cloud of dust, formed in rear of the infantry, with the loss of a
few men killed, himself and many of his party wounded—but not without
having given very satisfactory proofs of his power as a swordsman,
albeit his treacherous weapon had broken in his hand.” As our
reinforcing regiments approached, the enemy retired; and our cavalry
were quite useless.[125] The Douranee camp had been left standing, and
Nott, though the day was far advanced, was eager to cross the river and
attack it; but the guns could not be brought down to the bank without
great labour, and the fords were well-nigh impracticable. So Nott
determined to withdraw the brigade to Candahar for the night, leaving
Wymer in position, and to return on the following morning to disperse
the Douranee horse.

On the morning of the 26th, Nott went out again, with the brigade
that had accompanied him on the preceding day, to the banks of the
Urghundab; but the enemy had struck their camp during the night; and
as soon as day broke, the Douranee horse had moved off and dispersed
themselves in different bodies. So the General returned to Candahar;
whilst Colonel Wymer re-halted in the valley to graze his cattle,
unmolested and secure. Rawlinson remained in the valley throughout the
day, “visiting the different villages, conversing with the Moollahs and
head-men, and endeavouring to restore confidence. Imprecations against
the Ghazees were general in every village, and the damage which had
been caused by their depredations was evidently very great.”[126]

The result of this affair was a growth of fresh disunion in the
Douranee camp. The chiefs accused each other of cowardice, and all
assailed Meerza Ahmed with measureless abuse. But tidings were now
coming in, both from the north and the south, which went some way to
comfort and re-assure them. It was currently reported in their camp
that Ghuznee had capitulated. This intelligence had been received
some days before by the British officers at Candahar, and had not
been disbelieved. On the 31st of March, a letter from Major Leech,
at Khelat-i-Ghilzye, was received by Nott at Candahar, and though it
announced the fall of Ghuznee only on native authority, it seemed to
divest the fact entirely of all atmosphere of doubt. It appeared, from
the statements that reached Candahar, that Ghuznee had been invested by
an overwhelming force, and that, after holding out for some weeks, the
garrison had been reduced more by a want of water than by the attacks
of the enemy. It was reported, that before the arrival of orders from
Caubul for the evacuation of the place, the town of Ghuznee had been
taken by the surrounding tribes—“that the Hindoos of the Bazaar were
all killed, fighting on our side—that Palmer, during the two months
he was in the Balla Hissar, paid a daily sum for his provisions,
water, and wood—that Shumshoodeen was the bearer of orders from the
British at Caubul to give up the fortress—that the failure of water
was the reason that made him agree to vacate the upper citadel on
the 8th instant—that the mass of Ghazees did not respect the treaty
formed, with a guarantee given to Palmer by Shumshoodeen, but attacked
our garrison, and they only 400 strong, on their leaving the citadel,
killing 100 and losing many themselves—that Palmer now wanted a
guarantee for the safety of the officers, and that this being given,
they surrendered themselves with two or three European females.”[127]
At the same time, Leech reported that he was in possession of a letter,
bearing the seal of Shumshoodeen Khan, and addressed to the Shamalzye
chiefs, exhorting them to assemble and march on Khelat-i-Ghilzye, and
holding out to them hopes of honour and wealth to be conferred upon
them by the King and Ameen-oollah Khan, if they succeeded in capturing
the place; and promising himself, upon the breaking up of the snow, to
march down upon it “with fort-destroying guns and an army crowned with

The tidings of the fall of Ghuznee were most calamitously true. The
fortress, which the English had taken with so much difficulty, and the
capture of which had been proclaimed with so much pomp, was now in the
hands of the enemy. The slight outline of the melancholy events which
had ended in the destruction of the garrison and the captivity of the
surviving officers, which Leech had sent from Khelat-i-Ghilzye, was
substantially correct. The enemy appeared before Ghuznee on the 20th of
November. On the same day snow began to fall. Maclaren’s brigade was
then advancing from Candahar, and the enemy, expecting its appearance
in their neighbourhood, drew off their investing force; but they soon
reappeared again. Maclaren’s retirement gave them new heart; and on the
7th of December they collected again, in increased numbers, around the
walls. The garrison were now completely enlaced. The city was in their
possession, but they could not stir beyond it. Soon, however, they
lost even that. The inhabitants undermined the walls, and admitted the
enemy from without. On the 16th of December, through the subterranean
aperture which the townspeople had made, the enemy streamed in by
thousands. The city was now no longer tenable. The garrison shut
themselves up in the citadel.

The winter now set in with appalling severity. The Sepoys, kept
constantly on the alert, sunk beneath the paralysing cold. Bravely as
they tried to bear up against it, the trial was beyond their physical
capacity to endure. The deep snow was lying on the ground; it was
often falling heavily when the Sepoys were on their cold night-watch.
The mercury in the thermometer had fallen many degrees below zero. Men
who had spent all their lives on the burning plains of Hindostan, and
drunk their tepid water out of vessels scorched by the fierce rays
of the Indian sun, were now compelled to break the ice in the wells
before they could allay their thirst. Fuel was so scarce, that a single
seer[128] of wood was all that each man received in the day to cook
his dinner and keep off the assaults of the mysterious enemy that was
destroying them. They were on half-rations; and the scanty provisions
that were served out to them were of such a quality that only severe
hunger could reconcile them to it. Numbers of them were carried into
hospital miserably frost-bitten. The northern climate was doing its

The Afghans, in the mean while, in possession of the city, continued
to harass the garrison in the citadel, by firing upon them whenever
they showed their heads above the walls. This continued till the middle
of the month of January, when, it appears, that some suspension of
hostilities supervened. It was believed that the English at Caubul had
entered into a treaty with the Afghan Sirdars; and that Shumshoodeen
Khan would shortly arrive with orders from the existing government to
assume possession of the place. Weeks, however, passed away, and the
new governor did not make his appearance.[129] About the middle of
February he arrived, and summoned Palmer to surrender. Unwilling to
submit to the humiliating demand, and yet hopeless of the efficacy of
resistance, the English officer contrived to amuse the Sirdar until
the beginning of March. Then the patience of Shumshoodeen Khan and the
other chiefs was exhausted; and they swore that they would recommence
hostilities with unsparing ferocity if the citadel were not instantly
surrendered. So, on the 6th of March, Palmer and his men marched out of
the citadel. The enemy had solemnly sworn to conduct them in safety to
Peshawur, with their colours, arms, and baggage, and fifty rounds of
ammunition in the pouches of each of our fighting men.

But it soon became only too miserably apparent that the enemy had sworn
falsely to protect Palmer and his men. The British troops had scarcely
taken up their abode in the quarter of the town which had been assigned
to them, when the Afghan chiefs threw off the mask. On the day after
their departure from the citadel, when the Sepoys were cooking their
dinner, the Ghazees rushed with sudden fury on their lines. Three days
of terror followed. House after house, in which the English officers
and their suffering Hindostanee followers endeavoured manfully to
defend themselves, was attacked by the infuriated enemy. Fire, famine,
and slaughter were all working together to destroy our unhappy men. At
last, on the morning of the 20th, the survivors were huddled together
in two houses which had been assigned to the head-quarters of the
force—soldiers and camp-followers, men, women, and children, crammed
to suffocation in every room, all hourly expecting death. The enemy
were swarming around. The citadel guns, which had been useless in our
hands, but were now most effective in those of the enemy, were sending
their round-shot “crashing through and through the walls.”[130] Hour
after hour, and still the enemy seemed to pause, as though unwilling
to shorten, by a last annihilating attack, the sufferings of their
victims.[131] But Shumshoodeen Khan had begun to relent. He was in
council with the other Sirdars; and it was determined that the wretched
men, who were now so wholly at their mercy, should be admitted to
terms. The Ghazees were still crying aloud for their blood. But the
chiefs assured the officers of their safety, if they would lay down
their arms and place themselves in their hands. The Sepoys had by this
time thrown off all authority, and determined to make their own way to
Peshawur.[132] So the British officers, under a solemn oath from the
chiefs that they should be honourably treated and conducted in safety
to Caubul, laid down their arms, and trusted to the good faith of the
Afghan Sirdars.[133] The Sepoys, in the mean while, were endeavouring
to prosecute their insane scheme of escaping across the open country to
Peshawur. Snow began to fall heavily. They wandered about the fields
helpless and bewildered. Many of them were cut down or made prisoners
by the enemy; and to all who survived, officers and men alike, a time
of suffering now commenced, all the circumstances of which are burnt
into their memories as with a brand of iron.

The fall of Ghuznee was a great disaster and a great discredit. Among
the officers of Nott’s division it was regarded as more disgraceful
than the loss of Caubul. Want of water was said to be the cause of
Palmer’s surrender; but it was believed that he might have retained
possession of the great well by running a covered way down the mound;
and it is still asserted that if he had taken the more decided step
of expelling the treacherous inhabitants from the town, he might have
held out until he was relieved from Candahar. This at least would
have given him both firewood and water. And it is not improbable that
Afghan cupidity would have prevailed over Afghan resentment, and that
grain and other provisions would have been brought in to him in return
for bills on the British Government. But Palmer wanted decision; and
Ghuznee was lost.

In the mean while, Khelat-i-Ghilzye was gallantly holding out against
the enemy. Situated between Ghuznee and Candahar, about eighty miles
from the latter city, this isolated fortress stands upon a barren
eminence, exposed to the wintry winds and driving dust-storms—one of
the dreariest and bleakest spots in all the country of Afghanistan. It
had been originally garrisoned by the Shah’s 3rd infantry regiment, a
party of forty European artillerymen, and some sappers and miners; but
Maclaren’s brigade, on its return towards Candahar, had dropped some
250 Sepoys of the 43rd Regiment at Khelat-i-Ghilzye to strengthen the
garrison; and now, commanded by Captain John Halkett Craigie, of the
Shah’s service, this little party prepared to resist the assaults of
the investing enemy and the cruel cold. For months the cold was far
more irresistible than the enemy. In that bleak, exposed situation,
the icy winds were continually blowing from the north. “The lower
the temperature sunk, the higher blew the north wind.” The barracks
were unfinished; there were neither doors nor windows to keep out the
chilling blasts; and there was a scanty supply of firewood in store.
How the Hindostanee soldiers bore up against it, it is difficult to
say, for the European officers declare that they “never experienced a
winter so continuously cold.” There was an abundance of grain in store;
but all the surrounding country was against them, and the wheat could
not be ground. After more than two months of ineffectual labour they at
last constructed serviceable hand-mills. The Europeans often lived for
days together upon bread and water; but not a murmur arose. The winter
passed wearily away. The enemy were inactive. But with spring came a
renewal of active work on either side. The garrison were labouring
to strengthen their defences, and the enemy, as the year advanced,
began to draw more closely round the fortress, their numbers and their
boldness increasing together. After a time, they began to dig trenches
round the place, and, covered by the loopholed parapets, to keep up a
hot fire upon the garrison, which it was impossible to return with good
effect. But Craigie and his men had no thought of surrender. They held
out, cheerfully and uncomplainingly, thankful if they could get a shot
at the enemy when the parties in the trenches were being relieved.

Such was the condition of the garrisons of Ghuznee and Khelat-i-Ghilzye
when disastrous intelligence from the southward reached Nott and
Rawlinson at Candahar. They had been, for some time, looking forward
with the greatest anxiety to the arrival of a convoy from Sindh,
which was to throw treasure, ammunition, hospital stores, and other
necessaries into the garrison, and increase the number of their
available troops. Brigadier England, who commanded the Sindh field
force, was at Dadur towards the close of February, and there he
received instructions to move on through the Bolan Pass, to assemble
a strong body of troops at Quettah, and thence to push his succours
through the Kojuck with all expedient despatch. Major Outram was
then in Sindh, earnest amongst the earnest to retrieve our lost
position in Afghanistan, and active amongst the active to carry out
the work of throwing troops into the country which had witnessed our
abasement.[134] “All my endeavours in this quarter,” he wrote on the
15th of March, “have been to urge forward movements, and at last I have
managed to send up every disposable man. Brigadier England marched from
Dadur on the 7th (of March), and must be at Quettah by this time. The
remainder of his troops intended for service above will march about
the 23rd or 24th, so that he will have assembled at Quettah by the
end of the month (including the garrison) one troop of European Horse
Artillery, six guns; half a company of Bombay European Artillery; Major
Sotheby’s company of Bengal European Artillery; her Majesty’s 41st
Foot; three regiments of Native Infantry and a flank battalion of the
same; two squadrons of Native Regular Cavalry, and 200 Poonah Horse.
Of the above, two regiments of Native Infantry and half a company of
artillery will be required to garrison Quettah. All the remainder will
be available to reinforce General Nott, and will march on Candahar
with that view in the first week of April, I trust, with everything
that is required by the Candahar garrison, namely, twenty lakhs of
treasure, ammunition, and medicines. I hope, however, that Brigadier
England will, in the mean while, push on a detachment with a portion
of these supplies to meet a brigade at the Kojuck, which General Nott
talks of sending out to receive what can be afforded.”[135]

On the 16th of March, Brigadier England arrived at Quettah. On the
following day, he wrote to Lieutenant Hammersley, the political agent
at that place: “The 22nd is at length fixed as the day of my departure
from hence, and in truth I do not see how it could advantageously be
hastened, owing to the numerous demands made on my small means. I
propose, unless other intervening events should change such purpose,
to move as far as Hykulzye on the 24th, and there await intelligence
from the northern extremity of the Kojuck Pass. This you must manage
for me. I could move at once to Killa-Abdoollah; but it seems to me
advisable to try the influence of our presence in the Pisheen valley,
in the matter of supplies and camels. The amount of treasure I take to
Candahar will not exceed four lakhs, and about one-third of a lakh of
musket ammunition; we have not carriage or protection for more at a
time.” On the following day he wrote again to Lieutenant Hammersley,
stating that he was determined to halt in the Pisheen valley, unless
General Nott had actually sent two or three regiments to the Kojuck to
meet the treasure; and Hammersley, when he forwarded a copy of this
letter to Outram, wrote that there were officers in England’s brigade
who openly prophesied that the detachment would be sacrificed between
Quettah and the Kojuck Pass.[136]

On the 26th of March, the Brigadier moved forward on the Pisheen
valley, taking with him five companies of her Majesty’s 41st Regiment,
six companies of Bombay Native Infantry, a troop of the 3rd Bombay
Cavalry, fifty men of the Poonah Horse, and four Horse-Artillery guns.
Early on the 28th he “arrived at the entrance of a defile which leads
to the village of Hykulzye,” at which place he “had intended to await
the remainder of the brigade now in progress to this place through
the Bolan Pass.”[137] It was plain that General Nott had no intention
to send any troops to the southward to co-operate with England’s
detachment;[138] and it soon became apparent that the latter would have
done well to have retained his position at Quettah until reinforced
by the troops moving up from the southward. England found himself
near the village of Hykulzye, knowing nothing about the country, and
nothing about the movements of the enemy. Colonel Stacy accompanied the
force as its political director. He had, some days before, informed
the General that he might expect to meet the enemy at Hykulzye; but
as they approached that place no intelligence of their position was
to be obtained, and not before England was close upon them had he any
knowledge that they were in his front. Mahomed Sadig had come down
determined to dispute our progress, and was now posted, with his
troops, behind some _sungahs_ on the Hykulzye heights.

England halted the column, and rode forward with his staff to
reconnoitre the enemy’s position. After the lapse of about a quarter
of an hour he returned, and the force was ordered to advance. The
Horse-Artillery guns were now opened on the hills to the left, whilst
Major Apthorp, with the light battalion, was instructed to storm
the hills to the right. Leslie’s battery played with good effect,
throwing its shrapnel among the enemy; but the infantry column was
disastrously repulsed. The enemy rose up suddenly from behind their
sungahs and poured in such a destructive fire upon our columns that the
light companies fell back. Captain May, of the 41st, was shot dead.
Major Apthorp,[139] who commanded the light companies, was carried,
desperately wounded, to the rear. A sabre-cut had laid open his skull,
and another had nearly severed his right arm. Of a party of less than
500 men nearly a hundred were killed or wounded. The enemy fought
with uncommon gallantry, and many of them were bayoneted or shot on
the hill. Among them were five or six of their chiefs. Mahomed Sadig
himself, who had been behind the defences, but had quitted them on the
advance of our light battalion, and joined the horsemen on the hill,
received a bayonet-wound on the shoulder.

Our men, after their repulse, soon rallied, and were eager again to be
led to the attack. But England had determined to retreat. Colonel Stacy
volunteered to lead a party of a hundred men up the hill and to carry
the defences; but the gallant offer was declined.[140] Three times he
pressed it upon the General, but with no effect. It was believed by the
latter that the Hykulzye defences could be carried only by a strong
brigade, and one, too, equipped with mortars. So he wrote to General
Nott, urging him to send a force so equipped to meet him; and in the
mean while fell back upon Quettah.[141] And there he began to entrench
himself, as though he were about to be besieged by an overwhelming

No satisfactory reasons have yet been assigned for this unhappy
miscarriage. But excuses have been urged in abundance. It was alleged
that the defences at Hykulzye were impracticable—that they had been
two months in course of erection—that the General had received no plan
of them from the political authorities—that he was not, in fact, aware
of their existence—that he had been deceived by false accounts of the
number of the enemy—that strong reinforcements had come down from
Candahar—and that the Sepoys did not support the European soldiers
at Hykulzye. But upon a careful examination of all these charges and
assertions, it does not appear that one can be maintained.

The defences at Hykulzye were not formidable. General England had not
seen them at this time. Lieutenant Evans, of the 41st, did see them;
and he said that there were “no breastworks, but merely a four-foot
ditch filled with brushwood.” The elevations were nothing more than
those heaps of earth and stone known as _sungahs_, which may be,
and often are, thrown up in a few hours. The best information that
Hammersley could obtain went to show that these defences were thrown up
by Mahomed Sadig when General England’s force had reached Koochlag; but
not before. When the brigade advanced from Quettah a month afterwards,
the Hykulzye defences were found to be so formidable that some of the
officers rode over them, not knowing where they were.

The strength of the enemy at Hykulzye seems to have been exaggerated
very much in the same manner as the strength of the defences.
General England wrote to Hammersley on the 28th of March, after his
unsuccessful engagement, that the enemy were “a hundred to one
stronger than any one expected.”[142] Hammersley and Stacy had both
told the General that he might expect Mahomed Sadig to make a stand at
Hykulzye. The former officer had computed the strength of the enemy
at 1000 foot and 300 horse; and his subsequent inquiries went to show
that he had rather overstated than understated the number actually
engaged. England’s own officers estimated the strength of the enemy
at from 1000 to 1300 men; and native testimony went to show that
they had overstated the number of horsemen in the field. The strong
reinforcements which were said to have come down from Candahar before
the 28th of March were purely fabulous. There had been some talk of
such a movement, but not until after the affair with Colonel Wymer’s
brigade on the 25th of March. Then it was debated among the chiefs
whether a party should not be sent down to the Kojuck to intercept the
convoy advancing from the southward. An invitation from Mahomed Sadig
had arrived in their camp, and it had come at an opportune season.
Greatly depressed by the failure of their efforts in the neighbourhood
of Candahar, the Douranee chiefs were almost on the point of breaking
up their camp, when intelligence of the fall of Ghuznee came to
revive their spirits. They were then at Dehli. There the tidings of
the advance of England’s convoy reached them, and there they received
an invitation from Mahomed Sadig to send troops to reinforce him.
Expecting that their own camp would be strengthened by the arrival of
Shumshoodeen Khan, they believed that they might safely detach a party
to the southward. Accordingly, Saloo Khan and some other chiefs[143]
set out towards the Kojuck. But they had hardly commenced their march
when England was driven back at Hykulzye. The chiefs fell out on the
road, and Saloo Khan alone made his way to the southern passes; but
not a man of his party had joined Mahomed Sadig on that disastrous 28th
of March, when England sought to justify his failure by a reference to
the reinforcements from Candahar.

Only one more point remains to be mentioned in connexion with a subject
which the chronicler of these events is but too anxious to dismiss.
General England insinuated that he had no reliance upon his Sepoy
troops. He is said to have remarked, that although when his troops and
those of General Nott were united they would have 15,000 men under
their command, they could not oppose a whole nation with two weak
regiments.[144] He thought that her Majesty’s two regiments, the 40th
and 41st, were the only two corps that could be relied upon. Nott told
a different story. “My Sepoys are behaving nobly,” was his constant
report. I can find no mention of any backwardness on the part of the
Sepoys, in any of the letters written by the officers of either service
after the affair at Hykulzye; and I believe, that if Colonel Stacy
had been suffered to storm the works after the first repulse, a large
number of Sepoys would have volunteered to follow him.

When all the circumstances of the case come to be considered, it
appears that a disaster of a very discouraging character was sustained
by the adoption of a course which had no object of importance
commensurate with the risk that was incurred. General England had no
intention of advancing upon Candahar. He ought, therefore, to have
remained at Quettah. The advance into the Pisheen valley was a grave
error. It was plainly England’s duty, at this time, either to have
cleared the pass with the treasure and stores which were so much
needed by the Candahar garrison, or to have waited patiently for his
reinforcements at Quettah. To advance from that place, and then to fall
back upon it, was to do that which Nott said, in anticipation, would
be more injurious to the position of the Candahar force than 20,000 of
the enemy in the field.[145] Major Outram also strongly advised General
England to await at Quettah the arrival of the reinforcements from
below; but England would go on to be beaten.[146]

To Nott, this failure was mortifying in the extreme. He was in no mood
to brook delays and excuses. The disaster at Hykulzye was sufficiently
annoying to him; but the seeming unwillingness of General England to
redeem his character by a vigorous movement in advance, irritated
him still more. He had been for some time complaining bitterly of
the neglect to which he and his force had been subjected by the
authorities below. “I know not the intentions of Government regarding
this country,” he wrote to General England; “but this I know and
feel—that it is now from four to five months since the outbreak at
Caubul, and in all that time no aid whatever has been given to me. I
have continually called for cavalry, for ammunition, treasure, stores,
and medicines for the sick. I have called loudly, but I have called
in vain. Had the least aid been sent—even a regiment of cavalry—I
could have tranquillised or subdued the country. I have been tied to
this important city, when a few additional troops for its garrison
would have set me free; and I now would have moved on Ghuznee and
Caubul. All I have now to do is to uphold the honour of my country in
the best manner I can without the assistance above alluded to, and
in ignorance of the intentions of government.”[147] In this frame of
mind, his patience well-nigh exhausted, his temper never of the most
genial cast now more than ever overclouded, he received intelligence,
first of England’s defeat, and then of his reluctance to move forward.
England himself announced the latter, if not in so many plain words,
in language equally unmistakeable. After setting forth all the dangers
and difficulties of a forward movement, he concluded, on the 10th of
April, a letter to Nott by saying: “Whenever it so happens that you
retire bodily in this direction, and that I am informed of it, I feel
assured that I shall be able to make an advantageous diversion in your

This was too much for Nott. Determined at once to settle the question
of England’s advance, he sate down and wrote a letter to the General,
declaring that he had well considered England’s position, that he knew
the country well, that he was determined to uphold the honour of his
country, and that it was necessary that the brigade from Quettah should
push on at once with money, medicine, and ammunition, for the relief
of Candahar. “I am well aware,” he added, with keen sarcasm, “that war
cannot be made without loss; but yet, perhaps, the British troops can
oppose Asiatic armies without defeat.”[149]

It was impossible to resist the urgency of this appeal. The orders from
Candahar were not to be misunderstood. They were clear as the notes of
a trumpet, and ought to have been as spirit-stirring. England’s brigade
now began to prepare for a forward movement. So little, however, had
it been anticipated that the force would ever leave Quettah, that the
officers of the brigade had been buying houses and settling down for
cantonment life.[150] But on the 26th of April, England broke ground;
and on the 28th—precisely a month after the date of his disastrous
failure—was again before Hykulzye. The enemy, emboldened by their
previous success, were posted on the ground they had occupied before;
but they soon found that they had not estimated aright the character of
British troops, and that what they had regarded as a proof of their own
superiority in the field, was an accident not likely to be repeated.
The British troops were told off into three parties—one, under Major
Simmons, to storm the hills to the left; another, under Captain
Woodburn, to attack the hill on the right, where the disaster of the
previous month had occurred; and a third, under Major Browne, was kept
in reserve. When they had taken up their position, the guns of Leslie’s
battery opened with good effect on the enemy; and then the infantry
advanced with a loud “hurrah” to the attack. They are said to have
moved forward “as steady as on parade.”[151] The coolness and courage
of the infantry soon completed what the admirable practice of the guns
had commenced. The enemy turned and fled. Delamaine’s cavalry were then
slipped in pursuit; and there was an end of the defence of Hykulzye.

On the morning of the 30th, England’s brigade entered the defile
leading to the Kojuck Pass. Here, for some unaccountable reason, the
General halted the column, dismounted from his horse, called for a
chair, and sate himself down. In vain Colonel Stacy implored him to
move on. In vain he urged that the Candahar troops were entering the
pass from the other side, and that all the glory of the enterprise
would be theirs. In vain Major Waddington, the engineer, pressed the
same advice on the General. The Bombay force was locked-up at the
entrance to the pass, whilst Wymer, with the Bengal regiments, was
gallantly crowning the Kojuck, and reporting everything clear for
the advance of the Quettah brigade. The Sepoys of those three noble
regiments—the 2nd, the 16th, and 38th, who would have followed Wymer
wheresoever he pleased to lead them—were now climbing the precipitous
ascents, disincumbered of whatever might clog their movements,[152]
and every accessible height was bristling with the bayonets of the
Candahar force. The Bombay troops were bitterly disappointed; but they
cordially fraternised with their new comrades, and, if they felt any
pangs of envy, they were too forbearing to express them.

Without any opposition the two united brigades now marched on to
Candahar, and entered the city on the 10th of May. The enemy had broken
up and dispersed. Saloo Khan, who had come down to the assistance of
Mahomed Sadig, had fallen out with that chief. He had never thrown his
heart into the cause, and was, indeed, at any time, to be purchased
by British gold. Rawlinson thought that a little money would be well
expended on the purchase of his allegiance, but Nott objected to the
measure.[153] In the meanwhile, however, Stacy had been exerting
himself with good success below the Kojuck to obtain the co-operation
of this man in the important work of keeping open the communication
between Quettah and Candahar; and when he reached the latter place,
he was able to report that Saloo Khan had promised all that was
required of him; and that Atta-oollah Khan, the brother of the chief,
was now accompanying him, for the purpose of concluding the necessary

In the meanwhile, the Douranee chiefs, though disunited, were not
inactive. It was hard to determine with any distinctness what were
their designs at this time—so contradictory were the accounts which
reached our camp, and so inconsistent the movements of the enemy. But
it seemed that our difficulties were very sensibly diminishing. As
the spring advanced, the general aspect of affairs was brighter and
more encouraging than it had been since the first outbreak of the
revolution. The chiefs were scattered about in all directions—some
wounded and dying—others eager to make terms with the British.
Meerza Ahmed and Sufder Jung were contemplating a withdrawal across
the frontier to Laush and Jowayan. The latter was corresponding with
the British agent, and expressing his desire to return to our camp.
The Caubul Janbaz had deserted in disgust. The principal men of the
surrounding villages were sending messages into our camp, offering to
withdraw all their people from the rebel standard if we would guarantee
them against the depredations of our troops. The trade of the _Ghazee_
was plainly at a discount. And whilst the elements of decay were thus
discernible within, there were external influences at work to weaken
the rebel cause. Glad tidings arrived from the eastward. General
Pollock had advanced upon Jellalabad; had relieved the garrison of that
place; and had, it was said, determined to march upon the capital. A
royal salute was fired at Candahar; and as the tidings of our successes
spread through the country the spirits of the insurgents became more
and more depressed.[155]

Still it was obvious that whilst Meerza Ahmed and Atta Mahomed
continued to flit about the neighbourhood of Candahar, there was
no prospect of permanent tranquillity. Lesser chiefs might tender
their submission, but whilst these, the mainsprings of the great
insurrectionary movement, were employing their talents and exercising
their influence in hostility against us, there was little chance of
any effective movement for the suppression of rebellion in Western
Afghanistan. Armed with authority from the Shah himself, granted prior
to the great outbreak, Meerza Ahmed was raising revenue in the name of
the local government, and expending the money thus collected on the
maintenance of the war. It appeared expedient, therefore, to Nott, to
cause a proclamation to be issued, cautioning the inhabitants against
paying revenue to the Meerza. This was a measure of unquestionable
propriety; but Nott was disposed to go far beyond it. He was eager
to offer a reward to any one who would bring in either Meerza Ahmed
or Atta Mahomed to his camp; and on the 7th of April he wrote to
Rawlinson on the subject: “I wish a proclamation to be immediately
issued, prohibiting any person paying revenue to Meerza Ahmed or to
Sufder Jung, and making them to understand, that whatever sums they
pay to these chiefs will be their own loss, as the regular revenue due
to his Majesty the Shah will be exacted from them by the authorities
of Candahar. I will thank you in the proclamation to offer a reward
of 5000 rupees to any person who will bring in either Meerza Ahmed or
Mahomed Atta. The sooner this is done the better. Let me see the draft
of the proclamation before it is issued.”[156]

Startled at this bold and questionable proposition, Rawlinson, having
asked in the first place whether the proclamation was to be issued
in the General’s own name, or in that of Prince Timour, and having
suggested that on a question of such importance as that of the raising
of revenue the wishes of the Prince should be previously ascertained,
went on to speak in his letter, of the proposed rewards. “Is the
reward of 5000 rupees,” he asked, “also offered to any one bringing
in Mahomed Atta or Meerza Ahmed, to apply to these people dead or
alive, or is it merely to be given in the event of any of the Afghans
bringing them in as prisoners? I do not think the Prince would have any
objection to issue the proclamation about revenue, and to signify to
all his subjects that he has appointed Meerza Wulee Mahomed Khan to the
management of this department, notwithstanding he is aware that papers
of an exactly opposite tenor, issued by his father, are in Meerza
Ahmed’s hands; but I greatly doubt his aquiescing in the subject of the
reward, as whatever may be the secret feelings of Mahomedans regarding
betrayal or assassination, it is altogether repugnant to their habits
to avow such objects in a public proclamation.”[157]

To this Nott replied that, as a matter of course, he intended the
proclamation regarding the revenue to be issued in the name of the
Prince. “In regard,” he added, “to the reward for the apprehension
of Meerza Ahmed, that is a different thing; and if the Prince will
not consent to include it in the proclamation regarding the revenue,
where it ought to appear, I will issue a separate proclamation. Meerza
Ahmed has murdered my camp-followers and Sepoys in the most cruel and
atrocious manner, and it is my duty, merely as commander of the force,
to offer a reward to any person who will bring him in. Mahomed Atta
has, like a monster, murdered our officers in their houses, and cut to
pieces our unarmed and inoffensive camp-followers. I will show no mercy
to these men. My note said nothing about ‘dead or alive,’ and I thought
clearly indicated bringing them in prisoners. Why you make use of the
word ‘assassination’ I know not—but I do know that it ought not to be
used by Englishmen in any public document, and therefore it could never
enter into my mind when speaking of a proclamation. Meerza Ahmed is
collecting what he is pleased to call revenue, to enable him to raise
men to attack the force under my command. Such plunder ought to be put
a stop to.”[158]

Then Rawlinson answered, that he regretted that the unguarded use of
the ugly word “assassination,” which he only intended to convey the
meaning which the Prince might put upon a general offer of reward for
the persons of the proscribed chiefs, should have given any offence
to the General; but that he trusted Nott would excuse him if he made
a few remarks upon the subject of the proposed proclamation. “We are
accused, and perhaps suspected,” he wrote, “of having lately suborned
people to attempt the life of Mahomed Akbar Khan; and Captain Nicolson
is known to have offered a high reward on one occasion for the head of
the Gooroo; and it would be very difficult therefore, it appears to
me, in our present proclamation, to get the Afghans to appreciate the
difference between the offer of a reward for the betrayal of Meerza
Ahmed and Mahomed Atta into our hands, to be executed by the Prince
(as every one must know they would be) on their arrival at Candahar,
and for anticipating this sentence by taking their lives on the spot,
wherever a man might be found bold enough to attempt the deed. Now, if
any misunderstanding on this subject existed, and we were believed by
our proclamation to be aiming at the lives rather than at the liberty
of Meerza Ahmed and Mahomed Atta, it would be only natural for them to
retaliate, and, aided by religious enthusiasm, and with the voice of
the country in their favour, they would be far more likely, I think,
to succeed in bribing Ghazees to kill our officers, than we would be
in tempting any of the Afghans to seize the persons of the proscribed
individuals and hand them over to us for execution. I cannot help
thinking also, that even supposing the proclamation to be expressly
stated and understood to aim only at the liberty of the two heads of
the Candahar rebellion, still it would operate rather to our detriment
than our advantage, and would tend greatly to increase the inveteracy
of our present contest with the Afghans. It would, probably, be met
by the kidnapping of our own officers at this place, and I suspect
it would be fraught with danger to our unfortunate countrymen in
confinement at Lughman, at Caubul, and at Ghuznee. Should you still,
however, desire to make the attempt to obtain possession of the persons
of Meerza Ahmed and Mahomed Atta, I shall be happy to render literally
into Persian any draft of a proclamation which you will send me, and to
give the proclamation all possible publicity.”

The arguments of Rawlinson prevailed. But soon another source of
inquietude arose. The ex-chief of Candahar, Kohun-dil-Khan, appeared
to be again turning his thoughts towards the government of his old
principality.[159] He had, ever since his expulsion from Afghanistan,
been quietly domiciliated at Shuhur-i-Babek, in the Persian
territories, between Shiraz and Kirman; but now it appeared that he had
sent an agent into Seistan to communicate with his Candahar adherents;
and was otherwise intriguing for the recovery of the dominion he had
lost. Not without some difficulty had Rawlinson throughout this season
of convulsion contrived to maintain a recognised system of government,
in the name of Shah Soojah. The internal administration of the country
had never been suspended; but it was only through the agency of some
of the old Barukzye functionaries that the British political chief had
succeeded, in the midst of such disturbing influences, in carrying
on the government of Western Afghanistan. But there was little hope
of his continuing to exercise this influence if the old Barukzye
Sirdars again appeared on the stage. Already had Kohun-dil-Khan sent
letters to Meerza Ahmed appointing him his Wakeel in all matters of
revenue. It was even reported at one time that the ex-Sirdars were only
a few marches from Candahar.[160] These anxieties, however, were but
short-lived. After-intelligence from Persia encouraged the belief that
the Persian Government would restrain the ex-Sirdars from crossing the
frontier.[161] But other sources of inquietude and annoyance soon came
to take their place. The heaviest blow of all was now about to descend
upon them. It came from the Supreme Government itself.


[April-June: 1842.]

 The Halt at Jellalabad—Positions of Pollock and Nott—Lord
 Ellenborough—Opening Measures of his Administration—Departure for
 Allahabad—His Indecision—The Withdrawal Orders—Their Effects—The
 “Missing Letter”—Negotiations for the Release of the Prisoners.

Pollock and Nott were now eager to advance. On both sides of
Afghanistan a junction had been effected which enabled the two generals
to maintain a bold front in the face of the enemy, to over-awe the
surrounding country, and to inspire with new hopes and new courage the
hearts of those whom the failures of Wild and England had filled with
despondency and alarm. The English in India never doubted that the
conduct of operations in Afghanistan was now in the hands of men equal
to the duty which had been entrusted to them. They had full confidence
in Pollock and Nott. There were now two fine forces of all arms,
European and Native, in good health and good spirits, eager to advance
on Caubul, and sure to carry victory before them. It seemed that the
tide had now begun to turn in our favour. As the hot weather came on,
the spirits of the Anglo-Indian community rose with the mercury in the
thermometer; everybody said that we had seen the worst; and everybody
looked for the speedy lustration of the national honour, which had been
so hideously defiled.

But as the confidence of the public in the generals and their armies
rose, the confidence of the public in the man upon whom had now
devolved the great duty of shaping the counsels of the generals, and
directing the movements of the armies, began rapidly to decline. On the
28th of February, Lord Ellenborough had landed at Calcutta and taken
the oaths of office. The guns on the saluting battery of Fort William
roared forth their welcome to the new Governor-General, and drowned
the voices of those who were assembling in the Town-Hall to do honour
to the departing ruler. The first intelligence of the disasters that
had overtaken our arms in the countries beyond the Indus, had been
telegraphed to him from Fort St. George, when, standing on the deck of
the _Cambrian_ in the Madras Roads, he looked out upon the white surf,
the low beach, and the dazzling houses of the southern presidency. He
arrived, therefore, at the seat of the Supreme Government with little
to learn beyond the measures which his predecessor had sanctioned for
the extrication of the emperiled affairs of the British-Indian Empire
from the thicket of difficulty that surrounded them.

What those measures were it is unnecessary to repeat. In the last
letter written by Lord Auckland’s administration to the Secret
Committee—it bears date February 19, 1842—the Governor-General in
Council said: “Since we have heard of the misfortunes in the Khybur
Pass, and have been convinced that from the difficulties at present
opposed to us, and in the actual state of our preparations, we could
not expect, at least in this year, to maintain a position in the
Jellalabad districts for any effective purpose, we have made our
directions in regard to withdrawal from Jellalabad clear and positive,
and we shall rejoice to learn that Major-General Pollock will have
anticipated these more express orders by confining his efforts to the
same objects.” And on the 24th of the same month—in one of the last
public documents of any importance written under the instruction
of Lord Auckland—in a letter to General Pollock, that officer is
distinctly informed that “the great present object of your proceedings
at Peshawur is, beyond the safe withdrawal of the force at Jellalabad,
that of watching events, of keeping up such communications as may
be admissible with the several parties who may acquire power in the
northern portion of Afghanistan, of committing yourself permanently
with none of these parties, but also of declaring positively against
none of them, while you are collecting the most accurate information
of their relative strength and purposes for report to the government,
and pursuing the measures which you may find in your power for
procuring the safe return of our troops and people detained beyond
the Khybur Pass.”[162] These were the parting instructions of the old
Governor-General. Lord Ellenborough found matters in this state when he
assumed the reins of office; and every one was now eager to ascertain
what measures the new ruler would adopt.

The first public document of any importance to which he attached his
name was a letter to the Commander-in-Chief. It was a letter from
the Governor-General in Council, dated the 15th of March. It was a
calm and able review of all the circumstances attending our position
beyond the Indus, and was as free from feebleness and indecision on
the one side, as it was from haste and intemperance on the other.
Lord Ellenborough at once decided that the conduct of Shah Soojah
was, at least, suspicious,[163] and that the British Government was
no longer compelled “to peril its armies, and with its armies the
Indian Empire,” in support of the tripartite treaty. Therefore, he
said, “Whatever course we may hereafter take must rest solely upon
military considerations, and hence, in the first instance, regard to
the safety of the detached bodies of our troops at Jellalabad, at
Ghuznee, at Khelat-i-Ghilzye and Candahar; to the security of our
troops, now in the field, from all unnecessary risk; and finally, to
the re-establishment of our military reputation by the infliction of
some signal and decisive blow upon the Afghans, which may make it
appear to them, and to our own subjects and to our allies, that we have
the power of inflicting punishment upon those who commit atrocities and
violate their faith, and that we withdraw ultimately from Afghanistan,
not from any deficiency of means to maintain our position, but because
we are satisfied that the King we have set up has not, as we were
erroneously led to imagine, the support of the nation over which he
has been placed.” Here, in a few sentences, was mapped out the policy
recommended by such men as Mr. Robertson and Mr. Clerk, the policy
which Pollock and Nott were eager to reduce to action, and which, with
few exceptions, the entire community of British India were clamorously
expressing their desire to see brought into vigorous effect.

This letter to the Commander-in-Chief was written in Calcutta; and it
bears the signatures of the different members of the Supreme Council
of India—of Mr. Wilberforce Bird, of General Casement, and of Mr. H.
T. Prinsep. Nothing like it was ever written afterwards. On the 6th
of April Lord Ellenborough left Calcutta. It seemed desirable that he
should be nearer to the frontier—nearer to the Commander-in-Chief.
The movement, at all events, indicated an intention to act with
promptitude and energy. Already had the new Governor-General startled
the sober, slow-going functionaries of Calcutta by his restless,
and, as they thought, obtrusive activity. He seemed resolved to
see everything for himself—to do everything for himself. Almost
everything had been done wrongly by others; and now he was going to
do it rightly himself. All this created a great convulsion in the
government offices; but out of doors, and especially in military
circles, men said that the new Governor-General was a statesman of
the right stamp—bold, vigorous, decided, thoroughly in earnest, no
fearer of responsibility—quick to conceive, prompt to execute—just
the man to meet with bold comprehensive measures such a crisis as
had now arisen. A few sober-minded men of the old school shook their
heads, and faltered out expressions of alarm lest the vigour of the new
Governor-General should swell into extravagance, and energy get the
better of discretion. But no one ever doubted that the leading ideas
in the Governor-General’s mind were the chastisement of the offending
Afghans and the lustration of our national honour.

After a day or two spent at Barrackpore, Lord Ellenborough put himself
into a palanquin, and proceeded to Allahabad. Halting at Benares, he
addressed the Secret Committee on the 21st of April. Much stirring
intelligence had met him as he advanced. Good and evil were blended
together in the tidings that reached him between Calcutta and Benares.
Pollock had entered the Khybur Pass and forced his way to Ali-Musjid.
Sale had defeated Akbar Khan in a general action on the plains of
Jellalabad. But England had been beaten back at Hykulzye, and withdrawn
his brigade to Quettah. All these things the Governor-General now
reported to the Secret Committee, in a despatch which can by no means
be regarded as a model of historical truth. Writing again on the
following day to the home authorities, he stated that he had “by no
means altered his deliberate opinion that it is expedient to withdraw
the troops under Major-General Pollock and those under Major-General
Nott, at the earliest practicable period, into positions wherein they
may have certain and easy communication with India.” He had already
written to General Nott, instructing him to take immediate measures to
withdraw the garrison of Khelat-i-Ghilzye and evacuate Candahar. “You
will evacuate,” wrote the Chief Secretary, “the city of Candahar....
You will proceed to take up a position at Quettah, until the season
may enable you to retire upon Sukkur. The object of the above-directed
measure is to withdraw all our forces to Sukkur at the earliest
period at which the season and other circumstances may permit you
to take up a new position there. The manner of effecting this now
necessary object is, however, left to your discretion.”[164] And so
the Governor-General, who in Calcutta had determined to “re-establish
our military reputation by the infliction of some signal and decisive
blow upon the Afghans,” could now hardly write a sentence suggestive of
anything else but withdrawal and evacuation.

How it happened that, within the space of little more than a month,
so great a change had come over the counsels of the Governor-General,
it would be difficult to determine, if he himself had not furnished
the necessary explanation. “The severe check,” he wrote to the
Commander-in-Chief, “experienced by Brigadier England’s small corps
on the 28th ultimo—an event disastrous as it was unexpected—and of
which we have not yet information to enable us to calculate all the
results—has a tendency so to cripple the before limited means of
movement and of action which were possessed by General Nott, as to
render it expedient to take immediate measures for the ultimate safety
of that officer’s corps, by withdrawing it, at the earliest practicable
period, from its advanced position into nearer communication with

On this same 19th of April, the Governor-General addressed another
letter to the Commander-in-Chief, relating to the position of General
Pollock. “The only question,” wrote the Chief Secretary, “will be, in
which position will Major-General Pollock’s force remain during the
hot months, with most security to itself, and with the least pressure
upon the health of the troops? its ultimate retirement within the
Indus being a point determined upon, because the reasons for our first
crossing the Indus have ceased to exist.” The Commander-in-Chief was
then directed to issue his own instructions to General Pollock; and
another letter was immediately afterwards addressed to him (the third
despatched to Sir Jasper Nicolls on this prolific 19th of April), in
which, after speaking of the withdrawal orders addressed to Pollock
and Nott, the Governor-General goes on to say: “It will, however,
likewise be for consideration whether our troops, having been redeemed
from the state of peril in which they have been placed in Afghanistan,
and it may be still hoped not without the infliction of some severe
blow upon the Afghan army, it would be justifiable again to push
them forward for no other object than that of revenging our losses,
and of re-establishing, in all its original brilliancy, our military

It was Lord Ellenborough’s often-declared opinion that “India was won
by the sword, and must be maintained by the sword.” In his despatch of
the 15th of March he had written: “In war, reputation is strength.”
And yet we now find him questioning the expediency of undertaking
operations beyond the Indus with “no other object than that of
re-establishing our military character.” If we hold India by the sword,
and reputation is strength, a statesman need hardly look for any object
beyond the establishment of that reputation, which is the strength by
which alone our empire in India is maintained.

But England’s miscarriage at Hykulzye had not only driven all the
forward feeling out of Lord Ellenborough, but had blunted his logical
acumen and deadened all his feelings of compassion. He seems to have
forgotten that at this time there was a party of English prisoners in
the hands of the Afghans—that the generals who had commanded our army
at Caubul—the widow of the murdered Envoy—the brave-hearted wife of
the commander of the illustrious garrison of Jellalabad—the man who
had rescued Herat from the grasp of the Persian, and done the only
thing that had yet been done to roll back from the gates of India the
tide of Western invasion—with many more brave officers and tender
women, were captives in the rude fortresses of the Afghan Sirdars. The
Governor-General seems to have forgotten that there were prisoners to
be rescued; and he doubted the expediency of undertaking operations
merely for the re-establishment of our military reputation—although
upon that reputation, in his own opinion, our tenure of India depended.

The request conveyed to Sir Jasper Nicolls in the government letter
of the 19th of April met with prompt compliance; and on the 29th, the
Commander-in-Chief, who was then at Simlah, instructed General Pollock
to withdraw every British soldier from Jellalabad to Peshawur. “The
only circumstances,” he added, “which can authorise delay in obeying
this order, are: 1st. That you have brought a negotiation for the
release of the prisoners lately confined at Budeeabad to such a point
that you might risk its happy accomplishment by withdrawing. 2ndly.
That you may have attached a lightly equipped force to rescue them.
3rdly. That the enemy at Caubul may be moving a force to attack you.
In this improbable case, should any respectable number of troops
have descended into the plain below Jugdulluck with that intent, it
would be most advisable to inflict such a blow upon them as to make
them long remember your parting effort.” Of these instructions the
Governor-General “entirely approved;” and on the 6th of May the Chief
Secretary wrote to General Pollock, saying: “They are in accordance
with the general principles laid down by his Lordship for your
guidance, and you will execute them to the best of your ability, having
regard always to the health of your troops and to the efficiency of
your army.”

In the interval, however, between the 19th of April and the 6th of May,
the Governor-General having somewhat shaken off the uneasy sensation
which the disaster at Hykulzye seems to have engendered in his mind,
and having arrived at the conclusion that the phantoms which had so
intimidated him had not struck terror into the brave heart of General
Pollock, had written to the General, anticipating the possibility of
his having advanced upon Caubul.

“The aspect of affairs in Upper Afghanistan,” wrote the Chief
Secretary, on the 28th of April, “appears to be such, according to
the last advices received by the Governor-General, that his Lordship
cannot but contemplate the possibility of your having been led, by the
absence of serious opposition on the part of any army in the field,
by the divisions amongst the Afghan chiefs, and by the natural desire
you must, in common with every true soldier, have of displaying again
the British flag in triumph upon the scene of our late disasters,
to advance upon and occupy the city of Caubul. If that event should
have occurred, you will understand that it will in no respect vary
the view which the Governor-General previously took of the policy
now to be pursued. The Governor-General will adhere to the opinion
that the only safe course is that of withdrawing the army under your
command, at the earliest practicable period, into positions within
the Khybur Pass, where it may possess easy and certain communications
with India.” Why Lord Ellenborough should have entertained a belief
even of the possibility of Pollock advancing upon Caubul, in the face
of positive instructions to the contrary and a known deficiency of
carriage, it is not easy to conjecture. Probably Lord Ellenborough
himself could not have explained the source of this extraordinary
buoyancy of expectation, for six days afterwards he declared that he
had been led to expect “that you (Pollock) will have already decided
upon withdrawing your troops within the Khybur Pass, into a position
wherein you may have easy and certain communication with India, if
considerations, having regard to the health of the army, should not
have induced you to defer that movement.” The idea of the advance upon
Caubul seems only to have been a temporary apprehension arising out
of a not erroneous estimate of the military aspirations of General
Pollock; and it very soon passed away. But it had one important result.
It called forth from the General the following soldierly letter:


  Jellalabad, May 13, 1842.
  I had the honour to forward with my letter No. 32, dated
  12th instant, a copy of a letter from his Excellency the
  Commander-in-Chief. I have now the honour to acknowledge the receipt
  of your letter, dated 28th ultimo, which adverts to the present
  aspect of affairs in Afghanistan, and the probability of my having
  advanced towards Caubul; stating also, that in such an event, the
  views of the Governor-General as to the withdrawal of the troops
  will not be altered; and further, that whatever measures I may
  adopt I must have especial regard to the health of the troops. I
  trust that I am not wrong in considering this letter as leaving to
  me discretionary powers, and, coming as it does from the supreme
  power in India, I venture to delay, for some days, acting up to the
  instructions communicated in his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief’s
  letter, dated 29th ult.

  I regret much that a want of carriage-cattle has detained me here; if
  it had not been so, I should now be several marches in advance, and I
  am quite certain that such a move would have been highly beneficial.
  Affairs at Caubul are, at the present moment, in a very unsettled
  state; but a few days must decide in favour of one of the parties.
  Mahomed Akbar is at Caubul, exerting all his influence to overpower
  the Prince. He is without means; and if he cannot, within a very
  short period obtain the ascendancy, he must give up the contest, in
  which case I have no doubt I shall hear from him again. With regard
  to our withdrawal at the present moment, I fear that it would have
  the very worst effect—it would be construed into a defeat, and our
  character as a powerful nation would be entirely lost in this part of
  the world.

  It is true that the garrison of Jellalabad has been saved, which it
  would not have been, had a force not been sent to its relief. But
  the relief of that garrison is only one object; there still remain
  others which we cannot disregard—I allude to the release of the
  prisoners. I expect about nineteen Europeans from Budeeabad in a
  few days. The letters which have passed about other prisoners have
  already been forwarded for the information of his Lordship. If, while
  these communications were in progress, I were to retire, it would
  be supposed that a panic had seized us. I therefore think that our
  remaining in this vicinity (or perhaps a few marches in advance) is
  essential to uphold the character of the British nation; and in like
  manner General Nott might hold his post; at all events till a more
  favourable season.

  I have no reason, yet, to complain that the troops are more unhealthy
  than they were at Agra. If I am to march to Peshawur, the climate is
  certainly not preferable; and here I can in one or two marches find a
  better climate, and I should be able to dictate better terms than I
  could at Peshawur.

  I cannot imagine any force being sent from Caubul which I could not
  successfully oppose. But the advance on Caubul would require that
  General Nott should act in concert and advance also. I therefore
  cannot help regretting that he should be directed to retire, which,
  without some demonstration of our power, he will find some difficulty
  in doing. I have less hesitation in thus expressing my opinion,
  because I could not under any circumstances, move in less than
  eighteen or twenty days; and your reply might reach me by express in
  about twenty-two days. The difference in point of time is not very
  material, but the importance of the subject is sufficient to justify
  the delay of a few days. In the mean time, I shall endeavour to
  procure carriage-cattle as fast as I can, to move either forward or
  backward, as I may be directed; or, if left to my discretion, as I
  may think judicious. Under any circumstances, I should not advocate
  the delay of the troops either at Candahar or on this side beyond the
  month of November; and in this arrangement advertence must be had to
  the safety of the Khybur, which I consider the Sikhs would gladly
  hold if they were allowed to take possession of Jellalabad.

  I have the honour to be, &c.,
  GEORGE POLLOCK, Major-Gen.[165]

 Unwilling to return to the provinces without striking a signal blow at
 the Afghans, and doing something great to re-establish the military
 reputation of Great Britain in the countries beyond the Indus, Pollock
 grasped eagerly at the faintest indication of willingness on the
 part of the Governor-General to place any discretionary power in his
 hands; and expressed his eagerness to traverse, with a victorious
 army, the scene of our recent humiliation. If he had had carriage he
 would have advanced at once; but the want of cattle paralysed the
 movements of the force, and kept Pollock inactive in the neighbourhood
 of Jellalabad. In one respect this want was a gain and an advantage.
 Mindful both of the honour of his country, and of the safety of his
 captive countrymen and countrywomen, Pollock adroitly turned the
 scarcity of carriage to good account, by declaring that he had not the
 means of retiring to Peshawur. Thus gaining time for something to be
 written down in the chapter of accidents, he continued to maintain his
 advanced position, and exerted himself to secure by negotiation the
 release of the prisoners from the hands of Akbar Khan.[166]

 In the mean while, the announcement of the Governor-General’s
 determination to withdraw the troops from their advanced positions
 had reached Candahar. Nott had always consistently declared that he
 would not yield an inch of ground without the instructions of the
 Supreme Government, but that, fortified by such instructions, he was
 prepared to move either in one direction or the other—to abandon
 all the posts in Western Afghanistan, or to march victoriously on
 the capital. He had his own opinions on the subject of withdrawal;
 but the obedience of the soldier was paramount over all his words
 and actions; and when he received the instructions of which mention
 has been made, he wrote to the Chief Secretary on the 17th of May:
 “These measures shall be carried into effect, and the directions of
 his Lordship accomplished in the best manner circumstances will admit
 of.” And again he wrote on the 21st to the same functionary: “I shall
 not lose a moment in making all necessary arrangements for carrying
 into effect the orders I have received, without turning to the right
 or to the left, by the idle propositions and wild speculations daily
 and hourly heaped upon me from all parts of Afghanistan and Sindh,
 by persons who are, or fancy themselves to be, representatives of
 government West of the Indus. I know that it is my duty and their duty
 implicitly and zealously to carry into effect every order received,
 without inquiring into the reasons for the measures adopted, whatever
 our own opinions or wishes may be, and without troubling government
 with unnecessary references.”[167] But it was plain that he read the
 orders of the Supreme Government not without acute mortification. He
 yielded in effect a prompt assent; but in spirit it was a grudging
 one. The orders for the evacuation of Candahar took Nott and Rawlinson
 by surprise, and filled them with as much pain as astonishment. What
 was really felt by the Candahar authorities is not to be learnt from
 the published papers; but in the following letter written by Rawlinson
 to Outram on the 18th of May, not only are the real feelings of the
 military and political chiefs clearly revealed, but the probable
 effects of the evacuation of Candahar sketched out, with a free hand
 by the latter:

 The peremptory order to retire has come upon us like a thunder-clap.
 No one at Candahar is aware of such an order having been received,
 except the General and myself, and we must preserve a profound
 secrecy as long as possible. The withdrawal of the garrison from
 Kelat-i-Ghilzye and the destruction of the fortifications at that
 place must, I fancy, however, expose our policy, and our situation
 will then be one of considerable embarrassment.

 General Nott intends, I believe, to order all the carriage at Quettah
 to be sent on to Candahar. A regiment is to escort the camels laden
 with grain to Killah Abdoolah, where the troops will remain in charge
 of the depôt, and from whence a regiment or two regiments detached
 from this will bring on the camels empty to Candahar. It must be our
 object to collect carriage, on the pretext of an advance on Caubul;
 but how long the secret can be kept, it is impossible to say. When our
 intended retirement is once known, we must expect to have the whole
 country up in arms, and to obtain no cattle except such as we can
 violently lay hands on.

 If the worst comes to the worst, we must abandon all baggage and
 stores, and be content to march with sufficient food to convey us to
 Quettah, for which I believe the carriage now available will suffice.

 It will be quite impossible to destroy the works of Candahar, as
 directed in the government letter: the worst that can be done is to
 blow up the gateways. I have hardly yet had time to reflect fully
 upon the effects, immediate and prospective, of our abrupt departure.
 There is no man at present on whom I can cast my eyes in all Candahar
 as likely to succeed to power. Sufder Jung will be a mere puppet
 of course, and will be liable to deposition at any moment. Should
 the Barukzyes triumph at Caubul, and should we no longer oppose the
 return of Kohundil, he will be the most likely chief to succeed;
 but the natural consequence of his return, and of our determined
 non-interference with the affairs in this quarter, will be of course
 to render Persian influence paramount at Herat and Candahar; and, with
 the prospect of a Russian fleet at Astrabad and a Persian army at
 Merve, it is by no means impossible that the designs which threatened
 us in 1838 may at last be directly accomplished. Strong measures
 of intimidation, both against Russia and Persia, will be our best

But, however great may have been the mortification which Nott and
Rawlinson were now condemned to experience, the orders of the Supreme
Government were so explicit, that the General believed it to be his
duty at once to begin to carry them into effect. A brigade had already
been equipped for the relief of Khelat-i-Ghilzye and the rescue of
the Ghuznee prisoners. It was now despatched, on the 19th of May, to
bring off the garrison, and to destroy the works of the former place.
Colonel Wymer commanded the force. It consisted of those three noble
Sepoy regiments with which he had before done such good service;[169]
her Majesty’s 40th Regiment, Leslie’s troop of Horse Artillery, four
guns of Blood’s battery, the Bombay cavalry details, and the Shah’s 1st
Regiment of Horse. Some troopers of Haldane’s cavalry, some details of
Bengal artillery, and of the Madras sappers, completed the components
of the force.

Thus, in the later weeks of May, Pollock was holding his post at
Jellalabad, eager to receive authority to march upon Caubul, and
rejoicing in the pretext of a scarcity of carriage for delaying the
withdrawal of his force; Nott, eager, too, for a forward movement,
but unable to perceive in the instructions of government the least
indication of an intention to place any discretionary power in his
hands, was taking measures to secure, with all promptitude, the
accomplishment of their wishes; and the Governor-General, from
Allahabad, was writing strong letters to the Generals, impressing upon
them the necessity of maintaining a discreet silence regarding the
intentions of government and the future movements of the troops.

There was nothing, in truth, more desirable than this. The intentions
of the Governor-General were of such a character as to render these
revelations, in the existing state of things, dangerous, if not fatal,
to the interests of Great Britain in the countries beyond the Indus.
But official secrets are not easily kept in a country where so many
copies of every public letter are forwarded to different authorities,
in distant parts of the country; where so many clerks are employed
to copy, and so many staff-officers allowed to read them. Before the
end of May it was known, not only in General Pollock’s camp, but in
all the cantonments of India, that the armies were to be withdrawn.
The secret had welled out from the bureau of the Commander-in-Chief;
and bets were made at the mess-tables of Jellalabad regarding the
probable date of the withdrawal of the troops. No man knew better
than Pollock the danger of such revelations,[170] and he did his
best to counteract the evil tendency of the reports which were now
the common gossip of his camp, and were soon likely to be current
in all the Afghan bazaars. “I have taken steps,” he wrote to the
Commander-in-Chief, “to prevent any great mischief resulting, by
ordering the deputy-quarter-master-general a few miles in advance, to
mark out a new encamping ground; and I shall have such inquiries made
among the natives about bringing supplies there, that will make them
believe that I shall move forward.”

And Pollock still hoped that something might arise to wring from the
Governor-General an order to march upon the Afghan capital. But the
letters he received from Lord Ellenborough and Sir Jasper Nicolls were
calculated not only to discourage but to embarrass him. There was no
possibility of misunderstanding the wishes of the Commander-in-Chief;
but the Governor-General, whilst imperatively directing the speediest
possible withdrawal of Pollock’s army, was every now and then throwing
out a hint that a forward movement for the chastisement of the Afghans
would not be ungrateful to him. And whilst the Governor-General was
obviously intending to place some discretionary power in the General’s
hands, the Commander-in-Chief was writing to assure him that the
orders of the Supreme Government all tended towards an immediate and
unconditional withdrawal.

The letter of the 13th of May elicited no answer; but a letter written
a week afterwards,[171] in which Pollock pointed out the evils and
difficulties of an immediate withdrawal to Peshawur, found the
Governor-General in one of his more forward and chivalrous moods.
Pollock, in this letter of the 20th of May, had said: “I shall be glad
if any letter from government may authorise my remaining till October
or November;” and now, on the 1st of June, the Governor-General,
through the Chief Secretary, replied: “It would be desirable,
undoubtedly, that before finally quitting Afghanistan, you should have
an opportunity of striking a blow at the enemy; and since circumstances
seem to compel you to remain there till October, the Governor-General
earnestly hopes that you may be enabled to draw the enemy into a
position in which you may strike such a blow effectually.” And again,
in the same letter: “It will be for your consideration whether your
large army, one half of which would beat, in open field, everything
that could be brought against it in Afghanistan, should remain entirely
inactive during the period which must now apparently elapse before it
can finally retire. Although you may not have, or soon be able to
procure the means of moving your whole army, you may possibly be able
to move a part of it rapidly against some portion of the enemy’s force
incautiously exposed, and of giving it a severe blow.” This was, at all
events, something gained. And the gain was a sudden one. Only three
days before, the Governor-General, in a letter to Pollock, had resented
the presumption of Mr. Clerk in drawing from a former letter an
inference in favour of the continued occupation of Jellalabad, in the
event of negotiations being on foot for the release of the prisoners,
and had expressed a strong opinion that no negotiations had yet been
entered upon of a nature to impede the backward movement of the force.
The letter of the 1st of June was, therefore, doubly welcome. Pollock
had now received a constructive permission to remain at Jellalabad
until October;[172] and, as every effort was to be made in the interval
to collect carriage-cattle in the provinces of Hindostan, ostensibly
for the purpose of his withdrawal from Afghanistan, he determined
to lose no opportunity of turning those means of withdrawal to the
best possible account. If there were carriage to enable him to fall
back upon Peshawur, there would be carriage to enable him to advance
upon Caubul, for the mistake of hiring cattle, with local limitations
affixed to the engagements, was not to be perpetuated. So General
Pollock looked forward with confidence to the coming autumn, as to a
time when a vigorous and decisive blow might be struck at the nation
which had humbled the pride and defiled the honour of the conquerors
of Hindostan.

Patiently, therefore, biding his time, Pollock turned the halt at
Jellalabad to the best possible account, by endeavouring to obtain
by negotiation the ransom of the British prisoners. What those
negotiations were, and what was their result, should be stated in
this place. It was on the evening of the 25th of April that some
excitement was created in Pollock’s camp at Jellalabad, by rumours,
presently confirmed, of the arrival of Captain Colin Mackenzie, one
of the prisoners in the hands of Akbar Khan, with a letter from
Major Pottinger, and overtures from the Sirdar. Pottinger’s letter
briefly shadowed forth the terms on which Akbar Khan and his Ghilzye
confederates were prepared to release the prisoners—but the language
employed was rather that of inquiry than dictation. “The Sirdar,”
wrote Pottinger, “wishes to know, in the first place, if we will
consent to withdraw the greater part of our troops, and leave an agent
with a small body of men to act with whomever the confederates may
elect as chief, in which case they propose to be guided by the wishes
of the two factions in Caubul, and wish us to release Dost Mahomed
Khan. _Secondly_—They propose, that if the British Government have
determined on subjecting the country and continuing the war, that the
prisoners at present in Afghanistan shall be exchanged for Dost Mahomed
Khan, his family and attendants, and that the issue be dependent on the
sword. _Thirdly_—In the event of neither of these propositions being
approved of, they wish to know what terms will be granted to themselves
individually; whether we, in the event of their submission, will
confine them, send them to India, take hostages from them, reduce their
pay, or, in short, what they have to expect from our clemency.”[173]

To this General Pollock replied, that “kindness and good treatment of
our prisoners would meet with due consideration at the hands of the
British Government, and the release of them much more so; that if money
were a consideration, he was prepared to pay into the hands of any one
the Sirdar might depute to receive it the sum of two lakhs of rupees,
whenever the prisoners might be delivered into his hands;” and that
Mahomed Shah Khan and his brothers would be “suffered to enjoy the
advantages arising from their hereditary dominions.”[174]

With this letter Mackenzie left Jellalabad on the evening of the
28th of April. He had been instructed by the Sirdar to ascertain, if
possible, from General Pollock whether there was any chance of the
British Government admitting him to terms, on his own account, if he
would detach himself from the national cause, and exert his influence
to advance our interests in Afghanistan. But upon this Pollock could
express no definite opinion. “His position,” wrote the General to the
Supreme Government, “is evidently different from the others. That
he was the murderer of the Envoy there cannot be a question, and he
evidently feels his guilt to be an insuperable bar to any terms from
us; but he also feels that he has possession of the persons of our
countrymen, and that circumstance seems to hold out to him a hope that
his proffers of submission will meet with a favourable reception.”[175]

The reply of General Pollock to the overtures of Akbar Khan
disappointed the Sirdar; and Captain Mackenzie was again despatched
to Jellalabad. This time he was the bearer of a string of proposals
far more extravagant than those which had been conveyed by him on his
first mission. The requests of the Barukzye chief, as set forth in
Pottinger’s letter to the General, were—

 1stly. That a written promise of amnesty be given to himself, Mohamed
 Shah Khan, and the latter’s family, for all past acts up to the date
 of delivery. 2ndly. That neither he nor any of the above-mentioned
 family shall be sent out of the Caubul and Jellalabad districts
 against their wishes. 3rdly. That they may not be obliged to pay their
 respects to you in our camp till they be assured against any danger.
 4thly. If we merely intend to revenge ourselves on the enemy, and then
 leave the country, he trusts its government will be conferred on him.
 5thly. He wants a jaghire to support his family, and he names two
 lakhs as adequate. 6thly. He wants eight lakhs of rupees as a present
 to start him with. (His great fear, as it is of all Afghans, is of
 being removed from his country.) He also asks for his own women, who
 are in his father’s _harem-serai_. They have asked for the money,
 if it is paid, to be given to Sir-Bolund Khan, who will remain as
 a hostage till the prisoners are delivered, or that you pay it to
 Hindoos, who can empower their agents in Caubul to pay it on delivery
 of the prisoners.[176]

To these proposals Pollock replied:

 With regard to the first, it follows as a matter of course that,
 whenever we agree to any terms, amnesty for the past will result.

 The second request, about residing at Caubul and Jellalabad, is out of
 place now; it must depend upon contingencies, and be discussed only
 after other and more important points have been agreed upon.

 With reference to the third request, the Sirdar Mahomed Akbar may
 be assured that I would guarantee his personal safety whenever he
 may visit my camp; but his doing so would require some preliminary
 arrangement, unless he voluntarily claims our protection, in which
 case I could immediately arrange for his safety, and appeal to the
 government on his behalf.

 The fourth request refers to matters entirely depending on future
 results, and which are known to God alone. It would therefore be vain
 to speculate on them at this stage of our negotiation.

 With regard to the fifth and sixth requests, I have already told
 you that I suppose the Sirdar rests his claim to any present on his
 delivering up the prisoners, which, as I have before stated, will be
 the best evidence of good faith, and a sincere wish for favourable
 terms with the British Government. I have accordingly already
 mentioned the sum of two lakhs of rupees. The Sirdar Mahomed Akbar
 must recollect that he is desirous of obtaining the females of his own
 family. The British Government will not require any money to be paid
 on their account; and I hereby guarantee that, on all the prisoners
 being delivered over to me, I will write to India for the women of
 the Sirdar Mahomed Akbar, and I have no doubt that my request will be
 complied with.

 As to the payment of the money for the prisoners now with, or in the
 power of Mahomet Akbar, it shall be made to any person the Sirdar may
 appoint to receive it, or it shall be paid to Hindoos who can give
 bills on Caubul. The good faith and honour of the British nation is
 not doubted, and I therefore hereby pledge myself to pay the two lakhs
 of rupees on account of government whenever the prisoners are made
 over to me.[177]

Mackenzie took his departure with these replies. There was stirring
work, at this time, for Akbar Khan at Caubul; and the negotiations
had no result. But the visits of the British officer to Jellalabad had
not been without their uses. Mackenzie had been the bearer of much
information of the deepest interest, and had placed many valuable
documents in the hands of General Pollock. The General had laid before
him a string of questions relative to the causes and progress of the
insurrection at Caubul, the answers to which, in the existing state of
information even in the best-informed quarters, threw a flood of light
upon many dark points of recent history. And whilst in official places
many important revelations were made, all through the general camp
there transpired, in time, from the same source, much that was eagerly
sought, eagerly discussed when found, and eagerly transmitted to every
cantonment in India, where the fate of the captives in the hands of
Akbar Khan was a matter of the liveliest concernment, and a source of
the most painful alarm.[178]


[January-April: 1842.]

 The Captivity—Surrender of the Married Families—Their Journey to
 Tezeen—Proceed to Tugree—Interviews between Pottinger and Akbar
 Khan—Removal to Budeeabad—Prison Life—Removal to Zanda—Death of
 General Elphinstone.

Few were the letters which Mackenzie brought from his fellow-captives
to their friends at Jellalabad. There may have been state reasons
for the secrecy which enveloped his movements; but to all parties
the disappointment was great. Every one at Jellalabad was eager for
intelligence regarding the incidents which had befallen the little
band of prisoners, and for particulars of all the daily environments
of their captive state. All through the camp ran eager inquiries; and
little by little the much-coveted information began to radiate from the
General’s tent, and to diffuse itself in more remote quarters. What was
then told in mere outline may here be given more in detail.

It was on the 9th of January that the married families were made over
to the protection of Mahomed Akbar Khan. The following day was spent
by them in a small fort, where they found Pottinger, Lawrence, and
Mackenzie, who had been surrendered as hostages at Boot-Khak. Rude as
was the accommodation, and untempting as was the fare, that were here
offered them, after the miseries and privations of the retreat through
the snowy passes, the “small dark hovels” in which they were crowded
together were a very palace, and the “greasy palao” in which they
dipped their fingers was regal fare. They slept that night on the bare
ground—but there was a roof between them and the open sky; and they
thought little of the smoke, which almost suffocated them, whilst in
the enjoyment of the reviving warmth of a wood fire.[179]

On the morning of the 11th, through scenes of unexampled horror, the
party of captives were conducted to the Tezeen fort. The road was
strewn with the stark bodies of the mangled dead. Here and there little
groups of wretched camp-followers, starving, frost-bitten, many of
them in a state of gibbering idiocy, were to be seen cowering in the
snow; or solitary men, perhaps wounded and naked, were creeping out
of their hiding-places, in an extremity of mortal suffering and fear.
The sickening smell of death rose from the bloody corpses through
which our English ladies guided their horses, striving not to tread
upon the bodies, or in their camel-panniers jolted and stumbled over
the obstructing carrion. Happy were they all, when, about the hour of
evening prayer, that dreadful journey was at an end, and the fort of
Tezeen appeared in sight. There they were hospitably received—and
there another captive was added to their number. Lieutenant Melville,
of the 54th Native Infantry, who had been wounded on the retreat, and
whose wounds had been bound up by the hand of Akbar Khan himself, was
waiting their arrival in the fort.

On the following day they were carried to Seh-Baba; and the same
dreadful scenes of carnage sickened them as they went along. On the
march another prisoner, and a welcome one, was added to the party—one
whom the sick and wounded had much wanted—a medical officer,
Dr. Macgrath. On the 13th, partly over remote mountain paths, so
precipitous that the camels could scarcely keep their footing, and
partly along the bloody track of our slaughtered army, the captive band
were escorted to Jugdulluck. Here three ragged tents had been pitched
for their reception. Here they found General Elphinstone, Brigadier
Shelton, and Captain Johnson, who had been claimed as hostages by Akbar
Khan; and here they learnt that all the soldiers and camp-followers
who had left Caubul, with the exception of this little handful of
prisoners, had, in all probability, been annihilated on the march.

Next morning they resumed their journey—the General, the Brigadier,
and Captain Johnson, accompanied by Akbar Khan, bringing up the rear.
A more rugged and difficult road had seldom been travelled over.
The ascents and descents were seemingly impracticable; it made the
travellers giddy to look at them. The road was “one continuation of
rocks and stones, over which the camels with the greatest difficulty
scrambled” with their burdens.[180] At night they bivouacked on the
banks of the Punshuhur river. There were no tents, no shelter of any
kind for the ladies. So they rolled themselves up in their warmest
garments, laid their heads upon their saddles, and composed themselves,
as best they could, to sleep.

Early in the morning of the 15th of January, they crossed the deep and
rapid fords of the Punshuhur river. The passage was not accomplished
without difficulty and danger; but the active kindness of the Afghan
Sirdars availed to escort the party over in safety.[181] A bitterly
cold wind was blowing as they passed; and a few followers and cattle
were lost. Proceeding then in a north-easterly direction, they made
their way over a barren, inhospitable country, where neither grass nor
water was to be seen, into the fertile valley of Lughman; and halted in
the vicinity of the Tugree fort. The following day was the Sabbath. A
day’s halt had been determined upon; and it fell, by a happy accident,
on the Christian’s day of rest. A Bible and Prayer-book had been
“picked up on the field at Boot-Khak;” and the service of the Church of
England was read to the little band of prisoners. It is easy to imagine
with what deep emotion they must have joined in the prayer beseeching
the Almighty to have mercy “upon all prisoners and captives.”

On the morning of the 17th, they were again upon the move.[182] Tugree
is only thirty miles distant from Jellalabad; and up to this time a
faint hope had been encouraged by the captives that they were to be
escorted to that place. But now an order came for them “to prepare for
a march higher up the valley,” and in a different direction. It was now
found that their destination was the fort of Budeeabad. This was to be
their resting-place. It had been recently erected; and was the property
of Mahomed Shah Khan, the father-in-law of the Sirdar. Five rooms,
composing two sides of an inner square, or citadel, were allotted to
the British prisoners. The buildings were “intended for the chief and
his favourite wife,”[183] and it may therefore be presumed that they
afforded the best accommodation in the place. The party consisted
of nine ladies, twenty gentlemen, and fourteen children. Seventeen
European soldiers, two European women, and a child, were located in
another part of the fort.

On that night of the 17th of January, Pottinger and Akbar Khan were
in close and earnest conversation. The Sirdar entered on the subject
of his father’s release; and asked the English officer if he would
guarantee an interchange of prisoners and the evacuation of Jellalabad.
Pottinger could only answer that he was a prisoner and powerless; and
could give no promises with any certainty of their being performed.
But he undertook to write to Macgregor on the subject; and to urge him
to lay the wishes of the Sirdar before the Supreme Government.[184]
It appeared to Pottinger that no more expedient course could be
adopted than that involving a general interchange of prisoners and the
restoration of the country to Dost Mahomed Khan.

Ostensibly for the purpose of proceeding southward for the reduction of
Jellalabad, Akbar Khan took his departure on the following day; and the
captives began to settle down into the monotony of prison-life. In this
place they continued to reside for nearly three months. The incidents
of captivity, during this period, were not many, or very memorable.
Here for the first time, after the lapse of a fortnight, they were
able to change their clothes.[185] Clean linen was very scarce; and
the nice sensibilities of delicate English ladies were outraged by the
appearance of nauseous vermin. The food that was served out to them was
not of the most luxurious description. It consisted of rice, mutton,
and thick cakes of unleavened dough, prepared by the Afghan cooks in a
manner little relished by English palates.[186] Captain Lawrence acted
as the steward of the captive party, and divided the supplies, whether
they were the daily food of the prisoners, or parcels of clothes,
money,[187] and other equally acceptable presents sent them either by
their Afghan captors or their friends at Jellalabad.

There was nothing very painful in the outward circumstances of their
captivity, except the unmitigated dirt, which the cleanly habits of the
English in India must have rendered peculiarly offensive. They were
not suffered to wander far from their prison-house; but within its
walls they found both occupation and amusement, and the time passed at
Budeeabad is not now, in the retrospect, the saddest of their lives.
They had among them a few books; some had been brought for sale by
natives of the country, who had picked them up on the road traversed
by the army on its retreat; others had been forwarded by friends at
Jellalabad. Now and then a stray newspaper came in from that place.
It is hard to say how greedily its contents were devoured, and how
eagerly they were discussed. Sometimes letters were received from
below; there was a good deal of cypher correspondence between the
prisoners and Sale’s garrison,[188] and many long letters were written
to friends in India or in England, to be despatched when opportunity
might offer. Then there were amongst them two or three packs of old
playing cards—dirty and limp, but not the less serviceable for these
conventional defects. Some rude backgammon and draft boards had been
constructed for prison service; and there was quite enough elasticity
of spirits left among the captives to render them not disinclined
for more active and boisterous sports. They played at “hop-scotch;”
they played at “blind-man’s buff.” A favourite game among them was
the latter; and when some ten or fifteen healthy and cheerful little
boys and girls joined in the sport, the mirth ran fast and furious.
A Christmas party in old England seldom sees madder gambols than
these—seldom has the heart’s laughter risen more freely from a band of
merrier children than those who romped with their elders in prison at
Budeeabad. But from those elders were seldom absent the memory of the
harrowing past, painful apprehensions regarding the future, and, above
all, a depressing sense of the national humiliation.

The Sabbaths were always kept holy. Every Sunday saw the little
party of Christian prisoners assembled for the worship of their God.
Sometimes in the open air, sometimes in tents, in huts, or any other
place available for the purpose, Sunday after Sunday, the Church
Service was read to as devout a band of worshippers as ever assembled
to render thanks to the Almighty, and to implore the continuance of His
mercies. Nor were these observances lost upon their guards. Wild and
savage as were their keepers, they seemed to respect the Christians’
day of rest. There was more decorum in their demeanour, more courtesy
in their manner, than on the working-days of the week. An atmosphere of
peace and rest seemed to envelop them on that sacred day. Some, who had
saved little else, had saved their Bibles, and every evening little
knots of captives might have been heard in their cells, lifting up the
voice of prayer, and reading to one another God’s blessed promises to
the heavy-laden and the afflicted.

On the 23rd of January, Akbar Khan, accompanied by Sooltan Jan,
returned to Budeeabad. The object of his visit was to induce Pottinger
to write to Macgregor at Jellalabad, stating the terms on which the
Sirdar was willing to treat with the British for the release of the
prisoners. The letter was duly written;[189] but Pottinger repeated
that he had no hope of the surrender of Jellalabad; and added that he
advised the Sirdar not to attack it lest a war should be commenced of
which it was difficult to see the end. Pottinger believed that the
Sirdar was sincere in his expressions of a desire to establish friendly
relations with the British. “But,” he added, “he has been brought up in
the midst of treachery, and does not know how to trust; and I regret
that our own conduct in this country has put our government’s faith on
a par with themselves. Our defeat, though sufficiently galling to a
soldier, really loses its sting when the taunts of our broken promises,
which we know to be true, are thrown in our teeth by men who know the
truth only by name.”[190]

About the middle of the month of February the captive party was
increased by the arrival of Major Griffiths and Captain Souter; and
a few days afterwards, the same terrific earthquake which had shaken
down the ramparts of Jellalabad made the walls of their prison-house
reel and totter, and levelled a portion of the fort with the dust.
For many days lesser shocks of earthquake kept the people in a
continued state of alarm. The prisoners slept in the open court-yard,
which was filled with their beds; and all kinds of rude awnings were
thrown up to secure a little privacy. The cold was intense, and the
heavy dews saturated the bedding like rain. No lives were sacrificed
within the fort by this great convulsion of nature; but narrow was
the escape of Lady Sale, Brigadier Shelton, Captain Mackenzie, Mr.
Eyre, and General Elphinstone. The first four were on the house-top
when the shock commenced; and had scarcely time to secure a footing
on a safer spot when the roof fell in with a crash. The poor old
General was bed-ridden. His sufferings had been every day increasing.
He had been wounded on the retreat. His constitutional infirmities
had been aggravated both by the external hardships to which he had
been subjected, and the corroding anxieties which had preyed upon his
mind. It was plain to all that his end was approaching. But he bore
his accumulated sufferings with heroic fortitude; and the warmest
sympathies of his fellow-captives were with him. Unable to bestir
himself, when the walls of the fort were shaken by the earthquake, he
was for a little time in imminent peril; but a soldier of the 44th,
named Moore, who had acted as the General’s personal attendant, rushed
into the room and carried off the attenuated old man in his arms. “The
poor General,” says Eyre, who records this incident, “was greatly
beloved by the soldiery, of whom there were few who would not have
acted in a similar manner to save his life.”

The month of March passed quietly over the heads of the captives.
There was little to mark the monotony of prison-life. Good and bad
tidings came in by turns. All sorts of rumours were in circulation,
and all were volubly discussed. About the middle of the month, the
Nazir, or steward, in charge of the prisoners, announced that Mahomed
Shah Khan was willing to release them all for two lakhs of rupees. The
proposition was made to Captain Johnson, who convened a meeting of
the gentlemen. The offer was a tempting one, and it might have been
accepted; but Pottinger protested against it. He was unwilling to aid
the enemy with money without the express sanction of his Government. So
the question was referred to Captain Macgregor; and in the mean while
the perils which beset their position began to thicken around them.
Akbar Khan about this time was wounded by the accidental discharge of a
matchlock in the hands of one of his attendants; and it was generally
believed throughout the country that Macgregor had bribed the man to
assassinate the Sirdar. Had the wound proved mortal, there was at least
a possibility of all the prisoners being massacred in revenge.

April came;[191] and at the end of the first week arrived the glorious
tidings of Sale’s victory over Akbar Khan on the plain of Jellalabad.
Somewhat confusedly was the story told at first. It was said that
the Sirdar had been killed in the action; and that Mahomed Shah Khan
had also fallen. It was a day of intense excitement—of painful
speculation and suspense. Some thought that Sale would push on to their
rescue—others, that the Sirdar, if alive, would condemn them to death
in revenge for his discomfiture; or that, if he had fallen, they would
be massacred by their guards.[192] Another day—and another of doubt
and anxiety followed. The captives watched, with deep and fearful
interest, the deportment of their keepers, who were seen grouping
together and conversing in low mysterious whispers. “A frightful
stillness appeared to prevail.”[193] Then came terrible rumours to the
effect that the captives were to be massacred at sunset. They had been
disarmed; they had neither swords nor pistols—no means of resistance
were within their reach. They could only submit to be slaughtered like
sheep in the shambles. But at sunset their fears were dissipated.
Mahomed Shah Khan arrived with a large party of followers. He went
among the prisoners with frank cordiality—civilly shook hands with
them all—and then sate down and entered into conversation with them.
It was necessary, he said, that they should be removed from Budeeabad;
and that they should commence their march on the following morning.
Not a hint fell from him regarding their future destination, and none
were inclined to question him. He slept that night in the fort; and
the prisoners began to make preparations for the morrow’s march. This
was no difficult matter. “All my worldly goods,” wrote Captain Johnson,
“might be stowed away in a towel.”

Morning dawned; and Mahomed Shah Khan busied himself in the work of
plunder.[194] There was still some valuable property clinging to the
unhappy captives. They who had nothing else had good horses. Lady
Macnaghten had jewels and rich shawls. The Ghilzye chief helped himself
freely. Then, utterly ignorant of the direction in which they were
to proceed, the anxious captives started for their new prison-house.
Four camels, with litters, were assigned to the ladies and such of the
gentlemen as sickness prevented from mounting the ponies which had been
parcelled out amongst them. A guard of fifty Afghans, horse and foot,
escorted the little band of prisoners on their mysterious march. The
European soldiers were left behind.

They had not proceeded many miles, when two or three horsemen galloped
up, and the party of captives were suddenly ordered to halt. Tidings
had come, it was said, to the effect that Pollock had been beaten back
in the Khybur Pass, with the loss of his guns, his treasure, and half
his force. Confident of the truth of this atrocious story, the Afghans
of the guard broke out into loud exultation, and the English officers,
reluctant as they were to believe it, were overborne at last by the
confidence of their escort and compelled to credit the distressing
news. False as was the report, it was not ineffective. The prisoners
were carried back to Budeeabad. With heavy hearts and sad countenances
they returned to their old prison-house, thinking of the new disasters
which had overtaken their unhappy country. But their hearts were soon
re-animated, and their faces soon brightened up, by the news which
greeted them at Budeeabad. Pollock had not been beaten back; but had
forced the Khybur Pass, and was marching triumphantly upon Jellalabad.
Again, therefore, the captive party were ordered to resume their
interrupted march; and on the following morning again they started.

Proceeding for about ten miles, “through a bleak and barren country,”
they came upon a patch of cultivated ground—which smiled up in the
faces of the prisoners like an oasis in the desert.[195] Crossing the
river, they overtook Akbar Khan, sitting in a palanquin, his arm in
a sling, looking pale, haggard, and dejected, as one whose fortunes
were not on the ascendant. They saluted the Sirdar, passed on, and
halted at a short distance from him. The bivouac was a comfortless one.
Strictly guarded and insufficiently sheltered, they passed the night
in dreary discomfort. Rain fell, and under the scanty tents there was
not room for the bedding of the captives. The next day was one of equal
misery—there was scarcely any food either for man or beast. On the
morning of the 13th a distressing rumour was current among them. It was
said that the married families were to be carried off in one direction,
and the other captives in another. The scarcity was so great—it was
so difficult to subsist them all on one spot—that it was necessary to
divide the party. This was not to be submitted to without an effort
to obtain the rescision of the obnoxious order. Lawrence went to the
Sirdar, and implored him to suffer them all to remain together, and to
share the same fate. The Sirdar relented; and they all resumed their
march together.

Their route lay over barren hills and through narrow stoney valleys.
Every now and then little patches of cultivation sparkled up in the
arid waste. There was little or no food to be obtained. A few almonds
and raisins, or other dried fruits, sufficed to appease the hunger
of the captives, whilst their horses were reduced to skeletons. The
heat was intense. The burning sun scorched the faces of the European
travellers, and peeled off the white skin. The journey was a long and
painful one, up a steep ascent almost along the whole line of march.
The prisoners knew not whither they were going; and it seemed that
Akbar Khan did not know where to take them. Some of the captives were
suffering severely. The bad roads and the vicissitudes of the climate,
for heavy rains followed the parching sun, tried them as in a furnace.
General Elphinstone was dying. Lady Macnaghten and Lady Sale were sick.
When Akbar Khan was made aware of the latter fact, he took compassion
on the English ladies. He was still weak, and suffering from the
effects of his wound; but he gave up the palanquin, or litter in which
he had been carried, for their use; and rode on horseback to the end of
the march.

This was on the 19th of April. On the evening of that day the prisoners
reached Tezeen, and were conducted to a fort belonging to a petty
Ghilzye chief, in which were all the wives and women of Mahomed Shah
Khan. There they remained, poorly accommodated and scantily fed, until
the 22nd,[196] when, with the exception of General Elphinstone and two
or three other invalids, they were all carried off in the direction of
the hills, up a gradual ascent of many thousands of feet, to a place
called Zanda. There they halted for some weeks, and in the mean while
Captain Mackenzie was despatched in disguise to Pollock’s camp at
Jellalabad; and General Elphinstone died.

By his fellow-captives his dissolution had long been anticipated, and
was now hardly deplored. Death brought him a merciful release from an
accumulation of mortal sufferings. Incessant pain of body and anguish
of mind had long been his portion. He felt acutely the humiliating
position into which it had pleased Providence to cast him, and neither
hoped nor wished to live to face his countrymen in the cantonments of
Hindostan, or in the streets of that great western metropolis which
he ought never to have quitted. They who watched beside the poor old
man, during the painful close of his life, bear testimony, in touching
language, to the Christian fortitude with which he bore his sufferings,
and the Christian charity with which he spoke of others, under all the
burdens which pressed upon him. The hardships to which he had been
subjected on the march from one prison-house to another had, perhaps,
accelerated the crisis which was hanging over him; but he had long
been passing away to his rest, and they, who loved him most, scarcely
desired to arrest the progress of the maladies which were so surely
destroying him. He left on record a statement of all the circumstances
of our disasters—a statement which I have freely quoted in a preceding
part of my narrative—but even with this statement in his hand, he
could not have faced his countrymen without bringing down upon himself
a verdict of condemnation. After all that has been written of his
deficiencies at Caubul, it may seem a startling inconsistency to say
that he was a brave and high-minded gentleman. He was so esteemed
before, in an evil hour for his own and his country’s reputation, he
was ordered to carry his infirmities across the Indus; and in spite
of all the humiliating circumstances of our discomfiture at Caubul,
posterity may so esteem him. Not upon him, but upon those who are
responsible for his appointment to high military command at such a time
and in such a place—first, upon those who sent him to India; secondly,
and chiefly, upon those who sent him to Afghanistan—must we fix the
shame of this great miscarriage. When he consented to leave the quiet
enjoyment of an honoured old age at home, to carry his good fame and
his broken constitution to a distant Indian Presidency, he committed
a fatal error, for which he made terrible atonement. But there are
few who will not pity rather than condemn the man, who found himself
suddenly, with all his weakness upon him, in a sea of difficulty which
demanded almost superhuman strength to buffet through it. In these
pages he has appeared only as the military leader—as one who, in the
hour of danger, was tried and found wanting. His fine social qualities
cannot be accepted as a set-off to his military deficiencies. It is
not to be pleaded in answer to the charge of having sacrificed an army
at Caubul, that he was an agreeable gentleman in private life, that he
was always ready with an anecdote and told it well, and that it was
very hard not to love him. But now that it has been recorded how the
soldier became the captive, and how the captive passed away to his
rest, these things may be set down with a kindly hand upon the last
page which bears his name; and it may be permitted to us, for a little
space, to forget the deficiencies of the soldier whilst we sympathise
with the sufferings of the man.[197]


[December: 1841-June: 1842.]

 Stoddart and Conolly—Intelligence of the Caubul Outbreak—Arrest of
 the English Officers—Their sufferings in Prison—Conolly’s Letters
 and Journals—Death of the Prisoners.

There is a painful episode in this epic of the Afghan war, which
perhaps can be introduced in no place more fitly than in this. Whilst
the prisoners, who surrendered themselves on the march between Caubul
and Jellalabad, were suffering such hardships only as were inseparable
from their position in a rude and inhospitable country, and the
hostages at Caubul were under the protection of a benevolent and
high-minded Afghan nobleman, two enlightened and chivalrous British
officers were enduring unparalleled sufferings in the dungeons of an
Oosbeg tyrant, far beyond the snowy mountains of the Hindoo-Koosh.
Colonel Stoddart and Captain Conolly were being devoured by vermin in a
cheerless prison in the city of Bokhara.

It has been shown that in the autumn of 1840, Arthur Conolly had
started from Caubul, ostensibly on a mission to Khiva and Kokund. He
had subsequently, on the invitation of the Ameer, and with the implied
permission, if not under the direct instructions of the Caubul envoy,
proceeded to Bokhara, where Colonel Stoddart was still detained, but
outwardly in a more honourable and less painful state of captivity
than that which he had been condemned to endure during a part of the
preceding years.[198] It was in the summer of 1841[199] that this
invitation was forwarded to Conolly, then at Kokund; but that state
was then at war with Bokhara, and its rulers hesitated to allow the
departure of her Christian guest. After some delay, however, Conolly
received his passports, and, proceeding by a circuitous route, reached
Bokhara in the month of November. The crisis was an unfortunate one.
Conolly was from the first regarded with suspicion. The Ameer believed,
or affected to believe, that he had instigated the states of Kokund
and Khiva to war against him. But other circumstances of a still more
inauspicious character were gathering around the ill-fated Englishmen.

It was in the middle of the month of December, 1841, that intelligence
reached Bokhara to the effect that all Caubul and the surrounding
country had risen against Shah Soojah and his Feringhee allies, that
Sir Alexander Burnes had been killed, and the British troops beaten
in battle. A few days before, an answer had been received to a letter
addressed by the Ameer to the Queen of England. The answer was written
by the Foreign Secretary, and it referred the King to the Government
of India. This indignity—for so he regarded it—was still rankling
in his mind, when tidings of the Caubul outbreak reached Bokhara. The
Ameer now sent for the English officers; asked them many questions;
said that he would release Colonel Stoddart, but detain Captain
Conolly; and finally, after pondering the matter for a few days,
condemned them both to imprisonment in the house of the Topshee-Bashee,
or chief artilleryman of Bokhara.[200]

Here their condition became every day more deplorable. They were not
allowed a change of raiment, and the clothes rotted on their backs.
Nauseous vermin preyed upon their bodies, and they tore the irritated
flesh with their nails. They were not denied either a sufficiency of
food or firing; but water leaked through the roof of the miserable room
in which they were confined. Ague and fever racked them grievously; but
they comforted one another with Christian consolation, and they prayed
together to the Christians’ God.

In this wretched prison-house, though strictly guarded, they were
not so closely watched that Conolly could not contrive to spend many
an hour chronicling, in small characters upon Russian paper, all the
incidents of captive life, and drawing up, for the information of his
Government, elaborate memoranda on the politics of Central Asia. In
spite of all difficulties of transmission, many of these notes and
memoranda found their way from Bokhara to Caubul; and, surviving all
the chances of destruction to which the convulsed state of Afghanistan
necessarily exposed them, were conveyed in safety to the British camp,
and are now lying before me.[201] In no way could the sufferings which
the Bokhara captives endured be set forth so truthfully as in extracts
from such of Conolly’s letters and journals as have fortunately been

The English officers must have been thrown into prison about the 17th
of December. At the end of that month, or on the first day of the new
year, Allahdad Khan, the Caubul envoy, was brought in to share their
captivity.[202] “The Topshee-Bashee, on leaving Allahdad Khan with
us,” wrote Conolly in his journal, “made over to me a superfluous
_posteen_[203] belonging to my friend, which enabled me to throw aside
the stinking garment given by the Meer Shub (Master of the Police);
this and his allowing Allahdad Khan to keep the rest of his clothes,
looked as if the Ameer had somewhat relented, as the Topshee-Bashee
would not have dared to show us so much kindness without leave.” But
these hopes were delusive. The Ameer had not relented. Day after day
passed, and their sufferings increased.

All through the month of January little change took place in the
condition of the captives. On the last day of the month, wrote Conolly,
“a Mehrum came to desire that we would minutely describe the city and
castle of Caubul, and also give an account of Heraut. Allahdad Khan
drew a plan of the first place; Stoddart was named as the one who
best knew the second; but the Mehrum did not take his account of it.
We next day learnt that he had been sent to the Akhondzadeh,[204] who
had drawn a large plan of his native city.” As February wore on, other
encouraging signs of the Ameer’s desire to treat the prisoners with
greater kindness presented themselves. On the 9th of February another
gleam of hope burst in upon them. The incident is thus touchingly
described in Conolly’s journal:

 _February 9 [1842]._—Moolla Nasir came to ask if we had seen the
 Peacock throne of India. As every lettered Asiatic should know that
 Nadir Shah carried that throne away to Persia, and Moolla Nasir’s
 manner was pointedly kind, we judged that the question he had been
 sent to ask was a pretence, and that the Ameer desired an opening
 for a return to proper treatment of us. Stoddart, therefore, gave
 him this, by speaking of his position here as British agent, and
 expressing regret that he had not been able to relieve the Huzrut’s
 mind from the doubts which he seemed to entertain of the English
 Government’s friendship. We showed the sad state of our clothes
 (Stoddart had been obliged to put aside his shirt in consequence of
 the roof’s having leaked over him the night before), and expressed
 hope that the Ameer would soon improve our condition; but we both
 spoke cheerfully, that the King might not think we entertained
 resentment for his treatment of us.[205]

All the symptoms of a favourable change in the state of the Ameer’s
feelings proved delusive. Day after day passed, and the prisoners
still remained in the same unhappy condition; at last, at the end of
February, Conolly wrote:

 We hoped from Moolla Nasir’s visit, and that of the page, who brought
 my thermometer, that the Ameer was relenting, but nothing has since
 occurred to favour this idea; on the contrary, the chief would appear
 to find pleasure in his servant’s accounts of our discomfort, which
 may be imagined from the fact that we have now been seventy-one days
 and nights without means of changing or washing our linen, which is
 hanging in filthy tatters from our persons. The Topshee-Bashee, who
 looks in upon us every seven or eight days, replies to our entreaties
 for an improvement in this respect, that our state must be well known
 to the Huzrut, whose mind retains thought of the greatest and least
 matters, and that nothing can be said to his Majesty about us till he
 opens the subject. The Topshee-Bashee, has, I believe, been as kind
 to us as he has dared to be. We have had quite enough firing and food
 throughout the cold season we have passed in his house, and continue,
 thank God! in good health. We sometimes think, from the Ameer’s
 keeping back Said’s and the Akhondzadeh’s packets, that he must have
 received the Governor-General’s communication, and that he is acting
 big in irritation at not having been answered from the English throne;
 but it is impossible to form certain conclusions from his conduct,
 for it is very often influenced by caprice, which is not very far
 from madness. We hope that all is well in Afghanistan, and that, soon
 as the Hindoo-Koosh roads become open, the Ameer will receive some
 communication which will induce him to properly treat or dismiss us.
 We beg that government will convey its sentiments to the Ameer in
 Persian, as he will not take our word for what is written in English
 any longer than it suits him, and also that no allusion may be made
 to the above details, for if the King knew that we were able to send
 intelligence he might treat us worse, and perhaps kill everybody about
 us. The Russians propose to go about No-roz. We kept Colonel Boutenoff
 informed of our proceedings up to the date of our seizure, and if he
 should reach Europe ere our release, he may be able to enlarge this
 abstract, which is necessarily very imperfect.

In the second week of March, Conolly’s sufferings broke out openly in
the shape of cold and fever. Enfeebled and irritated by disease, he
then began to despond. It seemed to him that he was in the toils of
death; and in a high state of excitement, after many sleepless nights,
he wrote to his brother, John Conolly, then also a prisoner in the
hands of a Mussulman enemy, the following touching letter:

  From our Prison in the Bokhara Citadel,
  _11th March, 1842._

  This will probably be my last note hence, so I dedicate it to you,
  who now, alas! stand next to me. We both dedicate everything we feel
  warmest to William, whom may God bless in all belonging to him, for
  his long and untiring brotherly affection to us all! Send my best
  love to Henry and to all our dear sisters.

 This is the eighty-third day that we have been denied the means of
 getting a change of linen from the rags and vermin that cover us;
 and yesterday, when we begged for an amendment in this respect, the
 Topshee-Bashee, who had before come occasionally as our host to speak
 encouragingly, set his face like a flint to our request, showing that
 he was merely a vane to the withering wind of his heartless master,
 and could not help us thus, so that we need not ask him to do so.
 This, at first, astonished and defeated us; we had viewed the Ameer’s
 conduct as perhaps dictated by mad caprice; but now, looking back
 upon the whole, we saw instead that it had been just the deliberate
 malice of a demon, questioning and raising our hopes, and ascertaining
 our condition, only to see how our hearts were going on in the
 process of breaking. I did not think to shed one warm tear among such
 cold-blooded men; but yesterday evening, as I looked upon Stoddart’s
 half-naked and nail-lacerated body, conceiving that I was the special
 object of the king’s hatred because of my having come to him after
 visiting Khiva and Kokund, and told him that the British Government
 was too great to stir up secret enmity against any of its enemies,
 I wept on entreating one of our keepers, the gunner’s brother, to
 have conveyed to the chief my humble request that he would direct his
 anger upon me, and not further destroy by it my poor brother Stoddart,
 who had suffered so much and so meekly here for three years. My
 earnest words were answered by a “Don’t cry and distress yourself;”
 he also could do nothing. So we turned and kissed each other, and
 prayed together, and then said, in the words of the Kokunders,
 “_My-bish!_”[206] Let him do as he likes! he is a demon, but God is
 stronger than the devil himself, and can certainly release us from
 the hands of this fiend, whose heart he has perhaps hardened to work
 out great ends by it; and we have risen again from bed with hearts
 comforted, as if an angel had spoken to them, resolved, please God, to
 wear our English honesty and dignity to the last, within all the filth
 and misery that this monster may try to degrade us with.

 We hope that, though the Ameer should now dismiss us with gold
 clothing, the British and Afghan Governments will treat him as an
 enemy; and this out of no feeling of revenge. He treacherously
 caused Stoddart to invite me here on his own Imayut-Nameh; and after
 Stoddart had given him a translation of a letter from Lord Palmerston,
 containing nothing but friendly assurances, which he could have
 verified, with our entire consent, at the Russian embassy, he pent
 us both up here, because we would not pay him as a kidnapper for our
 release, to die by slow rot, if it should appear that he might venture
 at last to put us altogether out of the way. We hope and pray that God
 may forgive him his sins in the next world; but we also trust that
 some human power will soon put him down from his oppressive throne at
 this capital, whence emanates the law by which the Khivans harry and
 desolate the roads and homes of the Persians. He wishes every soul
 to crouch before him, and not breathe God’s air freely without his
 leave, nor dare to be happy or at ease. For instance (and we are at
 the fountain-head of police reports), a poor wretch, confined without
 food for three days and nights in the Bug House, an infernal hole
 used for severe imprisonment, said incautiously, on being taken out,
 that he was alive and well. “He is, is he!” said the Ameer, on the
 report; “then put him in for three days and nights more.” Again, the
 other night, fifty-six grooms assembled at a house outside the city,
 to make merry on pilau and tea, with money liberally given by one of
 the Oosbeg men, Rahman Kool Tohsaba, to his head groom, who acted
 as master of the feast: they were convicted of having got together,
 so all that the police-master could seize received seventy-five
 blows each on the back with a heavy thorn-stick; and because one man
 uncomplainingly bore his punishment, which was inflicted on all before
 the King, he had him hoisted for seventy-five more, saying, “He must
 have been struck softly.” “But what was the crime in this innocent
 meeting of poor grooms?” we asked our gaolers. “Who knows?—he is
 a king, and gave the order.” The master of the entertainment stood
 with his dagger against some thirty policemen, till he was felled by
 a stone thrown at his head, to let all who could escape; for this
 heavier offence he was condemned to be thrown from a part of the
 citadel wall, which gives a culprit a chance of escape with only the
 fracture of a limb, because it has a slope: he threatened to pull down
 with him any who should approach the brink to throw him off, and,
 leaping boldly down, came to the ground with whole bones, and lives,
 let us hope, for many a happy meeting yet with his friends in this now
 oppressed city. This is how the Ameer would treat such ambassadors as
 he dares insult, who do not bend reverently enough before him; but the
 days for such despotism are passing quick, and he must himself be made
 to go down before the strong spirit of Western civilisation. Stoddart
 has asked me to put on paper my notions as to the measures that should
 now be adopted for the settlement and independent happiness of the
 Central Asian states;—here they are, briefly and freely; those of
 a man born and bred, thank God! in Protestant England, who has seen
 Russia, Persia, and Afghanistan, and all the three Oosbeg States.

 Turn out the horrible Wuzeer Yar Mahomed Khan, who has sold 12,000
 men, women, and children, since he obliged the Persians to retire from
 Herat, and buy out Kamran’s family from that principality. Kamran
 himself forfeited all his kingly right here by his letter to the Khan
 Huzrut of Khiva, which the latter chief gave me in return for my frank
 communication to him, and which I sent to Sir William Macnaghten.
 Thus will be gained the only point from which the Afghan nation can
 lend its weight to the preservation of peace and the advancement
 of civilisation in Toorkistan, protect its weakest subjects from
 being stolen or sold away, and properly guard its own and India’s
 frontier. Next, let Pottinger come in attendance upon Shah Soojah’s
 heir-apparent, Shah-zadah Timour, with a few thousand select Afghan
 horsemen of both the tribes, half Douranee and half Ghilzye, to blow
 down the gate of the citadel, which unjustly imprisoned us, against
 the rights of all nations, except those the Oosbegs profess. The Ameer
 scornfully says that the Afghans and English are one people; let him
 feel that they really are so in a good cause. I really do believe
 that if Shah-zadah Timour were to return, after such a proceeding,
 to assume the actual exercise of government at his father’s capital,
 taking back with him all real Afghans now enslaved in Toorkistan,
 whose orthodoxy, according to the Soonees, is unquestionable, and who
 might easily be collected for a friendly offering, the Afghans would
 so thoroughly like him and understand us, that every English and
 Indian soldier might be withdrawn to Hindostan.

 Let the Shah-i-Shah of Persia at the same time write these few words
 to the Court of the faithful at Bokhara, sending copies of his letter
 by friendly and high ambassadors to Khiva and Kokund: “I want all
 my enslaved subjects who are not willing to remain in Bokhara, and
 I am now coming, in reliance upon the only God of justice, to free
 them, and to destroy the law of THY Mooftehed, by which people who
 pray towards the same Kebla are sold as cattle.” Let Mahomed Shah
 lithograph this, and send a copy to be stuck up at every mosque where
 his authority or influence can reach, in Persia, Afghanistan, and
 Tartary. This writing will tell the Ameer that his kingdom has been
 weighed and found wanting; it will do much to soften and liberalise
 Mahomedan feeling wherever it is read; and if the Persian nation are
 informed that it comes to them recommended by English sympathy, they
 will dismiss all irritation of mind that was caused by our checking
 their military career at Herat.

 I feel confident that this great and most necessary measure of Persian
 emancipation may be effected at once without shedding one drop of
 blood. I never uttered a word of hostility against the Ameer, either
 at Khiva or Kokund; but now I am authorised to show how I thought
 the rulers of these states, who both hate him, may be made to end or
 lessen their own foolish enmity by his removing from between them. Let
 the Shah of Persia send a firman to Syud Mahomed Zahed, Kurruck Kojeh
 at Kokund, whom he knows, saying—“Tell the Khan Huzrut, of Kokund,
 who, I am happy to find, does not deal in my people, that I am about
 to liberate all those oppressed men and women who are unwillingly
 detained as slaves in Bokhara. I don’t want that country; and if you
 will send Lushker Begglerbegge, or Mahomed Shereff Atalik, with the
 Kokund army about the same time to Samarcand, my prime minister shall
 make it over to him by treaty, as the capital of Mawarulneh. I shall
 give up Merve to the Khan Huzrut of Khiva to be made the capital of
 Kharasm, on condition of his doing all he can to restore and content
 my unfortunate people, whom his tribes have carried off during my wars
 in other directions.”

 The best Oosbeg troops are mere rubbish as opponents to Persian
 regulars and cannon, and they all know it. Allah Kouli Khan is the
 best and most sensible man in his country, and he will remain quiet
 while Mahomed Shah comes against Bokhara, if Shakespear can be
 empowered to tell him that this is a reform which must be effected,
 and which Persia is determined now to effect, with the commerce of
 England and Russia. Shakespear can mediate between the Khan Huzrut
 and Mahomed Shah for the gentle emancipation of those who may wish to
 return home in the next four or five years, or to settle in the fine
 waste land of Merve; and perhaps Mahomed Shah may give to Allah Kouli
 Khan the very large colony of [ ],[207] now settled here, who really
 yet long for the home of their fathers: this, and securing to him the
 Kokund frontier up the Oxus to Balkh, perhaps leaving the khan of it
 his easy tributary, would make him agree to all that the Afghans need
 for the formation of their frontier from Persian Khorassan to the Oxus.

 England and Russia may then agree about immutable frontiers for
 Persia, Afghanistan, Mawarulneh, and Kharasm, in the spirit which
 becomes two of the first European nations in the year 1842 of Jesus
 Christ, the God incarnate of all peace and wisdom. May this pure and
 peaceable religion be soon extended all over the world!


  _March 12th._

  I beg that fifty tillas may be given to Jooma Bai, the servant who
  will convey this to Long Joseph. (Let the utmost caution be used
  always in mentioning their names while this Ameer lives and reigns.)
  As for Long Joseph, I don’t know what reward to propose for him. He
  has risked his life for us in the most gallant manner, as few men
  would, except for a brother, and he is a noble fellow. I feel sure
  that Government will forgive me for not being able to make an account
  of my stewardship during my Toorkish mission, and that it will use
  every exertion to set free and to reward all who have suffered with
  me, but remained alive.

 Allahdad Khan had some 400 tillas in cash when he was brought back,
 besides his baggage and horses. Akhondzadeh Saleh Mahomed has served
 too well to make it necessary for me to recommend him. I trust that
 God has preserved his life. Stoddart and I will comfort each other
 in every way till we die, when, may our brotherhood be renewed in
 heaven through Jesus Christ our Saviour! Send this assurance to all
 our friends, and do you, my dear John, stand in this faith. It is the
 only thing that can enable a man to bear up against the trials of this
 life, and lead him to the noblest state of existence in the next.
 Farewell—farewell! I shall send this to be forwarded, if news reaches
 Stoddart’s faithful man Ibraheem of our death, through Jooma Bai and
 Long Joseph.[208]

On the 22nd of March, Conolly again wrote, full of affectionate
solicitude for the sufferings of his friends, but little mindful of his

 After sending a page with my thermometer on the 15th ult. (February),
 to ask how much cold it indicated, as detailed in my last letter,
 the Ameer took no notice of us till the 13th of this month, when he
 sent the gold chronometer which I had given him, to show that its
 chain was broken, and to ask if we could repair it; a pretence, the
 Topshee-Bashee said, to ascertain what state we were in. We had both
 become ill a few days before, from a sudden cold change of weather
 and the discomfort of filthy clothing; and I, who had given in most
 to the sickness, owing to anxiety of mind regarding the many persons
 whom I had been the means of bringing into the Ameer’s tyrannous
 hands, was lying weak in bed with fever when the last page came. The
 Topshee-Bashee, who for some time spoke encouragingly about changing
 our clothes, had by this time caused us plainly to understand that he
 neither dared himself to amend our position in this respect, nor even
 to represent it to the Ameer. He now tried to save us by telling the
 page that I had been confined to my bed eight days, and by remarking
 upon the wretched state of our apparel after eighty-five days’ and
 nights’ wear. I showed the Mehrum that Stoddart had been obliged to
 cast away all his under-clothing, and was suffering much from cold
 on the chest. I experienced hope that the Ameer would take some pity
 upon us, and especially upon such of my late travelling companions
 and people as might be suffering under his displeasure. The page said
 that he would make a representation if the Huzrut questioned him; and
 he afterwards told the Topshee-Bashee that, on the Ameer’s doing so,
 he had stated that the King’s last-come slave, Khan-Ali (Conolly),
 had been very ill for eight or nine days; to which the Huzrut had
 replied, “May he not die (or, I suppose, he won’t die) for the three
 or four days that remain till his going.” We thought from this that
 the Ameer proposed to send us away with the Russians, who were said
 to be preparing to depart after the _No-roz_. Nothing else has since
 transpired regarding ourselves; but through the indefatigable Long
 Joseph we have learnt the following items of intelligence about our

 On the 13th inst., Ibraheem wrote: “With regard to Caubul be quite at
 ease; 30,000 people (rebels?) have been slaughtered there.” Allahdad
 Khan, the Akhonzadeh, Eusoff Khan (Augustin), the Jemadar, Meer Akhor,
 with Bolund Khan, Kurreem Khan, and Gool Mahomed, had been released;
 for which we sincerely thanked God. Their sufferings, poor fellows, in
 that horrible dungeon, must have been great....

 On the 23rd, we were made further happy by the verbal intelligence of
 Long Joseph that Allahdad Khan and the rest of our people had been

On the 24th, he again recorded that a ray of hope had broken into his
dreary dungeon:

 _24th._—This forenoon, the Topshee-Bashee coming to see us, said,
 with a cheerful manner, “‘Sewonchee’—Reward me for glad tidings. I
 represented your great want of clothes, and proposed to buy shirts and
 trousers for you from the bazaar: but the Huzrut said, ‘They don’t
 wear bazaar clothes; in three or four days I’ll give them dresses
 of honour and dismiss them.’ And the Huzrut asked Meerza Juneid
 which road would be the best one for you to travel by, saying, ‘They
 cannot now go in that direction’ (apparently meaning Caubul). Meerza
 Juneid replied, that the route by Persia would now be the best. After
 which the Ameer spoke graciously about you. He said that Khan-Ali
 was a well-informed person, that the Meerza represented that he had
 conversed very little with Khan-Ali, but that Stoddart of whom he had
 seen much, was a man instructed upon all matters.” We doubted the
 Topshee-Bashee’s having dared to make a representation of himself
 regarding us. And the old guardian mentioned afterwards that Meerza
 Juneid had come to his brother’s office. Probably desiring to know
 whether I was better or worse in health since the 13th, the Ameer sent
 Meerza Juneid, in his capacity of physician, to make inquiries in this

A few days afterwards, remembering how he had written, under the
excitement, almost the delirium of fever, a desponding letter to John
Conolly, he wrote more cheerfully to his brother, begging him, if the
letter reached its destination, not to be dispirited by it, for that
both he and Stoddart were now in good health:

  Bokhara Citadel, _28th March, 1842_.

 We have been comforted by intelligence that the Ameer has released
 Allahdad Khan and all my people from the gaol in which he so unjustly
 and cruelly confined them.... The Ameer has lately been talking, we
 hear, of sending us away, and though we do not set much store by his
 words, we think it possible he may give us to the Russian Mission,
 who are about to depart.... I wrote you a longish letter on the
 11th of this month, when I was in a high state of excitement, from
 fever and several nights of sleepless anxiety. The burden of it was
 an entreaty to the last effect regarding my poor people, and a hope
 that the British Government would seize the opportunity which the
 Ameer’s faithlessness had given them to come forward with Persia to
 put him down, and give his country to Kharasm and Kokund, on condition
 of the entire suppression of the Persian and Afghan slave trade in
 Toorkistan. If that paper (which I shall endeavour to recover)
 should reach you, compress its words into this purport and destroy
 it, reserving my last good wishes for the friends to whom I addressed
 them, thinking that I might not live much longer. I am now, thank God,
 almost well in health again, and the news regarding our people has
 set my mind at rest. Stoddart, also, who was suffering awhile from
 severe cold, is, I rejoice to say, convalescent. We are both in a
 very uncomfortable state, as you may imagine, having been ninety-nine
 days and nights without a change of clothes; but we are together.
 Stoddart is such a friend as a man would desire to have in adversity,
 and our searchers having missed the little Prayer-book which George
 Macgregor gave us (tell him), we are able to read and pray, as well
 as to converse together. God bless you, my dear John. Send my love to
 everybody, and believe me,

  Yours, ever most affectionately,
  To J. B. Conolly, Esq., Caubul.

The passages omitted from this letter relate almost entirely to the
services and the pay of Conolly’s attendants. There is nothing more
remarkable in his letters and journals, written at this time, than his
tender regard for others, and his forgetfulness of self. Not only did
he grieve for the sufferings of his friend, and endeavour, by putting
him forward as the real representative of the British Government, to
obtain Stoddart’s release, or at least a mitigation of the severity of
his confinement, but he exhibited, also, the tenderest solicitude for
the welfare of all the servants who had accompanied him to Bokhara,
and, in the midst of his own affliction, even on the bed of sickness
and in the near prospect of death, thought of nothing more earnestly
than the future welfare of his poor dependents.[211] On the 5th of
April he wrote in his journal:

 _April 5._—When I came here, Stoddart did his utmost to put me
 forward; but now, as long as the Ameer detains him, I shall refer to
 him as the accredited British agent, every communication on business
 that the Ameer may make to me, whether we should be together or
 separated. He well knows all the people here, and the dignity of our
 government is safe in his hands.

 We have heard that the Russians are about to depart, and that they
 are to take their enslaved people with them; but we cannot get at the
 truth of the statement. Report also says that the Ameer will march
 with his army seven or eight days hence. There is no doubt that he is
 preparing for an early move; but though Takkind and Kokund are named
 as his points of attack, it is not certain that he will go eastward.
 This is the 107th day of our confinement, without change of clothes;
 but the weather having become warmer, we can do without the garments
 that most harboured the vermin that we found so distressing, and we
 are both now, thank God! quite well. We trust that our friends will be
 informed of our well-being. We have desired all our servants, except
 Ibraheem (who remains behind to keep up correspondence), to return to
 their homes as soon as their strength enables them to travel, begging
 them to make their way anyhow, and to rest assured that everything due
 will be made up to them on their reaching Caubul.... Allahdad Khan
 behaved very firmly in refusing to allow that he was the servant of a
 Feringhee servant, as the Ameer wished him to do, and did justice both
 to the dignity of his royal master and to the policy of the British
 Government in Afghanistan. I beg that his conduct may be mentioned to
 Shah Soojah, and I trust that all his losses will be made up to him;
 but if the preparation of the account is left to him, he will make it
 a very large one, and part of the settlement may perhaps be deferred
 till it is decided whether or not the Ameer is to be called upon for

 When our last packet was despatched we deemed it not impossible,
 from the Ameer’s expressions, which had been reported to us, that
 his Majesty designed to send us away with the Russian Mission. Our
 keepers rather inclined to the idea that Huzrut would dismiss us about
 the same time by the route of Persia; and the Topshee-Bashee’s old
 brother talked seriously about performing a pilgrimage to the holy
 city of Meshid in our company.

These hopes were most delusive. As time advanced, the prospects of
restoration to liberty became more and more remote. About the middle
of the month of April, the Russian Mission took its departure; and the
Ameer set out from Bokhara at the head of a grand military expedition
against the state of Kokund. On the 13th of April, Conolly wrote in his

 _April 13._—We heard that the Russians had been dismissed with
 presents of honour, that the Kodiyar Beg Karawool Beggee, ranking as
 captain or commander of 100, had been attached to Colonel Boutenoff as
 the Ameer’s envoy to St. Petersburg, and that the Huzrut had promised
 to promote him to the grade of Tok-Suba, commander of 1000, privileged
 to bear a cow-tail banner, on his return after the performance of
 good service. The Ameer’s own arrangements were said to be completed,
 and the direction of it certainly to the eastward. An envoy from
 Kokund, who arrived two days ago, was not received, but was told to
 go about his own business wherever he listed. Our informant mentioned
 at the same time that the last envoy from Khiva had been dismissed a
 fortnight before with extraordinary honour, all his servants getting
 dresses. We now also learned that the heir of the Koondooz chief had
 sent an envoy to the Ameer, who had ordered one of his officers, a
 Khojeh, styled Salam Aghassi, to accompany that agent to Koondooz on
 his return. It was thought, we were told, that the Khojeh of Balkh
 would endeavour to take Koondooz on Meer Morad’s death, and the heir
 may, in this apprehension, have been alert to put himself under the
 Ameer’s protection. This morning the Ameer showed the Topshee-Bashee
 an especial mark of favour by sending him a loaf of refined sugar from
 the palace; towards evening his Majesty rode four miles to a place of
 pilgrimage, and on his return at night had the Topshee-Bashee up to
 give him some orders.

The narrative then proceeds:

 Early next morning (the 14th) the Ameer marched out to the sound of
 his palace kettle-drums and trumpets, leaving us in the filthy clothes
 which we had worn for 115 days and nights. We said to the Gunner’s
 old brother, when he mentioned the Ameer’s having departed, “Then the
 Meshid caravan apparently stands fast.” “No,” was his reply; “please
 God it will go soon. I asked the Topshee-Bashee last night if nothing
 had been settled about you, and he replied, ‘When the Russians get out
 a march or so, the Dustan Kanchee will make a petition about them,
 and they will be dismissed.’” The old man also remarked, probably
 from what he had heard his brother say, that the Ameer had expressed
 himself to the effect that he knew the Russian Elchee was led to get
 us in order to make a boast of having procured our release, which made
 it seem as though Colonel Boutenoff had been endeavouring to obtain
 our dismissal. Our old keeper persisted for some days in assuring us
 of his belief that our immediate dismissal was designed, and on the
 18th said that he was going down into the city to seek out my Dewan
 Beggee, Eusoff Khan (Augustin), to set his mind at ease about us; he
 returned, saying that he had been referred from place to place without
 finding Eusoff Khan, or any of our people; but that one Meer Hyder and
 another shopkeeper of his acquaintance had assured him that they were
 all in the town, and that four or five of them were in the habit of
 coming occasionally at night to a certain quarter, to hear books read.
 We had thought the gunners might have received orders to collect some
 of our people in order to our respectable dismissal; but knowing that
 all our men, except Ibraheem, had left Bokhara, we concluded that the
 Topshee-Bashee had made use of his old brother to deceive us, in order
 to keep us hopeful and quiet for another period, as he said nothing
 about changing our clothes, and kept himself quite aloof from us,
 which he would hardly have done had he believed what he reported in
 the Ameer’s name.

 Just before the Ameer’s departure, we heard that a British Elchee had
 arrived at Merve, on his way hither. We could get no further accounts
 of the said Elchee, but judged that it might be Shakespear on his way
 to Khiva.... [_MS._ defaced] ... From the 4th to the 7th of May the
 palace drums and trumpets were continually sounding for intelligence
 that Kokund had been taken after a faint endeavour at resistance under
 the famed Kokund general, Guda Bai; that the latter had been taken
 prisoner, and that the rebellious town had been given up to plunder,

Then follows much of Bokhara politics, the manuscript being greatly
defaced—and after this, some passages of personal narrative, the
chronicle of which extends up to the 24th of May—the latest date under
which I have been able to discover anything in the hand-writing of
Arthur Conolly:

 We had expressed to our old guardian a wish to get some money from
 Meshid, with which to reward him for his kindness, (and to get) him
 privately to buy (us) a few necessaries in the event of our further
 detention, and, liking the idea, he, on the 19th instant (May),
 brought secretly to see us his son-in-law Budub, employed as a
 caravan-bashee between Bokhara and the Holy City, who agreed to act
 as agent in the business after another week. Inquiring the news from
 Budub, we heard that Kamran was said to be confined in Herat by Yar
 Mahomed Khan—that the English remained as before at Candahar and
 Caubul—and that four Elchees, English, Russian, Persian, and Turkish,
 had gone together to Khiva, each displaying his national flag, and
 told the Khan Huzrut that he had the choice of quietly giving up
 plundering and slave-dealing, or of meeting the Shah of Persia, who
 had assembled a large army for the redress of his people.

       *       *       *       *       *

 Our old friend now informed us, on the authority of his Afghan
 acquaintance, Meer Hyder, that all our people had left Bokhara on
 hearing that they had been inquired about.... Possibly the Ameer
 really did mean to send us away at the time of his marching, but
 deferred to do so on hearing that we had no servants left here, or
 from one of his incalculable caprices. I had noted, in a detailed
 report of our proceedings after leaving Kokund, which when we were
 seized I was waiting the Ameer’s permission to despatch by a courier
 to Caubul, an expression which the Naib heard his Majesty had uttered
 in his camp after my arrival, to the effect that he would give the
 English a few rubs more, and then be friends with them again. Though
 we were not sure that the Amer had so spoken, the plan seems one
 likely to be entertained by an ignorant and weak man, anxious to
 give an imposing impression of his greatness and confidence; and to
 it I partly attributed the ungraciousness of my public reception
 in camp, though I was the Naib’s honoured guest; the failure of
 the Huzrut to recover the horses and the property of my servants
 which had been plundered at his outposts, when bringing letters to
 him, and the hauteur with which, at the first joint reception of
 Stoddart and myself here, he caused it to be signified to us that
 as in old times there had been friendship between the Mussulmans
 and infidels, there existed no objection to the establishment of
 friendly relations between the states of Bokhara and England; but
 that the Huzrut desired to know whether we (the English) had been
 travellers over all Toorkistan to spy the land with a view to take
 it, as we had taken Caubul, or for other purposes; and wished all
 our designs to be unveiled, in order that if they were friendly they
 might become apparent, and that if hostile, they might still be known.
 The Government of India, knowing what communications it has sent to
 Bokhara, will be able to judge the Ameer’s conduct better than we are.

 On the 19th (May) the Topshee-Bashee paid us a visit of a few moments,
 after keeping away for two months. He mentioned that a man with a
 name like Noor Mohumnud had come three or four days before from
 Persia, bringing a load of things for Stoddart, of which the Dustan
 Kanchee had forwarded a list to the Ameer—probably the articles which
 should have accompanied Lord Palmerston’s letter. The Huzrut, the
 Topshee-Bashee said, would doubtless, on his return, be gracious to
 us, and give us fine robes of honour, and treat us even better than

 About sunset on the 23rd, as Stoddart and myself were pacing up and
 down a small court of twenty feet long, which encloses our prison, one
 of the citadel doorkeepers came and desired us both to sit down in a
 corner; we complied, wondering what would follow, and presently saw
 heads peering at us from the adjoining roofs, when we understood that
 the Ameer’s heir, a youth of seventeen, had taken this way of getting
 a sight of the Feringhee Elchees. We must have given him but a poor
 impression in the remains of our clothes, and with heads and beards
 uncombed for more than five months.

 On the 23rd, Jooma Bai was accosted by a man named Makhzoom, known to
 Stoddart, who gave him a token, and a note written in such bad grammar
 as scarcely to be understood, in which he said one Juleb arrived
 lately from Khiva, mentioned that he saw Pottinger Sahib there,
 and another person named Moosa having come, bringing a letter from
 Pottinger Sahib, who, he says, is at Khiva, with the Elchee of Mahomed

Authentic history here terminates. Beyond this all is doubt and
conjecture. On the 28th of May, Stoddart despatched an official
letter to the Indian Government,[212] which was forwarded with
Conolly’s journals; and at this point we lose altogether the track
of the footprints which the Bokhara captives have left on the great
desert of time. That they perished miserably is certain. “No change
has taken place in our treatment,” wrote Stoddart—it is the last
sentence penned in the Bokhara prison which seems to have reached its
destination—“though hopes, so long proved to be deceitful, are held
out to us on the return of the chief.” But the Ameer, glutted with
conquest, returned from the Kokund expedition, and ordered them out
to death. They died by the hands of the public executioner. But the
precise period of their death is not with certainty to be ascertained.

There is but scanty evidence to enable us to determine the point. That
which is most credible is the evidence of Saleh Mahomed, a youth whom
Major Todd despatched from Herat, to join Captain Conolly’s suit. His
story is, that in the month of June, 1842, Stoddart and Conolly were
executed by order of the Ameer; that he derived his information from
one of the executioners; and that he saw their graves. On the 17th of
June, it is related, they were taken out of their prison, and, in the
presence of an assembled multitude, led into a small square. Their
hands were bound together before them. Their graves were dug before
their eyes. Stoddart was first marked for death. He cried aloud against
the tyranny of the Ameer; and his head was cut off with a knife.
Conolly was then offered his life, on condition that he would adopt the
Mussulman faith. But he indignantly rejected the proposal. “Stoddart,”
he said, “became a Mussulman, and yet you kill him: I am prepared to
die.” And then Arthur Conolly, full of faith in the merits of his
Redeemer, stretched forth his neck, and died.[213]

There is nothing more painful than this in all the history of the
Central-Asian war. It would be unjust to encourage a belief in the
reader’s mind that efforts were not made to compass the liberation of
Colonel Stoddart. From the time when Major Pottinger first received
at Herat intimation of his friend’s captivity, and wrote to the
Ameer a protest against the outrage he had committed, to a date long
subsequent to the deaths of Stoddart and Conolly, continual efforts
were made, both from the side of India and of England, to accomplish
this great object. Todd did all that he could do from Herat; Abbott and
Shakespear did all that they could do from Khiva; Macnaghten did all
that he could do from Caubul; Lord Auckland did all that he could do
from Calcutta. From London, Lord Palmerston directed our ambassadors
at St. Petersburgh and Constantinople to obtain the agency of the
Courts at which they were resident; and both the Sultan and Count
Nesselrode wrote urgent letters to Bokhara in behalf of the British
prisoners.[214] But when all this is related, it still appears that
more regard might have been shown for Stoddart’s position, and that
if there had been greater promptitude in answering the references
made by him to the home authorities, he might have taken advantage
of a favorable change in the feelings of the Ameer, and of his own
circumstances, to take his departure from Bokhara. Certain it is that
Stoddart felt acutely the culpable indifference to his fate displayed
by the British Government. As far back as the July of the preceding
year he had written:

 News from me you will not expect, nor have I the least word of
 interest to offer you, except that I am waiting the replies of
 government, before I am finally released and take my departure.
 Nothing can be more slack than the time and means taken to provide me
 with those replies, and my disgust perfectly negatives any attempt to
 write a commonly agreeable note. My last news from Caubul, dated June
 6, says that poor Todd is there awaiting, if possible, a mitigation
 of his sentence. Conolly is not yet here from Kokan, nor have my
 messengers to him yet returned. They conveyed the orders from Caubul,
 and an invitation to the Ameer, to return by this route.[215]

On the 28th of February, 1842, he wrote again, as a kind of endorsement
to one of Conolly’s letters:



 The Governor-General in Council will be informed by the accompanying
 abstract how far my position here [_and that of Captain Conolly_] has
 been sacrificed.

  I have the honour to be, Sir,
  Your obedient, humble servant,

The words within brackets were erased—most probably by Conolly.[216]

 But Stoddart, though he may have resented the injustice of sacrificing
 him to no purpose, was ready to become a sacrifice if, by so doing,
 he could promote the interests of his country. “I beg sincerely,” he
 wrote on the 5th of April, “that no one will regret any sacrifice
 of me, for it is nothing at all. It may yet not be requisite—but if
 it be, I regard the probable result, from the action of government
 in doing justice to others, and bringing all these countries to
 reasonable conduct, as fully compensating a much greater sacrifice
 than that of so humble an individual as I am.”[217] If anything could
 increase the sorrow with which we contemplate the fate of this brave
 man, it would be a perusal of such noble sentences as these.

It was under a high and chivalrous sense of duty to his government
that Colonel Stoddart continued to face the dangers of his position
at Bokhara, after he might have escaped from them; and it was under
an equally strong sense of duty that Captain Conolly made his way
to the inhospitable city. To describe them officially as “innocent
travellers,” was clearly a misapplication of language; and yet, when
on the famous 1st of October, 1842, Lord Ellenborough addressed the
following letter to the Ameer of Bokhara, he so described them both:

 Simlah, _October 1st, 1842._

  A. C.

 The Queen of England, my royal mistress, has sanctioned my coming to
 India, to conduct its government, and direct its armies.

 On my arrival, I found that great disasters had befallen those armies,
 and much injury had been inflicted on my countrymen and the people of
 India by the treacherous Afghans, under Mahomed Akbar Khan.

 In forty days from the time when I directed to British armies,
 reinforced from India, to move forward, three great victories have
 been gained over the Afghans; the city and citadel of Ghuznee have
 been destroyed, and now the Balla Hissar of Caubul is in my power.

 Thus, by God’s aid, have I afflicted with merited punishment the
 murderers of their own king and of a British minister. In this I have
 avenged the cause of all sovereigns and of all nations.

 The wife and family of Mahomed Akbar Khan are prisoners, and my
 soldiers are now conducting them to the sea.

 Thus are the wicked punished, even in their wives and families.

 I hear that you, too, have gained great successes, at which I rejoice,
 if you had just ground of complaint against your enemy.

 It is in the midst of successes that clemency most becomes the
 conqueror, and gives to him an extent of permanent fame which often
 does not attend on victory.

 I was informed, when I reached India, that you detained in confinement
 two Englishmen, supposing them to have entertained designs against
 you. This must have been your reason, for no prince detains an
 innocent traveller.

 I am informed that they are innocent travellers. As individuals they
 could not entertain designs against you; and I know they were not
 employed by their government in such designs, for their government is
 friendly to you.

 Send them away towards Persia. It will redound to your honour. They
 shall never return to give you offence, but be sent back to their own

 Do this as you wish to have my friendship.


So manifest a repudiation of the official character of these two
officers was not right; and it has been said, by one whose zeal and
enthusiasm overlaid his judgment and discretion, but who is still
entitled to honourable mention for his generous exertions in a hopeless
cause,[219] that this very letter, in all likelihood, caused the
execution of the prisoners. To describe them as travellers was, it is
said, to proclaim them as spies. But the letter, however dangerous
in itself, was at least harmless in its results. Before it was even
written, the “innocent travellers” had journeyed to a land where the
tyranny of princes could not reach them—where the wicked cease from
troubling and the weary are at rest.[220]


[April-July: 1842.]

 Affairs at Caubul—Elevation of Futteh Jung—Opposition of the
 Barukzyes—Arrival of Akbar Khan—His Policy—Attack on the Balla
 Hissar—Its Capture—Conduct of Akbar Khan—Barukzye Strife—Defeat of
 Zemaun Khan—Situation of the Hostages and Prisoners.

On the death of Shah Soojah there commenced in Caubul a civil war.
The whole city was thrown into convulsion. Futteh Jung, the second
son of the murdered Shah, was proclaimed King. He was a man of weak
understanding and infamous character; but he was believed to be
friendly to the British Government, and he both hated and feared the
Barukzyes. In himself a mere cypher, he could have done nothing to
resist the encroachments of that powerful tribe; but Ameen-oollah Khan
threw all the weight of his influence into the scales in favour of the
Prince, and for some time they seemed equally balanced. The Naib cared
nothing for the Prince; but he scented the royal treasures, and where
the money lay the thickest, there was sure to be Ameen-oollah Khan.

In such troublous times as he had now fallen upon, the Prince had
little taste for royalty. He remembered the fate of his father; and
shrunk from the perilous excitement in which he was now about to be
plunged. Weak, too, as he was, he had sagacity enough to perceive that
British power was again on the ascendant, and that whatever might
be the result of the internecine strife which was now convulsing the
capital, the supremacy of the British would be speedily re-established.
It was expedient, therefore, he thought, to exert himself to the
utmost, to obtain the favourable consideration of his old Feringhee
allies; so he despatched earnest letters to Captain Macgregor at
Jellalabad, pleading both for himself and the memory of his murdered
father, protesting his inviolate attachment and loyalty to the English
Government, and imploring them to tell him what to do.

Futteh Jung had been proclaimed King by Ameen-oollah Khan and the
Populzyes; but the Barukzyes refused to recognise him. Again they
set up the Newab Zemaun Khan, and openly defied the Suddozye power.
Soon the two contending parties broke out into open hostilities.
Ameen-oollah Khan and his puppet were the first to draw the sword.
On the 1st of May there was fighting from house to house—the whole
city was in commotion. On the following day, success began to declare
itself on the side of the Barukzyes. Ameen-oollah Khan made a false
move, and disastrously over-reached himself. Believing that the
act would dishearten the Barukzyes, he seized the person of Meer
Hadjee, the chief Moollah. But very different was the real from the
anticipated effect of this outrage. Nearly all the townspeople, before
neutral, rose to avenge this insult offered to their High Priest.
The Kohistanees joined them. The Hadjee was released. But popular
indignation ran high against Ameen-oollah Khan. His house was burnt.
His property was plundered. His servants were seized. Compelled to seek
safety in flight, he flung himself into the Balla Hissar.

The Prince made a show of welcoming him, but secretly declared that
he would willingly surrender him and his Populzye associates to the
British, if Pollock would advance upon Caubul—that one of his main
objects, indeed, in opening the gates to them was to have the rebels
more securely in his power.[221] The Naib knew that his position was a
dangerous one, and declared that he would throw himself on the mercy
of the British and take his chance of being hanged. There was a more
unrelenting enemy beyond the walls of the Balla Hissar. The Barukzyes
were eager to destroy him.

The contest now raged furiously. The guns of the Balla Hissar were
opened upon the city. Multitudes of the townspeople fled in dismay.
There were 5000 men in the citadel; there was no lack of provisions.
The money was all in the hands of the Prince; and he disbursed it
freely to his adherents. But the Barukzyes were miserably poor. They
could only raise money by the sale of jewels and the exaction of fines;
and the Kohistanees and others who flocked to their standard envied the
fortunate followers of the more opulent Prince.[222]

It was not likely that Akbar Khan would regard with unconcern these
proceedings at the capital. He was awaiting the return of Captain
Mackenzie from Jellalabad, when intelligence of the disturbed state
of affairs at Caubul was brought to him. Determining first, however,
to learn the result of the mission to General Pollock’s camp, he
resolved to set out for the scene of strife, and to take one or two of
the English officers with him. Mackenzie returned on the 3rd of May,
and was immediately despatched by the Sirdar on a second mission to
Jellalabad, whilst Akbar Khan, taking Pottinger and Troup with him, set
out on the following day for the capital.

Arrived at Caubul, the Sirdar played his game with some address.
Sedulously giving currency to the intelligence that he had been
in treaty with General Pollock, who was said to have recognised
his authority, he enhanced his own importance in the eyes of his
countrymen, and sowed disaffection among the adherents of the royal
party. Many who had before been neutral, now, believing that the
British were on amicable terms with the Sirdar, openly espoused his
cause. Khan Shereen Khan and the Kuzzilbashes had hitherto remained
inactive; but feeling the importance of their coadjutancy, Akbar Khan
made strenuous efforts to obtain it, and gained at last a promise of
support.[223] From day to day there was continual strife and much
fighting. The advantage was for the most part on the side of the
Barukzyes. The Prince had thrown up some outworks round the Balla
Hissar; but partly owing to the weakness and partly to the treachery
of the guards, they had been carried by the enemy.[224] Pottinger
witnessed some of these engagements, and wrote of them as most
contemptible affairs.

It soon became only too probable that the Balla Hissar itself would
fall before the Barukzyes. The energy and vigour of Akbar Khan and his
confederates greatly exceeded that of the wretched Prince and his few
interested supporters. Fearful of this, Futteh Jung continued to write
pressing letters to the British authorities at Jellalabad, urging them
to push on to his relief, and Mohun Lal gave cogency to the request
by setting forth the probability of the Balla Hissar falling into the
hands of the Barukzyes, and the strength which that party would derive,
not only from the occupation of such a commanding position, but from
the possession of the royal treasures. Like his father, however, the
Prince continued to declare that his money was failing, and to request
the British to supply him with funds to carry on the war. But more than
all he clamoured for the advance of the British army. On the 11th of
May he wrote to Captain Macgregor:

 The reason of the present contest is this. I wished to excite a
 dispute between the Barukzyes and the other wicked men, with a view
 that they should have no leisure even to touch their own heads, and
 thus the English army may reach here unmolested. To effect this cause,
 whatever gold and silver I had has been paid to the people, with the
 object of securing the interests of the British.[225] Now I have very
 little cash remaining in the treasury—enough only to support me for
 some ten or fifteen days more. After that period, without assistance
 from the British, I shall be reduced to the greatest difficulty. The
 men of the world are the disciples and worshippers of money. If you
 will not raise the victorious standard of the British troops quickly,
 or do not send me reinforcements within a few days, all the people
 will desert me on account of not having money, and the Barukzyes will
 then have the upper-hand over me.

 If the Barukzyes establish their power, serious evil is to be
 apprehended; and the household of the British ally (Shah Soojah) will
 be destroyed. After this there will be nothing in store for us but
 repentance and disgrace. It is as clear to all the people as the sun,
 that I am soliciting the assistance of the friends and nations of my
 late father. In delaying this object many dangers may arise, and much
 harm may befall the needy. In such a crisis as this, all objects may
 be easily gained; and the affairs which are now reduced to a state of
 disorder will, without much difficulty, be brought into order again.

 If you are delaying your march on account of supplies of grain, you
 need not care for this. If it pleases God that I should recover my
 authority, there will be thousands of “Khurwars” (measures of ten
 maunds) of grain, as well as plenty of fodder for the horses.

 I have heard that the Bombay forces have reached Candahar, and also
 marched thence to this quarter. It would be highly desirable, if the
 victorious army of Calcutta should possess this country before the
 arrival of the Bombay forces, that it should show the world that
 your arms alone have gained the victory. Although the army of both
 sides belongs to the same government, I write thus because I wish you

On the day after this letter was written, three holy men presented
themselves before the Prince, with overtures of peace from the
Sirdar. They set forth that whatever oaths Futteh Jung might desire
the Barukzye chief to swear to him, would be solemnly sworn on the
Koran. “Of what avail are oaths,” asked the Prince; and sending for
several Korans from another apartment, showed the _Syuds_ how they were
covered with the seals of the Barukzye, the Douranee, the Caubulee,
the Persian, and the Kohistanee chiefs. “This,” added the Prince, “is
God’s holy book, in which all the faithful believe. Look at these seals
and the oaths of fidelity written upon the margin, declaring that the
enemies of the royal family are the enemies of Mahomed—and yet the
Barukzyes have murdered the King, my father. If there be any other
Koran sent from Heaven, let the Barukzyes swear solemnly upon it—this
has been tried too often, and too often found wanting.” The Syuds were
then dismissed. Nothing was done towards a satisfactory arrangement.
So Mahomed Shah Khan was sent to conduct the negotiations with the
Suddozye Prince.

What were the proposals made to the Prince, and in what light he
regarded them, may be gathered from the letter which, on the following
day, he addressed to Captain Macgregor:

 The circumstances of this quarter are as follows. Since the arrival
 of Mahomed Akbar Khan, the Barukzyes at the head of the Ghilzyes,
 Caubulees, and the Kohistanees, attacked the trenches I had built out
 at a distance. Some of them were taken by the enemy on account of the
 weakness of my guards, and others in consequence of the treachery of
 my people. All the trenches round the Balla Hissar have fallen into
 the hands of the enemy, and we are now in a perfect siege. Yesterday,
 Mahomed Shah Khan, Ghilzye, came to treat with Ameen-oollah Khan into
 the Balla Hissar, and the result of their negotiation, after solemn
 oaths, was as follows:—That I should be acknowledged as King—Mahomed
 Akbar Khan as Minister of State—and that Ameen-oollah Khan should
 hold the situation of Deputy (“Naib”) under the minister. After this,
 Mahomed Shah Khan was brought to my presence, and I was obliged to
 give him a “Khelat;” but agreeably to the advice of my well-wishers, I
 deferred giving my acquiescence to the result of their negotiation for
 two or three days to come.

 They have made four proposals to me,—Firstly, that I should allow
 Mahomed Akbar Khan to be my minister, and Ameen-oollah Khan his
 deputy. They are then both to raise an army and to go and fight with
 the English forces coming up to Caubul. Secondly, they will stand
 neutral, if I like; but I must prepare to go and oppose the British
 troops. Thirdly, if I am powerful, I must get ready to wage war with
 the Barukzyes. Fourthly, that I should take the whole family of the
 late King, and go wherever I like to go with them.

 It appears that Ameen-oollah Khan, on account of our weakness, has
 consented to their proposals, and has therefore gone out of the Balla
 Hissar to have a conference with Mahomed Akbar Khan. These proposals
 have perplexed me greatly, and I am lost in speculation. If I were
 to appoint Mahomed Akbar Khan my minister, he would raise a force to
 oppose the English, and I should be forced to give up my artillery to
 him, which will be a dangerous business. In case of my refusal, the
 family of the late martyr (King) will be outraged.

 My anxiety for your departure from Jellalabad for Caubul appears
 thoroughly useless. It is now forty days since your victorious army
 has passed up through Khybur, and you have not yet left Jellalabad.
 I endeavoured to excite a dispute among the rebels, with the view
 that the English army should reach here without opposition. Although
 I have successively sent letters through Mohun Lai, asking you to
 advance immediately to this side, but no symptoms of the kind have yet
 appeared. In such delay dangerous evils are to be apprehended.

 It is a long time that I have deputed and entrusted Meerza
 Ameen-oollah with my verbal messages to you; but no answer has yet
 reached me about it. You should quickly reply to my letters, as well
 as the messages I have sent you by him, and also let me know the day
 of your march, as I am now in much perplexity. If there be any hope
 of your immediate advance, I will undergo every hardship to defend
 the Balla Hissar, and engage the rebels in fight. In case of any
 more delay the object will be lost, and an easy end will be obtained
 with the utmost difficulty hereafter. What can I write you more than

Feeling himself utterly powerless to resist the demands of the
Barukzyes, for all his principal supporters were deserting him, the
Prince now placed himself in the hands of Ameen-oollah Khan, who went
out to a conference with Mahomed Shah Khan, which mutual distrust
nearly strangled in the womb, and consented to the first of these
propositions.[228] Futteh Jung was to be the nominal occupant of the
throne. Akbar Khan was to be minister; and Ameen-oollah Khan, his Naib,
or deputy. It was the object of the Sirdar to arrest the internal
dissensions which were so weakening the great national and religious
cause, to obtain possession of all the available money and munitions,
and then to carry on the war with new vigour against the infidels.

But Mahomed Zemaun Khan was the recognised chief of the Barukzye
party; and he now asked on what authority the Sirdar ventured without
his sanction to make peace with the Suddozyes. There appeared to be
every chance of an open rupture between them; and scarcely had Akbar
Khan concluded his negotiations with the Prince, then the Newab made a
hostile demonstration, attacked the Balla Hissar, but was beaten back
with much slaughter. It was, however, currently reported that a secret
understanding existed between the two Barukzye chiefs, whose common
object it was to obtain possession of the Balla Hissar. Two or three
days afterwards they were, outwardly, again united. An attempt had
been made to lure the Prince to an interview with Akbar Khan beyond
the walls of the Balla Hissar. The Arabs in the garrison, who remained
true to the royal family, dissuaded the Prince from exposing himself to
the treachery of the Sirdar; mutual distrust soon engendered a rupture
between them; and it was plain, that if some arrangement could not be
promptly made between the Prince and the Barukzyes, through the agency
of the Kuzzilbash chief, the Balla Hissar, the treasure, and the guns,
would speedily fall into the hands of Akbar Khan and his confederates.

The Barukzyes now laid siege, with redoubled vigour, to the Balla
Hissar. The Prince was well-nigh deserted.[229] He called upon Oosman
Khan, Shah Soojah’s old minister, to aid him, but upon some frivolous
pretext, the Wuzeer declined to league himself with so perilous a
cause. It was assiduously given out that the Prince was holding the
Balla Hissar only for the Feringhees; and, as the national feeling
became stronger and stronger against him, if it had not been for the
strength of the place itself, he would hardly have been able to hold it
for a day against the Barukzyes. But the fortress held out, in spite
of the weakness of the Prince and the garrison; and so at last the
Barukzyes began to undermine the works. “Last night,” wrote Futteh
Jung to General Pollock, at the beginning of June, “they made an
assault; now they have made mines in every direction. My affairs are in
a very critical state.... If you do not come quickly, the Balla Hissar
and the throne will be lost, and you will be a sufferer. At this time
I am at my last gasp. Moreover, there is nothing in the magazine.[230]
Now is the crisis.”[231]

On the 6th of June, after an ineffectual attempt at negotiation,
Akbar Khan issued orders for the springing of the mine. But it was
not carried sufficiently far to damage the works.[232] The explosion
killed a large number of the besiegers; whilst the storming party was
driven back by the garrison with considerable loss. The troops of the
Shah-zadah are said to have “behaved very nobly, and like heroes,
to have defeated the assault.” Mohun Lal reported, but with some
exaggeration, that not less than 1000 of the followers of Akbar Khan
fell upon this day.

But the elation of the garrison was but short-lived. On the following
day the Barukzyes brought up some heavy ordnance and began to
cannonade the Balla Hissar. The defenders then lost heart. The
Hindostanee and Arab fighting men, who composed the bulk of the
Prince’s followers, began to tremble for the safety of their families,
and to call upon Futteh Jung to enter into some accommodation with
their assailants. Thus deserted by his garrison, who declared that they
would open the gates to the enemy if the Prince did not submit, he had
nothing to do but to abandon the defence, and to suffer the Barukzyes
to enter the Balla Hissar.

With many professions of fidelity and demonstrations of respect, Akbar
Khan presented himself before the Prince, declared that he had the
prosperity of the royal family at heart, and that he himself was merely
the servant of the Suddozyes. Futteh Jung offered him money; but he
declined it—offered him a dress of honour, but he meekly refused to
wear it. He wanted nothing, he said, but the prosperity of the Prince,
and he could not wear the dress of honour until he had adjusted all his
differences with Mahomed Zemaun Khan. But these differences were not
very easily to be adjusted. The Newab was unwilling to recognise the
sovereignty of Futteh Jung; and was jealous of the rising power of the
Sirdar. Meeting after meeting was held, and many attempts were made to
reconcile the conflicting interests of the two Barukzye leaders. It was
urged, on the one side, that if Futteh Jung were acknowledged as the
nominal ruler of Afghanistan, all his wealth would be in the power of
the chiefs, and that the war might then be waged against the infidels
with every chance of success. But, on the other hand, it was asked by
the friends of Zemaun Khan—and Meer Hadjee, the High Priest, adopted
the same views—since during the lifetime of Shah Soojah the Newab had
been chosen King by the chiefs and accepted by the nation, why should
they now revert to the old Suddozye sovereignty, which the country had
so emphatically repudiated?[233]

As time advanced, the difficulties in the way of a reconciliation
between the two parties seemed to thicken. The Newab declared that he
was King—that Akbar Khan might hold the office of Commander-in-Chief
of the Afghan army, but that Oosman Khan was to be the Wuzeer.[234] In
the meanwhile, the Sirdar was gaining over the Kohistanee chiefs, and
preparing himself for the inevitable conflict. But the Kuzzilbashes
now refused to league themselves with Akbar Khan, and talked of joining
the British on their advance. There was no prospect of a reconciliation
of the differences between the two Barukzye chiefs. The old Newab
bitterly deplored the strife which seemed likely soon to plunge the
city again into the miseries of war, and openly prayed that God might
send General Pollock quickly, so that he and Akbar might fly from
Caubul before they had caused bloodshed among the people by the violent
arbitrement of their disputes.

Equally did Akbar Khan claim credit for his forbearance. On the 21st
of June, after many fruitless attempts at an amicable adjustment of
affairs, the two factions came into open collision. A battle was
fought; and “after an insignificant fight of two or three hours’
duration,” the Newab was defeated. He and his sons were taken. His
house was plundered. The leading chiefs of his party were seized
and subjected to every conceivable insult. The victory, indeed, was
complete; but it was mainly achieved by the money which had been
pillaged from the treasury of the Prince. Some of the most influential
men of the Newab’s party were bribed over to desert him; and he found,
when it was too late, that he was betrayed.

The Prince was throned on the 29th of June. But he exercised no regal
power. The Sirdar, who conferred upon him the title of sovereign mainly
to conciliate the Populzyes, began rapidly to strip him of his wealth,
and to reduce him to a mere pageant and a name.[235] After possessing
himself of all the tangible property upon which he could lay his hands,
he called in all the secretaries and managers of the royal household,
and compelled them to give an account of their stewardship. He had
taken up his residence in the Balla Hissar; was digging a ditch around
the place; and laying in military stores. He then began to endeavour to
compass the possession of all the hostages and captives, and to secure
them against the chance of rescue by confining them in the Balla Hissar.

The situation of the English gentlemen at Caubul, who had resided
so securely under the protection of the good Newab, now became more
critical.[236] On the death of Shah Soojah the Caubulees had called
upon Zemaun Khan to deliver them up to Meer Hadjee, the High Priest.
The Newab had long resisted the demand. But the clamour of the people
had drowned his prayers. His tears and intercessions were fruitless.
At last he surrendered them to the Hadjee, imploring him to treat them
with kindness, and sending at the same time the ladies of his family to
the priest’s house that they might, in some sort, be a protection to
the British captives. Under the guardianship of Meer Hadjee, Conolly
and his associates remained until the beginning of July. By this time
Akbar Khan was dominant in Caubul. He had determined to gain possession
of the persons of the whole of the English hostages and prisoners in
Afghanistan, and he now began to importune Meer Hadjee to send them to
the Balla Hissar. Day after day he went, on this errand, to the High
Priest’s house; but for some time his importunities were fruitless.
At last, he tried the effect of money. The avarice of Meer Hadjee was
notorious. Akbar Khan had bought him over to his cause; and now he
bethought himself of buying the prisoners. He did not bid high for
them. It appears that Akbar Khan offered 4000 rupees for the persons
of the hostages, and that the offer was accepted.

The hostages were now conveyed to the Balla Hissar, where they
remained under the immediate custody of Akbar Khan. Mohun Lal, who
had been rendering good service to the British Government, by keeping
the authorities at Jellalabad continually supplied with information
relative to the events which were passing at Caubul, was seized by the
Sirdar and tortured. The Moonshee had been residing in the house of
the Kuzzilbash chief, Khan Shereen Khan; but now, early in July, Akbar
Khan, having first seized the person of the host, contrived to obtain
possession of the guest; and immediately began to extort money from
him by the cruel agency of physical torture. It was not until General
Pollock wrote an urgent letter to Akbar Khan, that the unhappy Moonshee
was relieved from this terrible persecution.[237]

In the mean while, the British prisoners, who had been in custody at
Budeeabad, were in a fort in the neighbourhood of Caubul. When last I
spoke of them they were halting in the valley of Zandah, where they
were detained for about the space of a month. On the 22nd of May they
received orders to march on the following day for Caubul.[238] The road
lay along the track of the slaughtered army, and the putrid corpses
sickened the captives as they went. About three miles from Caubul, on
the banks of the Loghur river, is the fort of Ali Mahomed, a chief of
Kuzzilbash connexions. Here they were lodged in the apartments recently
occupied by the ladies of the chief’s family[239]—the best and most
commodious quarters which the prisoners had yet enjoyed.

In Ali Mahomed’s fort the prisoners led a life of comparative freedom.
They had a spacious garden in which to exercise themselves at certain
times. They had the use alike of the walks and of the fruits. They were
suffered to bathe in the river. They were permitted to visit, and to
receive visits from, their friends in the Balla Hissar. Many of them
had the means of borrowing money from the Caubulees; and were able to
purchase many necessaries which they had not enjoyed at Budeeabad.
Letters and papers from Jellalabad, from the provinces of India, and
from old England, were brought to them without interruption. They had
much to think about and much to discuss. Intelligence from Jellalabad
and intelligence from Caubul came, in some shape, every day. Life was
comparatively but little wearisome; there was abundant occupation for
the mind, and abundant exercise for the body. True, indeed, it is that
many of the party fell sick, and that some died; that their guards
were sometimes insolent and extortionate; and that ever and anon there
reached them rumours of the intentions of Akbar Khan to carry them off
to Toorkistan; but they had much to be thankful for, on the other side,
and on the whole, perhaps, they enjoyed greater comfort and happiness,
than commonly fall to the lot of the prisoner and the captive in the
hands of a barbarous foe.



[June-September: 1842.]

 The Advance from Jellalabad—Instructions of Lord Ellenborough—The
 Question of Responsibility—Employment of the Troops at
 Jellalabad—Operations in the Shinwarree Valley—Negotiations
 for the Release of the Prisoners—The Advance—Mammoo
 Khail—Jugdulluck—Tezeen—Occupation of Caubul.

The summer months passed away, and still left General Pollock at
Jellalabad, and General Nott at Candahar. Whether it were the intention
of the Governor-General that they should advance upon Caubul, or
fall back at once upon Peshawur and Quettah, was a problem of very
difficult solution. Such data as were afforded them by the letters
of Lord Ellenborough and his secretaries sufficed only to plunge
them into a state of still deeper bewilderment and mystification.
Every fresh letter seemed to render the obscurity more obscure. The
Governor-General’s instructions to Pollock and Nott at this time
resembled nothing so much as those given to children in the “game of
contraries”—to hold fast when they are ordered to let go, and to
let go when they are ordered to hold fast. Lord Ellenborough was, in
effect, perpetually telling the generals that when he suggested to them
to go forward it was their business to come back.

It is probable that Lord Ellenborough himself had no very clear
perception, at this time, of the course which he purposed to pursue.
He had made up his mind, he said, to save India in spite of every man
in it who ought to give him support;[240] but it seemed to be his
idea to save India rather by withdrawing all our troops within the
Sutlej, than by striking a decisive blow for the re-establishment
of our military supremacy in Afghanistan. It was his opinion that
the danger of our position at that time arose from the absence of
so large a body of troops from the provinces of Hindostan; and that
we might better afford to leave our external injuries unredressed,
than weaken our means of defence in India itself for the purpose of
redressing them. Viewing the matter in this light, Lord Ellenborough
thought less of redeeming the military character of the British nation
than of bringing back the troops to Hindostan; and he would have
brought them back without an effort at such redemption, if the almost
universal voice, not only of the chief civil and military officers,
but of the Anglo-Indian community at large, had not been lifted up
against so inglorious and degrading a concession. The opinions and
desires of Pollock and Nott—of Robertson and Clerk—of Rawlinson,
Outram, Macgregor, Mackeson, and others, who were eager for a forward
movement, and little inclined to conceal their genuine sentiments
under a cloak of official reserve—how little soever Lord Ellenborough
might have been disposed outwardly to acknowledge their influence—were
not without their effect. Public opinion he professed to despise. The
judgments of the Press he pretended to hold in such absolute contempt,
that he lived in habitual ignorance of all that emanated from it;
but it is believed that this disregard of public opinion was rather
a profession than a fact, and that Lord Ellenborough was shaken in
his determination to bring back the armies to the provinces, by the
clamour that, from one end of India to the other, was raised against
the obnoxious measure of withdrawal. He had by this time, too, received
information from England that an inglorious retirement from the scene
of our late humiliation, and the abandonment of all the brave men,
tender women, and innocent children, in the hands of the Afghans,
would be viewed with no satisfaction either by his old ministerial
colleagues, or by the people of Great Britain. Many powerful external
influences, therefore, roused him to a sense of the necessity of doing
something in advance; but the “withdrawal policy” was emphatically his
own, and he was resolute to preserve the shadow of it if he could not
maintain the substance.

In this conjuncture, he betook himself to an expedient unparalleled,
perhaps, in the political history of the world. He instigated Pollock
and Nott to advance, but insisted that they should regard the forward
movement solely in the light of a retirement from Afghanistan. No
change had come over the views of Lord Ellenborough, but a change had
come over the meaning of certain words of the English language. The
Governor-General had resolutely maintained that the true policy of
the English Government was to bring back our armies to the provinces
of India, and that nothing would justify him in pushing them forward
merely for the re-establishment of our military reputation. But he
found it necessary to yield to the pressure from without, and to push
the armies of Pollock and Nott further into the heart of the Afghan
dominions. To preserve his own consistency, and at the same time to
protect himself against the measureless indignation of the communities
both of India and of England, was an effort of genius beyond the
reach of ordinary statesmen. But it was not beyond the grasp of Lord
Ellenborough. How long he may have been engaged on the solution of the
difficulty before him, History cannot determine. But on the 4th of July
it was finally accomplished. On that day Lord Ellenborough, who had
entirely discarded the official mediation of the Commander-in-Chief,
despatched two letters to General Pollock and two to General Nott. In
these letters he set forth that his opinions had undergone no change
since he had declared the withdrawal of the British armies to the
provinces to be the primal object of Government; but he suggested
that perhaps General Nott might feel disposed to retire from Candahar
to the provinces of India by the route of Ghuznee, Caubul, and
Jellalabad;[241] and that perhaps General Pollock might feel disposed
to assist the retreat of the Candahar force by moving forward upon

It has been seen, that on the 1st of June Lord Ellenborough had granted
General Pollock a constructive permission to remain at Jellalabad until
the month of October; and that General Pollock had determined to turn
this permission to the best account. The mind of the statesman was
running on retirement; the mind of the soldier on advance. The great
obstacle either to retirement or to advance had been the scarcity
of carriage. But in the early summer months every exertion had been
made by the authorities in Upper India to procure carriage for the
use of the armies in Afghanistan. Lord Ellenborough had exerted
himself to obtain cattle; Mr. Robertson, the able and energetic
Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces, had exerted himself
to obtain cattle.[242] The Governor-General threw his heart into the
work, because he was eager to bring back the armies to Hindostan; the
Lieutenant-Governor threw his heart into the work, because he was eager
to push them on to Caubul. So it happened, that before the end of
June, there was a sufficiency of cattle at General Pollock’s disposal
to enable him to do something; and he reported to Government that his
means of movement were such that he was able to make a demonstration in
the neighbourhood of Jellalabad. Upon this, Lord Ellenborough, through
his secretary, wrote to him on the 4th of July that he was rejoiced to
hear, the General was able to do something; but that he (the General)
must, on no account, think that any change had come over the opinions
of Government, which still inclined resolutely towards the withdrawal
of the army at the earliest moment consistent with the health and
efficiency of the troops.[243]

On this same 4th of July the Governor-General wrote twice to General
Nott—once through his secretary and once with his own hand. He sent
the General a copy of his instructions to Pollock, impressing upon
him that all his views were in favour of a prompt withdrawal; and
he addressed to him a long inconclusive letter, instructing him to
withdraw from Afghanistan, but telling him, at the same time, that the
line of withdrawal was to be left to his own choice. He might retire
by going backward, by Quettah and Sukkur, or he might retire by going
forward, by Ghuznee, Caubul, and Jellalabad. But whichsoever line he
might take, he was never for a moment to lose sight of the fact that
Lord Ellenborough had decreed that he should retire, and that retire he

It was fortunate for Lord Ellenborough and for the country that he
had to deal at this time with men who thought more of the honour of
Great Britain than of their own safety; and who did not shrink from
responsibility, if, by incurring it, they had a reasonable chance of
conferring great and lasting benefits upon the government which they
served, and the nation which they represented. But Lord Ellenborough’s
instructions to the Generals were so worded—whether by accident or
by design I do not presume to determine—as to cast upon them all the
onus of failure, and to confer upon the Governor-General, or at least
to divide with him, all the honour of success. One thing at least is
certain—the letter of the 4th of July, addressed to General Nott and
signed by the Chief Secretary, ought not to have been written. It is
either from first to last a masterpiece of Jesuitical cunning, or it
indicates a feebleness of will—an infirmity of purpose—discreditable
to the character of a statesman entrusted with the welfare and the
honour of one of the greatest empires in the world.

But, whatever may have been the amount of responsibility cast upon the
two Generals, neither Pollock nor Nott shrunk from it. They cheerfully
took up the burden and placed it on their own shoulders.[245] They had
obtained now all that they wanted. They had no doubt of the ability of
their troops to carry everything before them. Cattle had been supplied,
or were being supplied, sufficient for all their movements. It was
only necessary that they should act in concert with each other—that
they should so combine their operations as to reach the capital at
the same time, and strike the last blow together. But it was no easy
thing in those days to carry on a correspondence between Jellalabad
and Candahar; and it was long before Pollock received an answer to
his letters. Five messengers were despatched in succession to Nott’s
camp;[246] but it was not before the middle of August that Pollock
could assure himself of his brother-general’s intentions to advance
upon Caubul at all.[247]

In the mean while, neither General had been wholly inactive. At
Jellalabad, Pollock had been making a demonstration against some
hostile tribes, and carrying on negotiations for the release of the
British prisoners. The Governor-General had several times, in rather
obscure language, suggested to Pollock that it might be desirable to
strike a blow at some one somewhere in the neighbourhood of Jellalabad;
and now the General sent out Monteith into the Shinwarree valley
to read a lesson to the tribes who had possessed themselves of the
property plundered from our army, and who held in their hands one
of our captured guns. These things were to be now demanded from the
tribes, or to be wrested from them at the point of the bayonet. In the
middle of June, Monteith descended into the valley, with a brigade
of European and Native troops, and a sufficiency of guns for his
purpose. The troops, so long held in restraint, were now all fire and
impetuosity. The first sight, in the village of Ali-Boghan, of some
property that had belonged to our slaughtered army, maddened them past
control.[248] They began at once to fire the houses and to plunder
the inhabitants. But Monteith and Macgregor interfered for their
protection. The plundered property was restored. Even the money that
had been taken was made over again to the inhabitants.

The report of the violence that had been committed at Ali-Boghan spread
like wildfire through the valley. The people believed that the British
troops were about to fire all the villages; so they began at once
to remove their property, and to fly in every direction from their
homes. Macgregor exerted himself to restore confidence among them, by
explaining the real designs of his government; and the people began to
return to their dwellings. But, although indiscriminate plunder and
destruction were not the objects of the expedition, the brigade had
been sent out to do certain work, and it soon became evident that it
could not be done without inflicting some injury upon the people. The
captured gun and the plundered property were to be recovered. It was
known that two of the principal chiefs of a place called Goolai were
in possession of a portion of the treasure that had fallen into the
hands of our enemies. It was known, too, that the captured gun was at
Deh-Surruk. It was determined, therefore, that the brigade should move
against these two places.

On the morning of the 20th of June, Monteith moved upon Goolai. “It
presented all the appearance of a flourishing little settlement.
Several of the forts were extensive and in good repair. They were
shaded by clusters of mulberry and willow trees. Flowing water passed
close to the forts, and served to irrigate the neighbouring fields
of cotton, rice, and jewaree. The summer harvest had just been
collected, and was stocked outside the fort in its unwinnowed state.
The inhabitants had evidently only time to escape with their portable
property before the troops reached Goolai. In fact, our visit was most
timely. Three or four days’ delay would have enabled them to carry off
their grain.”[249]

Monteith pitched his camp on some rising ground near the village, and
demanded the restitution of the plundered treasure. On the following
day evasive answers were received; there was no prospect of obtaining,
by peaceful negotiation, the concession that was demanded from the
chiefs. So the work of destruction commenced. Their forts and houses
were destroyed. Their walls were blown up. Their beautiful trees were
ringed and left to perish.[250] The retribution was complete.

The work of destruction went on for some days. In the mean while the
captured gun had been given up, and the people of Deh-Surruk were
willing to restore the treasure which they had taken; but they could
not easily recover it from the real possessors. However, after some
difficulty, upwards of 10,000 rupees, besides other property, were
recovered from the Shinwarrees. A large quantity of grain, timber,
boosa, and other requisites was appropriated at Goolai; and it was
supposed that the declared objects of the expedition had now been fully

But the Shinwarrees had not been thoroughly coerced. They had always
been a refractory people—unwilling to pay revenue either to Barukzye
chief or Suddozye Prince. It was thought advisable, therefore, to read
them a more severe lesson. So Monteith made a progress through the
valley, applied the firebrand to their forts, and shot them down in
their places of refuge. “At one time the interiors of five-and-thirty
forts were in a blaze along the valley.”[251] At a place named Mazeena
the tribes made some show of resistance; but the steady gallantry of
her Majesty’s 31st Regiment and of their Sepoy comrades was not to be
withstood; the shells from Abbott’s howitzers were irresistible; and so
Monteith effectually beat down the opposition of the Shinwarrees. This
was on the 26th of July. On the 3rd of August the brigade returned to
Jellalabad. From the 17th of June to this date, “both men and cattle
had entirely subsisted on the resources of the country.” “The cattle
especially,” added Captain Macgregor, concluding his report, “will be
found to have greatly improved in condition while employed on this
service. Indeed, in whatever way it may be viewed, it will be found
that the expedition has been highly beneficial to British interests.”

Whilst Monteith was carrying on these operations in the Shinwarree
valley, Pollock was carrying on negotiations for the release of the
British prisoners. On the 10th of July, Mackenzie having been stricken
down by fever and lying, as was supposed, at the point of death,
Captain Troup, accompanied by a native gentleman, named Hadjee Buktear,
had been despatched to General Pollock’s camp; but had brought back no
satisfactory intelligence to encourage and animate the Sirdar.[252]
The fact is, that Pollock had by this time begun to see his way to
Caubul. Lord Ellenborough and Mr. Robertson had exerted themselves
most successfully to supply him with carriage. He was eager to plant
the British standard on the Balla Hissar, and was unwilling to hamper
himself with any negotiations which might impede or delay his advance.
It was thought by some in Pollock’s camp that the Sirdar was not
sincere in his overtures, and that his real object was to gain time.
But Pollock was equally anxious to gain time. The emissaries were not
dismissed in a hurry; and when they returned at last to Caubul they
carried back only a verbal message, and that message contained a demand
for all the guns and trophies in the possession of the enemy.[253] It
was expected that another reference would be made to Jellalabad; and
that in the mean while Pollock would be supplied with the means of
rescuing the prisoners more majestically than by such negotiations. He
had received so many assurances from influential men at the capital
that the Caubulees would not suffer Akbar Khan to carry off the
prisoners to Toorkistan, that he believed the advance of his army would
tend more surely to their release than any diplomatic measure which he
could possibly adopt.

But Akbar Khan held a different opinion. When Troup returned to Caubul,
the Sirdar summoned him and Pottinger to an interview, declared that
he was not satisfied with Pollock’s verbal message, and candidly asked
their advice. Pottinger replied that the best advice he could offer
was, that Akbar Khan should immediately send down the whole of the
prisoners to Pollock’s camp at Jellalabad, as a proof of his sincerity
and good feeling. If there were any delay, he added, the negotiations
would be broken off, and the army would advance. To this the Sirdar
replied, that without a written promise from General Pollock to
withdraw his troops from Afghanistan the prisoners would not be sent to
his camp; and that they might at once banish the thought of a forcible
release of the prisoners on the advance of the British army, for that
as soon as intelligence should reach him of our troops having arrived
at Charbagh, he would send them all off to Toorkistan—scattering them
about by twos and threes among the different chiefs—and come down
himself with his fighting men to dispute the progress of the advancing

To Pollock, this appeared a mere idle threat. He still clung to the
belief that there was a party in Caubul able and willing to prevent the
departure of the prisoners; and when Troup, accompanied by Lawrence,
came down again to Jellalabad, he found the General still less inclined
than before to promise to withdraw his army. He had, indeed, already
moved a brigade forward to Futtehabad—two marches in advance of his
old position; and Sale, who commanded this brigade, had written that
it was “a good place for a fight.”[254] All that Pollock, therefore,
could now promise was, that he would not advance beyond that point
before the expiration of a certain number of days. The negotiations
had, by this time, become the merest sham. It was obvious that Pollock
could not proceed with them to a successful issue without encumbering
himself with conditions which would have hung as a millstone round the
neck of a military commander, eager to drive his battalions into the
heart of the enemy’s country. The Governor-General wrote to him that
“all military operations must proceed, as if no negotiations were on
foot;” but Akbar Khan had rendered this impossible, by demanding, as a
condition of the delivery of the prisoners, that all the British troops
should withdraw from Afghanistan.[255]

Weary of these protracted negotiations, Pollock was now eager to
advance upon Caubul. He was only waiting the arrival of specific
information from Candahar relative to the movements of his
brother-general. “As I have offered to meet him,” he wrote to a
friend in high place, “he will find some difficulty in resisting the
_glorious_ temptation; but if he does resist, he is not the man I
take him for.”[256] The glorious temptation was not resisted. The two
Generals were worthy of each other. Nott had determined to retire to
India by Ghuznee, Caubul, and Jellalabad; and in the middle of the
month of August, a messenger, long expected and most welcome, brought
the cheering intelligence into Pollock’s camp.[257]

On the 20th of August, Pollock began to move from Jellalabad. On that
day the advanced guard under the General himself reached Sultanpore,
on its way to Gundamuck. At the latter place he intended to assemble
the whole of the troops which he had selected to accompany him to the
capital[258]—in all, about 8000 men. On the 23rd, Pollock, with the
advance, reached Gundamuck. About two miles from that place lies the
village of Mammoo Khail. Two hostile chiefs, having sent away all their
women and children, had mustered a strong body of the Ooloos, and were
occupying this position. Pollock at once determined to dislodge them;
and ordered up from Sale’s camp in the rear Broadfoot’s sappers and a
squadron of dragoons. On the following morning the brigade advanced,
and the enemy began to retire. Then, dividing his infantry into two
columns, with a wing of her Majesty’s 9th Foot at the head of each,
Pollock entered the village. The enemy had abandoned their positions
there, and at another village, called Koochlee Khail; but they rallied
and returned to occupy a range of heights within musket-shot of the
latter place, and from these commanding eminences, they kept up, for
some time, a hot fire from their jezails. But Colonel Taylor attacked
them on one side; Broadfoot, with his sappers, on the other.[259] The
heights were carried. The forts and villages were taken, and the enemy
dispersed. The chiefs fled to Caubul with a few followers. Mammoo Khail
and Koochlee Khail were destroyed by fire; and the fruit-trees were cut

Having accomplished this, Pollock returned to Gundamuck. The attack
on Mammoo Khail, which is not on the road to Caubul, was a diversion
rendered necessary by the appearance of the enemy in that direction.
But the General had yet to assemble his entire force, to assure himself
of the sufficiency of his supplies, and to make all the necessary
arrangements for his advance upon the capital. The delight with which
the announcement of the intended advance upon Caubul had been received
throughout the general camp is not to be described. The question of
advance or withdrawal had been for months eagerly discussed. Every
symptom had been watched with the closest interest—every report had
been canvassed with wondering curiosity. Acting under instructions from
the Supreme Government, Pollock had kept all his intended movements a
close secret. It was not, indeed, until the middle of August that even
Sir Robert Sale knew that the force would advance upon Caubul; and then
he was so wild with excitement that he could scarcely write a note to
the General to express his unbounded delight.[261]

There were now no longer any doubts regarding the forward movement
of the force. Officers and men were eager to push on to Caubul; and
willing to advance lightly equipped, leaving behind them all the
baggage that was not absolutely necessary to their efficiency. The
13th Light Infantry, ever ready to set an example to their comrades,
sent back a considerable portion of their baggage to Jellalabad, and
prepared to march with only a single change of linen. The officers of
the regiment were content to congregate, three or four together, in
small hill tents; and Broadfoot, at all times a pattern of chivalrous
zeal, offered to take on his sappers without any tents at all.[262]

Full of hope and courage the troops moved up, by brigades, to
Gundamuck. Making all his arrangements for the march, and waiting
intelligence from Nott,[263] Pollock remained at that place until the
7th of September. Supplies were pouring freely into camp. The rich
orchards and fruit-gardens of the surrounding country yielded their
luscious produce; and our officers were writing to their friends
that they were “luxuriating quietly on the most delicious fruits and
supplies of all kinds.” The neighbouring chiefs were coming in and
making submission to the English General. It was plain that already
the tidings of our advance were striking terror into the hearts of the
chiefs and people of Afghanistan.

It was on the 1st day of September, when Pollock was awaiting at
Gundamuck the assembling of his brigades, that an Afghan, of forlorn
aspect, in soiled and tattered clothes, rode upon a wretched pony,
attended by three followers, into the British camp. Two officers of
the general staff, Burn and Mayne, met the stranger as he approached,
and recognised him. They knew him to be Futteh Jung. They knew him
to be the man who, a day or two before, had borne the title of King
of Caubul. The fugitive was kindly received, and conducted to the
General’s tent. A salute was fired in his honour. Accommodation was
provided for him in the British camp, and everything that could conduce
to his comfort was freely granted to the unfortunate Prince.

For some time, Futteh Jung had been a wretched puppet at the Caubul
Court. He had been but a King of straw. The merest shadow of royalty
had been suffered to cling to him. Akbar Khan, for his own uses, held
the imbecile Prince firmly in his hands; and every day tightened his
grasp. He stripped him of all his power; he stripped him of all his
wealth. He threatened—he overawed him. He compelled him to attach his
seal, or his signature,[264] to papers resigning all authority into the
hands of the Wuzeer, and signifying his assent to everything that might
be originated or sanctioned by him.[265] Deeming that the unscrupulous
tyranny of Akbar Khan would soon manifest itself in the murder of
the whole royal family, the Prince directed his thoughts towards the
expediency of flight, and determined to claim the hospitality of the
British General. But Akbar Khan suspected his intentions, and flung him
into close confinement in the Balla Hissar. A Kuzzilbash gentleman,
named Aga Mahomed, aided him to escape from his perilous captivity. A
hole was cut through the roof of his prison, and he emerged into the
outer air. But, overcome by terror and by opium, his limbs refused
to perform their office, and on his perilous way to the Kuzzilbash
quarters, he more than once implored his deliverer to carry him back
to his place of captivity. The resolution, however, of Aga Mahomed
prevailed, and, having lodged the wretched Prince for a while in the
house of a Kuzzilbash lady—the Aga’s aunt—he raised a few thousand
rupees by pledging his own and his mother’s property, and then started
him on his perilous journey to the camping-ground of the British. With
some difficulty, often fired upon as he went, Futteh Jung made his way
through the passes; and at last, on the 1st of September, struggled
into Pollock’s camp.[266]

On the morning of the 7th of September, General Pollock, with the first
division of his army, accompanied by General Sir Robert Sale, moved
from Gundamuck,[267] in progress to the capital. The second division,
under General M’Caskill, marched on the following day. A party of the
Sikh contingent, under Captain Lawrence, accompanied this division.
These regiments had been sent up to Jellalabad in June, and had been
encamped on the opposite side of the river. They were the old Mussulman
corps who had behaved so infamously on the other side of the Khybur,
but who now had been talked over by Gholab Singh into something like
propriety of demeanour.[268] They behaved at least as well as the
British General expected, and when Lawrence sought permission for a
party of 500 men, horse and foot, to accompany, under his directions,
Pollock’s army to Caubul, the General was but little inclined to
refuse the request. So a party of 300 horse and 200 foot marched,
under Lawrence, with M’Caskill’s division; and the remainder occupied
positions at Neemlah and Gundamuck.

On the 8th of September, as the first division of Pollock’s army
approached the hills which commanded the road through the Jugdulluck
Pass, he found that their summits were occupied by the enemy.
Large bodies of Ghilzyes, under different chieftains, each with a
distinguishing standard, were clustering on the heights. “The hills
they occupied formed an amphitheatre inclining towards the left of the
road, on which the troops were halted whilst the guns opened, and the
enemy were thus enabled on this point to fire into the column, a deep
ravine preventing any contact with them.”[269] The practice of the guns
was excellent; but the Ghilzye warriors stood their ground. The shells
from our howitzers burst among them; but still they held their posts.
Still they poured in a hot fire from their jezails. So Pollock sent his
infantry to the attack; and gallantly they ascended the heights. On one
side, Broadfoot, ever in advance, led up his little band of sappers.
On the other, Taylor, with the 9th Foot, ascended the hills, where the
enemy, horse and foot, were posted behind a ruined fort. In the centre,
Wilkinson, with the 13th, pushed up the ascent towards the key of the
enemy’s position. All went forward with impetuous gallantry; and as
they clomb the hill-sides and seized the Ghilzye standards, up went an
animated and enthusiastic cheer from the British stormers. It was plain
that their heart was in the work, and that nothing could turn them
back. The flower of the Ghilzye tribes were there, under many of their
most renowned chieftains, and they looked down upon the scene of their
recent sanguinary triumphs. But they had now to deal with other men,
under other leaders. The loud clear cry of the British infantry struck
a panic into their souls. They turned and fled before our bayonets.
Then galloped Lockwood with his dragoons after the enemy’s horse;
but the nature of the ground was against him, and they escaped the
annihilation which otherwise would have been their fate.

But the battle was not yet over. A considerable body of the enemy had
betaken themselves for safety to an apparently inaccessible height.
On the summit of a mountain they planted their standards, and seemed
to look down with defiance upon our troops. But Pollock was resolute
not to leave, on that day, his work incomplete. He believed that where
the enemy could post themselves his infantry could attack them. So,
under cover of Abbott’s and Backhouse’s guns, Broadfoot and Wilkinson
again led up their men, and stormed that precipitous height. “Seldom
have soldiers had a more arduous task to perform, and never was an
undertaking of the kind surpassed in execution.”[270] The Ghilzyes
looked down upon them with astonishment and dismay. They saw at once
the temper of our men, and they shrunk from the encounter. Our stormers
pushed on, and the Ghilzye standards were lowered. The enemy fled in
confusion; and left the stronghold, from which they had looked down in
the insolence of mistaken security, to be occupied by British troops.

The victory was complete. It was mainly achieved, under Pollock’s
able directions, by the brave men of the old Jellalabad garrison.
Sale himself, who was never far off when there was likely to be hard
fighting, led up the heights in front of his old regiment, and was
wounded in the affray. The loss upon our side was trifling. Nothing
could have told more plainly than such a victory as this how little
formidable in reality were the best Ghilzye fighting men in their most
inaccessible strongholds, when opposed to British infantry under the
eye of a capable commander. The Ghilzye butchers were now seen flying
like sheep before the comrades of the men whom a few months before they
had slaughtered in these very shambles at Jugdulluck.

The first division alone of Pollock’s army was engaged with the enemy
at Jugdulluck.[271] The second division passed on, much molested by
the enemy, and often compelled to fight its way against large bodies
of Ghilzye footmen. On the 11th of September they joined the advance
in the neighbourhood of Tezeen. The exertions of a forced march had
fatigued M’Caskill’s cattle; so Pollock determined to devote the 12th
to a halt. Before the day had closed, it was evident that the enemy
were close at hand, and that we were on the eve of a great struggle.
Akbar Khan had been true to his word. He had despatched the bulk of
the English prisoners to the Hindoo-Koosh, and was now preparing
to meet our army. On the 6th of September he had moved his camp to
Begramee—distant some six miles from the Balla Hissar—and there
sent for Captain Troup.[272] The English officer repaired to the camp
of the Sirdar, who summoned a meeting of the principal chiefs. The
Newab Zemaun Khan, Jubbar Khan, Ameen-oollah Khan, Mahomed Shah Khan,
and other chief people of the empire attended the council. Troup was
not permitted to be present at the conference; but he soon learnt
its result. He was required immediately to proceed to Gundamuck on
a mission to Pollock’s camp. The chiefs had determined to endeavour
to conciliate the British General. They were willing to agree to any
terms he might please to dictate, if he would only consent to stay the
advance of his army upon the capital.

Troup declared his willingness to proceed on the mission. But he had
no hope, he said, of its success. The time for negotiation had passed.
Nothing could now stay the progress of Pollock’s army but the entire
destruction of his force. But so urgently did the Sirdar press his
request on the British officer, that Troup could not refuse his assent
to the proposal. He made his preparations for the journey, and then
returned to the Afghan camp. There, in the presence of Akbar Khan and
Mahomed Shah Khan, he again set forth the uselessness of the mission,
and prevailed with them to forego it.[273]

There was nothing now left for the Sirdar but to appeal to the God
of battles, and bring all the force that he could muster to oppose
the progress of Pollock’s army through the passes. He now moved down
to Boodkhak, and from that place summoned Troup and Bygrave to his
camp. It appeared to him that the English officers might render him
essential service in the negotiation of terms, if the tide of victory
turned against him. On the morning of the 11th they entered his camp at
Boodkhak. That evening he summoned them to his presence, and was for
some time in earnest consultation with them. He declared that he had
no wish to oppose the progress of the British army, but that he had
compromised himself too far to recede, and that the people would not
hear of submission. The English officers assured him that his defeat
was certain; and that opposition to our advance would only occasion an
useless expenditure of life. “I know,” said the Sirdar, “that I have
everything to lose; but it is too late to recede.” He declared that he
was indifferent as to the result. The issue of the contest was in the
hands of God, and it little mattered to him who was the victor.

On the following morning he sent for Troup, and announced that he and
Bygrave must accompany him to Koord-Caubul. Arrived at that place,
intelligence of the intended halt of Pollock’s army at Tezeen reached
the Sirdar. The Afghan chiefs had intended to make their last decisive
stand at Koord-Caubul; but the halt of the advancing army seemed to
indicate indecision, and it was rumoured that difficulties had arisen
to obstruct the progress of the force. On this, the Sirdar at once
determined to move on to Tezeen; and sent to Troup to announce his
intentions.[274] The English officer sought and obtained permission to
return to Ali Mahomed’s fort; and Akbar Khan went forward to do battle
with the British.[275]

On the 13th the two forces met. Great were the advantages of the ground
to the Afghan levies. The valley of Tezeen is commanded on all sides
by lofty hills; and the chiefs had posted their jezailchees on every
available height. Indeed, on that morning of the 13th of September,
Pollock’s camp was encircled by the enemy; and it was plain that every
effort had been made to turn the natural defences of the country to the
best possible account. There was a hard day’s work before Pollock’s
army; but never were a finer body of troops in finer condition, or
more eager for the work before them. All arms had now a chance of
distinguishing themselves—the cavalry on the plain, the infantry on
the hills, and the artillery everywhere. Fortunately the enemy’s horse
entered the valley, attracted by the hope of plundering our baggage.
The opportunity so eagerly desired by the dragoons was now at hand.
A British squadron, gallantly led by Unett, was let loose upon the
Afghan horsemen. The Native cavalry followed. There was a brilliant and
successful charge. The enemy turned and fled; but the sabres of the
dragoons fell heavily upon them; and many were cut up in the flight.

The infantry were not less successful. Gallantly they ascended the
heights on either side of the pass, and gallantly the Afghans advanced
to meet them. The stormers of the 13th Light Infantry clomb the hills
on the right; the 9th and 31st on the left; and as they went, hotly
and thick upon them poured the iron rain from the Afghan jezails. But
never, beneath the terrible fire that greeted them, as they pushed up
the hill-side, did these intrepid soldiers waver for a moment. They
knew that their muskets were no match for the Afghan jezails. The
enemy, indeed, seemed to deride them. So having reached the hill-top,
our men fixed their bayonets, and charged with a loud hurrah. The
cold steel took no denial. Down went the Afghan marksmen before the
English bayonets; the foremost men stood to be pierced, and the rest,
awed by the fall of their comrades and the desperate resolution of
the British troops, fled down the hill in confusion. The strength of
the Afghan force was broken; but the work of our fighting men was not
done. All through the day a desultory warfare was kept up along the
ridges of these tremendous hills. The Afghans occupying the highest
ground, fired down upon our infantry, hiding themselves when they could
behind the rocks, and shrinking now from a closer contest. Never did
British troops display a higher courage in action, or a more resolute
perseverance. Nobly did the Native Sepoy vie with the European soldier;
and nowhere was there a finer sight than where Broadfoot with his
sappers clambered up the steepest ascents under the hottest fire,
and drove before them the stalwart Afghans—giants beside the little
Goorkhas who pressed so bravely upon them. Many gallant feats were
done that day; and many an Afghan warrior died the hero’s death on his
native hills, cheered by the thought that he was winning Paradise by
such martyrdom. Desperate was the effort to keep back the invaders from
clearing the heights of the Huft-Kotul; but the British troops, on that
day, would have borne down even stouter opposition. The Huft-Kotul was
mounted; and three cheers burst from the victors as they reached the
summit of that stupendous ascent.

A more decisive victory was never gained. The Afghan chiefs had
brought out their best fighting men against us. They had done their
best to turn the difficulties of the country to good account against
the strangers. Their people were at home in these tremendous defiles;
whilst few of our troops had ever seen them—few were accustomed to
the kind of warfare which now alone could avail. There was everything
to stir into intense action all the energies of the Barukzye chief and
his followers. They were fighting in defence of their hearths and
altars; the very existence of the nation was at stake. It was the last
hope of saving the capital from the grasp of an avenging army. But with
everything to stimulate and everything to aid him, Akbar Khan could
offer no effectual resistance to the advance of Pollock’s retributory
force. The Afghans were fairly beaten on their own ground, and in their
own peculiar style of warfare. It has been often said that our troops
were maddened by the sight of the skeletons of their fallen comrades,
and that they were carried on by the irrepressible energy of revenge.
It is true, that all along the line of country, from Gundamuck to
Koord-Caubul, there rose up before the eyes of our advancing countrymen
hideous evidences of the great January massacre—enough to kindle the
fiercest passions in the hearts of the meekest men. But I believe that,
if no such ghastly spectacles had lain in the path of the advancing
army, the forward feeling would have glowed as strongly in the breasts
of every soldier of Pollock’s force.

The struggle was now at an end. Akbar Khan saw that the game was up,
and that it was useless to attempt to bring together the scattered
fragments of his routed army. Taking Captain Bygrave with him as the
companion of his flight, he fled to the Ghorebund valley. The fighting
men, who had opposed us at Tezeen, were now in disordered masses,
hurrying homewards along their mountain paths, and seeking safety in
places remote from the track of the avenging army, whilst Pollock
marched onwards with his regiments in orderly array,[276] and on the
15th of September encamped on the Caubul race-course.


[May-September: 1842.]

 The Advance from Candahar—The Relief of
 Khelat-i-Ghilzye—Reappearance of Aktur Khan—General Action
 with the Douranees—Surrender of Sufder Jung—The Evacuation of
 Candahar—Disaster near Mookoor—The Battle of Goaine—The Recapture
 of Ghuznee—Flight of Shumshoodeen Khan—Arrival at Caubul.

Whilst the force under General Pollock was fighting its way from
Jellalabad to Caubul, and carrying everything before it, the Candahar
division, under General Nott, was making a victorious march upon the
same point along the countries to the westward.

But it is necessary that, before I trace its progress to the capital,
the circumstances which preceded the evacuation of Candahar should
be briefly narrated. It has been stated that, in obedience to the
instructions contained in the government letters of the 19th of April,
a brigade under Colonel Wymer had been despatched to Khelat-i-Ghilzye,
to rescue the garrison there beleaguered, and to destroy the defences
of the place. On the 19th of May, Wymer’s force left Candahar. It
seems that the Ghilzyes had obtained information of the intended
movement, and determined to anticipate the attempted relief by making
a desperate, and, as they believed, decisive assault upon the place.
Accordingly, they prepared a number of scaling-ladders, practised
escalading, and, in the dim twilight of early morning on the 21st
of May, advanced in two heavy columns, each 2000 strong, to the
attack. Ascending the mound where the slope was easiest, they placed
their scaling-ladders against the walls, and gallantly mounted to the
assault. Three times they ascended to the crest of the works, and
three times they were nobly repulsed by Craigie and his men. The heavy
showers of grape and musket-shot which the garrison poured in upon
them, did not deter those desperate assailants—they went on again
and again to the attack, and were bayoneted on the parapets. For more
than an hour this desperate struggle lasted; and then the assailants,
whose impetuous courage had been overmatched by the steady gallantry
of Craigie’s garrison, gave way and abandoned the assault. The failure
was dearly purchased. More than a hundred dead bodies were found at
the foot of the works; and it was computed that the entire loss of the
enemy did not fall short of five hundred men. Not a man of the British
garrison was killed.

Before sunset the Ghilzyes had dispersed. Colonel Wymer, when he
reached Khelat-i-Ghilzye, had nothing to do but quietly to withdraw the
garrison, and to destroy the works of the place. It was believed that
the measure, as indicating the intentions of the British Government
to withdraw from Afghanistan, would create considerable sensation
throughout the country, and greatly embolden the enemy. But the Afghans
seemed rather to wonder why we had not extricated the garrison of
Khelat-i-Ghilzye before, and did not associate it with any ideas of the
general policy to be pursued by the British.

But before Wymer had returned from the northward, the Douranees had
again made trial of their strength in the field, and had again been
signally beaten. Aktur Khan, the Zemindawer chief, who throughout the
preceding year had been keeping the western districts of Afghanistan
in a state of continual turmoil, and who had more than once given
battle to our troops, was now again in the field against us. He had,
since his return from Herat, whither he had betaken himself for safety,
watched the progress of events without openly committing himself,
and had hitherto shown little disposition to link himself with the
Douranee cause. Indeed, at the beginning of May he had made overtures
to the British authorities, and offered, if they would confirm him
in the government of Zemindawer, to attack the Douranee camp. As
the month advanced, his conduct became more and more mysterious. He
was in constant communication with the Douranee chiefs, and yet at
the same time he was professing the strongest friendship for the
British Government, and offering to break up the Douranee camp. But
before the expiration of the month he threw off the mask, joined his
brother-chiefs with a considerable body of fighting men, and took the
command of the van-guard of the Douranee force.

It was obvious now that we were on the eve of another conflict.
The Ghazees moved down on the Urghundab, and made arrangements to
concentrate their troops in the neighbourhood of Baba-Wullee. It seemed
probable that they would be able to raise the neighbouring tribes
against us; and bring into the field a body of 4000 or 5000 men.
Weakened by the absence of Wymer’s brigade, and remembering the danger
to which the city had been exposed when he last moved out to attack
the Douranee camp, Nott determined to halt the detachment which he was
about to despatch to the Kojuck to bring up the carnage which had been
assembled for the withdrawal of his force. The enemy had chosen their
time wisely and well. They believed that, in the absence of some of his
best regiments, and nearly the whole of his cavalry force, Nott would
be little able to hold Candahar and to do battle with the Douranee
force in the open field. So they neared the city; and on the 29th of
May seemed to invite the contest.

Aktur Khan had drawn into his hands the chief control of the force.
What were his designs, at this time, it is not easy to determine.
On the 27th he had again made overtures to the British authorities,
offering to seize Meerza Ahmed, and to do his best to dissolve the
Douranee force. At all events, if he could not accomplish this, he
would, he said, on the first attack of the British, draw off his own
followers, and then, taking advantage of their discomfiture, fall on
their rear and plunder their baggage. But these offers were thrown away
upon Nott and Rawlinson. They had no faith in the man.

Early on the morning of the 29th of May the enemy began to appear in
the neighbourhood of Candahar—hovering about the cantonments, and
carrying off our baggage-cattle. As the day advanced, their numbers
increased; but it was still believed by the General that they were only
reconnoitring our position, and that they would not then give battle to
our troops. Under this impression, Colonel Stacy, with two regiments of
infantry and four guns, had been sent out to sweep away the intruders.
It happened that his movements deceived the enemy. Believing at one
time that he was retreating, the Ghazees pushed forward and occupied
some rocky heights to the west of our cantonments, from which they
opened a distant fire on our line. These movements were seen from the
city.[277] It was obvious that the enemy were determined to bring on
an engagement. So Nott sent out the 41st Queen’s and eight guns; and an
hour after mid-day mounted his horse and rode out to take the command
of his troops. Rawlinson went with him.

Covered by the fire of the guns, the light companies were now ordered
to storm the heights. The work was done rapidly and well. Standing out
in bold relief against the sky, the forms of our stormers were soon
seen upon the ridge of the hills; and as the enemy were driven down,
Chamberlaine’s Horse swept round amongst them and cut them up with
heavy slaughter. Rawlinson then took the Parsewan Horse to clear the
hillocks, to the right, of the detached bodies of the enemy which still
clung to them, and Tait, with his horse, was sent to support him. The
Parsewan Horse charged gallantly; but the ground was difficult, and the
enemy fled towards the mouth of the Baba-Wullee Pass. Rawlinson pushed
on in hot pursuit; but turning off to follow a party of the enemy’s
horse, who seemed to have missed the outlet, well-nigh cut down or
captured Mahomed Atta himself, who was afterwards known to have been at
the head of them.

The rout of the enemy was complete.[278] But the movements of our
troops were too slow to turn it to good account. The Ghazees made for
the Baba-Wullee Pass. They had barricaded this pass with stones, and
they had thrown up a strong breast-work in another direction, intending
them as defences to lie between the British position and their own. But
now, instead of finding these works in their front, they found them
in their rear. They had not intended that the battle should be fought
so near to the walls of Candahar. It was their design to take up a
position within these defences; but, emboldened by the stories of the
scouts, who had reported that we were too weak to operate beyond the
walls, they had determined to pitch their camp in the vicinity of the
cantonment and to invest Candahar. Had our guns been pushed on with
sufficient activity, the enemy would have found the barricade which
they had erected for their defence a terrible obstruction on their
retreat. But the greater number of them effected their escape; and
Nott, contented with his victory, drew off his troops.[279]

On the following day, Stacy went out with a brigade, and Rawlinson
took the Parsewan Horse to the banks of the river. The enemy’s horse
had not wholly disappeared; and it was believed that they might again
be drawn into another skirmish. But they were not inclined for more
fighting. As our skirmishers advanced, they fell back and crossed the
river. The chiefs held a council of war, and the day was spent in
stormy debate. But when the shades of evening fell upon them, they had
matured no plan of operations. They broke up without a decision. Again
they met on the following day. One plan and then another was discussed.
Some proposed that they should proceed to Caubul. Some that they should
assemble in Zemindawer. Others recommended that they should hold their
ground upon the Urghundab; but the greater number were of opinion that
it would be more expedient to move off to the northern district, and
there await the issue of events at the capital. Many of them sent into
the British camp to ask for terms; and it was obvious that, although
the suspicion of our approaching departure kept up considerable
excitement throughout the country, the Douranees had now arrived at the
inevitable conclusion that it was useless any longer to contend with us
in the field.[280]

In the meanwhile, Prince Sufder Jung was waiting a favorable
opportunity to cast himself upon the mercy of his enemies. On the
day after the action of the 29th of May, he had received a letter
from his brother, Futteh Jung, at Caubul, urging him to throw himself
upon the protection of the British; and the young Prince, weary of
the peril-laden life he had been leading, and seeing clearly the
hopelessness of the cause to which he had attached himself, determined
to follow the advice of his brother. So, on the following day, he
despatched a messenger with a note to Rawlinson, informing him that
he was on the point of mounting his horse to ride into the British
camp. But before the British officer’s answer reached him, Meerza
Ahmed and the chiefs discovered his intentions, and carried him off
with them across the river. His resolution, however, was not to be
shaken. The chiefs made him a close prisoner, and openly denounced him
as a traitor. But he continued to make overtures to Rawlinson, and at
last effected his escape. On the 18th of June a letter was brought
into the British camp, announcing that he had forsaken the Douranees,
and had made a night-journey to Baba-Wullee. Rawlinson reported
the circumstance to Nott, and the General consented to receive the
submission of the boy.[281] So, on the morning of the 19th, the British
political chief rode out with a party of Parsewan Horse to the mouth of
the Baba-Wullee Pass, and, through a crowd of excited gazers, who lined
the thoroughfares from the cantonments to the city, bought the Prince
into Candahar.

No easy part was that which Rawlinson was now called upon to play. The
conflicting claims and interests of the two Princes greatly distracted
and perplexed him. Justice and policy appeared to be at variance
with each other. Timour was a well-intentioned man; his fidelity had
never been questioned. He was the eldest son of Shah Soojah, and his
claims to the throne of Caubul were more valid, therefore, than those
of either of his brothers. But he was utterly without influence.
Convinced that he could never make his way with the chiefs or people
of Afghanistan, the British authorities were unwilling to support his
pretensions. Even for the governorship of Candahar they held him to be
incompetent; and now that Sufder Jung had returned to his allegiance,
they desired, on the earliest fitting opportunity, to place the
administration in his hands. The Candahar force was under orders to
return to Hindostan, and the best means of disposing of Prince Timour
was by the quiet removal of his Highness to the British provinces. This
was not yet to be openly announced to the Prince, for it was expedient
that the measure of withdrawal should not be publicly declared; but
Rawlinson hoped, that when the time came, he would be able to persuade
Timour to accompany the army to India, and to leave Sufder Jung in
possession of Candahar. In the meanwhile, both Princes were uneasy and
dissatisfied. Jealous of his younger brother, Timour protested against
his being permitted to mediate for the Douranee chiefs, or to interfere
with the Candahar Government; whilst Sufder Jung was continually
complaining of the incertitude of his position, and importuning
Rawlinson to come to some definite explanation with him.[282]

So Rawlinson determined to temporise. Putting off from day to day
the adjustment of these differences, he trusted to the chapter of
accidents, and ere long found something written down in his favour.
Before the end of June, it was announced at Candahar that Futteh Jung
had been overcome by the Barukzyes at Caubul, and that he was in effect
a mere prisoner in their hands. The intelligence, as regarded British
interests in general, was supposed to be unfavourable; but it went far
to diminish the difficulties which the presence of the two Princes at
Candahar arrayed against the British authorities. “Whilst Futteh Jung’s
star was on the ascendant,” wrote Rawlinson in his journal, “it was
equally difficult to manage Timour and Sufder Jung; but now they both
feel that they are entirely dependent upon us for support, and are
disposed, in consequence, to lay aside their private jealousies.”

The three first weeks of July passed away; and Nott was preparing
for his retirement from Afghanistan. Major Clarkson had, at the end
of June, brought up the convoy of camels from Quettah. The supply of
carriage and provisions for the movement of the army had now reached
its necessary amount. Everything was in train for withdrawal, when the
Governor-General’s letter of the 4th of July was put into Nott’s hands.
He saw at once the weight of responsibility that it threw upon him;
but he did not shrink from assuming the burden. Cheerfully taking it
up, he wrote to the Governor-General on the 20th of July: “Having well
considered the subject of your Lordship’s letter of the 4th instant;
having looked at the difficulties in every point of view, and reflected
on the advantages which would attend a successful accomplishment of
such a move, and the moral influence it would have throughout Asia, I
have come to a determination to retire a portion of the army under my
command _viâ_ Ghuznee and Caubul.”

The Candahar force was now to be divided. A portion of it was to be
sent to Quettah and Sukkur under General England; and the remainder,
under General Nott, was to “retire” to India by the route of Ghuznee,
Caubul, and Jellalabad. The heavy guns and six pieces of the Shah’s
artillery were to be sent down with England’s column, and with it
were to be despatched the Bombay Infantry, two companies of Bengal
Artillery, three regiments of the late Shah’s force, and some details
of Irregular Horse. Nott would not part with one of those “beautiful
Sepoy regiments” which had fought so well for him ever since he had
commanded the Candahar division; nor could he think of suffering the
40th Queen’s to be disunited from their old comrades. But of the 41st
Queen’s he wrote to Lord Ellenborough: “I certainly could have wished
to have taken her Majesty’s 41st Regiment with me, knowing the great
consequence of the adventurous march before me. But when I look to
Sindh, and to the want of confidence in our brave troops shown by
certain officers, I must give up that wish, however desirable, to
ensure the safety of the division which I am not to accompany.” But
he subsequently changed his mind, and took the 41st with him. Two or
three days passed; some slight preparations betokening departure were
made; the old and unserviceable guns were destroyed; the repairs,
which were going on, on the works, were arrested; and then it was
publicly announced that the force was to hold itself in readiness to
return to India. But by what route it was to retire was still a secret.
Speculation was busy throughout the garrison. There were all sorts of
rumours and conjectures, and then it was declared that Nott’s column
was to make its way across the country by the route of Dehra Ismael
Khan. It soon, however, was obvious that this was nothing more than a
report, which might have its uses, and the heart of every soldier in
Nott’s division soon beat with chivalrous emotion at the thought, that
the General, under whom they had so long and so gloriously served, was
about to lead them on to the re-conquest of Afghanistan.[283]

And now again came up for adjustment, rather than for consideration,
the question of the disposal of the Princes. Timour was eager to
proceed with the British force to Caubul, and hoped to be placed upon
the throne by his old supporters. His fidelity at least deserved
our support—but something else was required to induce the British
authorities to identify themselves with the interests of the Prince.
It was fortunate for Rawlinson that at this time the decision was
not left in his hands. On the 29th of July, letters were received
from the Governor-General, emphatically expressing his opinion of the
inexpediency of permitting the Prince to accompany the army in the
direction of Caubul, or even of permitting him to remain at Candahar.
His presence at Caubul, it was said, might greatly embarrass our
proceedings there; and though it would be advantageous for us that he
should establish his independent authority at Candahar, there seemed so
little likelihood of his being able to maintain his position after the
departure of the British troops, that, on the whole, it was the most
expedient course that he should accompany that portion of the force
which was to proceed by the way of Sindh to the provinces of India. The
communication of these resolutions to the Shaz-zadah was a painful
duty; and when Rawlinson announced them, they produced an explosion
very foreign to the passive nature of the apathetic Prince.

On the 7th of August, the British force evacuated Candahar. There were
no demonstrations of ill-will on the part of the inhabitants. No acts
of licentiousness were committed by the soldiery. The movement was
effected in the most orderly and peaceable manner. The soldiers and the
citizens were seen embracing each other. Before night closed upon the
scene, Prince Timour moved out of the citadel, and Sufder Jung remained
in possession of Candahar.

On the following day, completing their Commissariat arrangements, Nott
and England remained in camp under the city walls. Many of the most
influential people of the new government waited upon Rawlinson, seeking
his advice. On the 9th, Nott commenced his march to the northward,
and England prepared to move in the opposite direction. The latter
was dissatisfied with the components of his force. He applied to Nott
for an European regiment to accompany him, and received in reply an
indignant rebuke.

From Candahar to Mookoor the progress of Nott’s division was easy and
uneventful. But few traces of the recent excitement were discernible
along the line of march. The villages seemed wonderfully tranquil. The
villagers brought in their supplies more freely than our officers had
ever ventured to expect. Every precaution was taken by the General to
prevent the commission by his troops of acts of lawless depredation. He
declared, that if any soldier were caught in the act of plundering, or
returning with plunder in his possession, he would hang the offender,
and remove the officer to whose regiment he might belong from the
command of his corps.

On the 27th of August, the force arrived at Mookoor. Up to this
point—a distance of 160 miles—not a shot had been fired. But there
were symptoms now of more active work for our troops. Some days
before their arrival at Mookoor, Shumshoodeen Khan had moved out of
Ghuznee with a party of 500 horse and two guns, to collect revenue in
the adjacent country. He was ignorant, at the time, of our advance;
but when the tidings reached him, he prepared at once to contest the
progress of the British force; threw all his energies into the work of
raising the country between Ghuznee and Mookoor; and made arrangements
“for all the chiefs to rendezvous at the latter place, and fight us at
the source of the Turnuck.”[284]

But the British force approached Mookoor; and Shumshoodeen Khan was not
ready to receive them. The chiefs had not come to the rendezvous. His
preparations were not completed. He had fallen back to the vicinity of
Oba, and there the chiefs were flocking to his standard. But, as Nott
advanced that sultry morning through a thick haze upon Mookoor, it
was plain to him that he was in an enemy’s country. The villages were
deserted. Supplies were not brought into his camp. He was compelled
to send his cavalry out to forage. It was plain, too, that the enemy
had wisely chosen the ground on which they had determined to give us
battle. There was no more defensible position on the whole line of
country from Candahar to Caubul than that at the source of the Turnuck,
which Shumshoodeen Khan had selected as his point of defence.[285]

The next day was an eventful one. On the morning of the 28th of August
the force advanced from Mookoor. The rear-guard had scarcely moved
from their encamping-ground when the enemy came down upon them. Nott
ordered out his irregular cavalry, under Captain Christie, who cut up
some fifty of the enemy’s footmen; and, but for an interposing ravine,
would have destroyed the whole. Without further molestation the force
reached its halting-ground and encamped. It was known that Shumshoodeen
was somewhere in the neighbourhood; but through the thick haze which
enveloped the camp, it was impossible to determine his position. The
camels went out to graze. The grass-cutters went out to obtain forage
for their horses. Everything was going on in camp after the wonted
fashion, when, an hour before noon, a report came in that Delamain’s
grass-cutters were being cut to pieces by the enemy. Delamain waited
for no orders—never paused to inquire into the truth of the story
that was brought to him—but at once ordered his troopers into their
saddles, and rode out, with all the disposable cavalry, in search of an
imaginary foe.

He soon found that it was a false alarm. His grass-cutters were not
in the hands of the enemy. But he went on to reconnoitre, and about
three miles from camp came up with a party of the enemy’s footmen on
the plain. Some twenty of them were cut down by our troopers, and the
remainder put to confusion and flight. Delamain went after them in
hot pursuit, and coming to the foot of a range of hills, turned the
shoulder of one of them, and found that the heights were crowned, in
considerable strength, by the enemy’s jezailchees, who opened upon him
a galling fire. He was falling back, in orderly retreat, when a body
of the enemy’s Horse, about 150 strong, showed themselves on the ridge
of a hill, flaunting a white standard. Delamain at once determined to
attack them. A squadron of the 3rd Bombay Cavalry charged up the hill;
but a hot fire from a party of jezailchees, who suddenly appeared on
their flanks, saluted them as they advanced; and then the enemy’s
Horse poured down upon them with tremendous effect. Captain Reeves was
shot near the foot of the hill. Captain Bury and Lieutenant Mackenzie
gained the ridge; but fell beneath the sabres of the Afghan horsemen.
The troopers now seeing their officers fall, borne down by the weight
of the Afghan Horse, and suffering severely from the fire of the
jezailchees, turned and fled down the hill. Their companions at the
foot of the hill caught the contagion from them. The panic spread, and
the whole body of British Horse were soon in disastrous flight. Riding
each other down in wild confusion, they were not easily reduced to
order. The loss among them had been severe. Two officers were killed,
and three wounded; and fifty-six of our men had been killed or disabled
in the fight.

In the mean while, exaggerated stories of the disaster had spread
throughout Nott’s camp. Messenger after messenger had come to the
General, and reported that the enemy were in immense force, and that
Delamain and his cavalry had been annihilated.[286] Twice he sent out
instructions for the troops to return to camp. At last it was reported
to him that the enemy were 7000 strong, and that Delamain, if not
already destroyed, was in imminent peril. So Nott took out his army and
moved against the enemy—expecting to find them flushed with success
and eager for a general action. But when they came upon the ground, it
was found that the enemy had moved off. Their videttes alone were to be
seen on the peaks of the hills.

But there was still work to be done. From some fortified villages in
the neighbourhood of the field of action it was said that shots had
been fired. The General marched upon them. In an attitude of abject
submission the villagers came out and prayed for quarter. Nott granted
the boon. But a company of the 40th Queen’s was sent in to search the
houses, where it was believed some plunder would be found. From the
matchlocks of some Ghazees shots were fired as our soldiers entered
the place. The result of the misdeed was terrible. The place was
given up to carnage. The women and children were spared; but the men
were indiscriminately butchered.[287] Not less than a hundred of the
villagers were massacred for the offences of a few men.

Whilst the General was thus employed, the cavalry, which had sustained
so mortifying a defeat, were endeavouring, with the aid of the horse
artillery and some infantry details, to rescue the bodies of their
dead. The corpses were brought off; and then the entire force returned
to camp. That evening the two European officers[288] received Christian
burial. The wounded officers recovered.

“This was a bad beginning,” wrote Rawlinson to Outram, “but we have
amply redeemed it since.” On the 30th of August the Candahar division
was again engaged with the enemy; and with better success. On the
preceding day, Shumshoodeen Khan had sent round the heads of the
officers who had fallen in the action of the 28th,[289] and, greatly
exaggerating the victory he had gained, endeavoured to raise the people
against the infidels whom he had beaten so gloriously in the field. On
that day considerable reinforcements joined him. He was seen on the
hills to the right of Nott’s camp, with four or five thousand men, and
it was believed that he would attack our troops in the course of the
morrow’s march. The morrow came. Nott marched to Ghoaine. Shumshoodeen
Khan moved parallel to him, and took up his position again on the
hills to the right of the British camp. As every hour was increasing
his numbers, he desired to postpone the inevitable collision. On the
afternoon of the 30th he is said to have mustered not less than 10,000

Not far from the ground on which Nott halted on that morning, was a
fort held by the enemy which he determined to attack. But the day
was sultry. The troops were exhausted by their march. So the General
pitched his camp at once, and giving his troops a few hours to recruit
and refresh themselves, postponed the attack to the afternoon.
At three o’clock the General went out with the 40th Queen’s, the
16th and 38th Native Infantry Regiments, all his cavalry details,
Anderson’s troop of Horse Artillery, two guns of Blood’s battery, and
two eighteen-pounders. The ground between our camp and the fort was
difficult. Some time elapsed before the guns could be brought up to
breaching distance. And, when at last they opened upon the fort, they
made so little impression, that Shumshoodeen was persuaded by his
chiefs not to shrink any longer from a general action with a force
whose cavalry had been already beaten in the field, and whose artillery
now seemed so little formidable. So, scattering his horsemen on both
sides so as to outflank us, Shumshoodeen moved down with the main
body of his infantry and his guns; and, planting the latter on the
nearest height, opened a rapid and well-directed fire on the British
columns.[291] Then Nott drew off his troops from the attack of the
fort, and advanced in column to the right, flanked by Anderson’s guns
and Christie’s Horse, upon the main body of Shumshoodeen’s fighting
men. On this the enemy crowded upon the other flank, keeping up a smart
fire both from their guns and jezails; so Nott “changed front to the
left, deployed, threw out skirmishers, and advanced in line, supported
by the guns.”[292] For some time, the enemy seemed inclined to engage
us, and kept up a sharp fire from their guns and jezails; but when
our troops came to the charge, and pushed on with a loud and cheerful
hurrah, the Afghans turned and fled before us. One of their guns broke
down and was immediately captured. Christie, with his Horse, went off
in pursuit of the other, sabred the drivers, and carried off the piece.
Shumshoodeen’s tents, magazines, and stores were found scattered about
the plain. The chief himself fled to Ghuznee; and the tribes who had
joined his standard now dispersed to their homes.

Nott halted upon his ground during the following day, and on the 1st
of September resumed his march. On the 5th, he was before Ghuznee.
The day was spent in desultory fighting. Shumshoodeen, who had been
reinforced from Caubul by Sultan Jan, occupied with a strong body of
horse and foot some heights to the north-east of the fortress. The
gay attire and fine chargers of the chiefs made them conspicuous even
at a distance.[293] The gardens, the ravines, and water-courses were
filled with jezailchees; and the city seemed to be swarming with men.
Before encamping his force, Nott determined to clear the heights; and
gallantly the work was done. Our troops ascended in noble style, and
drove the enemy before them until every point was gained.[294] In the
mean time the camp had been pitched. Two infantry regiments and two
guns were left out to occupy the heights, and the remainder of the
troops were then withdrawn.

Scarcely, however, had the troops entered their camp, when the great
Ghuznee gun, the “Zubbur Jung,” began to open upon it. It was plain
that Nott had taken up a position too near to the enemy’s works.
Fourteen shots were thrown into our camp without doing any mischief;
but the warning was not thrown away. The tents were struck, and the
camp was moved to another position, in the vicinity of the village of
Roza.[295] The movement was not without danger;[296] but the enemy
wanted spirit to turn it to good account—and in their new position our
troops were secure.[297]

Before sunset the firing had ceased. Sanders, the engineer, a man
of rare talent, now began to make his arrangements for the siege of
Ghuznee. It was not believed that the defence would be conducted with
much vigour. The fort was very poorly manned. It was obvious that
Shumshoodeen had trusted more to external operations. The tribes who
had been summoned for the defence of the city had already begun to lose
heart. When they saw our engineers at work busily constructing their
batteries, they called upon Shumshoodeen to come within the walls, and
take his share of the dangers of the siege. Vainly he represented that
his cavalry were of greater service beyond the walls—vainly he set
forth that as there was no barley in the city his horses could not be
fed. They had made up their minds to evacuate the place; and when night
closed in upon them, they moved out quietly by the water-gate of the
city, and betook themselves to the hills. Seeing now that all was over,
Shumshoodeen mounted his horse, and with a small party of followers
fled to Caubul.

The engineers worked busily throughout the night; but as the batteries
took shape under their hands, the stillness within the walls of Ghuznee
aroused their suspicions. So at early dawn, with a party of some twenty
men, North, the engineer, went down to reconnoitre; and finding the
water-gate open, and the city apparently abandoned, sent intelligence
to the party on the hill, and the 16th Regiment, which had remained
out to protect the working parties, was marched down to occupy the
place. They found it almost deserted. A few Hindoos and some Sepoys of
the unfortunate 27th Regiment were the only occupants of Ghuznee.[A]
And when, at early dawn, the officers of Nott’s camp looked through
their telescopes towards the citadel, they plainly saw our Sepoys on
the ramparts. Soon the British flag was waving from the highest tower,
and Shumshoodeen’s artillery, worked by his enemies, was roaring out
a royal salute in honour of their triumph. The General and his staff
rode out from camp to inspect the place, and to make arrangements for
its destruction. They found the city a mass of ruins; and in the houses
which had been occupied by the officers of Palmer’s garrison, many
sorrowful mementoes of the sufferings they had endured, written or
scratched on the walls. The citadel was in good repair, and every one
who inspected it marvelled how it happened that Palmer had yielded it
up, and trusted himself and his men to the honour of his treacherous

And now began the work of destruction. The artillery officers burst
the enemy’s guns, and the engineers ran mines and exploded them, under
different parts of the works. After this the town and citadel were
fired. The wood-work soon ignited, and all through the night the flames
of the burning fortress lit up the over-hanging sky.[299]

But there was something else now to be done. At the village of Roza,
in the vicinity of Ghuznee, is the tomb of Sultan Mahmoud. A peculiar
odour of sanctity is exhaled from that shrine. The priests, in whose
guardianship it is held, have their traditions concerning it, in which
the spurious greatly prevails. Its boasted antiquity is not supported
by any credible evidence; and when Major Rawlinson carried to the
examination of the inscriptions on the tomb all that profound knowledge
and acute penetration which have since attained for him, in the Eastern
and in the Western world, so wide a celebrity as the first of Oriental
antiquaries, he had at once detected unmistakeable proofs of their
belonging to a more recent period than the Moollahs had claimed for
them.[300] Still the shrine was a venerable one, and by the priesthood
of Afghanistan held in no common esteem. The famous sandal-wood gates
of Somnauth, which Mahmoud had carried off from their home in Guzerat,
were deposited at the conqueror’s tomb. Such at least had long been the
popular faith; and among the priesthood and the people of Afghanistan,
no one doubted that the trophies were genuine. It was reserved for
European scepticism to cast discredit upon the reality of the sacred

But, whether genuine or spurious, upon these gates Lord Ellenborough
had fixed his desires. What he knew about them, where he had read
of them, or by whom his attention was drawn to them, History
cannot determine. It is sufficient that on the 4th of July, when
the Governor-General wrote to General Nott, authorising him to
“retire” to the provinces of India, by the route of Ghuznee, Caubul,
and Jellalabad, he inserted in this memorable letter a paragraph
instructing the General to despoil the tomb of Sultan Mahmoud. “You
will bring away,” he wrote, “from the tomb of Mahmoud of Ghuznee, his
club, which hangs over it, and you will bring away the gates of his
tomb, which are the gates of the Temple of Somnauth.” So, on the 8th
of September, under Sanders’s superintendence, the gates of Mahmoud’s
tomb were carried off, as tenderly as they could perform the duty,
by a party of English soldiers. The Moollahs wept bitterly. But the
shrine was not otherwise profaned; and the excitement which the
spoliation created scarcely extended beyond the holy circle of the

Onward went Nott with his trophies. On the 12th he was before
Sydeabad, where Woodburn and his men had been decoyed and massacred.
This fort was at once destroyed; and another was fired by the
camp-followers.[302] On the following day the enemy crowned the hills
on both flanks; but not until the 14th did they appear in sufficient
numbers, or assume such an attitude, as to bring on a collision with
our advancing troops. On that day, near Mydan, Nott attacked them on
the heights. It seemed that Shumshoodeen and Sultan Jan had determined
to make a last stand for the defence of the capital; but having
hitherto gained so little advantage by meeting us in the open country,
had resolved to try the effect of opposing us at the gorge of the hills
stretching towards Mydan. Here they had thrown up breastworks. Nott,
however, precipitated the engagement, and carried the contest to the
heights.[303] All arms were now engaged. The day was a busy one. It
was one of doubtful victory on either side. The heights were carried;
but they were not held. And when night fell upon the contending hosts,
and the moon again lit up the scene, it seemed that the work was not
yet done. A busy night was looked for as the sequel of a busy day. But
suddenly the exertions of the enemy slackened. News of the defeat of
Akbar Khan at Tezeen had reached the camp of the chiefs. They seemed to
have changed their tactics, and to have moved off to Urghundeh—a place
a few miles nearer to the capital.

The position which Shumshoodeen had intended to take up, at the gorge
of the Mydan Pass, was found, when Nott advanced on the following
day, to have been abandoned. But the day was a busy one. The tribes
were up along the line of march and harassed us severely with their
jezails. The breaking down of one of our guns crippled our movements
and gave some temporary advantage to the enemy. All arms of our force
distinguished themselves. The practice of the guns was excellent.
The infantry clomb the heights with their wonted gallantry; and the
cavalry did good service. The result was all that could be wished, and
to the Afghans the day was a disastrous one. The Mydanees, who had
been actively engaged in the Caubul insurrection, and some of whom
had now accompanied Sultan Jan in his march to the southward, and had
been engaged, under his standard, with the British troops at Ghuznee,
now sent a deputation to the General claiming his protection. Nott
dismissed them with an indignant rebuke. Little protection was there
in store for them. The Sepoys and camp-followers began to fire their
forts, and at sunset six-and-twenty of them might have been counted
lighting up the evening sky.

The march was now nearly at an end. Passing Urghundeh on the 16th of
September—the place where, in the autumn of 1839, Dost Mahomed had
planted his guns, and determined to make a last stand against Sir John
Keane’s advancing army—Nott’s division neared Caubul. On the 17th, it
had encamped at a distance of some four or five miles from the city.
But the Jellalabad army had anticipated its arrival. Caubul was already
in possession of the British. Pollock had planted the British ensign
upon the heights of the Balla Hissar.


[September-October: 1842.]

 The Re-occupation of Caubul—Installation of Futteh Jung—The
 Recovery of the Prisoners—Their Arrival in Camp—The Expedition into
 the Kohistan—Destruction of the Great Bazaar—Depredations in the
 City—Accession of Shahpoor—Departure of the British Army.

On the 15th of September, Pollock’s force had encamped on the Caubul
race-course. It had encountered no opposition along the line of road
from Bootkhak, and it was plain now that there was no enemy to be
encountered at the capital. Akbar Khan had fled to Ghorebund, ready,
if need be, to take flight across the Hindoo-Koosh. The other hostile
chiefs were supposed to be in the Kohistan. Everything at Caubul
betokened the panic engendered by the approach of our retributory arms.

On the day after his arrival, Pollock prepared formally to take
possession of the Balla Hissar. A detachment of horse and foot, with a
troop of horse artillery, was told off, to give effect to the ceremony.
The British flag was to be hoisted on the highest point of the citadel,
and the British guns were to roar forth a royal salute in honour of the
re-occupation of the capital of Afghanistan.

All this was done—but, on that September morning, there occurred
coincidentally with it another event much controverted and much
misunderstood. The wretched Prince Futteh Jung, who, two weeks before,
had carried his tattered clothes and his bewildered brain to General
Pollock’s camp at Gundamuck, had now returned under the General’s
protection, to start again as a candidate for the throne from which he
had been driven by the Barukzye Sirdar. It was not the policy of the
British Government openly to interfere for the establishment of any
government in Afghanistan, or to identify itself with any particular
party or Prince. But both Pollock and Macgregor were of opinion, that
so long as the British were to remain at Caubul, it would be desirable
that a government of some kind should be established, if only to enable
our armies more surely to obtain their supplies. Some sort of indirect
assistance and protection was therefore extended to the Prince. The
friendly chiefs were encouraged to give in their allegiance to him;
and he was suffered to turn to his own uses the ceremony of the
re-occupation of the Balla Hissar. He asked and obtained permission to
accompany the British detachment; because, he said, treachery was to be
apprehended, if he proceeded to the palace without the support of his
father’s allies.

And so it happened, that when the British detachment moved from its
ground towards the Balla Hissar, the Prince, attended by some of his
principal adherents, fell in at the head of the procession. A portion
of the town was traversed by the detachment on its way to the citadel.
But, although the hideous sights of the last few days were still fresh
in the memory of the troops, they resisted all temptation to violence
and outrage. Not a man was hurt, or a house injured. In orderly
procession they streamed into the citadel. The road to the point at
which the colours were to be hoisted ran by the palace gates. As a
road for the passage of artillery, indeed, it terminated there. It
was necessary that the General should halt the guns and troops in the
vicinity of the palace. There was no point beyond, to which they could
proceed. The Prince and his attendants entered the royal abode; and the
British General, with some of his principal officers, were invited to
appear at his installation. Pollock sate on a chair on the right of the
throne, and M’Caskill on the left. Then was gone through the ceremony
of appointing officers of state; and the British allies of the new
King took their departure, and went about their own work. The General
and his Staff moved forward with the British colours, and planted them
on the highest conspicuous point of the Balla Hissar. As the colours
were raised the troops presented arms, the guns broke out into a royal
salute, the band struck up the National Anthem, and three hearty cheers
went up to announce that the vindication of our national honour was

So far was the restoration of Futteh Jung to the throne of his fathers
encouraged and aided by the British General. The Prince had been
suffered to hang on to the skirts of Circumstance, and to make the
most of a favourable coincidence. But so careful was Pollock not to
encourage in the breast of the Shah-zadah and his adherents any hope
of more direct assistance from the British Government, that Macgregor
was deputed to wait on Futteh Jung after the Durbar, and to enter into
a definite explanation of our views. He was emphatically told that
he was to look for no assistance, in men, money, or arms, from the
British Government; and that therefore it behoved him to turn his own
resources to the best account.[304] He was instructed, too, that the
British authorities were unwilling to interfere in any way in the
administration, and that it was necessary that he should immediately
proceed unbiassed to the election of a minister. The choice lay between
the Nizam-ood-dowlah and Gholam Mahomed Khan, Populzye. On the evening
of the 18th a council was held, and the decision of the Prince and the
chiefs was eventually in favour of the latter.

In the mean while, Pollock’s mind was heavy with thoughts of the
probable fate of the British prisoners. They had been carried off
towards the regions of the Hindoo-Koosh, and were, perhaps, even now
on the way to hopeless slavery in Toorkistan. Immediately on his
arrival at Caubul, the General had despatched his military secretary,
Sir Richmond Shakespear, with a party of 600 Kuzzilbash Horse,[305] to
overtake the prisoners and their escort. But there was a possibility of
this party being intercepted by the enemy. It was said that Sultan Jan
was hovering about with some such mischievous intent. At all events,
it was expedient to send a strong detachment of British troops to the
support of Shakespear and his Kuzzilbashes. The service was one which
any officer might have been proud to undertake. Pollock offered the
honour of the undertaking to Nott and the Candahar division. But the
offer was not accepted.

The two divisions of the British army were on opposite sides of
Caubul. The first communication that had taken place between them was
accomplished through the agency of Major Rawlinson. He had ridden in
Afghan costume from Nott’s camp at Urghundeh, and had joined Pollock’s
division on the morning of the 16th of September, shortly after the
British colours had been planted on the Balla Hissar. On the following
day Rawlinson returned to Nott’s camp. Mayne, who had done such good
service at Jellalabad, and who was now attached to Pollock’s staff,
rode with him, attended by a party of Irregular Horse. They bore a note
from Pollock, suggesting that a brigade from the Candahar division
should be detached towards Bameean, to assist the recovery of the
prisoners. The Candahar force were pitching their camp at Char-Deh,
when Rawlinson and Mayne reached them. Nott received the letter of his
brother-general in no very genial mood. He had already made up his
mind on the subject. Twice before had the officers of his own force
suggested to General Nott that the recovery of the prisoners would be
facilitated by the despatch of a detachment from his division.[306] But
he had always answered, that he believed the recovery of the prisoners
to be a matter of indifference to Government, and that he did not
consider it expedient to divide his force.

When, therefore, the proposal came to him in a more official shape from
his brother-general—upon whom, as the senior officer, had now devolved
the command of all the troops in Afghanistan—he received it as one
on which he had no consideration to bestow, and determined at once,
within the bounds of due subordination, to decline it. It would be well
if there were nothing else to record. Unhappily, the temper of the
Candahar General was such, that the officer—one of the bravest and,
for his years, the most distinguished in Afghanistan—who presented
himself in Nott’s camp, to bring back the General’s answer, met with
a welcome which may little have surprised, however much it may have
pained, the officers of Nott’s Staff, but which, upon one accustomed,
in Sale’s and Pollock’s camps, to the courtesies due to a soldier and
a gentleman, burst like a loaded shell. Chafing under the thought of
being recommended by his superior to do what his own better judgment
suggested to him that he ought to have done unprompted, the Candahar
General poured upon Mayne and his escort all the vials of his wrath.
What he said was heard by many, and is upon record. Mayne, stung by
the insult put upon him by the veteran commander, refused to continue
in his camp, and said he would await at the outlying picket the answer
which he was commissioned to carry back to Pollock’s tent.[307]

But when Nott entered his tent, and sat down to write a reply to his
brother-general, he did not wholly forget the duties of a soldier to
his superior in rank. He stated, in emphatic language, his reasons for
protesting against the adoption of the course suggested to him; but
at the same time declared his willingness to obey the orders of his
superior officer. What these reasons were must be set forth in his own

  Camp, September 17th, 1842.

 I have been favoured with your note of this date, in which you express
 a wish that I should detach a brigade towards Bameean; before you
 decide on sending it, I would beg to state as follows:—

 1st. The troops under my command have just made a long and very
 difficult march of upwards of 300 miles, and they have been
 continually marching about for the last six months, and most certainly
 require rest for a day or two—the same with my camels and other
 cattle. I lost twenty-nine camels yesterday, and expect to-day’s
 report will be double that number.

 2nd. I am getting short of supplies for Europeans and natives, and I
 can see but little probability of getting a quantity equal to my daily
 consumption at this place. I have little or no money.

 3rd. I have so many sick and wounded that I fear I shall have the
 greatest inconvenience and difficulty in carrying them; and should
 any unnecessary operations add to their number, they must be left to
 perish. If I remain here many days I shall expect to lose half my
 cattle, which will render retirement very difficult.

 4th. I sincerely think that sending a small detachment will and must
 be followed by deep disaster. No doubt Mahomed Akbar, Shumshoodeen,
 and the other chiefs, are uniting their forces, and I hourly expect
 to hear that Sir R. Shakespear is added to the number of British
 prisoners. In my last affair with Shumshoodeen and Sultan Jan, they
 had 12,000 men; and my information is that two days ago they set out
 for Bameean.

 5th. After much experience in this country, my opinion is that, if the
 system of sending out detachments should be adopted, disaster and ruin
 will follow.

 6th. After bringing to your notice, showing that my men require rest
 for a day or two, that my camels are dying fast, and that my supplies
 are nearly expended, should you order my force to be divided, I
 have nothing to do but implicitly to obey your orders; but, my dear
 General, I feel assured you will excuse me when I most respectfully
 venture to protest against it under the circumstances above noted. I
 could have wished to have stated this in person to you, but I have
 been so very unwell for the last two months that I am sure you will
 kindly excuse me.

  Yours sincerely,
  WM. NOTT.[308]

On the following day, Nott having excused himself on the plea of
ill health from visiting Pollock in his camp, Pollock, waiving the
distinction of his superior rank, called upon his brother-general.
The conversation which ensued related mainly to the question of
the despatch of the brigade in aid of the recovery of the British
prisoners. Nott had made up his mind on the subject. He was not to
be moved from his first position. There were few besides himself who
considered the arguments which he advanced to be of the overwhelming
and conclusive character which Nott himself believed them to be; and
it was, at all events, sufficiently clear, that as it was of primal
importance on such a service to lose the least possible amount of time,
it was desirable to detach a brigade from Nott’s camp, in preference
to one from Pollock’s, if only because the former was some ten miles
nearer to Bameean than the latter. Nott was inflexible. Government, he
said, “had thrown the prisoners overboard”—why then should he rescue
them? He would obey the orders of his superior officer, but only under
protest. So Pollock returned to camp, and delegated to another officer
the honourable service which Nott had emphatically declined. Sir Robert
Sale was not likely to decline it. Though his own heroic wife had not
been one of the captives, every feeling of the soldier and the man
would have responded to the appeal.

So Sale took out with him a brigade from the Jellalabad army, and
pushed on in pursuit of Shakespear and the Kuzzilbashes. But already
had the release of the prisoners been effected. They had accomplished
their own liberation. Sale met them with Shakespear and the Kuzzilbash
escort on their way to Pollock’s camp.

The story which they had to tell was this. On the afternoon of the
25th of August the prisoners,[309] who had already received a general
intimation that they were to be carried off to Bameean, but who had
still ventured to hope that some efforts might be made by the chiefs
in our interests to release them, were warned by Captain Troup, who
had just returned from an interview with the Sirdar, to prepare for the
journey towards the Hindoo-Koosh. Soon after sunset a guard of three
hundred men arrived to escort them. Their ponies, camels, and litters
were brought, and an hour or two before midnight they started upon
their dreary journey.

They were not suffered to sleep that night, nor the next; but were
painfully hurried on towards the inhospitable regions of the Indian
Caucasus. All the forts and villages by which they passed poured
forth their inhabitants to stare, with wondering curiosity, at the
Feringhee captives.[310] But none insulted them in their misfortunes.
Often, indeed, by the rude inhabitants of the country through which
they passed, were many looks, and words, and deeds of kindness freely
bestowed upon them. Onwards still, in upward direction, they went,
thousands of feet above the level of the sea. The days were painfully
sultry, and the nights were bitterly cold. The alternations of climate
told fearfully upon the constitutions of the European prisoners; and
their sick increased in numbers. The soldiers and camp-followers, for
whom no carriage was provided, dragged their infirm limbs wearily
over the barren wastes and up the steep ascents of the Hindoo-Koosh,
the officers giving up their horses to the ladies, for whom the camel
panniers were no longer secure, toiled wearily after them up the rugged

On the 3rd of September they reached Bameean. Conducted to one wretched
fort and then to another, they remonstrated against the noisome
quarters to which it was proposed to consign them; and twice their
importunities prevailed. But at last, on the 9th of September, the
commandant of their escort ordered them to take up their abode in
another fort, scarcely less wretched than the others, and portioned out
among them some small and comfortless apartments, so dark that they
could scarcely see in them, and so filthy that they could write their
names in the soot that covered the roof. But their residence in this
place was but brief. They soon effected their escape.

The commander of the escort was one Saleh Mahomed. A soldier of
fortune, who had visited many countries and served under many masters,
he had been at one time a soubahdar in Captain Hopkins’s regiment of
infantry, and had deserted with his men to Dost Mahomed on the eve of
the contest at Bameean. A good-humoured, loquacious, boasting man, he
was never happier than when narrating his adventures to the English
officers under his charge. Among them there was not one who better
understood the Afghan character, or who had made more friends in the
country, than Captain Johnson; and now, in a short time, between him
and Saleh Mahomed an intimacy was established, which the former began
to turn to the best account.[311] He rode with the commandant, listened
to his stories; and soon began to throw out hints that a lakh of
rupees and a pension in Hindostan might be found for him, if, instead
of carrying off his prisoners to Bameean, he would conduct them in
safety to the British camp. To Pottinger, who had hitherto been the
chief negotiator on the part of the captives, Johnson would now have
confided the delicate duty of inducing the deserter again to desert;
but the task was declined, on the plea that the attempt was more likely
to succeed in the hands of the latter, who seemed to have inspired
a feeling of friendship in the breast of the commandant. Pottinger
disliked the man; and the man seemed to dislike him. So Johnson began,
with admirable tact and address, to work upon the cupidity of his

On the 29th of August, the suggestion was put forth, in a light and
jesting manner; and not until he had convinced himself that there would
be no danger in a more direct proposition, did Johnson suffer Saleh
Mahomed to feel that he was thoroughly in earnest. The Afghan was in
no hurry to commit himself. Days passed. The party reached Bameean;
and no allusion was made to the subject; till one day—the 11th of
September—Saleh Mahomed sent for Johnson, Pottinger, and Lawrence,
and in a private room of the fort, which had been appropriated to Lady
Sale, produced a letter which he had just received from Akbar Khan.
The Sirdar had instructed him to convey the prisoners to Kooloom, and
to make them all over to the Wullee of that place. It seemed then that
they were about to end their days in hopeless captivity among the
Oosbegs. But the despair which fell upon them was but short-lived.
Saleh Mahomed soon dispersed their fears by saying that one Syud
Moorteza Shah, a Cashmeree, who, during the Caubul insurrection, had
helped Johnson to collect grain from the villages, had arrived from
Caubul, and brought a message from Mohun Lai to the effect, that if
he would release the prisoners, General Pollock would ensure him a
life-pension of 1000 rupees a month, and make him a present of 20,000
rupees. “I know nothing of General Pollock,” then said Saleh Mahomed,
“but if you three gentlemen will swear by your Saviour to make good
to me what Syud Moorteza Shah states that he is authorised to offer,
I will deliver you over to your own people.” The offer was at once
accepted. With little delay an agreement was written out in Persian by
Syud Moorteeza Shah, and signed by Johnson, Pottinger, Lawrence, and
Mackenzie.[312] It was a perilous game—for Saleh Mahomed had twice
played the traitor before, and might assume the same character again.
But the prize was too great and too tempting for them to hesitate even
to risk their lives; so they flung themselves without hesitation into
the hazardous plot.

Cheerfully did the prisoners now bind themselves to provide from
their own resources, all according to their means, the money that
was required to carry out the grand object of their liberation.
The signatures of all the officers and ladies were obtained to the
bond.[313] Saleh Mahomed proved to be staunch and true. The conspiracy
was wholly successful; and the conspirators soon grew bold in their
success. The rebellion of Saleh Mahomed and his European allies
was openly proclaimed to all the chiefs and people of Bameean and
the surrounding country. A flag was hoisted on the fort which they
occupied. They deposed the governor of the place, and appointed a
more friendly chief in his stead. They levied contributions upon a
party of Lohanee merchants, who were passing that way; and so supplied
themselves with funds. And, to crown all, Major Pottinger began to
issue proclamations, calling upon all the neighbouring chiefs to come
in and make their salaam; he granted remissions of revenue; and all the
decent clothes in the possession of the party were collected to bestow
as _Khelats_.

But, in spite of the boldness of their outward bearing at this time,
they were not without some apprehensions that their dominion might
soon be broken down, and the lords of to-day reduced again to captives
and slaves to-morrow. Some of the confederate chiefs might ere long
appear at Bameean and overwhelm the rebellion of Saleh Mahomed. So the
new rulers began to strengthen their position, and make preparations
to stand a siege. They had promised their guards—in all some 250
men—four months’ pay, as a gratuity, on reaching Caubul; and there
was every reason to rely on their fidelity.[314] Commanded by
European officers, it was believed that they would make a good show
of resistance. So Pottinger and his companions began to clear out
the loopholes of the forts—to dig wells—to lay in provisions—and
otherwise to provide against the probability of a siege. They were
busily employed in this manner on the 15th of September, when a
horseman was observed approaching from the Caubul side of the valley.
Eager for intelligence from the capital, they left their work and
gathered round him. He brought glad tidings. Akbar Khan had been
defeated by General Pollock at Tezeen, and had fled no one knew
whither. The aspect of affairs was now changed, indeed. The common
voice of the prisoners—prisoners no longer—declared in favour of
an immediate return to Caubul. It was decided that, on the following
morning, they should set out for Pollock’s camp.

At eight o’clock on the morning of the 16th they started on their
journey. Sleeping that night, in the clear moonlight, on hard stony
beds, they were awakened by the arrival of a friendly chief who brought
a letter from Sir Richmond Shakespear, stating that he was on his way
to Bameean, with a party of 600 Kuzzilbash horse. This was cheering
intelligence. At daybreak they were again astir, pushing on with
increased rapidity, in a whirl of excitement, unconscious of hunger or
fatigue. Their trials were now nearly at an end. They had heart enough
to do and to suffer anything.

About three hours after noon on the 17th of September, a cloud of
dust was observed to rise from the summit of a mountain-pass in their
front. Presently a few straggling horsemen made their appearance,
and, in a little time, the English officers could plainly see a body
of cavalry winding down the pass. Great now was the excitement in our
little party. The horsemen who were now approaching might be Shakespear
and the Kuzzilbashes, or they might be a body of the enemy. It was
well at least to prepare for their reception. Saleh Mahomed’s drums
were beaten; all stragglers were called in; every man stood to his
arms; a line was formed;[315] the muskets were loaded; and Saleh
Mahomed seemed all eagerness to give the enemy a warm reception. But
there was no enemy to be defeated. An English officer soon appeared
galloping a-head of the horsemen. Shakespear had arrived with his
Kuzzilbashes. He was soon in the midst of the prisoners, offering them
his congratulations, receiving their thanks, and endeavouring to answer
their thick-coming questions.

At daybreak on the following morning they pushed on again. Some better
horses had been obtained from the Kuzzilbashes; and now they moved
forward with increasing rapidity. On the 20th, as two or three of the
officers riding on a-head of the party were nearing Urghundeh, which
was to be their halting-place, another cloud of dust was observed
rising over the hills; and soon the welcome tidings reached them that
a large body of British cavalry and infantry was approaching. This was
the column which Pollock had sent out in support of the Kuzzilbash
Horse—the column that Sale commanded. In a little time the happy
veteran had embraced his wife and daughter; and the men of the 13th
had offered their delighted congratulations to the loved ones of their
old commander. A royal salute was fired. The prisoners were safe in
Sale’s camp. Their anxieties were at an end. The good Providence that
had so long watched over the prisoner and the captive now crowned its
mercies by delivering them into the hands of their friends. Dressed
as they were in Afghan costume, their faces bronzed by much exposure,
and rugged with beards and moustachios of many months’ growth, it was
not easy to recognise the liberated officers who now pushed forward
to receive the congratulations of their friends. On that day they
skirted the ground on which the Candahar force was posted, and out
went officers, and soldiers, and camp-followers, eager and curious, to
gaze at the released captives, and half-inclined to fall upon their
guards.[316] On the 21st of September they passed through the city, on
their way to Pollock’s camp. They found the shops closed; the streets
deserted; and they paused, as they went along, before some melancholy
memorials of the great outbreak which, a year before, had overwhelmed
us with misery and disgrace.[317]

Great was the joy which the recovery of the prisoners diffused
throughout the camps of Pollock and Nott; and great was the joy
which it diffused throughout the provinces of India. Rightly judged
Pollock that, if he returned to Hindostan without the brave men and
tender women who had endured for so many months the pains and perils
of captivity in a barbarous country, his countrymen would regard the
victory as incomplete. Let him fight what battles, destroy what forts,
and carry off what trophies he might, he would, without the liberation
of the prisoners, be only half-a-conqueror after all. Pollock knew
that his countrymen had not “thrown the prisoners overboard.” He
had rescued them now from the hands of the enemy; that object of the
war was obtained. There was little else, indeed, now to be done,
except to fix upon Caubul some lasting mark of the just retribution
of an outraged nation. It had been the declared wish of the Supreme
Government that the army should leave behind it some decisive proof of
its power, without impeaching its humanity; and now Pollock prepared to
carry, as best he could interpret them, those wishes into effect.

The interpretation, however, was not easy. Very different opinions
obtained among the leading officers in the British camp respecting
the amount of punishment which it now became the British General to
inflict upon the Afghan capital. It was a moot question, involving many
considerations, and not to be hastily solved; but there could have been
no question whether, at that time, justice and expediency did not alike
require that the inhabitants of Caubul and the neighbourhood should
be protected against unauthorised acts of depredation and violence.
Against the plunderings of soldiers and camp-followers Pollock had
steadfastly set his face; but in the neighbourhood of Nott’s camp
much was done to destroy the confidence which Pollock was anxious to
re-establish, and to alarm and irritate the chiefs whom he desired to
conciliate.[318] After a few days the new minister and Khan Shereen
Khan, the chief of the Kuzzilbashes, determined to represent to
Pollock, in a joint letter, the grievances of which they thought they
were entitled to complain.[319]

The minister had been anxious to pay his respects to the gallant
commander of the Candahar division, and had waited upon him with a
letter from Macgregor; but Nott had peremptorily refused to give him
an audience. He believed it to be the desire of Lord Ellenborough that
no Afghan Government should be recognised by the British authorities,
and he was unwilling to favour any such recognition by receiving visits
of ceremony from the functionaries appointed by the government which
had been established at Caubul. As Pollock had not been equally nice
upon this point, the refusal of his brother-general to extend his
courtesies to the minister could only have embarrassed our supreme
authorities at Caubul, and attached suspicion to the sincerity of our
proceedings. But Nott, at this time, was in no mood of mind to extend
his courtesies either to Afghan or to British authorities. It was his
belief that even then the British army ought to have been on its way
to Jellalabad. He had with him a sufficiency of supplies to carry him
to the latter place; and was irritated at the thought that Pollock had
come up to Caubul without provisions to carry him back.[320] If he had
been in supreme authority at Caubul, he would have destroyed the Balla
Hissar and the city, and would have marched on with the least possible
delay to Jellalabad. He placed his sentiments on record regarding the
impolicy of the halt at Caubul—declared that he would be compelled
to make military requisitions to rescue his troops from starvation;
and denounced Futteh Jung and the new ministers as the enemies of the
British. Nothing, indeed, could dissuade Nott that every Afghan in the
country was not our bitter foe.

Pollock, however, was inclined to discriminate—to protect our friends
and to punish our enemies. Whilst supplies were coming in but slowly
to his camp, it seemed good to him that another blow should be struck
at the hostile chiefs. It was reported to him that Ameen-oollah Khan
was in the field at Istaliff, in the Kohistan, endeavouring to bring
together the scattered fragments of the broken Barukzye force. It was
believed to be the design of the chief to attack the British on their
retirement from Caubul; and it was expedient, therefore, at once to
break up his force, and to leave some mark of our just resentment on a
part of the country which had poured forth so many of the insurgents
who had risen against us in the preceding winter. A force taken from
the two divisions of the British army was therefore despatched, under
General M’Caskill, to Istaliff, to scatter the enemy there collected,
and to destroy the place. It was thought, moreover, that Ameen-oollah
Khan, dreading the advance of the retributory army, would endeavour to
conciliate the British General, by delivering up to him the person of
Mahomed Akbar Khan, if he could adroitly accomplish his seizure. The
Sirdar had sent his family and his property into Turkistan; and was
himself waiting the progress of events in the Ghorebund Pass, ready, it
was said, to follow his establishment across the hills, if the British
troops pushed forward to overtake him.

The hostile chiefs were all now at the last gasp—all eager to
conciliate the power that a few months before they had derided and
defied. Already had Ameen-oollah Khan begun to make overtures to the
British authorities—to declare that he had always at heart been their
friend; but that he had been compelled to secure his own safety by
siding with the Barukzyes. And now Akbar Khan with the same object,
sent into Pollock’s camp a peace-offering, in the shape of the last
remaining prisoner in his hands. Captain Bygrave was now restored to
his friends. It might have been a feeling of generosity—for generous
impulses sometimes welled up in the breast of the Sirdar; it might
have been a mere stroke of policy, having reference solely to his own
interests; or it might, and it probably was, a mixture of the two
influences that prevailed upon him; but he would not any longer make
war upon a single man, and upon one, too, whom he personally respected
and esteemed with the respect and esteem due to a man of such fine
qualities as Bygrave. So he sent the last remaining prisoner safely
into Pollock’s camp; and with him he sent a letter of conciliation,
and an agent commissioned to treat for him. He was eager to enter into
negotiations with the British. It was little likely that so weak a
Prince as Futteh Jung would be able to maintain his regal authority in
Afghanistan a day after the departure of the British; and it appeared
to him not wholly improbable that, wishing to leave behind them a
friendly power in Afghanistan, the British authorities might be induced
to enter into a convention with him before their final departure from
the country.

Even now was Futteh Jung himself beginning to acknowledge his utter
inability to maintain himself in the Balla Hissar after the striking of
Pollock’s camp. Pollock had refused to supply him with troops, money,
or arms; and the Prince himself had closed the door of reconciliation
with his old Barukzye enemies by destroying their houses and property.
Among the houses thus destroyed, it is deplorable to state, was the
house of Mahomed Zemaun Khan—the very house in which the good old
man, with real parental kindness, had so long and so faithfully
protected the British hostages. The houses of Oosman Khan, Jubbar
Khan, and others fell also. It was the policy of the Prince thus to
compromise his supporters, and to prevent an alliance between them and
the Barukzye party; but having done this, he felt that it was only
by destroying the hostile chiefs that he could, in any way, maintain
his position. He watched, therefore, with anxiety the issue of the
expedition into the Kohistan, and deferred his ultimate decision until
the return of M’Caskill’s force.

Aided by and relying on the wise counsels of Havelock, M’Caskill made
a rapid march upon Istaliff, and took the enemy by surprise. The town
is built, terrace above terrace, upon two ridges of the spur of the
Hindoo-Koosh, which forms the western boundary of the beautiful valley
of Kohistan. It was held in high repute as a maiden fortress by the
Afghans, who had now collected, in its fortified streets and squares,
their treasure and their women. Looking to it as to a place of refuge,
secure from the assaults of the invading Feringhees, they had scarcely
made any military dispositions. M’Caskill’s first intention had been
to attack the left face of the city; but the intelligence brought in
by a reconnoitering party, on the evening of his arrival, caused him
to change his plan of operations, and to conduct the assault on the
right. Soon after daybreak, therefore, on the following morning (the
29th of September), the camp was in motion towards the right of the
city. The enemy soon marked the movement; and, believing that our
columns were in retreat, poured in a sharp fire upon them. Growing
more and more audacious in this belief, the foremost Afghans pressed
closely upon our covering party, which, composed of Broadfoot’s sappers
under their intrepid chief, soon found themselves in fierce collision
with a large body of the enemy posted in a walled garden. There was a
sturdy hand-to-hand conflict. The little band of sappers pushed on,
and the Afghans retreated before them up the slopes in the direction
of the city, where they would have been overwhelmed. But the time had
now come for operations on a larger scale. Havelock and Mayne, who
had observed the dangerous position of the sappers, galloped to the
General, and urged the necessity of supporting Broadfoot. M’Caskill,
who had made his arrangements for the assault, now ordered the columns
to advance upon the city. Her Majesty’s 9th Foot and the 26th Native
Infantry, who had done such good service before, delighted to receive
the word to advance to the support of the sappers, tore across the
intervening space, in generous emulation, and rushed cheerily to the
encounter; whilst on the other side of the enemy’s position, the
light companies of Her Majesty’s 41st, and the 42nd and 43rd Sepoy
regiments of Bengal, stormed, with steady gallantry, the village and
vineyard to the left. The Afghan marksmen gave way before our attacking
columns; and as our men pursued them up the slopes, a great panic
seized the people. They thought no longer of defence. Their first
care was to save their property and their women. Ameen-oollah Khan
himself fled at the first onset. As our troops entered the town, the
face of the mountain beyond was covered with laden baggage-cattle,
whilst long lines of white-veiled women, striving to reach a place of
safety, streamed along the hill-side. The forbearance of our people
was equal to their gallantry. M’Caskill, respecting the honour of
the women, would not suffer a pursuit; but many fell into the hands
of our soldiers in the town, and were safely delivered over to the
keeping of the Kuzzilbashes.[321] Two guns and much booty were taken;
the town was partially fired; and then M’Caskill went on towards the
hills, meeting no opposition on the way, destroyed Charekur, where the
Goorkha regiment had been annihilated, and some other fortified places
which had been among the strongholds of the enemy; and then returned
triumphantly to Caubul.

On the 7th of October, M’Caskill’s force rejoined the British camp.
It was now necessary that immediate measures should be adopted for
the withdrawal of the British troops from the capital of Afghanistan.
Already had Pollock exceeded, but with a wise discretion, the time
which the Supreme Government would have accorded to him. But there
was yet work to be done. No lasting mark of our retributory visit to
Caubul had yet been left upon the accursed city. Pollock had been
unable to shape his measures before, for the nature of the retribution
to be inflicted was dependent upon the constitution of the new Afghan
Government; and it was long uncertain what government the British
General would leave behind him. Futteh Jung had been for some time
trembling at the thought of the prospect before him. If M’Caskill had
brought back Akbar Khan a prisoner, or had sent his head to the British
camp, the new King might have summoned resolution to maintain his seat
on the throne. But he could never forget the treatment he had received
from the Sirdar, or nerve himself again to meet the unscrupulous
Barukzye.[322] So now he peremptorily declined to wear the crown which
we would fain have kept a little longer on his head; and implored the
British General to afford him the protection of his camp, and convey
him to the provinces of India.

Willing to spare the city and the Balla Hissar for the sake of
a friendly government, Pollock had despatched Shakespear to the
Kuzzilbash camp, which was then in the Kohistan, to take counsel with
Khan Shereen Khan, and the other chiefs of the Persian party. It
seems that they had been sceptical of the intentions of the British
General to evacuate the country; but Shakespear now announced that the
departure of the army was at hand, and that it was necessary finally to
determine upon the nature of the new government. In this conjuncture,
the Kuzzilbashes, trembling for the safety of the city, and feeling
that there was little hope of their being reconciled to the Barukzye
party, laid their hands upon another puppet. There was a younger scion
of the Suddozye House then at Caubul—the Prince Shahpoor. His mother
was a high-born Populzye lady, and it was believed that his recognition
would tend to conciliate the Douranees. Postponing, however, the final
enunciation of their views until their return to Caubul, they now
proposed that the young Prince should be set up in the place of his
brother. At Caubul, a general meeting of the chiefs was held. The voice
of the assembly declared in favour of the elevation of Shahpoor. The
Prince himself, a high-spirited boy, willingly accepted the crown that
was offered to him, and a declaration to that effect, from the Wuzeer
and the Kuzzilbash chief, was then sent in to Pollock’s camp.

Determined to make a last effort to obtain substantial assistance
from the British authorities, the chiefs now waited upon Pollock, and
entreated him to leave some British troops behind him for the support
of the new monarch. Pollock resolutely refused the request. They then
asked him for money. This he also refused. Then came before them the
painful subject of the “mark” that was to be left on Caubul. The chiefs
pleaded for the city and for the Balla Hissar. Urgently they now set
forth the necessity of a Suddozye Prince maintaining the appearance of
royalty in the palace of his fathers—urgently they now set forth that
the Arabs and Hindostanees, who in the hour of extremest peril had
been so faithful to Futteh Jung, were all located in the Balla Hissar;
and that the blow would fall with the greatest severity on those who
were least deserving of punishment.[323] So Pollock consented to spare
the Balla Hissar.

But it was still necessary that some mark of the retributory visit of
the British should be left upon the offending city. Pollock, therefore,
determined to destroy the great Bazaar. There the mutilated remains
of the murdered Envoy had been exhibited to the insolent gaze of the
Afghans; and there it was deemed fit that the retributory blow should
fall. So, on the 9th of October, Abbott, the chief engineer, received
instructions from the General to destroy the Bazaar; but so anxious
was Pollock not to extend the work of destruction, that he strictly
enjoined the engineer to abstain from applying fire to the building,
and even from the employment of gunpowder, that other parts of the city
might not be damaged by his operations. At the same time, a strong
detachment of British troops, under Colonel Richmond—one of the
best and ablest officers of the force—was sent with the engineers,
to protect the town from injury and the inhabitants from plunder and

But it was no easy task to destroy that great Bazaar simply by the work
of men’s hands. Abbott did his best to obey the instructions he had
received from the General; but he was baffled by the massiveness of the
buildings on which he had been sent to operate. It was necessary to
employ a more powerful agent. On his own responsibility, therefore, he
betook himself to the use of gunpowder. But the explosions damaged no
other buildings than those which had authoritatively been marked for
destruction. The operations against the great Bazaar lasted throughout
the 9th and 10th of October. Every effort was made to save the city
from further destruction; but all Richmond’s protective measures
were insufficient to control the impetuosity of the soldiers and
camp-followers who poured themselves into the town.

That many excesses were then committed is not to be denied. The
principal gates of the city were guarded; but there were many other
points of ingress, and our people streamed into the streets of
Caubul, applied the firebrand to the houses, and pillaged the shops.
Guilty and innocent alike fell under the heavy hand of the lawless
retribution which was now to descend upon the inhabitants of Caubul.
Many unoffending Hindoos, who, lulled into a sense of delusive security
by the outward re-establishment of a government, had returned to the
city and re-opened their shops, were now disastrously ruined.[324]
In the mad excitement of the hour, friend and foe were stricken down
by the same unsparing hand. Even the _Chundarwal_—where dwelt the
friendly Kuzzilbashes—narrowly escaped destruction. Such excesses
as were committed during the three last days of our occupation of
Caubul must ever be deplored, as all human weakness and wickedness
are to be deplored. But when we consider the amount of temptation
and provocation—when we remember that the comrades of our soldiers
and the brethren of our camp-followers had been foully butchered by
thousands in the passes of Afghanistan; that everywhere tokens of our
humiliation, and of the treachery and cruelty of the enemy, rose up
before our people, stinging them past all endurance, and exasperating
them beyond all control, we wonder less, that when the guilty city lay
at their feet, they should not wholly have reined in their passions,
than that, in such an hour, they should have given them so little head.

It was now time that the British army should depart. Nothing remained
to be done. Any longer continuance at Caubul would only have aggravated
the sufferings of the people and increased our own difficulties. So,
on the 11th of October, orders were issued for the commencement of
the march on the following day. The unhappy Prince, Futteh Jung, had
claimed and sought permission to accompany Pollock’s camp to India,
and to seek an asylum in the Company’s dominions. The old blind King,
Zemaun Shah, after all the vicissitudes of his eventful life, was
now about again to become an exile, and to end his days in the same
hospitable country. For the family of Shah Soojah protection also
had been sought, and not refused; and now all these fragments of the
great wreck of royalty—these miserable records of a most disastrous
enterprise—were committed to the charge of one who had largely
participated in its sufferings, but had happily escaped the ruin which
had overwhelmed his comrades and his chief.[325] On the evening of
the 11th of October they came out of the town, and found safety in
Pollock’s hospitable camp.[326] The British colours, which had floated
over the Balla Hissar, were now lowered; the regiment which had been
posted there was withdrawn; and every preparation was made for the
departure of the British army.

On the following morning the two divisions commenced their march.
Fearful that the Candahar division, if left in occupation of its
old ground, whilst the head-quarters of the army were proceeding
in advance, would commit many unauthorised excesses, Pollock had
determined that the whole force should move on the same day. There
was some inconvenience in this, for Nott’s division came up before
Pollock’s had crossed the Loghur river; but to the cause of humanity
it was, doubtless, great gain. The unfortunate Hindoos, who had been
rendered destitute by the destruction of Ghuznee and the spoliation of
Caubul, had crowded into the British camps, hoping to obtain, in their
utter misery, safe conduct to the provinces of India.[327] Pollock
took with him what trophies he could, but he had not carriage for all
the guns,[328] and even on the first day’s march he was compelled to
begin their destruction; whilst Nott, rejoicing in a letter from the
Governor-General, who was in ecstasies about the gates of Somnauth, and
in the notification of his appointment to the Residency of Lucknow,
went off with those venerable relics, and turned his face towards the
country, from which they had been traditionally ravished.

And on that day, as Pollock was leaving Caubul, and Nott was striking
his camp, the guns of the Balla Hissar roared forth a royal salute in
honour of the accession of Prince Shahpoor—the _Fatiha_ was read in
his name, and the chiefs tendered their allegiance. It was, perhaps, a
mere mockery; but it had saved the Balla Hissar.[329] So the new King
was paraded about the streets of Caubul—only to be dethroned again
before the British army had reached the provinces of India; and that
army turned its back upon Afghanistan, not as of old, in the agony of
humiliation and defeat, but in the flush of victory and triumph.


 [October-December: 1842.]

 Effect of the victories—Lord Ellenborough at Simlah—The Manifesto
 of 1842—The Proclamation of the Gates—The Restoration of Dost
 Mahomed—The Gathering at Ferozepore—Reception of the Troops—The

Never was intelligence received in India with stronger and more
universal feelings of delight than the intelligence of the victories of
Pollock and Nott; and the happy recovery of the prisoners. There was
one general shout of triumphant congratulation, caught up from station
to station along the whole line of country from Sirhind to Tinnevelly.
Suspense and anxiety now died away in the European breast; and, in the
words of one of the ablest Indian statesmen, “it was a comfort again to
be able to look a native in the face.”[330]

To Lord Ellenborough the brilliant achievements of the two Generals
were a source of unbounded gratification. Everything that he could have
desired had been accomplished. Pollock and Nott, under his orders,
had “retired” so adroitly from Afghanistan, that everybody believed
they had advanced upon the capital of the country. The movement had
produced, or was producing, a grand moral effect all over Hindostan.
Again was there likely to be a season of universal repose. The
excitement which had stirred the hearts of the native community was now
passing away. All those vague hopes and longings which had sprung up,
at the contemplation of our disasters, in Native States of doubtful
friendliness and fidelity, were now stifled by the knowledge of our
success. The Governor-General had threatened to save India in spite
of every man in it who ought to give him support;[331] but it now
seemed as though, in reality, Pollock and Nott had achieved the work of
salvation in spite of the Governor-General himself.

But Lord Ellenborough was not less delighted than if the work had
been emphatically his own. He was at Simlah when the glad tidings of
the re-occupation of Caubul reached him. He was at Simlah, and in the
very house which had been the cradle of the great manifesto of 1838,
out of which had come all our disasters. He was at Simlah; and the
1st of October was temptingly at hand. On the 1st of October, four
years before, that manifesto had been issued. From Simlah, therefore,
now, on the first of October, another manifesto was to be made to
issue. The utter failure of Lord Auckland’s policy in Afghanistan was
to be proclaimed from the very room in which it had taken shape and
consistency.[332] From this very room was to go forth to all the
chiefs and people of India a proclamation, laying bare to the very core
the gigantic errors which had been baptised in the blood of thousands,
and shrouded in contumely and disgrace.

And thus ran the proclamation:

  _Secret Department, Simlah, the 1st of October, 1842._

 The Government of India directed its army to pass the Indus in order
 to expel from Afghanistan a chief believed to be hostile to British
 interests, and to replace upon his throne a sovereign represented to
 be friendly to those interests, and popular with his former subjects.

 The chief believed to be hostile became a prisoner, and the sovereign
 represented to be popular was replaced upon his throne; but, after
 events, which brought into question his fidelity to the government by
 which he was restored, he lost by the hands of an assassin the throne
 he had only held amidst insurrections, and his death was preceded and
 followed by still existing anarchy.

 Disasters unparalleled in their extent, unless by the errors in which
 they originated, and by the treachery by which they were completed,
 have, in one short campaign, been avenged upon every scene of past
 misfortune; and repeated victories in the field, and the capture of
 the cities and citadels of Ghuznee and Caubul, have again attached the
 opinion of invincibility to the British arms.

 The British arms in possession of Afghanistan will now be withdrawn to
 the Sutlej.

 The Governor-General will leave it to the Afghans themselves to create
 a government amidst the anarchy which is the consequence of their

 To force a sovereign upon a reluctant people, would be as inconsistent
 with the policy as it is with the principles of the British
 Government, tending to place the arms and resources of that people
 at the disposal of the first invader, and to impose the burden of
 supporting a sovereign, without the prospect of benefit from his

 The Governor-General will willingly recognise any government approved
 by the Afghans themselves, which shall appear desirous and capable of
 maintaining friendly relations with neighbouring states.

 Content with the limits nature appears to have assigned to its
 empire the Government of India will devote all its efforts to the
 establishment and maintenance of general peace, to the protection
 of the sovereigns and chiefs its allies, and to the prosperity and
 happiness of its own faithful subjects.

 The rivers of the Punjaub and Indus, and the mountainous passes and
 the barbarous tribes of Afghanistan, will be placed between the
 British army and an enemy approaching from the West, if indeed such an
 enemy there can be, and no longer between the army and its supplies.

 The enormous expenditure required for the support of a large force, in
 a false military position, at a distance from its own frontier and its
 resources, will no longer arrest every measure for the improvement of
 the country and of the people.

 The combined army of England and of India, superior in equipment, in
 discipline, in valour, and in the officers by whom it is commanded,
 to any force which can be opposed to it in Asia, will stand in
 unassailable strength upon its own soil, and for ever, under the
 blessing of Providence, preserve the glorious empire it has won, in
 security and in honour.

 The Governor-General cannot fear the misconstruction of his motives
 in thus frankly announcing to surrounding states the pacific and
 conservative policy of his government.

 Afghanistan and China have seen at once the forces at his disposal,
 and the effect with which they can be applied.

 Sincerely attached to peace for the sake of the benefits it confers
 upon the people, the Governor-General is resolved that peace shall be
 observed, and will put forth the whole power of the British Government
 to coerce the state by which it shall be infringed.

 By order of the Right Honourable the Governor-General of India.

  Secretary to the Government of India, with
  the Governor-General.

It would have been well if Lord Ellenborough had resisted the puerile
temptation to date this proclamation on the 1st of October. That it
was written then is not to be doubted. But, though written, it was
not issued.[333] The Governor-General was not prepared to issue it.
There was no immediate necessity, indeed, for the preparation of such
a notification as this. It might have been delayed for a few weeks
without injury to the state; whilst, on the other hand, it could not
have been delayed for a few days without great advantage to Lord
Ellenborough. On the 1st of October, the Governor-General knew that the
British ensign was floating over the Balla Hissar of Caubul; but he did
not know that the British prisoners had been released from captivity.
Had he suppressed the inclination to write “_October 1_” at the head
of his proclamation, he might have announced in it the attainment of
all those objects which his countrymen had at heart, and fully declared
that the war was at an end. But there were not wanting those who now
commented bitterly on the fact that this proclamation was drawn up
by the Governor-General of India whilst yet in ignorance of the fate
of the prisoners. The delay of a few days would have placed him in
possession of the intelligence, for which all India was looking with
the deepest interest and anxiety; but the temptation of the “1st of
October” was not to be resisted; and Lord Ellenborough sacrificed his
character for humanity for the sake of a little dramatic effect.

Having drawn up this proclamation, and handed it over to the
translators to be arrayed in Oriental costume, Lord Ellenborough began
to take counsel with Sir Jasper Nicolls on the subject of the honorary
distinctions to be conferred on the officers and men who had gained
these great victories in Afghanistan; and to draft another proclamation
to be issued to the Chiefs and Princes of India. This was the famous
proclamation of the Gates. On the 5th of October, he sent a rough
draft of it to Sir Jasper Nicolls, inviting the comments of the Chief.
Freely asked, they were freely given. What they were is not on record.
The Governor-General took the comments of the Commander-in-Chief “in
good part,” and was not wholly impervious to the criticism of the
veteran commander.[334] Subjected to a long and laborious incubation,
this address to “all the Princes, chiefs, and people of India,” was
translated into the Persian and Hindee languages, circulated among
those to whom it especially appealed, and finally published in its
English dress on the 16th of November.[335] It was by no means,
therefore, an ebullition of impulse and enthusiasm on the part of the
Governor-General, but the result of many weeks of thought and study,
and, perhaps, much consultation with others. The Duke of Wellington
called it a “Song of triumph.” Thus rose the pæan, in its English dress:



 Our victorious army bears the gates of the temple of Somnauth in
 triumph from Afghanistan, and the despoiled tomb of Sultan Mahomed
 looks upon the ruins of Ghuznee.

 The insult of eight hundred years is at last avenged. The gates of
 the temple of Somnauth, so long the memorial of your humiliation, are
 become the proudest record of your national glory the proof of your
 superiority in arms over the nations beyond the Indus.

 To you, Princes and Chiefs of Sirhind, of Rajwarra, of Malwa, and of
 Guzerat, I shall commit this glorious trophy of successful war.

 You will yourselves, with all honour, transmit the gates of
 sandal-wood through your respective territories to the restored temple
 of Somnauth.

 The chiefs of Sirhind shall be informed at what time our victorious
 army will first deliver the gates of the temple into their
 guardianship, at the foot of the bridge of the Sutlej.


 I have ever relied with confidence upon your attachment to the British
 Government. You see how worthy it proves itself of your love, when,
 regarding your honour as its own, it exerts the power of its arms
 to restore to you the gates of the temple of Somnauth, so long the
 memorial of your subjection to the Afghans.

 For myself, identified with you in interest and in feeling, I regard
 with all your own enthusiasm the high achievements of that heroic
 army; reflecting alike immortal honour upon my native and upon my
 adopted country.

 To preserve and to improve the happy union of our two countries,
 necessary as it is to the welfare of both, is the constant object of
 my thoughts. Upon that union depends the security of every ally, as
 well as of every subject of the British Government, from the miseries
 whereby, in former times, India was afflicted: through that alone has
 our army now waved its triumphant standards over the ruins of Ghuznee,
 and planted them upon the Balla Hissar of Caubul.

 May that good Providence, which has hitherto so manifestly protected
 me, still extend to me its favour, that I may so use the power now
 entrusted to my hands, as to advance your prosperity and secure your
 happiness, by placing the union of our two countries upon foundations
 which may render it eternal.


No document that ever emanated from the bureau of a statesman has
been overwhelmed with so much ridicule as this. It is still fresh
in the recollection of men who dwelt in India at this time, how the
authenticity of the proclamation was gravely doubted—how many, at
first, declared their conviction that it was a newspaper satire upon
the Napoleonic style of address which Lord Ellenborough had recently
adopted; and how at last, when it came to be known—thoroughly known
and understood—that it was a genuine emanation from the “Political
Department,” with the right official stamp upon it, such a flood
of ridicule and censure was let loose upon it as had never before
descended upon an Indian state-paper. The folly of the thing was past
all denial. It was a folly, too, of the most senseless kind, for it
was calculated to please none and to offend many. It was addressed to
“all the Princes and Chiefs, and People of India.” The “Brothers and
Friends” thus grandiloquently apostrophised, were a mixed family of
Mahomedans and Hindoos. Upon the Mahomedans it was an open and most
intelligible outrage. To the Hindoos, the pompous offer of the polluted
gates of Somnauth was little better than a covert insult. The temple to
which it was to have been restored was in ruins, and the sacred ground
trodden by Mahomedans. Looking at the effusion from the Oriental side,
it was altogether a failure and an abortion.[336] Among Europeans,
worldly men scouted the proclamation as a folly, and religious men
denounced it as a crime. It was said to be both dangerous and profane.
The question suggested by the latter epithet I do not propose to
discuss; but of the dangers of such a proclamation it may be said that
they existed only in the imaginations of those who discerned them. It
was altogether an event of no political importance. In Afghanistan,
the rape of the Gates created little or no sensation. In India, the
proclamation produced no excitement among the “brothers and friends” to
whom it was addressed. The effect of the measure was personal to Lord
Ellenborough himself. It damaged his reputation, and left the rest of
the world as it was before.

But there was another proclamation published about this time—launched
into the world, indeed, before the proclamation of the Gates, but of a
somewhat later conception. The Afghan drama was now well-nigh played
out. The Afghan policy of Lord Auckland had been publicly declared
a failure, and the grounds on which it had been originated wholly a
mistake. Everything, indeed, was to be reversed. The Tripartite treaty
was at an end. Shah Soojah was dead. The people of Afghanistan had
felt an obvious distaste for foreign interference, and had evinced it
in a very unmistakeable manner. The Suddozye Princes had demonstrated
the feebleness of the tenure by which they could hope to maintain
possession of the throne. It was impossible wholly to revert to the
state of things that had existed in 1838, for thousands of lives and
millions of money had been buried in the passes of Afghanistan—and
there was no earthly resurrection or restoration for them. But there
was one victim of the war in Afghanistan for whom restoration was
yet possible. The first victim of our national injustice was yet
a prisoner in the hands of the British. The Governor-General had
publicly announced, in his proclamation of the 1st of October, that
Dost Mahomed was only “believed to be hostile to British interests,”
and that Shah Soojah was only “represented” to be friendly to those
interests, and popular with his own people. It was announced, too, in
this proclamation, that the British Government had determined to leave
the Afghans to form a government for themselves, and to recognise
that government when formed. After such announcements as these, the
retention of Dost Mahomed in captivity would have been confessedly
inconsistent and unjust.

Ever since the intelligence of the outbreak at Caubul had reached the
provinces of Hindostan, Dost Mahomed had been watched with greater
suspicion, and guarded with greater care. It was believed that he would
place himself in communication with the leaders of the revolutionary
party, and would make an effort to escape from the captivity which
embittered his lot. It does not appear, however, that he manifested
any feelings of exultation at the thought of the calamities which
had befallen his captors, or, in any way, desired to increase the
difficulties which surrounded them. On the other hand, he seemed
willing, if not anxious, to impart to the British Government, through
Captain Nicolson, such local information as he thought would be
serviceable to them in the conjuncture which had arisen; and even
offered suggestions tending to facilitate their re-invasion of his
country. The vigilance with which he was guarded, and the consequent
inconveniences to which he was subjected, seemed to cause him much
vexation and annoyance. He always protested that he knew nothing of
the secret history of the Caubul outbreak—that it was his belief the
Suddozyes had instigated it, as no other family in Afghanistan, since
the overthrow of the Barukzyes, had sufficient influence to initiate a
great national movement. Any expression or intimation of a doubt of his
honesty seemed to pain him. “Recollect,” he said, on one occasion to
Captain Nicolson, “that I have, from the first day I came in, been on
your side, heart and soul. I swear by the most holy God, that since my
submission I have not communicated with Caubul and its people, except
through you. But it is possible that news may have reached my sister at
Loodianah through her other brothers. I am your guest or your prisoner,
whichever you please. I came to you in the hope of being in time
employed by you; and I should say what is not true, if I denied still
entertaining that hope; and I am ready to lay down my life in your
service.”[337] It may be doubted whether he entertained any hope, or
any desire to regain the dominion he had lost. He had resigned himself
submissively to his fate. If it seemed to be the will of God that he
should return to Caubul, he was willing to retrace his steps to the
Balla Hissar. But he was little inclined to take into his own hands the
shaping of his future destinies, and to win his way back to empire by
violence or fraud.[338]

It has been seen that the Government of India, ever since the
disastrous downfall of our efforts to prop up the Suddozye dynasty,
had contemplated the possibility of restoring Dost Mahomed to the
country from which we had expelled him. Lord Auckland had hinted at
the restoration of the ex-Ameer as a measure to which, under certain
circumstances, he would offer no opposition. He would gladly, indeed,
have availed himself of the opportunity afforded, by a proposed
interchange of prisoners, to render tardy justice to the man whom he
had so palpably wronged. The subsequent progress of events had tended
to render more and more obvious the propriety of this resolution. It
was now plainer than ever that the retention of Dost Mahomed as a
prisoner of state could no longer be justified, on the score of either
political rectitude or expediency. So Lord Ellenborough did, as it
became him to do. He issued a proclamation, setting forth that when the
“British army returning from Afghanistan shall have passed the Indus,
all the Afghans now in the power of the British Government shall be
permitted to return to their country.” This was equally reasonable
and just. But the proclamation was not without characteristic
disfigurements, for the Governor-General, who had set his heart upon a
grand pageant at Ferozepore, added a codicil, to the effect that the
released Afghan Princes were to present themselves, before returning
to their desolated country, at the Durbar of the Governor-General in
his camp at Ferozepore.

The popular feeling against this contemplated outrage was strong and
universal. There was not a generous mind in the country which did
not feel deeply the wrong that was to be done to these unfortunate
Princes. But the Governor-General, in a better hour, conscious of
error, consented to forego the pitiful delight of gracing his triumph
with the presence of a dethroned monarch, whose national feelings were
not so wholly extinguished by exile as to render his appearance at the
Ferozepore festivities anything but a painful and humiliating trial.
The order issued in thoughtlessness was revoked in good feeling; and
Dost Mahomed, without suffering this last crowning injury at the hands
of the British Government, returned to Afghanistan, with hopes and
expectations falling far short of the long years of restored dominion,
which actually lay before him.

Quitting Simlah, the Governor-General moved down to the plains of
Ferozepore. There an army, under the personal command of Sir Jasper
Nicolls, was now assembled. It had been originally projected by Lord
Auckland, at a time when it was believed that the presence of such an
army on our north-western frontier would have a great moral effect
upon the neighbouring states. It has been said, that when it did
assemble, at the commencement of the cold season of 1842-1843, it
was intended to answer no other purpose than that of a vast pageant;
that the Governor-General had determined on celebrating the return
of the victorious armies with all possible pomp; and that he looked
forward, with childish delight and anxiety, to the magnificent _fête
champêtre_ of which he had appointed himself director-in-chief. It
must be admitted that Lord Ellenborough took a somewhat undignified
interest in the details of these puerilities; but the justice of the
assertion, that the army was kept together for no other purpose than
that of presenting arms to the “Illustrious Garrison” of Jellalabad,
and turning out for a grand field-day, may be reasonably disputed. The
fidelity of the Sikhs had long been suspected. It was now considered by
no means an impossible event, that the march of our army, worn, sick,
and incumbered, through the Punjab, would offer a temptation too strong
to be resisted by the mutinous Sikh soldiery, whose real feeling had
betrayed itself early in the year at Peshawur. Had the Governor-General
felt secure in the reality of the formal alliance with the Punjab, he
might have dispersed the Army of Reserve when the Afghanistan force
crossed the Attock. Such expositions of the military resources of a
great nation are never wholly without profit in such troubled times;
and as doubts, and not unreasonable doubts, of Sikh fidelity had
arisen, it was sound policy to keep a force on the frontier until the
returning troops had actually crossed the Sutlej.

On the 9th of December the Governor-General arrived at Ferozepore.
The Army of Reserve was drawn out to receive him. A noble sight, it
must have stirred the heart of one who loved to express his regret
that circumstances had not made him a soldier. There was much work
to be done; and he flung himself into it with characteristic energy,
resolute to give the returning warriors an honourable reception, and to
dazzle the eyes of all the native potentates who could be lured to the
scene of triumph. Four years before there had been a grand gathering
at the same place, when Runjeet Sing and Lord Auckland had exchanged
courtesies, and the army of the Indus had commenced its march for the
invasion of the Douranee Empire. The war in Afghanistan had opened with
a grand spectacle at Ferozepore; and now, with due dramatic propriety,
it was to close with a similar effect. The Maharajah of the Punjab,
with his ministers of state and his principal military chiefs, were
invited to grace the festival.[339] The Princes of Sirhind, and other
“brothers and friends,” were asked to take part in the rejoicings. And
everywhere from the neighbouring stations, under lordly encouragement,
flocked our English ladies to Ferozepore—the wives and daughters
of the returning warriors and of the officers there assembled—and
everywhere was a flutter of excitement, such as had not been known in
those regions for years.

Day after day, as Lord Ellenborough busied himself with his
preparations for the reception of the victorious Generals, tidings
reached him from their camps. There was nothing in this intelligence to
dim the pleasure which was animating his Lordship’s breast. Pollock had
brought back his army with little loss through the formidable passes
of Afghanistan, and was now making an uninterrupted march through the
Punjab. The withdrawal of the force had been looked forward to with
some anxiety by many, who believed that the tribes would harass the
rear of the retiring army, and work them grievous annoyance. But so
completely had the strength of the Afghans been broken by continual
defeat, that they made no energetic or combined effort to annoy the
British columns on their line of march. Pollock wrote that he had not
seen an enemy; but M’Caskill and Nott, who followed with the centre
and the rear divisions, were not quite so fortunate. From Caubul to
Jellalabad, however, there was little to contend against, except some
desultory night attacks on our baggage.[340] There was, indeed, no
organised resistance.

The entire force assembled at Jellalabad; and halted there for a few
days. Pollock had determined to destroy the defences of the place. When
the British army was halting at Peshawur in the spring, the question
of the transfer of Jellalabad to the Sikhs, as a _douceur_ to ensure
cordiality of co-operation with us, had been earnestly discussed,
but at that time the project had fallen to the ground. It was felt,
that so long as Shah Soojah survived, and the Tripartite treaty had
not been annulled, any design to dissever the Douranee Empire, and to
invite the Sikhs to share in the partition, would be premature, both
as regarded the justice and the expediency of the measure. But the
death of Shah Soojah gave a new aspect to the state of affairs; and
the British Government lost little time, after authentic intelligence
of that event had been received, in communicating to Mr. Clerk its
willingness that certain territories on the right bank of the Indus
should pass into the possession of the Sikh Government or of the Jummoo
Rajahs, with the permission of the Lahore Durbar; and it was intimated
that the British Government would facilitate the accomplishment of
this object by placing Jellalabad in the hands of the Sikhs. The offer
was formally made; but, in the then uncertain position of affairs,
prudently declined. It was not unreasonably urged by the Durbar, that
until they were in possession of the ultimate intentions of the British
with respect to Afghanistan, it would be hardly politic in the Sikhs
to place themselves in a prominent position, or in any way to identify
themselves with measures the future out-turn of which they could as
yet but dimly foresee. But it was believed, that as soon as ever our
withdrawal from Afghanistan was fully determined upon, and about to
be put in execution, the Sikhs, without further explanation, would
be willing to take possession of Jellalabad. And they were so; but
not having fully made up their minds upon the subject (probably from
some mistrust of our intentions) until the British force had actually
marched from Caubul, their acceptance of the offer came too late to
save the place from destruction. General Pollock had, in accordance
with instructions, destroyed the fortifications of Jellalabad before he
received a communication from the Government, intended, if possible,
to arrest such proceeding, and ordering him to make over the place
uninjured to our allies. It may be doubted whether either party very
much regretted the accident.

Having destroyed the defences of Jellalabad, Pollock pushed on to
Peshawur. The Khybur Pass had now to be traversed again. The Afreedi
Maliks offered to sell us a free passage; but Mackeson answered that
Pollock would take one. The first division, under the General himself,
who effectively crowned the heights as he advanced, passed through
with only the loss of two or three privates. M’Caskill was not equally
successful. He had not taken the same precautions, and the Khyburees
came down upon the rear-guard, under their old enemy, Brigadier Wild.
Favoured by the darkness of night, they rushed among our people, and
threw them into confusion. Two of our officers were killed,[341] and
two of our guns were abandoned. But the chief object of the Khyburees
seems to have been plunder. They made no effort to carry off the

Altogether, the return march of the British troops was singularly
peaceful and uneventful. If the same precautions to crown the heights
along the line of march, as were systematically taken by Pollock,
had been taken by M’Caskill and Nott, it may be doubted whether we
should even have heard of the appearance of an enemy. The Afghans
are famous plunderers, and they are habitually armed. When they saw
their opportunity, they came down upon our baggage-laden columns, and
molested us as best they could. But there was nothing like organised

The fortress of Ali-Musjid was destroyed, and the army then pushed on
to Peshawur. Having partaken of Avitabile’s magnificent hospitality,
the victorious Generals commenced their march through the Punjab. It
was an uneventful, but a melancholy one. Sickness broke out in the
returning army. There had always been a scarcity of carriage-cattle,
and now the number of sick made it more severely felt. But all the
inconveniences of the march were from within. The Sikhs wrought us no

Whilst such were the tidings from the returning army which reached the
Governor-General in the midst of his preparations, there came from
Afghanistan intelligence of a more dubious and, at the same time, a
less interesting character. Lord Ellenborough had left the Afghans to
suffer the punishment due to their crimes; and it little mattered to
him whether one party or another were dominant at Caubul. But the news
which now reached him from the Afghan capital all went to show that the
Suddozye Princes were utterly destitute of power and influence; and
that the new government had not the means of supporting the youthful
puppet upon the throne. The Wuzeer had sought to re-establish the
supremacy of the Douranees, had hedged in the new King with Douranee
influences, and by his exclusiveness given general offence. The
downfall of the Suddozye Prince followed rapidly upon this.[344] Akbar
Khan had been biding his time about the regions of the Hindoo-Koosh.
He was in no hurry to return to Caubul. It was more prudent to leave
the dissensions which were certain to arise at the capital to work out
their own debilitating effects upon those in power, and pave the way
for his triumphant return to the capital.

And so, after a time, there came into Ferozepore tidings, forwarded
from Pollock’s camp, to the effect that the Suddozye prince, Shahpoor,
had been expelled from the Balla Hissar, and had fled for safety to
Peshawur. The poor boy had narrowly escaped with his life. Akbar
Khan had made a descent upon Caubul, and carried everything before
him. The Newab Zemaun Khan, it was said, had been made Governor of
Jellalabad, Shumshoodeen of Ghuznee, Sultan Jan of Candahar; and in the
meanwhile Dost Mahomed was making his way through the Punjab to his old
principality. “Everything,” it was added, with bitter significance, “is
reverting to the old state of things—as it was before we entered the

And now the heart of the Governor-General began to beat with
expectation of the immediate arrival of the victorious armies.
Everything was ready for their reception. The army of reserve was
spread out over the great plain of Ferozepore. Triumphal arches had
been erected. A temporary bridge had been thrown across the Sutlej.
The elephants, no insignificant portion of the coming spectacle, had
been gorgeously painted and decorated, and tricked out in their gayest
trappings and caparisons; and as much of tinsel, and bamboo-work, and
coloured cloth, as could give effect to the triumph, had been expended
to grace the occasion. On the 17th of December, Sir Robert Sale crossed
the Sutlej at the head of that gallant body of troops which had
composed the garrison of Jellalabad. The Governor-General went forth to
meet them. A street of two hundred and fifty elephants, more or less
caparisoned, had been formed, and through this marched the heroes of
Jellalabad—the 13th Light Infantry, Sale’s own regiment, at the head
of the column; but although the docile animals had been instructed to
make a simultaneous salaam at a given signal, and to snort out a note
of welcome from their huge trunks, they resolutely refused to make an
obeisance, and were obstinately silent as the Illustrious Garrison
filed between the huge walls of caparisoned flesh. The morning was dull
and lowering—not a gleam of sunshine lighted up the festive scene; but
there were sunny hearts and bright faces; and as the horse-artillery
guns boomed forth their welcome, and the band of the Lancers struck
up the ever-animating “Conquering Hero” tune, and each regiment
in succession, as the column passed on, saluted their long-absent
comrades, the heart must have been a dull one that did not acknowledge
that there is something of a bright side even to the picture of war.

On the 19th, General Pollock crossed the Sutlej; and on the 23rd,
General Nott arrived, bringing with him the gates of Somnauth.[345]
Then there was feasting and festivity in the gigantic tents, hung with
silken flags, on which, in polyglot emblazonments, were the names of
the actions that had been fought; many complimentary effusions, in
the shape of after-dinner harangues;[346] and in the mornings, grand
field-days, more or less, according to the “skyey influences.” The
year—a most eventful one—was closed with a grand military display.
The plain was covered with British and Sikh troops, and in the presence
of Pertaub Singh, the heir apparent of Lahore; Dhyan Singh, the
minister; the Governor-General, the Commander-in-Chief, and others of
less note, some forty thousand men, with a hundred guns, were manœuvred
on the great plain. On this grand tableau the curtain fell; and the
year opportunely closed in gaiety and glitter—in prosperity and parade.

The Sepoy regiments having been feasted with their “favourite
_mehtoys_” (sweetmeats), and the important event announced in a
Government notification, the army of reserve was broken up;[347]
but not before the Governor-General, moved by that characteristic
admiration of gallantry, which earned for him in India the title of the
“Friend of the Army,” had done all that lay in his power to reward the
troops who had achieved such brilliant successes. The honours which he
could not bestow he solicited from the Crown, on behalf of the brave
men who had so fairly earned them; and the distribution of honorary
distinctions which ensued gave almost universal satisfaction, It erred
rather on the side of liberality; and, perhaps, there are some old
soldiers, in the scantily-decorated Queen’s army, who think that during
the last few years, honours have been bestowed so profusely as to lower
their real value, by showing how easily they are to be earned. But it
is better to err on the side of liberality than of chariness—better
even that the unworthy should be decorated, than that the worthy should
pine in vain for distinction.[348]

But there was still something more to be done. The prisoners, towards
whom the flood of sympathy had been setting in so strongly for many
months, and whom the English in India now welcomed back with cordiality
and delight, were not to be suffered all at once to sink into privacy
and obscurity. Some of them were to be tried by courts-martial, or to
be summoned before courts of inquiry, for abandoning their posts, going
over to the enemy, or otherwise disgracing themselves. The courts sate,
but they could not pronounce the officers arraigned before them guilty
of any offence. Brigadier Shelton was acquitted. Colonel Palmer,[349]
Captains Anderson, Boyd, Troup, and Waller, and Lieutenant Eyre, were
honourably acquitted; and the court of inquiry, over which Mr. Clerk
presided, must have risen from its investigation into the conduct of
Major Pottinger with increased respect for the high soldierly qualities
of the young officer who had beaten back the Persians at Herat, and
protested against the capitulation of Caubul in the teeth of all the
veterans of the force.

On the 20th of January, 1843, Dost Mahomed arrived at Lahore, on his
way to the frontier of Afghanistan, and was honourably received by
the Sikh Durbar. The Suddozye Princes and their families, to whose
reception in the British provinces Lord Ellenborough had evinced an
insuperable repugnance, found an asylum in the Sikh dominions;[350]
and British connection with Afghanistan was now fairly at an end.

Little more remains to be said. The proclamations which were issued
by the Supreme Government of India in the autumn of 1842, are in
themselves the best commentaries on the war in Afghanistan. The
Governor-General of 1842 passed sentence of condemnation upon the
measures of the Governor-General of 1838. No failure so total and
overwhelming as this is recorded in the page of history. No lesson so
grand and impressive is to be found in all the annals of the world. Of
the secondary causes which contributed to the utter prostration of an
unholy policy, much, at different times, has been written in the course
of this narrative; much more might now be written, in conclusion,
of the mighty political and military errors which were baptised in
the blood and tears of our unhappy countrymen. These errors are so
patent—are so intelligible—they have been so often laid bare by the
hand of the anatomist—and they have been so copiously illustrated in
these volumes, that I do not now purpose to enlarge upon them before I
lay down my pen. But if none of these causes had been in operation to
defeat and frustrate our policy, it must still have broken down under
the ruinous expenditure of public money which the armed occupation of
Afghanistan entailed upon the Government of India. It is upon record,
that this calamitous war cost the natives of India, whose stewards we
are, some fifteen millions of money. All this enormous burden fell
upon the revenues of India, and the country for long years afterwards
groaned under the weight. The bitter injustice of this need hardly be
insisted upon. The Afghan war was neither initiated by the East India
Company, nor at any stage approved of by that great body. The ministers
of the crown were responsible for the invasion of Afghanistan, but the
revenues of the East India Company, in spite of a feeble effort to
shift a part of the burden on to the British Exchequer, were condemned
to bear the expense. It was adroitly designed, indeed, from the
beginning, that the Company should bear the charges of the expedition.

And what was gained by the war? What are the advantages to be summed
up on the other side of the account? The expedition across the Indus
was undertaken with the object of erecting in Afghanistan a barrier
against encroachment from the West. The advance of the British army was
designed to check the aggressions of Persia on the Afghan frontier,
and to baffle Russian intrigues, by the substitution of a friendly
for an unfriendly power in the countries beyond the Indus. After an
enormous waste of blood and treasure, we left every town and village of
Afghanistan bristling with our enemies. Before the British army crossed
the Indus, the English name had been honoured in Afghanistan. Some dim
traditions of the splendour of Mr. Elphinstone’s mission had been all
that the Afghans associated with their thoughts of the English nation;
but, in their place, we left galling memories of the progress of a
desolating army. The Afghans are an unforgiving race; and everywhere,
from Candahar to Caubul, and from Caubul to Peshawur, were traces of
the injuries we had inflicted upon the tribes. There was scarcely a
family in the country which had not the blood of kindred to revenge
upon the accursed Feringhees. The door of reconciliation seemed to be
closed against us; and if the hostility of the Afghans be an element of
weakness, it seemed certain that we must have contrived to secure it.

It has been said that the tendency of all these great movements
in Central Asia has been to diminish the mutual jealousies and
apprehensions of the British and the Muscovite powers, by revealing,
in all their true proportions, the tremendous quicksands which lie
waiting to engulph our armies in the inhospitable countries between
the borders of the Russian and the Indian Empires. But although both
states have learnt—the one from her Afghan, the other from her Khivan
expedition—terrible lessons not to be forgotten, it may still be
questioned whether the Cossack and the Sepoy are further apart than
they were. The “Macadamisation” of Sindh and the Punjab has given
England a forward position, which, advantageous as it is in itself,
may have stimulated Russia to increased activity, whilst our awful
disasters in Afghanistan have encouraged anew the aggressions of the
Persian, and the intrigues of his Muscovite ally, by revealing the
sources of our disinclination to entangle our armies again in its
perilous defiles.

It needed but the announcement of the arrival of a Persian army at
Herat, and the establishment of Persian dominion in the province, to
consummate the completeness of the failure. After a lapse of twenty
years from the date of the first siege of Herat, we found that the very
event which had stimulated our English statesmen to decree the invasion
of Afghanistan, had actually come to pass. The Shah of Persia had
conquered Herat, and his viceroy held the key of the “Gate of India”
in his hand. It was still believed to be essential to the security of
our Indian empire either to maintain the integrity of Herat, as an
independent principality, or to attach it to the territories of the _de
facto_ ruler of Afghanistan. Dost Mahomed was still that ruler. For
some time after his restoration, he had been the enemy of the British
Government; but, as years passed, and the memory of his humiliation
grew fainter and fainter, he had come to recognise the wisdom of an
alliance with his opponents; and, in 1852, a treaty of general alliance
between the two states was concluded at Herat, by Hyder Khan and John
Lawrence. When, therefore, in 1856, the usurpations of the Shah of
Persia again roused England to a sense of the necessity of “doing
something” to wrest Herat from his grasp, she found in the Caubul
Ameer a willing, because an interested, ally. The very policy which
ought to have been pursued in 1837—the policy which was recommended
by Sir John M’Neill—is that which then presented itself, but under
what altered circumstances, for our adoption. If, instead of expelling
Dost Mahomed from his principality, we had advanced him a little money
to raise, and lent him a few officers to drill, an army, the Persians
would not, twenty years afterwards, have been lining the walls of
Herat. When the old difficulty, therefore, presented itself with a new
face in 1856, England adopted, in a modified form this once-rejected
policy. She supplied money and arms to Dost Mahomed, to enable him to
resist the tide of Kujjur invasion. Because Persia was aggressive on
one side of the Afghan frontier, she meditated no aggressions on the
other. She did not make war upon the ruler of Afghanistan, in revenge
for hostile intrigues at the Persian capital, and hostile movements in
the Persian camp. But when Persia offended her she struck promptly at
Persia. The demonstration was successful. Under a treaty, signed at
Paris by the English and Persian ambassadors, Herat was evacuated, and
all claims to sovereignty yielded by the Shah; and, whatever may be its
results,—whatever may be the verdict of history upon the policy of the
Persian War of 1856-1857, it will at least be recorded, that it had
not, like the war which I have endeavoured to chronicle, the foul stain
of injustice upon it.

Whether, as many now contend, a later and more terrible disaster owes
primarily its origin to our humiliating expulsion from Afghanistan,
it is not my duty to inquire. The calamity of 1842 was retribution
sufficient, without any conjectural additions, to stamp in indelible
characters upon the page of history, the great truth that the policy
which was pursued in Afghanistan was unjust, and that, therefore,
it was signally disastrous. It was, in principle and in act, an
unrighteous usurpation, and the curse of God was on it from the first.
Our successes at the outset were a part of the curse. They lapped us
in false security, and deluded us to our overthrow. This is the great
lesson to be learnt from the contemplation of all the circumstances of
the Afghan War—“The Lord God of recompenses shall surely requite.”




[_Book VII., chapter 1, pages 19, 20._]

On the 20th of November the Commander-in-Chief wrote to Lord Auckland:
“I purpose that H.M.’s 9th should proceed with the second army. This
corps is 900 and upwards strong, including serjeants and drummers.
The Buffs are somewhat nearer, but they have been nineteen and a-half
years out of England, and should be moved towards Calcutta for early
embarkation, especially as the 49th and 55th are so far out of reach.
The Buffs have now nearly 200 men in hospital. The right to join, which
the Court’s order gives to Major-General Sir Edmund Williams, may be
especially dispensed with by your Lordship, should you not choose to
give him the command. Sir Edmund is in very good health, a hale, strong
man—moreover, was Lieutenant-Colonel of a Light Infantry battalion of
Portuguese in the Peninsular war.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

On the 15th of December, Sir Jasper Nicolls wrote to Lord Auckland:
“I very much regret that the state of Major-General Lumley’s health
entirely forbids the hope of his being able to undertake the command of
the troops advancing to Peshawur. If, therefore, the force is raised
to six regiments, I shall order the Major-General Sir Edmund Williams
to join my camp by dawk, and push him forward, as soon as I shall have
furnished him with instructions, and armed him with all the information
and advice which the known state of affairs at his departure may seem
to require.”—[_Papers relating to Military Operations in Afghanistan._]

“In your Lordship’s letter of the 8th, you have, I think, given
a preference to General Nott, wherefore Sir E. Williams need not
be disturbed. To send him to Cawnpore merely to force his way to
Jellalabad and Caubul, and then return, giving over the command to a
junior officer, would, I think, be unfair. As to his holding the chief
command, it is a matter of no moment to me. The officer to command,
if your Lordship could find such a man, should be also the Envoy—a
Malcolm, Close, or Ochterlony.”—[_Sir Jasper Nicolls to Lord Auckland:
December 19, 1841. MS. Correspondence._] “Twice I laid before the
Governor-General the name of Major-General Sir Edmund Williams, and
as a Light Infantry officer he was deemed most qualified to meet an
enemy in a mountainous country; he was active, zealous, and in perfect
health. In the command of a division he had shown a clear judgment, and
given me satisfaction.... The Governor-General gave such an unwilling
and discouraging reply to my second communication, that I clearly
saw the whole onus of the appointment and its consequences would be
mine.”—[_Sir J. Nicolls to Lord Fitzroy Somerset: September 2, 1842.
MS. Correspondence._]

“In obedience to your Lordship’s wishes, that Major-General Lumley
should be placed in command of the force assembling at Peshawur, I
requested his attendance at my tent, and placed the despatch now
acknowledged (_Governor-General in Council to Sir J. Nicolls: December
15, 1841_) in his hands. The general is still very weak, though
improved in health; he is willing to proceed, but requested that his
medical adviser should be consulted as to his ability to undertake
such a service. Assistant-Surgeon Turner decidedly assured me that his
state of health would by no means admit of the required exertion and
exposure.”—[_Sir J. Nicolls to Government: December 24, 1841. Papers
relating to Military Operations in Afghanistan._]


[_Book VII., chapter 1, page 27._]

Lord Auckland’s private letters to the Commander-in-Chief exhibit
better than anything else the alternations in the Governor-General’s
opinions. On the 3rd of January he wrote: “It is melancholy to think
how mighty interests may be compromised by such errors as seem to have
been committed. Our officers are very wild in their requisitions. We
have given all that we can prudently give—perhaps even more; and the
chance of operations must be measured by those means.”—On the 5th of
January, after describing the tidings from Caubul as “inexplicable
as they are appalling,” and declaring that he “was prepared for
everything but for such misdirection and misconduct as seem to have
taken place,” he proceeded to say, “I can make no further suggestions
to you until I know more; but you may shortly have to consider what
instructions should be given to General Sale, and as to whether it may
not be better that he should fight down, than that Brigadier Wild or
General Pollock should fight up, the pass. This must greatly depend on
the manner in which matters may end at Caubul.”—On the 21st of the
same month he wrote, that he “still adhered to his opinion, that it
would be madness with such force and means of carriage, as we could
easily collect, to attempt a fresh advance upon Caubul; and that such
a movement would only have been justified, if we had been led to it
by objects of rescue. It would be my wish, if it could be done with
safety, that Jellalabad should be retained for some weeks, and until
the fate of the British troops in other parts of Afghanistan should be
ascertained.”—On the 26th he wrote: “I agree with you that, at least
so long at the fate of the force at Caubul is uncertain, the post as
Jellalabad must be maintained. I think it will be absolutely necessary,
under any circumstances, to maintain for a time a strong force at
Peshawur—also at Quettah and Sukkur. If our retirement carry with it a
general appearance of defeat and of flight, it will bring on Peshawur
and the Punjab—on Beloochistan and Sindh—a tide of aggression and
disaster which it may be difficult to stem, and against the chance of
which we must endeavour to guard.”—On the 28th, growing still more
convinced of the expediency of doing something for the recovery of our
lost honour, he wrote to the Commander-in-Chief, speaking first with
reference to the refusal of Sale and Macgregor to evacuate Jellalabad:
“We approve of the determination taken at Jellalabad not to withdraw
the troops as directed. Far from withdrawal, under such circumstances,
I am anxious to learn that Brigadier Wild has found it safe to advance
to Jellalabad.... Whatever happens beyond the passes, we should be
strong for a time in Peshawur.... For the present, at least, Jellalabad
should be firmly held;—General Elphinstone was not in a condition to
make stipulations, except for his own troops at Caubul.”—On the 3rd
of February he expressed his opinion that Jellalabad should be held
so long as there was a chance of assisting the escape of fugitives:
“I apprehend,” he added, “that its evacuation will, in a very short
time, become absolutely necessary; if so, the movement should not be
long delayed.” He expressed a doubt, too, whether, with the “force
that we can employ, the pass (Khybur) can be so occupied as to secure
through it a safe passage of detachments and convoys. A descent through
the Jugdulluck passes to Caubul is beyond our present power. It would
require vast exertions and months of preparation, and in the end
would be an enterprise of no light danger. I almost conceive that it
would be an impossible enterprise with any means that we could bring
to bear upon it, unless some party should separate from the present
combination, and then with what confidence should we render it? I have
therefore, in dissent from many for whom I have the highest respect,
earnestly wished that the force at Jellalabad could be safely and
creditably withdrawn to Peshawur.... I would not have it hastily retire
beyond Peshawur, or any healthy spot near it.... The post should be as
forward as it safely can be; and my successor could then pursue the
line of policy which he may think best. I would not have the government
inextricably pledged to measures which my successor may regard as rash,
impolitic, and ruinous.” But he soon came to modify these opinions
in favour of a forward position; and later on the same day wrote that
the disaffection of the Sikhs might cause him to alter his views with
regard to Peshawur: “I am coming fast to the opinion,” he said, “that
our furthest point of support in advance must be Ferozepore, and that
we must bear the disgrace and disadvantage of retiring to this frontier
with as little of loss as may now be ensured.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]


[_Book VII., chapter 1, page 27._]

  “Fort William, Jan. 31, 1842.

 “Intelligence having been received which leaves no room to doubt
 that, after the British force at Caubul had maintained its position
 against overpowering numbers of insurgents for more than six weeks,
 the officer commanding had judged it necessary, in consequence of a
 failure of provisions, to agree to a convention of the enemy, and
 to retire, in reliance on the faith of that convention, towards
 Jellalabad, when the troops, exposed to the worst rigours of cold
 and privation, in the mountain defiles, and harassed by treacherous
 attacks, suffered extreme disasters—the Governor-General in Council
 deems it proper to notify that the most active measures have been
 adopted, and will be steadfastly prosecuted, for expediting powerful
 reinforcements to the Afghan frontier, and for assisting such
 operations as may be required in that quarter, for the maintenance of
 the honour and interests of the British Government.

 “The ample military means at the disposal of the British Government
 will be strenuously applied to these objects, so as at once to support
 external operations, and to cause efficient protection for its
 subjects and allies.

 “A faithless enemy, stained by the foul crime of assassination, has,
 through a failure of supplies, followed by consummate treachery, been
 able to overcome a body of British troops, in a country removed, by
 distance and difficulties of season, from the possibility of succour.
 But the Governor-General in Council, while he most deeply laments
 the loss of the brave officers and men, regards this partial reverse
 only as a new occasion for displaying the stability and vigour
 of the British power, and the admirable spirit and valour of the
 British-Indian army.

 “By order of the Right Honourable the Governor-General of India in

  “T. H. Maddock.”


  [_Book VII., chapter 2, page 45._]



 I have the honour to acknowledge your Lordship’s letter of the 13th
 of June, calling upon me for an explanation of the appeal made to the
 General Commanding in Chief, by Major-General Sir Joseph Thackwell, in
 consequence of his not being permitted to accompany the regiment of
 which he is senior Colonel, on service beyond the Indus—I beg you will
 apprise his Lordship, that, in addition to the rule quoted by Sir J.
 Thackwell, the special appointment of Major-General Pollock prohibited
 his employment in Afghanistan.

 I shall explain the circumstances of that appointment.

 In December, 1841, the Governor-General of India in Council instructed
 me to place Major-General Lumley, of the Company’s army, in command of
 the reinforcements which passed through the Punjab in January last;
 and, in addition to the command of the whole force in Afghanistan,
 it was his Lordship’s intention to place in his hands the political
 control also.

 Major-General Lumley’s health was such as to preclude all hope, or
 even desire, that he should undertake so great a charge, and it
 became necessary that I should propose another officer for this
 important duty. Twice I laid before the Governor-General the name of
 Major-General Sir Edmund Williams; and as a Light Infantry officer
 he seemed most qualified to meet an enemy in a mountainous country:
 he was active, zealous, and in perfect health. In the command of a
 division he had shown a clear judgment, and given me satisfaction.

 I need not inform Lord Hill that the management of the native army,
 or of small portions of it, is a matter, at times, of delicacy
 and difficulty. It will not do to distrust or disparage it, as
 Colonel Monson did. The Governor-General gave such an unwilling and
 discouraging reply to my second communication, that I clearly saw
 the whole onus of the appointment and of its consequences would be
 mine. This I would not undertake, and Major-General Pollock being
 near at hand, and honoured by Lord Auckland’s confidence (as I know),
 I ordered him by dawk to join the 9th Foot and other corps. This
 done, Government was pleased to confer upon him the political powers
 intended for Major-General Lumley; without which Sir Edmund Williams
 would have had to act, not from himself, but according to requisitions
 made by the local political authorities—viz., Brevet-Captains
 Mackeson and M’Gregor. Upon the more abstract question of the
 Lieutenant-Colonelcy, it must be remarked that Sir Edmund Williams
 held that rank in the 9th Foot, which gave _him_ no claim to go to
 Afghanistan, though some officious friend has since asserted it.

 I had soon occasion to rejoice that Sir Edmund was not appointed to
 the command on my sole responsibility, for the four sepoy corps first
 sent, under Brigadier Wild, having been most sadly mismanaged (_at
 the instance of the political authorities, against my instructions
 and earnest caution_), when Major-General Pollock arrived at Peshawur
 he found 1800 men of the four regiments in hospital; the sepoys
 declaring that they would not advance again through the Khybur Pass;
 the Sikh troops spreading alarm, and in all ways encouraging and
 screening their desertion, which was considerable. It was well that
 a cautious, cool officer of the Company’s army should have to deal
 with them in such a temper, 363 miles from our frontier. General
 Pollock managed them exceedingly well, but he did not venture to
 enter the pass till April (two months and a-half after Brigadier
 Wild’s failure), when reinforced by the 3rd Dragoons, a regiment of
 cavalry, a troop of horse artillery, and other details. Lord Hill will
 at once perceive that the _morale_ must have been low when _horse
 artillery and cavalry_ were required to induce the General to advance,
 with confidence, through this formidable pass. Any precipitancy
 on the part of a general officer panting for fame might have had
 the worst effect. I must now return to Sir J. Thackwell’s appeal.
 The General Order, quoted very ingenuously by the Major-General,
 contains a full and complete reply to his complaint. He was senior
 to Major-General Pollock, and his proceeding with the 3rd Dragoons
 would have interfered with a divisional command. He certainly did
 offer to serve under that officer, but I could not recommend the
 government to suffer him to do so, all such arrangements being in my
 opinion most faulty in principle, and, depending chiefly on good
 temper, dangerous. I have since called up Sir Joseph Thackwell to my
 head-quarters, in order to command the cavalry, had it been necessary
 (as seemed possible) last winter to collect an army. The Major-General
 is in error when he states that I intended him to command an army of
 observation on the Sutlej: that post I retained for myself, aided
 by Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Arbuthnot. In November next it is
 proposed to collect an army of reserve in this vicinity, and Sir J.
 Thackwell will have the command of the cavalry. I cannot have the
 smallest objection to the Major-General’s bringing himself to Lord
 Hill’s notice as he has done, except the infraction of a rule in doing
 so direct. But if he had remembered that he commanded the cavalry of
 Lord Keane’s army; had been twice named by me for similar duty; has
 long been a Brigadier commanding a division or station; he would have
 found little cause to complain of ill-fortune or neglect. I have known
 many of Her Majesty’s officers, Colonels and old Lieutenant-Colonels,
 to reside ten to fifteen years in India without having had any such
 opportunities of service and distinction, and, further, to command
 divisions without receiving the smallest remuneration.

  I have the honour, &c.

  (Signed)   J. NICOLLS.

 P.S.—I am happy to say that the Governor-General has displaced all the
 minor political agents in Afghanistan but one, and entrusted the power
 to the Generals Pollock and Nott.

 J. N.

 Simlah, _2nd Sept., 1842_.

  [_MS. Records._]


[_Book VII., chapter 2, pages 51, 52._]

  Jellalabad, Feb. 14th, 1842.


 Captain Macgregor’s cossids yesterday brought me the information of
 your arrival at Peshawur, and of full military and political powers
 in Afghanistan being vested in you. I lose no time in sending such
 a view of the state of this garrison as may enable you to form your
 own opinion on the necessity of moving to its relief. Nous avons des
 provisionnemens pour les soldats Britanniques pour soixante-dix
 jours, pour les Sipahis et les autres natifs demi-provisionnemens pour
 le même temps, et pour les chevaux de la cavalerie et l’artillerie
 de large pour vingt-cinq jours. Autant que nous pouvons renvoyer nos
 parties pour la fourrage, nous ne manquerons cela pour la cavalerie,
 mais nous serons entièrement privé de cette ressource après le premier
 jour d’investissement. A présent nous n’avons de fourrage que pour
 trente jours pour tous les animaux. Les chevaux d’artillerie et les
 yaboos des sapeurs sont de ce pays et mangent seulement boozeut
 kurlise. Nous manquons beaucoup aussi des munitions de guerre, plomb,

 When our animals can no longer be sustained by corn or forage only,
 we must of course destroy them. The hospitals are ill supplied with
 medicines, and much sickness may be apprehended when the weather grows
 hot. At present the health of the garrison is excellent. We have no
 prospect of adding to our resources above detailed even if we had
 money, which we have not. The country possesses abundance of supplies,
 of which the presence of a force would give us command.

 Mahomed Akbar is at Cherbyl, in the Lughman district, and threatens
 an attack; and we may, in about fifteen days, though I think not
 sooner, be invested by a large force from Caubul, with a considerable

  Believe me to be, my dear General,
  Yours very truly,
  RT. SALE, M.-G.

 P.S.—I shall view la perte of my cavalry, should such occur, with
 much sorrow, as from their successes against the enemy they have
 acquired a confidence in themselves, and contempt for their enemies,
 which feeling is equally participated in by the rest of the troops.
 As I cannot now get an opportunity to send you a return, I give a
 memorandum:—Cavalry, effective, deux cents quarante-un; malade,
 vingt-un. Artillerie, effective, un cent soixante-onze; malade,
 quarante-onze. Sapeurs, effective, trois cents quatre; malade,
 quarante-cinq. Infanterie Britannique, effective, sept cents dix-neuf;
 malade, trente. Sipahis, effective, huit cents trente-huit; malade,

 _February 16._—Hier Mahomed Akbar a passe la rivière, et a pris
 position sur ce côté près de dix milles de cette ville. On dit qu’il a
 des soldats de tous armes et quatre pièces de canon. On peut voir son
 camp d’ici.

  R. SALE.

 _February 16._—I have received this morning yours of the 9th instant.
 S’ils n’envoyent pas des canons de siège de Caubul, _peut-être_ je
 puis maintenir ma position dans cette ville pour le temps que vous
 avez écrit; mais si une force avec les pièces (que nous avons perdu)
 arriveront ici, ce sera impossible, et avant cette époque nos chevaux
 moureront de faim. Il sera bien difficile et incertain de vous donner
 avis de mon intention de retirer, parce qu’à ce moment Mahomed Akbar
 est près avec une force de deux milles hommes (qui s’augmente jour par
 jour), et à présent ses patrouilles et videttes parcourent tout le

  RT. SALE, M.-G.


[_Book VII., chapter 3, page 67._]

Sale and Macgregor were both writing to Pollock when this event
occurred. I subjoin their letters:—

 Jellalabad, February 19th, 1842.

 * * * A l’égard à mon pouvoir de maintenir ma position ici, j’ai
 déjà vous donné avis de tous mes moyens et ressource. Je n’ai pas
 rien de craindre de la force à présent avec Akbar Khan, même si il
 est joint par tous les colors de Ningraher; mais je veux bien que
 vous vous comprenez que nos parapets ne sont pas assez forts pour
 résister les bouts de canon, et il est sujet de doubte si nous pouvons
 résister une siège pour peu de temps si l’ennemi envoyent des pièces
 de siège de Caubul; et en aucune cas les chevaux de la cavalerie et
 de l’artillerie comme les yaboos et les chameaux après vingt-cinq
 jours periront. Cette époque le rendre impossible pour nous à vous
 ajouter dans aucun plan de retraite que vous voudrais; et de plus il
 sera impossible communiquer avec vous au moment que je me trouverais
 au point d’être écrassé (overwhelmed) par une force irrésistible. En
 perdant las yaboos et les chameaux, qui sont absolument nécessaire
 pour les travaux de la fortification, je perd aussi tous mes moyens de
 transporter mes malades et les munitions de guerre, sans laquelle il
 ne faut pas contempler une retraite. J’ai extrême.... Soixante-huite
 chameaux et _cinq trente neuf_ yaboos. Ces circonstances me semble de
 demander que votre avance à notre secours sera prompt—the only means
 of securing the avowed object of government, _i.e._, the relief of the
 troops who have so long defended Jellalabad. After writing the above,
 the dreadful earthquake of this day a fait tomber deux bastions, et
 plusieurs autres sont culles—une brèche de côté de Peshawur dans les
 murs et beaucoup des maisons (casèmees) aussi. Sans doute l’ennemi
 prend avantage de cet calamité. Nous travaillons sans cesse de réparer
 le dedommage.

  Believe me to be, my dear General, yours, very truly,
  R. SALE, M.-Genrl.

[_MS. Records._—I give the postscript to this letter in a note,
though of no historical importance,[351] as I cannot deny myself the
pleasure of quoting a tribute to the worth of one whom I am proud
to recognise as a fellow-labourer in the field of Afghan history:
“P.S.—Understanding from the 3rd para. of the letter from the
Adjutant-Gen. that the authority of Major-Gen. Elphinstone has ceased,
I venture to mention to you that Captain Havelock, 13th L.I., was
appointed in general orders Persian Interpreter to the M.-General,
so long as he continued to command in Afghanistan. He was by his
permission, however, attached to me from the period of my force leaving
Caubul, and I have received from him very valuable assistance in every
way throughout our operations, as I have already intimated in public
despatches. I trust you will pardon my undertaking to say, that if
you would be pleased to re-appoint him to the same situation under
yourself, I feel persuaded that his local experience would render
him most useful to you. In the meantime, I have nominated him Per.
Intr. to myself, subject to confirmation, as I cannot, under present
circumstances, dispense with his services. Be good enough to make this
known also to H. E. the C. in C.”]

  Jellalabad, February 19th, 1842.


  * * * Since I commenced writing to you, we have been visited by a
 very severe earthquake, which has in a great measure demolished two
 or three of our bastions, and nearly the whole of the parapet of the
 ramparts, to raise which cost the troops more than a couple of months
 of hard labour. A number of houses in the town have been thrown down
 by the shock, and the small court-yard attached to the house in which
 the General and myself reside, is filled with the rubbish of a number
 of out-offices which fell crashing at our feet, we having sought
 the centre of the yard as a place of safety. It was with difficulty
 we could preserve our footing, so great was the undulating motion
 of the ground we stood upon. Our dwelling-house seemed to heave to
 and fro, as if it would topple on us. I have not heard of more than
 two or three persons who have been killed by the falling houses or
 walls. Colonel Monteith was buried up to the neck; but he has not, I
 believe, sustained any serious injury. If this town had been seriously
 bombarded for a month, I don’t think it could have suffered more
 than at present. God grant that we may not have to witness anything
 so fearful again. I feel still giddy, although the earthquake took
 place a couple of hours ago. It is to be expected that on the enemy
 discovering the damage which our defences have sustained, they will be
 encouraged to attack us.

 Gold mohurs and bootkees would be of use to us, but I fear that
 Mackeson would find it impracticable to send them to us in safety.

 Captain Bygrave is alive, and with Mahomed Akbar Khan. Captain Souter,
 44th Regiment, is also there. He saved the Queen’s colour of his
 regiment by rolling it round his waist, and he writes that a shot
 struck him there, and the colour saved his life.

  Believe me, very truly yours,


[_Book VII., chapter 3, page 72._]

[The following is the correspondence to which reference is made in the

  Jellalabad, March 8th, 1842, 9 P.M.


 I had the pleasure of receiving a few hours ago yours of the 26th
 ultimo. I must confess that its contents have deeply disappointed me,
 since I gather from it that it is not your intention to advance to
 my succour until you shall have been reinforced by the brigade which
 you expect to reach Peshawur on the 22nd instant. Now, independently
 of other considerations, Macgregor will inform you that he yesterday
 got a Dust-i-Khat from the Shah’s Durbar at Caubul, demanding
 categorically our evacuation of this place. He referred the King and
 his councillors to you, and their next measure will probably be to
 march an overwhelming force against us, aided by our captured iron
 nine-pounders. I have reiterated in several letters the fact that
 mes mains ne sont pas assez forts pour résister tel artillerie, and
 therefore desire to make you once more fully aware of the risk, if not
 certainty, of our being overpowered if your advance to our support is
 not sufficiently prompt to anticipate this movement of our enemies.
 The responsibility, therefore, of such a result, will now rest
 entirely upon you, and not on me. Money is not now of the slightest
 use to me, Mahomed Akbar having established a most rigid blockade,
 which effectually prevents all supplies from reaching us. Our foraging
 parties are also daily attacked.

  Believe me to be, my dear General, yours sincerely,

 P.S.—As I remark that your letter does not contain any distinct avowal
 of an intention of advancing even when your reinforcements reach
 you, I shall be obliged, for the sake of this garrison, if you will
 specifically inform me when it is probable I may calculate on its
 being relieved.[352]

At the same time Macgregor despatched another letter of a similar
tendency, and to this letter Pollock replied:

  March 12th, 1842.


 I will write you a very short note in reference to yours and Sale’s of
 the 8th. It must no doubt appear to you and Sale most extraordinary
 that, with the force I have here, I do not at once move on. God knows
 it has been my anxious wish to do so, but I have been helpless. I came
 on ahead to Peshawur to arrange for an advance, but was saluted with a
 report of 1900 sick, and a bad feeling among the Sepoys. I visited the
 hospital, and endeavoured to encourage by talking to them, but they
 _had no heart_. I hoped that when the time came they would go. This,
 however, I could not write to you or Sale in _ink_, either in English
 or French. On the 1st instant the feeling on the part of the Sepoys
 broke out; and I had the mortification of knowing that the Hindoos, of
 four out of five native corps, refused to advance. I immediately took
 measures to sift the evil, and gradually a reaction has taken place,
 in the belief that I will wait for reinforcements. This has caused me
 the utmost anxiety on your account. Your situation is never out of my
 thoughts; but having told you what I have, you and Sale will at once
 see that necessity alone has kept me here.

 I have sent five expresses to hurry on the first division of the next
 brigade. It consists of the 3rd Dragoons, a troop of Horse Artillery,
 1st Light Cavalry, the 33rd N.I., and two companies of the 6th N.I.,
 all fresh and without a taint. I really believe that if I were to
 attempt to move on now without the reinforcement, the four regiments
 implicated would, as far as the Hindoos are concerned, stand fast.
 Pray, therefore, tell me, without the least reserve, the latest day
 you can hold out. If I could, I would tell you the day when I expect
 reinforcements, but I cannot. I may, however, I believe with safety
 say, that they will arrive by the end of this month.

 The case, therefore, now stands thus:—Whether I am to attempt with
 my present materials to advance, and to risk the appearance of
 disaffection or cowardice, which in such a case could not again be
 got over, or wait the arrival of a reinforcement, which will make all
 sure. This is the real state of the case. If I attempted now, it might
 risk you altogether; but if you can hold out, the reinforcements would
 make your relief as certain as any earthly thing can be.

 Our only object in going to Jellalabad is to relieve you and bring you
 back with us to this; but it is necessary that this should be kept a
 profound secret.

  I am, &c. &c.


To this Sale replied:

  Jellalabad, 23rd March, 1842.


 Yesterday arrived yours of the 12th instant addressed jointly to
 Captain Macgregor and myself. I have only, in reply thereto, to say
 that in my last I informed you definitively that I would, by God’s
 blessing, hold this place to the 31st instant, by which time you
 acquainted me that you could arrive at Jellalabad with the dragoons.
 You now state to me your expectation that they will only reach your
 present encampment by that date. Our European soldiers are now on
 two-thirds of their rations of salt meat, and this the commissariat
 supply; on the 4th proximo that part of the force will then be without
 meat, notwithstanding every arrangement to lessen the consumption.
 I have this day directed all the camels to be destroyed, with the
 view of preserving the _boosa_ for the horses of the cavalry and
 artillery; and these valuable animals cannot receive any rations of
 grain whatever after the 1st proximo, but must be subsisted entirely
 on _boosa_ and grass, if the latter can be procured.

  Believe me to be, yours sincerely,
  R. SALE.[353]


[_Book VII., chapter 3, page 77._]

On the 10th of February Mr. Clerk wrote to the Government Secretary:
“There seems to have been no good reason for the delay of Rajah Gholab
Singh in crossing the Attock, unless he really feared a collision
with the Nujeeb battalions, encamped on the other side. But for the
Rajah’s apparent reluctance immediately to undertake to co-operate
in the Khybur Pass, there may be better grounds. These may be either
an apprehension of his inability to oppose the enemy there; or, as
supposed by Captain Lawrence, a want of incentive to exertion—or both
these causes may retard his movements. In regard to the former, the
presence of the large body of British troops assembling at Peshawur
will encourage him. With respect to the latter, I should be glad to be
provided with the instructions of government.”—[_MS. Records._]

Writing again, on the 13th of February, he says: “In regard to the
means of inducing zealous co-operation on the part of the Sikh troops,
I do not think that the expectations of Captains Mackeson and Lawrence
are quite reasonable, or the almost indefinite extent of proposed
reward judicious, or the direct negotiation with the Jummoo Rajahs
for their immediate aggrandisement honourable.... It would not be
compatible with the friendship long subsisting between the British
Government and the Lahore Government, now to assign suddenly and
directly to the Jummoo Rajahs any territories as a compensation for
services demanded of the Sikh Durbar. This would be precipitating the
decline of a power which it may be soon expedient to prop, both against
Afghans and Jummooees.”—[_MS. Records._] But though Mr. Clerk thought,
at this time, that it would not be honourable openly to treat with the
Jummoo Rajahs for the transfer of Jellalabad, he was not unwilling to
place it permanently in their hands by a stroke of _finesse_. I confess
that I cannot see very distinctly how the course suggested by Mr. Clerk
is so much more “honourable,” and “compatible with friendship,” than
that suggested by Captains Mackeson and Lawrence.


[_Book VII., chapter 4, page 84._]

After alluding to the defence of Jellalabad, and the probability that
the Peshawur force would immediately advance to its relief, General
Pollock said: “Success in relieving these troops will raise for this
force the admiration and gratitude of all India, and the Major-General
commanding feels assured that officers and men will cheerfully make
any sacrifices to attain so noble an object. He therefore now calls
upon the Brigadiers to assemble the commanding officers under their
orders, and determine on the least quantity of baggage and the smallest
number of camp-followers with which their regiments can advance. The
success of this enterprise will greatly depend upon the quantity of
baggage taken, as from the nature of the country between Peshawur and
Jellalabad, the line most consistent with safety must be as little
incumbered as possible. The Major-General commanding trusts that the
confidence he feels in the troops will be repaid by their confidence
in him. The soldiers may rest assured that his thoughts are constantly
engaged in ensuring their provisions and securing their comforts, and
they may be convinced they will never be called upon by him to make
useless sacrifices, or to undergo unnecessary hardships. Arrangements
will be made for placing such baggage as may be left behind in perfect
security at Peshawur.”


[_Book VII., chapter 4, pages 87, 88._]

[The following are the rules laid down for the guidance of commanding
officers, to which allusion is made in the text.]

       *       *       *       *       *

1. A bugler or trumpeter to be attached to each commanding-officer of a
party or detachment of the several columns.

2. Whenever an obstacle presents itself, or accident occurs, of a
nature to impede the march of any part of either of the columns, and
occasions a break in its continuity, the officer in command nearest to
the spot will order the halt to be sounded, which will be immediately
repeated by the other buglers, and the whole will halt till the removal
of the difficulty enables the columns to proceed in their established
order, when the signal to advance will be given.

3. The baggage-master will superintend the placing of the baggage, &c.,
in the order prescribed, and the Major-General commanding requests that
commanding-officers will use their best exertions to facilitate this
important object. The quarter-master of each corps will see that the
baggage of his regiment is placed in its proper position in the column,
and an officer from each is to be appointed to the duty.

4. No private guards are to be allowed. The parties of cavalry and
infantry, allotted at intervals in the line of march, are to be the
only troops attending it.

5. The officers entrusted with the command of the parties which are
to flank the rear-guard on the heights, must give their most vigilant
attention to the important duty of preventing their men from hurrying
in advance of it; its rear must never be left exposed to fire from the

6. The troops to be told off on their regimental parades, as above
detailed, and marched at the appointed hour to their respective posts.

7. The force will march to Jumrood to-morrow morning, in the order
above prescribed. The general to beat at four, and the assembly at five

8. The baggage and camp-followers of each corps are to be kept with
their respective regiments till notice is given by the baggage-master
that they are required to take their places in the column.[354]

  Camp Jumrood, 4th April, 1842.

 The force to be under arms to-morrow morning at half-past three
 o’clock, ready to move forward, at which time all the treasure,
 ammunition, baggage, &c., will be moved to the low ground to the
 right front of the hills now occupied by picquets. No fires are to be
 lighted on any account; no drums to beat, or bugles to be sounded.
 The six companies of the 60th Regiment, and six companies of the
 33rd Regiment, will remain with the baggage, in the vicinity of the
 treasure and ammunition. The parties for crowning the heights, under
 the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor and Major Anderson, will move
 forward to the hill on the right of the pass. The parties for the
 same duty, under the command of Major Huish and Lieutenant-Colonel
 Moseley, will in like manner move forward to the hill on the left.
 Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor’s party will be accompanied by the
 Irregulars who lately garrisoned Ali-Musjid.

 Captain Ferris’s jezailchees will accompany the left advancing party.

 When the heights have been crowned on both hills, four companies
 of the 9th Foot, the eight companies of the 26th, under
 Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor and Major Huish, also the jezailchees, under
 Captain Ferris, will descend the hills to be in readiness to enter the

 Six horse-artillery guns, four from the foot-artillery, with the two
 mountain guns, will be drawn up in battery opposite the pass.

 The advance guard, seven companies of the 30th, and seven companies of
 the 53rd, will accompany the guns.

 The whole of the cavalry will be so placed by Brigadier White, that
 any attempt at an attack from the low hills on the right may be
 frustrated. When the baggage, &c., is directed to advance, the same
 order of march will be preserved as was formerly prescribed, with
 the following alteration: Six companies of the 60th N.I. will be
 together on the right, and six companies of the 33rd, now arrived,
 will follow the 53rd N.I. When the rear of the column is entering the
 pass, the two rear companies of Lieutenant-Colonel Moseley’s and Major
 Anderson’s parties should descend the hills.

  G. PONSONBY, Capt., A. A. General.[355]


[_Book VII., chapter 4, page 98._]

  Secret Department, Benares, 21st April.

 The Governor-General feels assured that every subject of the British
 Government will peruse with the deepest interest and satisfaction the
 report he now communicates of the entire defeat of the Afghan troops,
 under Mahomed Akbar Khan, by the garrison of Jellalabad.

 That illustrious garrison, which, by its constancy in enduring
 privation, and by its valour in action, has already obtained for
 itself the sympathy and respect of every true soldier, has now,
 sallying forth from its walls, under the command of its gallant
 leader, Major-General Sir Robert Sale, thoroughly beaten in open field
 an enemy of more than three times its numbers, taken the standards of
 their boasted cavalry, destroyed their camp, and recaptured four guns,
 which, under circumstances which can never again occur, had during the
 last winter fallen into their hands.

 The Governor-General cordially congratulates the army upon the return
 of victory to its ranks. He is convinced that there, as in all former
 times, it will be found, while, as at Jellalabad, the European and
 Native troops mutually supporting each other, and evincing equal
 discipline and valour, are led into action by officers in whom they
 justly confide.

 The Governor-General directs that the substance of this notification,
 and of Major-General Sir Robert Sale’s report, be carefully made known
 to all troops, and that a salute of twenty-one guns be fired at every
 principal station of the army.


[_Book VII., chapter 5, page 104, et seq._]

The letters of John Conolly written at this time afford a sufficiently
clear insight into the state of parties at Caubul. On the 17th of
January he wrote to Macgregor: “The accounts of our most ill-fated
force become more distressing every day. Hundreds of Sepoys, wounded,
frost-bitten, starving, and naked, come into the city. The Oosbegs
buy many, and some find their way to us, and are relieved in the
hospital, which is now crowded to excess; and the poor wretches are
dying off fast. That villain, Ameen-oollah, is evidently anxious that
the sick should die, for he will not assist them in any way, nor attend
in the least to our repeated requests for assistance. The Newab is
so completely in the hands of the Naib that he cannot afford us any
relief. The Afghans are very sanguine in the expectation of assistance
and co-operation of the Sikhs, and talk in court of Sultan Mahomed
having received instructions from the Durbar to do our force as much
injury as possible, and that Shere Singh has an understanding with
them to prevent our force re-entering the country. You must be aware
whether there is any foundation for these reports.... This morning the
Newab, attended by Ameen-oollah and all the chiefs, went to pay their
respects to the King in the Balla Hissar. The King has paid two lakhs
of rupees already, and has promised one more in ten days. The Newab is
Minister—Ameen-oollah, Naib; and oaths and protestations have been
taken on the Koran that they are to be friends to each other, and
supporters of the true faith. The Newab abuses the King most loudly and
openly. The King does the same with the whole family of the Barukzyes.
Ameen-oollah Khan has sworn eternal faith to the cause of his
Majesty—bares his head and swears most solemn oaths in the Musjids to
uphold the Newab’s dignity against the King and all the royal family.
His Majesty has sent me several messages, saying that he submits to the
extortion of the three lakhs because he is not strong enough to oppose
the demand; but that, _Inshallah!_ when he has received the salaam of
the chiefs, he will gain power daily, and be able, should our troops
come on, to play his own game with advantage to himself and ourselves.
I believe that he is heart and soul in our interest; and it appears
contrary to all reason to suppose otherwise. The measures which obliged
the Newab to resign his throne are, I believe—1st. The dread of our
vengeance, which the people think the King can in some way avert, if a
force is sent strong enough to shut out all hope of opposition. 2nd.
The dread of Akbar’s rising power. 3rd. The suspicions of the fidelity
of their own party, who had shown symptoms of disaffection, and some
of whom had openly espoused the cause of his Majesty. Such a condition
cannot, I should think, last long between such Yorks and Lancasters.
There is one thing very certain, that unless a very large force is
sent up, which will preclude all hope of opposition, every man in the
country will rise against us; and the people in the vicinity of Caubul
have so compromised themselves, and dread our vengeance so much, that
they will strain every nerve to oppose us, and may be his Majesty will
feel that his safest plan is to join his countrymen against us. He said
at the Durbar this morning that he was glad that affairs had taken such
a turn, and that he was now able to call himself defender of the faith.
This much could not have been avoided under the circumstances....
We are amused all day long by abuse and scurrilous verses about the
Kaffirs. Books are being sold by the weight. I have not yet been able
to get hold of the children—most exorbitant prices are demanded. The
Newab promises, but has not the power to fulfil. Salutes are being
fired, and there is a general rejoicing in honour of the coalition
between the two Kings. Artillerymen are being sent to Akbar.”—[_MS.

On the 24th of January, John Conolly wrote: “The King holds Durbar
regularly, at which all the chiefs attend. He pretends to have shaken
off all connection with our government, but secretly sends me messages,
professing all sincerity and attachment. There is much talk of a large
force being sent to oppose the army which is said to be advancing from
Hindostan; but money is wanting; the religious feeling against us
continues very strong, and the chiefs have compromised themselves so
much, that they will rise to a man, unless an overpowering force is
sent. The Newab’s kindness is beyond description, and he professes,
and I believe sincerely feels, great anxiety to secure the friendship
of our government. He is most deeply distressed at the treacherous
conduct of the chiefs. We are quite ignorant of the intentions
of government. Mohamed Akbar is continually writing for guns and
ammunition; but not a man can be induced to march without pay, and
every one is jealous of Akbar Khan’s rising power. The Barukzye faction
of his party view each other with great suspicion. Ameen-oollah is the
go-between. Akbar Khan is procuring all the money he can by extortion
from Sourkars and others.”—[_MS. Correspondence_.] This was interlined
invisibly on the advice of a bill drawn by Major Pottinger on the
Ferozepore treasury, and was produced on the application of iodyne
to the paper. On the same day Lieutenant Conolly wrote to Mr. Clerk:
“The King is obliged to talk of sending troops to oppose us at the
Khybur; but he declares secretly to me his sincerity for the British
Government. The chiefs talk of collecting an army, but the sinews
of war are wanting.... Thanks to the Newab, we are safe; but it has
more than once been proposed that we should be killed.... Since our
troops left this, the King has been recognised by the Newab and the
rebel chiefs on the payment of three lakhs of rupees to the Newab and
Ameen-oollah Khan. The former is Vizier; the latter deputy. The Newab
is most anxious to serve our government. He has not been in any way
concerned in the treacherous conduct to our troops. His kindness and
attention to us is great, and he is sincerely anxious to establish
a friendship with the British Government—being afraid of the King
and Mohamed Akbar, and disgusted with the conduct of the chiefs, who
deceived him with oaths and protestations. Great excitement prevails
in the town; the feeling against us continues very strong, and every
man will oppose our re-entering the country, unless a force is sent
which will preclude all hope of successful opposition.”—[_MS.

On the 15th of February Conolly wrote to Macgregor: “Since my former
notes, the latest of which was dated the 10th, affairs have assumed
a very different aspect. Naib Ameen-oollah, having given up the guns
entrusted to his charge, has shaken the confidence of the Barukzye
party in his (the Naib’s) sincerity, and exposed the King’s ultimate
designs of making himself strong and independent of, if not inimical
to, the Newab’s clique. Yesterday the Naib called on the Newab, on the
part of his Majesty, to send his guns to the Balla Hissar. His demand
was directly refused; and the Newab declared his determination of not
again attending the Durbar until his Majesty gave proofs of confidence
and honesty. This morning Fuzil-i-Almud, son of Kasee Hussun, brought
an order from his Majesty that I should wait upon him; but I declined
the honour in this instance, as I had done before, feeling that no good
could come from an interview, ignorant as I am of the intentions of
government and of your wishes, and having been, moreover, frequently
warned against moving out of our present residence. I gathered from
the Kasee’s son, that his Majesty was forming a party in opposition to
the Barukzye faction, the principal characters being Ameen-oollah, the
Populzye, many of the Kuzzilbash, and some of the Caubul chiefs. You
will perceive among his partisans the chief conspirators in the late
rebellion, Ameen-oollah, Abdool Salam, and Sekundur,—men who have
nothing to hope for at our hands. I presume the first demand made by
our government will be the persons of these chiefs, who planned and
were most conspicuous in the late revolution; and if the information
I have alluded to be correct, his Majesty may object to give up the
chiefs. But these are matters for future consideration; and should his
Majesty be disinclined to use his utmost endeavours for the furtherance
of the wishes of government, such unwillingness must, of course, be
regarded as hostility. It is generally believed and asserted throughout
the town, that his Majesty instigated the late rebellion. I have never
been able to prove the accusation, though I cannot but think that his
Majesty was, directly or indirectly, the cause of the revolution. When
you know the intentions of government, you will be able to see your
way more clearly. I would, however, suggest that his Majesty be made
to understand, either from yourself or through me, that he must either
meet our wishes or go his own road. Things are so very unsettled here
just now, that the most learned cannot foretell the events of the
morrow. All eyes are turned upon you. The evacuation of Jellalabad will
have the worst possible effect. Every one here has turned soldier and
the people are in a high state of excitement, and hungering after pay,
which is not forthcoming. Our host has assembled a regiment of 1000
bayonets, 1000 horsemen, some Jezailchees, and a park of twelve guns,
the ammunition for which, by the Meerza’s return yesterday, amounted
to about thirty shot, and no cartridges. There must be some serious
disturbance ere long. We are very anxious about the sick, which we fear
will be sacrificed in any popular tumult. For ourselves, we must trust
to Providence; should things come to the worst, we shall try and escape
to your stronghold.—P.S. We have just heard that a change of ministry
has been proposed by his Majesty, and likely to be effected, Oosman
Khan to be acting premier, and the Newab to be a sleeping partner.

“15th, P.M., 10 o’clock.—To-day there has been a noisy debate between
the Newab and Ameen-oollah, the former abusing the latter in rather
round terms. The Naib left the room in a huff, and things are as
unsettled as can be. The Newab says he won’t give up his guns, or
go to the Durbar: and insists upon ... his Majesty pursuing the
non-interference system to which he is bound by the terms of his
treaty. There is nothing but Nifag: everybody suspects his neighbour;
everything is in capital trim for us if our army advances; I only wait
your authority to spend a little money, and above all a guarantee
to our host of a handsome provision if he sides with us, or stands
neutral—for he is a most worthy and honest old gentleman, and had no
hand in the late melancholy occurrences. Ghoolam Mahomed Khan has also
kept aloof from the late rebellion. There is a report that Palmer has
broken up the treaty, and is again besieged in the Balla Hissar. He
writes for orders, which kindly send with all expedition. For God’s
sake beware of Mahomed Akbar.”

In a letter of March 5th, the same writer says: “Futteh Jung (Shah
Soojah’s son) has gone out yesterday to join Akbar. Things are very
unsettled here still, and the Kohistanees are fighting amongst
themselves. The Newab is still treating us with the greatest kindness.
He has enlisted about 3000 men, principally for our protection, and is
determined to fight rather than give us up. The Naib here has been
trying to get us, and has a strong party of Sepoys enlisted also. The
Newab asked me yesterday if, when his money is out, we shall be able
to assist him, as he only has sufficient ready cash to pay his men for
one month and a half more. Can you authorise me to make him an advance
when his money fails? For, as I said before, his entertaining troops
is almost entirely on our account. He would be safe enough were we not
his guests. In the meantime he has bought ammunition, and got his guns
ready in case of an attack.”

And in another letter of the same date: “The bearer will be able to
tell you all the news. I have written to you several times, but have
received no acknowledgment of my letters. Always try solution of iodyne
on my notes.... We are very kindly treated by the Newab, but close
prisoners. Ameen-oollah has tried stratagem and threats to get us out
of the Newab’s hands, with a view of screwing us; but, thanks to the
Newab, we are as yet safe, though our situation is an unpleasant one.
The King is sitting in the Balla Hissar; but his authority is only
nominal, all power being in the hands of Ameen-oollah. Prince Futteh
Jung has started with a few horsemen towards Jellalabad, and will
probably halt for some days at Bootkak. The King sends me occasionally
messages professing sincerity for the British Government; but he does
not, in his present circumstances, do anything which would lead his
subjects to suspect his attachment to us, or the whole population would
rise up against him.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]


[_Book VII., chapter 5, page 108._]

[Containing the King’s version of the causes and circumstances of our
disasters at Caubul, and throwing some light upon his own character
and conduct, the unpublished letters of Shah Soojah are sufficiently
curious and interesting to induce me to insert a few of them in this
place. It is important also to consider their bearing upon some of the
events recorded in the chapter on the Defence of Jellalabad.]


(_Received January 21st, 1842._)

 Let it be known to Captain Macgregor: you are aware of all that has
 occurred here. Notwithstanding all I said regarding the treachery of
 these men, they (the British) did not understand, but were guided by
 the advice of my enemies—that is, the Barukzyes—until arrived at
 this pitch. The clans of the Barukzyes had this object, that suspicion
 and ill-will should exist between the British and me. To the British
 they said, that I had instigated the rebellion; and to the Mahomedans
 they said, that I and the Feringhees were one, until they made me
 generally unpopular. Well; such was fated! It has caused me much grief
 and regret. God grant this wish of my heart, that the fate of Sir
 William Macnaghten and Mr. Trevor and the other gentlemen may befall
 my enemies! I frequently desired them, on the first outbreak of the
 rebellion, to bring everything into the Balla Hissar, which is a place
 of strength. They did not listen to my advice. I then begged them to
 endeavour to gain time—that when I could arrange matters with these
 men (Afghans) all would be well. During the time that I was besieged,
 I expended all that I had collected with so much labour, until I
 brought every one of influence over to my side by payment. Please God
 they may remain faithful to me!

 No one but myself could manage these people (Afghans) and carry on
 the government. My sincerity and friendship to the East India Company
 was formerly well known: at present it is as evident to all the world
 as the light of day. If I had only some treasure, that during the two
 or three remaining months of winter I might strengthen myself, please
 God there is no one in this country who could displace me, and, by
 the blessing of God, everything would be arranged according to my
 desire. The men here are not to be won without money. God grant this
 wish of my heart! Before this I spent four lakhs of rupees in this
 affair, and I also gave two lakhs more; I have nothing else left. If
 some money could be received that I might win over these men, please
 God everything could be arranged according to my desire. It is to be
 hoped, as you will see, that in a few months I could collect horse and
 foot so that no one could stir. God grant this wish of my heart!

 The bearer of this will verbally inform you of all other
 circumstances. It is advisable that you should send this paper to
 Peshawur, or even to the Governor-General. And send me an answer
 to this speedily. Whenever you hear of the arrival of this paper at
 Peshawur, be good enough to let me know, that I may feel sure of its
 having passed out of this country; because the evil-disposed are
 spreading reports that I am united to the Feringhees. Until I have
 gained my proper footing, it is necessary that, for some time, money
 should be sent to enable me to manage matters. When I have succeeded
 in establishing my power, I shall not require assistance from any one.
 Everything will be easy. Don’t let the men of this country know these
 things. Afterwards, whatever may be desirable for my good and for
 yours, God will grant. And God grant this wish of my heart! The bearer
 will tell you how matters stand. Whenever money has been received and
 I have reinstated myself, I shall have these people so much under my
 control, that if I order it they will carry the shoes of the Sahibs on
 their own heads.—[_MS. Records_].


(_Without date, brought on the 2nd of February, by a messenger fifteen
days from Caubul._)

 Be it known to my friend that I am King, and know the people well. It
 is right to treat people according to their deserts; some by kindness,
 others by severity.

 Some evil-disposed persons, from fear of me, took refuge with Sir W.
 Macnaghten and Sir A. Burnes, and I could say nothing to them; they
 stirred up strife.

 During the last two or three years I considered the Sahibs, and
 especially the Envoy, whom I valued more than my life, as my equals;
 without their pleasure I did nothing.

 It was God’s will I should see what I would have wished not to have
 seen. May no other have such experiences.

 Could it have been my wish to see my enemies and their families in the
 place of my friends?

 Once or twice I wrote to you to send a person to inquire and inform
 you of the state of things in this country; but it was not done.

 For two or three years I consoled the people, who told me if I was
 not King, they should understand it was the Feringhee; and they (the
 former) told me that when I came they expelled Dost Mahomed, but
 that I had disappointed them; that now their women left them, their
 country was lost; and, although at first they received pay, even that
 was stopped. I could not console the people, but I spoke of them
 to the Envoy, and told him that, sooner or later, there would be a
 disturbance; but he listened not to me. I told him they were deceiving
 him; but he believed me not, and desired me to be at ease, for that he
 would settle the country with two Pultuns (regiments).

 He further told me to confine and expel some evil-disposed persons. I
 did so; but they got access to Nizam-oo-dowlah, and through him to the
 Envoy, who asked me to release them. I did so. Now I am distressed by
 those very people.

 When the Envoy was going away I asked him to take me with him; for
 that I was in an extremity; I told him of what was going on, and
 was not listened to. I told him that complaints were daily made to
 me of Afghan women being taken to Burnes’s Moonshee, and of their
 drinking wine at his house, and of women being taken to the Chaonee
 (cantonments) on horseback, and of my having myself witnessed it.
 When people complained to me of such things, I asked who did so,
 that I might inquire; and told them not to defame the Sahibs. I
 first comforted and then reproved them; and said, if any person uses
 violence to your women, tell me, and inquiry shall be made.

 The people have often before acted as they have now; they confined
 my brother Mahmood in the Balla Hissar; the conspirators then were
 Mooktear-oo-dowlah and Ahmed Khan, Noorzye, &c. They pretended it
 was a quarrel between the Sheeahs and Soonees; but it proved a great
 matter, and they saw that without me they could not settle matters. I
 was then among the Kakurs. The Khans sent for me, and all obeyed me.

 In the present instance people said, “There are crores of rupees in
 the Chaonee; let us strengthen Islam.” Such are the people. Three or
 four dogs are gone (dead); as many remain.

 Nizam-oo-dowlah was a dog and ruined all. I begged the Envoy not to
 ruin the people. Nizam-oo-dowlah said to the Douranees, the King and
 Envoy will destroy you. I will help you, but Captain Trevor will not
 let me. The people were thus stirred up. I was annoyed, but could not
 help myself; now, please God and by the help of friends, much may be

 All were against me on account of you. They sent to me to separate
 myself from you, and for the sake of the faith to be King myself (some
 Sahibs were then in the Balla Hissar). I did not give a reply at the
 time, but sent word to the Envoy, who told me to turn them away. I
 did so, saying I owed everything to the Sahibs. They told me I would

 For some days there was fighting near the Chaonee and Balla Hissar
 and Balla Boorj; at which time I sent word to the Envoy to come with
 all his baggage to the Balla Hissar, where the troops could hold
 out for a year or two, telling him that three or four thousand of
 the inhabitants might be turned out, and guns and stores brought.
 After much debate, no answer was given. I said, “Very good! Please

 Some days after I sent to the Chaonee, and warned them not to abandon
 it; that I knew the designs of the enemy, who intended to attack them;
 and by expending five or six lakhs of rupees I endeavoured to bring
 the people from the common enemy towards myself; but they told me to
 separate myself from you. On this account three or four Barukzyes
 separated themselves from me; but though I could not trust people, I
 managed matters by first paying three or four lakhs, and afterwards
 two or three, which they asked of me, thinking I would refuse, and
 they would have an excuse for separating from me; but I gave all I
 had, and now am moneyless. If, however, I had money, I could openly do
 much; but nothing is to be done without money (they are dogs). If I
 had money I could raise troops, and many of my old (Hindostanee) ones
 who returned naked are anxious to serve me; but I have no money. In
 heart I am yours, though all the world are separated from me.

 Nizam-oo-dowlah knew a night before it occurred what was to happen,
 but did not tell me or the Envoy that we might prevent it.

 The conspirators told the people that I was with them; and when the
 Prince went out with the troops, they (the traitors) said, “They are
 with us.”

 I sent Mahomed Sherreef to settle matters, but he was not attended to;
 and he, as well as many of my troops, was killed, which event opened
 the eyes of the people of Caubul; so the conspirators, to implicate
 the people, attacked Sir A. Burnes.

 If my counsel is taken much may yet be done; or, if not, I will go
 to Mecca. Here the people are confirmed traitors, or I could easily
 settle the whole country, and Persia and Khorassan.

 What was fated has happened. I have not seen it in my sleep, but have
 actually witnessed it. May God remove the sorrow, that my enemies and
 their families should be in the place of my friends. Is there any in
 the world who gave their enemies the means to kill them? The dog
 Akbar came as a beggar from Toorkistan. His enmity to the Sahib-Log
 and myself was apparent; but lakhs of rupees were given him to escort
 the troops in their retreat; and what was the consequence? In the
 midst of the discussions I sent several times to the Envoy, and asked
 him why he nourished his enemy; but I was not attended to.

 All Mussulmans turned from me on account of you; and for three months,
 for your sake, I experienced trouble and distress, and then the Envoy
 agreed to give the country to Mahomed Akbar, and to allow me a lakh of
 rupees a year, or four lakhs in Hindostan; but I knew and said, that
 as soon as they left the Chaonee they would be destroyed; and so it
 has proved.

 Between us there were no differences, and there will not be.

 When I saw how things were going, I expended money to draw the
 people from Mahomed Akbar; but now I can do nothing. I sent news to
 Macgregor, and to Ghuznee, and to Candahar.

 The road is unsafe, so I cannot write aright.—[_MS. Records_].


(_Received February 6th._)

 Let it be known to Captain Macgregor what misfortunes have befallen
 me! Everything occurs contrary to expectation. I wrote, that after
 labouring from earliest morning to nightfall, I had by a thousand
 schemes satisfied these men and made them swear fidelity. One came and
 another went; but all saying, “Be not united to the Feringhees.” This
 is what the Barukzyes are spreading among the people. I said in reply
 to them, “You yourselves have said that they (the Feringhees) have
 done nothing for the Sirkar, and have not fulfilled their promises;
 then how should the Sirkar be well disposed towards them? During the
 time that I was with them I felt that my name suffered, and I felt
 this disgrace—that it was known to all the world. I continued with
 them until the time when Sir William Macnaghten purposely told me
 to cast them (the Feringhees) off.[356] I then dismissed them, and
 you yourselves informed me that they (the Feringhees) had come to an
 understanding with Mahomed Akbar. How then could I still preserve any
 understanding with them? Rest perfectly satisfied. At present I have
 no understanding with the Feringhees.” At length, by every means in
 my power, I pacified them. These men at present, whether Barukzyes or
 other Afghans or Parsewans, are all obedient to me. Without my orders
 they do nothing. However, I place no trust in them. God grant that
 I may obtain the wish of my heart! I have no other desire. I cannot
 think that you are possessed of a proper sense of honour, since Dost
 Mahomed and his family remain there with honour. Should Akbar fall
 into my power, if I am a Mussulman or a man, what treatment he shall
 receive! Dost Mahomed and his wives and children, in revenge for the
 Sahibs who have fallen in this country, should be seen wandering in
 destitution through the bazaars and streets, that it should be known
 to all the world. What has been your treatment of that dog (Dost
 Mahomed)? So much wealth! And what return have you received from this
 faithless wretch (Mahomed Akbar)? May God accomplish this desire of
 my heart! It is now some days since they (the Afghans) have requested
 me to send Shumshoodeen Khan to Ghuznee. Until to-day I have delayed.
 I have also made delays in the direction of the Khybur. At length
 I am helpless, and if I do not consent I shall be suspected. And
 from Khybur intelligence has come that 200 men have been killed, and
 two loads of treasure and two guns abandoned to the enemy, and that
 Mackeson Sahib is shut up in Ali-Musjid requiring succour. If this
 is true, what management! How often have I said that if I possessed
 money I might collect some thousands of troops of my own! I should
 not require assistance from any one. I could do anything I liked. But
 I have nothing whatever. At this moment there is only remaining two
 or three thousand ducats. These men, who are my own servants, have
 remained with me; but, poor wretches, how many months are they in
 arrears! The other Afghans I have ordered to be mustered daily in my
 presence. Such as I may select I shall continue in service. I never
 have had and never can have any interest separate from yours. Alas!
 that you should not have known my worth! I will delay the despatch
 of the men some days longer. I shall be suspected. If I could know
 the truth I would arrange accordingly. If you think that this affair
 will succeed, and that an army will come, let me know the truth, and
 if it is unlikely, write to me that I may make such arrangements
 as shall fully satisfy you that not a cat belonging to you shall
 be injured. The retreat of the Caubul Pass was quite a different
 affair. All were then our mortal enemies. If I had money I should
 not require assistance from any one. Since I have no money, if the
 Lord (Auckland) does not think it advisable to send it, I must go
 somewhere else. There is not another person but myself who could
 manage this affair. I know these men well; and I have not seen a man
 who could do anything without my permission. Write these circumstances
 to the Governor-General, and tear up this paper. What misfortunes have
 befallen! Write explicitly, that arrangements may be made accordingly.
 They (the Afghans) have made many petitions regarding Candahar, that
 an order may be sent to the prince. It has been written and sent,
 carefully worded, to the best of my ability.

 About this affair of Mackeson, I cannot understand what management
 this is. If it is true, you are destroying yourselves. I don’t know
 whether there is an understanding between you and Shere Singh that
 your troops should have a free passage (through the Punjab). I wrote
 to Shere Singh that it was a religious war, that he might understand.
 Tear up this paper; and remove from about your person the men of this
 country.—[_MS. Records._]


(_Received February 8th._)

 Let it be known to Captain Macgregor, I have no certain intelligence
 about affairs. I don’t know what perverseness is this, that up to the
 present time you will not appreciate my worth, nor understand your own
 position or interests. You do not correctly explain things to me; and
 if there is a prospect of your being supported from the rear, and you
 have, or are likely to have, a good understanding with Shere Singh,
 so that an army may come, then I would act here as such a state of
 circumstances would render expedient; but if there be no prospect of
 this, and you determine on any other course, I will then take such
 measures as may be desirable. May God grant the wish of my heart! I
 have prayed God to grant this prayer. God is omnipotent. Write to the
 Governor-General. I am not happy in this country; but if my friends
 desire it, I cannot oppose myself to their wishes. The settlement of
 that country can be satisfactorily managed; but the country could
 never have been settled in the manner in which you were making
 arrangements.—[_MS. Records._]


 Let it be known to Mr. Macgregor, to the General, and to the other
 gentlemen, that which I did not wish to see, and which never entered
 into my imagination, it has been my lot to see. What I have already
 suffered, and am suffering, is known only to God.

 Although I frequently remonstrated, they paid no attention to my
 words. These men have made fraud and deceit their trade. * * * During
 the time they were committing these excesses, and would not come
 in for some days, they continued plundering the shops and exciting
 disturbances in the city; and in this business all the Sirdars were
 concerned, and on this account the lower orders became like hungry
 dogs: but God shamed them, for they got nothing. What has happened was
 fated, and was owing to our own neglect. However much I said, “Come up
 above; the fort is strong; for one year no one can be brought within
 it; with my servants, and from 500 to 1000 others, the fort would be
 strong; and 2000 or 3000 others, with guns, sallying out might collect
 grain”—[it was in vain.] However, it has passed—such was our fate. I
 sent messages to cantonments, begging them not to defer their coming
 from to-day to to-morrow, from to-morrow to next day—that, please
 God, all would be right.

 I had collected five or six lakhs of rupees in gold mohurs, knowing
 that these people, except for money, would not act honestly, even with
 God. I spent three or four lakhs of rupees amongst them. Every tribe
 made oath, wrote on the Koran, and sealed; but they still said, “The
 King and the Feringhees are one.” However, I have managed to bring
 them thus far, and given two lakhs more. It is a pity that I have no
 more money. If I had any more, and could raise 2000 or 3000 sowars,
 and 2000 foot-soldiers of my own, I would defy any one to stir. The
 foot-soldiers, too, who returned from the army, I collected—300 or
 400—that they might be with my regiment. Oh! that God had never let
 me see this day! Although, if money reaches me, God will prosper
 everything. To give money to an enemy to collect troops, and to come
 and kill you, did ever any one so trust an enemy? Even now have
 nothing to say to that dog.[357] This, too, I have said to you, even
 as I warned you before. I am night and day absorbed in this one
 thought; it has occurred to my mind that it would be better if the
 few ladies and gentlemen should be brought here, in order that they
 might be released from the hands of that dog. This entered my mind,
 and I consulted with the Sirdars, and brought them to agree; before
 this, I had sent a paper to this effect to that dog. It struck me
 that that dog would not release and send them here. I then decided
 that it would be judicious that Jubbar Khan should be sent. I hope
 that he will bring them to this place in safety. By the blessing of
 God, my mind will be at ease. No one will have power to say anything
 to them; they will remain in safety. If this is approved of by you,
 I will take this course; but inform me if you do not approve of it,
 and can suggest anything else, that it may be arranged. Now, men of
 all ranks are flocking to me. * * * I have asked of God—if some
 money could be obtained all would go well, by God’s assistance. * *
 * At present, my subjects make petition to me to send money, and one
 of the princes with guns and an army to Candahar. * * * I had sent
 for Mr. Conolly, and other gentlemen, to consult with them, as they
 had themselves asked the Sirdar to send for them; but some one said
 to them, “If you go to the King he will kill you.” It was their (the
 Sirdars’) intention that the King should kill them. They had sent me
 word secretly beforehand. I replied, that if the world was upset, and
 every one my enemy, I would not do so. They then said, that it was
 really true what Jubbar Khan and Oosman Khan had said—that the King
 was not separate from the Feringhees. If he is, they said, give these
 (English gentlemen) to the king, that he may kill them. I heard this,
 and gave them answer. They understood their position, and repented of
 the step they had taken. Since this occurrence they come and go; and
 I have re-assured them. They now swear and protest that they will do
 nothing whatever without my wishes. If you think it can be done, God
 will shame my enemies.—[_MS. Records._]


(_Written in secret by the Shah himself. Received at Jellalabad on the
7th of March._)

 This is the state of affairs—that night and day I am disturbed about
 you. God help us! I did not wish to see such a day as this. All day I
 am thinking of this. The evil-disposed Mahomed Akbar, from the day he
 went to Lughman, has managed matters by the means of the money which
 was given to him. From that quarter letters arrived here (Caubul),
 and money was given to men who went to join him; at length it was
 put a stop to, some men were even stripped (on their way to join) in
 Bootkhak. At last, people went under the plea of Gazza (religious
 war); by these means only a few now go. It is nearly one month that
 I have delayed (sending troops to Jellalabad): no accounts have been
 received (from you). I have made myself unpopular with all Mahomedans
 on your account, and you have not comprehended it. This is an affair
 affecting life. Up to this time nothing is known (of your intentions).
 I know not upon what misfortunes I have fallen; and these men are
 displeased with me (saying) “It is not the Shah’s wish that we should
 go to Jellalabad; he wishes to destroy the true faith.” God help us!
 There is no saying when those men (British troops) will arrive. If
 things are thus managed, what may be expected in Hindoostan?

 I am altogether devoted to you—may God protect me! If they (British
 troops) arrive within the next ten or fifteen days, it is well; but
 if not, what ought to be done? Whatever you think advisable, write to
 me plainly, that it may be well understood and arrangements made. I
 am always thinking how I can obtain possession of those gentlemen and
 ladies, that they may be in safety, and that this villain (Mahomed
 Akbar) may not injure them.

 I sent a message to Mahomed Shah (Ghilzye) that, if any injury
 happened to them (the English prisoners), I would revenge it on him
 and his family, and root out his race, and that I would seize him. God
 will prosper this matter, though it is very difficult and complicated.

 These rascals (Afghans) make numerous oaths, and in their hearts there
 is villany. May God put them to shame!

 The true state of the case is this; if you think it will succeed, and
 that they (British troops) will arrive, the sooner the better. This is
 not a matter to be trifled with.

 Shumshoodeen Khan, who went to Ghuznee, I ordered not to press the
 garrison hard until I had completed an engagement with you.

 I have forgotten my own sorrows, and am grieving for yours. Neither
 day nor night can I rest, nor think of anything else.

 If I came myself (to Jellalabad), I could arrange the affair as
 I wished. It has two advantages and one objection. I am puzzled.
 God deliver me! All that has happened has been caused by want of
 forethought. Now may God give me assistance!

 I always said to Sir William Macnaghten that this affair would end

 The day that he made arrangements for leaving (Caubul for Bombay) I
 was ready to precede him, saying that I did not like the appearance of
 things here. He did not listen to me. The bearer will inform you of
 other particulars. What can I do? These men are the greatest curse in
 the world. If I had any money I could collect my army—then “could
 it be in the power of any one to injure even a dog that belonged to
 you?”—[_MS. Records._]

The letters which Macgregor wrote in reply to the Shah were very brief,
and intended to convey as little meaning as possible. One or two
specimens will suffice:


 Your Majesty’s letter was received by me on the 21st of January, and I
 feel much honoured. The fact is, that what has occurred was fated. It
 is true that they (the British) made a mistake in not following your
 Majesty’s advice.

 Please God, you may rest at ease regarding affairs here. In this
 quarter there is no enemy except Mahomed Akbar, who is at Lughman, and
 is the foe both of your Majesty and the British Government. The rabble
 of Ghilzyes who were with him have carried away to their homes what
 they were able to steal. With the exception of 200 or 300 Barukzyes
 there is no one else with him. And please God, if he comes, he will
 meet with a warm reception.

 A copy of your Majesty’s letter was immediately forwarded to Peshawur,
 requesting that it might be sent with all possible haste to the
 Governor-General, and that an answer might be received, which may be
 soon expected. Rest at ease, that while I breathe I will not fail to
 assist your Majesty to the utmost of my ability. The army with the
 artillery may be considered to have arrived near this; indeed, they
 will be here as soon as the distance can be crossed.


  March 9th.

 Your Majesty’s letter, which was sent by the hands of a trustworthy
 person, has been received. Please God, if you can only cause delay for
 one month, whatever may be your wish can be arranged. Rest at ease,
 since the army under General Pollock, together with the Sikh force,
 has arrived at Peshawur, and may be considered as having arrived near
 this. Whatever the bearer of this may say is worthy of belief.—[_MS.


[_Book VIII., chapter 1, page 179, et seq._]

  Candahar, April 18th, 1842.


 I have been favoured with your letters of the 1st and 10th instant.
 I have also heard of the affair you had with the enemy on the 28th
 ultimo, and deeply regret the result. I have attentively perused the
 government despatch of the 15th ultimo forwarded through you. I have
 looked at our position in Afghanistan in every point of view that my
 judgment, aided by three years’ experience of its people, will admit
 of. I now deliberately note what I consider to be necessary to carry
 out the intention of the Supreme Government, and to assert and uphold
 the honour of our country, even should the government ultimately
 determine on withdrawing the British troops from the right of the
 Indus, it would be impossible to retire the troops below the passes
 before October. The troops at Candahar are four months in arrears,
 and we have not one rupee in the treasury. In the event of much field
 service we should run short of musket ammunition, and we are without
 medicine for the sick and wounded. I think it absolutely necessary
 that a strong brigade of 2500 men should be immediately pushed
 from Quettah to Candahar with the supplies noted in the foregoing
 paragraph. I therefore have to acquaint you that I will direct a
 brigade of three regiments of infantry, a troop of horse artillery,
 with a body of cavalry, to march from Candahar on the morning of
 _the 25th instant_. This force will certainly be at Chummun, at the
 northern foot of the Kojuck, on the morning of the 1st of May, and
 possibly on the 30th of this month. I shall, therefore, fully rely
 on your marching a brigade from Quettah, so that it may reach the
 southern side of the pass on the above-mentioned date. I believe there
 can be no difficulty whatever in accomplishing this, nor of crossing
 the Kojuck without loss, provided the heights are properly crowned on
 either side. I have crossed it three times in command of troops, and
 I know that what I now state is correct. There can be no danger in
 passing through Pisheen provided a careful and well-ordered march is
 preserved, and patroles and flanking parties of horse are thrown well
 out. The people of this country cannot withstand our troops in the
 open field. I am well aware that war cannot be made without loss, but
 yet, perhaps, the British troops can oppose Asiatic armies without
 defeat; and I feel and know that British officers should never despair
 of punishing the atrocious and treacherous conduct of a brutal enemy.
 You say you are not aware if I know the localities of Quettah. I know
 them well and I hope I shall be excused when I express my surprise
 that the authorities at Quettah should for a moment have thought of
 throwing up breastworks and entrenching that straggling and wretched
 cantonment, when the town and its citadel is so well calculated for
 every purpose which can render a post at all desirable in Shawl, and
 I am quite certain may be well defended by 500 men. Did I command at
 Quettah, I would relinquish the cantonment—it is useless. Quettah is
 not a place for a large body of troops. I feel obliged to you for
 pointing out the many difficulties attending our position, but you
 are aware that it is our first and only duty to overcome difficulties
 when the national honour and military reputation is so deeply
 concerned—nothing can be accomplished without effort and perseverance.
 On the last para. of your letter of the 10th instant, I have only to
 observe that I have not yet contemplated falling back. Without money
 I can neither pay the long arrears due to the troops, nor procure
 carriage for field operations. I deeply regret this state of things,
 which ought to have been attended to months ago. Had this been done,
 I should now have been on my march to Ghuznee. I shall fully rely on
 your brigade being at the Kojuck on the 1st of May or before. This
 letter I request may be forwarded to Major Outram.

  W. NOTT, Major-General.

  To Major-General England, commanding
  S. F. Force.

 P.S.—You will of course perceive that I intend your brigade should
 join and accompany the detachment sent from this to Candahar. I have
 no cattle for treasure or stores.

 [It was with no common anxiety that Nott awaited the return of
 his regiments from Candahar. He had sent them reluctantly to the
 Kojuck, and was eager to commence operations in another direction—to
 march upon Ghuznee, and then onward to meet Pollock at the capital.
 In the letters which he addressed at this time to his brother
 General at Jellalabad, his feelings found vent. They are eminently

  Candahar, April 29th, 1842.


 My last news from your side was of the 5th instant. I regret I am not
 on my way to Ghuznee—I am tied to this place. My troops have had no
 pay since December, 1841. I am in want of almost everything. I have
 not carriage even for three regiments, and I have not a rupee to buy
 or to hire cattle. For five months I have been calling for aid from
 Sindh--none whatever has been sent. At last Major-General England
 moved with money and stores, but received a check in Pisheen, and then
 retired to Shawl! I have now been obliged to send the best part of my
 force to the Kojuck Pass, in hopes of getting the treasure and stores
 I have so long been expecting, and without which my small force is
 paralysed. It is dreadful to think of all this. I ought to have been
 on my way to extend my hand to you from Ghuznee instead of which I
 am obliged to make a movement on the Kojuck. I have felt the want of
 cavalry. I have the Shah’s 1st Regiment, but I have never been able to
 _get them to charge_. My Sepoys have behaved nobly, and have licked
 the Afghans in every affair, even when five times their number. The
 moment my brigade returns from the Kojuck I move on Kelat-i-Ghilzye
 and Ghuznee, in hopes of saving some of our officers and men at the
 latter place. Instead of sending me cavalry, money, &c., the authority
 in Sindh coolly says, “When you retire bodily I hope to render you
 some assistance.” I believe I shall go mad! I have much to say, but am
 confined to a slip of paper.

  Yours sincerely,
  W. NOTT.[358]

       *       *       *       *       *

  Candahar, May 6th, 1842.


 I have this day received your letter of the 14th ultimo. I had before
 heard of your progress up to the 6th of April: this is the only note
 I have received from you. I enclose a copy of my note of the 29th
 of last month, which was sent _viâ_ Kelat-i-Ghilzye, and by which
 you will perceive how much I have been disappointed, and the state
 of the force under my command. It drove me almost mad to be forced
 to send the best part of my force to the Kojuck Pass instead of
 marching towards Caubul; but I had not a rupee to pay the long arrears
 of the troops, or to purchase cattle. The people of this country
 unfortunately have an idea that we are to retire whether we are
 successful or not, and therefore they will part with nothing; and,
 as far as cattle are concerned, we are nearly helpless. God knows
 why such delay has occurred in sending me money and stores. This is
 dreadful. I shall move towards Caubul the moment I can get carriage.
 General England’s retrograde movement has been a sad disappointment to

  Yours sincerely,
  W. NOTT.[359]

 P.S.—England has now, with the aid of my brigade, crossed the pass. He
 brings with him two twelve-pounder howitzers; but for these I should
 not have a single howitzer at command. Mortars I have none. I expect
 the troops here on the 10th. The Ghazehs still keep head within a few
 miles of us, not in great strength: the nucleus, however, exists. I
 have directed all camels within reach to be procured on any terms:
 want of money alone prevented me doing this earlier. The force I shall
 take from this must depend upon the available cattle. I trust it may
 amount to 5000 men. Rely on my making every effort to communicate
 with you; but from past experience I must regard this as extremely
 doubtful, and that we must not depend on mutual intelligence enabling
 us to make combined movements. No opportunity shall be lost; but if
 all attempts at correspondence fail, I will still hope that, as we
 have one object at heart, the similarity of our operations may in some
 measure supply the want of a concerted plan.


[With reference to the passage in one of the above letters, to the
effect that the Shah’s cavalry would not charge, I have received the
following letter:]

  Jhelum, April 28, 1852.


 In the second volume of your “War in Afghanistan,” page 447. General
 Sir William Nott, in a letter to General Sir George Pollock, dated
 Candahar, April 29, 1842, states:

 “I have felt the want of cavalry. I have the Shah’s 1st Regiment, but
 I have never been able _to get them to charge_.”

 Captain Leeson, who commanded the regiment during my absence on
 sick leave, has since died. I therefore desire, without delay, to
 contradict this most extraordinary assertion. Fortunately, the
 regiment has built too solid a foundation by its own gallantry
 to be shaken by so malicious a representation, albeit made by a
 General Officer in whose word and opinion the public and Government
 placed such implicit faith; but General Nott was prejudiced against
 everything and everybody in any way connected with Shah Soojah and his

 Facts are stubborn things, and I shall therefore make a few extracts
 from your valuable history of the War, which of themselves give denial
 to General Nott’s _mis-statement_.

 Page 441, vol. i., states:

 “A gallant charge of the Shah’s Horse, led by Peter Nicolson” (who
 took no undistinguished part in the after events of the war), “checked
 the onslaught of those desperate fanatics.”

 In the engagement alluded to (page 591, vol. i.) at Assea Ilmee, no
 mention is made of the Shah’s 1st Cavalry; but it is well known that,
 under the command of Captain Leeson, aided by Lieutenant Moorcroft
 of the Madras Army, who was proceeding to join his regiment at
 Kelat-i-Gilzhee, and, who was a volunteer for the occasion, the Shah’s
 1st Cavalry did make a very gallant charge by moonlight.

 Page 603, vol. i., states:

 “And then the Cavalry, headed by the young Prince Sufdur Jung, who had
 something more than the common energy of the Piczal race, charged with
 terrific effect, and utterly broke the discomfited mass of Dooranies.”

 It is true that the Prince did _accompany_ the charge, but a squadron
 of the Shah’s 1st Cavalry, under Lieutenant Crawford of the Bombay
 Army, who was wounded, did nearly all the execution, and followed in
 pursuit long after the Dooranie Horse under his Royal Highness had
 given up the chase.

 Page 400, vol ii., states:

 “A party of the Shah’s Horse, under Captain Leeson, and a detachment
 of Captain Wilson’s Jan Baz, who had remained true to us in the
 face of strong temptation, were sent out against the mutineers. The
 detachment came up with the rebels about twelve miles from Candahar.
 There was a brief but sturdy conflict. The mutineers charged in a
 body, but were gallantly met by Leeson’s men, and, after a hard
 struggle, were broken and dispersed.”

 I send you a copy of Captain Leeson’s report of the affair. General
 Nott expressed to Captain Leeson his admiration of the gallantry of
 the regiment, and his determination to recommend it to the marked
 notice of Government.

 Whatever his expressed intentions were, I have very good reason for
 believing that he never fulfilled them!

       *       *       *       *       *

  No. 235.  Candahar, 28th December, 1841.


 I have the honour to report for the information of the Major-General
 that, agreeably to his orders, I proceeded in search of the mutineers
 of the 1st Jan Baz Regiment with the details as per margin,[360] and,
 having received information on the road of a body of horse being in
 the direction of Chupreal, I ordered the Afghan Horse, who were in
 front, to proceed at a trot. After proceeding three or four miles they
 halted, and appeared in confusion, and on my riding to the front to
 learn the reason, I found they would not obey their officers’ orders
 to form, in consequence of the mutineers of whom we were in pursuit
 being drawn up to receive them, amounting from 250 to 300 men, joined
 by about 80 footmen, who, however, took no active part in the fight.

 I immediately took the lead with my regiment, formed into line, and
 advanced at a trot. After proceeding a little distance, my progress
 was arrested by a wide ditch, through which I had to pass my regiment
 by files, and which was performed most steadily. The mutineers, seeing
 us advance so slowly, fancied us to be wavering and advanced to the
 charge. I waited for the last files to cross the ditch, when I charged
 them. The collision was severe, and the conflict, for the time it
 lasted, bloody, as will be seen by the accompanying return of killed
 and wounded. The struggle lasted for about five minutes, when the
 mutineers broke and fled in two bodies. I pursued that which appeared
 to me the largest one, upwards of fourteen miles, cutting down the
 only three stragglers we came up with, and having seen the body enter
 the enclosed country on the Urghandab below Hinz-i-Muddud Khan, and
 having only sixteen men with me, I gave up the chase.

 It is impossible that men could have behaved better than those of the
 1st Cavalry. Their formations were as steadily performed as ever I saw
 them done on parade, and they advanced on the foe in as beautiful a
 line as possible.

 The whole of our work was done by the sabre, not a shot being fired on
 our side from either matchlock or pistol, thus proving the confidence
 these men have acquired in their proper weapon.

 I regret to say that the conduct of the 2nd Jan Baz was shameful and
 cowardly. In the first instance, they refused to form when ordered
 by their officer, until sheltered by my line, and afterwards, when
 ordered by him to cross the water-course and join in the attack, they
 refused, notwithstanding the gallant example set them by Lieutenant
 Wilson, who charged, followed by his standard-bearer, alone. He was
 immediately joined by several of my men, who, seeing the precarious
 situation of their old adjutant, rallied round him, and I must not
 omit to mention that the lives of myself and Lieutenants Chamberlain
 and Wilson, who were with me, were saved by the devotion of these
 gallant men, who, whenever we were in danger, rushed to the rescue.

 It seemed to be the main object of the mutineers to destroy the
 officers, which must inevitably have been the case, had it not been
 for the devotion of the men of the 1st Cavalry.

 I have not mentioned the number of the enemy slain. I should say they
 must have amounted to between fifty and sixty, for I saw from twenty
 to twenty-five fall near me, and Lieutenant Wilson reports having seen
 thirty to forty bodies in the direction he took. The pursuit being
 immediate, there was no time to look about us, and on my return to
 the field of action, there were only three bodies remaining, which I
 believe to have been those of Sheeahs.

  I have the honour to be, &c.,
  Captain Commanding Shah’s 1st Cavalry.

  To Captain Ripley,
  Fort Adjutant, Candahar.

Killed: 1 sowar, 26 horses.—Wounded: 1 resaldar, 1 naib, 1 jemadar, 1
duffadar, 26 sowars, 16 horses.

       *       *       *       *       *

Four months after this event, which I believe _was the only instance
throughout the whole war_ where _both parties met at full gallop in
good earnest_, General Nott was pleased to say “I have never been able
_to get them to charge_.”

But I will adduce further proof of General Nott’s untruth.

Page 404, vol. ii., states:

“But the Cavalry, with two Horse Artillery guns, were now slipped upon
the enemy, who broke and fled in dismay.”

This was sixteen days after Chuplanee, and the men were mad to be at
the enemy—indeed, they would not be restrained, and no sooner was the
charge sounded than, with a terrific yell, they flew over the plain in
pursuit of an intimidated foe, who knew from experience that they would
give no quarter, and ask none.

We now come to the cause of General Nott’s aspersion of the Regiment.

Page 416, vol. ii., most truly states:

“But they shrank from meeting our bayonets, and it was long before they
even ventured to come within reach of our guns. The artillery then told
with such good effect on the dense masses of the enemy, that they were
more than ever disinclined to approach us.”

It was on the 8th of March 1842, the day after General Nott took the
field ostensibly to war, but truly to feed his half-starved cattle,
that the enemy, who had threatened our camp on the previous evening,
were now collected in dense masses and _entirely cavalry_. They owed
the Shah’s 1st Regiment a grudge for the lesson read to the mutinous
Jan Baz, and they were determined to pay them off. General Nott’s
cavalry, consisting of 400 sabres Shah’s 1st Cavalry, and 150 of
Skinner’s Horse, certainly the aggregate was not 600, were pushed to
the front with Anderson’s twelve guns, commanded by Captains Cooper and
Turner. The country was intersected by large, deep, wide water-courses,
over which there was great difficulty in transporting the guns. General
Nott and his Infantry were fully _one mile_ in the rear, with two or
three of the nullahs alluded to between. The cavalry and guns were
halted after some cannonading at the enemy, who hovered in front and on
both flanks. Captain Saunders, of the Engineers, brought up an order
from General Nott, desiring Captain Leeson to charge the enemy, but
which body, or to which flank, was not named. Captain Leeson’s reply
was, “If I do, the enemy will possess himself of the guns, as they will
be totally unsupported.” From a mound close at hand the enemy were seen
in swarms, computed from 5000 men and upwards, and _all cavalry_. A
second, and a third, and a fourth message were brought by Lieutenant
North, Bombay Engineers, and Captains Polwhele and Waterfield, and
one of them brought word to say that General Nott had desired him to
say that if Captain Leeson would not lead the charge, he would do
so himself. Whilst this delay occurred, a party of the enemy having
seen Skinner’s Horse, under Lieutenant Travers, on the other side of
a village, determined to destroy them, and came down to the attack.
Travers flew for refuge to the guns, which had hardly wheeled about
for action. Nor had the Shah’s 1st Cavalry much time to form close
column in rear of the guns, which were drawn up in a curve, when a
body of the Dooranie Horse charged down with yells, brandishing their
swords and waving their flags along the ground. They were received with
grape, and it was not until several saddles had been emptied that they
withdrew. This attempt to charge the guns, _supported by_ ALL _General
Nott’s cavalry_, showed in what estimation, in their then _overpowering
numbers_, the Dooranies held the Hindostanee Horse!! Opinions were
divided as to the propriety of Captain Leeson’s refusal to charge: by
many he was censured, and by many he was praised _highly_, for having
had the _moral_ courage (when from General Nott’s distance from the
scene, and the amount of responsibility which devolved upon him) to
determine not uselessly to lead a regiment to utter destruction, _and
not to sacrifice twelve out of General Nott’s only eighteen guns_! He
did all that he could do. He immediately tendered the resignation of
his command, which was not accepted. He begged for a court of inquiry,
and demanded a court martial. He attended upon General Nott, and
personally tendered resignation a second time, and a second time it
was refused, General Nott assuring him that he was well satisfied with
him, &c., but that in having disobeyed his orders to charge, _he had
committed an error in judgment_. I doubt not but that it was founded
upon this event, that General Nott wrote as he did. But surely it was
no fault of the regiment. The men had never been ordered to charge. Had
they, they would have done so most willingly!

Again page 423, vol. ii., states:

“The bright afternoon sun shed its slant rays upon the sabres of the
enemy, and lit them up like a burning forest. Our Infantry were drawn
up in a hollow square, covering a crowd of camels. The Horse Artillery
guns, which had done such good service before, were playing gloriously,
under Turner’s direction, upon the dense bodies of the enemy’s Horse,
whom their heavy fire kept at a cautious distance; and just as General
Nott, with the reinforcements, came in sight, Lieutenant Chamberlain,
of the Bengal Service, an officer of the Shah’s Cavalry, who, at the
head of a small party, had charged the enemy, was driven back, and
emerging from a cloud of dust, formed in rear of the Infantry with the
loss of a few men killed, himself and many of his party wounded, but
not without having given very satisfactory proof of his power as a
swordsman, albeit his treacherous weapon had broken in his hand.”

This occurred at Baba Wullee 25th March, and everyone in the force
except General Nott was aware that the combined charge of a party
of the Shah’s 1st Cavalry, and a similar party of Skinner’s Horse,
although most unnecessarily ordered by Colonel Wymer commanding, was
most gallantly executed.

Page 587, vol. ii., in a foot note, in a letter from General Nott to
Lieutenant Hamersley, dated June 2nd, alluding to an action fought
under the walls of Candahar, he says “a detail of the 1st Cavalry,
under Chamberlain, behaved very well indeed:” but he never said so in
his public despatch, nor did he ever allude to the recovery by the
Shah’s 1st Cavalry of the guns which Shumshoodeen carried off after the
action of Ghoine, but to which allusion is made in page 602, vol. ii.

General Nott was determined that the Shah’s Cavalry never should have
any credit. He said after the action at Ghoine that he would mention
their gallantry, but that he did not do so, everyone knows.

I think I have said quite sufficient to disprove General Nott’s
assertion. I do not consider it just, quietly to submit to the charge
of cowardice imputed to the regiment on the page of history.

The Shah’s 1st Cavalry has for some years past been transferred into
the 9th Regiment Irregular Cavalry, and the mottoes on the standards,
gallantly displayed by them, are refutations of Sir William Nott’s

In proportion as your work has had an extensive circulation, so am I
desirous that this explanation should be made known; and when your work
goes through the second edition, I trust you will make such remarks as
may be an antidote to the letter which has caused this long statement.

  Believe me, my dear Sir, faithfully yours,
  J. CHRISTIE, Lieutenant-Colonel,
  Commanding 9th Irregular Cavalry,
  Late Commanding Shah Soojah’s 1st Cavalry.

  To J. W. Kaye, Esq., Bletchingley, Surrey.

[_Book VIII., chapter 3, page 226._]

[The following is the letter from Pottinger to Macgregor, alluded to
in the text. It is important, as showing what, in the course of my
researches after truth has been emphatically denied, that at this early
period Akbar Khan had begun to open negociations for the restoration of
Dost Mahomed.]

 “Sirdar Mahomed Akbar Khan has been with us to-day; and from what I
 can learn, it seems that Shah Soojah has entirely thrown us overboard,
 and is about to proceed to open war with us; and the following appears
 to be the grounds on which he wishes to treat. The agreement he wishes
 us to enter into is, that if Shah Soojah, or any of Shah Soojah’s sons
 in enmity to the English may send an army to attack Jellalabad, it
 will thus become evident that the King is the enemy of the English;
 and the English will treat him as such—and then Sirdar Mahomed Akbar
 Khan will be considered the friend of the English, who will act
 according to his wishes with respect to this country, and will release
 the Ameer Dost Mahomed Khan with all his family, and send them to
 this country with all honour and respect, and will restore him to his
 government, in the same manner as they took it from him to give it to
 Shah Soojah; but will leave to the Ameer and Sirdar Mahomed Khan the
 full control of the people and government; and if any enemy attack
 the government thus established, the British Government will aid it
 with either money or an army, and the friends of the one government
 will be the friends of the other. The agreement which the Sirdar
 will enter into is this, that he will hereafter be the friend of the
 English; but that at present, to prevent himself being abused by his
 people, he must proceed to close the Khybur Pass against the approach
 of the English army; but he will not attempt to attack Jellalabad
 before the arrival of Shah Soojah’s son and army; and after their
 arrival he will use every endeavour to secretly aid the garrison until
 the arrival of his father and family.” [_Major Pottinger to Major
 Macgregor: Budeeabad, January 23, 1842. MS. Correspondence._] From
 Major Pottinger’s letters written about this time, his real opinion of
 the conduct of Akbar Khan can only be extracted by ascertaining the
 circumstances under which the different documents were prepared—some
 of them having been written at the request of the Sirdar himself.
 There are two letters of January 23, one of an official tendency,
 quoted above—the other of a more private and more genuine character,
 in which the writer says: “He” (Akbar Khan) “sent out the day before
 yesterday a Persian letter for me to send to you in English; I wrote
 a letter telling you the meaning, which he sent back to-day, and
 requesting me to give him an exact copy of his own. I have done so it
 is true; but I fancy his humanity was only a sham, and every sinew
 was strained to destroy our poor fellows. He has, however, treated
 us personally well, and very much so.”—[_MS. Correspondence._] The
 despatch of these private letters was discovered by the Sirdar, who
 is said to have disarmed all the prisoners in consequence of this


[_Book VIII., chapter 3, page 226._]

“_February 19._—At about eleven we were visited by the most fearful
earthquake within the memory of any man in this country. The day
was beautifully clear, and nothing indicated the approach of such
a visitation. Most of us were inside our rooms, when we heard a
heavy rumbling noise, as of thousands of heavy carriages. This was
immediately succeeded by a heaving of the earth, which caused a rocking
of the walls, and made us all rush out into the court-yard, which we
had no sooner entered than the shock, which had ceased for an instant,
again came on with a hundred-fold violence. The high massive walls by
which we were surrounded, heaved to and fro most fearfully, whilst
we, for security, huddled together as closely as we possibly could
in the centre of the square, where there was a deep wood-cellar. All
of a sudden, there was a frightful crash around us; and the earth
heaved up and down to such a degree that we could scarcely stand. The
crash was succeeded by a dense cloud of dust, which, for five or six
seconds, prevented our seeing the amount of injury done. The walls of
the wood-cellar fell in. The earth around us was giving way; and we
were afraid to move to the right or left, as it would bring us within
range of the walls which were falling on both sides of us. The shock
had now expended itself. The dust cleared away. And we then saw that
our out-houses and the roof of one of our sleeping-rooms had tumbled
in. The upper parts of the walls were down, and those portions
which still remained were either thrown out of their perpendicular
or had large rents in them. God grant we may never again experience
such a visitation. On the shock ceasing, we went outside the fort,
and frightful was the devastation. The whole valley was one cloud of
dust. Almost every part had been either wholly or partially destroyed,
and great was the loss of life. Even mountains did not escape; and
fearful were the crashes of huge rocks, as they were precipitated
with awful violence to the plains below. We had shocks at least a
dozen times during the day—but none of so alarming a nature as the
first.”—[_Captain Johnson’s Narrative of his Captivity. MS._]


[_Book VIII., chapter 5, page 265._]


 The astounding event of the Shah’s murder will be known to you. These
 treacherous tyrants, how tyrannical has been their act! If the Shah
 had not been united to the interests of the English, and had not
 attended and acted according to their advice, why should he have met
 with such an end, and why was he with them until the last, save that
 he hoped for their co-operation? They placed that ungrateful man,
 the Nizam-oo-dowlah (Oosman Khan), in power, and, by their acting
 according to his advice, matters came to such a pass. The Shah was
 aware of the treachery and disaffection of these persons, and how
 much soever he warned the English of this, it was of no use. It was
 because the Shah looked upon himself and the English as one, and
 attended to their pleasure, that the revolution took place; but this
 is known to you. The people, high and low, have sealed the Koran, sent
 their deputies with it to the Shah, stating that, if the Shah would
 forsake the English and ally himself to Islam, they would acknowledge
 him as their King. The Shah replied: “They and I are one; I am not
 separated from them.” These bastards united and proclaimed the Shah an
 infidel. The Shah told the English to leave the cantonments and enter
 the Balla Hissar. The English did not consent to this. The Shah then
 endeavoured to conciliate the rebels, and night and day took oaths
 with them, with the view of carrying out the plans of the English.
 After the English left the cantonments, the people tendered to the
 Shah their submission, and endeavoured to persuade the King to attack
 Jellalabad. The Shah, by a thousand devices, managed for two and a
 half months to put them off, in order that the British reinforcements
 might reach you. All the money that the Shah possessed he gave to
 the people. The people gave out that as the Shah would not go to
 Jellalabad, it was evident that he was friendly to the (British)
 infidels; he and they were one. The Shah felt embarrassed. He said to
 his confidential servants: “If I go to Jellalabad, lakhs of people
 would collect, and I should be unable to control them, and if by this
 time the British reinforcements had not arrived, it would be bad for
 the cause.” The King, not knowing that the reinforcements had arrived,
 agreed to leave the city, but determined not to reach Jellalabad for
 twenty days—500,000 registered troops—and if he saw that it was to
 their advantage, he would join the British. On the 22nd Suffur (5th of
 April), the Shah’s murder took place; on the 23rd Suffur, the Populzye
 nobles, and Ameen-oollah Khan, Loghuree, placed me on the throne.
 Even as the Shah was the friend and well-wisher of the English, so
 am I the friend and well-wisher of the English. On account of this
 friendship the King sacrificed his life and property. Had he accepted
 the friendship of the Mussulmans, the Shah would neither have been
 proclaimed an infidel, nor have thus met with his death from the
 hands of the Barukzyes. I am not pleased at having been placed on the
 throne by these people. If God places me on the throne, and if this
 country is again in the possession of the British, and they support
 me on the throne and in getting my revenge from these tyrants who
 killed the Shah, then I shall be pleased. The Shah sacrificed his
 life and property on account of the English, and now it is for them
 to uphold the reputation of his family. If in a few days your army
 does not arrive at Caubul, they will carry off the Shah’s family.
 Write speedily, and tell me what I am to do, and what the family of
 the Shah is to do. It is necessary that the British should arrive
 soon. The death of the Shah has caused disunion among the chiefs.
 It is necessary that your army, with a large army of the Sikhs (God
 willing), should advance. When I was first placed on the throne, the
 people were considering the death of the Barukzyes, but on hearing
 that your army had arrived at Jellalabad, and that Mahomed Akbar had
 been defeated, the people agreed to suspend hostilities among us, and
 endeavoured to induce me to attack Jellalabad. Up to the present time
 this is what they are striving to effect, but I tell them, that if
 they will in the first place avenge the Shah’s death, then I’ll go to
 Jellalabad. But I am powerless, and shall anxiously expect a letter
 from you. Tell me how to act. To defeat this people is at present
 very easy, for great is their disunion. Start soon for Caubul.—[_MS.


[_Book VIII., chapter 5, page 277._]

“The reason of the overthrow of the Newab is the disaffection of
some of the most influential men of his party—the chief one being
Oosman Khan, who was bought over with 1000 gold mohurs. The Pultuns
also went over, and our host (Meer Hadjee) was bribed with 4000 gold
mohurs, and during the fight his brother, Mahomed Dost, took an active
part against the Newab. Poor old Zemaun Khan was a dupe throughout
to Hotspur’s (Akbar Khan’s) perfidy, and a victim to misplaced
confidence.”—[_Lieutenant John Conolly to Captain Macgregor: Caubul,
June 23, 1842. MS. Records._]

Akbar Khan’s own account of the affair, and of his subsequent treatment
of Zemaun Khan, is on record in the following letter to the Shinwarree
chiefs: “Up to the day of writing this, the 17th of Jamadi-ul-aroal
(26th July), all is well here with me. As it was an object of paramount
importance that in the contest with the race of misguided infidels the
whole of the numbers of the true faith should be united together, and
the attainment and perfecting of this object appeared indispensable,
therefore did the whole of the devoted followers of the true faith
consent to choose me as their head, and to place themselves under
my command. All the tribes and leaders of the Douranees, Ghilzyes,
and Kuzzilbashes and Kakulees and Kohistanees, have submitted to me,
and I have placed on the throne the King, high in power, majestic
as Alexander, ambitious as Kai-Khusro, Shah-zadah Futteh Jung, son
of the late King, and caused the Khutba to be read and coin to be
struck in his name, redoubted as that of Faridoon. Newab Mahomed
Zemaun Khan, having in some respects opposed himself to my views and
interfered with me, at length came to an open rupture, and commenced
hostilities against me. After several of my people had been killed
and wounded, then, and not till then, I, of necessity, gave the order
to them to retaliate. In two hours the engagement was at an end; and
all order being destroyed among the troops of the Newab, they were
dispersed. His guns and magazines, stores and horses, and regiments
and jezailchees, and other appendages of power which he had newly
prepared, all fell into my possession. As the Newab was a part and
parcel of myself—not wishing to reduce him to a state of poverty and
want—I, on the same day, restored to him all his horses: the rest of
his property I kept possession of. Since then, all the leaders of the
different tribes have acknowledged my authority, and I firmly trust
that all my future undertakings will in like manner be crowned with
success, and that the object nearest the hearts of me and you, and all
the race of Islam—viz., the extermination, root and branch, of the
detested race of infidels, may be without difficulty accomplished.
Set your mind perfectly at rest on this subject, and do not entertain
any misgivings, and gird up your loins for action, and be ready with
the fear-inspiring and punishment-inflicting Ghazees, and use your
utmost exertions and efforts to close the Khybur road and intercept
their dawk communications, that their messengers may not pass to and
fro, and that no grain may reach them from any quarter; for this is
the real way to defeat this misguided and detested race,—this is the
real battle of martyrdom which you must fight: therefore consider this
injunction as of the very first importance. In a short time, by the
favour of God the Almighty, and the assistance of the founders of our
religion, this humble servant of God, with a terror-inspiring army from
this country, and an artillery thundering and flashing fire, and with
jezailchees threatening like Mars, and with artillerymen like Saturn,
and Ghazees, who march hand-in-hand with victory, will set out for your
direction: and if it be the will of God, will soon clear the surface
of that country, sweeping from it the rubbish from the bodies of the
enemies of our religion. Meanwhile it behoves you, in anticipation of
the arrival of the exalted standards, the emblems of victory, to spare
no exertions to stir up the strife of religion, and send me constantly
news of your welfare, and of the movements of the vile infidels, that
according to your information I may take measures to counteract them.
Futteh Mahomed, the son of Saadat Khan, is here, and will shortly leave
me to join you with the Ghazees.”—[_MS. Records._]


[_Book IX., chapter 1, page 286._]

It was not until the 27th of August that the Commander-in-Chief was
informed, by a letter from General Pollock, of the instructions sent to
General Nott on the 4th of July. How entirely the Governor-General had
set aside the authority of the Commander-in-Chief, and what Sir Jasper
Nicolls thought both of Lord Ellenborough’s conduct and of the advance
on Caubul, may be gathered from the following extracts from his journal:

“_June 6._—To my astonishment, Lord E., in consequence of General
Pollock’s complaints of want of carriage, has consented to his
remaining beyond the Khybur till October, though he quotes the Duke
of Wellington’s dictum, that an army, which cannot be moved as you
will, is no army at all. He will thus have an unhealthy, difficult
pass behind him for four or five months, and possibly involve us in
another dreadful campaign. These changes are dreadful. I wish that I
had nothing to do with them.”

“_June 30._—The Secret Committee review the proceedings of Government,
from December to February last, not with asperity, but with decided
disapprobation of the uncertain policy of that time, and the
contradictory resolutions and orders which were then passed. This is
very well deserved, for it was then, in November or December, that
Government ought to have decided to leave the country or to resume our
full control over it.”

“_August 8._—The wants of General Pollock’s army are put down at 6½
lakhs _per mensem_, and we are just going to send 20 to clear him
off—the last, I believe and hope, which we shall send to be buried in
the Punjab and Afghanistan. Twenty-one lakhs he had before.”

“_August 15._—General Nott has fixed on the 2nd of this month for
leaving Candahar, and in two divisions—the Bombay troops by Quettah
and Sukkur—the Bengal column by Dehra Ismael Khan. This is quite new
to me, and may be either ordered by the General or suggested by Lord E.”

“_August 20._—This order as to retirement by Dehra Ismael Khan appears
the effect of impulse. Its neglect of me I forgive, though a manifest
slight; but I do not find that he has ordered the necessary supplies to
be collected for the retreat through the Sikh territory, which is, in
parts near that place, almost a desert.”

“_August 24._—The 3rd Dragoons, and another troop of horse artillery,
are about to join Sir R. Sale at Futtehabad. Can the General be now
organising an advance on Caubul? Is he commanded to do so? Can he
effect it? Is he to encamp at Gundamuck till Nott’s attack on Ghuznee
(if that take place)? It is curious that I should have to ask myself
these questions; but so it is. I am wholly ignorant of the intended
movements of either. Lord Ellenborough means to surprise friend and foe

“_August 27._—_To-day_ I find, by a despatch from General Pollock,
that General Nott has decided on returning to the provinces, _viâ_
Ghuznee and Caubul. Lord E., by letter dated 4th of July, gave him
a choice as to the line by which to withdraw, and he has chosen
this—certainly the noblest and the worthiest; but whether it
will release our prisoners and add to our fame, I cannot venture
to predict. Lord E.’s want of decent attention to my position is
inexcusable.”—[_Sir Jasper Nicolls’ MS. Journal._]


[_Book IX., chapter 3, page 349._]

I have stated in a note that the Caubul prisoners, before their removal
to Bameean, had been joined by their fellow-captives from Ghuznee.
Some idea of the sufferings of the latter may be derived from the
following passages of Lieutenant Crawford’s Narrative: “Every little
thing we had managed to secure, such as watches, penknives, money,
&c., was taken from us, and we were strictly confined to a small
room, eighteen feet by thirteen. In it there were ten of us. * * *
When we lay down at night we exactly occupied the whole floor; and
when we wanted to take a little exercise we were obliged to walk up
and down (six paces) by turns. Few of us had a change of linen, and
the consequence was we were soon swarming with vermin, the catching
of which afforded us an hour’s employment every morning. I wore my
solitary shirt for five weeks, till it became literally black and
rotten. * * * On the 7th of April we heard of Shah Soojah’s death,
and from that date the severities of our confinement were redoubled.
They shut and darkened the solitary window from which we had hitherto
derived light and air, and they also kept the door of our room
constantly closed, so that the air we breathed became perfectly
pestiferous. On the 21st of the month they tortured Colonel Palmer
with a tent-peg and rope in such a manner that it is wonderful he
ever recovered the use of his foot. I cannot in a letter explain the
process of the torture, but we all witnessed it, and it was something
on the principle of the Scotch boot described in ‘Old Mortality.’ * *
* In the end of April our guards suddenly became particularly civil to
us for a few days, and we found that they had a report of the advance
of our troops. * * * On the 12th of May we were permitted to quit our
prison-room, and walk on the terrace of the citadel for one hour. * *
* Just at this period (June 15) one of our number, Lieutenant Davis,
27th N. I., had sickened with typhus fever. We had no medicines, no
comforts for him, and he lay on the ground delirious, raving about home
and his family, and every hour proving worse, till, on the 19th, death
put an end to his sufferings. We read the burial service, and then made
his body over to the guard to bury; but I am afraid they merely flung
the poor fellow into a ditch outside the gate. On the following day we
were removed to another building, where we had three or four rooms to
ourselves, and a court-yard to walk about in. This was a delightful
change. From this date the conduct of Shumshoodeen towards us improved
greatly. * * * It was on the 19th of August, we had, as usual, wrapped
ourselves up in our cloaks, and taken lodgings on the cold ground for
the night, when the chief suddenly entered the yard, and told us we
were to march immediately for Caubul; and sure enough in half an hour
we found ourselves moving towards the capital. * * * We went direct
to Mahomed Akbar’s quarters in the Balla Hissar, and from him we
met with the kindest reception. He bade us be of good cheer, as our
future comfort would be his care, and we should find ourselves treated
like officers and gentlemen. * * * We found our countrymen living in
what appeared to us a small paradise. They had comfortable quarters,
servants, money, and no little baggage, and a beautiful garden to walk


[_Book IX., chapter 3, page 360._]



  On the 14th of Shah Bau             1. This is unfounded, with the
  (20th September) the inhabitants    exception of a few worthless
  of Aushar and Chardeh were          articles, stolen by surwans and
  plundered by the Candahar force,    grass-cutters, for which they were
  and sustained loss of life and      most severely punished.
  property(1): their women were
  not respected. In the village of    2. I never heard of two Afghans
  Deh Dānā Causim, and in Zeibah      having been killed; but
  Shewan Khan, and at Chardeh,        four Europeans unarmed, walking
  two persons were killed(2).         at a little distance from
  The Ausharries are employed in      camp, were killed by these
  your service, in the rescue of      monsters.
  your prisoners: if their houses
  are plundered and their people(3)   3. What people? The population
  killed, all confidence among the    of this valley had left ithave
  people will at once be destroyed.   before my force had arrived, and
  If it is your intention that        not been here since, with the
  protectionshould be afforded to     exception of a few individuals.
  the people, and to avail yourself
  of our resources(4), redress        4. Why are not these resources
  should be granted under our         brought in when an extravagant
  promises of protection to the       price is offered for them?
  people returning to their homes.
                                      5. This is a false assertion, for
  We are satisfied that it is not     which the writer ought to be
  your pleasure that the troops       instantly punished: the troops
  should behave in this manner(5).    have not behaved ill.

  To-day, the 15th of Shau Bau        6. What this man means by this I
  (21st September), the army          know not; no army, no detachment
  which was appointed to destroy      was appointed by me to destroy a
  Meer Hajee’s fort also destroyed    fort. I did hear that General Sale
  the property belonging to people    ordered one to be burnt, but
  of the neighbourhood: these         whether he did so or no I do not
  people should also have redress     know; but if he did, I dare say he
  granted them(6).                    had good reasons.

  If the English do not grant         7. I repeat that there are no
  them redress, the ryots(7) will     ryots in the villages. All men
  fly from their homes, and they      capable of bearing arms are with
  will have no longer confidence      different chiefs, and there is no
  in us.                              knowing the hour we may be
                                      attacked by them.
  Just now news has reached us
  that the Candahar force has         8. Yes, I have encamped, and
  encamped at Allaábád(8), which      I can but admire the extreme
  belongs to us, and where our        insolence of this man in presuming
  families are lodged(9); the force   to object to it.
  has already plundered our grain
  and fruit(10).                      9. This is false; there are no
                                      families near the place.
  If your friends suffer in this
  way, what may your enemies          10. This is false; with the
  expect?(11) Those people who        exception of fruit in the
  returned to the town are leaving    immediate vicinity of camp.
  it again.
                                      11. We have not a friend in
  Redress should be speedily          Afghanistan; and I know what
  granted, and Lamars should be       our enemies ought to expect for
  stationed at each village for its   their cruelty, treachery, and
  protection(12).                     bloody murders.

                                      12. What insolence in this
                                      man, whose hands are still red
                                      with the blood of our countrymen,
                                      to dictate how and where
                                      we are to place our troops!

                                      I cannot conclude my remarks
                                      on this document without offering
                                      my opinion that the writer
                                      should be instantly seized and
                                      punished for sending such a
                                      grossly false and insolent

                                      W. NOTT, M.-Gen.

  Camp near Caubul, 22nd September, 1842.

 SIR,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of
 this day’s date, and to acquaint you that I conceive that General
 Pollock, C.B., must have received some erroneous information. No army
 ever moved with fewer instances of plunder than that under my command,
 and not an instance of irregularity has occurred without punishment
 being inflicted. The persons who had made this complaint ought to
 be made to prove the truth of what they say. I believe the enemy (I
 mean Futteh Jung’s party and the rest of the people) are organising
 a system to bring our men to the same state of starvation to which
 General Elphinstone’s army was reduced, in hopes of the same results.

 While I think it my duty to state this, I must declare that I will
 not, to please a few Afghans, who have scarcely washed their hands
 from the blood of our countrymen, allow my army to be destroyed, and
 my country to be dishonoured. There is grain in the country, and I
 think it ought to be brought in immediately, the same being paid for.

 General Pollock’s order shall be proclaimed through my camp
 immediately, but I have not heard of a single act of plunder during
 the last twenty-four hours.

  I have, &c.
  W. NOTT, Major-General,
  Commanding Field Forces.

  To Captain Ponsonby,
  Assistant Adjutant-General, Camp.


[_Book IX., chapter 3, pages 366-367._]

[The following extract of a letter from General Pollock, shows what was
really done by that officer with respect to the Suddozye succession.
The declaration of the chiefs alluded to at page 367 is subjoined.]

“Shortly after my arrival at Caubul I despatched a force, under
Major-General M’Caskill, to disperse the followers of Ameen-oollah
Khan and Mahomed Akbar, and to endeavour to secure the person of the
latter. Futteh Jung continued for several days in power, and appeared
disposed to endeavour to retain it. The hope which then existed, that
Mahomed Akbar Khan would fall into our hands, no doubt had great
influence with him; but when this hope vanished, the representations
of his female relations, and the remembrance of the gross treachery he
had experienced from the chiefs on former occasions, appear to have
alarmed him; and at length he announced to me his determination to
accompany the British troops to Hindostan. At the same time I received
a letter, a translation of which I have now the honour to forward, from
Gholam Mahomed Khan (the minister) and Khan Shereen Khan, the chief of
the Kuzzilbashes, on the part of several other chiefs, avowing their
determination to support the brother of Futteh Jung (Shahpoor) on
the throne of Caubul. It was long before I could convince the chiefs
comprising this party that they could not hope for any assistance
from the British Government, either in money or troops; but as they
still persisted in urging me to allow the Prince Shahpoor to remain,
and as he repeatedly assured me he was anxious to do so, I did not
conceive myself authorised by my instructions to remove him forcibly
from Caubul, and only stipulated that the British Government should
not be supposed to have raised him to the throne. On the morning of
the 12th of October, after the British troops had marched from Caubul,
Prince Shahpoor was put on the throne, and the chiefs took the oaths
of fidelity to him.”—[_General Pollock to Lord Ellenborough: MS.



 Be it known to you, that since we, the Populzyes and the other
 Douranee tribes and the Kuzzilbash cannot exist under the Barukzyes;
 and as such a state of things is altogether out of the range of
 possibility; and moreover, since his Royal Highness Futteh Jung has
 decided on quitting the country; we agree and accept of the Prince
 Shahpoor as our King, and will obey him as our ruler. But we hope that
 you will, from this time, put a stop to the destruction of forts and
 other property, that the people may regain confidence, and return to
 their own houses; and we also beg that Meer Soofaee Byanee, who is a
 prisoner in Charekur, be sent for and made over to us, that people
 may be induced to come in to us. And if you will make over to us any
 guns and ammunition, it will be a great assistance. For the rest,
 as long as we live we shall hope for the friendship of the British


[_Book IX., chapter 3, page 369._]


  _April 2nd, 1843_, Allahabad.


 I have had the honour to receive your Lordship’s letter, dated 23
 ultimo, intimating that disapprobation had been expressed at the
 destruction of the bazaar and mosque at Caubul, and of trees; also,
 that excesses have been imputed to the troops.

It is difficult to grapple with vague and anonymous accusations
against the conduct of the troops. Many detailed statements in the
newspapers were entirely unfounded, and were got up with the sole
object of creating a sensation; but I confess that if individual and
isolated instances of excess had occurred, I should not have been much
surprised, composed, as all India armies are, of such a heterogeneous
mass, comprising all classes and castes; more than two-thirds of whom
are either public or private servants and adventurers, who, though
nominally following some occupation useful to an army, proceed with
it for the sole purpose of plundering when a favourable opportunity
offers. Some excesses may, unknown to me, have been committed; but I
will venture to assert that no troops ever conducted themselves with
more forbearance under such unprecedented aggravations: perhaps no army
was ever placed in a more trying situation.

 During the whole course of their progress towards the capital they had
 ocular proofs of the treachery and brutality of a merciless enemy;
 but still I am unable to call to mind any wanton, deliberate act of
 inhumanity on the part of the troops; and cannot but regret that
 the culpable instances alluded to have not been specified, as I may
 possibly be suspected of suppressing facts. This, however, I beg to
 assure your Lordship I have no wish to do.

 The feeling of the Hindoos against the Afghans was very naturally
 strong, in consequence of the latter having deprived the Hindoos
 of their caste whenever they came into their power; but no troops
 could feel otherwise than excited at the sight of the skeletons of
 their late brethren in arms, which still lie covering the road from
 Gundamuck to Caubul; and as if the more to rouse a spirit of revenge,
 the barricade at Jugdulluck was literally covered with skeletons.

 What I have stated above will not be considered as justifying excesses
 on the part of a British army; but it may be admitted in extenuation
 of individual cases.

 A few days previous to the march of the brigade under Brigadier
 Monteith, an European was murdered by the Afghans at Jellalabad. The
 destruction of Alli Boghan by some men under Brigadier Monteith’s
 command, was caused by one of those sudden bursts of feeling which,
 being wholly unexpected, no precautions were deemed necessary; but it
 was a solitary instance, and occurred nearly as follows:—Some camp
 followers entered the village, and having found parts of the dress of
 some of our soldiers who had been massacred on the march from Caubul,
 a number of men proceeded to the village, which was eventually burnt,
 whether accidentally or intentionally is doubtful; so very soon was
 the mischief perpetrated, that the Brigadier was hardly aware of it
 till the place was in flames. He immediately took measures to prevent
 a recurrence of such scenes, and I wrote in strong terms on the
 subject. Subsequent to that event, during the whole time the Brigadier
 was detached, I heard of no more excesses. In the instance of Alli
 Boghan, after a most minute inquiry, I have reason to believe that not
 a man, woman, or child was injured, and I know the greater part of the
 property was returned to the head man of the village.

 In subsequent engagements with the enemy at Mamookail, Jugdulluck,
 and Tezeen, I neither saw or heard of any excesses. A report was
 circulated that an European was burnt alive at Jugdulluck, and that
 two Afghans were burnt in like manner by our troops in revenge, the
 whole of which was an infamous fabrication.

 I know of no instances of cruelty or excess at Istaliff; and the
 feeling of the army could not have been very prone thereto when about
 four or five hundred women and children were protected from insult and
 injury, and made over to their families after the engagement. If any
 excess has been committed which I have not noticed, I can only affirm
 that I recollect none; and I beg to add, that the praise bestowed on
 the troops on a late occasion by your Lordship for their “forbearance
 in victory,” is, as far as I am able to judge, well merited; and I
 trust your Lordship will never have cause to alter your good opinion
 of their conduct.

 On the subject of trees being destroyed, I am unable to call to
 recollection what occurred in Brigadier Monteith’s detachment; and
 the only instance of their destruction, which came under my personal
 observation, was at Mamookail, where the ground was such that I was
 obliged to encamp the different regiments in the gardens surrounding
 the fort. Without this precaution I should have been subjecting the
 troops to constant annoyance, as the enemy would certainly have
 occupied them. The destruction of the vines and other small plants was
 almost a necessary consequence of our occupying Mamookail.

 With regard to the destruction of the Caubul bazaar and mosque, it may
 possibly be supposed that with them was destroyed other property; but
 this was not the case.

 The insult offered to the remains of the late Envoy was notorious to
 the whole of the chiefs and inhabitants of the city. They admitted
 that the mutilated body was dragged through the bazaar and treated by
 the populace with every indignity, and eventually hung there, that
 every Afghan in the city might witness the treatment of the remains
 of the representative of the British Government. The intended measure
 was communicated to the chiefs, who not only admitted the propriety
 of destroying a place were such scenes had transpired, but offered
 to, and did, accompany the party sent for its destruction. Those
 who resided at and near the bazaar had two days’ previous notice to
 remove their property (which they did), and I am not aware of any
 instances of violence having occurred. It was not possible entirely
 to prevent plundering; but during the time the engineer was employed
 in the destruction of the bazaar and mosque attached, both cavalry and
 infantry were on duty in the city to prevent any outrage.

  I have the honour, &c.

  [_MS. Records._]


  Ghazeepore, _10th April, 1843_.


 Since I had the honour to address your Lordship on the 2nd instant, in
 reply to your Lordship’s letter dated the 23rd ultimo, it has occured
 to me that I could not produce better proof of the forbearance of
 the troops under my command than by a reference to their conduct on
 the morning of the 16th of September last. I have already officially
 detailed the number of troops which accompanied me on the occasion
 of planting the colours on the Balla Hissar. It was deemed advisable
 on that occasion to go through a part of the city, and although
 the troops had arrived only the day before from a march which was
 abundantly calculated to irritate and exasperate them, they so fully
 and literally obeyed the orders I had previously given, that not a
 house or an individual was injured, either in going or returning from
 the Balla-Hissar. The destruction of the residence of Koda Bux, the
 chief of Teezeen, may perhaps have been considered an excess; I will
 therefore explain, that during the time the army remained in advance
 of Teezeen, the chief of that place was the cause of our communication
 being cut off. He was repeatedly warned what the consequences would be
 when an opportunity offered, if he persisted in such a course; but I
 beg to add that the injury sustained by the chief in the destruction
 of his residence entailed no loss on others that I am aware of, as the
 injury done was confined almost entirely to the fortified dwelling.
 Forage was found there and brought to camp, but not an individual was

  I have the honour to be, &c., &c.


  Dinapore, _18th April, 1843_.


 I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated
 the 29th ult., which awaited my arrival here. I regret that I was
 not sooner in possession of your letter, as I fear this will be too
 late for the purpose required. Nearly all the information it is in
 my power to give is contained in the accompanying copies of letters
 which I have addressed to the Right Honourable the Governor-General
 in reply to a reference his Lordship was pleased to make to me. With
 respect to the extent of injury done by the brigade under Brigadier
 Monteith, I am unable to give any detailed account. The provisions,
 grain, etc., and materials for building, were taken from those of the
 inhabitants who were openly opposed to our troops; but in both cases
 the cost of things taken was carried to the account of government.
 I have already, in my letters to his Lordship, stated that I am not
 aware of any Afghans having been killed when unresisting, or from
 any feeling of revenge on the part of the troops. Torabauz Khan, the
 chief of Lallpoora, and the governor of Jellalabad, accompanied the
 brigade to point out what property should be respected. With regard
 to the violation of woman, I heard of no instance of the kind; and I
 am quite sure that Brigadier Monteith would have done his utmost to
 prevent such excuses. I have stated to his Lordship what occurred at
 Mamoo Kail, and I know most positively that no Afghan was killed on
 that occasion except in fair fighting. The families had, I believe,
 gone the day before the place was taken. I cannot say when or by whom
 the fort or adjoining houses were set fire to. I passed through with
 the right column in pursuit of the enemy, and did not return till
 the afternoon, when I had determined to encamp there. On my return
 I found Brigadier Pollock with his column (the left) occupying the
 gardens. The fort and adjacent houses were still burning. On the
 return of the whole of the troops, it was necessary for their security
 to take advantage of the gardens surrounded by walls, and the men
 were accordingly encamped there. The destruction of the vines was a
 necessary consequence, as every one must know who has seen how grapes
 are cultivated in Afghanistan. There were very few trees cut down,
 but the bark of a number of them was taken from about two or three
 inches. With reference to the third paragraph of your letter, I beg
 to state, that from the date of my arrival at Caubul on the 15th of
 September, the inhabitants commenced returning to their houses. They
 had assurances from me of protection, and, with the exception of the
 covered bazaar, I did my utmost to protect both the inhabitants and
 their dwellings from injury. I have already stated to his Lordship why
 I considered that particular spot (the bazaar) should suffer, and on
 the 9th of October the engineer commenced his operations. I believe
 I am quite justified in stating that no lives were lost; the private
 property had been removed, and I had both cavalry and infantry on duty
 in the city to prevent plundering. Some injury was no doubt sustained
 by the city, but the damage done even when we left it was partial
 and comparatively trivial. I consider it mere justice to the troops
 who proceeded under my command to Caubul, and who passed over scenes
 which were particularly calculated to cause great excitement among
 them, to state, that their conduct on proceeding to the Balla Hissar
 (passing through a part of the city) was quite unexceptionable, and
 the good effect resulting therefrom was immediately felt: confidence
 was restored; in proof of which I may state that supplies both of
 grain and forage were brought in abundantly, everything being paid
 for. I have no memorandum from which to quote the exact quantities
 of grain which came into camp, but my recollection of the quantities
 in round numbers is as follows:—The first day 500 maunds, second day
 1000 maunds, third day 1600 maunds, fourth day 2000 maunds, fifth day
 1000 maunds. The falling off of the supplies on the fifth day was
 the consequence, I was told, of some of the men of General Nott’s
 force having plundered those who were bringing in supplies. I wrote
 to General Nott on the subject; but from that period the supplies
 never came in so freely as before, and I am sorry to add that many
 complaints were made. I have hitherto been silent on this subject, and
 should have continued so, for reasons which it is perhaps unnecessary
 to explain; but as the third paragraph of your letter calls for a more
 particular report than I have hitherto made, I reluctantly forward the
 accompanying documents, upon which it is unnecessary for me to make
 any comments.

 I beg, however, to state distinctly, that until plundering commenced
 supplies of every description were abundant, and the people were
 fast returning to the city. In reply to that part of the third
 paragraph in which I am directed to state what injury I understood
 had been committed by the Candahar force after my march, I have
 merely to observe, that from all I had heard I thought it advisable
 that the whole force should move from Caubul the same day; and this
 precaution, I have reason to believe, prevented some excesses.

 In reply to the fourth paragraph, I believe I may with great truth
 state that no Afghans were destroyed in cold blood, either before or
 after reaching Caubul. No women were either dishonoured or murdered,
 that I am aware of. With regard to the destruction of that particular
 part of the Caubul bazaar where the envoy’s remains were treated with
 indignity, and brutally dragged through to be there dishonoured and
 spit upon by every Mussulman, I admit that I considered it the most
 suitable place in which to have decided proofs of the power of the
 British army, without impeaching its humanity.

 I have, as directed by you, forwarded a copy of this letter and the
 original documents to Colonel Stewart, for the information of the

  I have the honour to be, Sir, &c. &c. &c.



  London, _2nd April, 1843_.

 The Secret Committee has communicated to us the letters noted
 below,[362] relating to inquiries addressed by order of the
 Governor-General to the General Officers lately commanding in
 Afghanistan, on the subject of certain rumours of outrages alleged to
 have been perpetrated by the British troops, and conveying replies to
 those inquiries from Major-Generals Sir George Pollock, Sir William
 Nott,[363] and Sir John M’Caskill.

 When these rumours were first brought to our knowledge, we deemed them
 to be great exaggerations, if not altogether unfounded; and we did
 not doubt that we should receive, in due course, full and exculpatory
 explanations as to what had actually taken place.

 Whilst we regard the statements made by the three General Officers
 as generally satisfactory, we cannot avoid the expression of our
 regret that Sir William Nott should have been hurried, by the warmth
 of his feelings, into throwing on the government which he served the
 reflection contained in the last paragraph of that letter, and which
 was quite unnecessary to the vindication of his own character, and
 that of the troops under his command.

 Neither can we do otherwise than notice with regret the publication
 of Sir William Nott’s letter in an English newspaper. We have not the
 means of ascertaining how this irregularity occurred, but we must
 observe, that unauthorised disclosure of official correspondence
 on any subject is highly improper, and may lead to the greatest

  We are, &c.

  (Signed)          JOHN COTTON.         E. MACNAGHTEN.
                  JOHN SHEPHERD.      W. H. C. PLOWDEN.
                      W. ASTELL.        JOHN MASTERMAN.
                       C. MILLS.          W. B. BAYLEY.
                  J. LUSHINGTON.         HY. ALEXANDER.
                 RUSSELL ELLICE.           M. T. SMITH.
                    R. JENKINS.
                                            [_MS. Records._]

                               THE END.

                            CHARING CROSS.

_June, 1878._

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[1] About the same time Lord Auckland wrote to Sir W. Macnaghten: “I
would have you share in the feeling which is growing strongly upon
me that the maintenance of the position, which we have attempted to
establish in Afghanistan, is no longer to be looked to. It will be for
you and for this government to consider in what manner all that belongs
to India may be most immediately and most honourably withdrawn from the
country.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[2] _MS. Correspondence._

[3] Mr. George Clerk at that time entertained very similar opinions
regarding the danger of sending more regiments away from the
North-Western Provinces. “Whatever may take place,” he wrote to
Lord Auckland on the 25th of November, “in regard to Caubul, and in
whatever degree our troops there may be reinforced, we should not
weaken this frontier. Any reduction of our military strength causes
some presumption or audacity in our native allies generally.” And on
the 29th he wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western
Provinces (Mr. Robertson): “I really do not see how our muster-roll
is to stand this draining of more troops—and probably many more,
west—whilst reinforcements are also proceeding eastward. Undoubtedly
the remainder will be inadequate to the due maintenance of our high
supremacy in India.”—[_MS. Correspondence._] There was, unquestionably,
a choice of evils at this time. But Sir Jasper Nicolls and Mr. George
Clerk differed in opinion as to which was the greater of the two.

[4] On the 27th of November he wrote to Lord Auckland from Mynpoorie:
“If it be decided that we are to support Shah Soojah under all
circumstances and difficulties, I must entreat your Lordship’s early
attention to the means of effecting this object, which may be a more
arduous undertaking than the occupation of the country in 1839.” And
again, in the same letter: “There is a dark, perhaps a random hint,
in one of these letters that the rebellion is instigated by the royal
family at Caubul. If so, I would advise the early abandonment of them,
their country, and their cause.” On the 28th he again wrote: “I really
would not advise our forcing either him or ourselves upon a nation
so distant, and in all respects so dissimilar both to our Sepoys and
ourselves, at an expense so decidedly ruinous.” And on the 30th, in
still more emphatic language, he said: “My opinion regarding a renewal
of our efforts to support Shah Soojah on his throne, and to establish a
permanent influence in Afghanistan, is without change or modification.
That we have no base of operations has been always clear; but now, were
we to march a reinforcement on the best horses, we could not be sure of
carrying the Khybur Pass, and if snow has fallen, the road to Caubul
would still be closed.”—[_MS. Correspondence of Sir J. Nicolls._]

[5] The 53rd and 64th Native Infantry.

[6] The 60th Native Infantry.

[7] Two days before, Captain (afterwards Sir Henry) Lawrence, Assistant
to Mr. Clerk, whose later career justified the high expectations
which were formed of him during his connexion with the North-Western
Agency, on his way out after a dacoity party, met the intelligence of
the Caubul outbreak, and immediately after forwarding it on to Mr.
Clerk went to Colonel Wild, to urge him to push on the 60th and 64th
Regiments, and to warn the Light Infantry Battalion and some details of
the 10th Cavalry, for service beyond the frontier.—[_Capt. Lawrence to
Mr. George Clerk: Nov. 14, 1841. MS. Records._]

[8] Mr. Clerk sent forward the 30th, which was Wild’s regiment, in
order that the colonel might take command of the brigade, General Boyd
having thrown out a hint that he was a more efficient officer than the
colonels of the other regiments.

[9] These artillerymen were on their way to Afghanistan to relieve the
company then in the country, serving with Abbott’s battery.

[10] Two nine-pounders and a howitzer.

[11] _Sir Jasper Nicolls to Government: January 24th, 1842._

[12] _Sir Jasper Nicolls to Government: January 23rd._ See also
private journal, “_Thanesur_, January 23rd.—Mr. C. joined us on the
ground. He is anxiously in favour of our sending forward more troops,
in view, I believe, to our undertaking the re-conquest of Caubul. To
this I decidedly object. We have neither funds nor men available,
without in the latter instance leaving India so bare as to risk its
safety.”—[_MS. Records._]

[13] _Supreme Government to Sir Jasper Nicolls: January 31,
1842._—[_Published Papers_.]

[14] _Papers relating to Military Operations in Afghanistan._ Lord
Auckland’s private letters were still more decided on these points.
“I should be glad,” he wrote to Sir Jasper Nicolls on the 10th of
February, “to hear that Sir R. Sale has been able to withdraw his
brigade from a position so perilous as to make me regard its possible
fate with extreme anxiety.” Two days afterwards he wrote to the same
correspondent: “I have from the beginning believed a second conquest
of Caubul with our present means to be absolutely impossible.”—[_MS.

[15] It was, moreover, of great importance to accelerate the movement,
because it was believed that any day might witness the appearance of
the Barukzye horsemen on the road between Peshawur and Jellalabad.
“Time is most precious to us,” wrote Mackeson to Clerk; “a few days
more may see a party of the Barukzye troops in the plains of Ningrahar,
and then thousands will be required where hundreds now would do the

[16] Shere Singh despatched urgent purwannahs both to General Avitabile
and to Raee Kishen Chund, calling upon them to aid the British by every
means in their power. “You are a general of the Khalsa Government,” he
wrote to the former, “and noted for the confidence placed in you. This
is the time to serve the two allied powers; and you will, therefore,
unreservedly devote your attention to discharge your trust, so as to
please the two friendly governments, and to earn such a name that the
services performed shall be known in London.” To the latter he wrote,
“Orders have been issued to Koonwur Pertab Chund to march to Peshawur,
and the zeal of the Durbar will at once make itself manifest to Mr.
Clerk (as the sun suddenly shining forth from beneath a cloud) when
he is informed of all by the letters of Captain Mackeson.”—[_MS.
Records._] When Mackeson received from George Clerk a copy of the
purwannah to Avitabile he was in conference at that officer’s quarters
with the Sikh general, Mehtab Singh, and the commandants of all the
Sikh battalions. “I read out this purwannah,” says Mackeson, “but
was somewhat confounded to find at its conclusion that the Durbar
limited the operations of General Avitabile and the Sikh troops to
Futtehgurh—their own frontier post. It was fortunate that, before the
arrival of this _purwannah_, the commandants of the auxiliary Mussulman
troops had left the room, having previously engaged to march as far
as Ali-Musjid in support of our troops, and to move on again with
General Pollock’s brigade.”—[_Mackeson to Clerk: January, 1842. MS.
Records._] The passages referred to in the _purwannah_ might bear this
construction, but it is doubtful whether this was their intent. George
Clerk, in a marginal note to Mackeson’s letter, says: “The _purwannah_
did not limit it; but directed them to move on to Futtehgurh and act in
concert and by Captain Mackeson’s advice.”—[_MS. Records._]

[17] A cousin of Captain Mackeson. Holding no recognised place in the
army either of the Crown or the Company, his services were neither
fairly estimated nor adequately rewarded. But there were few more
gallant episodes in the war than his defence of Ali-Musjid. Mr.
Mackeson had been long disabled by extreme sickness, but was carried
about in a litter to superintend the defence.

[18] See _Mackeson to Government: January 27, 1842_. _Published papers._

[19] “The _Nujeebs_ struck their tents when we did, and moved back to
Peshawar, and the Sikhs made no demonstration, though twice we wrote to
General Avitabile during the night; and just before daylight I told him
they were not moving, and again at sunrise.”—[_Captain H. M. Lawrence
to Mr. Clerk: 19th January, 1842._] Lawrence adds: “I impute no blame
to General Avitabile for the man not telling us what we might expect
from his miscreant troops. His own intentions are kind and friendly to
our government and ourselves.” The misconduct of the Sikh troops was
rendered more atrocious, and our own mortification more bitter, by the
circumstance that Mackeson had advanced a lakh and a half of rupees
to the Sikh authorities, for the payment of the men whose services we
hoped to retain.

[20] “We have been disgracefully beaten back,” wrote Captain Lawrence
to Mr. Clerk. “Both our large guns broke down; one was on an elephant,
but was taken down to put together when the other failed, but its
carriage breaking too, the Sepoys lost all heart, and I grieve to say
that I could not get men to bring one off, though I tried for an hour,
and at last, finding we were only expending ammunition, we left it in
their hands, but it was broken completely down and spiked.”—[_MS.

[21] “I confess,” wrote Captain Lawrence to Mr. Clerk, “that I never
heard any very heavy fire, or saw the enemy in any numbers. I was not
with the advance, and therefore may be mistaken; but was afterwards
within a hundred yards of the advanced gun for an hour or more, and
could see into the pass, but observed no breast-work, and but very few
of the enemy; certainly not above a thousand, and not half that number
of fire-arms.”—[_MS. Records._]

[22] The two detachments met at the mouth of the pass.

[23] _Mr. G. Clerk to Sir Jasper Nicolls: November 17, 1841._ I have
taken this passage from a MS. copy. It is quoted, however, in the Blue
Book, but with the usual fatality attending such compilations, there
are two errors in these few lines. Mr. Clerk is made to say that he had
called upon “the commanding officer of _Lahore_ and Ferozepore” to send
forward the regiments.

[24] It is not very clear, however, that Captain Lawrence actually
made any written requisition to the commanding officer at Ferozepore
(Colonel Wild) for the despatch of artillery details. He wrote a
private letter to Mr. Clerk, saying: “If four guns can be made
effective, they also shall be got ready.” In this letter he says that
he was about to call upon Colonel Wild; and he may orally have broached
the subject of the guns; but in his official letter, written on the
same day (November 14), there is no mention of artillery, although he
suggests the expediency of sending forward the 10th Cavalry without

[25] “Though I have not yet heard that any artillery is ordered up
to the frontier, I would beg leave to recommend, in anticipation of
the speedy arrival of reinforcements so necessary on the Sutlej, that
artillery should move forward from hence. I shall transmit a copy of
this letter to Lieutenant-Colonel Wild, in case he may think proper
to halt one of the regiments under his command, until the arrival of
such artillery as you consider can best be spared from Loodhianah or
Ferozepore; but the latter is, I believe, for want of horses, incapable
of moving; and this leaves an insufficiency for the due protection of
this border, during an unsettled state of parties at Lahore.”—[_Mr.
George Clerk to Major-General Boyd: November 27th, 1841. MS. Records._]

[26] “Having had the honour to receive from the acting Adjutant-General
a statement of the reinforcements which his Excellency the
Commander-in-Chief has ordered to be put in motion for the purpose of
forcing the Khybur, I beg leave to state to you that I would not now
wish that the 3rd troop, 2nd Brigade of Horse Artillery, should move
from the British frontier on my requisition, though I do not propose,
in consequence of this information, to request Lieutenant-Colonel
Rich to recall the order for the intended march hence of that
troop to-morrow in progress to Ferozepore.”—[_Mr. George Clerk to
Major-General Boyd: Loodhianah, December 2nd, 1841. MS. Records._]

[27] “Having heard that it is possible the guns which his Excellency
the Commander-in-Chief has directed to move across the frontier may not
be ready to move so immediately as the passage across the Sutlej of
your troop may be effected, I deem it to be advisable, adverting to the
emergency of the occasion, to recommend that you nevertheless proceed
on, in anticipation of the sanction of his Excellency to your doing
so, by orders of the Major-General commanding the division issued at
my request, provided that you can do so without crippling the means of
marching requisite for the artillery, which his Excellency has directed
to be put in motion for the frontier, and which should follow as
expeditiously as possible.”—[_Mr. George Clerk to Captain Alexander,
commanding 3rd troop, 2nd Brigade of Horse Artillery: December 4th,
1841. MS. Records._]

[28] “I do myself the honour to inform your Excellency that, in
consequence of my receipt of your Excellency’s letter of the
2nd instant, prohibiting the advance of horse artillery as a
reinforcement to proceed to Afghanistan, I have apprised Captain
Alexander, commanding the 3rd troop, 2nd brigade, now on its way to
Ferozepore, and Major Huish, commanding that station, that they are to
consider the request made by me, for the advance of that troop to be
withdrawn.”—[_Mr. George Clerk to Sir Jasper Nicolls: December 7th,

[29] See Appendix.

[30] On the 29th of January, Sir Jasper Nicolls wrote to General
Pollock: “My dear General,—In some late letters Captain Lawrence has
expressed himself in a very decided manner touching the disheartened
and unguarded language held by officers belonging to the corps which
were beaten back in the Khybur Pass on the 19th instant. God forbid
that they should feel any panic, or even alarm; but if you observe it,
I rely on your addressing yourself to them in a very forcible manner,
and shaming them out of such very unbecoming, unmilitary, and dangerous
conduct. Their duty is obedience—prompt and energetic obedience—such
as executes without expression of doubt. If more has been said than the
case seemed to require, take no notice of this further than to warn
Captain L., if you think proper to do so.—Always yours faithfully, J.

[_MS. Correspondence._]

[31] _Sir Jasper Nicolls to Lord Hill: Simlah, September 2nd,
1842._—[_MS. Correspondence._] In this letter, which will be
found entire in the Appendix, the Commander-in-Chief says: “When
Major-General Pollock arrived at Peshawur he found 1800 men of the
four regiments in hospital; the Sepoys declaring that they would not
again advance through the Khybur Pass; the Sikh troops spreading
alarm, and in all ways encouraging and screening their desertion,
which was considerable. It was well that a cautious, cool officer of
the Company’s army should have to deal with them in such a temper, 363
miles from our frontier. General Pollock managed them extremely well.”

[32] An intelligent and trustworthy officer of the 26th Native
Infantry, whose letter is now before me, writes: “In less than
forty-eight hours after our (the 9th Foot and 26th Native Infantry)
arrival, active emissaries, particularly from the 53rd and 60th
Regiments, were in our camp, using every effort to induce our men to
desert, and to refuse to enter the Khybur; and had actually gone the
length of sending Brahmins with the Gunga Jul to swear them in not
to advance; and did not desist until orders were given to seize the
first man caught in the lines under suspicious circumstances. This
information was several times communicated to me by old Sepoys and
non-commissioned officers, and the fact of the attempts made to seduce
the men from their allegiance is too well known to the officers of the
26th to admit of a moment’s doubt.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[33] _MS. Correspondence._ I need not say that these statements would
not be made except upon the testimony of officers who heard the
speeches to which I have referred.

[34] See Appendix.

[35] This and other letters of Shah Soojah will be found in the
Appendix. Macgregor’s answer to the private letter received on the 21st
was to the effect, that they had no fear of Mahomed Akbar, to whom,
please God, they would give a warm reception, if he ventured to attack

[36] Colonel Dennie, commanding the 13th L.I.; Colonel Monteith,
commanding the 35th; Colonel Oldfield, commanding the Cavalry; Captain
Abbott, the Company’s Artillery; Captain Backhouse, the Shah’s
Artillery; and Captain George Broadfoot, the Sappers and Miners.

[37] The late Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, K.C.B.

[38] _Memorandum by Major George Broadfoot._—“Captain Macgregor
vehemently denied that we had ever received hostages at Tezeen. I
mentioned several things to show that we had; but, as he persisted in
his denial, I said that I had been under some extraordinary delusion,
and that, of course, any argument founded on it must fall to the
ground, but I still held hostages utterly worthless while the enemy
had our hostages and prisoners in their hands.” Again, Broadfoot says:
“Hostages were announced in General Sale’s orders, and reported to
General Elphinstone. I was blamed for opposing one of them in a fight
at the time; and afterwards met him in charge of Captain Mackenzie on
his mission to General Pollock, when he reminded me of having nearly
killed him when he was a hostage. There are many grounds for still
thinking that I was right.” _Both_ were, to a certain extent, right.
The men to whom Broadfoot referred were not actually hostages. They
were Afghan agents, sent into the British camp to re-establish our
thannahs, &c. So Macgregor describes them in his despatch. Macnaghten,
referring to them, in a letter dated October 27, says: “I explained to
his Majesty that these people were not sent as hostages, but merely to
assist our troops and be the medium of friendly communication.”

[39] It need scarcely be said that this account of the councils at
Jellalabad, which appears for the first time in the present edition,
is based upon what I conceive to be undeniable evidence, which has
come into my possession since the book was first published. No one
who peruses it should, for a moment, lose sight of the fact that the
responsibility was with Sale and Macgregor, who had to regard the
position in which they were placed with respect to Shah Soojah’s and
to their own government, both of which were, at that time, believed to
be anxious for the evacuation of Jellalabad. In circumstances similar
to those which surrounded Broadfoot and Backhouse, I do not doubt that
Sale and Macgregor would have counselled the same course of resistance.
We err greatly when we judge by the same standard men in supreme and
men in subordinate command. Apart even from the consideration of the
paralysing effects of a sense of responsibility, it is obvious that
what is a man’s duty in one case, is not his duty in another. There
were no braver spirits in the garrison than those of Sale and Macgregor.

[40] The requisition crossed a letter from Brigadier Anquetel,
censuring Broadfoot for taking with him an unnecessary supply of tools.
The requisition was complied with, and the censure withdrawn.

[41] The work of the Jellalabad garrison was not confined to the
strengthening of their own defences. The destruction of all the
adjoining cover for the enemy was no small part of their labour. With
reference to these works, General Sale says, in his official report:
“Generally I may state that they consisted in the destruction of an
immense quantity of cover for the enemy, extending to the demolition
of forts and old walls, filling up ravines and destroying gardens,
and cutting down groves, raising the parapets to six or seven feet
high, repairing and widening the ramparts, extending the bastions,
retrenching three of the gates, covering the fourth with an outwork,
and excavating a ditch ten feet in depth and twelve feet in width
round the whole of the walls. The place was thus secure against the
attacks of any Asiatic army not provided with siege artillery.” This
admirable report was written by Havelock, as were all Sale’s Jellalabad

[42] “But it pleased Providence, on the 19th of February, to remove
in an instant this ground of confidence. A tremendous earthquake
shook down all our parapets, built up with so much labour, injured
several of our bastions, cast to the ground all our guard-houses,
demolished a third of the town, made a considerable breach in the
rampart of a curtain in the Peshawur face, and reduced the Caubul gate
to a shapeless mass of ruins. It savours of romance, but is a sober
fact, that the city was thrown into alarm, within the space of little
more than one month, by the repetition of full one hundred shocks
of this terrific phenomenon of nature.”—[_Report of General Sale:
Jellalabad, April 16, 1842._] “On the 19th of February, an earthquake,
which nearly destroyed the town, threw down the greater part of the
parapets, the Caubul gate with two adjoining bastions, and a part of
the new bastion which flanked it. Three other bastions were also nearly
destroyed, whilst several large breaches were made in the curtain, and
the Peshawur side, eighty feet long, was quite practicable, the ditch
being filled, and the descent easy. Thus in one moment the labours of
three months were in a great measure destroyed.”—[_Report of Captain
Broadfoot, Garrison Engineer._]

[43] See Appendix.

[44] “The officers of the garrison,” wrote Macgregor to Pollock on
the 21st of February, “came upon rations to-day. They are willing to
brave all difficulties and dangers, now that they feel certain that
government will resent the insult offered to our national honour by
these rascally Afghans.” And again, on the same day, writing to the
same correspondent, he said: “I am glad to find that government intend
to uphold the national honour by resenting the insults which have been
offered to it by the rascally Afghans; and I feel assured that this
garrison will continue to perform the part which has devolved upon
them at this crisis with credit to themselves and advantage to the
state. General Sale intends to publish in to-day’s garrison orders the
proclamation of the Indian Government, a copy of which you kindly sent
to me by Torabaz’s Sowars.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[45] The rescue of the Jellalabad garrison had in reality been the
primary—indeed, the sole acknowledged reason of the movement in
advance; but the Supreme Government, whilst by no means unmindful of
the claims of the Jellalabad garrison, long omitted to communicate with
Sale or Macgregor—to convey to them directly any instructions for
their guidance, or any expressions of approbation of their conduct.

[46] The correspondence which passed between Jellalabad and Peshawur at
this time unfolds the real nature of the respective positions of the
two generals. It will be found in the Appendix.

[47] _General Pollock to General Sale: March 27th, 1842. MS.
Correspondence._ Pollock did not exaggerate the backwardness of the
native regiments, or the importance of associating with them a larger
body of Europeans. Even the new corps which were moving up from the
provinces, and which the General believed to be “without a taint,”
were openly expressing their disinclination to advance. Shere Singh
mentioned this to Mr. Clerk. “Yesterday, early,” wrote the latter,
“the Maharajah, Rajah Dhyan Singh, and myself, being together for
a short time, quite unattended, they told me that Commandant Cheyt
Singh, who had come into Lahore for a day from Colonel Bolton’s camp,
to escort which from Ferozepore to Peshawur the Durbar had appointed
him, had mentioned that our Sepoys in that brigade did not like going
to the westward, and were sometimes grouped eight or ten together,
expressing their dissatisfaction; but that on the other hand the
Europeans (her Majesty’s 31st and artillery) were much delighted at the
prospect of fighting with the Afghans. The Maharajah added, ‘If you
could send two or three more European corps, they would penetrate the
Khybur or anywhere else so successfully against the Afghans, that the
Hindoos, who are now alarmed, would, after one action, all take heart
again.’”—[_Mr. Clerk to Government: Lahore, March 19th, 1842. MS.

[48] Shere Singh was at this time a confirmed drunkard, and he thought
more of potations than of politics. When the first intelligence of our
Caubul disasters reached him, Mr. Clerk wrote: “The effect which these
events in Caubul will have on Lahore, will, I imagine, be as follows.
The Rajahs will inwardly rejoice thereat; the Khalsa will be vexed at
any Mahomedan exultation; and Shere Singh will congratulate himself
on the prospect this may open to him of drawing closer his relations
with us as a means of procuring good champagne.”—[_Mr. Clerk to Mr.
Robertson: Nov. 29th, 1841. MS. Records._]

[49] Their design was to arrest the progress of Gholab Singh’s force;
and some of our officers thought that the Rajah ought to have attacked
them. But Mr. Clerk was of opinion that his forbearance was a proof of
his friendship towards us. “In the same manner,” he wrote, “that the
reluctance of Rajah Gholab Sing to have recourse to measures of open
hostility towards the Mussulman battalions, when arrayed against him
across the Attock, was, I believe, in a great measure caused by his
apprehension of embarrassing the British brigade coming up and near
at hand, should he be found making of the high road an unseemly and
uncertain field of battle for the coercion of mutinous battalions, so I
conceive that he may very naturally feel disinclined hastily to pledge
himself to take as far as Jellalabad, or into any arduous service,
troops which for fourteen months past have generally assumed a tone of
defiance of the control of their appointed officers.”—[_Mr. George
Clerk to Government: February 13th, 1842. MS. Records._]

[50] Gholab Singh was employed in the Hazareh country in operations
against Poyndah Khan and a rebel force when he was summoned to proceed
to Peshawur. At this time, too, the Jummoo Rajah had an army in Ladakh
and Thibet engaged in active warfare with the Chinese, and it was
sustaining serious reverses at the time that Gholab Singh was called
upon to aid the British Government. “What with this reverse on the
eastern frontier of his possessions,” wrote Mr. Clerk to government,
“and the apprehension that in his absence his lately victorious
troops will lose ground in the Hazareh country, Rajah Gholab Singh
evinces little ardour to co-operate with the Sikh troops at Peshawur.
It is also probable that the Jummoo Rajah would rather contemplate
the difficulties of the British Government in that quarter, than be
instrumental in removing them.”—[_Mr. Clerk to Government: January 20,

[51] See Appendix.

[52] “Lawrence is making out a digest of our conversation with the
Rajah yesterday. I should say that not even with Sultan Mahomed Khan
would the Sikhs hold Jellalabad with any advantage to themselves. If
we would bribe them with offers of territory, it must be in some other
direction. Would Shikarpoor do better!”—[_Mackeson to Clerk: Feb. 21,
1842. MS. Records._]

[53] “My course, I think, is clear—to get what I can out of the Sikhs,
and, if to my mind that is anything like substantial co-operation
in advancing or even securing support in the rear, to accept it for
General Pollock if he will use it, and officially to recommend to him
that, if it proves serviceable, he should, contrary to the orders of
government, continue to maintain Jellalabad, whilst awaiting further
orders from government on the subject.”—[_Mr. Clerk to Mr. Robertson:
Umritsur, March 4, 1842._]

[54] This was merely an echo of what Gholab Singh had been recommending
by letter to the Maharajah.

[55] There were more than enough, the minister said, to beat all
Afghanistan on the plains, but it was a different thing to convey
supplies through the defiles of the Khybur.

[56] “The aversion which the Sikhs have to penetrate the Khybur is
not more inconvenient to the British Government than it is alarming
to the Maharajah; for their resentment against the government, which
has imposed upon them the arduous duty, will be enhanced, should they
suffer from the swords of the Afghans. Nor can any thinking person in
this Durbar fail to apprehend that by proceeding to invade Afghanistan
in support of its ally, whilst deprived by the circumstances of the
alliance of all latitude of securing parties among the Afghans, such as
it would create and turn to advantage in aid of its encroachments, if
acting on its own account, it may be raising a hornet’s nest which may
involve the Khalsa in long wars for the preservation of its territories
on the Indus.”—[_Mr. George Clerk to Government: Lahore, April 5th,
1842. MS. Records._]

[57] The same year (1857) witnessed the death of Gholab Singh, and,
alas! of Henry Lawrence, one of the best of men.

[58] See Appendix.

[59] Pollock had reduced his own baggage-cattle to one camel and two

[60] “My detention here has been most annoying. We have had heavy rain,
and the Sikhs begged that I would wait till to-morrow. I have consented
to this, because the troops of both powers advancing simultaneously for
the same purpose ought to produce a good effect. I should have been
better pleased had Mahomed Akbar not sent the last reinforcement—save
the guns, which I hope we shall be able to give a good account of. The
pluck of the Sepoys is doubtful; but I hope when we carry the mouth
of the pass, they will feel confidence. The 9th are most anxious to
be let loose, and—please God! by to-morrow, we shall be well into
the pass... I still much regret that I have not the 31st; but after
Sir Robert Sale’s letter received some time back, I consider that
he has put it out of my power to wait longer, although I am quite
sure that the addition of 900 Europeans would have operated very
favorably for the prisoners. I, however, hope that you will be able,
through the Ghilzyes, to pave the way for their release when we reach
you.”—[_General Pollock to Captain Macgregor: Jumrood, April 3rd,
1842. MS. Correspondence._]

[61] The negotiations, indeed, failed altogether. The chiefs had given
hostages, and were to have received 50,000 rupees, for the safe conduct
of the force from Jumrood to Dhaka—one moiety to be paid in advance,
and the other on the army reaching the latter place. “They were to
clear the pass for us to Dhaka, and make arrangements for guarding it
afterwards. They engaged to remove all hostile Afreedis from the pass,
as far as Ali-Musjid, and then we were to repel any troops of Mahomed
Akbar Khan sent to oppose us.”—[_Captain Mackeson to General Pollock:
April 2, 1842. MS. Records._] Mackeson adds: “Yesterday the Afreedis
in our pay proposed to seize on the mouth of the pass; but as the
Sikhs were not ready to move on, and they promised to be ready on the
following day, the movement was postponed. To-day the Afreedis of our
party have pleaded that Mahomed Akbar’s troops have come down to the
mouth of the pass, and that they can no longer perform their agreement.
They offer to return the money that has been given to them.”—[_MS.

[62] Four horse-artillery guns, two guns of the mountain-train, and
three foot-artillery guns.

[63] See Appendix.

[64] See Appendix, vol. ii.

[65] “The Sepoys behaved nobly,” wrote General Pollock, on the
day after the action. “They merely required a trial in which they
should find that they were not sacrificed. There were, however, many
desertions before we advanced. Now they are in the highest spirits,
and have a thorough contempt for the enemy. This is a great point
gained. You are aware that Mahomed Akbar sent a party, about 800,
with one or two guns, to oppose us; but they thought better of it,
and abandoned the fort of Ali-Musjid this morning. I have accordingly
taken possession. The Sikhs are encamped near us, and are much more
respectful and civil since our operations of yesterday.”—[_MS.

[66] Pollock saw nothing of the Sikhs till the afternoon of the 6th.
They doubted his success, and held discreetly back until they found
that he had made good his way to Ali-Musjid.

[67] “I have been given to understand that, on the advance of our army
to Jellalabad, the Sikh authorities at Peshawur, without intimating
their intentions to Captain Lawrence, and without reference to
any engagements between the Afreedis and ourselves, entered into
arrangements with the Afreedis to purchase, for the sum of 6000 rupees
or 4000 rupees, the security of that portion of the pass they have
engaged to protect for a period of two months. The parties they agreed
to pay were Abdul Rahman Khan, Kooki Kheil, Mahomed Jalim Sipa, and
Alia Dad Malik, Din Kheil, son of Khan Bahadur, all of whom were at
that time hostile to us, although Abdul Rahman Khan has since come
over. There could have been no objection to the Sikhs entering into
an arrangement with the Afreedis; but it should have been done in
communication with us, and without imparting to the Afreedis the term
for which the Sikhs were bound to hold the pass.”—[_Mackeson to
Pollock: May 6, 1842. MS. Records._]

[68] “I regret to have to report that the Sikh regiments posted at
Ali-Musjid, yesterday left their post, and returned to Jumrood; on
their way throwing the loads off some of our mules and bullocks that
they met, and employing the animals to carry their own baggage.
My letter to Koonwur Pertab Singh, and his answer, are herewith
enclosed. You will observe that the whole Sikh regiment was actually
recalled by order, without notice being given to me, or without
their being relieved, although four regiments were within a mile of
them.”—[_Captain Lawrence to Mr. Clerk: May 9, 1849. MS. Records._]

“I waited on Koonwur Pertab Singh yesterday. I spoke strongly on the
outrage of the morning, and on the necessity of a severe example
being made of the offenders.... I repeatedly returned to the subject,
declaring the necessity of punishing the offenders, whom, I said, there
could be no difficulty in recognising, as they were for hours in the
heart of the town, and had been seen by General Avitabile himself, as
well as by Captains Lane and Johnstone, and by many of the Commissariat
agents. It was not denied that the men could be recognised; but I much
fear that no punishment will be inflicted on them.”—[_Lawrence to
Pollock: May 8, 1849. MS. Records._]

[69] Mr. Gleig says that the band of the 13th went out to play them in;
and that the relieving force marched the two or three last miles to the
tune, “Oh, but ye’ve been lang o’ coming.”

[70] Mr. Gleig says: “On the 2nd, Sir Robert Sale proceeded to
distribute the captured sheep among the corps and departments
composing his garrison. The 25th declined to accept the boon. They
sent a deputation to the General, which respectfully acquainted him
that animal food was less necessary for them than for Europeans, and
besought him to give their portion of the booty to their gallant
comrades of the 13th. No wonder that between these two corps there
should have sprung up a romantic friendship, which, though the
accidents of service have parted them, probably for ever, neither is
likely to forget, at all events as a tradition, while they keep their
places respectively in the armies of the Queen and of the East India

[71] _MS. Correspondence._

[72] _General Sale’s Public Despatch._

[73] Mr. Gleig gives the following account of Dennie’s end: “With
undaunted resolution the 13th rushed at the fort, Colonel Dennie nobly
leading; and finding the aperture sufficiently large to admit of it,
they rushed through the outer wall—only to find themselves exposed
to a murderous fire from the untouched defences of the inner keep.
Here Dennie received, just as he approached the breach, his mortal
wound. A ball entered the side, passing through the sword-belt; and
he bent forward upon his horse. Lieutenant and Adjutant (now Captain)
Wood instantly rode up to him, and expressed a hope that the hurt was
not serious. But it was more than serious; it was fatal. A couple
of orderlies, by Captain Wood’s direction, turned his horse’s head
homewards, and leading it by the bridle, endeavoured to guide him to
the town. But he never reached it alive. He died with the sound of
battle in his ears, hoping, but not living to be assured, that it would
end triumphantly.”

[74] See Appendix.

[75] A letter to General Pollock, written on the 18th of March, says:
“Affairs here are as unsettled as they can possibly be. The day before
yesterday the commandant of the Newab’s regiment was bribed by his
Majesty to desert to the Balla Hissar with all his soldiers. The
Newab demanded their restoration, but was refused. Yesterday, after
much dispute, his Majesty sent a message to our host, saying that the
commandant should be sent to Ameen-oollah’s house if we were delivered
over to the same authority. Fortunately for us the Newab refused to
give us up. This proposition was made through jealousy of the Newab,
and with the view to conciliate Ameen-oollah, by whom it had been
represented to his Majesty that we were supplying our host with money,
&c. Ameen-oollah had been for many days trying to get possession of
our persons with a view to try and extort money from us. His Majesty’s
proposition nearly cost us our lives.... Since the desertion of the
commandant the whole city has been in an uproar. The shops are all
closed, and every man has armed himself. The feeling against us is
reawakened. The gates of the Balla Hissar are half shut; and each chief
has collected his followers. Three or four thousand men have flocked
round our host. The Barukzye’s and Suddozye’s party-spirit bids fair
to be renewed with all its rancour.... The King has, however, now but
few friends, and his parsimony is as a proverb; and his suspected
connexion with us adds to his unpopularity.... The Naib has written
for the Kohistanees to accompany him on a crusade, and unless some
accommodation is made with his Majesty, the Balla Hissar will in all
probability be the first point of attack. It will be a popular cause,
as there are hopes of plunder.”

[76] See Appendix for translations of Shah Soojah’s letters.

[77] On the 2nd of April Mohun Lal wrote from Caubul: “A letter has
been received by Mahomed Akbar Khan, which was carried by Ameen-oollah
Khan and read by the Shah. It also passed under my sight through
the kindness of the Persian chiefs. It contained that Mahomed Akbar
has been always writing to send the troops to assist him against
Jellalabad, but nobody has heard him. Now he has been informed by
his trusty men at Peshawur that five battalions of the English have
reached Hussna Abdal, and when they join the forces at Peshawur they,
in company with the battalions of the Najeebs of the Sikhs, will force
their march through Khaibur, though he has sent Sultan Jan with a few
hundred men to reinforce the people of Khaibur; but if the English
enter and pass the Khaibur once, no one shall be able to oppose
them. Therefore the chiefs, as well as the Shah, at Caubul, should
not quarrel for the distribution of the money and ranks, but exert
themselves to come down immediately to Jellalabad and reduce it before
the English should pass Khaibur; otherwise he (Akbar) is risking and
ending his life for the faith of Mahomed, and will continue to exert
himself as long as he lives.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[78] “The Shah, I am told, has made up his mind again to proceed
in person to Jellalabad; but I scarcely believe that he will ever
march, and if he does he will either be murdered or made blind by the
Barukzyes.”—[_Letter of Mohun Lal: MS. Correspondence._]

[79] The murderer was a godson of the Shah, who had shown great
personal kindness to the youth. It is said that his evil passions had
been greatly excited, not only by the disappointment spoken of in the
text, but by the fact also that when he went to remonstrate, the King
caused the purdah or curtain of his Durbar tent to be let down, and so
denied ingress to the remonstrant.

[80] Mohun Lal, in a letter to Captain Mackeson, Caubul, April 10,
1842, says: “Prince Futteh Jung was taken prisoner in the fort of
Mahomed Khan, Bayat, and at even released by force of Ameen-oollah and
the Populzyes. As soon as he reached the palace he opened the treasury
hoarded up with great pains by his father, the King. He spends a good
deal of it, to employ the people and make his party strong.... It is
estimated to be twenty lakhs in cash and a considerable quantity of
jewels.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[81] I utterly repudiate the cant which fixes the stigma of ingratitude
on the character of Shah Soojah. No one knew better than the Shah that
we had carried him back to Caubul, and kept him there not for his
purposes but for our own.

[82] _MS. Correspondence._

[83] Macgregor was of opinion that after the departure of the British
from Caubul, the conduct of the Shah indicated a friendly feeling
towards us. “The Shah is, I believe, acting in a friendly manner
towards us,” he wrote to General Pollock; “and will, if he has the
power, prevent the march of an army from Caubul. He knows that whilst
Dost Mahomed is in our possession we can make use of him as a powerful
weapon against his Majesty, and this is the great hold we have upon his
friendship.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[84] _MS. Correspondence._

[85] _MS. Memorandum._

[86] _MS. Correspondence._

[87] _Major Rawlinson to Government: March 6, 1842._ This important
despatch was published by Lord Ellenborough in the Government Gazette,
and subsequently appeared in the Blue Book. To an unpublished letter,
written by Major Rawlinson to Mr. Colvin, on the 13th of December, I am
indebted for the information contained in the earlier portion of this

[88] He was connected with our postal establishment.

[89] The letter to General Nott was worded as follows:

“Assistant Quarter-Master-General’s Office, Head Quarters, Caubul,
November 3, 1841.

“SIR,—I have the honour, by direction of Major-General Elphinstone,
commanding in Afghanistan, to request that you will immediately direct
the whole of the troops under orders to return to Hindostan from
Candahar to march upon Caubul instead of Shikarpore, excepting any that
shall have got beyond the Khojuck Pass, and that you will instruct the
officers who may command to use the utmost practicable expedition.
You are requested to attach a troop of his Majesty the Shah’s Horse
Artillery to the above force, and likewise half the first regiment of

“I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,

“J. PATON, Capt. A. Q. M. G.

“To Major-General Nott, Commanding at Candahar.”

This letter was sent, under a flying seal, through Colonel Palmer,
at Ghuznee, and Major Leech, at Khelat-i-Ghilzye—Palmer sent it on
with this indorsement: “The country getting more disturbed every day.
Burnett came in yesterday after being attacked on the road. He was
pursued, when he fortunately fell in with some horsemen I had sent
after the fifty-two camels from Candahar, which have been taken off. No
tidings of Crawford.” Leech wrote:—

“Khelat, Nov. 12, 1841.

“The whole of the Ghilzye prisoners escaped from Caubul, and the family
of Husan Khan from this neighbourhood. Khaker Khan and Munsoor Khan in
custody, and all the other families expected by this evening to be safe
at this place.——What are we to say to the appearance _en route_ to
Candahar at this crisis of Saifadeen, nephew of Atta Mahomed Khan. He
was here on the evening of the 8th.”

Macnaghten’s letter was addressed to Rawlinson, and it ran in the
following words:—

“Caubul, Nov. 3, 1842.

“MY DEAR RAWLINSON,—We have a very serious insurrection in the city
just now, and from the elements of which it is composed, I apprehend
much disturbance in the surrounding country for some time to come.
It would be only prudent, therefore, that the 16th, 42nd, and 43rd,
with a troop of horse artillery and some cavalry, should come here
immediately. General Nott will be written to officially in this
respect. We have been shelling the city all day, but apparently with
little effect. I hope there will be no difficulty about supplies. Your
writing to Leech will obviate this. On second thoughts I shall forward
this letter under a flying seal through Palmer and Leech. Unless you
send up this reinforcement there will be a probability of our supplies
being cut off.


A line from Captain Lawrence to Colonel Palmer requested him to send on
the letter express through Leech. Leech forwarded it with a few words
to Rawlinson, saying, “What think you of a Prince and some treasure
with the brigade? Please reinforce this post (Khelat-i-Ghilzye) by
160, or if possible, 200 men—infantry.” Another indorsement stated,
“There are nearly 100 maunds of atta here, belonging to the Bengal
commissariat, disposable for the brigade proceeding towards Caubul. We
have six months supply for the garrison.


—[_MS. Records._]

[90] It does not appear that the conduct of Lieutenant Crawford was,
in any way, open to censure. He was the bearer, as has been shown,
of written instructions, authorising him to destroy the prisoners if
they attempted to escape, but there seems to have been no connivance
between them and the party who attacked the escort. Crawford himself
says, in a narrative which he drew up, and which was subsequently
published in a Bombay paper: “One prisoner was cut down by a horseman
of the enemy (plainly showing there was no collusion between them),
two others rolled over in a ditch, where, with their horse a top of
them, and their legs chained under his belly, I left them; indeed, I
now found it was impossible I could ever get my charge into Ghuznee
alive, and I had only to decide on putting them to death or setting
them at liberty. My instructions would have justified my pursuing
the former course, but the poor wretches had clearly made no attempt
to escape; they were in no way answerable for the attack made on my
party, as was evident from one of their number falling by the sword of
our adversaries; and I conceived then, and do now conceive, that in
letting these men go with their lives, I was not only acting according
to the strict letter of my instructions, but that justice and humanity
required I should not slay them in cold blood. Had I put them to death,
then Shumshoodeen or Mahomed Akbar would have been equally justified
in taking our lives (the lives of all their prisoners) on the advance
of Pollock and Nott on Caubul. I may add that the Court of Inquiry,
which I called for, after investigating all the circumstances, decided
that I had acted perfectly right.” These escaped prisoners, however,
subsequently became the most active of our enemies.

[91] He died, after much suffering, in March.

[92] _Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._

[93] “The mutineers moved down to the Barukzye villages in apparent
expectation of being joined by the Ooloos, but wherever they went they
received neither support nor encouragement, notwithstanding that they
gave out our troops were on the march to destroy the Douranee villages.
The Janbaz at last took up a position at Chuplanee, a village about
twelve miles off, where our cavalry came up with them; Captain Leeson
had to file his men across a difficult canal, and had only just formed
line when the enemy charged in a body. Our men charged at the same time
in line, and the flanks swept round the Janbaz horse, who were probably
not above 150 strong—numbers having left the rebel standard before
reaching Chuplanee. For about five minutes a splendid fight took place,
hand-to-hand, when the Janbaz broke and fled, pursued by our cavalry.
Of the enemy, about thirty were killed and fifty wounded in the flight
and pursuit. Our loss was trifling.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[94] _Major Rawlinson to Major-General Nott: January 7th, 1842. MS.
Correspondence._ as end ref

[95] _General Nott to Major Rawlinson: January 8th, 1842. MS.
Correspondence._ There is a characteristic passage in this letter which
is worthy of quotation. “I have no right to interfere with the affairs
of the government of this country, and I never do—but in reference to
that part of your note where you speak of political influence, I will
candidly tell you that these are not times for mere ceremony, and that
under present circumstances, and at a distance of 2000 miles from the
seat of the Supreme Government, I throw responsibility to the winds,
and tell you that, in my opinion, you have not had for some time past,
nor have you at present, one particle of political influence in this

[96] Her Majesty’s 40th Regiment; the 2nd, 16th, 38th, and a wing of
the 42nd Native Infantry; the Shah’s 5th Infantry; Anderson’s two
troops of Horse Artillery (Shah’s); Blood’s Battery (Bombay Artillery);
Leeson’s and Haldane’s Horse.

[97] The number of the enemy has been variously stated at all sorts of
amounts, from 5000 to 20,000. General Nott, in his official despatch
addressed to the Military Secretary, says: “After a march of four hours
over a very difficult country, I came in sight of the rebel army, from
fifteen to twenty thousand men, drawn up in a strong position on the
right bank of the Urghundab.” Major Rawlinson says: “From what I myself
saw, as well as from information I have received from parties in the
enemy’s camp, I should estimate their entire force at 5000-3000 of
which accompanied the chiefs from Sir-a-bund, whilst the other 2000
joined from the Alekozye villages.”—[_MS. Journal._] There is nothing
of which the historian ought to speak with less confidence than the
“number of the enemy.” There is nothing more difficult to determine
than the fact; and nothing more likely to draw upon him a large amount
of acrimonious criticism, than his manner of stating it. As a general
proposition, I think it may be laid down that military commanders
seldom under-state the number of the enemy they have beaten.

[98] “Two canals in advance of the village were lined by matchlock
men—the horse crowded the slope of the tuppa upon which Killa-chuk is
built, and occupied the entire space intervening between that village
and Kohuck, the hillocks adjoining which latter place were covered by
large masses of footmen collected from the neighbouring villages to
witness rather than to participate in the combat.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s
MS. Journal._]

[99] Major Rawlinson, in his despatch of the 6th of March, describes
this affair as a “brief skirmish.” General Nott has described the
action in a few pregnant sentences. A graphic account of it is to be
found in Captain Neill’s _Recollections of Four Years’ Service in the
East_. Captain Neill was present as Adjutant of her Majesty’s 40th
Regiment. He speaks of the affair as the “Battle of Urghundab.”—“the
first success after our recent disasters at Caubul,” as it was. He
adds: “The victory having been obtained over a force so immensely
superior to that which was opposed to it by the British, most
effectually damped the spirit of our enemies in that part of the
country.” As Nott’s force had sixteen guns, it can hardly be said that
the enemy’s force was immensely superior.

[100] The Prince seems to have been inclined to desert to the British
in the course of the action. He and Tej Mahomed (the Sirdar of the
recreant Janbaz, who had been forced to accompany the mutineers after
their attack on their British officers) had been in consultation in
the morning about going over to the British camp. The chiefs had some
suspicion of this, and “when they saw Tej Mahomed detach himself, they
immediately accused the Prince of treachery. They talked, indeed, of
seizing him; upon which the boy, with his immediate followers, galloped
off the field.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._] Tej Mahomed would
have come in; but an inopportune shower of grape from Blood’s battery
kept him at a discreet distance.

[101] The Douranee chiefs were irritated against Atta Mahomed for
precipitating the conflict with the British. They had been anxious to
stand aloof until the issue of the Caubul contest could be more clearly
seen by them.

[102] On the 8th of January, the General wrote to Rawlinson: “I am
sorry that I have not the same confidence in Meerza Ahmed which you
appear to have. The force under this man has been in the immediate
vicinity of Candahar for the last month. Why this has been permitted I
know not. He has a very considerable body of men with him, both horse
and foot; and my information tells me that they are increasing daily
and hourly.... You ought to be the best judge of this man’s fidelity;
but I believe him to be a traitor; and I should not be surprised to
hear of his being joined by his expected confederates, and before
twenty-four hours marching off and forcing the young Prince Sekunder to
accompany him. Yet he is on the watch, and will play his game according
to circumstances.”—[_General Nott to Major Rawlinson: January 8th,
1842. MS. Correspondence._] The position of Meerza Ahmed, and the near
prospect of his defection, were among the reasons urged by the General
in support of his refusal to quit the near neighbourhood of Candahar.

[103] _Neill’s Recollections._ There was, however, comparatively little
snow at Candahar. It seldom lies there long upon the ground.

[104] He was not, however, completely successful. It would have been
a miracle if he had been. “_February 4._—There have been several
squabbles in the Douranee camp already: 1stly. A quarrel took place
between the Janbaz and Populzyes regarding _bhoosa_; 2ndly. Sufder Jung
fell out with Meerza Ahmed, and abused him for not spending his money
freely on the Ghazees; and 3rdly. The Janbaz have regularly cleaned
out an Ishakzye Khail in another dispute about supplies.”—[_Major
Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[105] Major Rawlinson, preparatory to the commencement of the work
of disarming, took a census of the inhabitants of the city, which
greatly alarmed the people, as it was believed to be our intention to
expel them. When it was found that they were only to be disarmed, they
recovered their serenity, and submitted very patiently to the ordeal.

[106] “_February 11._—I am becoming seriously alarmed about money.
A lakh is the utmost that I shall be able to raise from the Candahar
merchants, and with the most rigid economy this will hardly last us
to the end of March—the godowns at the same time being opened to
supply the troops. It seems, therefore, absolutely indispensable
that the road should be opened from the south, either by Outram or
ourselves.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[107] “_February 21._—Two Cossids reached me to-day from Leech, one
with letters of the 13th and 15th, the other with letters of the 17th.
Enclosed was a copy of a letter addressed to me by Major-General
Elphinstone and Major Pottinger, requesting me to intimate to
Major-General Nott their wish that he would evacuate Candahar and
Khelat-i-Ghilzye, in pursuance of the agreement entered into at
Caubul for the return of our troops to India. This letter appears
to be genuine, but I cannot consider it in any way binding on us;
and for the reasons stated in my letter to General Nott of the 1st
instant, I still conceive that we are best consulting the interests
of government in maintaining our position pending the receipt of
further instructions from Calcutta.... The question regarding Shah
Soojah is very perplexing. He is certainly nominally at the head of
the government, and we can no longer be supposed to be here in support
of his authority. Still, however, a month sooner or later in retiring
can make little difference, and it seems to me indispensable that some
definite arrangements, approved of by government, should be entered
into for the future administration of the province before we withdraw
our troops.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[108] It ran thus: “_Caubul, 25th December, 1841._—SIR,—It having
been found necessary to conclude an arrangement, founded on that of the
late Sir W. H. Macnaghten, for the evacuation of Afghanistan by our
troops, we have the honour to request that you will intimate to the
officer commanding at Candahar our wish that the troops now at that
place and at Khelat-i-Ghilzye, together with the British authorities
and troops within your jurisdiction, should return to India at the
earliest convenient season. Newab Jubbar Khan, who is the bearer of
this letter, will render you all the assistance in his power. He
has been appointed Governor of Candahar on the part of the existing


“P.S.—If you require two or three days to make your preparations, you
must not remain in the city, but proceed to your cantonment. Whatever
you are obliged to leave behind, you will make over to the Newab Jubbar

[109] “I have only to repeat,” wrote General Nott, on the 23rd of
February, in reply to Major Rawlinson’s official letter on the subject
of the evacuation orders received from Caubul, “that I will not treat
with any person whatever for the retirement of the British troops
from Afghanistan, until I shall have received instructions from the
Supreme Government. The letter signed ‘Eldred Pottinger’ and ‘W. K.
Elphinstone’ may, or may not, be a forgery. I conceive that these
officers were not free agents at Caubul; and therefore their letter or
order can have no weight with me.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[110] _Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._

[111] February 28.

[112] “I have been for some days past in communication with the
Barukzye tribe, and have, I believe, succeeded in detaching them
from the Douranee confederacy. They had deserted their villages and
gone off to the desert; but, on a promise of protection, have now
returned, and bound themselves to admit none of the enemy’s horse
within their borders. The Alekozyes of the Urghundab also propose to
enter into the same engagements; and if we can fairly detach these
two powerful tribes, the Douranee cause must, I should think, expire
of an atrophy.... Timour suggests that he should endeavour to get the
Douranee chiefs to march on Caubul, in order to release the Shah from
the Barukzyes, feigning that he has received his father’s instructions
to this effect; and I see no objection to such an attempt being made.
I also hear that the Caubul Janbaz insist on proceeding to the north,
and that Meerza Ahmed has the greatest difficulty in restraining
them.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[113] “_March 1._—The General now has made up his mind to take the
field; and, after considering the case fully, I have determined that
the Afghans must be turned out of the city. It is not as if the
present affair were a mere transient disturbance. We are engaged in a
regular national war, and Outram does not anticipate that we shall be
able to take the field in sufficient force to put down all opposition
before next winter. We must, therefore, look forward to a protracted
struggle at Candahar all through the summer; and the security of the
city appears to me, under such circumstances, indispensable.”—[_Major
Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[114] A week before, a strong conviction of the necessity of the
measure had forced itself upon his mind. But he was only too willing
to postpone the execution of it. On the 22nd of February he wrote:
“The Moollahs are now again stirring themselves, and I have very
good grounds for supposing a large quantity of arms to be concealed.
I almost fear that affairs are approaching that state when, for our
immediate safety, we shall be obliged to incur the odium of expelling
the Moollahs and Afghans from the city. It is not that these people
can do us any serious injury within the city; but the probability of
an insurrection inside the walls simultaneously with the disturbances
outside, gives confidence to Meerza Ahmed’s party and dispirits our
Parsewan adherents. It is to be considered, however, that if we expel
the Afghans and retain the Parsewans, we shall embitter the national
feeling against us with the rumour of sectarian animosity, and shall,
moreover, sacrifice the Sheeah party in the event of our retirement.
The most obvious necessity of self-preservation could alone, I think,
warrant such a course, and I cannot doubt but that it is my duty to
temporise as long as prudence will admit.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS.

[115] “No doubt much property has been sacrificed in carrying the
measure into effect; but we have done all in our power to alleviate
the evil. Valuable property, which the people were unable to take away
with them, has been transferred to the safe keeping of the Hindoos and
merchants who have remained, and the grain is to be all taken charge
of by the commissariat, receipts in money being granted by us to the
owners.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[116] _Captain Neill’s Recollections of Service in the East._

[117] “The plan of enticing the General to Telookham, delaying him
there by keeping a body of horse in his vicinity, and then doubling
back on the town, was all preconcerted by Meerza Ahmed; and on the
night of the attack every chief in the country was present except the
Noorzyes.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[118] The gate had been closed for the night. Lieutenant Cooke was on
guard, and was endeavouring to trace the movements of the enemy in the
distance, when a villager drove his donkey, loaded with brushwood,
over the bridge and demanded admission. He was told the gate would be
opened for no one; upon which he growled out a malediction, and tossing
the brushwood on the ground, said he would leave it there for the
night, and take it into the town in the morning. The villager, having
recrossed the bridge with his donkey, dived among the ruined huts
opposite the Herat gate, and was out of shot in a moment. At the same
instant flames burst forth from the brushwood, and the gate was fired.

[119] See the letter-press to Lieut. Rattray’s admirable drawings of
the Scenery and Costumes of Afghanistan.

[120] The Ghazees had so damaged the canal banks, that the irrigation
was destroyed, and there was every prospect of a failure of the crops;
but through Rawlinson’s agency the people of the Urghundab were induced
to labour at their repair, and in a short time the waters began again
to flow in their accustomed course.

[121] _General Nott to Major Rawlinson: March 25, 1842._ [_MS.

[122] “In the charge of the horse under Saloo Khan, when after driving
back our cavalry they were stopped by the fire of the guns and the
light company of the 38th, which had been thrown out in advance, Yar
Mahomed of Dehrawat, who was Saloo’s nephew, fell, and in another part
of the field, Hubeeboollah, Akhondzadeh, and Mahomed Raheen, Noorzye,
were wounded. The total loss of the enemy in killed and wounded I
estimate, from all I could learn on the field and from the villagers,
at about 150. We had a few men killed and some forty wounded. Amongst
the latter are two cavalry officers, Chamberlaine, and Travers of the
2nd. The Douranee horse came on more boldly on this occasion than they
had ever been seen to do before. Some of the 38th Sepoys, indeed,
received sabre-cuts from our horsemen; but they cannot stand our
artillery or musketry fire. They had been so taunted with cowardice,
that they resolved to have one conflict with us before they quitted the
vicinity of Candahar, and had not reinforcements gone out, they would
have sustained, I doubt not, a much heavier loss, by making repeated
charges on different parts of the camp during the afternoon.”—[_Major
Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[123] _Captain Neill’s Recollections of Service._

[124] Captain Neill.

[125] “A few squadrons of dragoons,” wrote Rawlinson in his journal,
“would have swept the Douranee horse from the field; as it was, they
were permitted to re-cross the river almost unmolested.”

[126] _Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._ Rawlinson adds: “Our own
camp-followers, I also found, had committed extensive ravages, and when
I endeavoured to persuade the people that our troops were there for
their protection, they uniformly answered that they knew not whether
they had most to fear from their friends or their enemies.”

[127] _Major Leech to General Nott: Khelat-i-Ghilzye, March 9, 1842.

[128] Two pounds.

[129] Shah Soojah claimed credit for having delayed his march.

[130] If there had been any one in Ghuznee acquainted with the use and
practice of artillery, the garrison might have held out till April.

[131] “On the morning of the 10th, Poett and Davis were obliged to
retire from their posts, and the survivors here now assembled in the
two houses held by Colonel Palmer and the head-quarters of the corps.
You cannot picture to yourself the scene these two houses presented;
every room was crammed not only with Sepoys, but camp-followers, men,
women, and children, and it is astonishing the slaughter among them
was not greater, seeing that the guns of the citadel sent round-shot
crashing through and through the walls. I saw high-caste men groping
in the mud, endeavouring to discover pieces of unmelted ice, that
by sucking them they might relieve the thirst that tormented them.
Certainly, when that morning dawned, I thought it was the last I
should see on this earth, and so did we all, and proceeded to make a
few little arrangements ere the final attack on us took place. The
regimental colours were burned, to prevent their falling into the hands
of the enemy; I destroyed my watch, and flung it, and what money I had,
over the wall of the ditch; I also burnt my poor wife’s miniature,
first cramming the gold frame of it into a musket, being determined
that one of the Ghazees should have his bellyful of gold ere I died.
Hour after hour passed on, and still we sate expecting every minute to
hear the shout of the final attack; but it came not. From our loopholes
we saw the enemy swarming all around us—in every lane and house, and
on the hill of the citadel—the place was black with their masses;
and as they themselves afterwards told us, there were not less than
ten thousand men thirsting for our blood.”—[_Lieutenant Crawford’s

[132] Lieutenant Crawford says: “During the three preceding days’
fighting, Shumshoodeen had repeatedly offered us terms; but they were
such as we could not accede to, inasmuch as they commenced by desiring
we would surrender ourselves to him and abandon the Sepoys to the fury
of the Ghazees. The Sepoys, it appears, had held a consultation among
themselves, and believing they had no chance of their lives, determined
on forcing their way out of the town and endeavour to get to Peshawur.
When we first heard of this mad design and spoke to the men about it,
they denied it; but, on the 10th, two Native officers came forward
and told us they had made up their minds to go off that night—that
if we chose to accompany them they would be exceedingly glad, but, if
otherwise, they would go alone.”

[133] It is pleasant to record any act of individual heroism. The
late Brigadier Nicholson, who fell at Delhi, in 1857, “then quite a
stripling, when the enemy entered Ghuznee, drove them thrice back
beyond the walls at the point of the bayonet before he would listen
to the order given him to make his company lay down their arms. He at
length obeyed, gave up his sword with bitter tears, and accompanied his
comrades to an almost hopeless imprisonment.”—[_Rattray._]

[134] How strongly Outram felt on the subject of the withdrawal
policy may be gathered from the following passage in a letter to
Sir Richmond Shakespear: “As this is not a time to mince matters,
no sooner did I see the orders of government to General Pollock to
withdraw the Jellalabad garrison, and to retire to India under any
circumstances (except the Sikhs rising against us, which, by-the-by,
that measure would have brought about most probably), than I wrote,
in the most earnest manner I was capable of, pointing out that our
bitterest foe could not have devised a more injurious measure,
whether viewed politically or in a military light; but expressing my
trust that Mr. Clerk would act on the responsibility vested in him
to prevent so ruinous a step. My mind is now set at rest by General
Pollock’s determination, now gleaned from your letters. I honour the
General, therefore; and should he be allowed to carry out his views,
we shall have mainly to thank him, not only for retrieving our honour
in Afghanistan, but for saving India to us, the loss of which would
ultimately result from disgracefully succumbing to the Afghans now....
Nothing is easier than to retrieve our honour in Afghanistan previously
to finally withdrawing, should the government so determine; and I pray
God, Lord Ellenborough may at once see the damnable consequences of
shirking the undertaking, and order accordingly; otherwise the disaster
of Caubul will be but the commencement of our misfortunes.”—[_Major
Outram to Sir Richmond Shakespear: March 15, 1842. MS. Correspondence._]

[135] _Major Outram to Sir Richmond Shakespear: March 15, 1842. MS.

[136] “There are some officers in camp who think that Brigadier
England’s detachment will be sacrificed between this and the Kojuck;
but with such fine examples as those set by Woodburn on the Helmund,
Anderson at Tazee, and Wymer at Assyai, surely there ought to be no
doubt of success between this and the Kojuck, when no natural obstacles
to signify intervene.”—[_Lieutenant Hammersley to Major Outram: March
18, 1842. MS. Correspondence._]

[137] _Major-General England to Government: April 2, 1842. Published

[138] Nott had resolutely refused to send any troops to meet England’s
detachment, though earnestly pressed by Rawlinson to do so. The General
urged that he could not afford to send troops to the Kojuck, whilst he
was liable at any time to be called upon to proceed to the relief of
Khelat-i-Ghilzye. Rawlinson pointed out the immense evils attending
a total deprivation of treasure, and said that even the compulsory
abandonment of Candahar might follow the failure of General England
to effect the passage of the Kojuck. Nott, however, was obdurate. The
detachment was not sent. Wymer’s brigade, however, was then out to
the southward of Candahar, and it was believed that the object of the
movement was to support the party advancing through the Kojuck. Nott
withdrew the brigade to Candahar, and an impression gained ground among
the enemy that we had endeavoured to open our communications with the
troops below, but had drawn back in despair.

[139] Of the 20th Bombay Native Infantry. He was greatly esteemed as a
gallant and good soldier. “They have a fine fellow at the head of the
light battalion,” wrote Hammersley to Outram, a few days before the
brigade left Quettah, “and it is to be hoped that he will inspire the
crest-fallen with a little ardour.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[140] “General England and his staff were dismounted, and standing in
conversation not far from where the light companies had rallied. I
joined them. It was useless to stand and lament over what could not be
recalled. A retreat was determined upon. I observed to the General that
the day might be retrieved, and offered to lead into the entrenched
position with a hundred men properly supported; and I am confident
that I should have succeeded. The men were in courage, and anxious
to recover the bodies of their comrades. The General replied, he had
not men. I proposed that the left hill should be attacked first, as
it commanded the smaller one. The enemy were certainly in strength,
and very bold, but our men burned with rage at seeing their comrades
cut up before their eyes. I think I pressed my offer three times, the
last time volunteering to lead with eighty men; but the General felt
he had too few, and that the stake was too great.”—[_Colonel Stacy’s
Narrative of Services in Beloochistan and Afghanistan in the Years
1840, 1841, 1842._]

[141] It appears to have been England’s intention, after the disaster
on the 28th, to have commenced his retreat on the same evening; but
Colonel Stacy persuaded him not to move until the following morning. On
the 29th he struck his camp and marched to Hykerzye, halted at Koochlag
on the 30th, and on the 31st reached Quettah.

[142] Hammersley complained that the General’s letter was so very
unsatisfactory, that if it had not been for some private letters, he
would have been left in ignorance of the real nature of the events that
had occurred. The original letter, now before me, is worth quoting.
England seems to have been so unwilling to state distinctly that he had
been defeated, that even when writing officially to General Nott on the
1st instant, he shrunk from a plain statement of the circumstances of
the case; so that Nott, writing to him on the 18th, could only say: “I
have been favoured with your letter of the 1st instant, &c.... I have
_also heard of the affair you had with the enemy on the 28th ult_.” The
letter to Nott is, however, less obscure than the letter to Hammersley,
which runs thus:

“Camp, three miles south of Hykulzye, 2 P.M.

“MY DEAR HAMMERSLEY,—I wish you would acquaint Colonel Marshall,
that as the insurgent force has been much reinforced from Candahar,
and have so strongly protected themselves with breastworks, &c., on
the ground commanding our line of route this side of Hykulzye, I
shall fall back to Hykerzye to-morrow, my presence here being now of
no use, and inviting their insults; and it is probable that as the
position at Hykerzye is not a good one, having much broken ground in
its rear, that I shall further fall back on Cutchlak. I have had so
many men killed and wounded by the enemy, that my baggage is increased
whilst my means of defending it is lessened. If Colonel Marshall,
through your information, thinks the Cutchlak Pass occupied, he may
make such efforts as his numbers will enable him to keep it open and
communicate with us; and as the enemy is a hundred to one stronger than
any one imagined, I must wait for the reinforcements till I try them
again. Meanwhile, the fortification of Quettah must be proceeded with
vigorously. Show this to Colonel Marshall and Major Waddington.

“Sincerely yours (in haste), “R. ENGLAND.”

[143] “_April 1._—The Douranees having received positive accounts from
Mahomed Sadig of the advance of Brigadier England with treasure, have
resolved to make an effort to intercept it. Saloo Khan accordingly,
with Mahomed Azim (Noorzye), Fyz Tullub, Hubeeboollah, Sooltan Mahomed
(Barukzye), &c., have gone off by the desert to the Kojuck Pass. The
body of horse with the chiefs is about 1000; but they expect to raise
some 4000 or 5000 of the Noorzye, Atchekzye, Barukzye, and Populzye
Ooloos to assist in holding the pass.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS.

[144] “You will understand the insinuation,” wrote one of the most
chivalrous of the many chivalrous officers who served beyond the
Indus (James Outram). “If he is ever heard to libel our Sepoys in
that manner, surely it will be noticed by our officers.”—[_MS.

[145] After adverting to the reported intention of England to leave
Quettah with a small supply of money and ammunition, but not to push
through the Kojuck, Nott goes on to say: “This I deeply regret;
firstly, because I cannot send a force to the southern side of the
pass; secondly, I require a large supply of ammunition, which I have
for two years been endeavouring to get, but without success; thirdly,
four lakhs of rupees will be of little use here—the troops and
establishments are going on for four months in arrears; fourthly,
your moving into Pisheen with a convoy, known by the whole country to
be intended for Candahar, and then halting or retiring to Quettah,
will have the very worst effects throughout Afghanistan, and will
be more injurious to my present position than 20,000 of the enemy
in the field. I sincerely hope that you have not moved, or that you
have determined to push across the Kojuck with all the force you
can muster.”—[_General Nott to General England: April 2, 1842. MS.

[146] “I strongly advised Brigadier England, through Lieutenant
Hammersley, in letters I addressed to them both so long ago as the
10th ultimo (March), to await at Quettah the junction of the remainder
of his brigade, unless very urgent circumstances should require his
more immediate advance to meet an advance from Candahar. The latter,
so far from being the case, General Nott requested might not be
attempted.”—[_Major Outram to Captain Durand: April 3, 1842. MS.

[147] _General Nott to General England: April 2, 1842. MS. Records._

[148] _General England to General Nott: April 10, 1842. MS. Records._

[149] There is so fine a soldierly flavour about this letter, that I
give it entire in the Appendix.

[150] _Colonel Stacy’s Narrative._

[151] _Colonel Stacy’s Narrative._

[152] “These fine fellows had been led forward by Colonel Wymer, at
daybreak, to occupy the heights commanding the pass from Chummemo to
the western side, to secure General England’s party a safe passage.
I have never seen our Sepoys to such advantage. It was impossible to
climb the precipitous hills in pantaloons; this part of their dress
had, therefore, been discarded, and the men were in their doties. As
they showed on every accessible point, they were the admiration of
all. I can easily imagine how painful it must have been to the Bombay
regiments to find the Candahar troops in full possession of the pass
before they were allowed to enter it.”—[_Colonel Stacy’s Narrative._]

[153] “I have only,” wrote Nott, “to repeat my sentiments—namely,
that I will not sanction a rupee being given from the British treasury
to these people. I have for three years viewed with deep regret the
ruinous system of giving away large sums to the chiefs and Sirdars of
Afghanistan, which I sincerely believe has brought upon us all our
present difficulties in this country. I have offered to guarantee the
personal safety of Saloo Khan if he returns to his allegiance by a
certain day. If there are any other chiefs who can make it appear that
they are worthy of the indulgence of my guarantee for their personal
safety, I will take their wishes into consideration; but I will make
them no other promises. This does not apply to Mahomed Atta or to
Meerza Ahmed, as I will not receive these two men on any terms, without
the order of higher authority.”—[_General Nott to Major Rawlinson:
April 9, 1842. MS. Correspondence._]

[154] See _Colonel Stacy’s Narrative_, and his correspondence with
Major Rawlinson. Rawlinson, however, doubted whether the negotiations
with Saloo Khan would have a favourable result: “Had a long
conference,” he wrote on the 10th of May, “with Atta-oollah Khan,
who has come in to treat for his brother, Saloo; and the latter, if
his agent is to be believed, certainly desires to espouse our cause.
Knowing, however, as I do, Saloo’s ambition and avarice, I question
very much whether we shall come to any satisfactory arrangement
with him. We merely require Saloo Khan’s co-operation, in order to
facilitate the re-establishment of our dawk communication; but the Khan
talks of rank, power, and pay, as the return he has a right to expect
for joining us, and is not likely to be satisfied with any moderate
measure of conciliation.”—(_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._) Saloo
Khan, however, in the sequel rendered good service and proved his
fidelity in the face of strenuous opposition from some of the other
chiefs: “His falling off from the cause of Islam,” wrote Rawlinson in
his Journal, “has plunged him into personal difficulties. He has been
twice attacked by Mahomed Sadig and Meer Afzul, and has been wounded,
together with his brother and his nephew.”

[155] _MS. Correspondence._

[156] _MS. Correspondence._

[157] _MS. Correspondence._

[158] _MS. Correspondence._

[159] “Letters are said to have been received from the ex-Sirdars
announcing their intended journey to this place, according to Meerza
Ahmed’s invitation which was sent to them in January last. Mahomed Reza
Khan of Seistan is also said to have promised to assist them with 100
camels, and to send horsemen to escort them to this frontier. This news
appears to be _vraisemblable_ in the extreme. If the ex-Sirdars can
get away from Shuhur-i-Babek, either with or without the connivance of
the Persian Government, nothing is more likely than that they should
make an attempt to recover Candahar; and I should greatly dread their
appearance on this frontier, for we are enabled to keep up the form,
and something of the power of a local government, almost solely from
the adherence to us of the old Barukzye retainers—people on whose
fidelity we could not possibly depend if the Sirdars took the field
against us.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal: April 4, 1842._]

[160] “A messenger from Shah Persund Khan of Laush reports that two of
the horsemen sent down to Kohun-dil-Khan in January by Meerza Ahmed
returned lately, and gave out that they were only a few days in advance
of the Sirdars, who had left Shuhur-i-Babek secretly, and were coming
here _viâ_ Seistan.”—[_Major Rawlinson to General Nott: April 8, 1842.
MS. Correspondence._]

[161] Kohun-dil-Khan did not make his appearance in person in the
Candahar territory till the beginning of 1843, when we had announced
to the Persian Government that we had withdrawn behind the Sutlej, and
were indifferent as to what became of the Sirdars of Afghanistan.

[162] _Mr. Maddock to General Pollock: February 24, 1842. Published

[163] “The information received with respect to the conduct of Shah
Soojah during the late transactions is necessarily imperfect, and,
moreover, of a somewhat contradictory character. It is not probable
that the insurrection against our troops should have originated
with him. It is most probable, and it is almost proved, that he has
adopted it, and, powerless in himself, is prepared to side with either
party, by which he may hope to be maintained upon his precarious
throne.”—[_Governor-General in Council to Sir Jasper Nicholls: March
15, 1842. Published Papers._]

[164] _Mr. Maddock to General Nott: April 19, 1842. Published Papers._

[165] This is not only a remarkable letter in itself. It is remarkable
for its misadventures. Its outer history is somewhat curious. It never
found its way into the published volume of correspondence, and its
existence was only to be inferred from the fact of a reference to it
in another letter. It was at last brought to light by the inquiries in
Parliament of Lord Lansdowne and Lord Palmerston. It was to be found
nowhere in England; but a copy was at last elicited from India. The
Governor-General then declared that “the original despatch of the 13th
of May never reached the office, and must have been lost in transit.
The duplicate was received and acknowledged on the 11th of July. It is
the practice of the Secretary’s office to keep the unreported papers on
all important subjects for each month together, and to forward copies
of them to the Secret Committee by the monthly Overland Mail. The
despatch in question was inadvertently put up in its proper place in
the May bundle of reported papers, instead of being left for a time, as
it should have been, among the unreported papers of July. Hence, when
the July papers were copied for transmission to the Secret Committee,
this despatch was omitted.” Nothing less explanatory than this was
ever offered in the way of explanation. It does not appear whether the
original letter miscarried altogether on its way to Lord Ellenborough,
or whether it miscarried only on its way to the office. There is an
equal obscurity about the history of the duplicate which was “received
and acknowledged on the 11th of July.” It might be inferred from this
that it was received on the 11th of July, and acknowledged on the same
day. But it happens that the duplicate was despatched on the 30th of
May—and ought surely to have come not among the July, but among the
June papers. In this letter of the 11th of July the Secretary says: “I
am directed to state that the original letter has never reached me, and
that the duplicate _has only lately been received_ and laid before the
Governor-General, whose previous instructions to you appeared to render
any special reply to this communication unnecessary.”—[_MS. Records._]
In the face of so distinct a denial as this, little can be said, except
that in a letter from Pollock of May 20th, which was duly acknowledged,
reference is made to the letter of the 13th. If that letter had not
been received, some allusion certainly ought to have been made by
Government to its non-receipt.

[166] There was no scarcity of provisions at Jellalabad at this
time. But, to secure a continued supply, Pollock was sensible of
the necessity of encouraging a belief throughout the country that
the intentions of the British Government inclined towards a forward
movement. “We are all quiet here,” he wrote on the 6th of May to Mr.
Clerk, “grain coming in in abundance; at least, in as great quantities
as we could expect after the dreadful alarm into which this force seems
to have put the whole country. Every village was deserted. I did my
utmost to protect them from plunder, and in most cases succeeded; and
the consequence is that we, in a measure, command the resources of
the country.” And on the 11th of the same month, writing again to Mr.
Clerk, he said: “While I remain here I can command supplies, and I have
no doubt that I shall be able to do so as long as the natives suppose
that we intend remaining in the country; but if they thought otherwise,
our supplies would be stopped.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[167] _Published Correspondence relating to Military Operations in

[168] _MS. Correspondence._ In his journal, too, Rawlinson wrote: “The
order to retire came upon us like a thunderbolt. We had not, from Lord
Ellenborough’s former letter, thought such a measure possible until
Caubul should be retaken. As there is no discretionary power, however,
vested in General Nott by the late letter, he has only had to consider
the best way of carrying the order into effect.”—[_MS. Journal._]

[169] The 2nd, 16th, and 38th.

[170] “In a late letter to government,” he wrote to the
Commander-in-Chief on the 24th of May, “you will have seen how
anxious I was that any proposed movement towards Peshawur should be
communicated to no one from whom it could be withheld. The moment such
a thing is known, it is probable supplies will cease to come in; we
should be in difficulty about forage; all who are now friendly would
be ready to oppose us; and if I had not time to secure the pass, the
consequences might be serious indeed.”—[_Published Papers relating to
Military Operations in Afghanistan._]

[171] In this letter of the 20th of May, Pollock says: “I have
already, in my letter dated the 13th inst., entered on the subject (of
withdrawing to Peshawur), and must receive a reply before I shall be
able to move.” If that letter of the 13th had not been received and
read, surely this allusion to it would have called forth a remark to
that effect.

[172] It was outwardly only an acknowledgment of the General’s
inability to retire at an earlier period—but there was more meaning in
it than this, for on the same day the Chief Secretary wrote to Nott: “I
am directed to inform you that, in consequence of the very defective
state of the means of movement possessed by Major-General Pollock, it
appears to be out of his power to retire from Jellalabad until October,
when his retirement will certainly take place.”—[_Published Papers._]

[173] _Major Pottinger to General Pollock: Tezeen, April 20, 1842.
Published Papers._ Together with this letter from Pottinger came a
paper from Akbar Khan himself. It was without seal and signature, for
the Sirdar was fearful of compromising himself with his countrymen, and
the document might have fallen into their hands. After some allusions
to the painful past, and a declaration that he was unable to restrain
the disorganised mob of Afghans from attacking the English army, the
Sirdar went on to say: “If I allow the English, who are my guests, to
depart according to your suggestion; or according to Pottinger Sahib’s
advice, if I allow the English ladies to depart before the gentlemen,
in either case all Mahomedans will look upon me as their enemy, and
the whole multitude will be opposed to me. Under these circumstances
I beg you to reflect, that not having come to an understanding with
you, and having made enemies of them, how can I exist?... I prefer your
friendship to the throne of Caubul, because, if I was to go to Caubul
now, the men of Caubul would push me forward, and then it would be
difficult to release my guests and to be on friendly terms with you. On
this account I have written to show my friendship for your government.
Please God my services shall exceed the injuries I have done you.”

[174] _General Pollock to Major Pottinger: Jellalabad, April 26, 1842.
Published Papers._

[175] _General Pollock to Government: Jellalabad, April 28, 1842._ In
reply to this letter, the Chief Secretary wrote: “It is not consistent
with the honour of the British Government to enter into any terms for
the making of a provision for so great a criminal. We might engage to
spare his life if he were to fall into our hands, because it would be
difficult so to bring him to trial as to protect the government from a
colourable charge of violently prosecuting an unworthy revenge; but no
more than this can be done, and this only if he should promptly do all
he can to repair the crimes he has committed.”—[_Published Papers._]

[176] _Major Pottinger to General Pollock: May 3, 1842._ I have quoted
from the original in Pottinger’s hand-writing. But the letter is given
among the published papers, with the usual official emendations. Thus
the passage, “They have asked for the money, if it is paid, to be given
to Sir-Bolund Khan”—is printed, “They have asked for the money, &c.,
to be given to _his Colund Khan_.” It may puzzle the future historian
to discover who “his Colund Khan” may have been.

[177] _General Pollock to Major Pottinger: Jellalabad, May 10, 1842.
Published Papers._ Lord Ellenborough was unwilling that any money
should be paid for the release of the captives; but was inclined to
exchange Dost Mahomed and his family for the prisoners in the hands
of the Sirdar. “Undoubtedly,” he wrote, “on the 26th of April, you
remained authorised, by the instructions of the 24th of February,
to give money on the public account for the release of individual
prisoners; and if, previously to the receipt of my letter of the 25th
of April, you should have concluded a negotiation for the release of
any individual prisoners on that condition, the Governor-General would
feel himself under the necessity of sanctioning any payment of money
to which you may have then pledged yourself. After the receipt of that
letter, you will, of course, in any future negotiation, have adhered to
the instructions contained in it. It cannot but be a subject of much
regret that you should have considered it to be necessary, under any
circumstances, to have had any communication whatever of a diplomatic
nature with Mahomed Akbar Khan, in whom it must be impossible for
any one to place any trust.”—[_Published Papers._] Akbar Khan, at
this time, seems almost to have considered the release of his father
and family as hopeless; and Pollock did not think he was authorised
to propose an exchange of prisoners; for although, on the 24th of
February, Lord Auckland suggested that he “might speak of the release
of Dost Mahomed as an event which might not be altogether impossible,”
he did not know how far such a measure might be sanctioned by Lord
Ellenborough. Moreover, Pollock believed that the exchange had only
been authorised in the event of his being able to treat for the release
of the whole of the British prisoners; and they were not all in the
hands of Akbar Khan.

[178] The questions were—“1st, What were the terms negotiated by Sir
W. Macnaghten with the rebels? 2nd. What alteration was made by Major
Pottinger? 3rd. What does Major Pottinger allude to when he talks
of breach of faith? 4th. What were the manner and causes of Sir W.
Macnaghten’s murder?” I have found the information conveyed in Captain
Mackenzie’s answers of some use in the course of my narrative.

[179] On that day Akbar Khan sought an interview with Lady Macnaghten.
Painful as such a meeting must have been, the bereaved widow was not
in a position to refuse to see her husband’s murderer. He spoke very
kindly to her; and as she sat in silent sorrow before him, he declared
that he would give his right arm that the deed which he so much
regretted might be undone.

[180] _Captain Johnson’s Journal._ The writer adds: “At the
commencement of the defile, and for some considerable distance, passed
two or three hundreds of our poor miserable Hindostanees, who had
escaped up this unfrequented road from the massacre of the 12th. They
had not a rag to cover them, and were all more or less frost-bitten,
wounded, or starving. The poor wretches were huddled together in
thirties and forties, so as to impart to each other a little animal
heat, as other warmth was denied them by the barren, inhospitable
wilderness around them. We afterwards learnt that scarcely one of
these poor wretches escaped from the defile in which they had taken
shelter; and that, driven to the extremes of hunger, some of them had
for a few short hours sustained life by feeding on their dead comrades.
The wind was blowing bitterly cold at our bivouac. No shelter of any
kind for the ladies of our party during the whole night. Happiness is
comparative; and truly fortunate did General Elphinstone, Brigadier
Shelton, and myself consider ourselves when one of our Afghan
attendants told us to accompany him inside a miserable cow-shed, which
on our first entrance was so blackened with the dense smoke from a
good blazing fire in the centre of the hut, that we could see none of
the objects around us, until we had stretched ourselves at length on
the floor, and consequently out of the influence of the smoke, when we
perceived our companions to be three or four half-starved Hindostanees,
who had accompanied our party. Our attendant wished to eject them; but
we too truly sympathised with their sufferings to permit such an act
of tyranny. We shortly afterwards got an invitation from Mahomed Akbar
to join him and his party to dinner inside the fort. The room of our
reception was not much better than that we had left. We had, however,
a capital dinner, some cups of good tea, and a luxurious rest for the
night, the room having been heated with a good blazing fire and lots of
smoke, with no outlet for either, except the door and a small hole in
the roof.”—[_MS._]

[181] Captain Johnson says in his journal: “Both Mahomed Akbar and his
chiefs were most attentive in escorting over in safety the ladies and
their children and wounded Europeans.” There is other testimony to
the same effect: “Many of the ladies, being mounted on ponies, were
obliged to dismount and ride astride on the chargers of their Afghan
acquaintance, to avoid getting wet. Nothing could exceed the politeness
and attention of Mahomed Akbar on this occasion, who manifested the
greatest anxiety until all had crossed over in safety.”—[_Eyre’s Rough
Notes of Imprisonment in Afghanistan._] “The chiefs gave us every
assistance. Mahomed Akbar Khan carried Mrs. Waller over behind him
on his own horse. One rode by me to keep my horse’s head well up the
stream. The Afghans made great exertions to save both men and animals
struggling in the water.”—[_Lady Sale’s Journal._]

[182] “_Jan. 17, 1842._—Early in the morning we were, to our surprise,
told to prepare for a march higher up the valley, and further removed
from Jellalabad, from which place Tugree is about thirty miles
distant. All our hopes, which we had entertained hitherto of being
escorted to Jellalabad, are now blighted, and we see plainly that we
are nothing more nor less than prisoners, until such time as General
Sale shall evacuate Jellalabad, or Dost Mahomed Khan be permitted by
our government to return to the country. Started at nine, and arrived
at Budeeabad, almost at the top of the valley, and close to the first
range of hills towards Kafiristan. It belongs to Mahomed Shah Khan, is
nearly new, and has a deep ditch and _fausse-braie_ all round it. Our
abode consists of five rooms on two sides of a small square. This space
is to accommodate nine ladies, twenty gentlemen, and fourteen children,
and in the Tei-Khana are seventeen European soldiers and three European
women—all prisoners.”—[_Captain Johnson’s Narrative of his Captivity.

[183] _Lady Sale’s Journal._

[184] “Last night, Mahomed Akbar and I had a long conversation. He was
very anxious for the release of his father, and made many promises
in his name if we would release him. I pointed out that at least two
months must elapse before we could in any way have the instructions of
government regarding the release of the Ameer. I can see no objection
to the release of the Ameer, unless government intends making an
example of the city of Caubul. Our release and that of the hostages
at Caubul appears to depend upon his release. His family’s release
requires that of the women here. I wish for these last something could
be done; but I fear not. You must use your influence. They tell me we
shall be forwarded to Peshawur if you evacuate Jellalabad; and the
Sirdar begs me that I write you on the subject. I have explained that I
have no authority now, and said that I cannot promise anything of the
sort. I hope government will see nothing prejudicial to its interests
to release the Dost and family.”—[_Major Pottinger to Major Macgregor:
Lughman, January 18, 1842. MS. Correspondence._]

[185] “_January 19._—Changed my clothes for the first time since
leaving Caubul, January 6, and was fortunate enough to have a clean
shirt. My feet had become so swollen that I could not again put on my
boots when once pulled off. My eyes still very sore from the effects
of the snow on the march.”—[_Captain Johnson’s Narrative of his
Captivity. MS._]

[186] Subsequently the materials were served out to the prisoners and
dressed by their own Hindostanee servants.

[187] “_January 29._—The Sirdar and Sooltan Jan came to see us. Made
a bet with the latter of 1000 rupees that Dost Mahomed Khan, the
ex-Ameer, will be released by the 30th of January, and will return to
Afghanistan. The former gave 1000 rupees to be distributed among us for
the purpose of purchasing sugar and other little luxuries. My share is
fifty rupees; which sum is very acceptable, as I have not had a pice
about me since leaving Caubul.”—[_Captain Johnson’s Narrative. MS._]

[188] It was dangerous to send military or political news in the
ordinary form of epistolary correspondence. So the officers at
Jellalabad hit upon the expedient of dotting off letters in old
newspapers, so as to form words and sentences—“an easy mode of
carrying on secret correspondence not likely to be detected by an
Asiatic.” These dotted letters communicated to the prisoners the
tidings of Wild’s repulse in the Khybur Pass—the despatch of General
Pollock to Peshawur—and the arrival of Dr. Brydon at Jellalabad.

[189] The letter is given in the Appendix.

[190] See Appendix.

[191] The 1st of April was not forgotten. It is a curious proof of the
irrepressible love of practical joking which clings to our countrymen
in all places and in all situations, that the prisoners in Afghanistan,
on the 1st of April, turned their misfortunes into food for a joke.
Captain Johnson says: “_April 1, 1842._—Was awakened early by M——
telling me a letter had been received by L—— from Macgregor at
Jellalabad, informing him that our ransom had been effected for three
and a half lakhs of rupees, and that we were to start in five or six
days. Was up in an instant—off to L——; and heard the story confirmed
by him. The report spread through the whole fort, among our servants as
well as the Europeans, in less than a minute. All was intense delight;
when, on its being a little sobered down, to my horror, I was told that
the story was all fudge. I was half mad with rage at being made such
an April fool of, on a subject which, of all others in our situation,
should have been the last for any of our party to have expended his wit
upon.”—[_Captain Johnson’s Narrative of his Captivity. MS._]

[192] “Up to this date, Mirza Báudín Khan (who had saved Captain
Mackenzie’s life on the assassination of Sir William Macnaghten, and
who had previously to the breaking out of the insurrection informed
that officer of the advent of Akbar Khan at Bámian) had been the keeper
of the prison. This man was secretly well affected to the English, and
professed an especial friendship for Troup and Mackenzie, to whom he
immediately confided his intention of marching out with the prisoners
and his garrison (the majority of whom he had gained over) to meet
Sale’s troops as soon as he should hear of their proximity; for he
naturally expected that the General would have followed up his decisive
victory over Akbar by marching direct upon Badeeabad, distant from
Jellalabad not forty miles. As evening drew on, he became very anxious,
frequently visited the ramparts to look out for the British force, and,
passing over Sale as of no account in the matter, grievously abused
Macgregor for not coming to the rescue. This might have been very
easily accomplished, not only without risk, but with an effect on the
fortunes of Akbar and his party, which might have saved much subsequent
misery to the captives; expense, and bloodshed, in the advance upon
Caubul; and vacillation and moral cowardice in the councils of the
supreme government. But Sale came not, although the road was quite
open; and the following morning the friendly gaoler was deposed, and
his place taken by the Nazir or chief-steward of Mahomed Shah Khan,
whose insolence and brutality contrasted disagreeably with the conduct
of Báudín Khan.”—[_MS. Memorandum._]

[193] “_April 9._—The whole of this day and yesterday passed in the
greatest suspense. Reports reached us to-day that the Sirdar and
Mahomed Shah Khan had arrived at the fort of the latter, about two
miles distant from us. The rout of the Afghan army appears to have been
perfect, and we hear that they have lost all their guns, camp-equipage,
and private property. All our guard appear very mysterious—group
together—and talk in whispers. The inhabitants of the fort have
removed their property and left their homes. Towards the afternoon,
several of our guard, with whom we had been in the habit of conversing,
and who had always been kind to us, on our asking them what would
become of us, would shake their heads and say, ‘You are in the hands
of God.’ A frightful stillness appeared to prevail. By degrees we
began to hear fearful rumours that we were all to be massacred at
sunset. Whether these first originated in the imaginations of some of
our party, or in those of the Afghans, I cannot say—but knowing the
revengeful temper of those in whose hands we were, nothing appeared
to us more probable; and our anxiety and suspense increased as the
day wore on. At about sunset a report was brought in that Mahomed
Shah Khan was on his way to visit us. Even this was a relief to us,
as we knew that what would happen to us must take place shortly. In
about ten minutes he arrived with a large party of his followers. On
coming up to us, our alarms were at an end as concerned our lives, as
he regarded us civilly, and shook hands with the whole of us. We all
sate down together. He entered slightly into the defeat of the day
before yesterday, and told us that we must be in readiness to leave
Budeeabad in the morning, without, however, giving us any hint as to
our destination; nor had any of us inclination to ask questions of him.
His will is law to us. After sitting for some time he wished us ‘Good
evening,’ and withdrew. He slept in the fort that night, and we were
busy making preparations for the morrow’s march. These, however, were
shortly at an end. All my worldly goods and chattels might be stowed
away in a towel or a handkerchief.”—[_Captain Johnson’s Narrative of
his Captivity. MS._]

[194] “_April 10._—Up at daylight; had a cup of tea and was ready
for the march. Took out my saddle to put on my horse; found that some
rascal had stolen my stirrups. This was soon rectified by a piece of
rope. As I was about saddling my horse, which was a good Hissar-stud
animal, Mahomed Shah Khan sent a man to tell me that this was to be
his property, and that he would furnish me with some other beast, as
none of us were to be permitted to ride horses for fear of making our
escape.... In the mean time, Mahomed Shah Khan, having heard that
Lady Macnaghten was possessed of a great number of magnificent shawls
and valuable jewels, which she had been so lucky as to have saved up
to this time, went inside and coolly commanded her, without sending
any previous message, to open her boxes. These were all very soon
ransacked; and shawls and jewels to the amount of near two lakhs of
rupees were taken possession of by this chief of freebooters—politely
telling her ladyship that she might retain one or two shawls and any
particular jewel for which she might have more value than another.
Many of the little things were also taken possession of by a young
whelp—the worthy son of so worthy a sire. Remonstrance was useless.
About 9 A.M. we started; but still without the slightest knowledge of
where we were going.”—[_Captain Johnson’s Narrative of his Captivity.

[195] _Captain Johnson’s Narrative. MS._

[196] On the 20th, Mrs. Waller, who had been necessitated to perform
the dreadful march from Budeeabad on horseback, was delivered of a
daughter. She was allowed an interval of one day’s rest, and was then
hurried onwards by the same distressing mode of conveyance.

[197] General Elphinstone’s remains were sent by Akbar Khan, for
interment, to Jellalabad. The General’s faithful servant, Moore,
accompanied the body. “I have the honour to inform you,” wrote
Pottinger to Pollock, on the 26th of April, “that Mahomed Akbar
Khan yesterday despatched to you the body of the late Major-General
Elphinstone. It was, however, intercepted by a party of the Ghilzyes,
under the supposition that the Prince in Caubul had sent it, the party
made prisoners, and the European servant, who had been allowed to
accompany it, wounded. The savages, however, on hearing that Mahomed
Akbar Khan had sent it, deputed one of their number to learn the truth.
The Sirdar is much grieved at the accident, and now sends a party,
with Private Moore, the General’s servant, to replace the corpse and
forward it on. The Sirdar at present is unable to release the two
servants from the hostility of the intermediate clans; but he promises
to do so as soon as a person may arrive sufficiently powerful to
protect them.”—[_Major Pottinger to General Pollock: Castle of Afzool
Khan, Tezeen, April 26, 1842. MS. Records._] The General’s remains
subsequently reached Jellalabad, and were interred with military

[198] I am informed that one of Conolly’s inducements to visit Bokhara
was the hope of persuading Stoddart outwardly to recant his profession
of Mahomedanism. My informant, who was at this time at Caubul, writes:
“Arthur Conolly availed himself of a certain margin left him in his
instructions for visiting Kokund and Bokhara, to proceed to the latter
place, principally to obtain Stoddart’s release, and also with a
view to his restoration to that precious faith in a Divine Redeemer,
which he had outwardly denied. True it is, that He who cannot lie
has declared that whosoever denies Him before men, him will He deny
before God the Father; but, if ever an act of apostasy called for
tears of compassion, it is that of the martyr Stoddart, for he, too,
like Cranmer, died for the Faith which he once denied. Long before
Conolly’s arrival, the Ameer of Bokhara, who was accounted even by his
own countrymen an incarnation of perfidy and ferocity, had been led by
the contempt with which his letter to the Queen had been treated by
the Foreign Office, to wreak his vengeance on the only individual of
the offending nation in his power. By his order, Stoddart was kept in
a loathsome prison, frequently severely beaten, _which never extorted
a groan from him_, and starved into a state of pitiable weakness.
Meanwhile, he was repeatedly ordered to become a Mahomedan, which he
steadfastly refused to do. To conquer his obstinacy, the Ameer threw
him into the Chah-i-Seeah (or black pit), a place of torment for the
vilest criminals. It is such a pit as that into which Jeremiah was
cast, the bottom of it being composed of indescribable filth—men’s
bones, decomposed animal matter, &c. In it, amongst other vermin,
are large ticks, which bury themselves in the flesh of the victim,
producing noisome sores. Before life was extinct, Stoddart was drawn up
from this horrible dungeon, and, on reviving somewhat, was exposed in
one of the great gates of the city, all who entered being instructed
to spit in his face and buffet him. Still he refused to abjure
Christianity. The next day he was again severely beaten, his grave dug
before his face, and it was announced to him that, unless he pronounced
the Mahomedan confession of faith, in that very grave he would
forthwith be buried alive. Hitherto, this noble gentleman’s resolution
had not failed him; but in this fearful moment of temptation,
when _mere_ human nature could sustain no more, to use his own
expression,—‘The grating of the spades against the sides of the grave
jarred on his shattered nerves beyond endurance.’ Certain Mahomedans,
whose sympathy had been enlisted by his noble constancy, besought him
almost with tears to spare them the disgrace of his murder, and to
pronounce the confession as a mere matter of form; and thus, almost
unconsciously, he with his mouth owned the Arabian impostor as the true
Prophet of God. Arthur Conolly’s arrival, exhortations, and prayers
speedily produced the blessed effect aimed at. Stoddart renounced
Mahomedanism (having previously refused to live with the wife assigned
him as a new convert), and thus subjected himself to a new series of
cruelties and indignities which, as we have seen, ended in his and
Conolly’s public martyrdom.”—[_MS. Memorandum._]

[199] In July, Stoddart wrote to Major Rawlinson, saying: “Conolly is
not yet here from Kokund, nor have my messengers to him yet returned.
They conveyed the orders from Caubul, and an invitation from the Ameer
to return by this route.”—[_MS._]

[200] “The Ameer was very much enraged at finding that the Queen had
not answered his letter; but had referred Colonel Stoddart to the
Indian Government, for all matters connected with Bokhara. About five
days after this, intelligence was received that Sir Alexander Burnes
had been murdered at Caubul. On the receipt of this intelligence
a servant of the Ameer was sent to call the two gentlemen to his
presence. The Ameer asked Colonel Stoddart which road he could now
take, even supposing he (the Ameer) was willing to release him. The
Colonel said he could go either by Russia or Persia. The Ameer said he
would release him in seven or eight days, and keep Captain Conolly. A
few days afterwards the English gentlemen were sent for to the palace
and confined.”—[_Statement of Shah Mahomed, Populzye, one of Captain
Conolly’s attendants. MS. Records._] This part of the statement is
entirely confirmed by that of Saleh Mahomed, Akhondzadeh, as taken by
Colonel Sheil.

[201] Some of these papers, written closely on both sides, had been cut
into three pieces, and apparently sent by as many messengers.

[202] Allahdad Khan, the Afghan envoy, who accompanied Captain
Conolly, had been permitted to take his departure from Bokhara, but
was afterwards brought back and confined. He remained for some days
in the same apartment with Stoddart and Conolly, but was subsequently
removed to other quarters. The servants of the latter officer were also
thrown into prison—some of them into the well, or log-house, in which
Stoddart had been incarcerated.

[203] An Afghan over-coat.

[204] Saleh Mahomed, the Akhondzadeh, made a similar statement to
Colonel Sheil. I see no reason to doubt the statements of this man,
which are confirmed in many particulars by the accounts of other

[205] _Arthur Conolly’s MS. Journal._—A Russian Mission was then at
Bokhara, under the charge of Colonel Boutenoff, who seems to have been
in higher favour than the English gentlemen; and to have greatly pitied
their condition. On the 15th of February the prisoners despatched a
letter to him by the hands of one of their dependents known as Long
Joseph, whose exploits are thus recorded:

“_February 15._—This day Long Joseph gallantly darted into our room,
and carried off a note which we had written for Colonel Boutenoff, to
inform him of our situation.

“_February 16._—Long Joseph having won a servant of the
Topshee-Bashee’s, conveyed to us a note from the gaoler, and sent it to
him; Stoddart writing to government through Sir J. M’Neill.”

Colonel Stoddart had interchanged visits with the Russians before
Conolly’s arrival. Saleh Mahomed says: “There was an ambassador at this
time from the Russian Government who came twice to see the English
gentlemen, who also visited him.”—[_MS. Records._]

[206] Obscure in _MS._

[207] Obscure in _MS._

[208] _MS. Correspondence of Arthur Conolly._

[209] The men formerly in Dr. Gerrard’s service, enslaved fifteen years
ago, whom I had ransomed at Khiva by order of Government. A. C.

[210] _MS. Correspondence._—Arthur Conolly was painfully anxious to
remove from the minds of his friends the impression which might have
been produced upon them by his letter of the 11th of March. Again he
wrote in his journal-letter: “I take this opportunity of explaining
that my letter of the 11th of March was written when I was very ill
with fever. Thinking that he might forcibly be sent away from me on
the departure of the Russians (as they brought a request for his
dismissal), or that we might be otherwise separated, Stoddart had
begged me to give him a memorandum of my opinions regarding the policy
to be pursued towards these states; and I wrote off a hasty summary of
these notions, which were running in my head, with many things that I
was anxious to say about my unfortunate servants, and to my friends,
when under excitement, which must have made my expressions very wild
and incoherent. I hoped that the paper containing them remained in
the hands of Long Joseph; but he, misunderstanding our instructions,
instead of keeping it, gave it to Eusofee-i-Roomee (Augustin), who,
apparently, went off at once with it to Caubul. When I got better I
drew up for Stoddart the memorandum which he had asked for, and which
he now decides on forwarding. It is written in a more calm and less
indignant tone than the letter aforesaid, but allowance must be made
for the brevity and freedom of the propositions, for we were so liable
to be interrupted and discovered, that I could only pen my opinions by
snatches, and paper is a scarce article with us.”—[_Arthur Conolly’s
MS. Journal._]

[211] General Pollock exerted himself to obtain an adjustment of the
claims of Captain Conolly’s servants; and he succeeded. The letter
which was written in reply to Pollock’s application shows in what
light Lord Ellenborough regarded Conolly’s mission: “With reference,”
wrote the Chief Secretary, “to your letter of the 23rd ultimo, on the
subject of the remuneration applied for, on behalf of the servants
attached to the mission of Lieutenant A. Conolly to Kokund, I am
directed to inform you that the Governor-General has no knowledge of
Lieutenant A. Conolly’s mission to Kokund having been authorised. On
the contrary, his Lordship was informed, by the late President of the
Board of Control, that Lieutenant A. Conolly was expressly instructed
by him not to go to Kokund; and, in all probability, he owes all his
misfortunes to his direct transgression of that instruction. The
servants entertained by him, however, are not responsible for the
indiscretion of their master. They were in the service of an officer
apparently employed on a public mission by his government, and the
Governor-General is prepared to consider their position favourably. His
Lordship, therefore, authorises the disbursement of the sums stated
in the papers attached to your letter, under reply to be due to these
several persons; but the sums so paid on account of wages accruing to
these several persons, after they left Khiva (after deducting therefrom
the amount of wages which would have become due during a direct march
to Caubul) will be made a charge against Lieutenant A. Conolly, who
will be required to refund the amount, as well as all sums which may
have been drawn on account of such an unauthorised extension of his
mission.”—[_Mr. Maddock to General Pollock: Simlah, Nov. 3, 1842. MS.

[212] An abstract of this letter was forwarded by another route, and
it reached John Conolly at Caubul on the 4th of July. In this letter,
Stoddart reports the success of the Ameer at Kokund. “The Ameer,”
he wrote, “entered Kokund on the 11th of May, and gave it up to
pillage—destroyed its rulers—unpeopled its capital, and is now on
his return, having distributed the different governments among his own
Bokharan chiefs. He is become master of immense treasure, and will now
probably march against Khiva, which, unless saved by some demonstration
from Persia or Afghanistan, must fall in August or September, after a
short campaign.” With reference to the efforts of the Russian Mission,
he says: “The Russian Mission left this towards the end of April. I
feel convinced that Colonel Boutenoff’s kind desire to procure our
release failed solely in consequence of the unreasonableness of the
Ameer.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[213] General Pollock officially reported Captain Conolly’s death
from Caubul, in a letter dated September 30; but he added: “The only
authority for the death of this very intelligent officer is conveyed
in a Persian letter from a native of Caubul, who writes from Bokhara
to Moollah Ahmed Khan, of this city, saying, ‘Tell Moostafah (Captain
A. C.’s servant) that his uncle, whom he left here sick, saying he
was a great traveller and had visited Kokund, was taken very ill,
and though we gave him medicine and did all in our power, it was of
no avail. It was the will of God that he should die.’ Moostafah and
Moollah Ahmed Khan are both of opinion that Captain A. Conolly is the
person alluded to, and as the letter proceeds to say that the effects
of the deceased are at Bokhara, and can be sent when required; and as
Moostafah had no uncle, to whom could the description apply? I fear
there can be no reason to doubt the death of the above-named officer.
Colonel Stoddart is, from native report, said to be alive, and still
in confinement.”—[_MS. Records._] This is mere conjecture; and by no
means tallies with the more credible account of the execution of the
two prisoners. On the 3rd of November, 1842, the Supreme Government
assumed that Conolly was still alive. But the home authorities adopted
Saleh Mahomed’s story, and struck Stoddart’s name out of the army list,
from the 17th of June, 1842. I believe this really to have been the
date of their deaths. Major Rawlinson, on the morning of the 16th of
September, 1842, met one of Stoddart’s servants near Caubul, and the
man whom he knew, informed him that he had come direct from Bokhara,
having started immediately after the execution of his master.—[_MS.
Notes._] The reader may consult the works of Captain Grover and Dr.

[214] See the _Edinburgh Review, July, 1845_, for an account of these
efforts. The paper derives additional value from the assignment of its
authorship to Sir John M’Neill.

[215] _Colonel Stoddart to Major Rawlinson: Bokhara, July 7, 1841. MS.
Correspondence._ It may be gathered from this letter that Stoddart
had no intention of awaiting Conolly’s arrival at Bokhara; and that
Conolly proceeded thither under orders from Caubul, and an invitation
from the Ameer. An attempt has been made to control, in some measure,
the flood of sympathy which sets in so strongly towards Arthur Conolly,
by asserting that he was not authorised to proceed even as far as
Kokund, and that he therefore brought his misfortunes down upon his
own head. But I have before me the strongest proof that Conolly _was_
authorised by the Supreme Government to proceed to Kokund, and to use
his best endeavours to obtain the liberation of Colonel Stoddart.
In a letter, an official copy of which is now before me, the Chief
Secretary writes to the Envoy and Minister: “As in the present aspect
of affairs it does not seem necessary to continue the restriction
which had at first been imposed, his Lordship in Council authorises
you to permit Captain Conolly to proceed from Khiva to Kokund, if he
should think it expedient, and if he finds that he can do so without
exciting serious distrust and jealousy at the former place. In his
personal intercourse with the Khan of Kokund, he will be guided by the
instructions which have been issued, prescribing the purport of his
written communications. Captain Conolly may, in such a journey, find
increased means of using an useful influence at Bokhara for the release
of Colonel Stoddart; and his Lordship in Council need not add, that he
would wish every such means to be employed with the utmost earnestness
and diligence for that purpose.”—[_Mr. Maddock to Sir W. Macnaghten:
Dec. 28, 1840. MS. Records._]

[216] Two other notes were written by the prisoners on the back of
this paper: one to Miss Stoddart at Norwich, and the other to John
Conolly at Caubul. “Don’t believe all you hear or may hear,” wrote
Stoddart. “Keep all friends informed of my health, and don’t let them
be disturbed by rumours,” wrote Conolly.

[217] _MS. Correspondence._

[218] _MS. Records._

[219] Captain Grover.

[220] The extracts from Captain Conolly’s letters and journals in this
chapter are all made from the originals, and have, in some places, been
deciphered with much difficulty; the manuscript, written in very minute
characters, being greatly defaced by damp and attrition.

[221] On the 5th of May, Mohun Lal wrote: “The Prince (Futteh Jung) is
very, very anxious that the General should march to Caubul; he appears
now involved in difficulties, and undoubtedly is friendly to our
government. He says he would not allow Ameen-oollah and the Populzye
rebels to come into the palace, the evening they were obliged to leave
the city, but by allowing them to come in, he entertained two objects.
Firstly, to employ their services against the enemies of both states
(the Barukzyes, who murdered the Envoy and also his father, the King,
placed by the English Government on the throne) till the arrival of
General Pollock. Secondly, he may keep them quietly in his possession,
and catch them as rebels, when you approach.”—[_MS. Records._]

[222] “The Prince,” said Mohun Lal, “is of course very liberal to
those that espouse his cause, while the Barukzyes pay very little by
selling jewels and finery. The Kohistanees or disciples of Meer Hadjee
are towards the Barukzyes; but they groan to receive money lesser than
those who are with the Prince.”—[_MS. Records._]

[223] “Khan Shereen Khan,” wrote Mohun Lal, on the 9th of May, “came
last night to me and said, that the Barukzyes press upon him to side
with them to oppose the Prince; and if he does agree he is sure he
will be ruined. He says he is going to send his wives to some of the
country forts, and then either go into the Balla Hissar or wait upon
you at Jellalabad; and then he thinks that the whole of the Persians
will follow him.”—And again, on May 10th: “Yesterday, about noon, ...
Mahomed Akbar Khan came in person to Khan Shereen Khan, and persuaded
him, after a long talk, to side with him to oppose the Prince towards
Benee Hissar. When Mahomed Zemaun Khan heard this he got jealous,
and sent a message to Khan Shereen Khan, if he did not go himself or
send his son to assist Soojah-ool-Dowlah, as the Newab had requested
him, he had better not go, with Mahomed Akbar too. The latter at last
succeeded.”—[_MS. Records._]

[224] “When Mahomed Akbar,” wrote Mohun Lal, “appeared in the field
opposite the first or distant fort, Abdul Salem became traitor, and
waited on Mahomed Akbar, who gave him a horse and desired him to go to
his village. Upon this the people of the Prince, who were stationed
in the forts between the fort of Abdul Salem and Balla Hissar, became
disheartened and cowardly, obliged to desert the forts without
fighting, and fly to the Balla Hissar. Mahomed Akbar’s people followed
the fugitives to the very gates of the Balla Hissar, and possessed the
gun of the Prince. Mahomed Akbar had taken Major Pottinger also with
him to the fight.”—[_MS. Records._]

[225] “In consequence of establishing the British harmony.”—[_Mohun
Lal’s Translation._]

[226] _MS. Records._

[227] _MS. Records._

[228] _MS. Records._

[229] According, however, to our English notions, the contest was
very far from a vigorous one. John Conolly wrote from Caubul: “The
contending parties continue to amuse themselves with firing long shots
with their guns and jezails, and the Balla Boorj is attacked—that
is, fired at for three or four hours by one or two thousand men every
third night or so.”—[_MS. Correspondence._] Conolly says, in the same
letter: “There is an anecdote here, that three Feringhees arrived at
the Balla Hissar in disguise, and that on hearing this the Barukzyes
withdrew their outposts to a considerable distance.” In another letter
(May 26) he says: “The Prince holds out still in the citadel. The
Barukzyes have been battering at the Upper Boorj, and firing into the
Balla Hissar. According to our ideas, their efforts have been almost
harmless; but the garrison, I fear, have become alarmed, and would be
glad to see relief.”—[_MS. Records._]

[230] The Prince had no powder. Mohun Lal, however, contrived to
procure some and to convey it to the Balla Hissar, through the agency
of the Kuzzilbash chiefs.

[231] On the 5th of June, Mohun Lal wrote to Sir R. Shakespear,
Pollock’s military secretary: “If you will not march immediately, or
in four days, to Gundamuck, you will lose all your prisoners, and the
Barukzyes will possess the riches of the late Shah, as well as the
Balla Hissar and the artillery.”—[_MS. Records._] John Conolly’s
letters, written about this time, contain the same urgent exhortations
to advance, as the only means of saving the Balla Hissar and the

[232] The mine was altogether the merest bug-bear. It frightened the
Prince and the garrison; but Mohun Lal assured the former that it could
not by any possibility do him any harm, as it had not been properly
dug, nor run sufficiently far under the works to damage them, even if
the strength of the masonry were not such as to bid defiance to the

[233] _Correspondence of Mohun Lal. MS. Records._ Futteh Jung continued
to write to the British authorities that he had little or no money; and
that if the British did not advance, the royal family would be ruined
and disgraced. “It is well known to you,” he wrote to General Pollock,
“that Mahomed Akbar has made peace, with the view to derive wealth from
me; but I know that I have none. If I could sell everything that I
possess, I should not be able to raise a lakh of rupees.”

[234] The Newab had little money; but the most valuable jewels of Shah
Soojah were in his possession. The Shah was wont to carry them about
with him in a bag; and he had them in his possession at the time of
his murder. “Mahomed Zemaun Khan,” wrote Mohun Lal to Sir Richmond
Shakespear, “has got hold of the most valuable jewels of the late King,
who, report said, had them thrown into a ditch when Soojah-ood-Dowlah
murdered him. This was seen by an Afghan at a distance, who after some
days went to the place and took out the small bag of jewels, which
he, being ignorant of their worth, sold them for 600 rupees. This was
reported to the Newab, who imprisoned the bidders and got all the
jewels from them. The bankers say that they are worth 50 lakhs of
rupees, but here are no men to purchase them.”—[_MS. Records._] Akbar
Khan had contrived to extract a considerable sum of money from the
Prince. On the 17th of June, Mohun Lal reported that the Sirdar had
received a lakh and a half of rupees from the royal treasury. On the
18th, John Conolly wrote that the Sirdar had drawn two lakhs, adding:
“He has taken an inventory of all the property and treasure in the
citadel; and has his own men there.” “It will be a great consolation
to us all,” he wrote in conclusion, “if you will tell us that no
negotiations beyond the ransom of the prisoners will ever be entered
into with Akbar. He is certainly the most uncompromising villain that
ever lived.”—[_Lieutenant Conolly to Captain Macgregor: Caubul, June
18, 1842. MS. Records._]

[235] “The Prince was seated on the throne on the 29th. Akbar
constituted himself prime minister of all Afghans. The Hindostanee
dependents on the Prince had been previously removed from the Balla
Hissar, and none but his immediate attendants were allowed to
remain—the garrison being composed of Akbar’s own soldiers. The
remnant of the royal jewels, treasure, and property, even to a few
silver cooking utensils, had been also made over to Akbar. It was
Akbar’s intention to have deposed the Prince; and several meetings
were convened to discuss the question. The resolution to crown the
Prince was sudden, and suggested by an idea that the Populzyes who
had connected themselves with Timour at Candahar might be induced to
recognise the present arrangements in a preference to a Suddozye King
under British auspices.”—[_Lieutenant J. B. Conolly to Sir Richmond
Shakespear: July 1, 1842. MS. Records._]

[236] All the circumstances attending their surrender ought to be
related. The incident is thus feelingly chronicled by Captain Johnson:
“Two days after the death of Shah Soojah, the people of Caubul demanded
that our hostages, who had been left under charge of Mahomed Zemaun
Khan, should be given up to the care of the son of the late High
Priest, Meer Hadjee. The former noble-hearted gentleman, than whom no
father could have behaved more tenderly to his children, begged and
entreated with tears that the separation should not take place—adding
that he was willing to give up his own family to the popular will,
but not the English gentlemen who had been entrusted to his care, and
who were his honoured guests—that he would, if the people so willed
it, make over to them his own son, with his sword round his neck, and
his turban for a winding-sheet, to be dealt with according to their
pleasure; but that force alone should deprive him of the society of his
friends. When all entreaties failed, he hoped to work upon the feelings
of the party at the conference by telling them that their chief and his
own sister and relations were in the hands of the British Government,
and that vengeance would assuredly be dealt upon them if the English
gentlemen sustained the slightest injury. On this, a grey-bearded
old gentleman told him and the rest that they might make their minds
perfectly easy as regarded the Afghan prisoners in India, as it was
contrary to the uses of Englishmen to hurt a hair of the heads of
their captives. The clamour of the people prevailed over all that the
Newab could urge, and with many a bitter feeling did this amiable man
make over the hostages to Meer Hadjee, with prayers and entreaties
to the latter that he would behave kindly to them; and at the same
time he sent with them to the latter’s house all the females of his
family, as the surest means of their protection; for however excited a
Mussulman population may be, it is seldom or ever that they violate a
harem.”—[_Captain Johnson’s MS. Journal._]

[237] Mohun Lal’s own account of his sufferings is worth quoting: “I
have the honour to address you, for the information of Major-General
Pollock, C.B., that Akbar Khan, on the night of the 11th inst. (July),
put me in charge of Moollah Said, Atchekzye, in whose house I was
forced to lay down, and a couch placed over me, on which the people
jumped, and are beating me with sticks in a very unmerciful manner.
Akbar wants 30,000 rupees from me—says, otherwise, that he will pull
out my eyes. All my body has been severely beaten. I cannot promise
anything without government’s order, but see myself destroyed.... All
my feet is wounded by bastinadoing.”—[_Mohun Lal to Sir R. Shakespear:
July 14, 1842. MS. Records._] “I suffer very much. Sometimes I am
pinioned and a heavy stone is placed on my back, whilst the red pepper
is burnt before my nose and eyes. Sometimes I am bastinadoed. In
short, I suffer every conceivable agony. He wants 30,000 rupees, out
of which he has hitherto got 12,000, after using me very rudely. The
remainder, if not paid in the course of ten days, he says he will pull
out my eyes, and burn my body with a hot iron.”—[_Mohun Lal to Sir R.
Shakespear: July 17. MS. Records._]

[238] The cause of this hasty removal is to be found in Akbar’s
suspicions that the Jabbar Khail, the most powerful of the western
Ghilzye clans, intended to carry off the prisoners and sell them to
General Pollock on their own account. This plot really existed, and had
been suggested to the chiefs of the Jabbar Khail by Captain Mackenzie
during his journeys to and from Jellalabad.

[239] They were turned out of the fort, indeed, to make room for the
prisoners, to the infinite annoyance of the unhappy chief, who made
every possible excuse for not receiving them, but was overruled by
Akbar Khan, who obtained admittance for them, in the first instance, on
the plea that he only required accommodation for the night, and then
urged that the fort would suit them better than any other place in the
neighbourhood. It was altogether a most unfortunate occurrence for Ali
Mahomed, as, subsequently, on the advance of the British, the fort was
levelled with the ground, and the garden destroyed.

[240] “I attach much weight,” wrote Lord Ellenborough, at the end of
May, “to what Major Sleeman says of the disposition of the Mahomedans;
but I am surprised that it has not occurred to him and to others, that
whatever may be the disposition of the Mahomedans, it is the absence,
not the presence of our troops, of whom more than three-fourths are
Hindoos, that alone can lead the Mahomedans to act against us. The
danger is in the position of the army, almost without communication
with India, too far off to return quickly at any season, unable
from the season to return now, without adequate supplies of food or
carriage. This is the danger which all the great statesmen in India
would perpetuate if they could, and while they maintain it, destroy
the confidence of the Sepoy and ruin our finances. _If I save this
country, I shall save it in spite of every man in it who ought to
give me support, but I will save it in spite of them all._”—[_MS.

[241] Some readers, not having maps before them, will better understand
the nature of this retirement if I liken it to the case of a man
wishing to retire from Reigate to London, and taking Dover and
Canterbury in his way.

[242] The services rendered by Mr. Robertson to his country, at this
time, have never been adequately acknowledged, except by General
Pollock himself, who never lost an opportunity of expressing his
gratitude for the assistance he had derived from the exertions of the
Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces. Mr. Robertson,
aware of the difficulty of collecting camels in sufficient number
for the purposes of the army, ordered letters to be addressed to the
principal collectors in Upper India, calling upon them to purchase
as many ponies and mules as they could get together in their several
districts. And it was in no small measure owing to these exertions that
Pollock was at length enabled to advance.

[243] _Mr. Maddock to General Pollock: July 4, 1842. Published Papers._

[244] _Mr. Maddock to General Nott: July 4, 1842, and Lord
Ellenborough, same date. Published Papers._

[245] “If I have not,” wrote Pollock, “lived long enough to judge
of the propriety of an act for which I alone am responsible, the
sooner I resign the command as unfit the better. I assure you that I
feel the full benefit of being unshackled and allowed to judge for
myself.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[246] A letter, too, was sent by Captain Troup to Akbar Khan with
a request that he would forward it to Nott. A few harmless lines
were written in ink; and much important matter in rice-water, to be
brought out by the application of iodine. The employment of Akbar Khan
himself, as the medium of communication between the two Generals, who
were contemplating his destruction, is not one of the least amusing
incidents of the war.

[247] Pollock was afraid that Nott would have commenced his retreat
before the receipt of the despatch of July 4. “My movement will of
course depend,” he wrote in a confidential letter to Mr. Robertson on
the 10th of August, “on General Nott’s ability to meet me. Our late
accounts from that quarter are not favourable. They say that General
Nott is bent on retiring, and I very much fear that he will have made
several marches to the rear before the government despatch can reach
him.... I ought by this time to have heard from General Nott, in reply
to my letter by the first of the five messengers. If he is not coming
on, my negotiations for the prisoners will be a very simple affair;
but it must ever be a subject of regret that he should so hastily
retire, and at such a time, while he commands an army in every respect
efficient, and amounting to about 15,000 men.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[248] It was reported in camp, and subsequently set forth in the local
journals, that some women had been violated by our soldiery. “But,”
says Captain Macgregor, “I made the strictest inquiry into the matter,
both from the Afghan chiefs who were with me, and from the inhabitants
of the village, but could not trace in the slightest degree any just
foundation for the report in question. Had there been any, it would
doubtless have formed a subject of great grievance to the people,
who are so very jealous of the honour of their women.”—[_Captain
Macgregor’s Report on the Operations in the Shinwarree districts. MS.

[249] _Captain Macgregor’s Report. MS. Records._

[250] There was no need to cut them down. It was sufficient to cut
deep rings through the bark to the heart of the tree; for they seldom
survived the operation. There is something in this so repugnant to our
civilised and Christian ideas of righteous retribution, that it is
only just that I should give in this place the explanation of an act,
perpetrated, indeed, upon other occasions, in the words of an officer
equally gallant and humane. “All the injury,” said Captain Macgregor,
“that we could do to their forts and houses could, with facility, in
a short time be repaired by them. From their proximity to the hills,
they could always obtain timber in abundance; and where water is
plentiful they could rebuild easily the bastions we might blow up;
and therefore a greater degree of punishment than this seemed to be
necessary, and was completely within our power, if we destroyed their
trees—a measure which seems barbarous to a civilised mind; but in no
other way can the Afghans be made to feel equally the weight of our
power, for they delight in the shade of their trees. They are to be
seen under them in groups, during the summer, all day long, talking,
reading, weaving, and sleeping. Even women and children seek the shade
of their trees. The Afghan mountaineer is not tangible to us in any
other way. He removes his herds, flocks, and property to the hills on
the shortest notice; and flies before our troops to places where he is
inaccessible to them. The Goolai people, moreover, were deserving of
no mercy. The amount of treasure they had plundered (viz., 18,000 or
20,000 rupees) was considerable. They had been very pertinacious in
attacking Captain Ferris’s cantonment; and equally so, subsequently,
our troops at Jellalabad. Therefore the Brigadier determined at once
to commence the work of destruction, desired that neither fort, house,
tree, grain, nor _boosa_ should be spared to them. This assuredly was
the best plan for preventing the necessity of harsh measures in future.
Working parties from the brigade were accordingly appointed for this
purpose.”—[_Captain Macgregor’s Report. MS. Records._]

[251] _Report of Brigadier Monteith: July 27, 1842. Published Papers._

[252] “It is impossible,” wrote General Pollock, “to guess how this
mission may succeed, because, in dealing with Afghans, you deal
with treachery and deceit; but appearances are as fair as they can
be for the release of the prisoners. Captain Troup says that if it
had depended on Mahomed Akbar alone, some of the ladies would have
been sent with him; but Mahomed Shah appears to be a bitter enemy
of ours—much more so than I had reason to suppose. The man who has
come with Captain Troup was selected in opposition to the wish of
Mahomed Akbar, who wished to send Dost Mahomed Khan, a brother of
Mahomed Shah. Dost Mahomed was objected to by the chiefs as being too
bigoted to his own party, whereas Hadjee Buktear Khan was considered
neutral. He is a Candahar man—has been at Bombay and others of our
settlements, and is better acquainted with the European character than
the other.”—[_Jellalabad, July 15. MS. Correspondence._]

[253] “Captain Troup,” wrote General Pollock, “is still here. I am
glad that, in proposing terms, I insisted on having the guns, for I
think there is almost a certainty of an objection being made to that,
in which case, of course, I can back out.... On this occasion I have
written nothing.”—[_Jellalabad, July 18. MS. Correspondence._]

[254] “I have my camp in two lines,” he wrote a few days afterwards
to Pollock, “the cavalry facing the river, and rear to the water—the
front of our encampment an open stony plain—_a good place for a
fight_. The left of our line rests on a small hill that commands a view
all round.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[255] The Governor-General, however, seems to have considered it not
wholly improbable that the contemplated military movement upon Caubul
would be suspended by the favourable conclusion of the negotiations
with the enemy; and actually authorised Pollock to exercise his
discretion in ordering Nott to retire by Quettah, even though the march
upon Ghuznee and Caubul had been commenced.—[_Lord Ellenborough to
General Pollock: July 29, 1842._] Subsequently the Governor-General
seemed to awaken to a sense of the extraordinary character of this
suggestion, for he wrote to General Pollock to say that he “could
hardly imagine the existence of circumstances which could justify the
diversion of Major-General Nott’s army from the route of Ghuznee and
of Caubul, when his intention of marching by that route shall have
been once clearly indicated.”—[_Lord Ellenborough to General Pollock:
August 26, 1842._]

[256] _MS. Correspondence._

[257] Nott’s letter was despatched on the 27th of July. It comprised
but a few lines:

“Candahar, July 27, 1842.

“MY DEAR GENERAL,—You will have received a copy of a letter from the
Governor-General under date the 4th instant, to my address, giving me
the option of retiring a part of my force to India _viâ_ Caubul and
Jellalabad. I have determined to take that route, and will write to
you fully on the subject as soon as I have arranged for carriage and
supplies.—Yours truly, W. NOTT.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[258] The force consisted of the 3rd Dragoons; the 1st Native Cavalry;
a squadron of the 5th and of the 10th ditto, with the head-quarters;
600 Sowars of the 3rd Irregular Cavalry; her Majesty’s 31st Regiment;
the 33rd Regiment of Native Infantry; the whole of Sir Robert Sale’s
and of Colonel Tulloch’s brigades; with seventeen guns, a company of
Sappers and Miners, and a regiment of Bildars (Pioneers) under Mr.
Mackeson. A small force was left (chiefly for want of carriage) at
Gundamuck, and the rest remained in garrison at Jellalabad.

[259] In this affair we lost seven men killed, and about fifty
wounded. Among the latter were four officers, Major Huish (26th
Native Infantry), Captain Edwards (9th Foot), Captain Tait (Irregular
Cavalry), Ensign Robertson (37th Native Infantry).

[260] With regard to the destruction committed at Mammoo Khail, see

[261] “Hurrah!” he wrote; “this is good news. _All_ here are prepared
to meet your wishes to march as light as possible. _I_ take no carriage
from the Commissariat; and our officers are doubling up _four_ in a
small hill tent, and are sending all to the rear that they can dispense
with.... _I am so excited that I can scarce write._”—[_General Sale to
General Pollock: Futtehabad, August 16, 1842. MS. Correspondence._]

[262] _General Sale to General Pollock: August 18, 1842. MS.

[263] Pollock had received no later intelligence from Nott’s camp than
that contained in the brief letter of July 27, though he had despatched
ten messengers to the westward. It was not until midnight of the
6th-7th of September that letters from Nott’s camp were received by
Pollock at Gundamuck.

[264] To many of his letters to General Pollock, Futteh Jung signed his
name in English characters.

[265] Akbar Khan compelled the Prince to write to Pollock: “I have
given to Sirdar Mahomed Akbar the full and entire management of all my
property and affairs of every description, and have resigned to him in
perpetuity full power to judge and settle all questions on all points.
Whatever arrangement he may make with the English Government I agree to
confirm, and no alteration shall be made.” And again: “The arrangements
which have been made with Captain Troup and Hadjee Buktear have been
all approved of by me. I have delegated all powers over my country and
wealth to the Wuzeer, Mahomed Akbar Khan, Barukzye!” But the Prince
took the first opportunity to write privately to the General: “My
friend, it will have been evident to you that in this matter I have
been compelled to act thus. I did not even know that Captain Troup and
Hadjee Buktear had been sent, and I had not the slightest knowledge
of the proposals made by them. Captain Troup is well aware of this,
since we had never met, nor had any of my confidential people been
employed between us.”—[_Futteh Jung to General Pollock: Translation.
July 21, 1842. MS. Records._] This letter was evidently written in a
state of painful alarm. It concludes with the words: “You must be very
careful not to let it be known that I have written to you; since,
should these villains hear of it, they would put me and my family
to death.” In reply to this letter, Pollock expressed his surprise
that, “notwithstanding his Majesty’s friendship, the good-will of the
chiefs, and the unanimity of the people at Caubul, still they cannot
prevent the treachery of one man from causing dissension between the
two governments, and that they are unable to show their good-will to
us by releasing our prisoners.” To this, on the 1st of August, Futteh
Jung replied: “You express surprise at my many well-wishers not being
able to find a remedy for one evil-disposed person. You write: ‘If this
could be effected, a great object would be obtained.’ Eminent in rank!
You write truly. But in a religious war, a father cannot trust his
son—a son, his father.”

[266] In consequence of this act, Aga Mahomed became a marked man.
His father was assassinated, and he and his brother cut down by order
of Akbar. Being ruined, he found his way to Hindostan, and became the
guest of an English officer, who obtained from the Government a pension
of twelve rupees a month for him. He served on the late expedition to
Bushire, and died leaving a helpless widow, like himself, a convert to

[267] A squadron of the 5th Light Cavalry; a squadron, and the
head-quarters of the 10th Light Cavalry; the left wings of the 33rd
and 60th N.I., with two guns of the 3rd troop 2nd brigade of Horse
Artillery, were left at Gundamuck.

[268] They, however, diverted themselves with a little internal
mutiny—rising up against the Sikh general, Gholab Singh Provindea, and
burning his tent. The poor old man, in an extremity of terror, sought
refuge under Pollock’s skirts.

[269] _General Pollock’s Report._

[270] _General Pollock’s Report._

[271] For an account of the operations of the second division of
Pollock’s army, see Lieutenant Greenwood’s “Narrative of the late
Victorious Campaign in Afghanistan, under General Pollock.”

[272] Captains Troup and Bygrave, when the other prisoners were sent
to Bameean, had been taken by Akbar Khan to the Balla Hissar—but had
subsequently been permitted to remove themselves to Ali Mahomed’s
force, where Captain and Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Trevor, with their
children, had been left, on account of sickness, under charge of Dr.

[273] They required Troup, however, to write a letter to General
Pollock making known Akbar Khan’s wishes, and inclosing one from the
Sirdar himself. The letters were sent, but the messengers returned some
days afterwards, declaring that they had not been able to penetrate the
British camp.—[_Captain Troup to General Pollock. MS. Correspondence._]

[274] Bygrave had before gone on to Tezeen with Sir-Bolund Khan.

[275] _Captain Troup to General Pollock. MS. Correspondence._ See

[276] Nothing could have been better than the conduct of the troops
throughout the whole of these operations. “I think no officer,” wrote
Pollock, in a private letter, on the 23rd of September, “could possibly
have had finer regiments under his command than I have had, and to
them do I owe all my success, which, as far as I am able to judge, has
been so far complete. I hope the Governor-General may think so, and
I shall be satisfied.” In this letter, the difficulties with which
Pollock had to contend, from the scarcity of cattle, are thus detailed.
“I have had,” he wrote, “great difficulties to contend against even
to the last, from the great want of carriage-cattle. At Gundamuck,
after my first engagement with the enemy, I found myself so reduced in
cattle, that, to enable me to take on only fourteen days’ supplies,
I was obliged to leave at that place two horse-artillery guns, two
squadrons of cavalry, and two wings of Native infantry; and yet with
all this, all the camp-followers, public and private, were compelled
to carry eight days’ supplies. The fighting men carried three. The
1st Cavalry carried eight days’ supplies on their horses. The rest of
the cavalry carried three or four days’. In this way we were enabled
to move.... The night before I left Gundamuck, I received an official
letter and a survey report, setting forth that the whole of the camels
of one regiment were unserviceable, and that they could not get up even
without their loads. This was rather provoking, for I have only three
Native regiments with me. My answer was short. ‘Tell the commanding
officer, that if his regiment can’t march, he will relieve the two
wings ordered to remain behind, and who are willing to go forward on
any terms.’ The regiment marched, and I heard no more about their
camels. After our last engagement with the enemy (it was a severe
struggle) we had 160 killed and wounded; and again carriage was in
requisition. The spare horses of the cavalry were had recourse to; and
I lent my own riding-horse to one poor fellow.”—[_MS. Correspondence._]

[277] “The view from the look-out in the city,” wrote Rawlinson in his
journal, “was now very fine. The hillocks on the right were crowned
with masses of horsemen, numbering apparently about 1500—a crowd of
footmen occupied the rocky heights in front of our line and beyond,
the shoulder of the Peer-Paee-Mal hill was covered with human beings
thick as a flight of locusts, bodies of horse continually debouching
round the shoulder and pushing on to join their comrades on the
right.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[278] Nott, in his public despatches, was always somewhat chary of
his praise, but in his private letters he delighted to dwell upon
the achievements of his Sepoy regiments. Writing to Hammersley about
this affair of the 29th of May, he said: “You will hear enough of our
affair of the 29th with the enemy. The troops behaved well, and I am
really surprised that our loss was so trifling; but I have remarked
that the Afghans fire high. Our Sepoys are noble fellows—1000 are
fully equal to 5000 Afghans or more. A detail of the 1st Cavalry,
under Chamberlaine, behaved very well indeed. The enemy had 8000 men
in position and 2000 in reserve. We had 1500 of all arms in the field.
The enemy have broken up. I expect Wymer back in a day or two, when I
will drive the rebels out of the Candahar district. How I should like
to go to Caubul! It is wonderful that the people in Hindostan should be
so panic-struck; and they seem to believe that our Sepoys cannot stand
the Afghans. Now, I am quite sure, and should like to try it to-morrow,
that 5000 Bengal Sepoys would lick 25,000 Afghans.”—[_General Nott to
Lieutenant Hammersley: June 2, 1842. MS. Correspondence._]

[279] It is said that the widow of Akrum Khan, who was executed
at Candahar in the preceding autumn, was in the field, riding her
husband’s charger, and bearing a Ghazee standard. Lieutenant Rattray
writes: “As the enemy drew near, a white object was observed in the
centre of their front ranks, which seemed the rallying-point for the
Ghazees, chieftains, Moollahs, kettle-drums, and standard-bearers.
This proved to be no less a personage than the heroic widow of the
slaughtered Akrum Khan. Throwing aside her timid nature with her
‘Boorkha,’ she had left the sacred privacy of the Zenana for the
foremost rank in the battle-field, had bestrode her husband’s charger,
and with his standard in her hand had assembled the tribes.”

[280] _Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._ It appears that early in June
the enemy’s suspicions of our intended withdrawal were confirmed in a
curious manner, and that they seemed then to think of terms. Rawlinson
says: “It appears that when the entire party of the Douranee chiefs
were on the point of dissolution, a Hindostanee deserter joined the
camp from the town, saying that he and his comrades had received
letters from India, stating positively that orders had been sent up
for our retirement. The man, in fact, explained in detail all our
plans—the abandonment and destruction of Khelat—the march of the
brigade to bring up camels from Quettah—and he even asserted that we
were preparing to destroy the four corner bastions of the city and the
gateways, and that we should leave in a month hence. This decided the
chiefs on dropping their offers of accommodation, and holding on until
events became more developed.”

[281] It is to be borne in mind that the supreme political authority
had been vested by the Indian Government in the General. Nott, however,
was not inclined to interfere in the political management of affairs,
and Rawlinson continued to conduct them very much as he had done before
the order was issued; but he referred all important questions to the
General, who, for the most part, deferred to the opinions of his more
experienced political associate.

[282] _Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._

[283] “The particular object to be gained by adopting this latter route
it was difficult to divine, and the generally-received impression
among the officers—perhaps because the one most desired—was that our
General was to lead us on to Caubul, and that the mention of Dehra
Ismael Khan was merely to throw dust in the eyes of the natives.
Indeed, it was afterwards accounted for, whether justly or not, by
this fact, that if the Lohaunies, upon whom we were dependent for a
large proportion of our camels, had had an idea that our intention
was to have marched on Ghuznee and Caubul, they would have declined
accompanying our army.”—[_Neill’s Recollections._]

[284] _Major Rawlinson to Major Outram: Ghuznee, September 7. MS.

[285] “We accordingly marched on unmolested to our encamping-ground,
and as we passed the source of the Turnuck, with the precipitous
hill on our left, and the strong grounds intersected with bogs and
canals, and supported by forts upon our right, every one acknowledged
that there was no better defensible position on the entire road from
Candahar to Caubul.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[286] “The General first learnt of what was going on about two o’clock,
when an orderly came back from Captain Delamain reporting that no
enemy was in sight, and asking for orders. The General immediately
ordered the troops back. Shortly afterwards Lieutenant Brett galloped
in, saying that about 2000 of the enemy had appeared in front of
Captain Delamain, and were too strongly posted on some rising ground
to be attacked. The General again ordered the troops back. A third
orderly came galloping, to say the cavalry were engaged; and very
shortly afterwards other men came from the field, declaring our Horse
to be annihilated. The General now went out with all the troops, for
the enemy’s force was reported to be above 7000, and we expected
them to be flushed with their success. The horse artillery reached
first, and Leslie took the command. We came up shortly afterwards, and
found the cavalry still in a body, but having evidently suffered a
defeat.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[287] “The General now turned down to some forts, from which some shots
were reported to have been fired. The villagers all came out with
Korans and ropes round their necks, praying for quarter. The General
granted quarter, but sent in the light company of the 40th to search
the houses. A shot was fired from some Ghazee in the place, and orders
were then given for an indiscriminate massacre. The women and children
were spared, but I suppose 100 of the villagers were butchered. I
do not think the men were to blame—had they supposed themselves
committed, they would have fled to the hills before the troops moved
out, but no doubt there were _Ghazees_ in the place, desperate men
who had no wish to save their own lives, provided they could destroy
an infidel, and to the infatuation of these few men were the others
sacrificed. Five Commissariat camels were found inside, so that parties
in the fort had certainly been plundering; and as we approached
the place, I remarked a Moollah from one of the Boorjes, evidently
haranguing the people and urging them to die as Ghazees. It has been a
most unsatisfactory business altogether, and a few more such affairs
will compromise us seriously.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[288] Reeves and Bury—“Reeves was shot. Bury was cut down. Mackenzie
received a severe sabre-wound in the elbow joint of his right arm....
Ravenscroft had been shot before the charge; but the wound turns out
not to be dangerous. Malet had a very narrow escape. His hunting-cap
(round which a shawl was wound) saved him, but he was slightly
wounded in the face. Christie was ridden over in the confusion and
lost his horse, but was remounted by one of his Native officers and
saved.”—[_Major Rawlinson to Major Outram Ghuznee, September 7, 1842.
MS. Records._]

[289] He declared that one of them was Nott’s.

[290] _Major Rawlinson to Major Outram: September 7, 1842. MS.

[291] Fired, however, from a height, the balls never ricocheted, and
did but little mischief.

[292] _Major Rawlinson to Major Outram: September 7, 1842. MS. Records._

[293] _Colonel Stacy’s Narrative._

[294] _General Nott’s Official Despatch._

[295] “The extensive village or town of Roza is situated about two
miles from Ghuznee, and is lovely to behold. When this city was taken
by the force under my command, Roza was full of inhabitants—men,
women, and children. My troops were encamped close to its walls. Its
gardens and its houses were full of property; its barns and farmyards
were well stored; its orchards were loaded with fruit; its vineyards
bent beneath a rich and ripe vintage; the property taken from our
murdered soldiers of the Ghuznee garrison were seen piled in its
dwellings.... Four days the victorious Candahar army remained encamped
close to this village, with all these temptations before it, and at
its mercy; but not a particle of anything was taken from the Afghans.
The fruit brought for sale was paid for at a rate far above its
value. No man nor living thing was injured.”—[_General Nott to the
Adjutant-General: Lucknow, April 4, 1843._]

[296] “An active and spirited enemy might have annoyed us exceedingly
during this movement; but the Afghans appeared to have lost all heart
from the affair of the morning, and a little cavalry skirmishing was
all that occurred.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[297] “The enemy appear to have been unable to traverse their big gun
sufficiently to bring it to bear on our new position; and I suspect,
also, they must have expended their shot, for the last two rounds which
were fired as we were changing ground, and which fell short, were old
shells of ours filled with earth.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[298] Colonel Palmer and the other British officers had been carried to

[299] The engineer officers fathomed the great well in the citadel, and
found fifty-one feet of water in it. The bottom of the well is believed
to be below the level of the river, so that it could not be drained.
The fear of a failure of water ought not, therefore, to have driven
Palmer to surrender. He might easily have secured the possession of the
well by running a covered way from it, and protecting it with his guns.

[300] “I visited Roza in the evening, took another copy of the Cufic
inscription upon Mahmoud’s tomb, and had a long conversation with the
Moollahs of the shrine. They assert that the tomb was constructed in
its present state immediately after Mahmoud’s death; that it remained
intact during the Ghuzneevide and Ghooride dynasties, but that when
Ghenghiz Khan, in his pursuit of Jellaladeen, threatened Ghuznee, the
inhabitants heaped the tomb over with earth and ruins to preserve it
from desecration, and deserted the place. They further pretend that the
tomb thus remained buried until the time of Sultan Abdool Rizak, the
grandson or great-grandson of Timour, to whom the spot was revealed
in a vision, and who excavated and repaired the place, and dedicated
to it rich endowments of lands. The endowments remained, they say,
till the time of Nadir, when they were resumed by the government, and
since that time the establishment at the tomb has been dependent for
support upon a few gardens attached to the village, and the voluntary
offerings of devotees. The Moollahs uphold that the gates are really
those of Somnauth, and that the inscriptions on the tomb date from the
time of the son of Mahmoud; but this I hold to be morally impossible,
for although the Cufic may possibly be of the form used in that age
(which, however, I doubt), the inscription in the Nuskh character
on the reverse of the sarcophagus, which details the precise date
of the Sultan’s death, is obviously of a much later age. From many
circumstances, I feel positively certain that the tomb does not boast
a higher antiquity than that of Sultan Abdool Rizak, who built the
present walls of Ghuznee, and who is himself buried in a rude mausoleum
on the outskirts of the village of Roza. The gates, therefore, are
certainly not those of Somnauth; but it is of course the interest of
the Moollahs to keep up the delusion, and to affect for the spot the
odour both of sandal and sanctity. I was much struck by the crowds
of pilgrims, Mussulman officers in our ranks, who thronged the tomb
during my visit there to make the _Ziarut_.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS.

[301] Major Rawlinson’s account of the removal of the gates is very
interesting. “We moved our camp,” he writes, “this morning from the
west to the east of Roza, preparatory to fairly setting out on the
march to Caubul; and during the day the measure was carried into effect
of removing the gates of Mahmoud’s tomb. The work was performed by
Europeans, and all possible delicacy was observed in not desecrating
the shrine further than was absolutely necessary. The guardians of the
tomb, when they perceived our object, retired to one corner of the
court and wept bitterly; and when the removal was effected, they again
prostrated themselves before the shrine and uttered loud lamentations.
Their only remark was: ‘You are lords of the country, and can of
course work your will on us; but why this sacrilege? Of what value can
these old timbers be to you; while to us they are as the breath of our
nostrils?’ The reply was: ‘The gates are the property of India—taken
from it by one conqueror, they are restored to it by another. We leave
the shrine undesecrated, and merely take our own.’ The sensation is
less than might have been expected; and no doubt the Moollahs, who
have had the guardianship of the tomb for generations in their family,
will be the chief sufferers by the measure. I doubt if the Afghan
tribes lately risen from obscurity to power, and holding the country
rather as conquerors than citizens, possess that feeling of unity
with each other, and identity with the interests they are supposed to
protect, to view the abduction of the gates as a material outrage.
The act may be made use of by the priesthood to excite fanaticism
against us; but if the Barukzye chiefs could only retain their darling
plaything, power, they would care little about the gates of Somnauth.
With Shah Soojah the case was different. As the representative of the
Suddozye family, aiming at the reconsolidation of monarchical power,
he could not but view the demand of Runjeet Singh for the gates as a
national indignity, powerfully affecting his own personal and political
interests. At present, religious excitement is alone to be apprehended
from our carrying off these trophies. I call them trophies, although
assured that they are spurious, for the belief in their genuineness is,
politically considered, the same as if they really were so.”—[_Major
Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[302] The enemy harassed our camp at night, firing on our picquets,
and working us other annoyance. “I doubt the policy,” wrote Rawlinson,
“of our firing a few forts and going no further. It exasperates the
Afghans without intimidating them. I believe that we should either have
abstained altogether from retribution, or have carried fire and sword
before us.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[303] “The attack upon the heights and their subsequent abandonment,”
says Major Rawlinson, “might have led to unpleasant consequences,
had not the news of Akbar’s defeat arrived just in time to prevent
Shumshoodeen from availing himself of this advantage. We were all
most anxious to have gone straight on to Mydan, and to have attacked
Shumshoodeen in his position, throwing the light companies along the
heights to the left, which were already in our possession, the whole
way down to the Mydan gorge; but the General would not stir beyond the
place he had first marked out for his encampment, for fear of harassing
the cattle.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[304] _MS. Notes._—See also the following from Rawlinson’s Journal:
“As it appeared desirable that a direct communication should be
established between the camps as soon as possible, I proposed to the
General, on arriving at Urghundeh, that I should ride in and see
General Pollock. My offer was accepted, and I immediately put on an
Afghan dress, and escorted by the Parsewans who had come out to the
camp, rode in through the town to the race-course, where I found the
Jellalabad force encamped. I experienced no sort of difficulty or
inconvenience on the road, being generally taken for an Afghan. I now
learnt from General Pollock that there were no fresh orders from Lord
Ellenborough regarding the establishment of an Afghan Government; in
fact, that he was prohibited from pledging the government to recognise
any one, but that still, as Futteh Jung had thrown himself on our
protection, and that as it was absolutely necessary something like
a government should be established, in order to enable us to obtain
supplies (the Jellalabad Commissariat being entirely exhausted) as
well as to facilitate our subsequent departure, General Pollock had
resolved to give Futteh Jung such indirect assistance as he was able.
In this view he had recommended the Kuzzilbash and Douranee chiefs
to tender their allegiance to him, and he had so far given him his
countenance as to accompany him to the Balla Hissar in the morning, and
even, as the Shah elect took his seat on the throne, to fire a royal
salute, ostensibly for the remounting of the British colours on the
citadel of Caubul, but of course, in the apprehension of the Afghans,
as an honorary recognition by us of the new monarch’s accession. I met
Macgregor in my way to the camp, coming into the Balla Hissar with
all the chiefs to make their salaam to Shah Futteh Jung as he is now
called, and I now hear that Macgregor, who conducts all the political
duties of General Pollock’s camp, endeavoured, in a private audience
which he had of his Majesty after the Durbar, to come to an explanation
with him regarding our inability to support him with men, money, or
arms, and the necessity, in consequence, of his relying entirely on his
own resources. At first sight, it appears to me out of the question
that Futteh Jung should be able to hold his own after our departure,
and I see no great object even in making the attempt, but I cannot yet
form a proper judgment.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[305] Shakespear, with characteristic gallantry, had volunteered for
this service. The Kuzzilbashes had tendered their services to Pollock.

[306] “_September 14._—As we find that the prisoners have certainly
been carried off to Bameean, and the Kuzzilbashes are disposed to
assist us in their recovery, while General Pollock is not likely to
encounter further opposition on his march upon Caubul, it was suggested
to the General to-day that he should despatch a brigade from Urghundeh,
where the Bameean road strikes off, to form a support for our party,
assisted by the Hazarehs, to fall back upon. He would not, however,
listen to this proposal, declaring that he had only one object in view,
that of marching his force to India _viâ_ Caubul, without turning to
the right or left; and that he considered, from the tenor of all Lord
Ellenborough’s despatches, the recovery of the prisoners to be a matter
of indifference to government.”

“_September 15._—It was again to-day urged upon the General to send
a brigade to Bameean, or in that direction, to assist in the rescue
of the prisoners, but he seems to have made up his mind that he will
not separate his force unless positively ordered to do so by higher
authority.”—[_Major Rawlinson’s MS. Journal._]

[307] _Statement of Lieutenant Mayne—MS. Correspondence of Officers
on the Staff of General Nott._—The only apologetic explanation of
this which has yet reached me is to be found in the assertion, that
Mayne’s escort crowded on Nott’s staff. Mayne posted his horsemen on
the reverse flank, and it is his belief that they were not in the way
of the staff.

[308] _MS. Correspondence._

[309] They had been joined by their fellow-captives from Ghuznee. See
note in the Appendix. It may be mentioned that John Conolly, the last
of three ill-fated brothers, had died at Caubul on the 7th of August,
deeply deplored by all who had served with him in Afghanistan.

[310] “_August 28._—Every hamlet and fort we passed after daybreak
poured forth its inhabitants to stare and wonder at the Feringhee
prisoners. Not an uncivil word or gesture have I ever heard or seen in
all our wanderings; but, on the contrary, many a sympathising word and
look has been expressed, and especially by people who had previously
any knowledge of us.”

“_August 29._—On passing the above fort (of Mustapha Khan,
Kuzzilbash), where Saleh Mahomed and I were the first to arrive, I
was most agreeably surprised by the owner bringing out two or three
large trays full of excellent cakes and sweetmeats, and begging I
would distribute them among the ladies and children—expressing at the
same time the most unfeigned sympathy for all of us. To people in our
unfortunate situation, a civil word even is well appreciated, but such
a mark of kindness as this worthy Persian showed us, is not easily
forgotten. His very look bespoke him a man of generous and kindly
feeling. Our little fellow-prisoners—both boys and girls—had such a
feast as they have not had for many a day. On arriving at our bivouac,
another Kuzzilbash, who had a fort close by, hearing from Ahmed Khan
that I wanted to buy a horse, brought me one for sale. As I was,
however, afraid of running out of funds, I told him my fears. His reply
was, ‘I know you, and I will be satisfied with your note of hand. I am
a relation of Naib Sheriff Khan.’ This was a mark of confidence I could
not have expected in such dangerous times, when my life is not worth
twenty-four hours’ purchase. I did not take the animal.”—[_Captain
Johnson’s Narrative. MS._]

[311] “The commandant of our guard appears very civil and inclined to
oblige us in every possible way—at any rate he is so to me. I was
quite delighted to hear him talk in such enthusiastic terms of my
deceased and lamented friend Hopkins (his former commanding officer).
On asking him why he deserted with his company to Dost Mahomed in
September, 1840, his reply was, that he was disgusted with the abusive
language used towards him by the European non-commissioned officers;
and I do not doubt that this had a great effect in alienating him
from our service, although certainly not the immediate cause of his
desertion. Saleh Mahomed is a good-humoured, jolly fellow, and without
any prejudices against us Kaffirs. He is a soldier of fortune, cares
little whom he serves, has been to Bokhara, Yarkund, and was at the
taking of Kokund a few months ago. Rode with him the whole march, and
was much amused at his traveller’s tales. He is the greatest hero in
his own estimation I ever came across. There is no end to his feats of
valour, to which I am a ready listener, for two reasons: _firstly_,
that I am amused; _secondly_, that he is flattered by my being so good
a listener—by which I hope to turn him to good account.”—[_Captain
Johnson’s Narrative of his Captivity. MS._]

[312] The words of the bond may be thus translated:—

“We gentlemen, Pottinger, Johnson, Mackenzie, and Lawrence, in the
presence of God and Jesus Christ, do enter into the following agreement
with Saleh Mahomed Khan:—Whenever Saleh Mahomed Khan shall free us
from the power of Mahomed Akbar Khan, we agree to make him (Saleh
Mahomed Khan) a present of 20,000 rupees, and to pay him monthly
the sum of 1000 rupees; likewise to obtain for him the command
of a regiment in the government service; and we attest that this
agreement is not false; and should we have spoken falsely then will we
acknowledge ourselves to be false men, even in the presence of Kings.

         “E. POTTINGER,         C. MACKENZIE,
         “H. JOHNSON,           G. ST. P. LAWRENCE.”

—[_Translated from the counterpart of the Agreement given by Saleh
Mahomed to Captain Johnson._]

[313] The agreement is thus worded:—“We, whose signatures are hereunto
attached, do bind ourselves to pay into the hands of Major Pottinger
and Captains Lawrence and Johnson, on condition of our release being
effected by an arrangement with Saleh Mahomed Khan, such a number of
months’ pay and allowances as they shall demand from us—such pay and
allowances to be rated by the scale at which we shall find ourselves
entitled to draw from the date of our release from captivity. We, who
are married, do further agree to pay the same amount for our wives and
families as for ourselves. We, whose husbands are absent, do pledge
ourselves in proportion to our husbands’ allowances.” The agreement
is drawn up on half-a-sheet of foolscap paper, in the hand-writing of
Captain Johnson. The names of all the prisoners (officers and ladies)
are attached to it; the first being that of Brigadier Shelton. There
is a codicil to it, signed by Lady Macnaghten and Mrs. Sturt, in these
words:—“We, who are widows, do pledge ourselves to pay such sums as
may be demanded from us by Major Pottinger and Captains Lawrence and
Johnson in furtherance of the above scheme”—“In our prison at Bameean:
11th September, 1842.”—[_MS. Records._]

[314] The European soldiers at Bameean were so reduced by sickness as
to be scarcely able to hold a musket. And they had lost all heart.

[315] “In order,” says Captain Johnson, from whose Narrative these
details are taken, “to show as imposing a front as possible, there was
no rear rank.”

[316] Seeing that Saleh’s Mahomed’s men wore our English belts and
pouches, the soldiers of Nott’s division were disposed to fall upon
them. It was intimated to the commandant that it would be expedient to
remove them out of the way of danger.

[317] “On passing the corner of the street where I formerly lived,
I could not forego the desire of looking on the ruins of a house
in which I had passed a period of two years of happiness. Although
I had expected to see