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"My Lords and GentlemenYou will concur with me in the expression of humble gratitude to Almighty God, for the favourable season which His bounty has vouchsafed to us, and for the prospects of a harvest more abundant than those of recent years.
"There are, I trust, indications of gradual recovery from that depression which has affected many branches of manufacturing industry, and has exposed large classes of my people to privations and sufferings which have caused me the deepest concern.
"You will, I am confident, be actuated on your return to your several counties by the same enlightened zeal for the public interests which you have manifested during the discharge of your Parliamentary duties, and will do your utmost to encourage by your example and active exertions that spirit of order and submission to the law, which is essential to the public happiness, and without which there can be no enjoyment of the fruits of peaceful industry, and no advance in the career of social improvement."
The Lord Chancellor then declared Parliament prorogued till the 6th of October.
Thus terminated the long and busy session of 1842. Whatever opinion may be entertained of the individual merits of those legislative changes which it produced under the auspices of the Conservative Government, their importance, at all events, will be unquestioned, and in the amount of substantial results, which were achieved, this session deserves to be favourably contrasted with those of preceding years. The great economical and financial reforms which Sir R. Peel had announced, were early brought
forward, and carried out to their completion in a spirit, which told well both in Parliament and with the country for the earnestness and sincerity of those who had propounded them. Accordingly, although in some respects the measures in themselves were of an unpopular character, bearing disadvantageously advantageously on particular interests, and tending to disunite that political party on which the Ministry depended for support, it cannot be doubted, that the result of the session upon the whole, was materially to strengthen the position of Sir Robert Peel and his colleagues in office, and to gain for them in the public mind a character for those essential qualities of vigour and decision of purpose, in which their predecessors had been found wanting. It was very remarkable also to observe in the House of Commons, as the session proceeded, how much the force of opposition became relaxed in vigour and concentration, as compared with that menacing and united front, which had been presented at the commencement, by the various sections of the Liberal party. It must be recollected also, that these effects were accomplished, and the position of the Government thus strengthened, under circumstances of no slight disadvantage; during the continual pressure of severe public distress, and consequent discontent-powerful engines at all times, and, on this occasion, unsparingly employed for the disparagement of the party in power. The advancement of Sir Robert Peel and his colleagues in the public confidence against such obstacles, may fairly be regarded as an evidence of the conviction entertained by the impartial and reflecting portion of the community, that
the Executive power was lodged in trustworthy and able hands, and that, without holding out false hopes, or making delusive professions, the statesmen at the head of affairs both understood the real difficulties of the country, and were
prepared earnestly and honestly to grapple with them.
Such was the state of the public mind, and the relative position of parties, when the labours of Parliament were terminated by the prorogation.
INDIA-AFFGHANISTAN.-Collision with the Eastern GhilziesCauses of the Quarrel-Reduction of stipulated Payment-Kafila seized at Tezeen-Sir Robert Sale sent to force the Khoord Cabul Pass-The Pass carried-March of Sir R. Sale to JellalabadSevere Contest in the Jugdulluck Pass-Arrival at JellalabadPosition of the British Forces at Cabul-Situation of the Cantonments-Outbreak of the Insurrection at Cabul-Cause of thisMurder of Sir Alexander Burnes and other Officers-Troops with drawn into Cantonments from the Seeah Sung Camp-Attacks of the Affghans upon the British Cantonments-Sir W. Macnaghten negotiates with the hostile Chiefs-Terms agreed upon-Plot laid for the Envoy-Secret Agreement entered into between Sir W. Macnaghten and Akbar Khan-Murder of Sir W. Macnaghten and Captain Trevor-Renewal of Negotiations with the Afghan Chiefs-Additional Terms agreed upon-The British Troops leave the Cantonments-Treacherous Attacks of the Affghans-Perfidy of Akbar Khan-Hostages given up to him-Continued Attacks of the Affghans-The Ladies are placed under the Protection of Akbar Khan-Destruction of the native Indian Troops in the Huft Kothul Pass – Miserable Situation of the British Forces in the Tezeen Valley-General Elphinstone detained Prisoner by Akbar KhanDestruction of H. M. 44th Regiment-Massacre of the Officers and Escape of Dr. Brydon-The Affghans invest JellalabadGallant Conduct of Sir Robert Sale-Measures taken by the Indian Government-Lord Ellenborough arrives at Calcutta-Troops collected at the Mouth of the Khyber Pass under Brigadier WildFailure of attempt to force the Pass.
'N our narrative of events that happened last year in Affghanistan, we alluded in our preceding volume to a disaster which had befallen us in that quarter, which we partly attributed to our unfortunate attack upon, and capture of the fort of, Khelat-i-Ghilzie. And no doubt this was one cause of the irritation felt by the Ghilzies, with the Eastern tribes of whom we, soon after our occupa
tion of Cabul, came into hostile collision; but it had little or nothing to do with the calamity which it is now our painful duty to record; a calamity which has thrown a deeper shadow over our exploits in the East than any which has hitherto occurred.
Our collision with the Ghilzies arose as follows. The Khoord Cabul Pass is a long and dangerous defile through which the road
between Cabul and Jellalabad runs, and which, therefore, it was necessary to keep open for the purpose of safe intercourse between Cabul and British India. The Eastern Ghilzies were the tribes which occupied this part of Affghanistan, and it was thought advisable on our part to purchase from these the right of traversing the Pass without molestation, rather than be compelled to force it on every occasion at the sword's point, or attempt to keep permanent possession of it. Accordingly, soon after we had seated Shah Soojah on the throne of Cabul, an agreement was entered into with the Ghilzie chiefs whereby it was stipulated, that a certain sum of money should be paid them yearly out of the Cabul treasury, if they would keep the Khoord Cabul Pass open, and offer no molestation to our troops on their passage between Cabul and Jellalabad.
There are various accounts of the cause of the events that followed; but it appears that the whole amount of the money stipulated was not paid to the Ghilzies, whether owing to the financial difficulties of the Cabul treasury, or to some mismanagement on the part of the officer whose duty it was to disburse the money. They naturally felt aggrieved, and immediately rose in arms and closed the Passes. A Kafila valued at 20,000 rupees was seized at Tezeen, and all communication with British India was cut off. It is matter of deep regret that anything like the semblance of bad faith should have occurred in this instance, for British honour was pledged to the payment of the stipulated sum; and it was most unwise to give any occasion of offence to a population already far
too disposed to quarrel with us, whom it regarded as rapacious invaders of the soil. However, it was necessary that the Pass should be forced; and accordingly, early in October, Major-general Sir Robert Sale was sent by General Elphinstone from Cabul with a brigade consisting of companies of the 13th Light Infantry, and the 35th N, I. to clear the Khoord Cabul Pass, and open the communication. On the 12th of October, these troops commenced their entry into the Pass; near the middle of which, in the valley, the main body of the Ghilzies were posted behind a breast work. As the assailing body, however, approached, the enemy withdrew from behind the breastwork, and occupied the steep and precipitous ridges of the mountains on either side, whence they opened a welldirected fire, and General Sale received a ball above the ancle, which compelled him to leave the field. Lieutenant-colonel Dennie then took the command, and skirmishing being thrown out on both flanks, who pressed gallantly on the enemy, as far as the nature of the ground would admit, while the main column and guns of the British were rapidly moved along the valley, the Ghilzies gradually retired: our troops got possession of the heights, and the southern gorge of the Pass was reached, where the 35th N. L. and guns were established in a deserted fort. The remainder of the troops marched back through the defile to the camp at Boothak, which they had left in the morning. The casualties in this affair were, unfortunately, not few, owing to the advantages possessed by the enemy in annoying our troops by their fire from the ridges. But
although the Khoord Cabul Pass was thus cleared, there lay before the force under General Sale a difficult line of country to traverse as far as Gundamuck, consisting of narrow defiles and mountain Passes, with eminences on either side, occupied by an active enemy. It was not, therefore, until the 30th of October that General Sale, and the troops under his command, reached Gundamuck after having fought their whole way during a period of eighteen days.
We do not give details of this march, as the actions were not of sufficient importance to justify us in devoting much space to them; but, after leaving the Khoord Cabul Pass, both in the valley of Tezeen and that of Jugdulluk, severe encounters took place with the enemy, in which we were successful in driving them before us from all their positions. In the latter valley the contest was very severe. All the salient points of the hills were in possession of the Ghilzies, who were protected by breastworks; but by throwing out flanking parties, who gallantly won their way up the lofty heights, and dispossessed the enemy of their positions, while the main body advanced up the defile, the Pass was forced. After this, in the words of General Sale's de spatch: "Our troops commanded the route to Sookhab, and the enemy seemed to decline any further opposition. The march was resumed, but as the cumbrous train of baggage filed over the mountain, the insurgents again appearing from beyond the most distant ridges renewed the contest with increased numbers, and the most savage fury."
In the same despatch General Sale states, that he is able
report with much satisfaction the cheerfulness, steadiness, and perseverance with which the troops have performed every duty required of them; since leaving Cabul, they have been kept constantly on the alert by attacks by night and day; from the time of their arrival at Tezeen they have been invariably bivouacked, and the safety of our positions has only been secured by unremitting labour, and throwing up intrenchments, and very severe out-post duty; whilst each succeeding morning has brought its affairs, with a bold and active enemy, eminently skilful in the species of warfare to which their attempts have been confined, and armed with juzails, which have enabled them to annoy us at a range at which they could only be reached by our artillery. Though compelled by the effects of my late wound to witness those conflicts with a doolie, I must bear my unequivocal testimony to the gallantry of officers and men on every occasion of contact with the enemy, and especially in sealing the tremendous heights above Jugdulluk."
After this, the brigade under the command of General Sale moved on to Jellalabad, which it reached on the 12th of November, after a series of further annoyances from the enemy; without, however, any serious encounter. In the meantime the fearful tragedy, which ended in the total destruction of our Cabul force, had commenced in that city. It may be useful to explain the position of our troops. They were placed in a cantonment, which seems to have been selected in defiance of every maxim of prudence and ordinary caution. It was on the north side of the city, and consisted of a