« PoprzedniaDalej »
sparingly in adverse criticism, the Lord Roberts pays, as well he main points to which it has been might, a glowing tribute to the directed down to this date being unflagging energy and perseverance the unpreparedness and the in- of his "splendid troops,” both efficiency of the too elderly officers British and native, from whom he in command of various stations at finally parted at the Bolan Pass :the outbreak of the Mutiny, that attention cannot fail to be aroused
“As I parted with each corps in
turn its band played “Auld Lang by the severe remarks made on
Syne,' and I have never since heard the demoralised condition of the that memory-stirring air without its garrison at Kandahar. The gen. bringing before my mind's eye the eral bearing of the troops re last view I had of the Kabul-Kanminded him, he says, of the people dahar Field Force. I fancy myself at Agra in 1857. "They seemed crossing and recrossing the river to consider themselves hopelessly hear the martial beat of drums and
which winds through the pass; I defeated, and were utterly despon- plaintive music of the pipes ; and I dent: they never even hoisted the
see Riflemen and Gurkhas, Highunion-jack until the relieving force landers and Sikhs, guns and horses, was close at hand.” Yet the walls camels and mules, with the endless of Kandahar were so high and following of an Indian army, winding thick as to render the city abso- through the narrow gorges, or over lutely impregnable to any army the passage of the Bolan so difficult
the interminable boulders wbich made not equipped with a regular siege- and wearisome to man and beast. I train. " For British soldiers,” shall never forget the feeling of sadhe says, “to have contemplated ness with which I said good-bye to the possibility of Kandahar being the men who had done so much for taken by an Afghan army showed I looked upon them all, native what a miserable state of depres- friends. And well I might, for never
as well as British, as my valued sion and demoralisation they were
had a commander been better served." in.” The next morning, September 1, Roberts assumed the command Here ends the long tale of Lord of the army in Southern Afghan Roberts' active service in the field, istan, the troops at Kandahar con which began with the movable sisting of 3800 British and 11,000 column of the Punjab, and ended natives, with 36 guns; and at with this splendid inarch from six o'clock in the evening of the Kabul to Kandahar, with the same day, after tremendous complete overthrow of the Afghan conflict, telegraphed the total de- army at the end of it. It was feat and complete dispersion of this latter exploit which chiefly arAyub Khan's army with rested the attention of his countryparatively slight loss on our side. men, and gained for him the enThis closed the Afghan war. thusiastic reception which awaited Roberts left Kandahar for Quetta him on his return to England. in search of health after his attack He himself, and probably his of fever, and was shortly after readers will concur with him, wards created Commander-in-Chief considered his march from Kuof the Madras army.
ram to Kabul the previous autumn after installing Abdur Rahman as in reality the greater military Ameer of Kabul, marched the whole achievement, in every particular British force out of that city on more difficult, more dangerous, and their return to India, one brigade more responsible. In this lastalone being left as a temporary mentioned operation his force was measure in the Khyber Pass. little more than half the strength
with which he marched to Kan to the fall of Kabul and the relief
which he has so richly deserved.
' successes try and compatriots in South Africa. ought not to diminish the caution Lord Roberts, after the Afghan with which military operations in campaigns, went home more or less that country should be attempted. invalided before entering upon his They give one the impression of duties in Madras. “Six weeks being hazardous to the last degree, out of these precious months of not to be undertaken without the leave," Lord Roberts says, “were utmost precautions to ensure suc- spent in a wild-goose chase to the cess, or without the most urgent Cape of Good Hope and back, upon requirements of political necessity. my being nominated by Mr GladLord Roberts cannot be suspected stone's Government Governor of of unduly magnifying their diffi- Natal and Commander of the culties. But the desperateness of Forces in South Africa, on the the whole proceeding, the peril of death of Sir George Colley, and annihilation in case of hesitation, the receipt of the news of the are shown by his remark with re- disaster at Majuba Hill.” Naturgard to the prospects of his small ally enough, he expected a brisk force when surrounded by foes business, having usually up to that and approaching Kabul : " Had time been selected for command there been on our part the small, when some dangerous and desperest hesitation or delay, we should ate enterprise was on foot. Mathave found ourselves opposed by ters on this occasion took a turn as formidable a combination as we to which he was not accustomed. had to deal with two months later “While I was on my way out to
Sherpur. Nothing could then take up my command peace was have saved the force, not one man made with the Boers in the most of which, I firmly believe, would marvellously rapid and unexpected have ever returned to tell the tale manner." A peace without honour in India." From the fall of Delhi or the semblance of honour! Lord
with which he marched to Kan- to the fall of Kabul and the relief dahar. Daring the latter part of of Kandahar there is compressed it, after crossing the Shutargardan, within a quarter of a century he was in the midst of quite as enough of daring achievement and hostile tribes, "entirely dependent determined conflict with overon the country for supplies, heavily powering numbers of brave and handicapped by want of transport, resolute enemies to convince the and practically as completely cut world that a nation which can off from communication with India produce such men has not entered as I was a year later on the march yet on the period of its decline, has to Kandahar." Before him was not yet bad its energies and spirit Kabul, with its large and well- sapped by peace and prosperity, equipped arsenal and a highly but is still capable of vindicating organised army; around him were its empire in all parts of the tribesmen hurrying to defend its globe. Amongst the many heroes approaches; within his camp a which that space of time brought traitor in the form of the Ameer, to the front, Lord Roberts has won posing as the friend to the British a foremost place, and every one Government and a refugee seeking must rejoice at the honours which our protection, while in reality he have been showered upon him, and was a deadly foe.
which he has so richly deserved. The destruction of the British There is an amusing glimpse of force in 1842 brought home to the the way in which our Indian heroes English mind the perils of Afghan regarded the actions of their counwarfare. Lord Roberts' successes try and compatriots in South Africa. ought not to diminish the caution Lord Roberts, after the Afghan with which military operations in campaigns, went home more or less that country should be attempted. invalided before entering upon his They give one the impression of duties in Madras. “Six weeks being hazardous to the last degree, out of these precious months of not to be undertaken without the leave,” Lord Roberts says, utmost precautions to ensure suc- spent in a wild-goose chase to the cess, or without the most urgent Cape of Good Hope and back, upon requirements of political necessity. my being nominated by Mr GladLord Roberts cannot be suspected stone's Government Governor of of unduly magnifying their diffi- Natal and Commander of the culties. But the desperateness of Forces in South Africa, on the the whole proceeding, the peril of death of Sir George Colley, and annihilation in case of hesitation, the receipt of the news of the are shown by his remark with re disaster at Majuba Hill.” Naturgard to the prospects of his small ally enough, he expected a brisk force when surrounded by foes business, having usually up to that and approaching Kabul : “Had time been selected for command there been on our part the small when some dangerous and desperest hesitation or delay, we should ate enterprise was on foot. Mathave found ourselves opposed by ters on this occasion took a turn as formidable a combination as we to which he was not accustomed. had to deal with two months later " While I was on my way out to at Sherpur. Nothing could then
Nothing could then take up my command peace was have saved the force, not one man
made with the Boers in the most of which, I firmly believe, would marvellously rapid and unexpected have ever returned to tell the tale manner.” A peace without honour in India.” From the fall of Delhi or the semblance of honour! Lord
Mnen: estire races, and it seems
$ fe of their country against a
pea tead to consolidate the empire,
* Use ani to contirm the acquiescence of en un ar natire feudatories and allies in a
DA A murity without impairing their e ser dignity and independence.
ditir Sir Donald Stewart as Commander-
De then to Mandalay, where the Vice-
't prometation by England of all that part
him with Thebaw had held sway. The chief 312
as and ammunition. main direc
1 ras in readiness for
*Acciage of Government, the effic
says Lord Roberts, er guce ust in time to prevent
32. Lord Sa.isbary's deterthe
e srit de convinced Russia att by
11.30 farther encroachments on th
e Afgana frontier would be ormised: she ceased the 'game si ing she had been allowed to PUT.asithe Boundary Commission vure enabied to proceed with the
of delimitation." The most ... Isuzsfactory incident of the whole
these proceedings was the loyby of the native chiefs who were 2 yeusent, and their profuse proITs of help in case a recourse
srms became necessary. Simi
denonstrations of loyalty were * bate by distant native rulers.
Ini Roberts says that the great
esthusiasm prevailed, and the terus camps at Rawul Pindi
vere crowded with men desirous
We were able in the height of the
higes probable that that support
sæustomed, and which gives them
subject which still interested him so far satisfied with the attention in his high position was the security paid to his requirements that he of our North-West frontier, having writes :regard to the near approach of Russia, and our consequent prom
“Seven years later, when I gave up ise to the Ameer to preserve the my command of the army in India, I integrity of his kingdom, a promise ing that I left our North-West frontier
had the supreme satisfaction of knowwhich rendered us responsible for
secure so far as it was possible to make the northern as well as the southern it so, hampered as we were by want boundary of Afghanistan. Lord of money. The necessary fortificaRoberts, contrary to the opinions tions had been completed, schemes for of the majority of the Defence the defence of the various less importCommittee, laid greater stress on
ant positions had been prepared, and
the roads and railways, in my estimathe maintenance of lines of com
tion of such vast importance, had munication than on the construc- either been finished or
were well tion of numerous fortifications. advanced.” His aim was to have the means of bringing all the strategical Thus Lord Beaconsfield's wellpoints on the frontier into direct known policy for the construction communication with the Indian of a scientific frontier to the northrailways, so as to be able to mass west of our Indian empire has been our troops rapidly. The offensive carried out. The declaration of and defensive requirements of that policy was at the time derided Quetta and the Bolan Pass were by the party hacks and political to be provided for, and a spot was nincompoops of the time; but sucselected on the right bank of the cessive
Viceroys have given Kabul river between Khairabad thought and attention to it, realand the Indus, and commanding ising that so long as invasion rethe latter river, on which the gar- mains a remote risk we could not risons of Peshawur and Noushera look unconcernedly on, while Ruscould fall back if necessary and sia crept step by step closer to our await reinforcements. This is dominions. Lord Lytton's forward with a view to the probable hos movement was the first step in tility of the warlike tribes, who carrying out this policy, and from in case of invasion would, so long first to last Lord Roberts bas been as they remain hostile, combine a main instrument in its execution. against us from Chitral to Balu It must not be supposed that all chistan, and pour into India. The occasion for anxiety has been reKhyber Pass was the chief pass moved, but at least the plans have to be defended, for it alone de- been adopted and executed to an bouched directly on cultivated extent which was satisfactory. country and on roads leading to Rawul Pindi on the right and the chief Punjab cities, Too Quetta on the left marked the many forts had to be avoided, boundaries of the frontier line, on grounds both of finance and Multan having been rejected. of the difficulty of garrisoning There was also a scheme for utilthem. Lord Roberts also pre- ising the armies of native States scribed the defensive works which as an auxiliary force for the sershould be taken in hand without vice of the empire. Lord Roberts delay, and the roads and railways was at first doubtful of the wisdom which should be constructed. And of encouraging a high state of it is worth noting that he was efficiency amongst the troops of VOL. CLXI.—NO. DCCCCLXXVI,
subject which still interested him so far satisfied with the attention
"Seven years later, when I gave up
, a promise ing that I left our North-West frontier
had the supreme satisfaction of know
secure so far as it was possible to make
ant positions had been prepared, and
Roberts does not seem, from the
money, arms, and ammunition. tone of his allusion to the whole Everything was in readiness for remarkable business, to have re “A change of Government, garded his selection for this par- however,” says Lord Roberts, ticular command as being in the “took place just in time to prevent nature of a distinguished compli- the war. Lord Salisbury's determent worthy of his acceptance. mined attitude convinced Russia His stay at Cape Town lasted that no further encroachments on twenty-four hours, “the Govern- the Afghan frontier would be ment being apparently as anxious permitted : she ceased the 'game to get me away from Africa as of brag' she had been allowed to they had been to hurry me out play, and the Boundary Commission there."
were enabled to proceed with the After a stay in Madras, Lord work of delimitation,” The most Roberts again visited Calcutta in satisfactory incident of the whole March 1885, while Lord Dufferin of these proceedings was the loywas Viceroy. It was shortly be- alty of the native chiefs who were fore the affair at Panjdeh, which present, and their profuse proso nearly led to war with Russia, mises of help in case à recourse and which the immediate to arms became necessary. Simioccasion of a vote of credit of lar demonstrations of loyalty were several millions by the House of made by distant native rulers. Commons. Public affairs
Lord Roberts says that the greatunsettled. Russia was very active est enthusiasm prevailed, and the in the valley of the Oxus, Skobe- various camps at Rawul Pindi leff's victories having given her were crowded with men desirous Merv and Sarakhs, thus making of joining the ranks of our army. the Caspian the base of
future We were able in the height of the operations, Turkestan being also Mutiny to rely on the firm supin direct communication by rail port of many of the most promiand steamer with St Petersburg. nent native races, and it seems The army
in the Caucasus was now highly probable that that support easily transportable to the bound would be still more general and aries of Afghanistan, and accord
even more enthusiastic in the deingly Russia was dictating terms fence of their country against & to the Boundary Commission, and foreign invader. And every ten ejecting an Afghan garrison from years that pass over our heads Panjdeh under the eyes of British tend to consolidate the empire, officers. Meetings took place be- and to confirm the acquiescence of tween Lord Dufferin and Abdur native feudatories and allies in a Rahman at Rawul Pindi. The rule to which they have become former declared that England was accustomed, and which gives them resolved that a Russian advance security without impairing their on Herat should be met by a dignity and independence. declaration of war, and the latter In 1885 Lord Roberts succeeded was required to choose finally Sir Donald Stewart as Oommanderwhich of his two powerful neigh-in-Chief in India.
He went with bours he would have for his ally. Lord Dufferin to Rangoon, and As far as words went the Ameer then to Mandalay, where the Vicechose Great Britain. The Viceroy roy formally announced the annex. ratified Lord Ripon's promise to ation by England of all that part defend his kingdom against foreign of Upper Burmah over which King aggression, and presented him with Thebaw had held sway. The chief
the roads and railways, in my estima-
they remain hostile, combine a main instrument in its execution.
to Rawul Pindi on the right and
VOL. CLXI.--N0. DCCCCLXXVI.