صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

midst of their brethren the precious kernel. They laid aside for å moment at the threshold the canons, and articles, and formularies of their section of Christianity, but carried with them up to the table at which he was speaking the very quintessence of their religion.”

After a residence of a little more than two years at Bombay he found his health so seriously impaired that he yielded to the orders of his medical advisers, and embarked for England on the 3rd of October, 1849. On his arrival there he immediately placed himself in the hands of Mr. Martin, then an eminent practitioner in London, but twenty-five years before his associate in the expedition to Burmah. He derived great benefit from his advice, and was permitted to indulge the hope of being able to return to his duties in India on the expiration of his medical furlough. After a short sojourn in London he proceeded with Mrs. Havelock and the children to Plymouth, and spent several months in the enjoyment of the society of bis sister. But Havelock could not be idle ; while residing at Plymouth he entered on a course of active benevolence, visiting the cottages of the poor, imparting religious instruction to them, and endeavouring, in this new and quiet sphere, to render himself as · useful as he had done amidst the excitement of military operations. On the 6th of March he was presented at the levée at St. James's by the Duke of Wellington, who had also recognised his Indian services by presenting a cadetship to his eldest son. In June he proceeded on a tour of visits to the friends of his youth whom time had spared, and more particularly to the most attached of bis associates, Sir William Norris and the late Archdeacon Hare. Sir William commemorated, in elegant verse, the “Meeting of the Three Friends;" not forgetting to bring into the same association the Carthusians of their day who had since risen to eminence. Soon after Havelock was recommended to take the medicinal waters of Germany, and proceeded with his family to Ems, and found his constitution materially strengthened by residing at the spa. The time was now approaching for his return to India ; and, after long and painful deliberation, it was mutually resolved that Mrs. Havelock should remain in Europe, for the education of the daughters, while Havelock proceeded alone to Bombay, in the hope of being able to return at the termination of his five years' tenure of office. The separation was exquisitely painful ; but it is one of the stern conditions of Indian existence. Havelock submitted to it with resignation, strengthened by the conviction that he was in the path of duty. But the pain was in some measure alleviated by the opportunity of constant and rapid correspondence, created by the establishment of steam communication between India and Europe, which has served so essentially to mitigate the feeling of exile. The extracts from his correspondence testify to the warmth of conjugal and parental affection, which always glowed in the bosom of Havelock; and although the separation was equally distressing to both parties, it served to create an opportunity, which might otherwise have been wanting, of illustrating the true character of the hero as a husband and a parent. After taking leave of his family, he travelled through Germany, visiting the most celebrated galleries of painting, and embarked at Trieste. He reached Bombay in November, renovated in health and strength by his residence of two years in Europe, and continued at his post till, in 1854, Lord Hardinge, who had succeeded the Duke of Wellington as Commanderin-Chief, appointed him Quarter-master-general of Queen's troops in India. He then proceeded to Calcutta on his way to head quarters, and visited Serampore ; but the old familiar faces were no longer to be seen. On this

occasion he writes to his family,"At Serampore I rose early in the morning, and visited the printing office, the manufactory, the college, all consecrated scenes. In the chapel I saw the monumental slab to Mrs. Marshman's memory on the same wall with those of Carey, Marshman, Ward, and Mack. I read two chapters in the Bible at the table before the pulpit and prayed alone."

On the 8th of December of the same year he was gazetted as Adjutantgeneral of her Majesty's forces, a post of the greatest labour and the highest responsibility, but for which, as Lord Hardinge justly remarked, no man in India was better qualified. He remained at the head of the staff for two years, during wbich time he continued with the Commanderin-Chief, both in Calcutta and on the tour of periodical inspection, and it was arranged that Mrs. Havelock and his daughters should shortly join him in India, leaving the youngest son, the “mighty Georgy," as he was accustomed to call him, to complete his education in England, when all his plans and prospects were at once changed by the expedition which the English Ministry determined to send to Persia. Two months before the order for the expedition arrived in India, he wrote to the compiler of this sketch, “I scrape together something every month towards keeping my wife and children out of the Union when I can no longer labour, but slowly, and at some expense of constitution, though, God be praised, I have not looked at a doctor since I left Simlah last year. But I am grey headed and nearly toothless, and yet scarcely within eight years' hail of the rank of Major-general. All, however, comes right in the end." And right it did come. Sir James Outram, who had made the Cabul campaign with Havelock sixteen years before, and knew his value, was nominated from home to the chief command of the expedition, and immediately on his arrival at Bombay from England, advised Lord Elphinstone to request that he should be appointed to the charge of a division. “I never," writes Havelock, “ should have solicited such a command, and would, in truth, rather have been employed in the north-west provinces, where it is not unlikely that a force may be hereafter required. But when the post of honour and danger was offered me by telegraph, old as I am, I did not hesitate a moment. The wires carried back my unconditional and immediate acceptance." On his arrival at Bombay, he found his son Harry, who was completing his military education at Sandhurst when the Persian expedition was announced, and immediately hastened to India, in the hope of being able to take a share in that active service, and he was not disappointed. Just before Havelock embarked. for Persia he wrote home, “If by God's blessing I succeed, I trust they will make me a Major-general, which is £400 a year for life, with the hope of a regiment, or £500 a year more. If I am unfortunate, I need not tell you the fate of a British general under such circumstances. I trust in God, and will do my best. The inducement is the hope of promotion in days when fifteen Crimeans, ten junior to me, have been made Major.generals at one swoop. All is in the hands of a merciful God."

On the 27th of January, he embarked on the steamer, and a salute was fired in compliment to his rank, " the first expense of the kind to which I have ever put the Indian Government.” He arrived at Bushire too late to participate in the battle of Kooshab, but was soon after despatched with his division to the Euphrates, where the enemy was encamped in great strength at Mohamra. But here again there were no laurels for the land service,

This grand position on the Euphrates was carried by the navy. Havelock passed the fort with his men on the steamer, and landed; but the enemy took to flight. On this occasion he writes :—“The whiz of his cannon in passing over my crowded steamer, and the sense of the same protecting Providence, was all that I had to remind me of former days." Here he omits all mention of his own conduct, which has been supplied by one of his officers. The vessel was filled with troops, who were exposed to a perfect shower of balls as it passed the forts. Havelock ordered them to lie down on the deck that the balls might pass over them, and took his own station on the paddle-box to act as the occasion might require. Though exposed to the most imminent danger from the brisk fire of the enemy, he escaped unhurt. The Persian expedition was nipped in the bud by the result of negociations in Europe. Havelock, as he wrote to his family, awoke on the 5th of April, and found himself sixtytwo; but just as his men were drawn up for church parade, Sir James Outram rode down to inform him that their occupation was gone, peace having been signed at Paris on the 4th of March. He now prepared to return to India. "The intelligence,” he writes, “which elevates some and depresses others, finds me calm in my reliance on that dear Redeemer who has watched over and cared for me, even when I knew him not, these threescore and two years.” To another he writes, “I am in my sixtythird year, but I think I can campaign as merrily as in 1846. The recoil on the constitution, however, may be more severe.

I have written to General Anson that I am ready for China when this is over." Havelock reached Bombay from Persia on the 30th of May, and heard the astounding intelligence of the mutiny of the Bengal army, and determined immediately to cross the country and join General Anson before Delhi, although the monsoon had set in above the ghâts; but Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay, and Col. Melvill

, the military secretary, insisted upon it that he should not attempt so dangerous a route, more especially as rumours of revolt in Central India were already rife. Had he persisted in his intentions he must inevitably have fallen into the hands of the insurgents. So he embarked on the Erin steamer for Galle, intending to take the first vessel for Calcutta. The voyage was short and agreeable, and bets had, as usual, been made on board as to the time of their arrival at Galle. The vessel was going eleven knots an hour, the moonlight was bright, and the weather fine. Havelock had turned in for the night; at one in the morning the vessel struck, and his son came down calmly and said, “Sir, get up, the ship has struck.” Then ensued a scene of fearful confusion. The commander sprang from his bed, overcome by the misfortune, and the crew lost their self-possession. Havelock came on deck, and seeing the state of things, said to the men, that if they would only obey orders and keep from the spirit cask they would all be saved. They had to wait four hours for daylight, and the vessel experienced repeated shocks; but the passengers, crew, and specie, were all saved. When they reached the shore, as narrated by one of the passengers,

he called on those around him to return thanks to Almighty God for their deliverance, and himself offered the sacrifice of thanksgiving. He embarked at Galle for Calcutta, and the vessel, calling at Madras, took on board Sir Patrick Grant, who had been appointed to act as provisional commander of the forces on the death of General Anson. On the 17th of June, the two generals reached Calcutta, where they learned that the whole of the north-west provinces was in a blaze of revolt; that Sir Hugh Wheeler, at Cawnpore, and Sir Henry Lawrence, at

Lucknow, were closely besieged by the insurgents, and that it was necessary to send instant relief to them. Havelock was selected for this arduous enterprise three days after his arrival. "May God," he writes, "give me wisdom and strength to fulfil the expectations of Government and restore tranquillity to the disturbed provinces.” His preparations were soon completed, though he had lost all his baggage in the steamer ; and on the 23rd of June, the centenary of the day on which, in 1757, the daring genius of Clive had won the battle of Plassey and laid the from dation of our magnificent empire in India, Havelock started foun Calcutta to assist in re-establishing it.

He had now reached the summit of his wishes. In his sixty-third year, after having served in the army forty-two years, he was placed in a position of independent command, and was enabled to direct operations according to his own professional judgment. Had Havelock perished by one of the bullets which whizzed over his head on the paddle-box at Mohamra, or fallen a victim to that deadly climate, his name, after an honourable record in General Orders, would rapidly have passed into oblivion; but he was spared to enjoy an opportunity of exhibiting his pre-eminent military genius on a scene of surpassing interest, and to achieve victories which have become part of our national history. He reached Allahabad on the 30th of June, and found that General Neill had rescued the fortress from danger and restored our authority in the neighbouring district. But a week elapsed before Havelock could march with any degree of confidence; for he soon learned that Cawnpore had already fallen, and that General Wheeler and his brave companions had been foully and treacherously massacred. Before this intelligence could reach Allahabad General Neill had pushed forward 700 troops in the hope of saving it. Havelock, knowing that Nana Sahib was now free to march down with his whole force, naturally trembled for the safety of that weak detachment. He marched out of Allahabad at four in the afternoon, on the 7th of July, with a force of 1,185 men, of whom 1,005 were Europeans, and 180 Sikhs and native irregular cavalry. Of the Europeans, about 700 consisted of the 78th Highlanders, and her Majesty's 64th regiment, whom a hundred days before Havelock had commanded on the banks of the Euphrates. The rain was falling heavily as the column passed through the streets of Allahabad, but “like Cromwell's Ironsides, there was a stern determination in the aspect of the men, even in their very tread, which showed the earnestness of the purpose within.” They found the country as they advanced entirely under water. For the first three days they took the ordinary marches; on the fourth, the force reached a village within twenty-four miles of Futtehpore, when Major Renaud, who was five miles a-head with his detachment, sent word that the enemy was advancing from Cawnpore on Futtehpore, with the evident intention of making a stand there. Havelock could scarcely credit such good tidings. He could not have supposed that the insurgents would move out of Cawnpore and give hiin the opportunity of beating them in detail. Havelock sent orders to Renaud to fall back with his detachment, and himself commenced his march at midnight, and halted his troops at Belinda to light their pipes and make a brew of tea. Colonel Tytler, who had been sent on to reconnoitre, soon galloped back to announce the approach of the enemy. That instant the assembly sounded, and the troops fell in as cheery and hearty as possible. The artillery opened fire on the enemy, and the skirmishers with the Enfield rifles struck terror into them, and the victory was gained without the loss of a man on our side, with the exception of twelve Europeans who were struck down by the sun. It was nearly one o'clock before the wearied troops, who had marched twenty-four miles and fought a pitched battle on an empty stomach, reached their encamping ground. “One of the prayers," Havelock writes, “ oft repeated since my school days has been answered, and I have lived to command in a successful action. .: But away with rain glory. Thanks to Almighty God, who gave me the victory, I captured in four hours eleven guns, and scattered the enemy's force to the winds.” The streets of the town were choked up with baggage, among which were ladies' dresses, worsted work, and other tokens of our murdered countrywomen, which seemed to make the men wilder for vengeance.

The troops halted on the 13th for repose, and resumed their route on the 14th, when the small body of native irregular cavalry, who had become mutinous and dangerous, was disarmed. On the 15th, the force came up with the enemy at Aoung. The engagement lasted two hours, and the enemy fought much better, but they were at length driven off the field. No sooner were the men halted, however, than intelligence was received that the insurgents had retired to a strong entrenchment on the opposite bank of the Pandoo nuddy, or stream, and were preparing to blow up the bridge. The troops were ordered up, and recommenced their march with alacrity. After advancing three miles they reached the stream, which was swollen by the rains to the dimensions of a large river, but the bridge was untouched, though guarded by two long 24-pounders. The troops moved on under a continuous fire, and the enemy's position was stormed. It was owing to Havelock's forethought and promptitude that the bridge was gained before the enemy could destroy it. Had he not advanced instantly, his career would have been arrested for an indefinite period by the stream, on which there were no boats, and which there would have been no means of crossing. The casualties were only twenty-five, but the great loss was that of Major Renaud, who had always led the advance. The wearied soldiers bivouacked for the night on the spot where the last gun was fired. That night Havelock received information that Nana Sahib in person intended to oppose his entry into Cawnpore at the head of 7,000 men. News had also reached the camp that our countrywomen at Cawnpore were yet living, and the hope of rescuing them dispelled every sense of fatigue. That night and morning the troops marched fourteen miles, and after cooking and eating their food under the trees, advanced on the enemy at two in the afternoon

. The heat was terrific, and at every step some one fell out of the ranks, many never to return. The enemy's position was guarded by artillery at every point. Havelock determined to try bis favourite plan of turning the flank of the enemy. His small troop of cavalry masked his operations

, while the main body, by a masterly movement, came upon the flank of the enemy; but their guns were too well protected for our artillery to silence them. The Highlanders were lying down. Havelock came up to them, and pointing to the battery of the insurgents, told them to take it. They rose, fired one rolling volley, and, on receiving the word to charge

, rushed forward with impetuosity, and overcoming all opposition drove the enemy from the village. “Well done, Highlanders," said Havelock, "you shall be my own regiment in future. Another charge like that will win the day.” The field was nearly won, but one huge 24-pounder destruction among our ranks. Six men of the 6th had been laid low by one discharge. Havelock went up to them, and addressed a few inspiriting

was dealing

« السابقةمتابعة »