Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/229

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Law
Law
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the passage of troops and munitions of war was refused, the ameers were induced to concede free passage to the trade of Hindostan. During even this, his first, term of office his unguarded language brought on him a fierce attack. Writing privately in 1829 to Sir John Malcolm, governor of Bombay, who was engaged in a dispute with the supreme court there, Ellenborough advised that two puisne judges should be appointed to sit with the chief justice, Sir J. P. Grant, and keep him in check, 'like a wild elephant between two tame ones.' Malcolm's secretary, by mistake, treated this letter as a public despatch, and about a year later it found its way into the 'Times,' as was supposed through the agency of Joseph Hume (see Kaye, Life of Sir John Malcolm, ii. 528). To reform the disorderly system of Indian finance Ellenborough proposed to send J. C. Herries to India, and to appoint him to a post specially created, as a general chancellor of the exchequer to the governor-general, but Herries declined the offer (see Memoirs of J. C. Herries). Ellenborough remained at the India office until the Wellington administration fell in 1830.

After quitting office he vigorously opposed Lord Grey's measures, and especially the Reform Bill and the Corporation Bill. He returned to the board of control during Peel's 'hundred days' (December 1834 to April 1835), but did not figure prominently in politics again until the formation of Peel's second administration in September 1841, in which he for the third time held the office of president of the board of control. On 20 Oct. 1841 he was almost unanimously appointed by the court of directors to succeed Lord Auckland as governor-general of India. He set out for India resolved upon a peace policy, a policy which, at a farewell dinner given to him by the directors on 3 Nov. 1841, he summarised in the words 'to restore peace to Asia.' The whole of his term of office in India was, however, occupied in wars, one a war of vengeance and two wars of annexation and aggression.

After a tedious voyage of five months on board the frigate Cambrian, he found himself, on 21 Feb. 1842, off Madras. The first news he had received since leaving England was signalled to him from shore. It announced the massacre of Cabul and the sieges of Ghuzni and Jellalabad (see Ellenborough's speech in the House of Lords, 10 Aug. 1860), and going ashore he found that the sepoys of Madras were on the verge of open mutiny. So serious a crisis had not occurred in India for many generations. To increase the difficulty of the position, neither in the Punjab nor in Nepaul was peace secure, and the government was committed to extensive operations in China, which tended to drain India of troops. Ellenborough at once set himself, by his personal intervention, to restore the discipline of the Madras sepoys. He increased the force intended for China, and refused, on grounds of policy, to allow the disasters in Afghanistan to curtail the programme of operations already decided upon for China. The original design of the government had been to operate by the Yang-tsze-kiang, which was subsequently changed for a movement by the Peiho. Ellenborough, convinced by the information of Lord Colchester that the Chinese empire was most vulnerable along the line of the former river, on his own responsibility reverted to the original scheme (see Sir H. Durand, History of the First Afghan War), pressed forward the reinforcements from India, and by the summer of 1842 was able to report to the cabinet the successful conclusion of the Chinese war.

Meantime he had set himself vigorously to work upon the further conduct of the Afghan war. Reaching Calcutta on 28 Feb., he at once induced the council to invest him with all the authority it had power to confer upon him, and hastened to Allahabad. His general policy he set forth in a despatch to the commander-in-chief, Sir Jasper Nicholls, dated 15 March 1842. The conduct of Shah Soojah, and his inability to perform his obligations under the tripartite treaty, had absolved the company also from its obligations, and henceforth the British policy in Afghanistan must be guided by military considerations alone. Separated from the Khyber by the whole width of the Sikh kingdom, then in a state of merely untrustworthy alliance with England, the company's government could not hope permanently to maintain any Afghan conquest. This Ellenborough felt strongly, though he did not as yet openly avow a policy of withdrawal. He aimed at rescuing the garrisons, and rehabilitating our lost prestige by dealing the Afghans some signal blow. He has been charged with timidity and vacillation in his Afghan operations, and with indifference to the fate of the English captives. After hearing of the defeat of General Richard England [q.v.] at Hykulzye, and of the fall of Ghuznee on 28 March, he despatched to General Nott (19 April) orders to fall back upon Quetta as soon as he had withdrawn the garrison from Khelat-i-Ghilzai, and ultimately to withdraw to the Indus. At the same time he directed Pollock to retreat to Peshawur at the earliest opportunity. Want of transport, however, and the approach of the hot season necessarily postponed the execution of these orders. It is said, but