Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/274

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Lawrence
Lawrence
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natives of his district and of acquiring information at first hand, without relying upon subordinates and informers. He thus succeeded in reducing to order a somewhat turbulent population and a chaotic mass of administrative work ; but he was without any European society, and almost forgot for the time being how to speak intelligible English. In July 1837 he was recalled to Delhi, and was appointed to the southern or Gurgaon division of the territory.

In November 1838 he became settlement officer at Etawah, a district then suffering from a severe famine ; but at the end of the following year an attack of fever, which almost proved fatal, compelled him to return home invalided on three years' furlough. He landed in England in June 1840, and at once devoted himself with his characteristic energy to regaining his health and to finding a wife to his mind. He travelled in the highlands, in Ulster, and in Germany, and at length, on 26 Aug. 1841, married Harriete Catherine, daughter of the Rev. Richard Hamilton, a clergyman in county Donegal. Thinking his health re-established, he travelled for six months in France, Switzerland, and Italy ; but he contracted a fever in Rome, which obliged his doctors to forbid his return to India at all. 'If I can't live in India I must go and die there.' he said, and sailed from Southampton on 1 Oct. 1842. He reached Delhi in the spring of 1843, and, after acting for a time as civil and sessions judge, was appointed to Kurnaul. This appointment terminated in November, and he did not find another post till the end of 1844, when he became magistrate and collector of the two districts of Paniput and of Delhi, the rank which he had held before he was invalided home.

Hitherto his rise had simply been that of an average civilian. Though highly esteemed by many Indian authorities for his energy and grasp of his work, he had not attracted the attention of any governor-general. But in 1845 an accident brought him into personal contact with Lord Hardinge, who was newly arrived in India. Scinde had been recently annexed, the Sikhs were preparing for hostilities, and men of vigour with a knowledge of the country were needed on the north-west frontier. It was at Delhi on 11 Nov. 1845 that he first met Lord Hardinge and deeply impressed him by his talents, character, and information. After the battle of Ferozepore the governor-general, lacking provisions or ammunition with which to follow up the victory, wrote to Lawrence for assistance. In a few days he collected four thousand carts from a region already almost depleted of transport, loaded them from the magazines of Delhi, which were kept working night and day, and forced his convoy to the front, undiminished and unimpaired, in time for the battle of Sobraon. This ended the war, and on 1 March 1846 Lawrence was appointed administrator of the annexed Trans-Sutlej province, the Jullundur Doab. He at once repaired to his post and soon effected a provisional revenue settlement, based upon a payment of the land-tax in money and not in kind. He continued to discharge the laborious duties of the chief administrator of a newly constituted district until August, when he was appointed, in addition to the Jullundur commissionership, to the post of acting-resident at Lahore during the enforced absence of his brother Henry, the resident. This post he occupied till the end of the year. On the conclusion of the treaty of Byrowal, by which, as he had previously advised, the company's resident at Lahore assumed the entire supervision of the government of the Punjaub, he returned, after seven months' absence, to Jullundur, leaving his brother again established in Lahore. He was obliged at once to deal with the intricate question of the treatment of the feudatories or jagheerdars of the dispossessed Sikh government in the Trans-Sutlej provinces, and settled it, to the satisfaction both of suzerain and feudatory, by commuting the obsolete feudal services for a money payment and by reducing the fiefs of the jagheerdars in proportion. In August 1847 he was again obliged to relieve his brother Henry at Lahore, and remained there till April 1848, during the interval which elapsed between the departure of Henry Lawrence and the arrival of his successor, Sir Frederick Currie. A month later, upon the murder of Vans Agnew and Anderson in Moultan, he urged on the government and the new resident at Lahore the need of immediate action if disaffection was to be prevented from spreading and a general war was to be averted. Unfortunately decisive and sufficient action was delayed too long, and the second Sikh war was the result. His own province was attacked in May by an irregular force under a Guru, Maharaj Singh, and in September by a larger body under Ram Singh, but during the dangerous and uncertain period preceding the war Lawrence was able, by his vigour, firmness, and influence over the people of his province, to prevent any serious danger in the Jullundur Doab ; and a short and bloodless campaign in November and December 1848 with the scanty forces at his command sufficed in his hands to suppress the disorders in the hill country. His firmness and promp-