Diary of Philip Crowe (1779-1831)
This is a handwritten manuscript which gives a series of short biographies of the many solders and other people that Philip Crowe came into contact with during his time in India from approx 1779 to 1812. It reads as follows:
Phillip Crowe Dairy.
Edmund Morris was a cadet with me for the Indian Army in 1798; circumstances afterwards placed us much together and we became great friends, to the surprise of our acquaintance and perhaps ourselves for we were very dissimilar in our characters and pursuits. Morris was the son of an Irish lawyer, and was educated at a Protestant school in the neighbourhood of London. His father being a Catholic the Master of the school was enjoined not to interfere with the boy's religion, and thus whilst his abilities were otherwise well cultivated, Morris grew up with no other religious belief than the instinctive assurance of God's existence. When he arrived in India at the age of seventeen, with a mind thus ill trained upon the most important of all subject, the thraldom he observed in the Hindoos to the Prutemin (problem ?) and their stupid observances led him to the conclusion that all religions were alike, priest craft. His faulty education was the cause of all his errors and misfortunes, for if ever there was a character where human passions required the balance of religion it was Edmund Morris. With courage that appeared to love danger, with great abilities and considerable accomplishments and with a high spirit of honour, yet he was feared and generally disliked in society; for his courage bordered upon ferocity, (in the intercourse of life- crossed out) his abilities were too often employed in caustic satire upon the failings of others and his ill usulated honour would alternately shine with chivalrous splendour and then sink into lesgraceful alliance with uniterate hatred and blood thirsty revenge. Had the mild spirit of our religion been mixed with such passions as I describe his courage would have been exalted into heroism.
His keen observations of others failings would have been turned into his own bosom, and the chivalry of honour tempered by Christianity would have perfected that character which in modern language we distinguish as a gentleman. In person Morris was not above the middle size but he was remarkably well made and the breadth of his shoulders gave him an athletic appearance without diminishing the elegance of his appearance which was very military. His face was manly and intelligent without being handsome, and his head was thickly covered with fine brown curls of that peculiar auburn tinge, so often observed amongst the Irish. Great strength and activity were united in his frame, with an iron constitution and he excelled in all manly exercises, in short nature seems to have formed him for a soldier; and it is worthy of observation, that in camp where the incidents of service afforded his mind the excitement it required, Morris was mild and tranquil with his companions; it was the ordinary intercourse of society in cantonments that seemed to lead him into mischief and provoke him into quarrels. I feel reproached for thus exposing the irregularities of a gallant noble heart now cold in the grave, and which was always kind towards me. God who knows how much such a character was formed by early habits beyond its own controls, will judge him in mercy. I can only tamely mention his convivial gaiety and wit, the acute sense of his graven hours, and above all the reckless daring spirit of adventure
which in a moment started into action upon the slightest excitement, and as thus conveys but an imperfect picture of the friend who will always remain in my mind an object of regret admiration and love. I will relate a few anecdotes that may perhaps describe the man better than charactering the abstractions.
When stationed at Dinapore, about 400 miles above Calcutta he swam across the Ganges in the rainy season, a distance that must have exceeded four miles because in yielding to the current he crossed the river diagonally to its course. This is a feat that never was performed by any other European and I never heard of its being attempted by a native who are some of them almost amphibious. Morris always served in the East Indian Company's European Infantry, and in 1804 he was a Lieutenant in command of the Grenadiers of that Regiment before Bhurtpore when Lord Lake so unsuccessfully attempted the capture of that fortress. A Battalion was formed of the flank companies of HMs 22nd and the flank companies of the Companys European Regiment and the command given to Major Lindsay - Morris became very intimate with one of his comrades in the 22nd named Cresswell, and one morning these two young men were playing backgammon together in their tent, when Morris not only beat his companion but taunted him so that Cresswell slapped Morris's face - Morris immediately closed the back gammon table
and said with collected but deadly calmness "Now Cresswell, you know I am a much stronger man than you are and I could now break every bone in your skin, but I scorn to take the advantage which strength might give me and I not touch you Sir, but you know how this must end." So saying he left the tent and immediately sent Cresswell a challenge. Major Lindsay was quickly informed of this circumstance and ordered these two officers to wait on him. He told them he was aware of their unfortunate quarrel, but reminded them that being before the enemy, their lives were exclusively due to the service of their country; he then demanded their words of honour not to prosecute their private quarrel whilst before Bhartpore. Very soon after this Lord Lake attempted to storm the breach by three if not four desperate but ineffectual attacks. Major Lindsay's little battalion were on the storming party which were stopped by a wet ditch where they expected to find a dry one. Morris with his sword between his teeth swam across this ditch followed by a few of his grenadiers, before he could mount the breach he received a grape shot through his leg below the knee joint, between the two bones, that disabled him, and he was with difficulty brought off. His antagonist Cresswell was unable to swim but he managed to get across the ditch by means of a dam which had been thrown
across for the purpose of increasing the depth of water and then creeping along by the foot of the wall he got to the breach and ascended with a few followers but at the top he found a strong stockade. With useless bravery he was attempting to climb over this obstacle when he received severe sword wounds from the enemy on the inner side who would have dragged him over the stockade if his boot had not drawn off. With ten or twelve deep wounds which entirely crippled him for life Cresswell was also carried back by his men to the trenches. Having been previously wounded I was not present at this unfortunate siege but my recollection of the circumstance is that Morris and Cresswell were both wounded in the same attack, and as they lay bleeding side by side each other in the trenches, they shook hands and exchanged forgiveness. But in Major Thorn's memoir of the war, he says Cresswell was wounded in the first attack and Morris at the second. It is immaterial, the bravery of both these young officers was the admiration of the whole army, they certainly were reconciled to each other when suffering under wounds that threatened to be mortal, and no duel ensued. The surgeons wanted to take off Morris' leg, but he preferred death he said to amputation, and by the aid of youth and a strong constitution, he escaped with a bowed appearance of his leg, and a slight lameness; but the wound never entirely closed, and I have frequently seen it bleed through his clothes after any of the violent
exercise he was fond of taking. Luck was Morris in camp. Some time in 1807 or 1808 he was on a visit of some weeks to me at Dinapore during which he paid such marked attention to a certain Civilian's lady that the husband requested me to be his second in a challenge he thought it necessary to send to Morris. As I had already been engaged in one duel caused by this lady, I begged to decline this honour of a repetition, especially as the other party was my guest. And when Morris subsequently applied to me, I explained to him how I was thus prevented appearing on either side; and giving my advice that they should not proceed with so worthless a quarrel, I begged that there might be no more reference to me. Morris then secured Major O'Brien as his second, who was likewise staying with me, and in the course of the morning as I was sitting in my own hall at my writing table; at one end of the room entered the injured husband attended by three or four friends, from the opposite end advanced Morris with his friends from whom came the following speech, "I understand Sir you complain of reports in society that I have been criminally acquainted with your wife, I declare upon my honour they are false. Does that satisfy you?". The husband bowed his assent and "exeunt onanis" on different sides of the stage. As I was not the least prepared for this scene in my house, and during which I sat a silent spectator, as soon as the actors had withdrawn from the stage
at this serio comic exhibition, I could not repress my laughter. How Morris reconciled this assertion to his conscience and honour I never enquired, neither did I ask the husband how he could be satisfied of his wife's fidelity upon such grounds. [this last sentence crossed out]. I was once at a ball which was prolonged till I was weary of the music and gaiety, but as something prevented my quitting the party, I rested the side of my head on a table in one of the rooms, and had fallen asleep, when Morris saw me, and intending to startle me he placed the back of one of his hands immediately over my ear and slapped the other hand down on it; in doing thus he unintentionally drove the lower hand forcibly down upon my ear so as to give me the sensation of a pretty smart blow which I instantly returned by striking him on the head with my cane. Morris for a moment regarded me with one of his blackest looks and turned away without speaking. I was very sorry for the circumstance and was shocked at the thought of his calling me out. I reflected a few minutes during which we had both time to cool, and then approached him in a crowded part of the rooms. "Morris," I said, "in practicing your manual wit upon me just now perhaps you are not aware that you struck me, and I thought I fully believe now it was unintentional on your part, yet that was not my persuasion when you woke me so suddenly. I acknowledge that I resented your trick hastily, and if you can find no excuse for me I shall be heartily sorry, but you may believe me that what occurred was the result of an impulse between sleeping and waking when under a wrong impression of your conduct, for which I beg your pardon, and if you like to take my hand there it
is, as freely yours as ever." He hesitated for an instant till I was about to withdraw my hand, when he seized it and wrung it as if it had been a smith's vice. It is remarkable that a man who was "sudden in quarrel" and who had fought several duels for trifles thus twice put up with a blow without fighting and without dishonour. In 1810 Morris went with his regiment to Batavia and the Malay islands, at the time those colonies were conquered by us from the Dutch. He was at Amboyna I think when he was detached by Government with a commission to procure horses for our Cavalry. He had succeeded in procuring two or three hundred horses which were safely conducted by him to the required port, but in landing them from the transports the first untoward accident occurred. These horses were all entire horses, and very vicious, great care was therefore necessary to prevent their getting loose, nearly the whole number had landed, and Morris thought he saw himself rewarded for two months of faithful toil, when one man awkwardly let a string of horses loose, which attacked the others, and the whole body were soon involved in confusion and disparage fighting. Morris got into one of his violent passions, ran at the man who had caused the accident and gave him only one blow with the fist (in his body -crossed out) which killed the poor wretch on the spot. This sad affair happened so far from the seat of our Government in India, that it might have been hushed up and no notice would ever have been taken of it, but Morris himself immediately reported the misfortune to the Civil authority on the spot, resigned the very lucrative appointment he then held, and
then demanded that he should be sent to Calcutta to take his trial for murder. This was accordingly done, and when I was in Calcutta in December 1811 on my way to England, Morris arrived there. He did not surrender himself till three days before his trial, but during those days he was confined to the common jail where I was constantly with him. He was supported by several friends and amongst them was his brother-in-law Mr. Towers Smith, but he greatly depended upon me for all evidence which few others but myself could give. His lawyers in preparing his defence required some person intimately acquainted with him, to swear that he never personally saw the prisoner cruel to his servants. From the reports of others I knew positively that Morris occasionally gave way to the most furious rage with his servants and frequently beat them. But I had to swear to what I had seen, not to what I had heard others say. I always knew that he restrained himself from such disgraceful gusts of passion in my presence and the knowledge that I possessed this influence was perhaps one cause for the regard and interest I felt for him. After taxing my memory therefore I found I could swear that I never saw him strike his servants, and moreover that I knew many of them were faithfully attached to him. The trial came on and I saw my poor friend in his grenadier uniform shut into the felons box, and as my friendship is not made for summer days only, I placed myself in full Staff uniform close on his right hand.
This situation was so revolting to all the high feelings which a soldier loves to cherish, that I can only recollect for a time neither of us could look up, he for very shame, and I for pity that brought tears into my eyes. Much was said in Calcutta at the time about this scene which I will not repeat but I remember it -. In the course of the trial one of the witnesses brought from Amboyna deposed that after Morris had struck the deceased he saw the man fall amongst the horses where he was kicked by one of them. I have always thought this witness was suborned but I was unacquainted with any intention of the kind, and Morris was so evidently astonished at such a testimony that he exclaimed aloud "that is false, it was my blow killed the poor man," and I had the greatest difficulty to silence him by placing my hand over his mouth. Everybody in court observed this but no public notice was taken of the confession. In summing up the evidence the Judge Sir William Burroughs, made the most of my testimony in favour of the prisoner, and pronounced that if the Jury were of the opinion that the deceased was slain by a blow from the prisoner, as no malice prepense was alleged then verdict must be manslaughter: but if they believed that witness who swore that the deceased was also kicked by a horse, then it must remain with them to decide whether the deceased died from the kick of the horse or from the blow of the prisoner, and if doubt remained on their minds on this subject
the prisoner had a right to the benefit of that doubt. The Jury hesitated for a short time and then gave the verdict of acquittal. A few days after this I embarked for England and never saw my friend again. He returned to his regiment in the Malay islands where he died of a fever in 1814. One other anecdote occurs to me which ought in its course to have been inserted before the trial. Whilst at some island in the Indian Archipelago a detachment of troops arrived on the coast commanded by Captain Blankinhagen, for whom Morris had a great and undeserved hatred. Morris was sent off to that officer with orders respecting their landing, and as he climbed up the side of the transport Blankenhagen preparing to descend, by some awkwardness slipped and fell overboard. Morris encumbered as he was with his sword and accoutrements plunged into the sea and saved Blankenhagen's life, but having done so rejected all thanks and resumed his former inveterate hatred. Morris had only two sisters one married to Mr. Towers Smith, the son of Mrs Charlotte Smith the novelist, and the other to Mr Oldfield both high in the Bengal Civil Service. Mrs Oldfield after the death of her husband married again to Colonel Macase. I once saw a most sensible letter from Mrs Oldfield then in England, to her brother upon the subject of her son who was entering the Indian Service. "How Edmund
she said, "can I recommend my son to your care whilst you are the victim of ungoverned passions and without religion? Edmund you know that I dearly love you, consider then what must be my conviction of your errors when it restrains me from placing confidence where affections so strongly prompts me, surely my brother you must be wrong when a sister's love and a mother's hope cannot induce me to trust you." In justice to my poor friend I must add he was greatly affected when he showed me this letter. I had not known this lady much in India but she knew me well from her brother's accounts, and when I met her in London long after her brother's death she could not speak of him but seized my hand and if she had not burst into tear she would have fainted.
Major George Cunningham
George Cunningham's father was a Scotch Officer with the rank of Major General commanding a Scotch Brigade in the Dutch service at the commencement of the French Revolution. In those unsettled times General Cunningham had no home but the camp or garrison where he happened to be, and thus situated he had the bad judgment to retain his son with him, under a tutor whose best endeavours to instruct could not be otherwise than frustrated, amidst the gay attractions of a military scene and the disorder attending a continuous change of quarters. When Holland was over run and conquered by the French Republic, the Scotch Brigade was taken into our service, but General Cunningham was pensioned, I think and soon after died. George Cunningham by some means then obtained a commission in the highland regiment of Sutherland Fencibles and served with them in Ireland during the rebellion of 1798. Soon after which he embarked for India as a Cadet for our army there in the extra ship Eliza Ann I think, commanded by a Captain Barfoot. Two rather uncommon adventures occurred to him in his passage out. Accompanied by an Officer of the ship, two other cadets, and four sailors, he had gone to dine on board another ship sailing with them. These visits at sea are only allowed in very calm fine weather such as promise a safe communication without detaining the progress of the ships. Like thoughtless young men they stayed later after dinner than they ought to have done and unfortunately when they attempted to reach their own ship the weather had changed, a breeze of wind sprung up attended with a haze which entirely obscured
the boat, whose forlorn little crew had the agony to see both ships running before the breeze and quite regardless of their absentees leaving them to perish in the middle of the wide Atlantic. The fact was that each ship hastily and shamefully concluded the boat was safe with the other. They had no sail to the boat, not a drop of fresh water, nor a mouthful of provisions of any kind. All that night they toiled at the oars, every man taking his turn, and directed by the stars endeavoured to keep as nearly as possible in the course of the ships. The morning rose upon their labour, but not a ship as to be seen. Under a tropical sun, deprived of all shade, with no drink or food to refresh nature and support their anxiety and exertion, with their eyes straining to the horizon and vainly searching for the ships, this miserable day passed. Night relieved them from the burning heat but the fierce horrors of hunger and thirst now assailed them, and when the daylight returned without disclosing one speck of hope upon the wide sea, all further labour was abandoned; some of the poor sufferers sunk to the bottom of the boat and resigned themselves for death, whilst others, raging in their despair, talked at times of abating their hunger by the most horrible means, and then with frantic joy swearing they saw the ships in the clouds. When the ships deserted the boat they continued to make sail all that night with what they thought a most favourable breeze, and even in the morning were continuing their reckless course, when Captain Armstrong, a
military passenger on board, remonstrated so warmly, that Captain Barfoot ran along side the other ship and enquired for his boat. The dreadful truth was now disclosed, and the Eliza Ann immediately retraced her former track, and by a good fortune scarcely to have been expected, rescued the poor wretches from their fate when hope had deserted them. It is a remarkable circumstance that after this escape Cunningham had upon all occasions a dread of being upon the water that amounted almost to cowardice, though otherwise he was not deficient in courage. After Captain Barfoot's unfeeling conduct it may be supposed he was unpopular with his passengers notwithstanding which, the cadets on board amounting to more than twenty, continued to assist in working the ship, a duty that devolved upon them in consequence of a fatal illness that destroyed or disabled nearly the whole crew of Laseurs. In the Bay of Bengal they fell in with a French privateer, and the Cadets to mark their disappointment of the Captain, at first refused to fight, but Captain Armstrong reminded them that they must defend the British colour flying over their heads without allowing private feelings to interfere with so sacred a duty. After this appeal the young men fought bravely and beat off the privateer which could not have been done without their assistance. In the beginning of 1800 I was doing duty with the 6th Infantry at Barrackpore when Cunningham joined us; in person he was then a tall raw boned youth speaking broad Edinburgh scotch, not ill made but uncouth in manner with straight flaxen hair and as plain a face as ever was seen, every feature taken separately was even ugly, but when his countenance was
lighted up by the superior intellect which he undoubtedly possessed, by the humour of the moment or by the joyous animal spirits that seemed always part of his existence, no one would then think whether Cunningham's face was plain or handsome. To describe his character is as impossible as would be to depicture the identical of the inconstant ocean wave which foams and hisses with energy to our feet and then its foam is seen no more. All the fleeting changes in nature might be employed metaphorically to elucidate his proteus character and perhaps one word only will best describe its very essence and that is - instability. His sentiments were never the same for five consecutive minutes, he was never with his own will for five minutes in the same place; he never reflected on the part, and I believe he never hoped for the future, at least such emotions were so fugitive that they could not ripen into principle, and poor George therefore from youth to declining life has been the creature of merely the passing moment. I recollect once asking a native Officer where I was likely to find Cunningham, and he replied in his own language ; "Khoda junta, Sahib pheerta pheerta sarrah deen," that is, "God knows, for he is turning and turning the whole day." At Barrackpore he had a perfect madness for horses, some of which he would ride 'a la militaire' in a pair of boots that seemed to have belonged to some gigantic life guards man, at other times he was equipped as a jockey
or sportsman; this with hunting cats, rats, and jackals, with a mongrel crew of dogs (which he called a pack of hounds - crossed out), was the business of his life; but out of such materials with the assistance of an excellent temper he extracted so much enjoyment, mixed with so much fun and wit, that he compelled you to laugh at him and with him. It is impossible to transfer to paper the ridiculous scenes which I have shared with this unaccountable fellow, for even the few circumstances that were of grave importance to him seemed always subjects of laughter to me, and then the alternate play of his fun, that never tired his boisterous uncouthness, his constant good temper, his simplicity and his acute native wit, brightened many happy thoughtless hours which alas can never be recalled for I am now conscious that such feelings were only the creations of early life. In July 1800 my friend Birch, Cunningham, and myself were appointed to regiments far up the country and we commenced a voyage up the Ganges together. It is a proof of the carelessness in the party that Birch and I allowed Cunningham to prepare the stores necessary for a journey that would probably take three months to accomplish. When seated at our first days dinner on board the budgerow we were delighted with the sight of cots fowls, cold round of beef, cold tongue etc, and I dare say took this as a promise for the fare we were every day to experience under so excellent a caterer; but this exultation was somewhat abated when he confessed our whole stock was
before us, he had ordered all to be cooked the first day except two or three milch goats that were on board the baggage boat. I dare say the anxious mothers of such improvident youths would immediately have apprehended that their poor boys would have been famished. I can only say the discovery produced a hearty laugh at the time, a constant joke afterwards, and famine never made it appearance amongst us, though we were several times obliged to our gun for the days dinner. In passing Barrackpore we halted for a day with Colonel Marley, our old Commanding Officer, to whom I told this story against Cunningham. He laughed heartily and kindly sent us some fat sheep on board. His good tempered pretty little wife cried when we took leave, and we had some bantering dispute afterwards as to which of us she cried for; Cunningham strenuously asserted his claim to the tears on the ground of his superior beauty, that certainly could not have been the cause of preference, but notwithstanding his ugliness, I had afterwards reason to think the tears were for him. Old Ganges never saw a happier party than we were, I cannot recollect a single quarrel amongst us; when the boats were near the shore, and the weather permitted, we were every morning and evening out with our guns or wandering through the woods and Hindoo villages. Our days on board were passed in reading, teasing my monkey, any nonsense that the moment supplied, or anything else equally intellectual. Every ten days or fortnight we came to some Station, where one or other of us had letters of introduction to deliver, that gained us a day or two of hospitable kindness and fresh store for our voyage. One source of amusement to Birch and myself was the hydrophobia that came over poor Cunningham whenever the current or the wind caused any danger or even inconvenience on the river. He was frequent in his enquiries of the Manjii whether there was any strong (dangerous) water ahead and whenever we encountered such he would walk for miles on the bank with the boatmen who were towing us along. His dress upon these occasion was highly laughable, a pair of loose silk pyjamas or trousers of a pattern that was entirely his own, a broad brimmed straw hat, stripped otherwise to his shirt a long black lackered walking stick in his hand. This amounted to a figure sufficiently grotesque and he was so far conscious of that to make his garb conform in some degree to the Indian costume he had to pull his shirt before and behind. Now if this happened after tiffen is was attended with another striking effect. We generally had curry for tiffen, and as Cunningham, like the monkey, always scratched wherever he itched and was moreover (forever?) a very dirty eater his hands soon conveyed some of the curry to his shirt flaps which thus displayed a most equivocal appearance to the wondering Indian villagers. I can only recollect one instance
of real danger during our whole voyage, and that was on the eastern side of the river opposite to Allahabad. At this place the Jumna joins the Ganges and the confluence of two such mighty streams causes some dreadful whirlpools at the spot I have alluded to. We were tracking up against the stream, with twenty of the boatmen on the precipitous bank or rather, cliff of the shore, assisted by several hired villagers; the current was so powerful, that though two tracking ropes were out, both broke; and we in the budgerow found ourselves in an instant within the influence of these dreaded whirlpools, whilst the people on the shore could give us no rapid circuits, we approached the centre of the vortex, down which I looked and saw the circle as clearly defined as if it had been cut out of a rock, till its depth was lost in darkness into the horrid tunnel. I thought we were all descending, but after sensibly feeling the suction an increased roar of the waters, we were shot off as it were from the centre, again performed our hapless circuit, and were again sucked into the centre of the vortex. This was repeated two or three times, during which we and our servants, with two boatmen left on board, were endeavouring to get a sail out that its influence might take us out of our danger. It became evident that the whirlpool was not powerful enough to suck the budgerow down unless she upset, but from her great agitation that was a circumstance likely to happen, especially when the sail was taken aback; and we were whirled about so that for a time it appeared impossible to keep the sail full; at last by some kind providence we were
reflected farther than usual from the centre, the sail caught a rising breeze, we kept the yard square to it, and we escaped from as appalling a peril as I ever saw. We were obliged to be so actively employed during this adventure that Cunningham's dread of watery danger had not time to show itself, at any rate I was so intently fixed upon endeavours for our safety that I suppose I did not observe him, for I cannot recollect whether he was frightened or not. I remember that some of our servants became suddenly sick and were entirely useless; and when we made the opposite shore eight or ten miles down the current where we waited for the boatmen to join us, the Maunjii or captain of the budgrow placed a chaplet of flowers upon its figure head, and remained some time before it in devotion. After having been three months together I left Birch and Cunningham at Cawapore and proceeded to join my regiment the 1st Cavalry at Bercilly [Bircilly?] in Rohileund, about 200 miles further up the country. The circumstances of the service placed us frequently at the same station, and I always found him the most unchanged piece of changeableness; that is, though his conduct and character were irreconcilable to my general rules for conduct and character, yet every act of his life was so identified with himself, that a bare description would enable any acquaintance to assign it to Cunningham, as the only person capable of such eccentricity. Thus far I cannot refuse him the character of consistency. He held several lucrative appointments, and might have realised a fortune, instead of being always in want, and sometimes narrowly escaping arrest for debt. When we were at Dinapore together, he continued to borrow money of me till it amounted
To two or three hundred pounds, every pay day he promised to return me some, but this as always forgotten or eluded, and my servant was kept waiting in vain amongst a crowd of dunning tradesmen all day. As I had at this period to save money and return to England, I could not put up with this loss to nurture his foolish extravagance; so at length I went myself on Pay day, and said. "Cunningham I know you are much too high minded to fulfil the plain duty of paying debts, and I have come to borrow money of you." So saying, I swept off a table, as much of his Pay as I thought reasonable. He laughed, and I repeated my monthly visit, till the debt was discharged. At this time he was gambling deeply, and keeping race horses. After I left India he married the beautiful and amiable daughter of General O'Halloran. How any woman could fasten her affections upon such a Will o'the Whisp, and how her parents could allow such a marriage, I cannot explain. I have always heard that she was an affectionate good wife to him, and indeed he remained attached to her whenever they were together, but any folly separated him from her, and then she was forgotten. They were somewhere together at an outpost when she lost their first child soon after its birth. Cunningham was at the same time ill with a dangerous fever, and she persisted in nursing him till her mind at last sunk under the exertion and delirium ensued. Cunningham himself told me that when helpless in bed, he saw his wife go to the fire place and spread out something belonging to the dead infant as if to air it. "Hush! Hush! George," she said "You will wake out child, it only sleeps." Cunningham's immediate death at this time was considered so certain that the Doctors acceded to his request for Claret, of which he drank a bottle at a draught, and recovered from that . . . [fever?].
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Whilst at Dinapore George Cunningham's brother John arrived from England. Jock as he was called was in every respect a bad likeness of his brother. George carried this fresh imported . . . [Johno? Zahus?] and introduced him to Mr Wilton at Rankipore, a man certainly distinguished for high bred manners; the contrast alone would have been ludicrous, but George heightened (lightened ?) the comedy by the following trick. Jock was in the habit of speaking all the times loud enough to be heard by a whole battalion, nevertheless George cautioned him to speak well out for Mr. Wilton was very deaf. After the ceremony of introduction Wilton with his usual politeness addressed something to the stranger which was answered in a tone loud enough to rouse the dead and which made Wilton retreat back several steps. "My dear Sir, said he mildly, do not speak so loud, I am not deaf." "Eh Mon!" said Jock, "I thought you were, Georgie tauld me sae."
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After I had lost my leg, I remember one evening going upon the parade of Cunningham's regiment, the ground of which was infested with white ants, when the ridiculous fellow came up to me with great pretended anxiety to request that I would not stand still a minute for if I did the ants would eat my wooden leg off.
During the war waged against the Mahrattah under the Government of Marquis Hastings
some temporary corps of horse were raised by the Company which had the good effect of defending our own provinces and depriving the enemy of many good soldiers. Cunningham obtained one of these corps of 2,000 Rohillah horsemen raised in their own province of Rohilcund [Rohilkhand?], and he was a very fit man for the command, for he was a good horse man, a good soldier, and spoke Hindostani with great fluency. He also gained the affection of his men very much by mixing with them at their athletic sports, in which he excelled. With this corp he received some wounds, which obliged him to return to England in 1819 after having obtained the rank of Major. In March 1820 Cunningham visited me at Hartley, I had not seen him for ten years, and he was so changed by wounds and hard service that I could scarcely recognise him by sight but his broad Scotch dialect, his still buoyant good spirits, his wit and careless sense awoke a thousand recollections of him which had slept for many years. In the vapid conversation of common acquaintance the occurrences of the day are perhaps the only subjects, but when two friends meet after long separation all the past is reviewed by vivid associations. Time endears every recollection, and the span of twenty years of life is felt in the intercourse of a few hours. He told me the following interesting story of his Rohillahs. About the year 1817 an insurrection against the British Government broke out in the city of Bereilly [Bareilly] the capital of
Rohilcund caused by the introduction of a more rigid police amongst the lawless people and some English gentlemen were massacred. Amongst other troops ordered to punish these outrages and reduce this city to obedience, 500 of Cunningham's Horse were included, a service of more than usual hazard to him because a large portion of his troopers were natives of Bereilly [Bareilly]. Upon arriving before the city, Cunningham found the gates closed and the people in arms. Whilst waiting for the rest of the forces, he took up a position at a little distance from the walls whence his men were harangued by a party of Moollahs (Mussulman priests) who abused the English government and used every argument their hatred or religion could suggest to induce the troopers to quite the ranks of the Infidel English. Cunningham said he felt strongly tempted to draw one of his pistols and fire into this abusive party of priests, but he restrained every show of resentment towards them, and when they had finished, addressed his men so effectually in answer that the whole corps drew their swords and declared their fidelity to The Company. A sharp conflict ensued, during which Cunningham's horse was shot under him, and great part of his corps unavoidably passed over him, causing bruises and some internal injuries which appeared trifling at first but eventually they destroyed his health. The insurgents were completely subdued and some hundreds of prisoners made.
Besides the public thanks which Marquis of Hastings gave to Cunningham and his troops, he wrote a private letter saying that he did not know how he could better evince his sense of their loyalty than by allowing each trooper who was a native of Beruilly [Bareilly] to redeem one of the prisoners from the death that awaited them. This was not only humanity but it was good policy, for the execution of hundreds of prisoners would have been very unpopular, and would have weakened instead of establishing the public authority. Cunningham paraded his men on foot to explain the intended generosity of Government and found it very gratefully accepted. Whilst the troopers were eagerly pressing forward to register the names of the several imprisoned friends, Cunningham observed one young man whom he knew to be a native of the city, pensively looking down and marking the ground with his sword; "Well Vizier Khan," said Cunningham, "have you no relation or friend amongst the unfortunately prisoners to redeem?" The poor fellow looked up and his chest swelled with emotion whilst he replied, "Yes but what can I do, I have a father, and two brothers amongst them, if I ask for one I feel as if I condemned the two others to death?" This man's good character and the circumstances altogether authorised an application to Government in favour of Vizier Khan's
relations which was granted, and the two pardoned brothers immediately entered under Cunningham's command where they proved excellent soldiers. This anecdote pleased me as very illustrative of the fierce but soldierlike character of the Rohillahs, and an admirable instance of humane policy in our Government. During Cunningham's short visit to me at this time, I advised him to return to India as soon as his health was restored, for I know it was impossible for such a man to settle down into the beaten paths of society in England, where a certain consistency of conduct is imperatively prescribed to every individual, and the result certainly is a beautiful picture of a well regulated state; but its details have not the interest that accompanies a life of adventure in India. I knew that he would not submit to this tea, toast, and card parties of a country town, and that he would seek his amusements at the race course, the gaming table etc where his careless character was sure to be wrecked. He left me promising soon to bring his wife and children down to see us, but I saw no more of him for eight or nine years. I received one letter from him, in prison I suspect from the care he took to prevent my discovering his residence. During these years I know but little of him and that little is not good. I will never attempt to discover more faults in a man whom I have long ceased to esteem and yet cannot cease to love. In the winter of
1828 I frequently met him accidentally in the streets of London, sometimes he was well dressed, and other times very shabby; but this made no difference to me, and anyone who had seen us together must have thought that he felt no shame and I no regret for his sad mistaken life. Once I met him with his wife, whom I had never seen before, but I at once believed all the good I had heard of her. Cunningham had the impudence to introduce me in this manner "My dear, this is Crowe, the friend you have so often heard me mention, poor fellow he was placed under my care and example in early life, and I did what I could to make him steady but you know what a scamp he was turned out." I said, "I'm afraid George, Mrs Cunningham knows but too well how to construe that." She smiled, and said but little, for I saw the tears were closely waiting on her smile. They were living with an Aunt of Mrs Cunningham's who has some property, and there Cunningham may find a home whenever he chooses, but after months I fear, none of his friends know where to find him. He has a pension from the company and I believe that is all that remains after having squandered away tens of thousands.
Colonel Prole. (now Lieutenant General)
When I first entered the army there was an Officer commanding a battalion of the 2nd Infantry at the same Station named Prole who to high reputation as a solider joined the most scrupulous honor and the most rigid observance of religion. In the last he was what has since been distinguished as evangelical. At that time I only knew him as the lover and intended husband of Miss Whish, a Norfolk lady who had frequently refused him. I recollect that at this time his subaltern officers complained that he never gave them any eggs when they called at breakfast time to make their morning reports. Eggs generally form part of an Indian breakfast, but Prole banished them gravely from his table, as very improper for young men, the heat of whose blood he said ought to be reduced by abstinence, and not stimulated by such enriching food. In the Indian Army, as in the Army at home, a small portion of each soldiers pay is stopped by Government to form a fund for the purpose of furnishing certain minor articles of clothing to every regiment. As this stoppage is made by the authority to Government itself, as it is never capriciously levied but is always the same, and lastly as the soldiers never did receive it in any other form than that of clothing, it is more a matter of accounts than any deprivation to the soldiers, especially
as very few of them were aware of the arrangement or know that the nominal rate of pay in account is different from what they actually receive. As the stoppage is rather more than the expense of the articles furnished, the fund accumulates and is intentionally made to contribute an annual perquisite to the Colonels called their "Off reckoning." As this also is entirely awarded by Government it would scarcely be expected that any officer could be so scrupulous as to reject the allowance. Prole however, found it irreconcilable to his notion of sized justice and honour, so as soon as he received it, he distributed it to the soldiers to whom he thought it belonged. This made other regiments discontented and it would be easy to prove that Proles scruples were mistaken, but they certainly arose from a high sense of honour, and no one suspected him of ostentation or insincerity, though everybody blamed him. I knew no more of Colonel Prole till some years afterwards when I become acquainted with an Officer named Campbell who was his intimate friend. He said Prole had in youth been not only dissipated but depraved, and when in more mature life he providentially saw the errors of his former conduct, his repentance was attended with such agonies that occasionally his mind was apparently deranged. Campbell and Prole were somewhere together during a night
march when the latter enquired with every mark of misery "Campbell do you believe there are any of our fellow creatures so sinful that God cannot pardon them?" "No," said Campbell "God's mercy is promised to all who repent." "Oh, my friend," replied this miserable man, "I am a wretch that God cannot pardon." Upon being pressed to say what could bend his mind down to such despondency, he confessed that when in early life he was on service on the Bombay side of India, and the army was encamped near a Roman Catholic church belonging to the Portuguese inhabitants, that one evening a party of wild young officers went and disturbed the congregation at their devotion, but "I more wicked that all the other," he said, "I climbed up to a statue of the Virgin Mary and most grossly insulted her. I feel that I am cursed like Cain, I can never be forgiven." Campbell told me also that Prole in the early period of his life had written a travesty of the holy scriptures which was profanely witty. One night of extreme heat, Prole was seen in his tent reading this manuscript over a pan of charcoal, as he read each page he prayed over it with all the energy of terrified repentance and burnt it when he thought his anguish had expiated his offence. Campbell said the surrounding darkness of night, the extreme heat of the climate and the glare of the flames upon the poor penitent's agonized features, gave him the appearance of one already under the condemnation of everlasting fire and suffering.
The Campbell mentioned in the last article was a very worthy fellow and when I knew him he had just returned from Scotland bringing back such a distaste for India that he soon after resigned his commission and embarked finally for Europe. I have never since heard of him, but if he is alive I dare say he is somewhere very happy in his native highlands which he sighed for till he suffered the malady that the exiled Swiss feel so acutely. The love for our country seems in an inverse proportion to its extent, and as mountainous states are generally small, it is I suppose on that account we always see their inhabitants so attached to their native soil. Campbell, I recollect, gave an account of his arrival in England that greatly interested me. Their voyage had been unusually rapid, and without seeing land between the torrid shores of India and the southern coast of England. This made the contrast the more striking and the following account may convey some idea of his sensations but no one can duly estimate them, but those who have returned like him to their own country after years of dangerous exile. They approached the land somewhere on the coast of Cornwall or Devonshire upon a beautiful summer morning. It was Sunday, the bells were chiming to church and the holy music came over the rippling blue waves as if to welcome home the wanderers; the villagers in groups every where seen on the side hill paths dressed in their best attire going to their prayers; and as the ship passed with a gentle breeze along the coast the happy passengers looked up every beautiful valley and fancied peace dwelt always there, listening ever to the Sabbath bells. Such enchantment soon becomes painful, we are not formed to be content even in our most ardent enjoyments; Campbell and a friend therefore hired a boat and landed it at a village in Devonshire, the name of which I forget. They went to a little Inn which promised but poor accommodation, and they found also post horses could not
be procured from the next town till the following morning. In this dilemma they received a kind invitation from the clergyman of the parish, who had observed their landing, requesting they would exchange the accommodation of the Inn for such as his house could afford. This they thankfully accepted and soon met a hospitable reception in one of those beautiful parsonage houses, so good, yet so humble and so retired from the pride of life, that they seem almost types of our religion. After dinner they had an evening walk, and afterwards their hosts' two lovely daughters played and sang hymns. Campbell was a man to surrender himself up to all the illusions of such feelings as he then experienced, and he said he laid his head on his pillow that night as if the final rest and blessedness had fallen upon his soul. The following day these phantoms were cleared away, a post chaise hurried him up to all the turmoil of the metropolis, and he soon found that the paths of human life, in England as elsewhere, is thickly strewed with anxieties and disappointments.
When I joined the 1st Regiment of Cavalry at Bereilly [Bareilly] in Rohilchund in 1800, the station was commanded by a Colonel Russell, and I recollect thinking him rather silly from the following little history that he gave of himself. He had returned to England with a comfortable fortune, but he lost it all at one sitting to the infamous Duke of Orleans just before the French Revolution; giving a cheque upon the table for all the was worth. This was wrong yet many men who were not fools have done as silly thing; but he went on to complain that he met the Duke a few days afterwards in the park who did not appear to know him. As the acquaintance belonged solely to the gaming table, how silly to suppose the Duke should be willing to see one whom he had ruined! General Knox, the senior Captain of our regiment at the time, told me the following story of Russell. They were on service together in the Mysore country when a King's regiment fresh from England joined their army. With this regiment was a very beautiful young woman the wife of a Serjeant. She had been respectably established as a milliner in the Isle of Wight, but had fallen so much in love with this handsome Serjeant that she forsook all to marry and accompany him to India. She had been tenderly brought up, and therefore was very unfit to encounter the hardships of a campaign; her beauty also subjected her to many troublesome attentions from which her excellent character ought to have protected her. Amongst other suitors old Russell was very assiduous and though cupid could not have much to do with his amours yet as he did not disdain to bribe through the obstacles to his passion, he expected to succeed; and was foolish enough to boast as much one evening in company. The Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment in question was present, who felt piqued at Russell's vanity and somewhat resented his efforts to seduce
a respectable woman belonging to the regiment; he therefore rather peremptorily assured Colonel Russell that he never would succeed; but the old lover remained provokingly sanguine, and at last the Colonel of the Regiment thus addressed him. "I have said Sir that you will not succeed in your attentions, and I will tell you why you will not, though I confess the story redounds little to my favour. I also admired this woman, and in my attentions to her, I did not hesitate to use all the advantages my situation as Commanding Officer gave me; but I had no reason to boast of the smallest prospect of success, on the contrary I found her a thoroughly modest woman, and devotedly attached to her husband. But this is not all Colonel Russell, in the midst of my endeavours I was one day sitting alone in my quarters, when the Serjeant her husband came suddenly before me. 'Colonel,' said he, 'I know what you are about, and with the advantages your rank and situation give, you may perhaps be some unfair means succeed, but recollect if you injure my wife and destroy our happiness, my life will be worthless to me. I shall not hold it at the value of a pin, we shall then be only man to man, and by the God that made us both I will take your life.' I listened in silence to this address Colonel Russell, and as I have already confessed my disgraceful conduct, I will in justice to myself add, that I took hold of the honest Serjeant's hand, and gave him my honour as an officer that his wife should never again be troubled with my attentions, and that I should think the better of them both, for what had passed, as long as I lived. Now Colonel Russell, I am a much younger man than you are and without vanity I may say I am more likely to catch a woman's fancy, I have told you how I failed, and if you still indulge your hopes, you are welcome to such enjoyment as they may bring." Colonel Russell was entirely and immediately cured of his passion for the honest Serjeant's pretty wife.
The grave has long covered the remains of my dear friend James Rainey, but every day of my life continues to bring with it some recollection of his kind and gallant heart, and when the grave is about to close also over my head, one of my last earthly hopes will be for the renewal of that friendship, which time has only endeared, and Death can only hallow. For some reason I believe must arise from affectionate regret, I feel reluctant to write much about a friend to whom I was so greatly attached. The regard that he felt for me was not only mutual but I might almost say it was like the friendship between David and Jonathan in Holy Writ, it resembled the love of woman, it was of nature that found its happiness in resting its confidence where it had placed its affection. For years James and I lived together whether in the camp or cantonments, horses, camels and all the property around us was in common use. If a money transaction occurred between us, one of us settled it, and the other scarcely looked at it; and this was no transitory affectation, but grafted upon a principle so innate and permanent, that certainly no dispute ever arose, and I cannot recollect even a misunderstanding that we ever had upon any subject. I must not be imagined that I describe a weak submissive character; on the contrary he had good natural abilities, occasionally more than enough of Irish vivacity and impetuosity, and was one of the bravest men in the regiment. In the ranks he was a steady officer; in a confused skirmish Rainey was to be found in the front of the fray, where his valour and beautiful horsemanship always distinguished him. My friend was the youngest son of an Irish gentleman who resided upon his estate called Grenville Place near Belfast in Ireland. When the rebellion of 1798 broke out, James was at a school where it was discovered all the senior boys had been
'United,' that is they had been induced to take the oaths which pledged them to rebellion. In consequence of this discovery, the school was broken up and Mr Rainey took his son home where he engaged a private tutor to finish his education. Soon after this, Mr Rainey, who commanded a regiment of Yeomanry was called into field and remained on permanent service for more than a year. As I never heard James mention his mother, I suppose she was dead at this time; certainly there was no one to see that the tutor did his duty, and from a weak good temper that knew not how to control a wild boy, he suffered his pupil to do very much as he like, and that generally led him into the streets of Belfast, where he was frequently seen at fisticuffs with the blackguard boys, or riding horses to water from an Inn yard. Poor James never liked this story, but I heard it from another officer who was a native of Belfast, and I do not doubt its truth. It affords a correct sketch of the state of society in Ireland during those distracted times, and in this instance the consequence was, that when James joined us he could not write a note of three lines without as many mistakes. But as he had none of that weak vanity which ridiculously endeavours to be enobled by calling itself Pride, and which forbids us to acknowledge or even to look at our errors, he immediately saw his deficiency, sought instruction wherever he could find it, and soon gained a tolerable share of all common acquirements. His manliness of character, his singliness of heart, and happy temper never allowed his companions to miss his want of that knowledge which so many possess to no good purpose. His virtues were all his own and his few faults were the result of the neglected of his youth.
In person Rainey scarcely equalled the middle height, but he was strongly made, and so active that he could vault on his horse with the assistance of only one hand on the pommel of the saddle. His complexion was dark, his features regular, an aquiline nose and his countenance generally animated. The most unfortunate act of my poor friend's life was his marriage and I am both sorry and ashamed when I confess how I was made a tool to entrap him. Mrs Crowmilin had a cousin Miss Gotier with her at Ghasupon, and Rainey had been at that station on a visit, during which he had paid the young lady some attention, but wishing I think to avoid his growing partiality, he had most unexpectedly taken his departure just before I arrived there. Two lady friends of mine, Miss Fitsgerald and Mrs Commilin, were always insinuating to me that Rainey had behaved ill in this business, and knowing our intimacy, they left this accusation to work its effect. At first I paid no attention to the subject, and thought my friend had made a very wise retreat, but at length they went so far as to assert that Rainey had behaved dishonourably in winning the poor girl's affections, and then deserting her; in short they resorted to all those cunning tricks by which the weakest sometimes control the strongest, those tricks by which women often gain the man they prefer, though they are apparently denied the masculine privilege of asking his hand. I do not complain of such management in general, but in this case it was an ill matched selection, and I have therefore never forgiven myself for having been such a dolt as to write to Rainey thus, "They say here you have behaved dishonourably about Miss Gotier, but don't think my dear James that I believe them, only I cannot hear such things said without telling you, and you may if you like put me in possession of any particulars that will enable me to contradict the report."
This was just what my cunning friends in the petticoats wanted, they suspected how little was required to turn the runaway into a supplicant, and the result was, that without answering my letter, down the country, 200 miles came James Rainey, immediately made an offer of marriage and was immediately accepted. Ann Gotier was a bad tempered clever girl, but with more acquirement I think than good sense. This made her look rather for artificial accomplishment than for native strength of character, and she therefore soon grew to regret her husband's deficiency in education, and though she possessed a gem that I think above price, she failed to discover its value because it wanted superficial glitter and polish. This error soon occurred and it was irreparable, for Rainey I believe never forgot some airs of a superiority she endeavoured to assume, and the foundation was laid for disputes that rendered them both unhappy, and served with declining health in my poor friend to shorten his life. He died some time in 1819 leaving her with three sons and one daughter and very little to support them besides the pension of a Lieutenant Colonel's widow. It is rather a remarkable circumstance that she received an increase upon this pension, in consequence of taking an oath that her income from all other sources was under a certain sum. A few years afterwards her husband's patrimony was recovered from the Court of Chancery, and arrears of interest paid to her, so as to disqualify her for receiving the increase of pension for the future, and it obliged her also to refund all the excess she had been entitled to under her oath of poverty. The eldest boy William is now a Lieutenant in the King's army in India, and the second Arthur Crowe Rainey my godson went out a Cadet to
Bengal a year and half ago when I had the pleasure of introducing him to my friend Fagan the Adjutant General. Arthur had imbibed some evangelical ideas, which induced him to think he had a call to the Ministry of our religion. As at this time he had been expensively educated for the army, his poor mother felt it a great hardship to be thus called upon to forgo the Cadetship and encounter all the expenses of college, she therefore applied to me for advice and assistance. The boy was so far gone in fanaticism that he talked of the light he had received, but I assured him any light which led him to inflict upon his poor mother a heavy expense she could so ill afford could not be from heaven. He knew how attached his father and I had been, I won his confidence, and in the end I had the pleasure to see him surrender all his enthusiastic folly, and confess that he was well pleased to serve in the army where his brave father had served. This is nearly all I have been able to do for my friend's family, but I shall not lose sight of them, and hereafter perhaps some opportunity of rendering them a service may occur when my ability may be more equal to my wishes.
Sir Robert Chambers
Wilton's relation Sir Robert Chambers was Chief Justice of Bengal, he was also a man of great ability and literary acquirement, in proof of which I need only mention that he was one of Dr Johnson's chosen associates. Like many men of his description when not strongly excited by congenial conversation he sat silent and absent in society. A laughable instance of this abstraction was once exhibited in company when he was suddenly asked in relation to the subject then under discussion "Well Sir Robert, tell us what you do?" "Ha, what do I do," said he "why faith I generally use brown paper."
General Clark upon whose staff I was at Dinapore was a rough passionate man whose society would scarcely be tolerated in England. He was nevertheless a good hearted man and a brave soldier. Every day he got into a rage with some servant and beat him severely, but then an hour afterwards he gave the sufferer so many rupees that the beating was rather a treat. He once went out to fight a duel, and after firing away all the balls he had brought he borrowed one of his antagonist which was returned immediately by firing it into his body. He always told this as an excellent joke. He swore dreadfully at every sentence that he spoke but it was so habitual to him that it was without meaning, and I knew he never was better pleased with me than when he commenced, "D-n your soul Sir!" I recollect a very ridiculous instance of this unmeaning cursing, one day at his own table
two officers were speaking of two men with the same name, and they found it difficult to distinguish them from each other. Well said one officer, my man is a dark man; so is mine said the other, but the man I mean is tall - and again they agreed. Well but my man stutters - so does mine said the other officer. The old General had been listening to this explanation with the greatest impatience, he could bear it no longer, and burst out, "What both stutter! Why d-n their souls." Just before I left Dinapore a Hindustani woman commenced building a mosque close to my grounds. Her conduct had not been particularly moral, and as her personal charms were waning fast, though not a middle aged woman, the building was intended as an expiation for her sins. I frequently saw her superintending the work people, and could not resist now and then inquiring by what scale she adapted the extent of her expiation to the measure of her sins. This made her laugh, but she was not puzzled till she discovered that like many other builders, she had laid the plan too wide for her purse, and when I left the station she had no chance of completing the temple, but by recommencing her sins.
In our regiment we had an old Major of the name of Toone with a wife and an unmarried daughter. In early life Toone had run away with his wife from a boarding school, but in contradiction to the proverb of stolen fruit being sweet, he soon became tired of his marriage, and extravagance having brought them into pecuniary difficulty, he willingly accepted an appointment to India, promising to send for his wife as soon as he was able to support an establishment in that country. Mrs Toone waited many years for this invitation, but she never received it; till at length when Miss Toone was marriageable and old enough to accompany her, out they came, a step that put a very important portion of Toone's domestic establishment suddenly to the rout; and making the best of so unavoidable a visitation he prepared to receive them with decency. When the ship arrived in the river Toone with well dissembled impatience went down to receive then, and rushing into the cabin with that sort of haste which sometimes accompanies us in doing what we wish to be over, he was agreeably disappointed when his eyes rested upon a figure as youthful as when he was first captivated by the boarding school girl, and he darted forward to receive her with much warmth, when a little withered phig started up from the bed clothes in a corner of the cabin exclaiming, "Here am I Mr Toone, dear me, that is your daughter." A fair face that grows old with us in daily intercourse may be endeared by time and even the very wrinkles that deform it
may be sometimes objects of affection for how often in the matron face are they deepened by the tenderest cares of married love. But in this instance the lapse of time was only a blank, and the appearance must have been apt. What had caused Mrs Toone's wrinkles I cannot say, but never did I see the human face at the age of 50 so split, Shakespear's comparison of a wet cloak ill laid up would not describe half these indentations which made her look exceedingly like a sick monkey. But enough and maybe too much of this, for I must confess that this lady was truly a gentlewoman in manners, and from whom I never heard an ill natured remark. When I joined the regiment I found Toone very unpopular with the officers, for whilst his private character and conduct were anything but respectable, as an officer he was so ignorant that he could scarcely give two words of command without a mistake. His attentions to me were really so troublesome that often after a morning's exercise I have escaped to the opposite side of a troop stable to avoid his invitation to breakfast. This excited a great deal of fun from the other officers who insisted that the old Major wanted to hook me on for his daughter. I do not know how that was although I found his hospitality troublesome yet I could not be so ungentlemanly as to reject it rudely, and I determined that the ridicule of my companions should make no alteration in my conduct towards him. In this I succeeded for a time, till the following circumstance made him my enemy. We had a theatre at the Station where the Officers got up plays, and acted as well as is usually seen at a Provincial stage. The juniors whose figures suited, took the female part of the Drama, with the assistance of certain stuffings to make up for their masculine
deficiency. It may be supposed these additions were subjects for many absurd remarks amongst a set of idle young fellows, and I recollect taking away from the room of one of our actress Cornets a pair of somethings which were attached to the front of his person when he enacted a Belinda or an Amelia. I packed them up carefully in a parcel and sent them to Jackson, one of our Captains, with a note containing some nonsense which I do not now remember sending with this "if you know any dry odd old piece of stuff that they will suit, use your discretion in bestowing them." Now poor Mrs Toone was not mentioned in this note, but I cannot with truth say she was not thought of for she did not hesitate to wear these sham articles herself, and the whole regiment knew it because they sometimes got laughably out of their places. Jackson, who was the very wildest fellow that ever lived, scratched out his own name from the address at the top of my note and put "Major" and also altered the direction. He then sent my servant with the parcel and note to Major Toone, and when I was told he had done this I could scarcely believe it, but my servant confirmed the account and told me also that the Major tore the note after reading it, threw "the things" as he called them out of the verandah, and said "get home with you d-n you." I was for a time quite at a loss to know how to behave, Jackson was a man to whom I was under great obligations, but notwithstanding my regard I dared not speak to him on this subject for if I had we must have quarrelled. Two days afterwards I happened to be seated next to Toone at a regimental dinner, and I had scarcely
taken my chair when he turned sharply round upon me with "What the Devil was that note Sir you sent me the other day?" I was not at all surprised and replied "Major Toone I will not affect to misunderstand you, I know the note you allude to, but the original address of that note was erased and your name inserted. I can only assure you upon my honour that my note was no more intended for you than it was for George 3rd." "Then who altered the name Sir?" "Pardon me," I replied "I shall not give that person's name up, it is perhaps my proper office to resent the liberty that was taken with my note, but as I decline doing so I certainly shall not be mean spirited enough to transfer my right of resentment to you." A little more of this kind of snarling talk ensued, Toone then turned his back upon me for the evening and for years did not speak to me except on duty. I recollect Jackson was seated directly opposite to us at table and heard every word that passed, but neither of us ever spoke to the other upon the subject and our friendship continued. On the field at Dehli after I was wounded old Toone rode up to ask if I was hurt. "Only my leg off." I said. Poor old man years after that I saw him again in bad health and just after losing both his wife and his daughter. I had never felt much resentment towards him, indeed I had no right, so I offered him my hand and consoled with him. I never saw him again. In proof of Toone's shameful incapacity as an officer I have known him suddenly left by the Colonel to dismiss the regiment after mounted exercise, and he has found this manoeuvre so entirely beyond his military knowledge that he has called an officer out of the ranks to give the very few words of command that were necessary.
He came once into the circle when my troop was at the riding lesson, and had the impudence I may say to find great fault with the seat of the men. One of the native Officers who was with me in the circle immediately called out to the Troopers, "Why don't you ride as the Major does, look at him men." It was impossible to resist a smile at such a reference, for the Major had so very bad a seat that I know of nothing I can compare him with to convey an idea of his awkwardness and insecurity upon a horse.
I once saw him in command of an Advanced Guard of Cavalry which had skirmished a little with the enemy, when the Commander in Chief Lord Lake intending to charge with the whole line, sent an order for Toone to withdraw his Guard by our flanks into the rear, but the Major mistook his wheeling flanks and twisted his 200 men into such inextricable confusion that he could not move them one way or another, and Lord Lake at length sent an Aid de Camp to tell Major Toone if he did not immediately get out of the way he should be fired upon or charged over. The party then came round our flanks helter skelter, and this disgraceful piece of tactics was exhibited in front of all the Cavalry of the army. I know not how such things came to be only laughed at, except that Toone was brother to an East India Director. I ought to say after this that I do not think he wanted courage, but such incapacity renders courage of no value in an officer of his rank and exposes all under his command to death and disgrace. So much for his military
character. When an Indian army marches for cantonment after a campaign, it is usual for the married officers to obtain leave of absence that they may hurry home to their wives. A circumstance that gave rise to many ridiculous caricatures and camp anecdotes. Upon an occasion of this sort Toone was the only married man that remained with the slow marches of the army, and when the Commander in Chief joked him a little about his contented disposition, Toone said "Oh by the life! My Lord! I am in no hurry I shall have enough of her." I once dined with him at one of his large parties, when he handed to table a lady of rather dubious character and whilst we were seating ourselves he was with much solicitude industriously employed in putting a stool under the table for the feet of his companion, I was placed close at hand and something which I need not particularise attracted my attention to this suspicious operation, his eye caught mine, and the foot stool was immediately settled whilst he muttered to himself "Oh by the Life Mr Crowe! Set a rogue to catch a rogue." This is rather a bad story to conclude with, but if I tell all the truth this would not be the worst of our old Major's history.
The English and French fleets in India under the several commands of Sir Edward Hughes and Admiral Tuffrein used to fight each other in line with brave obstinacy and after a few days battering both usually retired to refit. It happened that one of these actions took place so near to the shore that it was over looked by the English army commanded by Sir Eyre Coote; upon this occasion a crowd of very young officers were censuring the conduct of the English Admiral with all the virulence that usually accompanies ignorant pretension, when Sir Eyre then reproved them, "I always knew, Gentlemen, that you were great Generals, but I did not before know that you were equally able as Admirals."
Sailing down the Ganges from Ghazupore to Dinapore, when near Chuprah I observed something at a considerable distance on the surface of the water which appeared to move, and upon examining it through a telescope I saw evidently that it was a human being. I immediately dispatched a small swift rowing boat which I had in attendance and after some trouble from the violent rapidity of the current succeeded in bringing the poor sufferer on board my budgrow. It was a woman of middle age who made her appearance before me in the cabin literally naked. I ordered her a piece of cloth for a covering and thus she told
me that following story. She said she was a native of a village three or four miles above Chuprah on the banks of a smaller river that flows into the Ganges. She had been married for many years and was very happy till her husband some months before died, and left her in poverty and wretchedness. Since this misfortune she had endured life till it became a burthen to her, and that morning she had walked into the river with the intention of joining her husband in another world, but when the current took her off her legs she became so buoyant that she could not sink. One of my servants who was present at this examination advised me immediately to put her back into the river, for she was certainly a witch he said, that could not sink in water, and if I detained her she would play me some devilish trick of mischief. The truth was, that being an expert swimmer from living immediately on the banks of the river, she either repented her intention when she floated off, or else nature involuntarily made those efforts which prevented her from sinking. The servant's observation informed me for the first time that the Indians have the same idea of water as an ordeal for witches that formerly prevailed so generally in Europe. It would be worth much labour to trace this coincidence to its source, in an error that seems to have so little foundation in nature. It may be supposed I did not take this advice but proceeded to question her further. She
told me she had two daughters but they were both married in distant villages and thought but little of her. I asked if I put her ashore what she would do, I should walk into the river again she replied. But if I give you money what will you do I continued. Oh, she said, if you give me what affords enjoyment I will consent to live. I gave her the fold of cloth that covered her and a handful of rupees which apparently changed her strange apathy into happiness. I soon put her ashore and watched her for some time walking briskly in the direction of her village without ever looking behind her and perhaps without much reflection upon her recent delivery from death. This was the most extraordinary instance I ever observed of a cool disregard of life, and I must add it is almost the only instance I heard of a parent being neglected by her children in India.
Offices of the 2nd Native Cavalry in 1801
Irish - Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Brown. Now Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Brown. K.C.
Irish - Major William Toone - Died Major General.
English - Captain Alexander Knox - Now Major General
Irish - Captain Martin FitzGerald - Dead
English - Captain Lieutenant Richard Chaloner Jackson - Dead
Irish - Samuel Noble - Living in Ireland.
English - Francis Latter - dead
Scotch - Francis Johnstone - Colonel commanding 8th Cavalry.
Irish - Mocklai - Dead
Irish - Kilina Swetenham - Invalided.
Irish - Robert Sterling - Dead
English - Benjamin Mather - Dead
English - Philip Crowe - Living anywhere.
English - Charles Bonnythorne Borlase - Dead
Irish - Ryan - Dismissed the service.
Irish - James Rainey - Dead
English - Joseph Brooks - Living at Cheltanham.
Irish - Smith - Dead
Irish - Surgeon - Casement - Dead
Scotch - Assistant . . . [Surgeon?] - Edward Inglis - Dead
On the other side is a list of the 2nd Regiment Bengal Cavalry nearly as it stood when I joined it in May 1801at . . . [Entty Gurh?] about 1000 miles from the sea. To give some idea of the kindness and hospitality that then reigned in the happy society I will first mention that I brought up a letter of introduction to Captain Jackson which was given me by a man whom I had not known above three months. This recommendation however such as it was, induced Jackson to insist upon my taking up my quarters in his house. General messes are scarcely ever practicable in the Company's Regiments where detachments from Head Quarters are so frequently taking place that all Officers are obliged to keep up an establishment ready for such a contingency. But at this time Knox, Jackson, Noble and Johnstone were living with each other in the following manner. Each member gave breakfast at his own house for a week and a dinner for two days by turns. This shorter period for exchanging the dinners was convenient because the meat that was killed for this purpose could not often be preserved beyond the second day. Each of these Officers had a farm yard of his own where he fed sheep, poultry of all kinds, rabbits and kids whilst fish and game were always procurable in the Bazar. Oxen were killed only in the cold weather when the meat could be preserved
English hams, cheese, pickle etc with the best of Claret, Madeira and Port wines were either purchased in Calcutta through agents or bought as wanted at the shops for European articles in the Cantonment, whilst the plate and cut glassware on the table were handsomer than anything of the kind it has been my fortune to meet with in England. Another part of their establishment was an ice house, which was so well furnished during the cold months of January and December that the Mess was supplied with iced wine, water and butter till the succeeding month of August. This breakfast and dinner mess must have cost each member £100 per month, and of such fare was I frankly asked to partake till I had purchased my horses, tent and other expensive establishments. I remained with them for more than eight months during which, though I felt their kindness, the obligation was no more burthensome than it would have been had I also contributed my £100 per month and if I had yielded to their desire I might long have continued a free member of this happy mess unchecked by any feeling but my own sense of propriety. My friend Brooks was at the same time Captain Knox's guest in like manner. Each of these four Officers often gave parties which they fixed for those days when it became their turn to give dinners, but if any of them had friends unexpectedly
there never was any hesitation in taking them to the mess table whenever it happened to be. All this was carried on with such a noble freedom from parsimony and suspicion that the exchange of kindness and hospitality glided on as a thing in its natural course without a disputed question. These were happy days! And I remember them with pleasure mixed with gratitude and regret. I will now give a short history of each Officer as his name stands in the list of the Regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Brown
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Brown was an Irishman and a fine athletic looking soldier. On horseback he was almost a caricature of military riding, with his head up, his chest proudly out, and his heels in a perpendicular line with his shoulders, and he used to say "there is an elegance in the rounding of the wrist in the bridle hand which none but a Cavalry man ever acquires." This kind of military pedantry or foppery may properly introduce a Martinet, and such was Brown. He had a bold heart and a strong arm, but with so little head that he mistook the means for the end in discipline, and thought he had effected everything when he had made his men quick and steady on parade. Without ever serving the loss of affection in his regiment, he as certainly never did anything to win it. In fine he wanted that superiority of mind which commands and that fine tack which supports authority by winning the hearts of those whose duty it is to obey. I recollect his coming up to
my troop one morning at the riding school lesson exclaiming, "By - Crowe then is a man with his thumbs up." Upon my attention being then called to the poor delinquent I found that it was too true, the thumb of his bridle hand was sticking up, and I ordered him to put it down with all the gravity so important an affair deserved. Upon enquiry I found that the man had recently injured his thumb which made it difficult for him to bend. On actual service Brown would fight his regiment readily enough, but I never knew more than one instance where he evinced that coolness of intellect that applies some simple well known rule to practice at the moment and at the place that render it most effectual. This instance was at the Battle of Deig where General Fraser whilst hotly engaged with the Mahrattah Infantry in his front left Colonel Brown with the 2nd and 3rd Regiments of Cavalry to protect his rear from the Mahrattah horse who threatened an attack in very superior numbers. I believe every body expected that Brown would commit himself in some desperate attack that would leave the rear of the British army open, but with most excellent judgement he acted entirely on the defensive and kept the Mahrattah Cavalry so completely in check that our brave Infantry gained the battle and took all the enemy's guns without the approach of a hostile horseman.
Notwithstanding Brown was a bold man and a rigid disciplinarian there was one little fellow in the regiment that he was very much afraid of and that was his wife, a vulgar little woman who interfered with every thing and used to reprimand us young subalterns with great severity whenever her humour prompted. Upon one occasion when we marched to an out post by ourselves, the juniors of the regiment agreed to let our mustachios grow and he who shaved them off first was to pay a dinner and claret to the party. This joke went on for some time till Johnson cut his off because they came out saucy and ugly and paid the penalty; mine grew very black and long, but as I thought them becoming to my face I preserved them till I went to dine next with the Colonel purposely because his lady had published her high and mighty displeasure at them. I made my bow upon approaching her rather lower than usual till the corner of my whiskers almost tickled her cheek, but she drew back and opened such a fire of small abuse that I let her alone till she seemed to have exhausted herself. "You an English gentleman, Sir! What are you better than the black man who waits on you with such things as those on your face." "I am sorry ma'am," I replied stroking up the offending locks, "that you do not remember all English gentlemen wore these things 150 years ago." She was
implacable to my great amusement and the next morning on parade the Colonel told me if I did not cut the mustachios off he would have me shaved dry; as that would have been no joke I destroyed what I dare say I thought at the time would have captivated half the girls of a county town. A few months before I was wounded in the battle of Dehli I had bought a charger as strong as an elephant and as active as an antelope but unfortunately he turned out as vicious as a devil. He used to rear right on end and cross his fore legs together in a sort of agony of vice, when he came down it was generally with a heavy plunge to unseat his rider, at the same time biting his own chest till he razed the hair off, and if he could so far disorder you in your seat as to throw your foot too forward he would endeavour to get hold of it with his teeth. I never attempted to mount him till he was blinded by a cloth being put over his eyes, or he would have flown at me like a tiger. Sometimes he would be tolerably quiet at exercise with the regiment, but one morning he was so troublesome that he threw the whole of my troop into confusion and the Colonel sent me to the rear and ordered a junior officer to take my place. This was all just enough for it was impossible I could command
the troop when my horse would not obey me, but being vain of my reputation in the regiment as a horseman I was exceedingly irritated when Colonel Brown called out aloud in front of the line, "It is your own fault Sir, you really do not know how to ride that horse." After I was wounded the Colonel came to see me in my tent and asked me to sell him my brown horse which I agreed to for exactly the sum I had given, 1000 rupees. A day or two afterwards some of the officers told me with much glee that the horse had thrown his new master, who soon came to see me and offered me 200 rupees to be let off the bargain, but I replied, "You recollect Colonel you once told me in front of the regiment I did not know how to ride that horse, now he certainly never could get me off his back and I am exceedingly sorry he should have been so mutinous as to throw you, but as I am spoilt for such equestrian adventure in future I should much prefer your 1000 rupees to the horse, and I cannot let you off the bargain." My old Colonel is now Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Brown K.C.B. and is still in India.
Major William Toone
Of Major William Toone I have already given an account and have only to add a little anecdote of Miss Toone. I was one evening in a crowded room playing whist with here as a partner against two Officers who were declared admirers of her, when she suddenly accosted me with a silly laugh desiring me alone to take my foot off hers under the table. I immediately laid my cards down and nothing could more true than the grave but rather ungallant vindication of myself which followed. "Miss Toone, upon my honour my foot was not touching yours, and I also assure you I had not the smallest intention to do such a thing." As this was distinctly heard by many in the room it caused much amusement.
Major General Alexander Knox
What shall I say of the excellent Alexander Knox? I can say nothing but what is good, for his character remains in the memory of my heart without one blemish. Upon his noble countenance gentleman was written by nature in every feature, and the undeviating kindness of his conduct to all around him more than fulfilled the promise of benevolence given by his first appearance. When I joined the 2nd he was something above forty years old and had seen all the service that had occurred in India for twenty years. This made him the oracle of us youngsters, and many an hour I have listened to the story of his campaigns against Tippoo under Lord Cornwallis till I thought myself a most unfortunate fellow for having arrived in India after all such beautiful affairs were over. After more than 50 years of service without quitting the country, Knox is now a Major General on the Staff and through every grade of the army he has carried with him the affection of his brother soldiers and the high estimation of Government. When I first knew him he had a great objection to marriage not for itself and by no means because he disliked the other sex, but because he thought it spoiled a soldier. Often when I have been going on leave of absence he used gravely to say "Now Mr Philip don't you be bringing us a wife into the regiment." But notwithstanding
this he married a sickly young woman after I left India with whom he lived very happily for some years, when she died, and I see by the papers he has recently married another very young girl. I suppose he thinks there is no longer any danger of spoiling a soldier in him, for age and hard service must now be sinking my good old friend into the declining stage of life. When I last heard of him I was told that he still talked of the days when Dick Jackson, Sam Noble, Phil Crow and Joe Brooks were in the 2nd as the happiest of his life. And I was delighted to hear that when he said this he pushed his glass from him, brushed the table clear with his hand and drew himself up in his chair, this habit of his whenever he was greatly interested, would convey his likeness back to me through a thousand years. Knox was much senior to his associates in the regiment but he would join in all the fun and jollity of the youngest yet such was our respect for him that not one of us ever ventured to take a liberty with him except it my be called so that I recollect being one of a party that brought him one night back to the claret in his night cup, and upon his camp couch. When the regiment took the field in 1803 our Surgeons Casement and Inglis were both absent, and after I was brought
into camp from the field of battle about six o'clock I lay for two hours more without medical assistance though several of my friends were endeavouring to procure a Surgeon, but all were so engaged at the hospitals that the search appeared to be in vain. I recollect appealing to Knox if it was not very hard that I should die for want of what would be all over in ten minutes. I said I felt strongly confident that I should survive if my shattered leg was amputated, but if that operation was not performed immediately I felt equally assured that I should bleed to death in the night. Knox though quite knocked up at this time with fatigue, went immediately to Head Quarters on this subject, and Lord Lake sent me his own Surgeon Leny, but though in the mean time two other Surgeons Sharp and Assey had arrived, yet I always considered that the course Knox so kindly took in my service, was that most likely to be effectual, when the loss of every minute was so important. When I recovered from my wounds it was rumoured that I was to have a paymastership then vacant, and Knox who hated writing, sent me a few lines to say that should this be the case great securities would be required, and desiring me to recollect that he was my security for all he was worth in the world, and for the rest I must not go out of the regiment.
I must mention that Knox was son to a fashionable London tailor. Yet no one thought his native goodness disparaged by so servile an origin, but he had a brother in the service Colonel W. Knox who was a solemn coxcomb that made himself disliked, and his subalterns were in consequence always annoying him with allusions to that contemptible trade. It is however somewhat singular that even in so manly a character as my old friend Alexander Knox there was a love of finery in dress or accoutrements that made us think he had imbibed some of his father's trade.
Loose page found inserted in page 26
Harris ( ? crossed out)
Cunningham (crossed out)
General Clark (crossed out)
Lieutenant Leger XX
Abrum - Marriage, Journey to Dinapore with Rainy, His geneology.
F.D. Stewart - Swing glass. Wolf - Mordicai affair.
Murui - Tiger - Death. Bulldogs, his wife.
Charles Arlphus Puron
Whitefield and two officers killed at Agra
Lord Cornwallis - General Nightingale. A gambling major. White horse is dead.
Lord Wellesley - Camac
Sir Arthur XX
Sir D. Achterlony. Byum Sumras - Persian apples.
Colonel Broke - his fanaticism.
Hindoostan women who built the mosque. The woman in the Ganges.
Perkins not amused
Major Toone, Jackson's trick.
Colonel Ryan. Goats. His puppies carried away by monkeys.
Marsden (crossed out) writing in his xx Billu kapau
Frederick Lieutenant Aubyn
Dr. Stacey - drunk sermon
Mrs Seton - Rohilla chiefton. Road at Berilly. Holding plough.
Wilson - Black Prince
Scene at gate of Palace at Dehli.
Matthews His philosophical friend. Tofussil Hussien Khan
Donet Vaughn Arives.
Gillespie - His duels, Marriage
Burr - His duel, Ramsey etc.
Marrison - Whichever your Excellency pleases
Barrow - His idea of a country residence. Refusal to introduce his passengers.
Ned Ingles - His grandmother. Horse on his haunches.
Henry Martyn - Memoirs - 2 Converts.
Butler - his whiskers. Publishing his own death. Treating Gould with his own wine unpaid for.
Lewis Bird. Illegitimate Major Bird.
Jumbo Fleming. Trial of strength in drinking. Flemings death at Allygurb
Tom Morgan - Trial of strength in drinking.
Simpson - Who was taken by Mahrattahs from Colonel Collin's camp.
Cracroft - Religious disputes at Benares.
Sir R. Chambers - Absence. Brown paper.
General St.John - kind Indiaman. Kutchoura Fort. Laswarry.
General Russell. His attempt to debauch a Serjeant's wife checked by a confession of failure in the Colonel of the regiment.
The two Skinners. - The murder of his wife etc.
Lego Martin - His patriotic eloquence and his donation of nothing.
Farquhar - He lived upon McKenzie and refused to subscribe to his widow.