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Guides] is a young fellow, Hodson by name, whom you gave me at Lahore in 1847. He is a first-rate soldier, and as your lordship likes young officers in command, I beg to bring him to your notice for a brevet majority."

This letter was followed by one to Hodson himself, written in a most friendly strain, and dated July 18, 1853, from which the following is an extract:

"By last mail I wrote to Lord Hardinge and asked him to get you brevet rank. You had better write to Sir C. Napier (but don't use my name, or it might do you harm) and say that if he moves in your favour you think Lord Hardinge will agree. If you could get local rank until you are a captain, it would be a great


Now the writers who would have us believe that Hodson's "moral turpitude" as early as 1846 and 1849 came to the knowledge of Sir Henry Lawrence and destroyed the confidence of the latter in him, are shown by these letters to make, indirectly, a very serious charge against Lawrence himself. For they would represent that an officer, who was well known to have been guilty of gross dishonesty, was recommended by Sir Henry first for a civil post of trust and responsibility, and secondly, for a considerable advance in military rank. The accusations against Hodson here referred to are of a very vague nature; but even were it otherwise, the continued friendship and support of Sir Henry Lawrence would be sufficient disproof of their credibility.

In any case, however, the success of Hodson's career during his first eight years in India


was not marred by any public imputations on his character; and he was promoted from one confidential post to another with a rapidity which was as startling as were the achievements with which he proved the justice of his selection.

In the autumn of 1847, with but two years' service, he was appointed second in command of the Corps of Guides, then only lately raised by Henry Lumsden; and six months later he was delighted at receiving instructions to accompany an important mission, under Mr Vans Agnew of the civil service, which was about to start for Multan with the object of receiving over the government of that province from the hands of its ruler Mulraj. Subsequently, however, other arrangements were made, and Lieutenant Anderson of the Bombay army was sent with the mission in Hodson's stead. The latter was inclined to be disappointed at having missed the service; but this feeling was changed to one of thankfulness at his escape, when а month later came the news that Vans Agnew and Anderson had been treacherously murdered at the bidding of Mulraj. This outrage was the signal for a general rising of the Sikhs, which rapidly developed into the second Sikh war, and only terminated with the annexation of the Punjab. Meanwhile, when his appointment to Multan fell through, Hodson was appointed to be assistant to the Resident at Lahore; but it was in his military capacity as second in command of the Guides that he

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served in the districts about Jullundur throughout the war, and discharged his duties in such a manner as to earn not only the acknowledgments of the Resident, Sir Frederic Currie, but the special thanks of the Governor-General for his activity, energy, intelligence, and personal gallantry.

The close of the war and annexation of the Punjab were followed by a year's work as an assistant commissioner, Hodson's connection with the Guides being at the same time severed, apparently for ever. But the life of a district civilian was distasteful to him, and during his tour in Kashmir and Thibet (already alluded to) he again impressed on Sir Henry Lawrence his preference for military service. The latter was, however, desirous that he should give the civil line a fair trial; and it was not until September 1852 that, to his great delight, Hodson was reappointed to the Guides, this time as commandant in the place of Lieutenant Lumsden, who was going home on leave.

"I took command of the Guides on the 1st November, and twenty-four hours afterwards marched on service," wrote Hodson at the close of 1852, and the experience to which he alluded was a good example of what his life and work was to be during the next year and a half. The British occupation of the Punjab frontier was followed by an almost constant series of border raids, with counter-raids and punitive expeditions on our part. In such of the latter as took place in

the vicinity of Peshawar, the Guides had a prominent share ; and during his tenure of the command of the corps, Hodson's name was continually conspicuous in the despatches regarding these little wars, coupled with glowing praise for gallantry, energy, and discretion.

But a dark period of trouble and disgrace was approaching the brilliant young officer, at a moment when he seemed to be on the highroad to fortune; nor did he ever again throw off the shadow of these trials except in the midst of the strain and excitement of the Mutiny campaign. Hodson had married in 1852, and in 1854 his little daughter, the only child of the marriage, died.

In the midst of this affliction he found himself assailed by fresh troubles, even worse to bear, for they touched his honour.

Those who have learned to admire all that was noble in Hodson's character would willingly pass over these latter incidents as rapidly as possible ; but, unfortunately, they have been brought so prominently forward, both during his lifetime and by those who have written of him since his death, that it is necessary to linger over the unpleasant details, if only in the effort to clear his memory of some of the charges against him.

Without going unduly into particulars, it should be premised that the charges against Hodson were of two distinct kinds. First were those of injustice, high-handedness, and

oppression in his dealings with natives, notably that he falsely accused and wrongfully imprisoned a border chief in the Mardan district. For these acts Hodson was deprived of the command of the Guides by Lord Dalhousie, a punishment which was confirmed by the Court of Directors, with the additional sentence that he should not again be employed in any civil capacity whatever. That Hodson brought this on himself can hardly be doubted. However sincere may have been his conviction that his conduct was warranted by the circumstances, it is impossible to get over the fact that he imprisoned wrongfully, and in defiance of the orders of his superiors, a man against whom all his efforts could not produce a jot of satisfactory evidence. The faults which Henry Lawrence had noticed four or five years before were just those which were now his ruin positiveness, self-will, an aptness to arrogate too much; and it must be confessed that such faults, unrestrained, are sufficient to render a man unfit to administer the affairs of an Indian district.

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But now we come to the second class of charges with which Hodson was assailed, and which included falsification of accounts, and negligence, and even deliberate dishonesty in the money transactions connected with the command of the Guide Corps.

The accusations

were first made by a British officer of the regiment, with whom Hodson was on anything but friendly

terms, and the charges formulated by him were so serious that the Chief Commissioner was compelled to order the assembly of a special court of inquiry to go fully into the matter. The court sat at Peshawar early in 1855, and took evidence from an immense number of witnesses, mostly natives, and with reference to a great variety of issues. No opinion was, however, recorded, and the whole proceedings were forwarded to army headquarters, where they were examined by the Judge Advocate-General. That officer animadverted in strong terms on the confused and unsatisfactory manner in which the inquiry had been conducted, and sent the proceedings back, with a request that the court would record their opinion on the circumstances which had come under their consideration. The court of inquiry thereupon declared that they considered that the accounts of the Guides, as placed before them by Lieutenant Hodson, were most unsatisfactory. Meanwhile, however, Hodson had demanded a more accurate and searching investigation of the regimental accounts than had been made by the court of inquiry; and in response to this demand Major Reynell G. Taylor, an officer of high reputation, who had been appointed to the temporary command of the Guides, consequent on Lieutenant Hodson's suspension, was directed to go in detail through the whole accounts of the corps. This duty Major Taylor performed with the most careful minuteness, and finally arrived

report was forwarded by Sir John Lawrence to Simla; but it was there finally dealt with by the military secretariat, nor was it ever shown either to Lord Dalhousie or to the Commanderin-Chief.

Such, in brief outline, was the sequence of events connected with this unhappy affair; but it would be most unfair to Hodson's memory to refrain from calling more particular attention to one or two points which have not always

at the conclusion that the accounts were entirely correct in matters of fact, though the circumstances incidental to the peculiar services of the corps had resulted in very great confusion. This confusion, Major Taylor pointed out, had existed previous to Lieutenant Hodson taking over command, and the latter officer had made considerable efforts to remedy matters. Major Taylor, in writing to this effect to the Punjab Government, recommended that, as great publicity been given the prominence had been given to the sitting of the court of inquiry, which had taken an unfavourable view of Lieutenant Hodson's conduct, a similarly public court should again assemble to consider the results of his investigation. The Chief Commissioner forwarded Taylor's letter to the Government of India, through the Commander-in-Chief; but the latter did not concur in the necessity for the assembling of another court. This view was also taken by the Government, who declared that as Major Taylor, an entirely unprejudiced and competent judge, was satisfied with the correctness of the accounts, it would be sufficient for him to give Lieutenant Hodson an acquittance, and so close this harassing and painful business. But Taylor considered that something more than his brief letter was due to Hodson; and his request for a further court having been refused, he at once submitted to the Punjab Government a full report of his investigation, a copy of which was at the same time furnished to Lieutenant Hodson. This

which they deserve. Mention has been made of the immense number of native witnesses who gave evidence against Hodson before the court of inquiry, and of the variety of the charges against him, although the assembly of the court was the result of accusations brought by a British officer. These facts will be seen to be amply explained when it is stated that a regimental order was actually published in the Corps of Guides, calling on all who had claims or complaints against Lieutenant Hodson to submit them forthwith; and this too when that officer had already been suspended from his command in consequence of his injudicious conduct with regard to the border chief alluded to above. It is difficult to imagine а course of procedure more grossly unfair or irregular, especially in India. Persons who are not acquainted with natives of that country can have no idea of the result of such a notice, published at such a moment. A similar order, issued to a British regiment,


would probably have no effect except to arouse indignation at such means being resorted to in order to obtain evidence against a man already under a cloud. But with Orientals, or at least with the inferior classes of Orientals, the case is differThey have no compunctions whatever about hitting a man who is down; on the contrary, the knowledge that an officer had incurred the displeasure of his superiors, and had been suspended in consequence from his official position, would be the signal for every snivelling wretch who had a grudge against him to strive for a foremost place in throwing mud at him. What wonder, then, that an invitation issued alike to soldiers and to followers of the corps to formulate their charges, brought forward an ample crop of lying complaints? Under such circumstances would Herbert Edwardes, would John Nicholson, have escaped scatheless? Nay, the most perfect man who ever set foot in India would not have wanted some trumped-up accusation. And Hodson was not perfect, nor ever pretended to be so.

It has been denied that this notice, calling on Hodson's enemies to come forward, was ever published; but it was published, and the fact accounts for some three-fourths of the mass of evidence accumulated by the court of inquiry. Nevertheless the proceedings of the court "did not contain a single substantial case against him, provided he could establish the validity of his regimental accounts." So wrote

Colonel Robert Napier, afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala, one of the most clear-headed as well as one of the most honourable of men; and he adds: "The result of Major Taylor's laborious and patient investigation has fully justified, but has not at all added to, the confidence that I have throughout maintained in the honour and uprightness of his [Hodson's] conduct."

This investigation by Major Taylor is the second point which deserves more than a passing notice. Notwithstanding the fact that such men as Napier and Sir Robert Montgomery considered that its result was a complete triumph for Hodson; notwithstanding that even John Lawrence admitted fully and freely that nothing was established against Hodson's honour, yet the report was never made public. As has already been stated, it was never communicated to the Commander-inChief until Hodson did so personally a year later. All the world knew that a court of inquiry had sat to examine Hodson's accounts, all the world knew that Hodson was removed from the command of the Guides; but the world did not know, and to this day does not know, that the second fact was in no way consequent on the first. It is not known that (as was written by Colonel Macpherson, Military Secretary to the Punjab Government) "the military court of inquiry had nothing whatever to say to, and was in no way concerned with, the removal of the late Major (then Lieutenant)

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