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But the noble Lord had reserved for his climax—Afghanistan
“The noble Lord presumed much on my forbearance in what he said with respect to the Afghan war; and I will not be betrayed by any language of his to forget what I owe to the public service in replying to him. It is easy to say, ‘why don't you move troops to Candahar, and why don't you move other troops somewhere else?' The noble Lord finds no difficulty in this; but does he recollect that 26,000 camels, carrying the baggage of the troops in Afghanistan, were sacrificed before they reached it? The noble Lord says, “Who contemplated the abandonment of Afghanistan?' I could tell the noble Lord. Beware, I say, let the noble Lord beware, of indiscriminate reflections upon those now in office. [Cheers.] The affairs of Afghanistan shall undergo serious consideration. When the noble Lord put a question to me respecting them the other night, I did j". him a cautious and a guarded answer; but why did I do so? Look at the circumstances by which I am surrounded. Look at the public press in India —its sources of information, and the facility with which it gives it to the public. Look at the despatches creeping out by piecemeal; and then look at my position when I am asked, if such and such orders are given, and if such and such reports are true—orders
innuendoes, and that I must submit to his imputations: but let me tell him this, that I will rather submit to all the innuendoes and imputations he may bring against me, than I will compromise the safety of one man engaged in the service of his country.” In conclusion, Sir R. Peel said, that he did not know even now what was laid to his charge; he had not changed the principles which he had aided Mr. Huskisson in carrying out; he had no hope of reward for the cares of office, but the hope of future fame:— “It is to that reward that I and my colleagues aspire. If there be another reflection which cheers me onwards in my course, it is that, much as I may have disappointed, much as I may have dissatisfied the honourable Friends whom I See around me—much as they may asperse me in private parties, to which the noble Lord has access and I have not—still I have found through all the difficulties of the session, that they have not withdrawn from us in power that confidence and support which cheered and inspired usin the blank regions of Opposition. Next to the hope of that fame which is the sole reward to which we aspire, their kindness and confidence has been our leading impulse. It is a matter of great congratulation to me, to be enabled tocompare their strength in 1833 with their strength at present; and to be permitted to entertain the hope, that in pursuing the course I believe to be best, not in deference to their fears or opinions if I believe them wrong, I shall still, despite all anxieties and all disappointments, hold that place in their esteem which I value more than I do their political support.” (Loud and long-continued cheers.)
Mr. Cobden said a few words after Sir Robert Peel sat down. He asked whether the leaders of parties had nothing better to do than getting up these quarrels between Whig and Tory. He cited documents in confirmation of his assertion, that Mr. Clay had no chance of being elected President of the United States, and that the Free-trade party in America would soon be in the ascendant. He warned the two disputants, who had said but little on the distress of the country, that it would haunt them in their retirement. He urged Sir Robert Peel further to carry out his commercial policy; and assured Lord Palmerston, that there was a growing opinion in the country, that we had meddled too much in the affairs of foreign COuntries. Mr. Hume and Mr. Ewart concurred in Mr. Cobden's views. The motion was agreed to. The business of the session having been brought to a close, the prorogation took place on the 12th of August. The Queen having taken her seat on the Throne, the Commons were summoned. The Speaker delivered a short Address, concisely enumerating the chief operations of the session. The Queen, having given the Royal Assent to several Bills, delivered the following Speech:— “My Lords and Gentlemen— The state of public business enables me to release you from further attendance in Parliament. I cannot take leave of you, without expressing my grateful sense of the assiduity and zeal with which you have applied yourselves to the discharge of your public duties durin the whole course of a long .# most laborious session.
“You have had under your consideration measures of the greatest importance connected with the financial and commercial interests of the country, calculated to maintain the public credit, to improve the national resources, and, by extending trade and stimulating the demand for labour, to promote the general and permanent welfare of all classes of my subjects. “Although measures of this description have necessarily occupied much of your attention, you have at the same time effected great improvements in several branches of jurisprudence, and in laws connected with the administration of domestic affairs. “I return you my especial acknowledgments for the renewed proof which you afforded me of your loyalty and affectionate attachment, by your ready and unanimous concurrence in an Act for the increased security and protection of my person. “I continue to receive from all Foreign Powers assurances of their friendly disposition towards this country. “ Although I have deeply to lament the reverses which have befallen a division of the army to the westward of the Indus, yet I have the satisfaction of reflecting, that the gallant defence of the city of Jellalabad, crowned by a decisive victory in the field, has eminently proved the courage and discipline of the European and native troops, and the skill and fortitude of their distinguished commander. “Gentlemen of the House of Commons – The liberality with which you have granted the su plies to meet the exigencies of the public service, demands my warm
“My Lords and Gentlemen— You will concur with me in the expression of humble gratitude to Almighty God, for the favourable season which His bounty has vouchsafed to us, and for the prospects of a harvest more abundant than those of recent years. “There are, I trust, indications of gradual recovery from that depression which has affected many branches of manufacturing industry, and has exposed large classes of my people to privations and sufferings which have caused me the deepest concern. “You will, I am confident, be actuated on your return to your several counties by the same enlightened zeal for the public interests which you have manifested during the discharge of your Parliamentary duties, and will do your utmost to encourage by your example and active exertions that spirit of order and submission to the law, which is essential to the public happiness, and without which there can be no enjoyment of the fruits of peaceful industry, and no advance in the career of social improvement.” The Lord Chancellor then declared Parliament prorogued till the 6th of October. Thus terminated the long and busy session of 1842. Whatever opinion may be entertained of the individual merits of those legislative changes which it produced under the auspices of the Conservative Government, their importance, at all events, will be unquestioned, and in the amount of substantial results, which were achieved, this session deserves to be favourably contrasted with those of preceding years. The great economical and financial reforms which Sir R. Peel had announced, were early brought
forward, and carried out to their completion in a spirit, which told well both in Parliament and with the country for the earnestness and sincerity of those who had propounded them. Accordingly, although in some respects the measures in themselves were of an unpopular character, bearing disadvantageously on particular interests, and tending to disunite that political party on which the Ministry depended for support, it cannot be doubted, that the result of the session upon the whole, was materially to strengthen the position of Sir Robert Peel and his colleagues in office, and to gain for them in the public mind a character for those essential qualities of vigour and decision of purpose, in which their predecessors had been found wanting. It was very remarkable also to observe in the House of Commons, as the session proceeded, how much the force of opposition became relaxed in vigour and concentration, as compared with that menacing and united front, which had been presented at the commencement, by the various sections of the Liberal party. It must be recollected also, that these effects were accomplished, and the position of the Government thus strengthened, under circumstances of no slight disadvantage; during the continual pressure of severe public distress, and consequent discontent—powerful engines at all times, and, on this occasion, unsparingly employed for the disparagement of the party in power. The advancement of Sir Robert Peel and his colleagues in the public confidence against such obstacles, may fairly be regarded as an evidence of the conviction entertained by the impartial and reflecting portion of the community, that the Executive power was lodged in trustworthy and able hands, and that, without holding out false hopes, or making delusive professions, the statesmen at the head of affairs both understood the real difficulties of the country, and were
prepared earnestly and honestly to grapple with them.
Such was the state of the public mind, and the relative position of parties, when the labours of Parliament were terminated by the prorogation.
INDIA—AFFGHANISTAN.—Collision nith the Eastern Ghilzies— Causes of the Quarrel—Reduction of stipulated Payment—Kasila seized at Tezeen—Sir Robert Sale sent to force the Khoord Cabul Pass—The Pass carried—March of Sir R. Sale to Jellalabad– Severe Contest in the Jugdulluck Pass—Arrival at Jellalabad– Position of the British Forces at Cabul–Situation of the Cantonments—Outbreak of the Insurrection at Cabul–Cause of this— Murder of Sir Alexander Burnes and other Officers—Troops nithdrawn into Cantonments from the Seeah Sung Camp—Altacks of the Affghans upon the British Cantonments—Sir #. Macnaghten negotiates with the hostile Chiefs—Terms agreed upon–Plot laid for the Envoy—Secret 4..."; entered into betnyeen Sir W. Macnaghten and Akbar Khan—Murder of Sir W. Macnaghten and Captain Trevor—Renenal of Negotiations with the Affghan Chiefs—Additional Terms agreed upon–The British Troops leave the Cantonments—Treacherous Attacks of the Affghans—Persidy of Akbar Khan-Hostages given up to him—Continued Attacks of the Affghans—The Ladies are placed under the Protection of Akbar han-Destruction of the native Indian Troops in the Huft Kothul Pass — Miserable Situation of the British Forces in the Tezeen Valley—General Elphinstone detained Prisoner by Akbar Khan— Destruction of H. M. 44th Regiment—Massacre of the Officers and Escape of Dr. Brydon—The 4. invest Jellalabad– Gallant Conduct of Sir Robert Sale—Measures taken by the Indian Government-Lord Ellenborough arrives at Calcutta–Troops collected at the Mouth of the Khyber Pass under Brigadier WildFailure of attempt to force the Pass.
N our narrative of events that happened last year in Afghanistan, we alluded in our preceding volume to a disaster which had befallen us in that quarter, which we partly attributed to our unfortunate attack upon, and capture of the fort of, Khelat-i-Ghilzie. And no doubt this was one cause of the irritation felt by the Ghilzies, with the Eastern tribes of whom we, soon after our occupa
tion of Cabul, came into hostile
defile through which the road