At this time the native soldiers of the three presidencies, the three great divisions of the Indian Empire - Bengal, Bombay, and Madras - were nearly three hundred thousand in number, while the European soldiers were but forty-three thousand, of whom fully four thousand had been taken away for service in the Persian War. However that may be, it is certain that the rising at first took the form of a military outbreak. We call it, in common phraseology, the Indian Mutiny to this very day. The Sepoys complained, and were led to believe, that in certain of our military edicts we had disregarded some of the strictest principles of their religion, alike of the Mussulmans and of the Hindoos. The mutiny took shape, regiment after regiment arose in revolt; and soon the whole country was aflame with war. The revolt was of course suppressed, or to put it more properly, India was reconquered. The work, however, was not done without the outpour of very seas of blood. Some of the native rulers who joined the revolt were guilty of horrible acts of treachery and cruelty, and these acts of treachery and cruelty became so much multiplied and magnified by rumour that they aroused a thorough passion for revenge, even in the minds of brave and steady-going Englishmen. The passion, indeed, spread itself over England, and for a time we heard nothing but the wildest talk of the punishment that would have to be inflicted on the native populations, before conquering England could consent to sheathe her sword.
Happily for India and for England the Viceroy of the Indian Empire was a man of the loftiest principles, the highest feelings of humanity, and the most unconquerable resolve. He was Lord Canning, the illustrious son of an illustrious father, son of that George Canning whose career has already been described in these pages. Here and in India he was popularly nicknamed "Clemency Canning," a title then given in derision, but which is now maintained to his honour. Owing to Lord Canning's policy the clamour for revenge was not allowed to have all its own way. We must make some allowance for the temper of the English soldiers and the English people : the terrible story of the massacre of English men, women, children at Cawnpore was enough, without any exaggeration, to madden the hearts and overwhelm the moral feelings of most men who belonged to the conquering race. The story of Cawnpore has been told by Sir George Trevelyan in a brilliant volume, which is an important chapter in the annals of our Indian Empire. It is only just to say that, terrible and grim as is the tale of the Cawnpore massacre, the stories of the indignities inflicted upon English women proved to be for the most part exaggerated. The English women in Cawnpore and other places suffered death indeed, but death only. Of course the result of the whole struggle was what every cool-headed Englishman and every capable observer must have anticipated - English arms completely suppressed the insurrection. More splendid services were never rendered to English Empire in India than those which were rendered by our soldiers and statesmen through that long struggle.
The names of Henry Havelock, of the two Lawrences, John and Henry, and of many others will ornament the bead-roll of English fame to the end of time. One effect of the outbreak and of its repression, was found in the legislation of Parliament which abolished for ever the rule of the famous East India Company, and decreed that henceforward the Sovereign, the Government, and the Parliament, must rule India without the interposition of any trading company, however vast in its organisation and splendid in its history. It is enough to say here that the chequered fortunes of India and of the Indian populations have brightened ever since England took on herself the direct responsibility of managing her Indian Empire, and answering for it to the representatives of her people. The records of this chapter are not all of war.
On January 25, 1858, Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of the Queen, was married to the Prince Frederick William of Prussia, eldest son of William, who was then Crown Prince of Prussia, who afterwards became King William I., and later still German Emperor. Frederick William, the husband of our Princess, was a young man of the most brilliant talents and exalted character; he served with great distinction in the war against Denmark, held a high command in the war between Prussia and Austria, and also in the Franco-Prussian war which ended in the creation of the German Empire. His noble career was cut short by death on June 15, 1888, after little more than three months' reign as German Emperor.
(From a photograph by Messrs. Russell & Son.) Lord Roberts. 1832.