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Twelve Years Of A Soldier's Life in India.*_This is a book of stirring adventure. We remember nothing in veritable biography that so much resembles romance. It is the story of the brief but brilliant career in India of one of Dr. Arnold's Rugby boys, a contemporary and friend of “Tom Brown,” at that well known school, where he is still remembered, and where his feats of activity still live in the traditions of the place. From Rugby, Hodson went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and after taking his degree in 1844, entered the service of the East India Company. His first campaign took him to the Sutlej, and gave him a “rough baptism of war;" but it served to give him also experience, to make him friends, and to bring him to notice as a bold, intelligent, and reliable officer, who was never weary, and never dispirited; who was equal to any service, and always ready for duty. For such there is never wanting work to do. So, in the interval between the first and second Sikh war, he was employed in every kind of responsible service. First he was sent to superintend the building of a great asylum for the children of English soldiers, among the bills, with a carte blanche to do whatever he pleased, and to draw for whatever funds he wished. Appointed to the command there, we find himn with “ upwards of a thousand most unwilling laborers," that he had collected and got into working order, surveying and making a military road through desert and forest, to Ferozepore. Then he was appointed to an important “civil” position, as “ Assistant" to the Resident at Lahore, and was set to administer justice in all manner of cases, civil, criminal, and revenue, in the Lahore courts. In all these positions he was gaining a knowledge of Indian character, and an experience in managing the natives, which fitted him to be the famous partisan leader that he afterwards proved himself to be on the breaking out again of hostilities. There he found his fit place! He was second in command of the "Guides," a body of irregular cavalry, whose business it is to scour the country backwards and forwards, to be everywhere, and know everything that is going on among the wild tribes upon the frontier. Soon, by a series of brilliant exploits, " by successful stratagem, and midnight surprise, and many a desperate contest,” he made his name a terror to the enemy, while his soldiers idolized him as a leader. But the war was at last ended, and the Punjaub was annexed. Then came his next step in promotion, which was to the command of the “Guides," and a wild frontier district was handed over to him, of which he was made military and civil chief. There he settled down, with bis newly married wife, in his own words, "the happiest and most fortunate man in the service.” It was, however, no life of ease that was before him. He was to rule a whole province, and “ do justice and judgment among a people that had never known what justice and judgment were." And so years were spent in the discharge of most responsible duties, which required ceaseless activity and unremitting toil.
* Twelve Years of a Soldier's Life in India. Being extracts from the letters of the late Major W. S. R. Hodson, B. A. Including a personal narrative of the siege of Delhi, and capture of the King and Princes. Edited by his brother, the Rev. GEORGE H. Hopson, M. A. Boston: 1859. Ticknor & Fields. 12mo. pp. 444. For sale by T. H. Pease.
Our space has not allowed us to follow the fortunes of Hodson, or portray his character with any degree of particularity. It must suffice to say with his biographer, “ though his lot was cast in camps, he was not a mere soldier; though he spent his life as a hanger-on on the outskirts of civilization, he had a keen appreciation of the refinements and elegancies of civilized life; though in India, he remembered that he was an Englishman; and, though living among the heatben, he did not for get that he was a Christian.”
We pass on to the terrible days of the “Sepoy Mutiny," in 1857, when the time came for such men as Hodson to show to the world their real value. He was attached to the army before Delhi, and then as the commander of the “ Irregular Horse," and as the responsible bead of the Intelligence Department he displayed a heroism, and rendered services, with “his invincible and almost ubiquitous body of cavalry," which have made bis name prominent among the heroes of that little band who struggled so valiantly for the maintenance of the British rule in India. According to the London Times, he “fought everywhere and against any odds, with all the spirit of a Paladin of old."
We hasten to the two most remarkable exploits of his career, the capture of the old King, and the capture of the Princes.
"The siege of Delhi was ended. A mere handful of Englishmen, for half the time numbering less than three thousand, set themselves down in the open field, in the worst days of an Indian summer, without regular communications, without proper artillery, and last and worst of all, without able leading, and had taken a city larger than Glasgow, garrisoned by an army trained by Englishmen, and numbering at first 20,000, in another ten days 37,000, and at last 75,000 men, supplied with all but exhaustless munitions of war, and in the midst of a nation in arms. * * * The very day after possession was taken of Delhi, Captain Hodson received information that the King and his family had taken refuge with a large force only a few miles from the gates of the city, in the tomb of Humayoom. He immediately reported it to the general commanding, and asked whether he might lead a detachment in pursuit ; as with the King at liberty, and heading so large a force, their victory was next to useless, and they might themselves be besieged instead of besiegers. General Wilson replied that he could not spare a single European. He then volunteered to lead a party of the Irregulars, but this offer was also refused. Meanwhile, messengers had come in from the favorite Begum, who offered to use her influence with the King to surrender, on condition that he and his family should be restored to their palace and their honors, with several other equally modest demands. The message was treated, of course, with contemptuous denial. General Wilson, however, allowed Captain Hodson to go to the King, and offer him his life and freedom from personal indignity, and make what other terms he could. He immediately started with but fifty of his own Irregulars,-he the only European of the party. The risk was such as no one can judge of who has not seen the road. It led through the ruins of the old city of Delhi, and the whole country about swarmed with rebels who still had arms in their hands. Hodson reached the Tomb, sent in a peremptory demand to the King to come out, offering him only his own life and the lives of two or three of his family. To his astonishment, the King came out, and surrendered to him his arms, doubtless impressed with the idea that there was a large force at hand. Hodson immediately assured him that if any attempt at rescue was made, he would shoot him down like a dog, and surrounding him with bis men, immediately took the road to Delhi. The march was necessarily at a foot pace, and Hodson, with his handful of men, was followed and surrounded by thousands during the return march, any one of whom could have shot him in a moment. But as his orderly said, the influence of his calm and undaunted look upon the crowd was wonderful, and they seemed paralyzed at the fact of one white man (for they thought nothing of his fifty black sowars) carrying off their King alone."
Wonderful as this adventure was, it was surpassed by his seizure of the three Princes, a few days after. He had learned where was their retreat, and with a hundred of his Irregulars, accompanied by but one European, his lieutenant, he left Delhi. Six miles from the city he found them surrounded by 6,000 of their Mussulman armed followers. He demanded an unconditional surrender. Strange to tell, they gave up their arms to him, fancying, undoubtedly, as the King's life had been spared, theirs would be. Hodson immediately closed up bis men about them, and began to move towards Delhi, the thousands of their followers thronging after, with arms in their bands. Hodson called to them to lay down their arms. There was a murmur. He reiterated his command, and pointing his carabine, said, “ The first man that moves is a dead man." The effect was instantaneous, and wonderful as it seems, they commenced doing so.
Says Mr. Dowell, his lieutenant :
“There we stayed for two hours, collecting their arms, and I assure you, I
thought every moment they would rush upon us. I said nothing, but smoked all the time, to show I was unconcerned; but at last, when it was all done, and all the arnis collected, put in a cart, and started, Hodson turned to me and said,
We'll go now. Very slowly we mounted, formed up the troop, and cautiously departed, followed by the crowd. We rode along quietly. You will say, why did we not charge them? I merely say, we were one hundred men, and they were fully six thousand. As we got about a mile off, Hodson turned to me and said, 'Well, Mac, we've got them at last!' and we both gave a sigh of relief. Never in my life, under the heaviest fire, have I been in such imminent danger.”
We give, as nearly as possible in the words of Mac Dowell, the substance of the rest of the story of this adventure, conscio'is that we are shamefully mutilating it. On the troop marched in silence, till the increasing crowd pressed close on the horses of the sowars, and assumed every moment a more hostile aspect. At last it seemed impossible to keep them longer at bay. Hodson felt that it would never answer to allow his captives to escape, and as a last resort determined to shoot them. There was no time to be lost. He halted bis men, put five troopers across the road, behind and in front, ordered the princes to strip, to get again into their carts, and then shot them himself, with his own hand. So ended the career of the chiefs of the revolt-some of the greatest villains that ever shamed humanity. They were the fiends who were known to have perpetrated those enormities upon English woinen and children, the report of which sent such a shudder of horror through the civilized world. Hodson shot them himself, because a single moment's hesitation on the part of his black sowars, or appearance of hesitation before that vast crowd, and all would have been lost.
Our readers may be interested to know how such services were acknowledged at the time by the commander-in-chief. All the notice taken of them by Major General Wilson, in his despatches, was
"The King gave himself up to a party of Irregular cavalry, whom I sent out in the direction of the fugitives, and he is now a prisoner under a guard of European soldiers."
The grateful acknowledgments of his countrymen came too late for Hodson. At the taking of Lucknow, March 11th, 1858, six months after, he received a mortal wound, and one of the most brilliant soldiers that England has bad in India, one "whose name was known, either in love or fear, by every native from Calcutta to Cabul,” died without having ever received "one mark of his sovereign's approbation,” (with the exception of a brevet Majority, to which he was entitled for services eight years before,) " without any recognition having ever been made of gallant deeds of daring, which would have covered many of fortune's favorites with decorations.” “Id maxime formidolosum, privati hominis nomen supra principis attolli."
Memoir of Capr. Bate.* _The subject of this memoir, a captain in the British navy, was killed during the attack upon Canton, in December, 1857, while attempting to set the ladder for the escalade.
According to the correspondent of the London Times, he bad volunteered on a service “ of imminent danger," at a time when “a storin of balls and rockets" was coming from the wall. “He was in the act of taking the distance from the ground to the top of the wall, with his sextant, when a shot from a gingall struck him in the right breast. He fell straight on the ground, and never moved afterwards." Such was the untimely end, at the age of thirty-seven years, of one of the most manly and courageous men in the British navy, who was loved by every one in the fleet," from the adıniral down to the youngest boy."
But it is something bigher than personal valor, and professional capacity, and the stirring details of a British sailor's life, that gives an interest to this memoir. Besides all these, there is the exhibition of a noble Christian character in one who daily sought, in all that he did, to act in a way that would be pleasing to God. The story of his persevering faithfulness in the discharge of duties which took him for years “out of the pale of civilization," and of the cheerful spirit with which he met repeated disappointments and trials, and of the triumph of his faith in all, cannot fail to encourage and strengthen every reader who sympathizes with him in the great object of life.
Parton's LIFE OF ANDREW Jacksos.t-Mr. Parton gained a not very enivable reputation by his last literary work in which he attempted to white-wash the character of Aaron Burr, and to hold up that bad man as a study and a model for the imitation of the young men of America. We confess that that book has disposed us to receive with considerable hesitation any estimate which he may hereafter give of the moral character of any man. However, he has undertaken a new work of greater magnitude and importance than any he has ever attempted before; and the first volume of what is to be an
* A Memoir of Capt. W. 7. Bate, R. N.; by Rev. John BAILLIE. Gonv, and Caius College, Cambridge. 12mo. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers. 1869. pp. 278.
+ Life of Andrew Jackson. In three volumes. By JAMES Parton. Vol. 1. New York: Mason & Brothers. 1860. Large octavo. pp. 636.