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Parliamentary Papers. Correspondence relating to Affghanistan.
Bombay Times, 1842, 18-13. Narratire of the War in Affghanistan. By Captain H. HAVELOCK. The Expedition into Afghanistan. By Dr. J. ATKINSON, Super
intending Surgeon of the Bengal Division. Rough Notes of the Campaign in Scinde and Afghanistan. By
Captain JAMES OUTRAM. Campaign of the Army of the Indus. By R. H. KENNEDY, M.D.
Superintending Surgeon to the Bombay column of the Force. Outline of the Operations of the British Troops in Scinde and
Afghanistan, betwixt November 1838, and November 1842;
April ist, 1843.
surrection at that place in 1840. By CHARLES Masson, Esq. The Military Operations at Cabul, with a Journal of Imprisonment
in Affghanistan. By Lieut. VINCENT EYRE. A Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan, in 1841, 1842. By · LADY SALE.
In our May Number we entered into an examination of the reasons upon which the invasion of Affghanistan was founded, and expressed the opinion to which that examination had conducted us. We now proceed to redeem our promise of offering some notice of the manner in which the great and unjust scheme was carried out; and, if our space will allow it, something like a sketch of the beginning, middle, and end,- if the end is yet come,-of that strange and tragic drama. The incidents themselves are sufficiently exciting to attract the attention of those even who read merely for the gratification of curiosity, or for amusement; and for all those who find any meaning in the course of human events, few passages in recent history contain: a deeper moral.
The interest which attaches to the late events in Affghanistan has in some degree extended to the earlier progress of the war, No. XXXI.- N. S.
and it is probable that the works which come first in the list at the head of our article have been more generally read in the year 1843 than they were at the date of their publication. We do not name them with the purpose of criticising to any great extent their literary claims to attention.
To those who feel any historical interest in the subject, any wish to know what really happened, and how, they will all be more or less interesting; though going to a certain extent over the same ground, they present the variety of incident and character which is to be expected from Journals; and the general impression derived from the comparison of three or four will be nearer historical truth than would be that arising from any one.
Captain Havelock's is, we believe, the generally received military history of Lord Keane's campaign in Affghanistan. In addition to a clear and spirited account of the campaign, it contains sundry interspersed observations on its conduct, and these seem to be written with honesty and freedom. Captain Havelock is a decided admirer of the policy which dictated the invasion of Affghanistan; and, we presume that he includes in his estimate of the duties of an aide-de-camp to the general commanding a division of the invading force, a pretty thoroughgoing partizanship on the side of the king whose cause we embraced. He believes entirely in the dangerous approach, grasping ambition, and injustice of Russia, and draws from his belief curious inferences to guide the conduct of England. Apparently, the best way to encounter injustice and ambition is to imitate them. He frankly asserts the propriety of subjecting to our influence, that is subduing, all states lying between our Indian frontier and the Russian empire. “Those who are not decidedly for us,” he says, “may be justly assumed to be unequivocally against us," and may, of course, be treated accordingly.
Dr. Atkinson carries even farther than Captain Havelock the view of the case which we presume was then the fashionable one among the employés of the Indian government. He is, what a writer in the Bombay Times somewhere calls him, the “ courtly” historian of Shah Soojah; he is indeed an enthusiast in his favour, and, on the occasion of taking Ghuznee, becomes his self-elected poet laureate, putting into the mouth of Mahomed of Ghuznee a series of verses, descriptive of the coming golden age of Affghanistan, as bad as if they had proceeded from a genuine Mahometan Whitehead or Pye; singularly unpoetic, and, alas ! even more inauspiciously unprophetic. We might, if we pleased, give our readers some specimens, which, compared with the subsequent facts, are so curiously and literally contradictory hat they are as amusing as anything ludicrous on such a subject i be; but we abstain, merely recommending Dr. Atkinson, ise beautiful lithographed sketches of the scenery of the
march are certainly more attractive than his poetry, to express his enthusiasm hereafter by the pencil only.
It is curious, as illustrative of the careless ignorance of the feelings of the Affghan nation, which prevailed even after the conclusion of Lord Keane's expedition, to compare the views given by these two writers of the popularity of the English and Shah Soojah in Affghanistan, with each other and with the event. In Captain Havelock's opinion, the Affghans disliked the Shah, but were delighted with the prospect of living under the just and settled rule of the English. În Dr. Atkinson's— but we must give in his own words his exhibition of the mutual feelings of the English and Affghans:
“ The power which raised him (the Shah) to the throne is the principal drawback on his popularity. It is difficult for the people rightly to comprehend the policy which influenced that measure. They can see nothing in our advance to Cabul but a scheme of conquest...” (What extraordinary dulness on their part!) “ The Affghans are the most bigoted, arrogant, and intolerant people imaginable, and they equally detest our interference, our customs, and our creed. They look upon us at once with dread and contempt; subdued and prostrate as they are by our power, they yet despise us as a race of infidels, and, without one quality to warrant their being numbered generally among the class of civilized beings, they have, nevertheless, vanity enough to suppose that we have not sufficient penetration to detect and suspect their subterfuges and cunning, their doublings and deceit.”
Subsequent events may, perhaps, be thought to have shown that this wanity, at least, was not ill founded. “ Odisse quem laseris,” is a proverbially common feeling; and if Dr. Atkinson is to be regarded as the exponent of English feeling towards the Affghans, here is as strong an example of it as we recollect to have met with. The Affghans have saved us the trouble of solving the intricate knot of these contradictions—by cutting it asunder.
If there are any of our readers to whom Captain, now Major, Outram's name has not become familiar by the recent despatches of the Indian mail, we can only tell them these “Rough Notes” contribute to vindicate for him the reputation he enjoys of being a judicious, active, and daring soldier; that he appears throughout the campaign in Affghanistan, to have been the officer on all occasions selected for any service which might seem more peculiarly to require these qualities; that he has chased more refractory chiefs, captured more strongholds, and, in a rough way, for the time, pacified a greater extent of rough country than any one on record; and, finally, that he has the credit of having, in the character of Resident at Hyderabad, done all that could be done by a moderate, prudent, and humane servant of his government to prevent or defer the destructive crisis of conflict to which, ever since the great aggressive move of Lord Auckland, things in Scinde have been constantly tending—a reputation, if equally merited with the rest of his honours, how infinitely preferable to them all!
The last on our list of works relating to the early campaigns