13 DECEMBER 1856, Page 23


KAYE'S LIFE OF SIR JOHN MALCOLM.* IN the series of lives of Indian Worthies which Mr. Kaye is un- dertaking, he appears to be addressing himself somewhat exclu- sively to the Anglo-Indian public, or Indian politicians and his- torians. His Life of Metcalfe was in two bulky octavo volumes ; his Life of Malcolm runs to the same extent ; though the biogra- phical matter in each case was not such as to warrant so great an expansion. In one sense, there are fewer grounds for great fulness with Malcolm than with Metcalfe : although Metcalfe never rose from Provincial to Imperial rule, still he was a ruler— of Jamaica, of Canada, and pro tempore of India. Unless the Government of Bombay, in somewhat quiet times, (bating a dis- pute with the Judges,) be considered ruling, Malcolm was always a subordinate officer—a "Political," or in home language a diplo- matist ; though once, during the Pindaree war of the Marquis of Hastings, he was a leader of troops in action. In another sense, Malcolm was a better subject of biography than Metcalfe ; he had in him more of the elements of life. Met- calfe was sedentary both by taste and habit ; he had been well- educated before he left England, and had acquired a turn for essay-writing in the form of reflections or remarks, which, begin- ning at Eton, stuck to him throughout. Malcolm arrived in In- dia before he was fointeen, with no more education than a boy fall of animal spirits, fun, and mischief, could pick up at a Dum- friesshire village-school, and a short residence at an academy in London while preparing for his start. At twenty-one, he was described by his profitable friend Mr. Grseme Mercer as "illi- terate, but pregnant with ability." : his knowledge of Persian and the native languages was acquired in the intervals of camp life and diplomatic business ; his reading, which ultimately be- came extensive, was carried on in the same way. He had, no doubt, an exuberant fertility ; and, like most Anglo-Indians, he wrote with frightful fluency. Still his material was based upon facts or observations, and did not run so much upon mere notion- spinning as Metcalfe's literary habits induced, at least in an earlier day. Malcolm was also a very active man ; a horseman, a sportsman with a well-balanced constitution, where mind and body were alike capable of great exertion and fatigue, apparently without injury. For although Malcolm did not live to be an old man,—dying at sixty-four, in 1833,—yet his death was ac- celerated by over-exertion in a totally new field of action. John Malcolm was born on the 2d May 1769, in the same year and within a day or two of the same day as the Duke of Welling- ton. His father was an Eskdale farmer, of highly respectable character, but embarrassed circumstances, from the effects of which he was not freed till some of his children, especially John, were in a position to assist him. His family—a probable source of his embarrassments—was very large, ten sons and seven daughters. It was a remarkable family too: several of the sons raised themselves in society, and three attained public distinction, —Sir James Malcolm, K.C.B. Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm, G.C.B. and Sir John Malcolm, G.C.B., the hero of this book, and perhaps better known to the world for his History of Persia, and the more popular Sketches, than for his Indian services.

Although old Mr. Malcolm was only an Eskdale farmer, he had connexions with people of some influence ; and, from all that ap- • pears in the records of the time, patronage was more readily at- tainable eighty years ago by merely respectable families than it is now. Mrs. Malcolm's brother, Mr. Pasley, was a merchant in London, with some interest at the India House.. It is said that the Johnstones of Alva were friends of the family, and that the then well-known " Governor Johnstone" offered a cadetship for John in 1780. High profits and less competition rendered men more friendly, in some things at least. James Malcolm had al- ready been placed in the Marines ; Pulteney had got a midship- man's berth ; and in 1781, John, then in his thirteenth year, was taken to the India House by his maternal uncle, to undergo ex- amination for an ensignoy. The appointment had been got ; the difficulty was to pass the boy. Johns bold readiness settled the matter. " Why, my little man," said one of the Directors, " what would you do if you were to meet Hider Ali ? " " I would out with my sword and. cut off his head,' replied Malcolm. " You will do—let him pass," said the examiner. His first com- mission was dated in October 1781: he arrived in India in April 1783, having through a friend of his uncle got a free passage ; the advantage of which was a main object in getting him passed so early.

Of the first six or seven years of John Malcolm's Indian life

The Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir John ifalcolin, G.C.B.; late Envoy to Persia, and Governor of Bombay • from Unpublished Letters and Journals. by Jo)in ' ' William Baye, Author of the " Life of Lord Metcalfe," "IlistorY of the War in Afghanistan," fe, In two volumes, Published by Smith iunl Bider, not much is known, and Mr. Kaye seems to think that it is just as well that it should remain in obscurity. An ensign of four- teen, full of animal spirits, pretty much his own master, and with the then habits of military life in India, was likely enough to outrun the constable Malcolm did so—it was said by gambling, among other extravagancies ; but he soon saw the error of his ways, and having resolved on reform, pursued it with a deter- mination indicative of the man.

" One anecdote relating to this period of his life [circa 1788] ie extant. Being with his regiment at some out-station and in very straitened circum- stances, paying off his debts, I believe, as best he could, and scorning to borrow from his comrades, he was often sore beset for a meal. One day the Colonel of his regiment sent for him and said, 'I don't see any smoke come out of the chimney of your cook-room, Malcolm—come and breakfast with me.' The young soldier fired up at this indelicate invitation—an unwar- rantable interference, as he thought, in his private affairs ; and he either actually called out the Colonel, or was with difficulty restrained from send- ing the challenge. I have heard too, that at one time, in the course of these years of early struggle—probably at the identical period to which the above anecdote refers—an old Native woman in the bazaar voluntarily sup- plied him with provisions, for the payment of which, she declared, she was content to wait his own time and convenience. For the good feeling thus displayed Malcolm was ever grateful ; and his gratitude took a practical shape, for he pensioned the good woman to the end of her days."

Young Malcolm's first service of any moment was in the ad- vance of Lord Cornwallis against Seringapatam, in 1790 ; but to Malcolm that campaign was chiefly of importance for the men it introduced him to and the stimulus they gave him. He became acquainted, with Sir John Kennaviay, Mr. Grteme Mercer, and other diplomatists at the court of Hyderabad. Their conversation, their example, the political power they exercised, seem to have stimulated. Malcolm. Mr. Mercer lent him his Moonshee, and he commenced the study of Persian. He also began to reflect upon the position of the Company in relation to the Native powers, and the conduct which the former should adopt towards the latter. Before anything came of his studies beyond a certain degree of reputation, his health gave way, and he returned. to England in 1794. His vigour was soon reestablished, and he made use of his short residence at home to improve himself, partly, it is said, by attending some of the College classes at Edinburgh. He must have had more reputation, interest, or connexion, than any ac- count has preserved; for Lieutenant Malcolm sailed for India, in 1795, as Secretary to Sir Alured Clarke, the Commander-in- chief of the Madras army ; the fleet calling at the Cape of Good Hope, where Malcolm " assisted " in wresting the colony from the Dutch.

Soon after arriving at Madras, his patron Sir Alured Clarke suc- ceeded to the chief command in Bengal ; and, from some circum- stances apparently connected with patronage or jobbing, could not take Malcolm with him, but left him to become Secretary to Gene- ral Harris, Sir Alured's successor. It was perhaps a fortunate loss for Malcolm. Not long after, Lord Morniugton, Marquis Welles- ley, arrived in India, determined to come to blows with Tippoo if that potentate would. not submit to dictation. Madras was the basis of operations ; there were finally assembled' all the Welles- leys—Lord Mornington, Colonel Arthur Wellesley, and Henry, Lord Cowley; and thence Harris and the army marched to Serin- gapatam, after the Native force of our ally the Nizam, trained under French officers, had been disbanded by the Governor-Gene- ral's orders,—a delicate operation, in which Malcolm bore a con- spicuous part. It would be impossible to touch on the future career of Malcolm with any characteristic detail in the space at our disposal. It must suffice to indicate its leading features. The patronage of the Marquis Wellesley, the friendship of his bro- thers Arthur and Henry, his own experience, acquirements, and. genial qualities, introduced Malcolm to high though historically speaki 0. subordinate posts. After the fall of Seringapatam and the settlements • consequent thereupon, Malcolm was sent as Am- bassador to Persia : there, independently of ably fulfilling his public duties, he acquired that knowledge of the country and the people which he afterwards turned to literary account, and on which his name will mainly depend with posterity. On his return he became Private Secretaryto the Governor-General; subsequently he attended General Wellesley. as a Political in the campaign of Assaye ; and he accompanied Lake in a similar capacity during the last pursuit of Holkar. He was as fully em- ployed after the return of the Marquis Wellesley to Eng- land. He was twice again sent to Persia ; but with less suc- cess than on his first mission, coming back in both cases " re in- fects," indeed not begun. He early turned back, the first time on a point of Persian etiquette ; next time he got as far as an audience, but Sir Hartford Jones was at hand as Royal Ambassador, and the Company had to retire before the King. Malcolm was also engaged, not very successfully, in trying to appease the celebrated Madras mutiny. After a furlough in England, he was employed by the Marquis of Hastings both in peace and war; and finally, after another sojourn in England, appointed aovernor of Bombay,

In this career, though he had no absolute checks, he had some rubs, chiefly caused by his facile liberality with the public money on his Persian embassy, and his possibly taking too much on himself in the treaty touching Gwalior ; though the Duke of Wellington seemed to think that Malcolm was right and his brother wrong. The Madras mutiny was a more questionable affair than either of these. For whether or not he exceeded or mistook his instructions, it is quite clear that to parley, and dine, and drink questionable toasts, with officers in open revolt, who had put their commander under arrest, was, to say the least of it, a mistake of the gravest character.

When Malcolm finally returned to England he was just sixty- two. A man less vigorously active would have withdrawn from public life, or would have waited and watched. But such was not in his nature. We were then [the spring of 1831] in the very thick of the Reform Bill agitation. Sir John Malcolm was a Tory by family connexions ; he knew little of home politics, less of English public opinion ; but he got himself returned for the Duke. of Northumberland's borough of Launceston, and stoutly opposed the bill. His exertions in this cause, and possibly his mortification at failure—though he was a sanguine spirit, not easily depressed—coupled with his subsequent attention to the India Bill, even rising from his bed while suffering under a se- vere attack of influenza, to make a two-hours speech at the India House, undermined a life that might with more careful hus- banding have lasted to fourscore. His decease was accompanied by a curious additional illustration of the vanity of human wishes. He died in London lodgings, but on the very day, of his death the house he was modernizing on an estate he had bought to reside upon was reported ready for his reception.

Sir John Malcolm was a man whose energy, activity, and capital health,—the " mens sana in corpore nano," as his bio- grapher justly terms it—would have secured success in most walks of busy life. Still he owed something to his connexion with the Wellesley family, and this biography owes more. The passages relating to the Duke of Wellington are among the most interesting in the book. Here is a sample of Malcolm's genial style, an anecdote of Assaye, a picture of Indian and Anglo- Indian jovialty, with an allusion to some verses of the writer, which are not so good as his prose.

"The day before yesterday the whole of the officers in camp dined with me to celebrate the anniversary of the battle of Assye ; and it was celebrated with proper enthusiasm by men who were sensible to all the advantages the Indian Army derives from having its fame associated with your history. I have never yet written any poetry about you, and therefore expect pardon for making you the subject of a song for the day, a copy of which I enclose. It is the same measure as that in which Moore has made the Genius of Erin call upon you to relieve her land, and sings equally well with the appres prints air of Paddy Whack.' If Moore is very Irish, you will perhaps say I am very Asiatic.

" Our Assye festival did not finish with my dinner. My Native aide-de- camp, Subadar Syud Hussein, a gallant soldier, owes his rise to that day. He was the leading havildar of the Fourth Cavalry in the charge ; and he afterwards dashed into the centre of a party of the enemy's horse, and bore off their standard. His commanding-officer, Floyer, brought him and the standard to you; and upon the story being told, you patted him upon the back, and, with that eloquent and correct in the Native language for which you were celebrated, said, Acha havildar ; jemadar.' A jemadar he was made ; and though the anecdote has no doubt been ex- pelled from your memory to make room for others of more interest, it holds an important place in Syud Ilussein's ; and amid all his subsequent suc- cesses in Persia and in India, which have raised him to medals, pensions, and a palanquin from Government, his pride is the pat on the back he re- ceived at Assye ; and he told me the other day with great naivete that he felt raised by your actions, as your increasing fame gave increasing value to the notice you had once taken of him. This grateful soldier followed my feast by one on the 24th to two hundred subadars, jemadars, havildars, and naicka of my division ; and a grand nauteh which he gave in the evening to about four hundred spectators was attended by all the English officers in camp. A very good transparency of your head, with the word Assye, which had ornamented my bungalow, was put up by him in a large tent ; and the Persian name of Wellesley Sahib Bahadur, in Persian characters, announced to those who had not seen the light of your countenance in the original for whom thepicture was intended. The subadar was pressed to call you the Duke of Wellington ; but he said (and I think very justly) that was your European name, but your Indian name was Wellesley Bahadur."

This was in 1818. Malcolm was in England at the battle of Waterloo, and he went to Paris soon afterwards. His journal giving an account of his frequent communications with the Duke of Wellington, his interviews with the numerous celebrities then in Paris, his speculations on the state of affairs, and his pictures of the capital, form one of the most interesting chapters in the work. Here is the first meeting with the Duke. The subject touched upon is old, but with an ever-living interest ; the facts in a sense old also, but with new and fresher colouring. " I went to the Duke's hotel. He had not returned from the review, so Allan and myself left our names ; and the moment he came in (five o'clock,) Colonel Campbell brought us a message requesting we would dine with him, and that we would bring Lord John Campbell, who was our fellow travel- ler. We found the Duke with a large party seated at dinner. He called out, in his usual manner, the moment I entered, ! Malcolm, I am de- lighted to see you.' I went and shook hands, introduced Lord John Camp- bell, and *then sat down. I mention this trifle because it showed me at once that his astonishing elevation had not produced the slightest change. The tone, the manner, everything was the same.

"After dinner, he left a party he was with when I entered, and, shaking me by the hand, retired to one end of the room, where he shortly stated what had occurred within the eventful month. People ask me for an ac-

count of the action,' he said : tell them it was hard pounding on both aides, and 'we pounded the hardest. There was no maneuvering, he said ; 'Bonaparte kept his attacks, and I was glad to let it be decided by the troops. There are no men in Europe that can fight like my Spanish infantry ; none have been so tried. Besides,' he added with enthusiasm, my army and I know one another exactly. We have a mutual confidence, and are never disappointed." You had, however,' I observed, more than one half

of your troops of other nations.' That did not signify, he said, for I had discovered the secret of mixing them up together. Had I employed them in separate corps I should have lost the battle. The Hanoverians,' he added, are good troops, but the new Dutch levies are bad. They, however, served to fill gaps and I knew where to place them.' • * •

" When 'I stated that I could not discover any great strength in the posi. tion at the battle of Waterloo, but that it seemed the description of ground that might have been impartially chosen to decide a day between two great nations, he replied that there was no advantage ; that the French artillery had rather the highest ridge. I asked him if he knew the foundation of the assertion made by Lord Bathurst, with respect to his (Wellington's) having surveyed the ground and declared he would fight a battle there if he could. He said he had directed the ground to be looked at, and in the ire. pression that it might be a good site for a few troops, as it was clear of the forest, and commanded two great roads; but he never had, he said, thought of fighting a battle there. The fa, is,' he observed, I should have fought them on the 17th at Quatre Bras, if the Prussians had stood their ground. My retiring to Waterloo was an act of necessity, not choice.' "

Malcolm was again in France during the coronation of Charles the Tenth, which he attended. In the course of his stay at Paris, he had a long conversation with Soult, curious not only for its facts, but for the wide range of its subjects and the historian-like grasp which the French Marshal displayed.

"June 16.—Went this morning to Lady William Bentinck's ; where I met Soult. We fell into conversation, and continued it on various subjects for i at least two hours. He was very inquisitive as to the actual state of Persia, of Turkey, and the probable designs of Russia. The freedom with which I gave my sentiments upon these points had its effect upon him, and he lost by degrees all that reserve which belongs to his usual character.

, He spoke of Bonaparte's designs against England. He possessed, he said, a volume of letters upon the subject. The project,' said he, which he formed of an invasion of your country was suited to his tactics, which were to march directly to his point. If he conquered England, Europe was conquered ; and he cared nothing for the advance of the legions of Germany, provided he could have dated one letter from London." The battle of Tra. falgar,' said Soult, dispelled the charm: but when he marched against Russia, it was still England that was his object, and all means that Russia could furnish, had that expedition succeeded, would have been turned against India. We might never have brought back a man from England had we gone over, and our troops might have perished on the road to India; but Napoleon was sincere and earnest in both these projects.' " Soult, speaking of Spain, said he did not concur with me in thinking the condition of that country would involve the Continent. Your recog- nition of the independence of its colonies has put an extinguisher upon the importance of that country.' Speaking of South America, he observed— `There were few greater wonders in this extraordinary age than that of Eng- lishmen and English capital being employed in working the mines of Mexico ; and if all your steam-engines, said he, Work to good purpose, where lies that relative value of gold and silver ? Those metals, when found in great quantities, must cease to have their present price,: and what changes might we not expect from this revolution in the value of money throughout the globe.' "Soult said that England presented at this moment the most extraordi- nary spectacle of a nation which, raised as it was above others by un aral- leled credit, was now on full march to improvements of every kind, and giving an impulse to the whole world. 'During the late protracted contest,' said he, you spent your revenue ten times over ; and now your Ministers, guided as they are by public opinion, are taking step after step to advance you still higher. Your bold adoption of new principles of commercial policy must be attended with benefit, and other nations must follow the same path.' " Soult spoke with enthusiasm on Peel's Bill on Juries. " He told me that he thought Greece would yet involve Europe. He agreed with me that in Russia, as a military empire, progress was a law of existence. She could not stop : but he thought her views pointed more to the Mest than the East at this moment; her views to the East could alone be directed against us, and her jealousy of England was natural. I speak with more freedom,' said he, on such subjects, as my country is not now in a position to act a prominent part; but Russia must certainly look with so- licitude to every means to counterbalance that great power you derive, both in peace and war, from your superiority at sea.' "

There are a good many particulars of the former state of India scattered through the volumes, and some anecdotes that owe their interest to their intrinsic qualities ; for Indian and even most Anglo-Indian celebrities have no associations for English readers. The personal anecdotes of Malcolm are comparatively few in number ; and if our extracts present him rather as a raconteur than an actor, such is really the nature of the book. A very large portion of it consists of comments by Malcolm on public af- fairs, addressed to others, or of the story of affairs in which he was only engaged as an influential subordinate.