Page images

his appointment and his departure for India, he commenced the study of the Persian language, which he subsequently pursued with equal assiduity and success during his voyage. As an honourable proof of the estimation in which he was held, it deserves to be mentioned that Mr. Duncan, the eminent pub. lisher, to whom Lord was only known by his literary reputation, sent him Lee's edition of Sir W. Jones's Persian grammar, so soon as he heard of his intention to study the language, and added to this unsolicited gift a proffer of any other work in his catalogue which Dr. Lord might deem useful to his studies. This act of kindness was never forgotten; in one of his last letters, Dr. Lord refers to it as a decisive refutation of the charges of selfishness that are sometimes brought against publishers. It must also be recorded that Messrs. Whittaker and Co. readily advanced the price fixed for the copyright of the work on Algiers, although the work was not sent to press until after the author left the country.

During his residence in London, Dr. Lord had lived with the writer of this memoir: we had been companions in college, we were fellow-labourers in the field of literature, and during an intimacy and friendship of more than ten years, not a cloud had ever risen to shade the sunshine of our intercourse. Under such circumstances the scene of our parting was necessarily painful, but it was brightened by cheering anticipations of a re-union, alas ! doomed not to be realized in this world. He wished much to visit Ireland and bid farewell to his mother, whom he loved, as she well deserved, with an intensity of fondness that was almost a principle of his existence. He was with difficulty dissuaded from this step by his friends, who thought that such a meeting to part would inflict unnecessary torture on both. The letter he addressed to his “double parent,” as he used to call his widowed mother, on the eve of his embarkation, is so honourable to the living and the dead, that it is given entire.

“MY OWN DEAREST MOTHER—We sail to-morrow; but I cannot send you my picture and a lock of my hair without adding a few lines. To ask for your remem brance and prayers is needless; I know I have both already, and you know I love you with the sincerest and truest affection a child can love a parent. Our confidence then is mutual and requires no protestations. One request I will make, which is, that you bear our separation as a Christian suffering under trials--as becomes the long and fondly loved partner of the toils and labours of my dear father, whose patient endurance of adversity should now be a light to our feet to show us the path in which we should walk. Dear John (his brother, who is a clergyman of the Established Church) will enforce these things better than I can, and will bring to your aid the consolations of reason and religion with which our beloved father so often dried the tears of the afflicted and eased the over-burthened heart: but let me entreat you by the love you bear us, to moderate your feelings under this, which I hope will be but a temporary absence. Remember that you are now our only joy and comfort, and that every toil we bear and labour we undergo will be brightened and sanctified to us all, if we can thereby add one comfort to your declining years, or pay the smallest portion of the debt of love, and gratitude, and affection which we all owe you for the unceasing cares which you have bestowed on us when children, and the undivided affection with which you now bestow on us your whole heart, with all its thoughts, and desires, and wishes.

“Dearest Mother, I kiss you a thousand times. All your children love and honour you; but none shall exceed in either

"Your fondly attached son,

"P. B. LORD. * Brixton Hill, Nov. 21, 1834." From a letter written in a more lively strain while the vessel in which he was a passenger lay in Portsmouth roads, a few extracts are made, partly to show his buoyancy of spirit, and partly because they afford a graphic picture of the petty annoyances which a landsman must expect in life at sea.

“You may think that going to India is all fair sailing, and as easy a task as taking a seat in the coach; it may be so for men who can afford to pay handsomely for having every thing done for them, and have then only to step into their fur. nished cabin and set sail; but for poor fellows like me, who must look after every thing themselves, it is quite another affair. I came aboard the vessel, which was

lying about a mile off shore, in an open boat, on a miserably wet day, sitting on my carpet-bag to keep it dry, and whistling to drown thought whenever I was not employed in blowing my fingers to keep them warm. I got to the vessel cold, wet and hungry, expecting that some charitable Christian would say—be thou warmed and fed. Fed, indeed I was, for I luckily got in just as dinner was going away from the table, so that I got a piece of roast beef which was neither hot nor cold, with as much stiff tallow around it as served to show that the dish had once contained gravy. But as to warmed'-bless your soul, this is an Indiaman, and being destined to spend three-fourths of the year in warm climates, makes no provision for the other fourth, which this unluckily happens to be; so that there is neither stove nor fire from stem to stern save that which belongs to the cook. After I had made a shift to eat as much of the lukewarm beef as served to stay my stomach, I got down below to visit my cabin, which I found in most admired disorder. But I must tell you what a cabin is. A cabin is a little, dark, doghole of a place, about nine feet long, eight feet broad, and six feet high, with a scuttle to give light, through which, if open, you could barely thrust your head; but which, when the ship is over on her side, must be kept closed to prevent the water getting in, and for this purpose it is glazed with glass so thick that the meridian sun may be seen through it with the utmost safety-its brilliancy scarcely appearing to rival that of a farthing candle. Now conceive me standing in the midst of this eabin, with one large trunk, one small trunk, two bullock trunks, one tin case, one hat-box, one chair, one washing stand, and one hammock, with bedding, cordage, and screws as per invoice; and suppose that just as I had got in and shut the door, to think what was to be done next, the vessel began to pitch rather uneasily, and that at each pitch the large trunk, the small trunk, the tin case, boxes, stand, chair, and hammock, rolled, higgledy-piggledy, now to this side, now, like the Scotchman, back again to the other, and conceive me, your eldest son and the hope of your family, jumping for the bare life to save my brains from being knocked out, and displaying an agility which would have done honour to a rope-dancer, and you will then have a notion of my initiation into the comforts of an Indian voyage.

“ However, all that is bright must fade,' and exercise, though agreeable and salutary, may be too violent to be long persevered in. Accordingly, finding that the wind without was likely to outlast my wind within, I seized a favourable opportunity to bolt out of the door, bolting the aforesaid trunks, boxes, cases, &c., in, and hurried up on deck to try if I could get any assistance in quelling the insurrection below. This hope, however, was utterly' futile. All hands were employed in working the ship; and even a little boy whom I had engaged to attend me during the voyage out, I discovered, by the aid of a telescope and at the expense of a crick in my neck, standing half-way up to the clouds, pulling at a long rope, which they called the main top-gallant sheet. However, before long I got him down, and finding him intelligent and docile, easily made him understand that he must set about to steal me some nails, cleets, and a hammer, which he shortly accomplished to my satisfaction; and then a few hard blows set all to rights."

From Madeira, Dr. Lord transmitted to his friend, the editor of the “ Athenæum," a very graphic and lively account of that island. It was published in the 385th number of “the Atheneum," and extracted into several other journals. On the 10th of June, 1835, he reached Bombay, where he continued without any employment during the rainy reason. He mentions with warm gratitude the kindness he received from the governor, the late Sir Robert Grant, from Sir Herbert Compton, Major Macdonald, but more especially from Mr. Larkins, of the civil service, who (shortly after this letter was written) was married to a niece of his old friend, General Hardwicke. “ They insisted,” he says, “that I should remain with them until the rains were over, so here I have been ever since. Mrs. Larkins is a charming young woman, and she has her sister, a most agreeable girl, staying with her. They were both educated on the Continent and are highly accomplished, and above all, musical, so that I am as idle and as happy as the days are long; I am now, however, about to be busy again."

Dr. Lord was appointed to the native cavalry in Guzerat; he speedily acquired the esteem and friendship of his commanding officers, so that when the plague broke out a little beyond the northern frontiers of the British province, he was chosen by the surgeon superintending his division to visit the district and report on the disease. He was actually on his road when he was recalled by the intelligence of his having been appointed surgeon to the embassy then about to proceed to Cabul, under Captain, now Sir Alexander Burnes. “ It was," he says, “really a piece of good fortune almost unexampled in one who has not yet been two years in the service, and it has been done in the handsomest manner, without any application on my part—the governor assuring me when I called to thank him, that I owed it altogether to my high character in the service, and his belief that I was in every way the person best suited to the station."

In April, 1837, Doctor Lord sailed for the Indus, in company with Captain Burnes, Lieutenant Wood, whose survey of the Indus has been recently published, and Mr. Leech, of the engineers. A portion of a letter written during his voyage up the Indus is of peculiar interest at a time when public attention is so strongly directed to that river.

“We are making a most delightful voyage up the Indus, travelling routes that Europeans never travelled before, visiting all the native courts in our way, where we were received as little demigods, collecting information of all sorts, as to the geography, commerce, revenues, power, and (which is my branch,) natural history of the countries through which we pass. Sometimes we sail along the river in large commodious boats, upon which we have built ourselves small houses of bamboos and reeds ; sometimes we mount on horses and gallop off to any town, or mountain, or mosque, or place of note that we wish to examine, followed by strings of camels laden with our tents, our beds, and refreshments of all kinds. Every where the people come in crowds to see us, and nothing can exceed their astonishment at every thing connected with us. My boat is one of the wonders of the Indus. On the top is a huge crocodile which we shot as it lay basking on the left side of the river, and I have skinned and stuffed it, to send to the Asiatic Society of Calcutta. It is fifteen feet long. I have prepared it with its mouth open, and the natives fancy it is employed in guarding my boat. Please to walk in, ladies and gentlemen : the first thing you see is a gigantic crane, five feet high, with a shoal of stuffed fish under his feet; one step forward and you are on the back of a huge river tortoise, which lies sprawling at the foot of my bed ; right about face, and you come vis a vis with a long line of ducks, teals, pelicans, spoonbills, and all sorts of waterfowl, while parrots, mines, fly-catchers, and all manner of little birds hang dangling in long strings from the ceiling. The table is covered with retorts and other chemical apparatus, which make the natives look upon me as a sort of conjuror.

We are at present halting here (at Dera Ghazee Khan) for the purpose of making commercial inquiries, and have pitched our tents in a date

grove on the banks of the river, one of the most beautiful spots you can imagine. The day after to-morrow we start again."

The party arrived safely at Cabul. Dr. Lord applied himself diligently to the study of the natural history of the surrounding country, and at the same time by his conciliating manners won the friendship of Dost Mohammed Khan and several of the Affghan chiefs. Some cures which he effected spread his fame through the country, and at length it reached Morad Beg, the formidable emir of Kunduz, who sent to request the assistance of the Hakim Feringi (Frank physician) for his brother, who was threatened with blindness. Such an opportunity of conci. liating this potent chieftain, and at the same time gaining information respecting the political condition of the Uzbeg was not to be lost, and towards the end of November, 1837, Dr. Lord penetrated into Tartary through the mountains of the Hindoo Koosh. “In so doing,” he says, “I had a narrow escape, a whole Cafila having been buried in the snow the very same day, in attempting a pass not twenty miles distant, and generally considered much better than that through which I penetrated.” The following is his account of the Uzbeg chief:-"My host is Morad Beg, the emir or chief of Kunduz, and if you can lay hold of Burnes' Travels, you will find a full length-description of the gentleman, though of course not in the most favourable light, inasmuch as Burnes narrowly missed having his head chopped off by him. For my own part, however, I have managed to keep on excellent terms with him, though not always an easy task.”

The doctor found that his patient's case was hopeless ; he told the brothers that a cure was contrary to the decrees of destiny, and they received the intelligence with Mohammedan resignation. While preparing for his return to Cabul, Lord received a letter from Captain Burnes, informing him that the negotiations at Cabul were broken off, and that he should manage his retreat as quickly and safely as he could. The passage of the Hindoo Koosh on his return was a work of great danger and toil. “ Šuffice it to say,” he writes to his brother, “that sixteen out of eighteen horses which I had with me, were buried in the snow of the Hindoo Koosh. We dug them out, and actually brought them down on men's shoulders. I myself had to walk eighteen miles over the surface of the frozen snow, covering a bill 13,200 feet high ; but, thank God, though some of the horses died, I did not lose a single man of my party."

On his return to the British dominions, Dr. Lord drew up an account of his mission and his observations on the Uzbeg Tartars and their territory, which was submitted to the government by Sir Alexander Burnes. It attracted immediate attention; the Governor's Secretary declared that he had never in his official career got so much information in so perspicuous a form ; and the Commander-in-chief expressed his surprise that so much information could have been amassed by a medical man. In consequence, Dr. Lord was appointed political assistant to the envoy sent to the King of Cabul, and was entrusted with the duty of raising all the well-affected subjects of Shah Soojah in the vicinity of Peshawer. He entered zealously on this new duty. “I am this moment, he says in a letter to his mother, “ casting cannon, forging muskets, raising troops, horse and foot, talking, persuading, threatening, bullying, and bribing ; in short, I am as great an agitator here as Dan O'Connell in ould Ireland."

When Colonel Wade assumed the command at Peshawer, Lord employed his leisure in a way which will be best described by himself. “ To the astonishment of every officer in the force, who seemed to think the doctors could do nothing but make pills, I cast a six-pounder piece of field artillery, supplied it with carriage, horses, men, round and canister shot complete ; forged three hundred rifle guns ; made tentage for five thousand men į made uniforms for about three thousand; furnished a quantity of sword-belts and other accoutrements; and in addition to all, raised and organized a corps of irregular cavalry from amongst the natives of the country, of a part of which I retained the command until we entered Cabul in triumph.” He acted as Colonel Wade's aide-de-camp, in the three days' fighting at the Khyber-pass, and received the public thanks of the Governor General for “the zeal, promptitude, and energy manifested on the occasion.” From Cabul Dr. Lord was sent to Bameean, to superintend the negotiations with the states of Turkestan. He thus describes his position :-"I have a regiment of infantry, six pieces of cannon, and a number of irregular cavalry at my orders.

At my first arrival here, our Tartar neighbours were inclined to be troublesome, and about a thousand of them had come down to attack a small fort, about thirty-five miles in front of our post. I sent them orders to retire, or take the consequence. As they chose the latter alternative, I marched from this at sunset with three hundred chosen horse, pursued my way all night over hills covered with frost and snow ; it was the coldest night I ever felt, but early in the morning we found ourselves close to their camp, which we immediately charged with such success, that they never waited even to fire a shot, but every man jumped on the horse next him, and galloped away as hard as he could ; nor did they stop running for twenty miles, though the jaded state of our horses prevented our pursuing them more than three or four. Of course we got their camp, with horses, arms, and various other plunder, which I gave up to the soldiers ; and the renown of this has prevented any more of them coming so near us since."

Dr. Lord's success in his mission at Bameean was, as he himself says, " uri. bounded;" he got in the entire family of the ex-chief of Cabul, and conciliated all the Uzbeg states as far as the "Oxus." These merits did not save him from calumny; he was attacked by an anonymous correspondent of “ The Agra Ukhbar," whose views were adopted by the editor of that paper. He was persuaded by some injudicious friends to notice these slanders, contrary to his own better judgment, for it was a common proverb of his that " entering into con. troversy with an editor is like going to law with a certain black gentleman, and having the court held in a remarkably hot place." It is pleasing to add, that notwithstanding this dispute, the editor of " The Agra Ukhbar" has since done full justice to his memory.

[ocr errors]

When the military division was sent to meet and intercept Dost Mohammed Khan, Dr. Lord was directed to accompany it, as his personal acquaintance with that chief was likely to facilitate a surrender. For the same reason he joined himself to the advanced guard when the armies came in sight of each other at Purwan Durrah, and it was his personal observation and judgment which marked the opportunity and suggested the movement by which Dost Mohammed's flank was turned, and his retreat cut off. The disgraceful panic which seized the cavalry at the moment that success was ensured, proved fatal to most of the offieers. Dr. Lord was on the extreme left; he made the most vigorous exertions to stop the flight of the men, and when his exhortations were unheeded he spurred across the field to join another party, which seemed to evince a better spirit. In his haste, he incautiously approached a fortified house, which had been occupied by a small party of the enemy; a volley was fired, and he fell pierced by more than a dozen balls. His death, of course, must have been instantaneous. To him might have been applied his own favourite quotation from Beaumont :

"O fair flower,
How lovely yet thy ruins show

!--How sweetly
Even Death embraces thee! The peace of Heaven,

The fellowship of all great souls go with thee !" It is not necessary to subjoin a formal character of Dr. Lord to this brief sketch. The annexed letter of Sir Alexander Burnes will show the estimation in which he was held by his associates and brother officers; and what higher tribute can be paid to his merits, than to prove that those who had an opportunity of scrutinizing them most closely, and who were the best able to appreciate their worth, were the persons who valued them most?

As killing as the canker to the rose,
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Or frost to flowers that their gay wardrobe wear,
When first the white thorn blows,
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear.

“ Cabul, 25th November, 1840. “MY DEAR SIR– It has devolved to me to convey to you the afflicting intel. ligence of the death of P. B. Lord, Esq., who was killed in action with Dost Mohammed Khan, on the 2nd, forty-five miles north of Cabul. The accompanying papers will explain to you why I address myself to you; they are transcripts of my poor departed friend's wills, and one of them conveys from an eye witness, Dr. Grant, à detailed account of the manner in which Mr. Lord was killed.

“The loss of one so able and so promising is to the government of India greatas to my own individual feelings, I dare not trust myself

upon them, since I feel myself deprived of one of my dearest and best friends. But how shall I speak of them or the sorrows of a government, when I call to mind an afflicted mother, whom he affectionately and fondly loved, and to whom must devolve on you the sad and mournful task of communicating this heart-rending intelligence. By his own particular request I forbear to address her.

“ This calamity, bearing so heavily as a private and public affliction, is rendered more painful by the circumstances under which it occurred—the misbehaviour of our own cavalry, who shamefully deserted their officers, and left them to be sacrificed. The advanced guard, the post of honour for a soldier, was the one which Mr. Lord held on that day. My own position with the main column, about a mile in rear, enabled me to see all; but I will not dwell on harassing details farther than to corroborate what Dr. Grant has so ably and painfully recorded. It is a small satisfaction to think that the cavalry will be disgraced, and smaller still to think that Dost Mohammed surrendered the day after. We performed the last sad duties to Mr. Lord's remains at nine at night, in his own tent and in the field where he fell; for though our cavalry fled, our other troops gained the day, and the battlefield appeared to me the appropriate resting-place for so much human excellence and glory. A tomb will be raised over it by his intimate friends, and we also mean to commemorate his virtues by a marble slab in the Cathedral Church of Bombay, for which I have requested Dr. Kennedy, a particular friend, to write an inscription; from myself I have suggested the very apt line

#* Multis llle bonis flebilis occidit,'"

« PreviousContinue »