INDIA DURING THE RAJ: EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS
Diaries and Related Records Held at the British Library, London
Part 1: Diaries and Related Records Describing Life in India, c.1750-1842
Part 2: Diaries and Related Records Describing Life in India, 1819-1859
Biographical Notes on Diarists - Part 2
Mss Urdu 132
An account of the Indian Mutiny, 1857, this rare and important document gives contemporary details of the events.
Charles Masson, 1800-1853 (James Lewis)
He was an explorer and orientalist born at Aldermanbury, Middlesex, the son of George Lewis and Mary Hopcraft. He married Mary Anne Kilby in 1844 and had two children. Following a brief period of service in the 24th Regiment of Foot in 1822 he joined the East India Company Army serving in the Bengal European Artillery. After seeing action from
1825-1826 at the siege of Bharatpur he deserted from the army in 1827 and with the new identity of Charles Masson travelled in Afghanistan collecting ancient coins. In 1835 he was pardoned for his desertion and from 1835-1838 was the Political Agent to the Government at Kabul. He returned to England in 1838. He published several books on his travels including, Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, and the Punjab, 1842.
A member of the Bombay Civil Service from 1808, he retired about 1840, but his diaries run up to 1858. They include travels in the Middle East and Europe as well as in India.
John Russell Colvin, 1807-1857
From 1827-1831 he served as Assistant to the Resident at Hyderabad. He then became Deputy Secretary in the Judicial and Revenue Departments of the Government of India. From 1836-1841 he acted as Private Secretary to the Governor-General Lord Auckland and the diaries cover his first three years in that role. Thereafter, in 1845 he was made Resident of Nepal, was then chosen as Commander of the Tenasserim Province in Burma and afterwards promoted to the Sadr Court in Calcutta. From 1853 to his death in 1857 at Agra during the Mutiny he served as Lt-Governor of the North-West Provinces.
General Marcus de la Poer Beresford
A British Army officer, he first went out in India in 1835 to become Military Secretary to the Commander-in-Chief Sir Henry Fane (whose niece Caroline he married in January 1838 as his second wife). He began his diary in 1836, apparently for the benefit of his little daughter “Izzy” who had been sent home to England shortly after his first wife’s death. Following Fane’s resignation, Beresford served as Colonel Commanding the Landour Depot from 1840-1841. His diary recommences with his return to India in 1854 to become Major-General Commanding at Bangalore and he was still there in 1859 when the diary abruptly ends.
Arthur Herbert Cocks, 1819-1881
He was the third son of Philip James Cocks MP Educated at the East India Company’s College at Haileybury he went out to Bengal in 1837. He served with Sir Charles Napier as an administrator after the conquest of Sind. At the outbreak of the 2nd Sikh War in 1848 he was attached to Lord Gough’s headquarters as a political officer. He received the Punjab War Medal and became part of the Punjab Civil Service. He was friends with John Nicholson, Sir Herbert Edwardes and Sir Robert Montgomery. In the Indian Mutiny he held the post of judge at Mainpuri, he served in the Volunteer force in Agra and in the Aligarh District. He returned to England in 1863 and served as JP for Worcestershire. His wife was Anne Marian Jessie Eckford, daughter of Lt-General James Eckford and sister of Lt John James Eckford who was present at the outbreak of the Mutiny at Meerut.
Lt-Colonel Frederick Carleton Marsden, 1803-1889
The son of a British Army Captain, he joined the Bengal Army in 1825. He was involved in civil administration, firstly from 1843 in the Saugor and Narbada territories, and then in the Punjab from 1849-1859 mainly at Multan and Jhelum. The diaries refer mainly to his time in the Punjab.
Thomas Machell, 1824-1862
The son of Rev Robert Machell of Etton rectory near Beverley, Yorkshire, as a boy he ran away to sea but was retrieved by his family before actually getting aboard ship. Later, at the age of sixteen, he was formally enlisted as a midshipman aboard an East India merchant ship the Worcester, and the diaries contain vivid descriptions of this first voyage (which included involvement in the 1st China War) and his seven later voyages mostly made as a passenger. By 1850 he had become an indigo plantation manager and the later diaries include a good deal of information on indigo planting in Bengal. In 1856 he moved to coffee planting in Madras where the diary closes. He died six years later in 1862.
Maria Amelia Vansittart
She was the wife of Major William Jervis of the Bengal Army (divorced, 1844) and later of Henry Vansittart (1818-1896) who served in the Bengal Civil Service from 1837-1871; the diaries contain intermittent notes on family and personal life, 1842-1858, including her experiences of the Indian mutiny at Agra.
Lt (later Major) James Charles Curtis, b 1820
He served in the Bengal Army from 1841 to 1868 and the diaries contain details of camp life and marches in various parts of northern and central India, 1842-1849.
Major-General Sir John Fowler Bradford, 1805-1889
He was in the Bengal Cavalry, 1821-1876, serving in Afghanistan in 1842 in the engagements leading up to the recapture of Kabul. He was present at the battle of Maharajpur in 1843, and served in the Punjab in the 1st and 2nd Sikh Wars being present at the battle of Aliwal in 1846, at the battle for the passage of Chenab and at the battles of Chilianwalla and Gujrat in 1849.
Mrs Hannah Ellerton
She was the mother-in-law of Daniel Corrie (1777-1837), Bishop of Madras, 1835-1837. Her second husband was an indigo planter who translated the New Testament into Bengali. The diaries relate to her social life and her involvement in the running of schools in Calcutta.
Surgeon-General Patrick Gerald Fitzgerald, 1820-1910
He served in the Madras Medical Service from 1846-1880. He saw action in the Mutiny, being involved in the fighting at Cawnpore, the defence of Alambagh and the capture of Lucknow. The diaries run from 1844-1867.
General James Welsh, 1775-1861
After a long career in the Madras Army which he joined in 1791, he became General Officer Commanding of the Northern Division, Waltair, Madras from 1837-1847. The diary, which is evidently a stray from a series of journals, covers his last two years in command, and is mainly concerned with the routine of everyday life. The most important event recounted is a “rebellion” at Golconda, which he subdued from a palanquin. It ends in 1848 with him on the voyage home following his retirement.
Major-General Thomas Pierce, 1828-1885
He served in the Bengal Army from 1844-1876 and fought in the 1st and 2nd Sikh Wars with which the diary is concerned, covering events in 1846 and 1848-1849.
Major Charles Hamilton Fenton
He was in the British Army in India from 1839-1854. The diary recounts his service in the 2nd Sikh War during 1846 including the battles of Aliwal and Sobraon, and the occupation of Lahore.
James Fenn Clark, b 1823
The son of Hezekiah Clark (1792-1868) of the Bengal Medical Service the diary describes his visit to India, 1846-1847 to see his parents.
Major-General David Birrell, 1801-1878
He served during the Burmese War from 1825-1826 and with the army of the Indus in Afghanistan from 1839-1840. He was present at the assault and capture of Ghazni and the operations in the Waziri Valley. He then served in the 1st Sikh War and was present at the battles of Ferozeshar in 1845 and Sobraon in 1846.
Major-General Sir Herbert Benjamin Edwardes, 1819-1868
He joined the Bengal Army in 1841, and during the 1st Sikh War, 1845-1846 he saw action as ADC to Sir Hugh Gough at the battles of Mudki and Sobraon. Following its conclusion, he was sent in 1847 to pacify the outlying district of Bannu and it is this expedition that is the subject of the diary. During his subsequent career in the 2nd Sikh War he held Multan under siege until the arrival of the Bombay Army. From 1853-1859 he was appointed Commander of Peshawar where he assisted John Lawrence in holding Punjab during the Mutiny. From 1862-1865 he served as Commissioner at Ambala.
Lt (later General) George Godfrey Pearse, 1827-1905
He served in the Madras Artillery from 1845 and later became Colonel Commandant of the Royal Horse Artillery. This diary covers his service during the period 1848-1849 including the siege of Multan, 1848-1849 in the 1st Sikh War, and on the Afghan frontier.
Ensign (later General) Sir Allen Bayard Johnson, 1829-1907
He joined the 5th Bengal Native Infantry in 1846 as an Ensign, and the diary records the routine of his personal and military life at Dinapore and Lahore, 1849-1850. In his subsequent career, he saw action in the 2nd Burma War in 1853, participating in the action at Donabew and the capture of Pegu. During the Mutiny he saw action with Jaunpur Field Force, was present at the capture of Lucknow and helped in the clearing of Oudh.
Captain William Robert Moorsom, 1834-1858
A British Army officer, he was ADC to Brigadier-General Sir Henry Havelock, travelling with him in Kashmir and Ceylon. He was killed in action at Lucknow in March 1858. His letter home telling of the relief of Lucknow was the first news of this received in Britain.
Surgeon John Henry Sylvester, 1830-1903
He served in the Bombay Medical Service from 1853-1875. He saw service during the Persian campaign 1856-1857, Indian Mutiny, the Central India campaign, action at Mundesur, Jhansi, the battles of the Betwa and Kunch and the capture of Kalpi and Gwalior. In 1863 he was present on the North West Frontier and then saw action at Buner pass and the burning of Ambela. He is the author of Recollections of the campaign in Malwa and Central India, under Sir Hugh Rose, 1860.
Henry Gonne, 1831-1857
He served in the Bengal Civil Service from 1851-1857. The diary, dated 1856-1857 recounts his life in Oudh and his experiences of the early stages of the Indian Mutiny.
He was an engineer for the Madras Railway Company from 1855-1862. The diary records his voyage to and early impressions of India from 1854 to 1855.
Surgeon William Alexander Davidson
He served in the British Army Medical Service from 1854-1871 and the diaries contain brief notes of his travels and service in the Crimea, India, Canada and Great Britain.
George Fergusson Cockburn, 1818-1866
He served in the Bengal Civil Service from 1836-1866. The diaries record his time in Cuttack as Commissioner of Revenue and Circuit, 1856-1860.
Maria Adelaide Cust, 1833-1864
She was the daughter of Henry Hobart, Dean of Windsor, and in 1856 married Robert Needham Cust (1821-1909) as his first wife. After bearing two sons and three daughters she died in January 1864. Her diary records her marriage and daily life in England from 1856 and life in the Punjab, 1859-1860. Her husband had a distinguished career in the Bengal Civil Service from 1843-1867, serving mainly in the Punjab where he was one of a number of able administrators led by the Chief Commissioner John Lawrence. During the period of his wife’s diary, he was Commissioner of the Division of Amritsar, 1858-1864. His final appointment was as a member of the Board of Revenue, North-Western Provinces, 1866-1867. In later life he published many volumes of Oriental philology and religion.
Lt (later Lt-General) Octavius Ludlow Smith, 1828-1927
Serving in the Bengal Army from 1847-1894, the diary recounts his involvement in the Mutiny from its outbreak at Lucknow on 30 May 1857 to the recapture of the city in March 1858.
Captain (later Lt-Colonel) Edmund Hardy, 1786-1848
An officer in the Bombay Artillery from 1821-1833, he married Grace Armitage, and their letters from 1824-1829 to her sister Cecilia Armitage are included here, together with a sketchbook. They were the parents of Colonel Edmund Armitage Hardy and his wife Grace Maxwell whose journals are included elsewhere in this part of our microfilm collection.
Major-General Henry Parlett Bishop, 1828-1908
He served in the Bengal Artillery from 1845-1878 and was present at the outbreak of the Mutiny at Ambala, the siege and capture of Delhi, actions at Gungeerie, Puttiali, Mainpuri and operations around Cawnpore, Lucknow, Bareilly and Modipore.
Lt (later Lt-General) Sir William Kidstone Elles, 1837-1896
An officer of the British Army, before serving in India he saw action at the Battle of Sebastopol during the Crimean War. During the Mutiny he defeated the Gwalior Contingent at Cawnpore and fought at the siege and capture of Lucknow. From 1864-1870 he was DAAG of the Bengal Army and from 1878-1883 appointed as AAG at Head Quarters. He was present in the Burma Expedition, commanded Rawalpindi District and the Hazara Expedition, finally becoming General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Bengal Army until 1895.
She was the wife of Surgeon Robert Henry Bartrum (1831-1857) of the Indian Medical Service, 1855-1857. The diary records her life in Lucknow during the siege, her husband’s death, her escape to Calcutta and her child’s death. It is a copy in the hand of a Mrs Clarke who was also in the siege with Mrs Bartrum.
Captain (later Colonel) John Augustus Wood, d 1878
He served in the Bombay Army from 1839-1878. The diary which he kept from 1857-1859 includes references to military operations in Persia, the routine of military life, and notes of his personal expenses.
Maria Vincent Germon
She was the wife of Captain (later Lt-Colonel) Richard Charles Germon of the Bengal Army, 1839-1869. We include her diary for 15 May 1857-28 January 1858 which covers her experiences during the Mutiny including a detailed description of the siege of Lucknow and escape to Calcutta.
Assistant Surgeon Alexander Kerr Simpson, 1829-1859
He served in the Bombay Medical Service from 1857-1859. The diary describes his voyage from England via Egypt to Bombay and thence to Karachi in 1857.
Captain Edward Montgomery Mason
He served in the British Army from 1856-1865 and was involved in fighting leading up to the relief of Lucknow.
Richard Henry Clifford
He served in the Bengal Civil Service from 1853-1878. He was Joint Magistrate and Deputy Collector at Muttra, North West Provinces during the Mutiny.
Captain William Ross Shakespear
He served in the Madras Army from 1847-1861 and saw fighting during the Mutiny, serving with the Central India Field Force.
Major (later Lt-General Sir) John Blick Spurgin, 1821-1903
He served in India in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He saw action at Pegu in the 2nd Burma War from 1852-1853. During the Indian Mutiny he was under the command of General Neill and General Havelock and was present at the siege and relief of Lucknow – the subject of the diary included in this collection. He then took part in the clearing of mutineers at Oudh.
Assistant Surgeon James Alexander Caldwell Hutchinson, 1828-1895
He served in the Bengal Medical Service from 1850-1884 and was a witness to the Mutiny which is described in his diary included in the collection.
Roderick Mackenzie Edwards, 1825-1906
He served in the Bengal Civil Service from 1847-1883. In 1857, during the Mutiny, he was officiating Magistrate and Collector, Muzaffarnagar District and his diary gives a day-to-day account of events there from May to September.
Grace Maxwell Hardy
She was the wife of Lt-Colonel Edmund Armitage Hardy (1824-1903) who served in the Bombay Cavalry from 1841-1870. She was in Nasirabad at the time of the Mutiny, and the opening pages of the journal are by her and describe her mutiny experiences. Thereafter the journal is continued by her husband and describes life in England and India up to his retirement in 1871.
Lt-Colonel Chardin Philip Johnson
He served in the British Army from 1845 to 1869. His diary recounts his experiences from 1857-1858 as a junior officer during the Indian Mutiny.
Dr Joseph Sawyers, 1827-1863
He was an assistant surgeon in the British Army from 1850-1863 and saw service in Rawalpindi and Gwalior and elsewhere during the Mutiny. The diary also records his return voyage to England in 1859.
Ensign (later Major-General) Talbot Bradford Middleton Glascock, 1839-1900
He served in the Bengal Army from 1857-1887 and saw action during later stages of the Mutiny from 1858-1859.