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Press cuttings from The Times [‎39r] (3/8)

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The record is made up of 4 folios. It was created in 24 May 1879-29 May 1879. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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Sir,—In The Timet of to-day there is a letter from the
Duke of Argyll relating to a notice i have given in the House
of Commons, which he rightly assumes to refer to language
recently used by him in reference to Sir Lewis Pelly in
connexion with che negotiations at Peshawur. This was
as follows ;—" I never go back to those conferences
between Sir Lewis Pelly and the late Noor Mahomed
without a feeling of utter shame and humiliation. We
have the fairness, the dignity, and the truth on the side
of the Mahomedan and the Afghan ; and we hare every
thing that is the opposite on the side of the Englishman
and the Christian." In the natural sense of ordinary
language these words would appear to apply directly to
Sir Lewis Pelly. ^
But the Duke nowjsays ;—" He thinks it best to intimate
at once to the friends of Sir Lewis Pelly that in the oon"
ference at Peshawur he has always regarded bim as the
mere mouthpiece of the Government of mdia, and that he
has never held that Sir Lewis Pelly was personally re
sponsible lor any part of it." We have here what the
duke doubtless considers a proper retractation or denial of
wliat appeared to be his personal charges against Sir L.
Pelly. I am not surprised to find that th duke has come
to the conclusion that he had made a mistake in speaking
as he did of Sir L. Pelly, as a reference to " Hansard"
shows that in the debates on the Atghan question in
December last, Mr. Gladatone, Lord Lawrence, and Lord
.Northbrook carefully avoided all criticism of the personal
action and language of Sir L. Pelly .in the eonferences
at Peshawur, and bore approving testimony to the manner
in which he had conducted the negotiation, as the follow
ing quotations will show :—
Mr. Gladstone.—" I have not a word to say against the
accuracy oi Sir Lewis Pelljtv . . 1 placed no mark ot
carelessness or inaccuracy against him. . . The language
of Sir L. Pelly appears to be usually courteous and
Lord Northbrook.—" I have no fault to find with the
manner in which Sir L. Pelly carried out the instruc
tions he had received." - n
Lord Lav\reiice.—" The Afghan envoy was labouring
under a severe lorm of disease, and came by slow stages
Irom Cabul. On his arrival at Peshawar ho was cour
teously received by Sir L. pelly.'V
In the same debate the Lord Chancellor spoke as fol
lows :— v
" It has been said that the object of Sir L. Pelly was
to pick a quarrel at the conference with the Ameer and
his envoy, i have read with some care the narrative of
what took place at the couterence, and 1 am bound to say
that anything more unlike an attempt to pick a quarrel |
than Sir L. Pelly's conduct 1 never read. Anything more
careful, more elaborate than his explanations, more
patient than his attention to all the complaints of the
envoy 1 never read. The couference went on from day to
day and from week to week. The whims and the caprice
of the envoy were indulged j he was allowed to speak day
after day without interruption. Sir L. Pelly presented
the advantages he had to offer in the most attractive
form. . . Everything which patience, temper, and long
experience could enable a man to do to make a conference
successful was done by Sir Lewis Pelly."
After the apology ot the duke I shall not on this occa
sion follow up my notice, although I am anxious to take
some fitting opportunity to enter a protest against the un
generous treatment which our public servants have of late
received at the hands of political partisans, and of which
the published language of the Duke of Argyll is only the
most recent and flagrant instance.
I remain your obedient servant,
St. James's-place, May 24. ELCHO.

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Press cuttings from The Times relating to the Duke of Argyll's attack in the House of Lords on Sir Lewis Pelly:

  • 24 May 1879 printed letter from the Duke of Argyll regarding Lord Elcho's intention to speak on the matter in the House of Commons and amending his accusations against Pelly to be accusations against his superiors.
  • 27 May 1879 printed response from Lord Elcho citing numerous references to the exemplary nature of Pelly's work there given in the House December 1878
  • Undated [28 May 1879?] printed letter from Lord Colin Campell regarding the Duke of Argyll and Lord Elcho's correspondence
  • 29 May 1879 summary of the disagreement as printed in The Times 24-29 May.
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4 folios
Written in
English in Latin script
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Press cuttings from The Times [‎39r] (3/8), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F126/10, ff 38-41, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 February 2020]

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