(Referred to in Chapter LXVIII, Note *.)
To His EXCELLENCY GENERAL THE RIGHT HONOURABLE FREDERICK BARON ROBERTS OF KANDAHAR AND WATERFORD, BART., V.C., G.C.B., G.C.I.E., R.A., Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Forces in India.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY,
We, the representatives of the European community in the Punjab, are the prouder to-day of our British blood, in that it links us in close kinship, to one who has so bravely maintained the honour of the British Empire alike in the years of peace and storm that India has seen during the last three decades. During the Mutiny Your Excellency performed feats of gallantry that are historic. Since then your career has been one of brilliant success and growing military renown. Whenever, in the histories of war, men speak of famous marches, that from Kabul to Kandahar comes straightway to the lips. When our mind turns to military administration, we remember the unqualified success of Your Excellency's career as Quartermaster-General and as Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Forces in India, in both of which high offices you have added honour and glory to your great name, which will never be forgotten in India. When the private soldier, rightly or wrongly, thinks he has a grievance, his desire is only that somehow it may be brought to the notice of Your Excellency, from whom, through experience, he expects full justice and generous sympathy. When we look towards our frontier and see the strategic railways and roads, and the strong places of arms that threaten the invader, we know that for those safeguards the Empire is in no small degree indebted to the resolute wisdom of Your Excellency as military adviser to the Government of India. Last, but not least, as a Statesman, Your Excellency ranks second to none in the Empire in the opinion of your countrymen in this North-West frontier province; and we should gladly welcome the day, if it might ever arrive, when Your Excellency returned to India. It is here that we see most clearly the passage of events beyond our borders and mark the signs of brooding trouble; and our hope has always been that, when that trouble should break forth, yours might be the hand to guide England's flag to victory again. The Punjab is the sword of India, and Your Excellency has had the courage to lean most strongly upon that sword. It is here that the pulse of the army beats in India; it is hence that the enemies of our country shall feel the downright blow; and it is here that the greatest grief is felt in parting from so true a soldier and so far-seeing a Statesman as Your Excellency. It is meet, therefore, that here we should assemble upon this occasion of farewell to express the great sorrow which we, the representatives of the Europeans in the Punjab, feel at the prospect of losing so soon the clear brain and strong hand that Your Excellency has always brought to the control of the Army in India and to the solution of all questions of political or military moment. In doing so, we mourn for the loss of one of the best statesmen, the best general, and the best friend to the soldier in India. We say nothing of the kindly relations Your Excellency has always been able to establish with the other races in India; our fellow-subjects here will doubtless do so in their turn. We say nothing of Your Excellency's and Lady Roberts' charming social qualities, nor Her Ladyship's philanthropic work in India. We are here only to express our grief at parting with one whom we value so highly for the sake of our common country, and our hope that as your past has been full of glory to the Empire and honour to yourself, so may your future be; and that you may be spared for many years to wield the sword and guide the counsels of our country.