(Referred to in Chapter LXVIII, Footnote 12.)
To His EXCELLENCY GENERAL THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR FREDERICK SLEIGH, BARON ROBERTS OF KANDAHAR AND WATERFORD, BART., V.C., G.C.B., G.C.I.E., D.C.L., LL.D., R.A., Commander-in-Chief in India.
Viewing with concern and regret your approaching departure from India, we beg--in bidding you farewell--to express our admiration of your life and work as Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Forces in India, and to request you to permit your portrait to be placed in the Town Hall of Calcutta, in token for the present generation of their high appreciation of your eminent services, and in witness to a future generation of the esteem in which you were held by your contemporaries.
With foresight denoting wise statesmanship, Governments which you have served have initiated and maintained a policy of Frontier Defence, and encouraged the increased efficiency of the Forces.
In the furtherance of these objects we recognize the salient points of your career and character whilst holding the high rank of Commander-in-Chief.
In your continued efforts to ameliorate the condition of the private soldier we recognize broad humanity. In the increasing efficiency of the Army, which, in our belief, characterizes your tenure of command, we recognize high soldierly qualities. In the state of strength which the Frontier Defences have attained, mainly due, we believe, to you, we recognize practical sagacity, conspicuous ability in discernment of requirements, and in pursuit of your aims an unwearying industry, a resolute persistence, and a determination that no difficulty can turn, in which a noble example for all true workers may be found.
In a word, your life and work are to us identified with Frontier Defence and Efficient Forces. We cheerfully bear our share of the cost, as in possession of these protections against aggression from without, we believe all who dwell within the borders of the land will find their best guarantee for peace, and in peace the best safeguard they and their children can possess to enable them to pass their lives in happiness and prosperity, and escape the misery and ruin which follow war and invasion. For all that you have done to give them such security, we feel you deserve, and we freely give, our heartfelt thanks.
Within the limitations of a farewell address, we hardly feel justified in personal allusions trenching on your private life, but we cannot refrain from noticing with responsive sympathy the feeling of personal attachment to yourself which is widespread throughout India, and assuring you that we share in it to the fullest extent that private feeling can be affected by public services. We endorse our assurance with an expression of the wish that, in whatever part of the British Empire your future life may be spent, it may be attended, as in the past, with honour, and, by the blessing of God, with health and happiness for yourself and all those you hold dear.
It is the prerogative of the Crown alone to bestow honours on those who have served their country well, and none have been better merited than those which you enjoy, and to which, we trust, additions may be made. It is the privilege of a community to make public profession of merit in a fellow-citizen where they consider it is due, and in availing ourselves of the privilege to make this public recognition of the great services which, in our opinion, you have rendered to India, we beg with all sincerity to add a hearty God-speed and a regretful Farewell.
We have the honour to be, Your Excellency, Your obedient servants.
CALCUTTA, 11th March, 1893.