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numbers of animals had steadily diminished, and those that remained were for the most part sickly and out of condition.

On the 16th of September I issued a Proclamation,* copies of which I caused to be sent to the people of Kabul, Ghazni, and all the neighbouring tribes; this, I hoped, would facilitate our advance, and reassure those who had taken no part in the attack on the Residency. I also wrote a letter to the maliks of the Logar valley, whose territory we * TRANSLATION OF A PROCLAMATION ISSUED BY MAJOR-GENERAL SIR FREDERICK ROBERTS.

Alikhel, 16th September, 1879. Be it known to all the Chiefs and the people of the country of Kabul and its dependencies that, in accordance with the Treaty concluded in May, 1879, corresponding to Jamdi-ul-Akhir 1296 Hijri, between the two great Governments, and to the terms of which His Highness the Amir expressed his assent, and agreed to the location of an Envoy of Her Imperial Majesty the Empress, a British Envoy was, at the special request of His Highness the Amir, located at the Kabul Court, and the Amir guaranteed that he should be treated honourably and protected.

Within six weeks after the said Envoy was received at and entered Kabul the whole Embassy was besieged and massacred in the very citadel of His Highness the Amir, who could not save or protect them from the hands of the soldiers and the people. From this, the lack of power of the Amir and the weakness of his authority in his capital itself are quite apparent and manifest. For this reason the British troops are advancing for the purpose of taking a public vengeance on behalf of the deceased as well as of obtaining satisfaction (lit., consolidation) of the terms entered into in the Treaty concluded. The British troops are entering Afghanistan for the purpose of strengthening the royal authority of His Highness the Amir on condition that His Highness loyally uses those powers for the maintenance of friendship and of amicable relations with the British Government. This is the only course by which the Amir's kingdom can remain intact, and (by which) also the friendly sentiments and sincerity expressed in his letter of the 4th September, 1879, after the occurrence of the (said) event can be proved.

For the purpose of removing any doubt about the concord of the two Governments, the Amir has been addressed to depute a confidential agent to my camp. The British force will not punish or injure anyone except the persons who have taken part or joined in the massacre of the Embassy unless they offer opposition. All the rest, the small and great, who are unconcerned (therein) may rest assured of this. Carriage and supplies of every description should be brought into the British camp. Full price and hire shall be paid for everything that may be taken. Whereas mercy and humanity are the characteristics of this great Government, this proclamation is issued beforehand for the information of the people at large.


From the Proclamation already issued by me, you will have learnt the reasons for the march of the British troops to Kabul. Her Majesty's Government, by the movement of troops, intends to exact retribution for the massacre of the Embassy and to aid His Highness the Amir in restoring order.

Let all those not concerned in the massacre rest assured, provided no oppo sition is shown.

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391 must enter directly we had crossed the Shutargardan, and whose cooperation I was most anxious to obtain. On the 18th I again wrote* to the Amir, enclosing copies of these two documents, and informing him that I was still awaiting a reply to my first letter and the arrival of His Highness's confidential representative; that I hoped he would soon issue the necessary orders for the furtherance of our plans, and that he might rest assured of the support of the British Government.

On the 19th September matters had so far progressed that I was able to tell the Viceroy that Brigadier-General Baker was entrenched with his brigade on the Shutargardan, and engaged in improving the road to Kushi, the first halting-place in the Logar valley; that supplies were being collected by means of local transport; that I was bringing up reserve ammunition and treasure from the rear on Artillery waggons; and that every possible effort was being made to render the force mobile.

On the 20th I received the Amir's reply. He expressed regret that he was unable to come to Alikhel himself, but intimated that he was sending two confidential agents, his Mustaufi (Finance Minister), Habibulla Khan, and his Wazir (Prime Minister), Shah Mahomed Khan, who accordingly arrived the next day.

At each interview I had with these gentlemen during the three days they remained in my camp, they impressed upon me that the Amir was inclined to be most friendly, and that his only wish was to be guided by the advice of the British Government. But, notwithstanding these plausible assurances, I soon discovered that Yakub Khan's real object in sending these two high officials was to stop the advance of the force, and induce me to leave the punishment of the troops who had committed the massacre in the hands of the Afghan authorities, or else to delay us long enough to give time for the whole country to rise against us.

As the conversations which were carried on at the meetings with the Afghan agents are interesting, and have an important bearing on the subsequent proceedings, I give in the Appendix the notes taken at the time by my Political Secretary.

I was anxious to keep one of the Amir's representatives with me,

His Highness the Amir, in communications received by me, expresses his friendship, and wishes to continue amicable relations. As the British troops under my command will shortly enter the Logar valley, I write to reassure you, and expect that you will inform all the residents of the valley not concerned in the late hateful massacre the purport of the Proclamation, and give every assistance in providing carriage and supplies required for the troops, for which adequate hire and payment will be made. I hope that after the above assurance all the headmen will come to meet me in my camp, where I shall be glad to see them.

* This letter is given in full in the Appendix.

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I look forward with great pleasure to the meeting with Your Highness, and trust that you will continue your kind assistance to obtain for me supplies and transport.

I have carefully considered Your Highness's proposal that you yourself should be permitted to administer just punishment to the mutinous troops and others who shared in the treacherous and cruel attack on the British Envoy and his small escort, and thus save Her Majesty's troops the trouble, hardship, and privation which must necessarily be encountered by an advance I thank Your Highness most cordially, on Kabul at this season of the year. on the part of the Viceroy and Government of India, for this further proof of Your Highness's friendly feelings. Under ordinary circumstances such an offer would be gratefully and willingly accepted, but after what has recently occurred, I feel sure that the great British nation would not rest satisfied unless a British army marched to Kabul and there assisted Your Highness to inflict such punishments as so terrible and dastardly an act deserves.

I have forwarded Your Highness's letters in original to the Viceroy; a copy of this, my reply, will be submitted by to-day's post for His Excellency's consideration. Meanwhile I have permitted Mustaufi Habibulla Khan and Wazir Shah Mahomed to take their leave and rejoin Your Highness.

I delayed my own departure from Alikhel until a sufficiency of supplies had been collected at Kushi, and everything was ready for as rapid an advance on Kabul as my limited transport would admit of; for, so long as I remained behind, the people of Afghanistan could not be sure of my intentions, and no doubt hoped that the Amir's remonstrances would have the desired effect, and prevent our doing more than occupying the Shutargardan, or making a demonstration toward Kushi. My crossing the pass would, I knew, be the signal for all those determined on opposition to assemble; it was politic, therefore, to remain behind until the last moment.

When all arrangements were complete, so far as was possible with the means at my disposal, I issued the following Field Force Order:

'The Government of India having decided that a force shall proceed with all possible despatch to Kabul, in response to His Highness the Amir's appeal for aid, and with the object of avenging the dastardly murder of the British representative and his escort, Sir Frederick Roberts feels sure that the troops under his command will respond to the call with a determination to prove themselves worthy of the high reputation they have maintained during the recent campaign.

'The Major-General need address no words of exhortation to soldiers whose courage and fortitude have been so well proved. The Afghan tribes are numerous, but without organization; the regular army is undisciplined, and whatever may be the disparity in numbers, such foes can never be formidable to British troops. The dictates of humanity require that a distinction should be made between the peaceable inhabitants of Afghanistan and the treacherous murderers for whom a just retribution is in store, and Sir Frederick Roberts desires to impress upon all ranks the necessity for treating the unoffending population with justice, forbearance, and clemency.

The future comfort and well being of the force depend largely on the friendliness of our relations with the districts from which supplies must be drawn; prompt payment is enjoined for all articles purchased by departments and individuals, and all disputes must be at once referred to a political officer for decision.

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