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again be called into the public service, as in the case of the Wellington Barracks in St. James's Park, without resorting to the more expensive aid of civil architects; and the cost, we affirm, would be amply compensated by the salutary and satisfactory effects both on the soldiers - whose efficiency is of a certain value to the State - and on the residents of the populous suburb of Knightsbridge, which would thus be purged of a pestilent and unsightly nuisance.
Before we quit this subject, we must express our surprise that the rapid and pervading march of improvement has not embraced the cluster of mean and dirty dens, set off to greater disadvantage by the flashy fronts of gin palaces, in which Soirées dansantes and Concerts d'Eté may be enjoyed all the year round for the small sum of one penny, that straggle from the Barracks and Trevor-square down to Sloane-street, at one side, and along the edge of Hyde Park on the other. There is no spot in the neighbourhood of London which offers more tempting employment for the pioneer's pickaxe than this.
Who has not heard of Rollo Gillespie ? India rebounds with his fame, and his native country echoes the cheer from the land of his glorious exploits.
It is contemplated to erect a cenotaph to his memory in his birth-place, Comber, in the county of Down. If any aid from us can avail towards the execution of so worthy a design, it is most cordially offered. We highly approve of these memorials, and should rejoice to see a testimonial to Gillespie rising simultaneously with those in honour of Malcolm and Dickson, and other congenial spirits. It is beyond our power or intention, at this moment, to trace the varied career of Sir Rollo Gillespie to its characteristic consummation; but the following sketch, by his own hand, of one of the most remarkable instances on record of a serious mutiny quelled by determined promptitude, will not be out of place here: it has been printed in the form of a circular, and transmitted to us, with other documents, for the promotion of the above object: -
Of the mutiny at Vellore , which for danger, and for the magnitude of the interest at stake, is perhaps, unequalled in the annals of military revolts, the following is the most exact account that has yet appeared. Its authenticity is unquestionable, being the narration of Colonel Gillespie himself. It is written with a soldier's simplicity, in a confidential letter, with no view to publication. To the meritorious anxiety of the friend to whom the letter was addressed, in favour of one of the bravest of mankind, it is , that the public have the opportunity of perusing this interesting statement.
Extract of a letter from Colonel Gillespie to a Field-Officer, a particular friend of his in England:-
"Madras, Sept. 16, 1866.
My dearest Friend, ---- I have , just come down the country ; and finding a packet making up for England, sit down to give you a hasty account of myself, and of recent transactions that occurred in the interim at Vellore, which I dare say you will, before this reached you, have heard of; it has been the most extraordinary event in the annals of India; say it is unprecedented. I commanded the district of Arcot; at fourteen miles distance stands Vellore, the strongest fortress in this part of India and for that reason chosen for the residence of the captive princes of the race of Hyder and Tippoo, with the two hostages given up to Lord Cornwallis.
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"On the morning of 10th July , I was on horseback at my usual hour at day-break, with Captain Wilson, of the 19th Light Dragoons, riding towards Vellore, for the purpose of paying a visit to my old Friend Colonel Francourt, who commanded. On the road I met an officer riding at full speed , who informed me that the gated of the fortress were shut; that there was a heavy firing, and dreadful noise within. I turned about my horse, ordered Captain Wilson to reconnoitre, got the garrison of Arcot under arms, pushed forward with an advanced squadron of the 19th and 7th N.Cavalary , with orders for the remainder to follow me with the two 6-pounders or gallopers attached to the 19th . On my arrival under the walls, I found the Sepoys many Moorsmen or Musselmen, had rose in the night and put all the guards to the sword, under the orders of ________ a son of Tippoo, the youngest of the two hostages, and afterward attacked the barracks of the 69th, pouring in round shot and grape, &c, &c, with musketry . From the confusion and darkness of the night, about sixty men escaped, got on the ramparts, and kept their position, without an officer, all being killed or wounded, till I arrived the advanced squadron.
" It was fortunate that , after the first heat of the attack , the Sepoys and Moorsmen occupied themselves in plunder, else the Europeans would have been all massacred.
"It was the most critical the period I arrived at; the 69th had not a round of ammunition left; this they called out to me from the walls; and at that time the Sepoys, tired of plunder, were deliberately forming to finish their bloody work, never dreaming that we could possibly be close at hand. I pushed to the gates, found the two outward open , and the draw-bridge down: the third was closed, but some of the 69th, by the help of their pouch and bayonet belts, let themselves down the wall, and contrived to open the gate from within the last and strongest was still shut , and to force with our means was impossible..
"At this instant, the scene was heart-rending; the white people over the gateway shrieking for assistance, which it was impracticable to afford them, from the height of the walls, and the strength of the gate which was shut. To paint my feelings is beyond my power; however, it prompted me to force open the traversing wicket, which we effected with difficulty, having only Captain Wilson and about twenty men, the rest of the advanced squadron being otherwise employed by my orders. I made my way with Captain Wilson and three men on foot to the inside of the great gate, with the intention of breaking the locks, and forcing the bar, but it was too well guarded by the insurgents. My escape was miraculous, as the avenue was commanded by two guns, and the square and palace-yard full of men ; I was of course obliged to give it up. As I returned, I spied a rope*, as if sent by Providence, and as my object was to join the 69th, to prevent their flagging, and keep up their spirits, we below contrived to get one end thrown
* Extract from Major Thorn's Memoirs of Gillespie, page 102, published in 1816, out of print:-" So anxious, indeed, was he to reach the place, that he was considerably in advance of his men all the way; and on his appearance, Sergeant Brady, of the 69th Regiment, who had served with him in St. Domingo, instantly recognized him, and turning to his comrades, he exclaimed, ' If Colonel Gillespie be alive, he is now at the head of the 19th Dragoons, and God Almighty has sent him from the West Indies to save our lives in the East.'
" It was, indeed, in all respects, such a display of Divine goodness as could hardly fail to kindle in the most thoughtless mind a ray of gratitude, while hope was pointing out a prospect of deliverance. Urged on by the noblest of all motives-that of saving his fellow-creatures,-the Colonel, regardless of his own safety, and in the face of a furious fire from the walls, pushed towards the bastion, where Sergeant Brady's sash was lowered down, by which the Colonel was enabled to ascend the wall, when the Sergeant had the incedible satisfaction of welcoming a leader, from whom he knew everything could be expected that energy and perseverance could accomplish".
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up, by which I ascended, leaving directions for the 19thVguns to push forward for the gates, and when arrived, to wait my orders. " I found a pair of colours on the wall, which I seized, assembled as many of the 69th as I could see, gave a loud shriek, and at their head, under a tremendous fire, took possession of a cavalier of three guns; I turned a 12-pounder towards the Sepoys, though I had not a round, which had the effect I wished, viz., keeping them in check for the moment; at last, anxiously expected, at a moment the most awful to be imagined, beholding on every side the enemy forming to annihilate our handful of men, about sixty in number, with nothing to protect us but our bayonets, arrived the two gallopers
of the 19th; the signal being made, I instantly pushed back with the colours over my shoulder, under a heavy fire, to the wall over the gate; I ordered them to be placed by Mr. Blackstone, of the Engineers, so as if possible to strike the great bar, which was so judiciously done, that the gate was instantly burst open. At this time the great square and palace were full of men to dispute our entrance. The approach to the square was so very narrow, that I thought it imprudent to allow the cavalry to charge, without first opening the way, which I did with the remains of the 69th, which I collected together, putting myself at their head. This was gallantly performed, but attended with considerable loss; in a few minutes the cavalry followed them a most difficult and arduous task I had. I embarked them on the 30th on board the Culloden, the flag-ship for Calcutta."