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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 9, Slice 1 "Edwardes" to "Ehrenbreitstein"

by Various

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EDWARDES, SIR HERBERT BENJAMIN (1819-1868), English soldier-statesman in India, was born at Frodesley in Shropshire on the 12th of November 1819. His father was Benjamin Edwardes, rector of Frodesley, and his grandfather Sir John Edwardes, baronet, eighth holder of a title conferred on one of his ancestors by Charles I. in 1644. He was educated at a private school and at King’s College, London. Through the influence of his uncle, Sir Henry Edwardes, he was nominated in 1840 to a cadetship in the East India Company; and on his arrival in India, at the beginning of 1841, he was posted as ensign in the 1st Bengal Fusiliers. He remained with this regiment about five years, during which time he mastered the lessons of his profession, obtained a good knowledge of Hindustani, Hindi and Persian, and attracted attention by the political and literary ability displayed in a series of letters which appeared in the Delhi Gazette.

In November 1845, on the breaking out of the first Sikh War, Edwardes was appointed aide-de-camp to Sir Hugh (afterwards Viscount) Gough, then commander-in-chief in India. On the 18th of December he was severely wounded at the battle of Mudki. He soon recovered, however, and fought by the side of his chief at the decisive battle of Sobraon (February 10, 1846). He was soon afterwards appointed third assistant to the commissioners of the trans-Sutlej territory; and in January 1847 was named first assistant to Sir Henry Lawrence, the resident at Lahore. Lawrence became his great exemplar and in later years he was accustomed to attribute to the influence of this “father of his public life” whatever of great or good he had himself achieved. He took part with Lawrence in the suppression of a religious disturbance at Lahore in the spring of 1846, and soon afterwards assisted him in reducing, by a rapid movement to Jammu, the conspirator Imam-ud-din. In the following year a more difficult task was assigned him—the conduct of an expedition to Bannu, a district on the Waziri frontier, in which the people would not tolerate the presence of a collector, and the revenue had consequently fallen into arrear. By his rare tact and fertility of resource, Edwardes succeeded in completely conquering the wild tribes of the valley without firing a shot, a victory which he afterwards looked back upon with more satisfaction than upon others which brought him more renown. His fiscal arrangements were such as to obviate all difficulty of collection for the future. In the spring of 1848, in consequence of the murder of Mr vans Agnew and Lieutenant Anderson at Multan, by order of the diwan Mulraj, and of the raising of the standard of revolt by the latter, Lieutenant Edwardes was authorized to march against him. He set out immediately with a small force, occupied Leiah on the left bank of the Indus, was joined by Colonel van Cortlandt, and, although he could not attack Multan, held the enemy at bay and gave a check at the critical moment to their projects. He won a great victory over a greatly superior Sikh force at Kinyeri (June 18), and received in acknowledgment of his services the local rank of major....