Lumsden. A minute and private letter, both written by Lord Napier of Magdala, 1873


 A manuscript copy of a minute written in his own hand by General Lord Napier of Magdala dated Camp Hussein Abdal, February 11th 1873 summarising Major General Lumsden’s suitability for the highest ranks of command: Experience  matured in the military expeditions of the North West Frontier, Hazara, Bhotan and China, combined with forethought, sound judgement, and promptitude in action, have enabled Major General Lumsden to render very valuable military and political services to the state both in peace and in war. this glowing recommendation is signed Napier of Magdala, General, Commander in Chief in IndiaAccompanying this minute is an exceptionally unusual and personal letter on four sides of a small sheet of folded writing paper headed embossed in gold with Lord Napier’s personal crest under a baron’s coronet addressed My dear Lumsden and signed Hussainabad 11th Feby. 1873. He stresses that the copy of the minute he sends is in his own hand, as is this letter. Napier goes on to say: I could write in much warmer terms if I gave way to my own feelings but I am anxious that my hand be that of a machine commander – in Chief rather than a just record of your merits should be considered  by the envious as the result of private friendship. With the kindest and best wishes for the happiness of Mrs Lumsden and your self, Ever yours sincerely.

There are marks on the final page where it has been tipped to an old album page. mar15/4

The unusual importance of this minute is shown by the fact that Lord Napier writes it in his own hand. That a person in India second only in rank in India to the Viceroy should not use a secretary is highly unusual.    SOLD 18th March 2023

Provenance: From a large archive of the General’s papers passed down through descendants of his brother, General Sir Harry Lumsden. Lumsden himself had no children.

General Sir Peter Stark Lumsden, G.C.B., C.S.I.. A.D.C. [1829-1918] had a very distinguished career in India, China, and Afghanistan and was the author of the standard work on his brother’s regiment Lumsden of the Guides. He joined the Bengal Army in 1847 and first saw action on the N.W.F. in 1851. In 1857 he was on a special mission to Kandahar and served in the China War with Napier., Bhutan War 1854, QMG India 1868-72, acting Resident Hyderabad 1873, Chief of the Staff in India in 1879 and headed the British Commission for the Demarcation of the N. W. Boundary of Afghanistan 1884-5.  He was made G.C.B. and an ADC to Queen Victoria.