Lumsden. Question of the appointment of QMG to the Army, Simla 1868


 A long manuscript copy letter in a fine secretarial hand from A.G.O. Hd. Qrs. Simla 6th May 1868. Written on six sides of two blue paper bifolia pasted by the last blank to final blank to an old card album page fastened with red cord to a covering original letter marked Confidential addressed to Lt. Colonel Lumsden and signed F. W. Flood, Simla 11th May 1868 informing him that the Commander-in-Chief [General Sir Robert Napier] wanted him to be aware of the longer letter. The long letter sets out the candidates: I may mntion that there are three officers from whom a selection may be made on account of this appointment. These are, 1st Brigadier General D. Stewart late Deputy Adjutant General of the Army, now serving in Abyssinia. 2nd Colonel The Honble. F. Thesiger, 95 Foot now serving as Deputy Adjutant General Abyssinia. 3rd Lieut. Col. P. Lumsden, Bengal Staff Corps, now Deputy Quarter Master General of the Army. The C-in-C mentions that each of these officers has served under him for considerable time and he regards them all highly. However His Excellency goes on to state that, although Lumsden is not yet a Colonel, It is indubitable…that the reasons put forth by Lieut. Colonel Lumsden have very considerable weight. in addition to this his departmental knowledge in the affairs of both peace and war, is most extensive and further he has a knowledge of the frontier of the North West, of the campaigns which have taken place in that quarter, and of the policy which has been pursued during the last 18 years which must infallibly be of great use to any Commander in Chief, but more especially to a possible successor to Sir William Mansfield who may come to India without previous acquaintance withe the country and therefore without the particular kind of experience on which the opinions demanded by Government regarding Military Operations in that difficult frontier would have to rest.  Throughout Lumsden’s earlier Indian career it had been Napier’s opinion that his skills and abilities had not been matched by his rank.  mar15/2  SOLD 18th March 2023

I doubt that letters such as this would have routinely been copied to one of the candidates but that it was is a reflection of the close relationship between Lord Napier and Sir Peter throughout their long connection in India and China.

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.