A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)

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Lot 210
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity
England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860
(7)

Sold for £ 35,062 (US$ 43,982) inc. premium
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity
England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860
manuscript on paper, all in the hand of Dr Login, with the exception of one in the handwriting of Edith Login
the largest 340 x 210 mm.; the smallest 166 x 110 mm.(7)

Footnotes

  • The documents, which are drafts written soon after the return of Duleep Singh and Login to England in 1854, or at a slightly later date (Login died in October 1863), can be summarised as follows:
    1. A 19-page memoir, on blue paper, in Login's hand, 'Relating to His Highness the Maharajah Duleep Singh: his removal from the throne of the Punjab; and the circumstances under which, by the providence of almighty God he was led to embrace the Christian Faith, prepared for the perusal of Her Gracious Majesty the Queen, by Her Majesty's very devoted subject and servant', Wimbledon, July 25th 1854.
    2. A short account of the legal opinion of a Mr Leith relating to the settlement made with Duleep Singh and his status, in the hand of Edith Login.
    3. A letter to Sir Charles Wood, dated 28th July 1859, on the financial aspects of the settlement.
    4. A memorandum, a copy of one sent to William Haye [?] in January 1860, on the financial settlement.
    5. A short letter dealing with Duleep Singh's education in the Christian faith, and the possibility of extending that faith through the Sikh nation.
    6. A short summary of the terms agreed after the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh War between the British and the Sikhs.
    7. A short summary of the position of Duleep Singh with relation to the treaties [after 1856].

    Full transcriptions of all the documents are available on request.

    On the death of Maharajah Ranjit Singh in 1839 the Lahore court and the Sikh kingdom fell into a bloody internecine battle for power. The Maharani Jindan was proclaimed regent, and Duleep Singh was proclaimed Maharajah in 1843, at the age of five. After the First Anglo-Sikh War, during which the British defeated the Khalsa army at the battles of Ferozeshah, Sobraon, Aliwal and Mudki, the Treaty of Lahore was concluded in 1846, and the Sikhs were made to give up Kashmir and to accept a British Resident in their capital.

    In 1849 the Sikh chieftains rebelled, giving the British Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie, the chance to invade and annex the Punjab outright in the Second Anglo-Sikh War. The Koh-i-Noor diamond was taken from the treasury and presented to Queen Victoria as a symbol of dominion over the whole of India. In April of that year Duleep Singh was removed from the Punjab to Mussoorie and put in the care of Dr (later Sir) John Login, a Scottish surgeon in the Bengal army, and his wife, Lena. Later, in 1850, he was moved again to Fatehgarh, near Kanpur. He was forbidden contact with any Punjabis and a Hindu, Bhajan Lall, was appointed as his personal attendant, who in fact surreptitiously introduced him to Christianity, in part by reading to him every night from the Bible. (Fatehgarh was itself also a centre of Christian missionaries).

    In March 1853 he was received into the Christian faith, something which seems to have been personally satisfying to the Logins, who had the devout and evangelical natures which we associate with the Victorians. Lord Dalhousie saw things from a more pragmatic angle, when he commented in a letter: 'This is the first Indian Prince of many who have succumbed to our power, or have acknowledged it, that has adopted the faith of the Stranger'.

    The British authorities felt that Duleep Singh should be well and truly separated from any possibility of contact with the Sikhs. Login encouraged in him the desire to visit England. They left India in April 1854, so that the memoir must have been written shortly after their arrival in England, for the Queen's attention. The Maharajah had an audience with Queen Victoria in July. He was, she wrote, 'extremely handsome and speaks English perfectly', 'and has a pretty, graceful and dignified manner [...] I always feel so much for these poor deposed Indian princes.' Login - as we see in document 1 - wanted him to 'acquire the tastes and habits of an English country gentleman - by observing the manner in which they occupy their time on their estates – and the interest which they take in advancing the welfare of their country and neighbourhood'.

    Login's long nineteen-page memoir (Document 1) begins at the beginning, in an almost novelistic way, with an account of the internecine strife amongst the Sikhs which took place after the death of Ranjit Singh and (the crux of the matter) the wrangling over the succession. As Login says, with only slight exaggeration: 'The circumstances under which Duleep Singh – then a boy of 5 years of age, was raised to the throne, and the lawless violence and licentiousness with which he was surrounded from the time of his accession in September 1843, to the occupation of Lahore by the British troops in February 1846 – have no parallel in recent history'. After the assassination of Sher Singh and his son Pratap Singh, Duleep Singh was proclaimed Maharajah at this early age – but was forced 'to look for guidance and protection' to those 'very persons who, in one day, planned and executed the murder of Sher Singh and of his little son Pratab Singh, and of their accomplice Raja Dhian Singh; and whose history is written in the blood of hundreds who perished, either by open violence or secret assassination at the time'.

    He goes on to provide the Queen, his addressee, with further justifications for British actions: 'there appeared to be no alternative left to our Government, than to remove the young Maharajah from his throne, and at once to annex his country to our territories'. While such horrors inevitably had a 'lasting impression on his mind', even before Duleep Singh's transfer from the Punjab to Mussorie, Login was concerned 'that he should fully understand the policy under which our Government had been constrained to act in his removal from his throne. Have availed myself of many opportunities (I am thankful to say, most successfully) to remove any unfavourable impressions which it may have occasioned'.
    He then discusses the appointment of Bhajan Lall as Duleep Singh's principal attendant, and there follows a section in which he copies brief letters from the Maharajah to Login, asking to be sent a Bible, and later of his 'determination to embrace the Christian religion'. He also reproduces letters from Bhajan Lall to Login, reporting on the Maharajah's progress and his state of mind.

    The second document, a summary of a legal opinion, deals with wrangling over the exact terms and the extent of the financial settlement due to Duleep Singh. The lawyer ends by saying:
    NB This opinion has not been taken with a view of contesting every point in doubt, but for the purpose of ascertaining on what grounds a fair settlement may be made. As HH has expressed his wish to be satisfied with such an arrangement as I can effect with him – I have no hesitation in saying that the Maharajah ought to be contented to ask no more than Sir John Lawrence, Sir Frederick Currie and Capt Eastwick may think right – they being more conversant with the Maharajah's position than other members of the Council [...] PS After the Maharajah has seen the statement of account he may be quite prepared to accept such a settlement as Lord Canning may consider right'.
    The third document, humbly addressed to Sir Charles Wood, goes into a little more detail on the same subject, but is interesting mostly for its exposure of Login's concern for the British reputation in India:
    When all the circumstances of the Maharajah's removal from the throne of the Punjab and the annexation of his country are duly considered, I think that it will be admitted to be at least very satisfactory to us, that the person who in the opinion of other civilised nations, has suffered much from the change, should himself on attaining an age at which he can correctly judge of the .... [?] of our proceedings towards him, be ready to express his approbation - and I may be excused therefore if I am a little anxious for the sake of our own high character among the people of India, that nothing should occur to deprive us of this satisfaction.
    Furthermore: 'I confess that I am less anxious for the Maharajah's personal interest in the decision of this question than for the honour and credit of the British Government, and for the character which impartial history may yet attach to the transaction'.
    The fourth document (a copy of an original document dated January 1860) is in contrast to these high-flown concerns, and gets down to brass tacks regarding the settlement, citing suggested amounts and comparative examples of settlements provided to other deposed Indian rulers. It goes into considerable detail in justification of what the Maharajah is due 'for the means of again setting up his establishment in England and India, in a manner suitable to his position'.

    Documents 6 and 7 are short outlines, rough notes for more complete summaries, which go back to 1846 and 1849 and give some details of the treaties in those years between the Sikhs and the British – the ceding of territory south of the River Sutlej, the disbanding and limiting of the army, the payment of large sums of money to the British. We may speculate that these are working notes either for the lawyers from whom he sought additional opinion, for a longer, full-scale memoir of his own, or perhaps even for the Queen.
    Document 7 also worries further at the question of what is due to Duleep Singh, but the most interesting point, evidence of Login's own feelings that the Maharajah had perhaps not been fairly treated (seen too in Queen Victoria's own diary entry that 'one always feels so much for these poor deposed Indian princes...), is the following:
    That the annexation of the Punjab was a politic measure, few were inclined to question – but inasmuch as it involved the deposition of a young prince, whom the British Govt had engaged to protect in his position during his minority, and who had throughout evinced the utmost confidence in us, it was obviously a harsh proceeding and one which demanded the most liberal and generous consideration towards the person whom our policy had despoiled.

    The account of the conversion of Duleep Singh to Christianity (which includes transcriptions of letters from Bhajan Lall and William Guise, the tutor), is related in great detail, which is consistent with the personal importance it held in the minds of the Logins (and presumably that of the Queen too). It is perhaps, from our modern perspective, of particular significance for its personal and emotional resonance: a Sikh abandoning the faith of his birth. But of course the conversion was further reassurance, for the British, that the Maharajah was becoming distanced from the Sikh culture into which he had been born. Login notes that Duleep took no copy of the Guru Granth Sahib with him when he left the Punjab; then that his companions were a Muslim and then a Hindu Brahmin (who in fact pushed him in the direction of Christianity). However, there is great concern firstly that Duleep should be sincere in his conversion, and that there should be no suggestion that he had been forced into it. 'If you want to read them then read - if you don't want to read them, then don't read', was an early admonition from Login, referring to passages from the Bible. Guise also notes: '[I]t was entirely optional with himself to read such part or not, he however always chose to do so, on which occasions I have explained to him what he read, but beyond this, have neither questioned His Highness nor held conversations with him, on the subject of the Christian religion'. This stereotypical British sense of 'fair play', of plain dealing, is present in both these religious matters, and in the matter of the settlement. Set against this is the wholesale annexation of the Punjab, the taking of the contents of the Treasury, and the enforced payment of tens of lakhs to the British.

    For a good survey of the background to Duleep Singh's elevation to the throne, and his removal and the British involvement, see D. Jones, 'Maharaja Dalip Singh', in S. Stronge (ed.), The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms, London 1999, ch. 9, pp. 152-163. See also P. Bance, The Duleep Singhs: the Photograph Album of Queen Victoria's Maharajah, Stroud 2004, for Dr Login and Duleep Singh's subsequent life in Europe, and that of his descendants.
Contacts
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
A collection of seven documents relating to Maharajah Duleep Singh, written by his guardian, Dr John Login, as a record of events, of the details of the treaties with the Sikh nation, the financial settlements of the Maharajah's affairs, and his conversion to Christianity England, the earliest dated July 1854, the latest shortly after January 1860(7)
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