John Grover 1843 transcribed

Here is John Grover 1843 from British Library transcribed. The lines are the same as in the original (the facsimile are included on this website), but the exact spacing on and between lines is a rough approximation. John Grover 1823 and 1843 are the two pamphlets that were used for modelling WWII and the nazi holocaust. I notice that several of the names in this historic document seem to vibrate with later historic names. For example, if the 'Khaun' (page 13) is a 'Clown', then 'Khiva' is likely to be 'Klipra'- for the 'Clown of Klipra' and similars. "Lieutenant-General Lord Fitzroy Somerset" (page 5) may perhaps be recognized as "president John Fitzgerald Kennedy", 'Earl of Aberdeen' = Keith Abercrombie = Aber-bean/Aber-bach (1924 postcard), cp. Himmler etc. I also recognize several relevant 'Kursk' elements in the words in italics. I guess that the document contains several interesting cues on its mid point, two thirds, and so forth.
















&c, &c.


      The object of the following pages is to endea-
vour to excite the public sympathy in favour of two
British officers, Colonel Stoddart and Captain Co-
nolly, who were seized by the Ummeer of Bokhara,
while employed in the service of their country on a
diplomatic mission, and who (if alive) are still re-
tained in captivity, and to call the public atten-
tion to an Address to the Officers of the British
Army, from the celebrated missionary the Reve-
rend Dr.Joseph Wolff, which appeared in the
Morning Herald newspaper of July 6th, in which
the reverend doctor states his belief that these
gentlemen are still alive, and proposes to start
immediately for Bokhara, if furnished with the
necessary funds, without seeking one "single
farthing as a compensation,"
even in case of
complete success.


      The fate of these brave men, I am sorry to say,
has excited far less interest in England than on the
Continent. This may, perhaps, arise from the very
natural supposition of Englishmen that their Go-
vernment has left no means untried to save those
who are suffering in their country's cause. I think,
however, that the perusal of the following pages
will convince the reader that the British Go-
vernment, far from attempting the release of
these gallant fellows, has not even taken the
trouble of ascertaining the simple fact of their
      I feel that I am making a grave and serious
charge against the Government; but I can really draw
no other inference from the facts, which I now lay
before the public, as the only means I see left of
rescuing my friend and his fellow-sufferer from
their dreadful state of captivity, brought upon them
by the faithful discharge of their duty.
      With Captain Conolly I have not the pleasure
of being acquainted.
      Colonel Stoddart was formerly in the Royal
Staff Corps. In the year 1833 he was placed on
half-pay by reduction, and became Secretary to the
United Service Institution, in Scotland Yard; I
was on the council of that institution, and thus my
acquaintance with him began. He was also Secre-
tary to the Society of Civil Engineers. These two
posts he continued to occupy, with credit to him-
self and benefit to those institutions, until the year


1835, when, the Government having resolved to
despatch Mr.Ellis on a mission to Persia, it
was thought advisable to attach an intelligent
military officer to the embassy, as military secretary,
and my friend Stoddart was fixed upon for that
highly important office.
      When Mr.Ellis returned to England, Colonel
Stoddart was sent on a special mission to the Um-
meer of Bokhara.
      Shortly afterwards intelligence reached England
of his imprisonment, then a rumour was circulated
of his execution; and the overland mail of June last
brought an account that both these distinguished
captives were still alive.
      Of their captivity there can be no doubt; but I
totally discredit the rumour of their assassination,
for reasons that will be given at lenght in the course
of this narrative.
      I had long suffered great uneasiness about my
poor friend, and had often thought of proceeding to
Bokhara to ascertain his fate; this feeling was,
however, checked by the reflection that, of course,
Lord Aberdeen had done, and was doing, every
thing that was possible. When, however, the intel-
ligence was brought by the June overland mail that
my friend was still alive, I began to suspect that
Government had really no precise information on
the subject; and, on the 13th June, I attended the
levee of Lord Fitzroy Somerset, the Military Secre-
tary, and handed to him a letter, in which I informed
him that it was my intention to start immediately


for Bokhara, at my own cost and risk, to attempt
the release of my friend Colonel Stoddart and Captain
Conolly, if allowed to do so in the character of a
British officer. His lordship listened to my appeal
with the greatest attention; and I cannot think of
the two interviews with which I was honoured by
his lordship without feeling the deepest gratitude
for the kind interest he took in behalf of my friend,
and for the patience with which he listened to my
anxious appeal, and I trust he will excuse my taking
this public mode of thanking him.
      On the 22d June, I received a note from Lord
Fitzroy Somerset, suggesting that I should commu-
nicate with Lord Aberdeen on the subject of my
letter of the 13th June.
      I therefore addressed the following letter to the
Earl of Aberdeen: -

                     "Army and Navy Club, 22d June, 1843.
           "My Lord,
      "On the 13th instant I wrote to Lieutenant-General
Lord Fitzroy Somerset, proposing to go to Bokhara, at my
own cost and risk, to ascertain the fate, and attempt the
release, of my friend Lieutenant-Colonel Stoddart.
      "I have this moment received a note from Lord
Fitzroy Somerset, in which he suggests that I should
address myself to your Lordship on the subject. I there-
fore take the liberty of requesting your Lordship to honour
me with an interview.
                     "I have the honour to be, &c.
                                          "JOHN GROVER,
                                                "Capt. Unattached."


      To this I received the following reply: -

      "Mr.Addington presents his compliments to Captain
Grover, and with reference to his letter to the Earl of
Aberdeen of this day's date, he requests Captain Grover
to have the goodness to call upon him at the Foreign
Office to-morrow, Friday, the 23rd instant, at Two
      "Foreign Office,
           "June 22d."

      I now considered my departure certain, went
immediately to my bankers, ordered the sale of
property, that I might have ample funds to meet
the expenses of my expedition, and made other
arrangement for an immediate departure, never
for a moment doubting but that Lord Aberdeen
was as anxious as I could possibly be to ascertain
the fate of these unfortunate officers.
      I was punctual to the Under-Secretary of State's
appointment, and was immediately admitted.
I began by presenting to Mr.Addington a
copy of my letter to Lord Fitzroy Somerset, which
contained a detail of my proposed plan of pro-
ceeding. He said a great deal to impress upon
my mind the great danger that would attend the
      I told him that I had well considered that point,
that I possessed the ordinary degree of coolness and
presence of mind; that I doubted not I should
succeed in my object, or that, at least, I should


ascertain whether these gentlement were still in
      Mr.Addington then said, that probably the
best mode of proceeding would be to put me in
possession of all the documents relating to Colonel
Stoddart, that I might then take a day or two for
reflection; and, should I be still disposed to go, he
would be happy to see me again.
      I was then introduced to Mr.Hammond, who
laid before me a mass of official and other papers.
      Mr.Hammond called my particular attention
to a long circumstantial statement made by a man
with a long Persian name, which I do not recollect,
and which was made still longer by the addition of
an alias.
      According to this account, Colonel Stoddart and
Captain Conolly, with about thirty servants belong-
ing to the latter, were confined in a deep, dark well,
in which there was only one necessary, which was
emptied but once a fortnight.
      That Colonel Stoddart was one day brought into
the Ummeer's presence, who spoke kindly to him,
and told him to be of good cheer; after a short
time the Ummeer made a sign, and Colonel Stoddart
was led out and stripped. A small piece of paper
and a pencil were found concealed in his clothes:
this being reported to the Ummeer, he became
furious, asked Colonel Stoddart who gave him the
paper, and with whom he was corresponding?
Colonel Stoddart refusing to tell, he was conducted


with Captain Conolly outside the town, and his
head was cut off in the presence of numerous
      Captain Conolly was now told, that if he would
become a Mussulman his life should be spared.
His reply was: - Colonel Stoddart has been a Mus-
sulman these three years, yet you have destroyed
him; I will die a Christian. He was immediately
decapitated; and they were interred in graves which
had been previously prepared.
      The narrator further states that he was not
present at the execution
, but that he had seen the
graves; and the executioner, some time after (two
or three weeks, if I remember right), offered to
give him, or shew him, their heads.
      Mr.Hammond asked, "Did I not think this
statement, this interesting, very circumstantial state-
ment, conclusive?"
      I replied, "By no means; in the first place, if
this man be worthy of belief, which I am rather
disposed to question, he merely reports what another
had told him."
      "But," rejoined Mr.Hammond, "the heads
the executioner offered to shew him the heads."
      "Offered! but, as the offer was not accepted,
we have no proof that it was sincere; besides, two
or three weeks after decapitation, in the climate of
Bokhara, identification might, perhaps, have been
no very easy matter; I therefore attach very little
importance to this statement, unless confirmed by

PAGE 10:

other testimony: alone, I would not receive it as
      (I will here make a remark, which did not
occur to me when I was with Mr.Hammond.
This man, as a Persian, is a sworn enemy of the
people of Bokhara, one of the worst of enemies a
religious enemy. The Persians are followers of Ali,
and curse most devoutly five times a day Omar,
who is venerated by the people of Bokhara.)
      Mr.Hammond seemed to admit the justness of
my reasoning, and he then shewed me some other
accounts. These only contained rumours of the
execution, and stated they could not give precise
accounts, as the execution was private.
      I looked at Mr.Hammond with astonishment,
told him that these accounts, instead of confirming
the first, completely refuted it, the latter stating
that the execution was private, and the former
circumstantial one, distinctly and positively stated
the execution to have been public, in the presence
of many people outside the town. Now both these
accounts cannot be true; and I am disposed to con-
sider them both false, and not worthy of a moment's
      Mr.Hammond appeared to feel the force of this
reasoning also; and I then called his attention to
the most important document that was laid before
      This was an account which was brought (if I
recollect right) be the overland mail of June last,

PAGE 11:

and an extract from which was published in the
newspapers, and which, in fact, was the cause of
my present visit to the Foreign Office. This ac-
count was brought by a Jew, who was certified as
being worthy of credit. He stated that he had lately
left Bokhara; that Colonel Stoddart and Captain
Conolly were both alive; that it had been reported
that these officers had been executed, but that a
Greek and a slave had been the real victims. This
Jew offered to go immediately to Bokhara, to take a
letter to Colonel Stoddart, and to bring an answer, if
promised a "chit" on his return. This man, more-
over, asks for nothing until he does return.
      I saw nothing to lead me to imagine that this
offer had been accepted, and I could not help ex-
pressing to Mr.Hammond my great surprise that,
among the mass of documents before me, there was
no indication that any effort had been made by the
British Government to attempt the release of these
unfortunate men, or even to ascertain the simple
fact of their existence!
      Mr.Hammond then searched among another
package of papers, and put into my hands the copy
of a letter from Lord Ellenborough to the Sovereign
of Bokhara.
      This letter begins by announcing his Lordship's
arrival in India as the representative of the just and
potent Sovereign of Great Britain, mentions some
recent successes of the British arms, and concludes
by saying, that he is informed that two English-

PAGE 12:

men are detained prisoners at Bokhara; that all
good and enlightened Sovereigns protect instead of
injuring "innocent travellers;" he therefore trusts
his majesty will immediately order their release,
and he will engage that they shall never again
enter his dominions.
      My remark to Mr.Hammond on reading this
letter was, that it was merely the copy of a letter
said to have been sent, that there was no answer,
nothing to shew that it had ever reached its desti-
nation. I saw, however, that Colonel Stoddart
and Captain Conolly were described as "innocent
when his Lordship well knew that they
were officers officially employed by his Government
on a special mission.
      Having attentively perused all the documents
Mr.Hammond had the kindness to lay before me,
I told him that I saw nothing to shake my original
resolution, that I was now persuaded that my
friend had not been murdered, and, as the Govern-
ment had done nothing, it was necessary that I
should start immediately.
      Mr.Hammond asked, how did I propose reach-
ing Bokhara?
      I told him that my intention was to apply to the
Emperor of Russia for permission to descend the
Volga to Astrakan, or to take the more direct
route by Orenbourg, as I might be advised: that I
doubted not the Emperor, when he considered my
motives for undertaking this journey, would give

PAGE 13:

his consent. Having his consent, I was sure of his
majesty's assistance, as he never did things by halves.
      Arrived at Orenbourg, I should despatch a
messenger to Khiva, stating distinctly the object of
my journey, and asking permission to pass through
the Khaun's territory, and also for an escort;* a
similar letter I should send to the Ummeer of Bok-
hara. I should patiently wait at Orenbourg for a
      Should a favourable answer be returned, all
would be well; should my application be refused
the probability of which I really could not con-
template I should immediately return, and have
to report the ill success of my expedition; even
should it fail, with the means at my disposal I
should be able to obtain much valuable information.
      Mr.Hammond said he did not think the Em-
peror of Russia would allow me to pass through his
territory, and he shewed me a letter from Baron
Brunow, which stated that all communication was
cut off between Russia and Bokhara, that the
Ummeer was desirous of sending an ambassador
to St.Petersburg, and had been refused.
      I expressed my surprise how, reasoning upon
the same premises, Mr.Hammond and I always
came to such opposite conclusions: now this letter
induced me to believe that, as the Ummeer was so
desirous of being on good terms with Russia, an

      * Should the Khaun of Khiva have refused his consent, I
could have taken the caravan route to the east of the sea of Aral.

PAGE 14:

Englishman coming through that kingdom would
certainly be well received. With respect to the
Emperor, I felt no doubt, notwithstanding Mr.
Hammond's opinion to the contrary, that his
majesty would assist instead of opposing my plan;
that, however, could be soon ascertained.
      Mr.Hammond then said: "But why not
proceed to Persia? we have a resident at Teheran
who would assist you. The road to Mushed is
open, and the caravans pass from Mushed to Bok-
      "Of course that is the readiest route; but I
took it for granted that there must be some insu-
perable difficulties on that side,
or our resident at
Teheran would certainly ere this have obtained at
least some intelligence of the prisoners. However,
I am prepared to start immediately by any route
that you may advise."
      "But," he continued, "should you even succeed
in getting to Bokhara, it is not certain that you will
then obtain the information you desire. Suppose
now Colonel Stoddart dead, it by no means follows
that the Khaun will shew you his body or inform you
of the fact."
      "Then, as I before said, I must acknowledge
my failure. But, instead of supposing him dead, I
will suppose that he is living, and that the Ummeer
receives me kindly, and says: 'As you have come
so far through so many dangers to see your friend,
you shall not be disappointed; go, console your

PAGE 15:

friend make his heart glad; I will then talk to
you about his release.'
      "Now I will suppose that I am conducted to
the 'dark well;' that I hear a faint, languid voice
say: 'What! are you come at last to drag me to
      "I reply, 'Have you forgotten me?'
      "Surely I should know that voice. What!
      "Yes, my dear friend, I am come to bring you
news of your family to tell you that your country
has not forgotten you,
and that the Government
is now, though late, taking measures for your
release.' "
      I told Mr.Hammond that I had as much right
to suppose this as he had to imagine the death of
my unfortunate friend, and that I trusted that my
supposition would prove the correct one.
      I now told Mr.Hammond that I was deter-
mined to start as soon as possible, and that I should
like to see Mr.Addington. Mr.Hammond sug-
gested that I should take a day to deliberate. I
told him there was no occasion for deliberation, nor
time to be lost, and that I should like to see Mr.
Addington immediately, if he were at leisure.
      I was again ushered to the presence of the
Under-Secretary of State, who seemed surprised
that my determination was not shaken.
      He then said that he saw no objection to my
proceeding as a private traveller, if so disposed. I

PAGE 16:

told him that for that I did not require his sanction;
but that as a "private traveller" I should be impri-
soned as a spy, long before reaching Bokhara. That
all I asked was permission to go as an English
officer, that I should wear my uniform, which would
be my best safeguard. Should this be refused, I
must give up the enterprise.
      Mr.Addington then said, that the expedition
would be attended with so much danger, that he did
not think Lord Aberdeen would feel himself jus-
tified in granting my request. I urged the point
some time, bringing forward some of the arguments
I had used with Mr.Hammond, and took my leave
after remaining above two hours at the Foreign
Office. At parting, I requested Mr.Addington
distinctly to understand that I was prepared to start
immediately, that I had made my preparations, and
that I did not require the least assistance. That I
took upon myself all the expense, risk, and respon-
and merely asked permission to be allowed
to go as a British officer.
      On the 26th June, I received a note from Mr.
Addington, declining my proposition; but in this
note my proposition was so completely mis-stated,
that I instantly wrote to him the following:

                                          "Army and Navy Club,
                                                "June 25th,
      "I have received your note of the 24th instant, and
take the liberty merely of observing, that in referring to

PAGE 17:

my proposition, you omit all notice of its most important
feature, viz. that the expedition was to be undertaken at
my own 'cost and risk.'
      "As it is usual in all official correspondence to allude
to a proposition as nearly as possible in the terms in
which it was made, I trust you will have the goodness to
correct this omission.

                "I have the honour to be,
                     "Your obedient servant,
                          "JOHN GROVER,
                               "Captain Unattached.

"To Henry Unwin Addington, Esq.,
      "Under-Secretary of State,
           "Foreign Affairs."

      In reply, I received the following note, with an
inclosure, the wording of which was quite satisfac-
tory, although the refusal was a cruel disappoint-

      "Mr.Addington presents his compliments to Captain
Grover, and has great pleasure in correcting the omission
which had by an oversight been made in Mr.Addington's
note of 24th instant,and to which Captain Grover has
called Mr.Addington's attention in his letter of to-day.
      "Mr.Addington requests that Captain Grover will
have the goodness to substitute the corrected version of
the note herewith inclosed for the former note, and that
he will return the latter to Mr.Addington.

      "Foreign Office,
           "26th June,

PAGE 18:

      Here follows the "corrected version" of the
note, which I found inclosed:

      "Mr.Addington presents his compliments to Captain
Grover, and begs to inform him that he has laid before
Lord Aberdeen Captain Grover's desire to proceed, at his
own cost and risk, to Bokhara, in the character of a Brit-
ish officer officially sent in order to obtain intelligence as
to the fate of Colonel Stoddart.
      "Lord Aberdeen stated to Mr.Addington, that he
would not feel himself justified in investing Captain
Grover with an official character, but that his Lordship
would very willingly afford to Captain Grover every faci-
lity, and grant him every protection at his command, for
the purpose of prosecuting his researches with greater
effect, if Captain Grover should be disposed to proceed to
Bokhara as a private traveller for the purpose above-
                                              "Foreign Office,
                                                   "June 24th,
      "To Captain Grover."

      This terminated my correspondence with the
Foreign Office, and I cannot help expressing my
regret that his Lordship did not condescend to
honour me with the interview I took the liberty of
soliciting at the suggestion of the Military Secre-
tary, instead of handing me over to irresponsible
subalterns. I say "irresponsible," because, although
these excellent, talented, and honourable gentlemen
may be responsible to him, it is his Lordship alone
who is responsible to the nation; and I now inform

PAGE 19:

his Lordship that he will be held personally respon-
sible for any disaster that may now befall these
gallant fellows; and, should they be now sacrificed,
their blood must lie on the conscience of my Lord
      Mr.Addington having ascertained from me
distinctly that I would not go "as a private tra-
as it would be walking into the tiger's jaws,
without the least chance of succeeding in the object
of my journey, Lord Aberdeen refuses what I ask
what I did not want, and what he had previously
ascertained I would not accept.
      Lord Aberdeen knows that, as "a private tra-
my mission must fail, and that my destruc-
tion would be certain.
      Imagine a "private traveller" sending in his
to the sovereign of Bokhara, and saying, after
presenting his compliments, that he would be much
obliged to him, in fact, that he would consider it as
a personal favour, if the Ummeer would deliver up
to him two British officers whom he had detained
five years unjustly in confinement, and who were not
thought worthy, by their own Government, of being
      Would he not immediately order his head to be
cut off, and his carcase stuck up as a scarecrow to
frighten away other "private travellers?"
      I really see but one chance the "private tra-
would have of escaping: all Mussulmans have

PAGE 20:

a great respect and reverence for idiots and mad-
men, and our "private traveller" might have the
good fortune to be considered of his category, and,
instead of losing his head, he might have the good
fortune of merely finding himself minus his eye-
      On the 6th of July I read the following in the
Morning Herald newspaper:


           "To all the Officers of the British Army.
                "13 Richmond Green, Richmond, July 2.

      "Though a missionary and a clergyman myself, and
not an officer, I do not take up my pen in order to excite
your sympathy in behalf of a clergyman or missionary,
but in behalf of two of your fellow-officers, Captain Co-
nolly and Colonel Stoddart, who are at present captives
in the great city of Bokhara; but having been myself two
months at Bokhara, and knowing, as I do, the character
of the inhabitants of Bokhara, I am fully convinced that
the report of their having been put to death is exceedingly
doubtful much more so by the source from which the
report originated.
      "If, therefore, one of you, gentlemen, would be in-
clined to accompany me to Bokhara, or merely pay the
expenses of my jouney there, I am ready to go there;
and I am fully confident that I shall be able, with God's
help, to liberate them from captivity, with the assistance
of my Turcoman friends in the desert of Khiva, and one
of the dervishes; but I would undertake the journey

PAGE 21:

without making myself responsible to the British Govern-
ment, and entirely on my own responsibility.
      "I merely want the expense of the journey, and not one
single farthing as a compensation,
even in case of complete
      "I shall be ten days more at Richmond, Surrey; if,
therefore, one of you brave officers is now ready to accom-
pany me, or to assist me in making the journey, let him
come to me, and we may talk over the matter more fully.

                          "I am, Gentlemen,
                               "Your humble obedient Servant,

                                    "JOSEPH WOLFF,
                          "Late Curate of High Hoyland, Yorkshire,
                               formerly Missionary in Persia, Bokhara,
                               and Affghanistan. "

      I was not acquainted with Dr.Wolff, except by
reputation. I immediately wrote and made an ap-
pointment for the following day.
      I found that Dr.Wolff was well acquainted with
Captain Conolly, who had, on one occasion, clothed
and relieved him, when he escaped from captivity
in a state of utter destitution. He expressed in
warm terms his gratitude for the benefits he had
received from Captain Conolly, and his anxiety of
assisting in his deliverance.
      He told me that he had written to Lord Aber-
deen, proposing to go to Bokhara; and his lord-
ship's reply was (if I correctly understood the
reverend doctor) declining the offer, as he intended
relying upon Providence!

PAGE 22:

      The expense of the whole journey to Bokhara
and back, including presents, the doctor estimates
at 500 l.
      This sum, I told him, I douted not could be
easily raised; and I trust that the friends of Colonel
Stoddart and Captain Conolly will assist me in de-
spatching to Bokhara, with as little delay as pos-
sible, this excellent man.
      Dr.Wolff feels quite confident that these gentle-
men have not been murdered: he discredits in toto
the assertion that Colonel Stoddart had turned
Mussulman, and the romance of the "dark well;"
and believes, on the contrary, that they will be
kindly treated during their captivity.
      I communicated to him my proposal to Govern-
ment. He said, as a "private traveller" I should be
looked upon as a spy, and that I should never suc-
ceed in reaching Bokhara; but as a recognised
British officer, in my uniform, I should have no
difficulty whatever; that he himself intends wear-
ing his robes as a Protestant clergyman, and his
doctor's hood.
      Dr.Wolff is well acquainted with Persian and
the Bokhara dialect, and has now in his possession
a passport of the Ummeer.
      Dr.Wolff is now at Bruges, assisting in the
duties of the English Church, and he will there
wait the result of the present appeal.
      I am most glad to find that Lord Aberdeen
trusts in Providence; I also trust most devoutly in

PAGE 23:

Providence, still I think that the nature of our re-
liance is very different.
      My firm belief is, that if the friends of Colonel
Stoddart and Captain Conolly exert themselves at
the present moment, and that if Dr.Wolff zealously
fulfils the mission he is about to undertake, I then
sincerely believe that the Almighty will bless our
endeavours; but I do not for a moment imagine
that the order of the universe will be disturbed, or
a miracle performed.
      I do not know if this be orthodox, but the reader
will have the kindness to recollect that I am but a
mere soldier.

      I was very anxious to obtain some information
as to the cause of Colonel Stoddart's imprisonment.
I saw no document at the Foreign Office that al-
luded to this, and although I received greedily all
the information that was given me, and made my
comments pretty freely, as the reader will have
remarked, upon the documents that were laid be-
fore me, I did not, however, presume to ask any
questions, anxious as I was on this subject.
      A work has, however, issued from the press,
since my visit to the Foreign Office, which gives
some very interesting information on this point. It
is entitled, "Narrative of a Journey from Heraut
to Khiva, Moscow, &c.; by Captain James Abbott,
Bengal Artillery, lately on a Political Mission."
      I find the following at page 36, vol.i:

PAGE 24:

      "Colonel Stoddart's old servant also accom-
panied us, following me some distance after I had
taken leave of the Berg. I fell into company with
him, and found it to be his firm conviction that
the imprisonment of Colonel Stoddart was owing to
a letter written by the Vuzeer Yar Muhummeed to
the Ummeer of Bokhara.
      "This man has since visited Bokhara, with the
view of effecting Colonel Stoddart's release.
      "His opinion jumps with a conviction I have
long felt. It is well known that terms of defiance
passed between Colonel Stoddart and the Vuzeer,
which the latter was the last man in the world to
forget or forgive. An outward reconciliation had
taken place, but could but serve to inflame, by sup-
pressing, the resentment of such a fiend as Yar Mu-
      "It would appear that the Vuzeer, in addition
to his letter to the Ummeer, sent a man of his own
in company with Colonel Stoddart; and to this man's
advice are attributed all the evil consequences that
fell upon Colonel Stoddart, whom he had per-
suaded to believe him an attached follower."
      I find, however, in page 89, the opinion of the
Khaun of Khiva, which shews not only why the
Khaun of Bokhara should detain Colonel Stoddart,
but leads me to believe he would be kindly treated
during his captivity.
      The conversation between the Khaun and Cap-
tain Abbot is as follows:

PAGE 25:

      "Are you friends or enemies of Bokhara?"
      "We sent an ambassador to Bokhara to offer
the Ummeer friendship. He was afterwards to
have proceeded, I believe, to Khiva, with similar
offers to your Majesty; but the Ummeer, violating
the laws of nations and the rights of hospitality,
seized and imprisoned him. Such an act, unless
speedily redressed, may bring the vengeance of my
Government upon Bokhara. Your Majesty must
have influence with the Ummeer, and would do an
important benefit to the Mussulman world in exert-
ing it for the liberation of Colonel Stoddart, for
the British are extremley reluctant to enter into war
with any of the Moslem states, their natural allies."
      "I am on terms of defiance; he will not listen
to me."
      "But his ambassador was lately at Khiva."
      "He departed without obtaining his object; the
Ummeer is mad."
      "Your Majesty is a friend and ally of the King
of Kokaun. If both yourself and that monarch
should urge the release of Colonel Stoddart, the
Ummeer would not dare refuse."
      "The Ummeer thinks, from the pains you take
for Colonel Stoddarts's release, that he is some very
great man; and, as he fears you will some day molest
him, detains him to exchange for some city, or some
high ransom."
      "Would your Government give any high sum
for his release?"

PAGE 26:

      "My queen has thousands of subjects, the
equals in birth and rank to Colonel Stoddart. Had
Colonel Stoddart been taken in war, a ransom might
probably be thought of. But he was the Ummeer's
guest, and the representative of my king at the time
of his seizure. The insult, if not redressed, may
be avenged. So far from the Ummeer gaining a
city in exhange for Colonel Stoddart, were he to
ask only a single rupee, the British Government
would refuse the demand with scorn. The pains
we have taken for Colonel Stoddart's release proceed
from our reluctance to war with any of the states of
Islaum. But for this reluctance, we had long ago
sent a couple of thousand soldiers to drive the
Ummeer out of his kingdom."
      At page 169, vol.i, I find the following:
      "At my next audience, the Khaun Huzurut
informed me that the Ummeer of Bokhara had sent
a decided negative to his (the Khaun's) two several
remonstrances for the release of Colonel Stoddart.
The reply of the Ummeer was,
      " 'You have one English eelchie, what would
you do with another? Do you grudge me one?'
      "I replied that I deeply regretted the Ummeer's
insanity; but that the Khaun Huzurut's friendly
attention to the request of my Government could not
be impaired by the conduct of the Ummeer, but was
as precious as if crowned with the desired success.
      "I begged, in the name of my Government, to
offer his Majesty the warmest thanks."

PAGE 27:

      The most interesting passage in Captain
Abbott's book relating to Colonel Stoddart, I find
in page 120, vol. i. He says:
      "Speaking of Colonel Stoddart, the Khaun said,
I hear that the Russian Ambassador at Bokhara
applied to the Ummeer for Colonel Stoddart's free-
dom, and that he should be delivered for the pur-
pose to the Russian Government. That, upon this,
the Ummeer summoned Colonel Stoddart, and asked
him whether the Russians were likely to treat him
well, and what he thought of the proposal; and
that Colonel Stoddart replied, 'The Russians
would undoubtedly treat me well; but, when my
own Government demands me, what will your High-
ness answer?'
      "That the Ummeer was much struck with the
nobleness of such an answer from one who was in
prison, and in hourly danger of death; and, taking
off his own rich cloak of sables, made them clothe
Colonel Stoddart in it, and lead him on horseback
through Bokhara.
      "This anecdote, which the Khaun fully cre-
dited, I have not, to this day, means of confirming
or contradicting. It accords so well, however, with
the spirit of this high-minded officer, whose suffer-
ings were parallelled only by his fortitude, that I
had no difficulty in believing it.
      "General Perroffski afterwards confirmed the
fact of his attempt to release Colonel Stoddart."
      Poor Stoddart! The Ummeer talks of releasing

PAGE 28:

him at the solicitation of Russia, and he innocently
replies, "when my own Government demands me,
what will your Highness answer?" His "own
indeed! If he be not released until
his own Government demands him, I fear he will
have long, very long to wait.
      The conduct of this brave fellow excites the
admiration even of the Ummeer of Bokhara, savage
as he is represented to be, and he clothes his pri-
soner in his own royal robes and parades him
through the town, as an example to, and for the
admiration of, the whole people of Bokhara. And
are we to allow this noble fellow to languish in
captivity when an effort now may save him and his
fellow-sufferer? God forbid! I feel satisfied that
this appeal, humble and incapable as is the indi-
vidual who makes it, will not be made in vain, and
that I shall soon be able to despatch the good and
pious missionary Wolff on his glorious expedition,
and that, before the summer of the approaching
year, we shall see these sufferers restored to their
family and friends, and that country, whose honour
they have preferred to both family and friends, nay,
to liberty, and perhaps, to life.
      Had Stoddart accepted the mediation of the
Russian Ambassador, he might have been now
happy in the bosom of his family, but he, like a
trusty soldier, would receive liberty only at the
demand of his own gracious sovereign.
      I envy Doctor Wolff the mission he is (I hope)

PAGE 29:

about to undertake. He is far better fitted for it
than I should have been; and, had I known he had
proposed himself, I should never have volunteered
my services; but I must say, that I would rather
return to my country, with these gallant soldiers
restored to liberty, than with fifty standards taken
after the destruction of ten thousand of her most
dreaded enemies.
      When I first read this account in Captain
Abbott's entertaining book, I was almost surprised
that the Ummeer did not restore him to liberty;
and I am rather inclined to attribute his detention
to that curious letter of Lord Ellenborough, which
Mr.Hammond exhibited to me as a proof (and it
was the only proof he did exhibit) that the British
Government had made one effort for his release.
      Now I most devoutly hope that that letter
never did reach its destination.
      Let us reflect a moment; Colonel Stoddart and
Captain Conolly were sent to the Court of Bokhara
on a special mission, as regular eelchies or ambas-
      Now the sovereignty of these semi-savage coun-
tries are remarkably suspicious, and are always very
much disposed to consider soi-disant eelchies as
      I will suppose that the Ummeer's unjust suspi-
cions were excited by the letter received from the
Vuzeer Yar Muhammeed, and from the evil reports

PAGE 30:

of the scoundrel this Vuzeer contrived to attach to
Colonel Stoddart's suite; I will suppose I say, that
these malicious reports are removed by Colonel
Stoddart's noble refusal of the mediation of General
      At this moment arrives the Governor-General
of India's letter, which tells the Ummeer that they
are "innocent travellers;" or, in another word,
      Now, something like the following scene would
undoubtedly take place:
      The reader will have the kindness to imagine
that hall of state in the palace; near the wall at the
far end, lounging upon some cushions with his face
turned towards Mecca and the door, as they happen
to be in the same direction, is seen the Ummeer.
The room is crowded with all that is noble in
Bokhara; at the monarch's left hand, half a
brigade-major's distance in the rear, stands an im-
portant minister of state, who, in France, is politely
called le matre des hautes 忖vres.
      This gentleman looks complacently at a cimeter
which reposes quietly on his right arm, and ever
and anon glances slyly at the end of a "bowstring,"
which peeps out of his left sleeve. Imagine two
fatigued messengers crouched in one corner, with
the perspiration in large drops running down their
black beards.
      The Ummeer is violently excited, but, on being

PAGE 31:

told that Stoddart Sahib approaches, he strokes his
beard and endeavours to look perfectly cool and
      Stoddart Sahib advances respectfully but gaily,
glancing with a little pride at the "Cloak of Sables,"
and he perceives the messengers crouched in a
corner, knows by their dress that they are from
Hindoostan. Thoughts of dear absent friends pass
rapidly across his mind; he feels at once that he
has not been abandoned by his country; that he
is not forgotten; scenes of liberty, honours, re-
compenses for his past sufferings, become so vivid,
appear so real, that he can hardly master his emo-
tions. Now, indeed, he feels thankful that he had
the resolution to refuse the interference of Russia.
He, however, becomes agitated, flushed, and pale,
by turns.
      The Ummeer pretends not to perceive Stoddart's
emotions, casts a glance at him that seems to pierce
his innermost soul; he receives him, however, with
a complacent smile, and in a bland tone desires him
to approach.
      The following dialogue then takes place:

           STODDART (with profound reverence. )
      "Salaam Alikoom!"

           The UMMEER.
      "Alikoom Salaam! The sight of those
strangers seems to affect thee, Stoddart Sahib."

PAGE 32:

      "It does, may it please your gracious Majesty.
Their sight is more welcome to my soul than the
cool spring to the wanderer in the desert. By their
attire, I see they come from Hindoostan; by the
sweat that hangs upon their brow, I see they have
come in haste, like messengers of joyful tidings.
Oh! Ullah kurreem! (God is merciful!) Have
they not come to negotiate my release? Your
good and gracious Majesty has sent for me to bless
me with that word, so short, but oh! how precious
様iberty! Bismillah! (In the name of God!) I
entreat your Majesty耀ay it!"

      "Compose thyself, O Stoddart Sahib, and
listen to my voice. They say they are thy friends,
and come in thy behalf; but I suspect they are vile
impostors羊ascally spies. I have sent for thee, O
Stoddart Sahib, to have thy opinion: brush away,
therefore, the cobwebs from thine eyelids and tell
me what thou seest."

           [The UMMEER takes from a splendid blue
                satin bag a large letter, gives the enve-
                lope to Colonel Stoddart and retains the
                inclosed letter.

PAGE 33:

           The UMMEER (after a pause).
      "Well, good Stoddart Sahib, thou hast exa-
mined that seal and writing, now tell me truly, as
thou hopest thy mother's grave may never be defiled,
the contents of this despatch, may they be received
with confidence?"

      "Oh! indeed, they may. This letter comes
from the good, the great, the pious, and virtuous
Emir, Lord Ellenborough, who now represents my
most gracious sovereign in Hindoostan. May his
shadow never be less!"
      [STODDART kisses the envelope three times
           with respectful affection.

           The UMMEER (in a furious tone)
      "Listen, now, O Stoddart Sahib; or, rather,
O son of Shit穗! for such indeed thou must be.
Whose dog art thou, son of an unclean quadruped,
that thou shouldst come so far to laugh at our sacred
      "In this letter, which thou sayest is as
worthy of belief as the sacred volume of our
Holy Prophet, know that thou art denounced by
thine own chief as a spy!
Look and satisfy thy-
      "I will then hear patiently what thou hast to
say, before I determine upon thy sentence."

PAGE 34:

           STODDART (in great agitation).
      "There is some extraordinary mistake in this
despatch. Your Majesty will perceive that Conolly
Sahib and myself are said to be 'innocent travel-
and then the Emir Ellenborough adds, 'That
if your Majesty will order our release, he will under-
take that we shall never more enter your Majesty's
dominions.' Now your Majesty, who knows all
things, must be aware that the Emir Ellenborough
can have no power over us, were we "innocent tra-
It is only as servants of the Government
that he can exercise any control whatever, and
prevent out re-entering your Majesty's dominions.
Your Majesty is, however, so well acquainted with
the British constitution, that it would be useless to
say any thing further on that point."

           The UMMEER.
      "One thing is quite clear, either Lord Ellenbo-
rough or thou has said the thing which is not.
When, however, I think of thy noble conduct in
refusing to accept liberty at the solicitation of the
Russian Eelchie, Perroffski Sahib, my heart softens
towards thee, and I cannot bring myself to think
that thou art base enough to lie."
           [The Ummeer then wipes a tear that
                had fallen upon his beard, takes the
                kuliaun from his own mouth, hands
                it to Stoddart, who smokes with great
                violence, and the curtain falls.

PAGE 35:

      I have treated this as a farce, being convinced
from the then state of the intervening country occu-
pied by hostile bands in arms, that Lord Ellenbo-
rough's extraordinary letter, if ever sent, could not
have reached its destination. Should it unfortu-
nately have got to Bokhara, I very much fear that
my stupid farce would be turned into a dreadful

      One of the evils of a mixed form of government
like ours, is, that responsibility is so much divided
that it can scarcely be said to exist. I ask who is
responsible for the fate of Colonel Stoddart? and
echo only answers, "Who?"
      In a despotic government, the Sovereign is
responsible, and considers any benefit conferred
upon the nation as a personal benefit conferred
upon himself, and holds himself bound in honour to
render all possible assistance to those who may
suffer in endeavouring to benefit the nation.
      It must be in the memory of all my readers the
long period that Captain Ross and his noble band
were allowed to remain blocked up in the snow of
the polar regions; the numerous applications that
were made to the Admiralty, who for a long time
turned a deaf ear to all these solicitations, and refused
to go to the expense of a cock-boat to ascertain the
fate of these gallant fellows. I rather think the
Admiralty put forward as an excuse, that they con-
sidered Captain Ross and his brave companions as
"innocent travellers."

PAGE 36:

      While attending the Scientific Congress at Flo-
rence, two years ago, as a Fellow of our Royal
Society, the subject of my friend Stoddart's captivity
was often the subject of conversation, and I was
frequently, as a British officer, appealed to for
information. I well recollect the remark of a
distinguished French officer. "If these men had
been Frenchmen, they would have been free long
since." The reader will probably smile at this
as bombast; but I will venture to say, that had
Colonel Stoddart and Captain Conolly been French-
men, Louis Philippe would have left no means
untried to obtain their release: that there would
have been no occasion whatever for an offer like
mine; but, that, had it been made, it would most
probably have been accepted, and most certainly
the proposer would have been thanked.

      I trust the reader will be of opinion that I have
made good the serious charge that I have preferred
against the Government, viz. that not only has
it not attempted the release of Colonel Stoddart
and Captain Conolly, but that it "has not even
taken the trouble of ascertaining the simple fact of
their existence."

      That was my assertion; and I think I have
brought forward ample proofs that my assertion was
well founded.
      I have, however, now before me, the Morning
of June 22d, 1843.
      It contains a report of what passed the previous

PAGE 37:

day at a General Court of the Proprietors of East
India Stocks. From this report I make the follow-
ing extract:
      "Mr.Weeding said there were painful reports
abroad of the murder of Captain Conolly and
Stoddart in India. Were the Court of Directors
in possession of any authentic information on the
      "The Chairman said, the Court of Directors
had no other information than that possessed by
honourable proprietors through the medium of the
      "In answer to another remark from Mr.Weed-
ing, which did not reach us, the Honourable Chair-
man said, that the last accounts on the subject were
considered more favourable.
      "The Government of India would be, no doubt,
quite alive to the necessity of obtaining the most
correct information on the subject."
      If any one in this country knew any thing about
these officers, it must be the Chairman of the East
India Company;
and he coolly informs his con-
stituents, that all he knows is, that he knows

      It appears, however, that he has the good sense
not to believe the Persian's circumstantial narrative;
and there is the consoling declaration, that the
Government of India will now be "quite alive,"
after having been for the last four years in a state
of suspended animation!

PAGE 38:

      I trust, however, that this hope, that the Govern-
ment of India will now be quite alive, will not
satisfy the public, nor the friends of Colonel Stod-
dart and Captain Conolly, but that immediate
measures will be taken for sending Dr.Wolff to


      Any persons disposed to assist the Reverend Dr.
Wolff in his contemplated expedition to Bokhara
are requested to address Captain Grover, at the
Army and Navy Club, who will be happy to explain
to them the plan proposed.

    August, 1843

                                          [STAMP OF BRITISH MUSEUM]

London: Printed by Moyes and Barclay, Castle Street, Leicester Square.

Transcribed by John Bjarne Grover
On the web 29 May 2004