Bayards of British India

Alaric Jacob introduces the soldiers and administrators who prepared the way for nineteenth-century Empire.

When General Sir Charles Napier, the conqueror of Sind, presided at a banquet in honour of the future General Sir James Outram in 1842, he proposed this toast: ‘I give you the Bayard of India, sans peur et sans reproche - Major James Outram of the Bombay Army’.

Napier was a forerunner of Field-Marshal Lord Montgomery in understanding that military prowess needs to be publicized so that the human sacrifices it entails may be seen to have been worthwhile. His own reputation was fortified by the writings of his brother William, the historian, and Charles Napier saw to it that the officers who fought with him in extending and securing the frontiers of the Indian Empire should receive their due share of praise.

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