EDWARDES, SIR HERBERT BENJAMIN
EDWARDES, SIR HERBERT BENJAMIN (1819-1868), soldier, writer and statesman, son of the Rev. B. Edwardes, was born on 12 November 1819. He joined the Bengal infantry as a cadet in 1841, and served as Urdu, Hindi and Persian interpreter to his regiment. He was aide decamp to Lord Hugh Gough during the first Anglo Sikh war and was, in 1847, appointed assistant to Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence, British Resident ai the Sikh capital, who sent him to effect the settlement of Bannu, the account of which is given in his work, A Year on the Punjab Frontier in 1848-49, London, 1851.
Upon the murder of Vans Agnew and Anderson at Multan and the rebellion of Diwan Mul Raj in April 1848, Edwardes collected a force of tribesmen and, with the aid of Nawab of Bahawalpur and Colonel Van Cortlandt of the Sikh service, attacked Mul Raj and his supporters, defeating them at Kinert on 18 June and gaining another victory over them at Saddosam on 2 July. Edwardes opened negotiations with Mul Raj and, at the same time, frantically sought from the Resident at Lahore a heavy guns, a mortar battery, and sappers and miners.
The Multan affair was a local incident which the Governor General Lord Dalhouse seemed determined to enlarge into a Sikh national uprising to have an excuse to invade the Punjab. He was critical of the conduct of Edwardes and wrote to the Resident at Lahore saying that he altogether disapproved of army officers such as Lieut. Edwardes taking upon themselves to volunteer negotiations on a subject of such critical importance without authority from their superiors. Edwardes served as commissioner of Peshawar (1853-59) and commissioner of Ambala (1862-65). He died in London on 23 December 1868.
1. Ganda Singh, The British Occupation of the Panjab. Patiala, 1956
2. Gupta, Hari Ram, Panjab on the eve of First Sikh War. Chandigarh, 1956
3. Hasrat, B.J., Anglo Sikh Relations. Hoshiarpur, 1968
4. Edwardes, Sir Herbert Benjamin, A year on the Punjab Frontierin 1848 – 49, London, 1851