In 1847, however, he agreed to accept the office of Governor General of India. Lord Dalhouse arrived in India in January 1848. Soon thereafter incidents took place in Multan resulting in the revolt of the local Sikh governor, Mul Raj. This was merely a local affair which could have been easily put down by timely action, but Lord Dalhouse deliberately avoided intervention. The Dalhouse papers clearly indicate that immediate advance on Multan was neither perilous not impracticable. Yet the Governor General delayed action for five months so that the trouble might spread, giving the British the excuse to come down on the Punjab with all their might and eventually annex it to their dominions.
Meanwhile, military preparations for a full scale war in the Punjab and its final annexation were set afoot. The Governor General began to call the Multan revolt a national rising of the Sikhs. "The die is cast", declared Dalhouse. In November 1848, Lord Gough invaded the Punjab. The main actions of this undeclared war were fought at Ramnagar (22 November 1848), Chelianvala (13 January 1849) and Gujrat (21 February 1849). On 29 March 1849, the kingdom of the Punjab was annexed to the British Crown. In England, public and private opinion was averse to annexation, and the British cabinet had directed the Governor General to report the opinion of the Government of India. But Lord Dalhouse forestalled both the Secret Committee and the India Board by taking the step on his own responsibility. Lord Dalhouse returned to England in 1856. He died on 19 December 1860.
1. Gough, C., and A.D. Innes, The Sikhs and the Sikh Wars. London, 1897
2. Ganda Singh, ed.. Private Correspondence Relating to the Anglo-Sikh Wars. Amritsar, 1955
3. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol. 2. Princeton, 1966
4. Hasrat,BJ., Anglo-Sikh Relations. Hoshiarpur, 1968