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HOBHOUSE, SIRJOHN CAM

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HOBHOUSE, SIRJOHN CAM (1786-1869), later Lord Brought on, an English writer and statesman, was the eldest son of Sir Benjamin Hob house. Born at Red land, near Bristol, England, on 27 June 1786, he was elected to the House of Commons from Westminster in 1820. He served in Lord Grey`s government (1832-34), in Melbourne ministry (1837-38), and Lord John Russell`s cabinet (1846-52). As president of the Board of Control, Hob house directed the Home Government`s policy towards the Punjab and the Sikhs for nearly 15 years.

He supported Auckland`s adventure for the restoration of Shah Shuja` to the throne of Afghanistan with the help of the Sikhs though it turned out to be a disaster. Hob house was responsible for the suppression of some of the documents relating to the first Anglo Sikh war in the Blue Book, published in 1846. J.D. Cunningham`s reference to the suppressed papers in his A History of the Sikhs so much aroused him that he ordered the Government of India in 1849 to dismiss him from service. Five bulky volumes of Sir John Hob house`s private correspondence with Auckland, Harding and Dalhouse in the British Library furnish a good deal of information on the Punjab and the Sikhs.

Hob house Auckland Correspondence (May 1836June 1841) gives fresh information on Sikh policy towards Sindh and Afghanistan. Hob house Harding Correspondence (September 1846February 1848) unfolds the schemes behind the first Anglo Sikh war. Dolhouse Hob house Correspondence (January 1848 March 1853) discloses how the British invasion of the Punjab in 1848 had been designed by Dolhouse, how the annexation of the Punjab had been preplanned at Fort William, and how Hob house and the Board of Control initially following a policy of drift and indecision in giving support to Dalhouse had ultimately fallen in line. After his retirement, Sir John Hob house spent most of his time in literary pursuits. He died at Berkeley Square, England, on 3 June 1869.

References :

1. Hasral, BJ., ed., The Punjab Papers. Hoshiarpur, 1970

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