Excerpt from The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, 1880, Vol. 49
That it should be possible for a column only seventeen hun dred strong to go out into Kohistan already, and to accom plish its errand of destroying Mir Batcha's fort without oppo sition, shows how quickly the late fermentation has subsided. As to the general situation, we must not suppose that we have seen the end of outbreaks. The Afghans will not stop fighting merely because they have no chance of success, any more than some people will give up wine because it is bad for them. Their nature is to fight with some one, and the English naturally will receive the greatest share of their attention. And very unprofitable warfare it will be, with the loss of many valuable lives. But there is no reason to suppose that the combination against us will ever be more formidable again than it has been now - or, indeed, any thing like so formidable. But because we are strong enough to put down any attempts to turn us out of the country till we choose to go, it does not follow that there are not still difficulties to be overcome. Just now the garrison of Sherpur will probably be usefully employed in strengthening their position. There can be no harm in making it a far better position than it is already, and our tendency in India is usually to be much too careless in matters of this sort, and not to take precautions enough; and there is a great deal to be done in the way of sheltering the camp followers and horses and transport cattle. The camp followers, poor creatures, are understood to be in a wretched plight just now. They started with the troops from the Kurram Valley without any warm clothing, and there has been no means of getting up a convoy of such necessaries since. The Shuturgardan has been closed by the snow, and communication with J ellala bad has never been open for more than a day or two. 'the Sepoys and European troops are not too well provided either, but they have at least their great-coats and little tents; but the unfortunate camp followers are without either clothing or shel ter. The mortality among this humble and useful, indeed most necessary, class last winter, in the advance on Candahar, is said to have been terrible but then the campaign had not been foreseen, and there was no time to make preparation. The same excuse cannot be pleaded now, and some more information is very much to be desired as to what is the exact state of the provision made on this head by the Indian Government, both for troops and camp followers. The very last news from Cabul before the late uprising took the form of an appeal to the English public for warm clothing for the garrison. Even if the English public had responded at once, the supply could not have been sent out soon enough but it would be thoroughly unreasonable and discreditable to the Indian Government, if it were necessary that its deficiencies should be supplemented by private charity. One thing was quite evident when Roberts's force set out from the Shuturgardan - that it would have to winter in Cabul. This was three months ago, so there has been ample time for the needful supplies of warm clothing to have been sent up to the front; and they should be now await ing the first convoy into Cabul. If this has not been done, the troops will undoubtedly suffer a good deal this winter, although the climate if severe is fortunately very dry, and the loss will in any case be much less than often happens in an Indian cantonment from the summer heat; but the wretched camp followers - the grooms and litter-bearers and servants - will die off like ﬂies. There is a very natural anxiety on the part of the public to know what the facts are on this head.
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