Napier, Robert Cornelis (DNB00)
|←Napier, Robert (1791-1876)||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 40
Napier, Robert Cornelis
|Napier, Thomas Erskine→|
NAPIER, ROBERT CORNELIS, Lord Napier of Magdala (1810–1890), field-marshal, son of Major Charles Frederick Napier, royal artillery, and of Catherine, his wife, daughter of Codrington Carrington, esq., of the Chapel and Carrington, Barbados, West Indies, was born in Colombo, Ceylon, on 6 Dec. 1810. His second name commemorated the storming, on 26 Aug. 1810, of Fort Cornelis in Java, in which his father was engaged. It was during this campaign that his father was wounded, and he died on his way to England. Napier entered the military college of the East India Company at Addiscombe in 1824, and on 15 Dec. 1826 received his commission as second lieutenant in the Bengal engineers. After the usual course of instruction at the royal engineer establishment at Chatham, during which he was promoted first lieutenant, he sailed for India, and landed at Calcutta in November 1828.
After a few months spent at Alighur, then the headquarters of the Bengal sappers and miners, Napier was sent to Delhi to command a company. In 1830 a serious illness compelled him to take sick leave to Mussori, where he made an extensive collection of plants, which he presented to the government museum of Saharunpúr. In March 1831 he was employed in the irrigation branch of the public works department on the Eastern Jamna Canal with Captain (afterwards Sir) Proby Thomas Cautley [q. v.] At the time of his arrival the canal was in a critical state, and it was a daily fight against time and nature to save it. Napier's recreations were the study of geology, under the guidance of Falconer the palæontologist, whose discoveries in the miocene beds of the Siwálik hills he followed up, and made the first drawing of a Siwálik fossil. At Addiscombe he had been a pupil of Theodore Henry Adolphus Fielding [q. v.], brother of Copley Fielding, and showed some skill both in landscape and portrait painting. The former was a favourite amusement to the end of his life. In 1835 he had another severe illness, brought on by exposure, and in April 1836 he obtained three years' furlough, went to Europe, and was indefatigable in visiting all sorts of engineering works, both civil and military. He made the acquaintance of Stephenson and Brunel, and visited with them the railways on which they were engaged. He spent some time in Belgium, Germany, and Italy, and, as he was proficient in French, he gained valuable knowledge about irrigation.
Early in 1838 he returned to Bengal, and, after a tour of travel, was sent to Darjiling, the beautiful station in the hill country of Sikkim, which at that time consisted of a few mud huts and wooden houses, cut off by the dense forests from the world, and without roads or even regular supply of provisions. Napier laid out the new settlement and established easy communication with the plain, some seven thousand feet below. To supply the deficiency of skilled workmen and of labourers he completed the organisation of a local corps, called ‘Sebundy sappers,’ which owed its origin to Gilmore. This corps was composed of mountaineers, whom he himself instructed, although only one of them understood Hindustani, and his instruction had to be interpreted. The corps was armed, and expected to fight if necessary. Napier drilled them himself, and was for long his own sergeant. At a later date, when labour became plentiful, the ‘Sebundy sappers’ were disbanded. Napier lived in a log hut, and his fare was rice and sardines, varied occasionally by a jungle fowl.
In 1840 he was appointed to Sirhind, but his services at Darjiling were in such request that it was not until September 1842 that he was allowed to leave. In the meantime, on 28 Jan. 1841, he was promoted second captain. At Sirhind his duty was to lay out a cantonment to take the place of that at Karnál, which it was intended to abandon on account of its unhealthiness, and also to provide immediate accommodation for the troops then returning from Afghanistan in great numbers. Napier chose a stretch of land about four miles south of Ambala, and, impressed with the importance of the free circulation of air around dwellings as a preventive measure against sickness, he arranged the buildings in echelon on the slopes. This arrangement was freely adopted by the government in many other cantonments, and went by the name of ‘Napier's system.’
The work at Ambala was progressing when, on 15 Dec. 1845, Napier was ordered to join the army of the Satlaj under Sir Hugh (afterwards Lord) Gough [q. v.], on the outbreak of the first Sikh war. He left Ambala on horseback, and covered 150 miles in three days, arriving just in time to take command of the engineers at the battle of Mudki, where he had a horse killed under him. At the battle of Ferozeshah on 21 Dec. he again lost a horse, and, having joined the 31st regiment on foot, he was severely wounded when storming the entrenched Sikh camp. Napier was present at the battle of Sobraon on 10 Feb. 1846, no longer in command of the engineers, as officers senior to himself had joined, but he was brigade major of engineers, and accompanied the headquarter force in its advance on Lahore. Napier was mentioned in despatches, and for his services received the medal with two clasps and was promoted brevet major on 3 April 1846.
The part of the Punjab between the Bias and Satlaj rivers was annexed to the British dominion and administered by John (afterwards Lord) Lawrence [q. v.] The rest of the Punjab was ruled by Henry Lawrence, as British resident, with assistants in different parts of the country, acting with the Sikh durbár, or council of regency, on the part of the young Maharaja Dhalip Singh. This new order of things was naturally distasteful to the old Sikh soldiery of Ranjit Singh, and the garrison of the strong hill fort of Kote Kangra, 130 miles east of Lahore, determined to resist; and in May 1846 Napier served as chief engineer in the force sent under Brigadier-general Wheeler to reduce it. Napier's extraordinary energy in dragging thirty-three guns and mortars by elephants over mountain paths, and the skilful execution of the engineering work, secured the capitulation of the fort. Napier was mentioned in despatches, and received the special thanks of the government.
Napier returned for a time to Ambala and the construction of the cantonment. His charge also included the hill cantonments of Kasauli and Subáthú. He took great interest in Lawrence's asylum for children of European soldiers, which was being built at Sanáwar, near Kasauli. In October 1846 Napier selected the site of Dagshái for a new cantonment. Napier was at this time one of a group of men who were destined to be famous, and who were thrown together for some days at Subáthú and Kasauli—Henry Lawrence, Herbert Edwardes, John Becher, William Hodson, and others. On the establishment of the Lahore regency Henry Lawrence obtained for Napier the appointment of consulting engineer to the resident and council of regency of the Punjab, and Napier set to work with vigour to make roads and supervise public works.
The murder of Vans Agnew and Anderson at Multan brought on the second Sikh war in 1848, and Lieutenant (afterwards Sir) Herbert Benjamin Edwardes [q. v.] recommended that Napier should be sent to aid in the siege of Multan. The siege accordingly began under Napier's direction as chief engineer. Napier took part in the storming of the entrenched position on 9 and 12 Sept., and was wounded. The Sikh army throughout the Punjab was eager for an opportunity of a fresh trial of strength with the British. Shir Singh, who had a large body of men in the field, openly joined Diwán Mulráj, who was shut up in Multan. This made it difficult to carry on the siege without a much stronger force, and although Napier was in favour of an immediate concentrated attack, his opinion was overruled, and it was decided to await reinforcements. With the reinforcements came Colonel (afterwards Sir) John Cheape [q. v.], of the engineers, who, as senior officer, took over the direction of the siege operations. Napier was engaged in the action of Surjkund, in the capture of the suburbs, storm of the city, and surrender of the fortress of Multan on 23 Jan. 1849. He was also present at the surrender of the fort and garrison of Cheniote. The troops then joined Lord Gough, and Napier was in time to take part as commanding engineer of the right wing in the battle of Gujrát on 21 Feb. 1849. Napier accompanied Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert [q. v.] as civil engineer in his pursuit of the defeated Sikhs and their Afghan allies, and was present at the passage of the Jhelum, the surrender of the Sikh army, and the surprise of Attock. He was mentioned in despatches, received the war medal and two clasps, and was promoted brevet lieutenant-colonel 7 June 1849.
At the close of the war Napier was appointed civil engineer to the board of administration of the annexed province of the Punjab, and during the time he occupied the post he carried out a great scheme of important public works, among which was the construction of the high road from Lahore to Peshawar, 275 miles, a great part of it through very difficult country, together with many thousands of miles of byways with dâks; the great Bári-Doab canal, 250 miles long, which transformed a desert into cultivated country, was partly completed; the old Shah Nahr or Hasli canal was repaired and many smaller ones dug; the principal towns were embellished with public buildings; the great salt-mines of Pind Dadur Khan were made more efficient; new cantonments were laid out; the frontier defences were strengthened and connected with advanced posts; bridges were placed in order; and all this was done in a country where the simplest tool as well as the more complicated apparatus had to be manufactured on the spot. The board of administration reported in 1852: ‘For the energetic and able manner in which these important works have been executed, as well as for the zealous co-operation in all engineering and military questions, the board are indebted to Lieutenant-colonel Napier, who has spared neither time, health, nor convenience in the duties entrusted to him.’
In December 1852 Napier commanded the right column in the first Black Mountain Hazara expedition, under Colonel Frederick Mackeson [q. v.], against the Hassmezia tribe. Napier's services were highly commended by government. In November 1853 he was employed in a similar expedition under Colonel S. B. Boileau against the Bori clan of the Jawáki Afridis in the Peshawar district, was mentioned in despatches, and received the special thanks of government and the medal with clasp. On his return to civil work he found the board of administration had ceased to exist, and John Lawrence reigned supreme. Napier's designation was changed to chief engineer, in accordance with the practice in other provinces. He pushed on the works as before; but the outlay made the chief commissioner uneasy, and Lawrence endeavoured to check it. This led to a difference between the two men, and some friction ensued. Each, however, appreciated the other; and some years later Lawrence, in writing to Lord Canning after the mutiny, acknowledged that the large and energetic development of labour, and the expenditure by which it was accompanied under Napier's advice and direction, was one, at least, of the elements which impressed the most manly race in India with the vigour and beneficence of British rule, and tended, through the maintenance of order and active loyalty in the Punjab, to the recovery of Hindustan. Napier was promoted brevet colonel in the army on 28 Nov. 1854, in recognition of his services on the two frontier expeditions, and regimental lieutenant-colonel on 15 April 1856. In the autumn of 1856 he went on furlough to England. On Napier relinquishing the post, Lord Dalhousie wrote in the most flattering terms of the results of his seven years' service at the head of the public works department of the Punjab.
Napier left England again in May 1857, before news had been received of the Indian mutiny, and his intention was to retire after three years' further service. On arrival at Calcutta he was appointed officiating chief engineer of Bengal. When General Sir James Outram [q. v.] returned to India from the campaign in Persia, and was appointed chief commissioner in Oudh and to command the force for the relief of Lucknow, Napier was appointed military secretary and chief of the adjutant-general's department with him. They left Calcutta on 5 Aug. 1857. Sir Henry Havelock [q. v.] was then at Cawnpore at the head of the force intended for the relief of Lucknow, and was awaiting reinforcements before marching. Outram arrived at Cawnpore on 15 Sept., and relinquished the military command to Havelock, accompanying him in his civil capacity, and giving his military services as a volunteer. Napier was engaged in the actions of Mangalwár, Alambagh, and Charbagh. The entry to Lucknow was made on 25 Sept. The rear guard of Havelock's force, with the siege train and the wounded, had, however, become separated from the main body, and was not in sight on the following morning, while the enemy intervened. On the 26th 250 men were sent to their assistance, but could neither help the rear guard nor themselves get back to Lucknow. Napier volunteered to rescue both, and Outram, who had assumed military command when the first relief was effected, feeling the difficulty of the undertaking, gave Napier permission not only to go, but authorised him, if it were necessary in order to secure the safety of the wounded, to abandon the siege train and baggage. On the afternoon of the 26th Napier set out, taking with him Captain Olpherts, one hundred highlanders, some Sikhs, and artillery. He reached the rear guard under a sharp fire, removed the wounded into Lucknow under cover of night, and finally got the whole of the baggage, train, and guard safely to the residency.
The union of the relieving force with the garrison was thus completed. This was the first relief of Lucknow; but their united strength was insufficient to overpower the besiegers or to convey the women and children in safety to Cawnpore. The second siege ensued. Frequent sorties were made. Napier headed a strong party that was sent out against Phillips's garden battery, which had proved particularly offensive. He carried it with very small loss, capturing the guns. Then the position occupied by the troops had to be extended and the defences advanced. The extension work was much of it, in the first instance, underground. It was work which had been carried out very efficiently by the engineers of the original garrison, and Napier undertook the general direction of it. The extent and effect of these mining operations in strengthening the position and counteracting the schemes of the enemy gave great satisfaction to Outram. On 17 Nov. 1857 the second relief of Lucknow was effected, and Napier on that day, when accompanying Outram and Havelock to meet Sir Colin Campbell (afterwards Lord Clyde) [q. v.] across a very exposed space, was severely wounded. He accompanied Campbell as his guest to Cawnpore, where he remained in hospital for some weeks.
As soon as Napier was convalescent he rejoined Outram as chief of the staff at the position of the Alambagh, outside the city of Lucknow, which had been evacuated by the British. He drew up an outline of proposed operations for the reduction of Lucknow, which was submitted to Campbell, who summoned Napier to Cawnpore, and decided, in accordance with his views, to attack from the east side of Lucknow. Napier's arguments are given in the ‘Royal Engineers' Professional Papers,’ vol. x. Campbell commenced the attack on 4 March 1858, with Napier as brigadier-general commanding a brigade of engineers. On the 21st Lucknow fell, and the commander-in-chief in his despatch wrote that Napier's ‘great professional skill and thorough acquaintance with the value of his enemy have been of the greatest service, and I recommend him most cordially to your Lordship's protection. I am under very great obligations to him.’
A week later Napier submitted to Campbell memoranda of the defensive measures by which he considered the control of Lucknow could be secured with a garrison of three thousand men. Campbell had estimated in writing to the viceroy that ten thousand men would be required. For his services at Lucknow Napier was mentioned in despatches and made a C.B.
In the middle of May Napier went to Allahabad, where he received instructions to take over the command of the Central Indian force from Sir Hugh Rose, who had been invalided. Just at this moment the beaten army of Tantia Topi and the Ranee of Jhansi marched on Gwalior, defeated Sindhia, and took possession of the stronghold. Sir Hugh Rose threw up his leave and marched on Gwalior, and Napier joined him as second in command. He took over the command of the 2nd brigade at Bahadurpúr on 16 June, and the same day Sir Hugh Rose attacked the cantonments of Morar, and after a sharp action routed the enemy. Rose expressed his warmest thanks to Napier for his skilful management. On the 18th Rose left for Gwalior, leaving Napier at Morar to guard the cantonment and pursue the enemy on receipt of orders. Gwalior was captured on the 19th, and orders sent to Napier to pursue the flying enemy as far and as closely as he could. Napier, with seven hundred men, came up with Tantia Topi, who had with him twelve thousand men and twenty-five guns, on the plains of Jaora Alipúr. He took Tantia completely by surprise, and secured a signal victory, capturing all his guns, ammunition, and baggage. On 29 June Napier assumed command of the Gwalior division on the departure of Sir Hugh Rose from India. The country was now clear of any large organised force of rebels; but small parties continued to give trouble, and it was necessary to prevent their amalgamation. Napier dealt with this state of affairs by sending out flying columns, concentrating the body of his troops at Gwalior to rest and prepare for fresh exertions.
In August Rajah Man Singh of Narwár, with twelve thousand men, surprised the strongly fortified town of Paori, eighty-three miles south-west of Gwalior and eighteen miles west of Sipri, and garrisoned it with nearly four thousand men. Brigadier-general Smith, commanding at Sipri, advanced towards Paori, but, finding himself too weak to capture the place, applied to Napier for reinforcements. Napier started at once with a force of six hundred men and artillery, and by forced marches reached Smith on 19 Aug. Operations against Paori commenced on the following day, when, having singled out the only possible point of attack, Napier opened fire with his 18-pounders and mortars, and maintained the bombardment continuously for thirty hours. When he was about to storm he found the enemy had evacuated the place in the night. A column was despatched in pursuit, and, having demolished the fortifications of Paori, Napier returned to Gwalior.
On 12 Dec. Napier took the field against Ferozeshah, a prince of the house of Delhi, who, having been driven out of Rohilkund and Oudh on the restoration of order, crossed the Ganges and Jamna, cut the telegraph wires, and joined Tantia Topi. Napier had thrown out three small columns to intersect the anticipated route of the enemy, and held a fourth ready to act under his own command. He was at this time very ill and hardly able to sit a horse; but on learning that the rebels would pass through the jungles of the Sind river south-west of Gwalior, he set off through the jungle to cut them off. At Bitowar, on the 14th, he learnt that Ferozeshah was nearly nine miles ahead. Continuing his pursuit through Narwár he there dropped his artillery, and, mounting his highlanders on baggage animals, pressed forward with his cavalry and mounted infantry through the jungle and struck the enemy at Ranode. So unexpected was the onslaught, and so extended was the front of Ferozeshah's army, that Napier completely routed it. The rebels lost 450 men killed, while only sixteen British were wounded.
At the end of January 1859 Tantia Topi, beaten in the north-west, fled southward to the Parone jungles, a belt of hill and jungle little known, flanked at each end by a hill fort, with plenty of guns and a garrison the reverse of friendly. This tract Napier determined to control. He caused the forts of Parone to be destroyed and clearings to be cut through the jungle past the most notorious haunts of the rebels. The policy proved successful; and on 4 April Napier reported to Campbell, ‘Man Singh has surrendered just as his last retreats were laid open by the road. … Since the days of General Wade the efficacy of roads so applied has not diminished.’ Shortly after Tantia Topi was also caught. The two rebel leaders were tried and executed. The mutiny was stamped out. For his services in Central India and the mutiny Napier received the medal and three clasps. He also received the thanks of parliament and of the Indian government, and he was made a K.C.B.
In January 1860 Napier was appointed to the command of the second division in the expedition to China. He went to Calcutta and superintended the equipment and embarkation of the Indian troops; and it was due to the great care he bestowed upon the sanitary arrangements and ventilation of the transports that the men arrived at their destination in good condition. Hong Kong was reached in the middle of April, and here Sir Hope Grant [q. v.] assembled his force and arranged his plans. On 11 June Napier started for Tahlien Bay, which had been selected as the rendezvous. On 26 July the expedition sailed for the Pehtang-ho. The first division disembarked between 1 and 3 Aug. on the right bank, and seized on the town of Pehtang. Napier's division landed between the 5th and 7th, and was ordered to attack the village of Sin-ho, strongly occupied by the enemy. They had to cross with great labour a mud flat, making a road with fascines and brushwood; but the Tartars, finding themselves taken in flank, were speedily driven out. The French were now desirous to attack the south forts of the Peiho, while Grant, who was cordially supported by Napier, preferred to attack the north forts. Eventually the French general Montauban yielded; and on 21 Aug. Napier's division, with Collinot's French brigade, attacked and took the first upper fort. The second north fort was taken without opposition, and then the whole of the Peiho forts, north and south, were abandoned, with upwards of six hundred guns. Napier had his field-glass shot out of his hand, his sword-hilt broken by a shell fragment, three bullet-holes in his coat, and one in his boot, but he escaped unhurt.
The forts were dismantled by Napier, who had been left behind for the purpose, while the remainder of the forces of the allies advanced. His work accomplished, Napier reached Tientsin on 5 Sept., and remained there while the expedition pushed on towards Pekin. On Napier devolved the duty of seeing to communications and pushing on supplies to the front. After the battle of Chang-kia-wan Grant summoned Napier to the front. He reached headquarters on the 24th, having marched seventy miles in sixty hours, and brought a supply of ammunition, which was much required. Although not in time for the battle of Pa-le-cheaon, he was able to take part in the entry to Pekin on 24 Oct. Napier and his staff embarked for Hong Kong on 19 Nov. for India. Napier received for his services in the expedition the medal and two clasps. He was thanked by parliament, and promoted major-general on 15 Feb. 1861 for distinguished service in the field.
In January 1861 Napier was appointed military member of the council of the governor-general of India. For four years he did a great deal of valuable work. With the aid of a committee he arranged the details of the amalgamation of the army of the East India Company with that of the queen. On the sudden death of Lord Elgin, Napier for a short time acted as governor-general until the arrival of Sir William Thomas Denison [q. v.] from Madras. In January 1865 Napier was appointed commander-in-chief of the Bombay army. In March 1867 he was promoted lieutenant-general.
Meanwhile the English government was arriving at the conclusion that a military expedition to Abyssinia would be needful to compel Theodore, king of that country, to release certain Englishmen who were confined in Abyssinian prisons. In July 1867 Napier was asked by telegram how soon a corps could be equipped and provisioned to sail from Bombay to Abyssinia in case an expedition were decided upon. Long before Napier had carefully considered the question, and amassed information on the subject, which enabled him to reply promptly and satisfactorily. It was, however, some months before his advice was acted upon. It was due to the personal influence of the Duke of Cambridge, warmly supported by Sir Stafford Northcote (afterwards Lord Iddesleigh), that Napier was appointed to command the expedition. He was allowed to choose his own troops, and he naturally selected those with whom he had had most to do; for, as he put it in an official minute, in an expedition in which hardship, fatigue, and privation of no ordinary kind may be expected, it is important that the troops should know each other and their commander.
The equipment of the troops occupied Napier till December, and on 2 Jan. 1868 the expedition to Abyssinia landed at Zoulah in Annesley Bay. Napier worked indefatigably on the hot sea coast until all was ready for the march, and he instilled activity and zeal into everyone. Two piers, nine hundred feet long, were constructed, and a railway laid, involving eight bridges, to the camp inland some twelve miles. Reservoirs were constructed and steamers kept condensing water to fill them at the rate of two hundred tons daily. The march to Magdala commenced on 25 Jan.; 420 miles had to be traversed and an elevation of 7,400 feet crossed. On 10 April the plateau of Magdala was reached, and the troops of Theodore were defeated. On the 13th Magdala was stormed, and Theodore found dead in his stronghold. The English captives were set at liberty, Magdala razed, and the campaign was over. On 18 June, in perfect order, the last man of the expedition had left Africa. In this wonderful campaign Napier displayed all the qualities of a great commander. He organised his base, provided for his communications, and then, launching his army over four hundred miles into an unknown and hostile country, defeated his enemy, attained the object of his mission, and returned.
Napier went to England, where honours and festivities awaited him. A new government had just come into power, and both parties competed to do him honour. He received the war medal. Parliament voted him its thanks and a pension. The queen created him a peer on 17 July 1868, with the title of Baron Napier of Magdala, and made him a G.C.S.I. and G.C.B. The freedom of the city of London was conferred upon him and a sword of honour presented to him. The city of Edinburgh also made him a citizen. He was appointed hon. colonel of the 3rd London rifle corps. Subsequently, on 26 June 1878, he was created D.C.L. of Oxford University.
In December 1869 Napier was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. In January 1870 he was appointed commander-in-chief in India, and in May he was made, in addition, fifth ordinary member of the council of the governor-general. During the six years he was commander-in-chief he endeavoured to raise the moral tone and to improve the physique of the soldier, both European and native. He bestowed much personal attention on the new regulations issued in 1873 for the Bengal army. He encouraged rifle practice, and gave annually three prizes to be shot for. He advocated the provision of reasonable pleasures for all ranks, and instituted a weekly holiday on Thursday, known in some parts of India as St. Napier's Day. On 1 April 1874 Napier was promoted general and appointed a colonel-commandant of the corps of royal engineers.
Early in 1876 Napier was nominated to the government of Gibraltar, and on 10 April he finally left India, to the regret of all classes. He was present in 1876 at the German military manœuvres, when he was the guest of the crown prince, and was entertained by the Emperor William. In September he went to Gibraltar as governor. In 1879 he was appointed a member of the royal commission on army reorganisation. In November he was sent to Madrid as ambassador-extraordinary to represent her majesty at the second marriage of the king of Spain. Napier was much opposed to the cession of Kandahar, and his memorandum on the subject in 1880 was included in the Kandahar blue-book. On 1 Jan. 1883 Napier was made a field-marshal on his retirement from the government of Gibraltar. He spoke occasionally in the House of Lords, and always with effect, for he had a charming voice and ease of manner. He left no means untried in 1884 to induce the government to do its duty to General Gordon at Khartoum. In December 1886 he was appointed constable of the Tower of London and lieutenant and custos rotulorum of the Tower Hamlets.
Napier was a man of singular modesty and simplicity of character. No one who knew him could forget the magic of his voice and his courteous bearing. He had a great love for children. His delight in art remained to the last; and, always ready to learn, at the age of seventy-eight he took lessons in a new method of mixing colours. He had a great love of books, especially of poetry. He never obtruded his knowledge or attainments, and only those who knew him intimately had any idea of their extent and depth.
Napier died at his residence in Eaton Square, London, on 14 Jan. 1890, from an attack of influenza. On his death a special army order was issued by command of the queen, conveying to the army her majesty's deep regret, and announcing a message from the German emperor, in which his majesty said: ‘I deeply grieve for the loss of the excellent Lord Napier of Magdala. … His noble character, fine gentlemanly bearing, his simplicity and splendid soldiering were qualities for which my grandfather and father always held him in high esteem.’
Napier's remains were interred on 21 Jan., with all the pomp of a state military funeral, in St. Paul's Cathedral. No funeral since that of the Duke of Wellington in 1852 had been so imposing a spectacle.
When Napier finally left India an equestrian statue of him, by Boehm, was erected by public subscription in Calcutta; and after his death a replica of this statue, also by Boehm, was erected by public subscription in Waterloo Place. In the royal engineers' mess at Chatham are two portraits of Napier, a full-length by Sir Francis Grant, and a three-quarter length by Lowes Dickenson. A medallion, in the possession of Miss A. F. Yule, was the original model for the marble memorial in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral. The corps of royal engineers erected a large recreation-room for the Gordon Boys' Home at Chobham, in memory of their brother officer.
Napier was twice married: first, on 3 Sept. 1840, to Anne Sarah, eldest daughter of George Pearse, M.D., H.E.I.C.S. (she died on 30 Dec. 1849); secondly, on 2 April 1861, to Mary Cecilia, daughter of Major-general E. W. Smythe Scott, royal artillery, inspector-general of ordnance and magazines in India. Lady Napier survived him.
By his first wife he had three sons: Robert William, second and present peer, born on 11 Feb. 1845; George Campbell (twin with his brother Robert), major-general, Bengal, and C.I.E.; James Pearse, born on 30 Dec. 1849, lieutenant-colonel 10th hussars and deputy assistant-adjutant-general. Also three daughters: Catherine Anne Carington, born 12 Oct. 1841, married in 1863 to Henry Robert Dundas; Anne Amelia, born on 11 Nov. 1842, married in 1864 to Henry R. Madocks, late Bengal civil service; Clara Frances, who died in childhood.
By his second wife he had six sons, three of whom became officers in the army, and three daughters; the eldest of whom, Mary Grant, married in 1889 North More Nisbets, esq., of Cairnhill, Lanarkshire.[Despatches; India Office Records; Royal Engineer Corps' Records; Royal Engineers' Journal, vol. xx.; Memoir by General R. Maclagan, R.E.; Porter's Hist. of the Corps of Royal Engineers; Feldmarschall Lord Napier of Magdala, Breslau, 1890.]