1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dhuleep Singh

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

DHULEEP SINGH (1837–1893), maharaja of Lahore, was born in February 1837, and was proclaimed maharaja on the 18th of September 1843, under the regency of his mother the rani Jindan, a woman of great capacity and strong will, but extremely inimical to the British. He was acknowledged by Ranjit Singh and recognized by the British government. After six years of peace the Sikhs invaded British territory in 1845, but were defeated in four battles, and terms were imposed upon them at Lahore, the capital of the Punjab. Dhuleep Singh retained his territory, but it was administered to a great extent by the British government in his name. This arrangement increased the regent’s dislike of the British, and a fresh outbreak occurred in 1848-49. In spite of the valour of the Sikhs, they were utterly routed at Gujarat, and in March 1849 Dhuleep Singh was deposed, a pension of £40,000 a year being granted to him and his dependants. He became a Christian and elected to live in England. On coming of age he made an arrangement with the British government by which his income was reduced to £25,000 in consideration of advances for the purchase of an estate, and he finally settled at Elvedon in Suffolk. While passing through Alexandria in 1864 he met Miss Bamba Müller, the daughter of a German merchant who had married an Abyssinian. The maharaja had been interested in mission work by Sir John Login, and he met Miss Müller at one of the missionary schools where she was teaching. She became his wife on the 7th of June 1864, and six children were the issue of the marriage. In the year after her death in 1890 the maharaja married at Paris, as his second wife, an English lady, Miss Ada Douglas Wetherill, who survived him. The maharaja was passionately fond of sport, and his shooting parties were celebrated, while he himself became a persona grata in English society. The result, however, was financial difficulty, and in 1882 he appealed to the government for assistance, making various claims based upon the alleged possession of private estates in the Punjab, and upon the surrender of the Koh-i-nor diamond to the British Crown. His demand was rejected, whereupon he started for India, after drawing up a proclamation to his former subjects. But as it was deemed inadvisable to allow him to visit the Punjab, he remained for some time as a guest at the residency at Aden, and was allowed to receive some of his relatives to witness his abjuration of Christianity, which actually took place within the residency itself. As the climate began to affect his health, the maharaja at length left Aden and returned to Europe. He stayed for some time in Russia, hoping that his claim against England would be taken up by the Russians; but when that expectation proved futile he proceeded to Paris, where he lived for the rest of his life on the pension allowed him by the Indian government. His death from an attack of apoplexy took place at Paris on the 22nd of October 1893. The maharaja’s eldest son, Prince Victor Albert Jay Dhuleep Singh (b. 1866), was educated at Trinity and Downing Colleges, Cambridge. In 1888 he obtained a commission in the 1st Royal Dragoon Guards. In 1898 he married Lady Anne Coventry, youngest daughter of the earl of Coventry.  (G. F. B.)