AUCKLAND PAPERS, comprising private correspondence and letters of Lord Auckland, governor-general of India (1836-42), now available in the British Library and Museum, London, provide interesting sidelights on political affairs in the Punjab (1836-1841), Sindh and Afghanistan, and also furnish useful information on the military power of the Sikhs, and persons and politics at the court of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. Some of these letters were used by L. J. Trotter in his Earl of Auckland (Oxford, 1893), and quite a few of them were published in the Journal and Correspondence of William Lord Auckland (London, 1861-62).
Of a total of eight volumes, six deal essentially with events leading to the first Anglo-Afghān war, the tripartite treaty among Raṇjīt Siṅgh, Shāh Shujā' and the British Government, and despatches of Wade and other British officers who accompanied a British auxiliary force through the Punjab, under the nominal command of Shāh Shujā's eldest son, Prince Taimūr, to Afghanistan (MS. Volumes No. 37689-94). The other two volumes contain Lord Auckland's private correspondence with Sir John Hobhouse, President of the Board of Control, revealing the rising tension between the Sikhs and the English, and tracing the course of events which ended in the disaster in Afghanistan. Detailed information is provided about the Russo-Persian threat to India and the measures taken to counteract it; Sikh designs on Sindh; Sir Henry Fane's visit to Lahore; the Sikh-Afghān disputes and the British attitude; Raṇjīt Siṅgh's war and peace aims; French influence at Lahore; Burnes' negotiations at Kābul and Raṇjīt Siṅgh's reactions; danger of Sikh-Afghān conflict; various schemes for the subversion of Dost Muhammad's power and rehabilitation of Shāh Shujā' with Sikh help; Auckland-Raṇjīt Siṅgh meeting; Wade's transactions at Peshāwar; Clerk's reports from Lahore; death of Raṇjīt Siṅgh; Wade's recall from Ludhiāṇā death of Khaṛak Siṅgh and Nau Nihāl Siṅgh; Sher Siṅgh's overtures and conditions of British support; and Macnaghten's accusations against the Sikhs.
B. J. Hasrat