Letter by the Rani to Sir Robert Hamilton, the Agent Governor General to Central India, dated the 1st January 1858. Hamilton did not reply. Quoted from Sen (Foreign Political Consultations, No 266, 30th Dec 1859 (Supp)). Although the dates differ the letter referred to in paragraph 1 as being dated 23rd June is the one quoted here as dated 2nd July and the missing proclamation. The 'Commissioner' referred to is presumably the Commissioner of 'Jubbulpore', i.e. Jabbalpur, Major Erskine. Note that here Lakshmibai refers to herself in the first person, not in the third as is the case in her previous letters.
Translation of a Khureeta from the Ranee of Jhansee to the Agent Governor General for Central India dated 14th Jamdeeoolawul A.H. 1274, corresponding to 1st January 1858.
To narrate all the strange and unexpected occurrences that took place during your absence from India is a painful task. I cannot describe the troubles and hardships I have suffered during this period. Your return to India has given me new life. I take this opportunity to give you a brief statement of my history. At the time when the British forces mutinied at this place, and when the Chiefs of Dutya and Oorchha commenced their career of coercion and rapine, I lost no time in writing to the British Officers as per margin [see below], and gave them detailed information as to the state of the country some of the bearers of these letters are missing, others being plundered before reaching their destination came back to Jhansee, those that were sent to Agra returning, stated that they succeeded in sending the letters within the Fort of Agra through a Bhiestee [water carrier], that their life being not safe they did not wait for a reply. Major Ellis informed me that my letters were referred to the Officer that was acting for Captain Skene. I got a letter from the Commissioner through the Chief of Goorsaray dated 23rd June stating that I should take charge of the District. Another communication from the same Officer dated 10th July in reply to my three letters was also received, it referred me to his former communications in which a proclamation putting me in charge of the District was said to have been enclosed. On the 29th July, I wrote back in reply stating that I had not received the proclamation.
2. Taking advantage of the disturbed state of the Country, the Cihiefs of Dutya and Oorcha first took possession of the district of Jhansee Illaka that lay on the borders of their respective states, both to the East and West.
3. On the 3rd September (both these Chiefs acting in concert) the Forces of Oorcha composed of the Thakoors and relations of the State, and amounting to 40,000 men with 28 Guns, invaded Jhansee itself and made other Chiefs support them. Altho' the two letters received by then from the Commissioner were sent to Nuthey Khan [leader of the forces of Orchha] for his perusal, yet he took no notice of them. On this, I again wrote to the Commissioner who told me in reply (by letter dated 19th October) that British forces were assembling at Jubbulpore--That he will come to Jhansee and examine the conduct of all either high or low and deal with them accordingly. In the meantime I tried my best by selling my property, taking money on Interest--collected a party of men and took steps to protect the City, and to meet the invading force. The enemy by firing guns, matchlocks and rockets (Ban) did much mischief, and killed thousands of precious Souls, my resources failing, I wrote on the 20th September and 19th October for reinforcements. After 2 months the besieging force retired to a village Koma situated about 3 miles from Oorcha, all the districts that were formerly occupied by the Chief of Oorcha are still in his possession. In the same manner the Ranee of Dutya still holds all the districts that fell into her hands. The authorities at Oorcha and Dutya do not give up these places, the troops sent to reoccupy them meet with opposition.
4. As was the case in former days the Pawars and Mawasas are excited to ruin by rapine and plunder the remaining districts.
5. Under these circumstances I can never expect to get rid of these enemies and to clear myself of the heavy debts without the Assistance of the British Government.
6. The Commisioner seems not prepared to move for my help as he states in his letter dated 9th November, that the services of the British troops for the present are required at his quarter. As these short sighted individuals seem unmindful of the British supremacy and do their best to ruin myself and the whole country, I beg you will give me your support in the best way you can, and thus save myself and the people who are reduced to the last extremity and are not able to cope with the enemy.