This is a live account of the seizure of crown jewellery from Qaiserbagh, the residence of the Nawabs of Awadh(by the way, this palace is razed after the rebellion in 1858). Reading this, I am sure that the target was the loot and protection is a pretext. The statement that the palace was brimming with weaponry is an afterthought to justify their actions and nothing more as the palace, though not the zenana was always open for the Company forces and they knew what was happening there. And if it is the case, no Prince would have allowed the Company men to have an idea of it. And if the Nawab actually, supported the East India Company, he would have spent a fortune and run from pillar to post to get his jewels back. By the way, the person who gave the account, Birch, understandably, fails to mention that along with the jewels, they have lifted off some family members of the exiled king to act as an insurance(The native prisoners that we had, princes of the royal houses of Delhi and Oude, were confined in the banqueting-hall, a part of which was also used as a hospital, and their presence, as soon as it was known, saved our sick and wounded from being fired on – this came from the work of the wife of the commander of the garrison, John Inglis)

‘On the morning of June 28, 1857, the immediate approach of the rebel army was imminent. It did not seem fair to leave the Khaiser Bagh palace of the King of Oude to be plundered by the enemy. Scarcely a year had elapsed since the king, Wassid Ali Shah, had been deposed, a wing of my regiment, 71st N.I., having formed part of the annexing column, which in 1856 took the place of his army. The king himself was now in Calcutta; He had made no resistance to his deposition, though urged to do so by so many of his subjects, and for the time being he was a pensioner of the British Government. It was a question whether or no his property should be respected. If loyal, he was entitled to our protection; if, on the other hand, he had joined the machinations against us, the crown jewels of Oude would make a pleasant addition to the army prize-money – either way it was necessary to get hold of them; so the commissioner, Major Banks, went with an escort, of which the Sikhs of my regiment formed a portion, to the palace. The attendants scowled at us as we entered the gates, but made no resistance. On entering I was fortunate enough to find behind a low mud-wall a twenty-four-pounder brass gun, with its equipments complete. I immediately reported the find to Major Banks, and it was sent at once to the Residency. After this discovery the regalia-room was entered, and the whole of the king’s jewels taken possession of. Amongst them were some very fine pearls and emeralds, some of the latter being as large as eggs; they were roughly strung together, uncut and unpolished, but very valuable. Besides the jewels, it was necessary to search for arms, with which the palace was supposed to be stocked; and I was sent the next morning with my Sikhs and Major Carnegie, the city magistrate, to continue the search. The inner gateway leading to the zenana premises had been earthed up, so I made my men take off their coats and accoutrements, and set to work to get the earth away. I had a native officer with me, whom I left in charge of the party, whilst I accepted the invitation of two of the dowlahs (members of the royal family) to walk inside. They told me they were much concerned at the idea of the harem precincts being entered, and begged I would keep my men from coming in. I promised to do so, and gave orders accordingly, but had hardly entered twenty yards when I saw my companions casting uneasy glances behind me. I looked back, and found that a corporal and four Sepoys had put on their uniforms, and were following me. I returned, and set them to work again. My companions seemed much pleased, and with great civility renewed their invitation to me; but again I was followed by a party of my men, and on my asking somewhat angrily why my orders were disobeyed, the native officer took me aside and remonstrated with me for going alone with two treacherous scoundrels, who would, he said, as likely as not assassinate me. He had ordered the guard twice in with me, and hoped I would not again leave them. I thought his advice good, and was pleased with his fidelity. Major Carnegie, who had left to fetch carts, returned just now, and he and I together entered the beautiful gardens of the Khaiser Bagh, probably the first Europeans who had ever done so. We found arms in plenty stored in the rooms below the building, and were loading carts with them the whole day.’

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