Auckland was a Whig who served as president of the Board of Trade under Grey and as 1st lord of the Admiralty under Melbourne. In 1835, he was appointed governor‐general of India. Auckland pursued commercial expansion from India into Afghanistan and central Asia and was responsible for undertaking the first Afghan War, which initially was prosecuted with success and gained him an earldom. However, incautious policies towards ‘the tribes’ soon stirred revolt. In the winter of 1841–2, British forces were obliged to retreat and were shot down or frozen to death. Of 16,000 men who set out from Kabul only one, Dr Brydon, survived to proclaim himself, famously, ‘the army of the Indus’. Lord Auckland was recalled in disgrace in February 1842.
Subjects: British History.