Assasination of William Fraser, Agent to the Governor-General of India
Author: Metcalfe, Sir Thomas Theophilus (1795-1853)
Medium: Ink on paper
[From 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of the National Art-Collections Fund.]
William Fraser Agent to the Governor General of India and Commissioner of the Dehly Territory was assassinated within a few yards of his own Residence on Sunday Evening the 22nd March 1835 about ½ past 7 o’Clock when returning from a Visit of Ceremony to Maha Rajah Kulleean Singh Chief of Kishengurh, then residing in our City.
The act was committed by one Kurreem Khan noted as an excellent Marksman and employed by the Newab Shumsooddeen Khan of Ferozepoor for this very purpose.
The Assassin rode up in the rear of his Victim and when nearly in a line discharged the contents of his Carbine into the right side. Death instantly ensued. One slug having passed quite through his body while two others perforated in far as the outer skin of the opposite side.
Kurreem Khan was executed on the 26th August following and the Newab on the 8th of the following Month and never was the hand of Providence more signally displayed than in the means vouchsafed to the Local Officers of Government in unravelling this daring deed of Villainy.
The remains of this estimable and deeply lamented Individual were at first interred in the Burial Ground within the City but subsequently removed to within the Area surrounding St. James Church by the old and faithful Friend of the deceased Colonel James Skinner C.B. by whom also was erected this suitable monument.
As agent to the Governor General, William Fraser, in the year 1814 accompanied the Army under the Command of the late Major General Sir Robert Rolls Gillespie K.C.B. destined to act against the Hill Fortress of Kalunga.
Though employed merely in a Civil Capacity he volunteered and was most forward on both the unsuccessful attacks on the Fort; and in both instances was severely wounded. In the first of these, the Major General fell. On the second Colonel Mawby of H.M.’s 53rd commanded, and although a Breach had been made he was unable to carry the place by assault. It was subsequently evacuated.
The most noble the Marquis of Hastings K.G. Governor General and Commander in Chief in India soon afterwards conferred on William Fraser the Local Rank of Major in the First Regiment of Irregular Horse, commanded by his truly sincere and excellent Fiend Colonel James Skinner, C.B. and in virtue of this commission, he was present with his Regiment at the memorable siege of Bhurtpoor in 1826, and indeed struck the first blow, having been detached in advance of the Army to prevent the Enemy from filling the Ditch of the Fort from an adjoining Lake. He successfully carried out his orders but was slightly wounded in the skirmish.
Years of Peace having resulted from the glorious success of our arms at Bhurtpoor, Fraser had no further opportunity of evincing that daring, I may say that utter Fearlessness of character, which render this device and epitaph, taken from the East End of his tomb, most truly appropriate.
[for picture see f.26]