East India Company Commissions of Dr George Lamb, Physician General in Bengal, 1823-1850
George Lamb sometimes described as George Lambe [born 26 Oct 1787, died Cheltenham 3rd Feb 1862].Lamb left College in Aberdeen in 1801 and was appointed assistant Surgeon in 1808. He was at the capture of Mauritius in December 1810. The following commissions represent his career from his appointed as a full Surgeon in 1823. Lamb ended his 42 year career in Bengal as the highest ranking medical officer in the Presidency, holding the position of Physician General and being the President of the Medical Board. In the order of precedence in India he ranked with Brigadier Generals. Also included are a few pages of photocopied research including a family tree showing that Dr Lamb was first married to a French woman Heloise Chevalier [she died in Mauritius in 1812 and the marriage was probably questionable as the British were forbidden to marry the French during the Napoleonic Wars. His second marriage was to Matilda Roebuck [nee Gibson] a widow. Lamb had no children. One brother David was also a doctor and died in Surat in 1818. The youngest, Alexander Imlach Lamb was married and had issue. He was buried in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh. The group of commissions is accompanied by a printed petition to the Secretary of State for India in Council from George Lamb, Forty-four years in the Medical Service of the East India Company, and late Physician General on the Bengal Establishment, now of Cheltenham. This concerns Lamb’s perceived loss of rights regarding his position as Zemindar of Pergunnah Shampore in Zillah Tipperah [purchased in 1835] which he claims were wrongly granted a Rood Ram Roy. This is small octavo in size, 14 pages, printed by F Thomson of St Andrews and sewn in original pink paper wrappers without any titling, single central vertical fold. Commission documents 1. 1823, 25th July. Hon Sir Edward Paget, GCB, General of HM’s Forces, Commander in Chief of all the King’s and Company’s Forces in the East Indies. Appointing George Lambe Esquire to the rank of Surgeon . Signed, sealed and dated Fort William, Calcutta, 30th December 1823 Edwd Paget with Sir Edward paget’s personal seal in red wax by the signature. A counter signature on the left is hard to decipher. Printed on a paper bifolium watermarked 1819 with the usual folds, a little chipped along the lower edge and with two small holes in the blank half of the paper. The Hon Sir Edward Paget [1775-1849] was the son of the Earl of Uxbridge and brother of the 1st Marquis of Anglesey. His very distinctive backward sloping signature results from his having to use his left hand after losing his right arm in the Peninsula Wars. He was criticised by some for his harsh repression of the mutiny of three Sepoy regiments at Bharatpur [Bhurtpore]. 2. 1823, 25th July. HEICo commission headed in manuscript The Right Honble William Pitt Lord Amherst, Governor General, and The Honble John Fendall Esquire appointing George Lambe Esquire to be a Surgeon on the Bengal Establishment of the EICo. Signed, dated and sealed Fort William, 17th October 1823Amherst & John Fendall. The Commander-in Chief’s red wax seal is fixed top left and signed beneath Wm. Casement, Lt Col . It is further signed by Lt Col Casement, CB, Sec to the Mil Dept in the usual place. Printed on a paper bifolium watermarked 1819 with the usual folds, and an additional vertical fold to the right of the signatures. There is a little foxing mainly along the folds and most visible when opened and on the reverse of the blank. This and the previous commission are signed at a period of transition. Lord Amherst was only appointed to succeed the Marquis of Hastings in late October 1822 and the printed printed subscription has been altered in manuscript to show the lower level Amherst occupied in the Peerage. He declared war in 1826 against Burma and was made an earl after the successful capture of Bhurtpore. He was the first governor general to use Simla as the summer seat of government. Sir Edward Paget was the first General in India to hold the position of Commander in Chief – a title previously held by the Governor General himself. 3. 1823, 1st July. The Rt Hon Stapleton, Lord Combermere, GCB, GCH, , General of HM’s Forces, Commander in Chief of all the King’s and Company’s Forces in the East Indies. Appointing George Lamb Esquire to the rank of Surgeon. Dated 25th April 1826 and signed Combermere. Blind stamped personal seal of Lord Combermere beside his signature together with a cut blind paper seal of the Company. It is countersigned lower left for the Military Secretary. The commission is printed on a paper bifolium watermarked 1824 and is good condition with the usual folds. This commission appears to back date Lamb’s rank by some days and also may have been required to correct the earlier spelling of his name with a final e. The booklet accompanying these commissions indeed shows his printed signature as George Lamb. 4. 10th April 1847. His Excellency The Rt Hon Hugh, Lord Gough, GCB General of HM’s Forces, Commander in Chief of all the Queen’s and Company’s Forces in the East Indies. Appointing George Lamb, Esqre., Inspector General of Hospitals in the Service of the East India Company to hold the corresponding rank in the Queen’s Army in the East Indies only. Dated Simla, 20th February 1848 and signed Goughand counter signed lower left B Gough, Lt Col as officiating Military Secretary. This commission is printed on a single sheet of vellum with one vertical and two horizontal folds. It has some old water staining affecting especially the area around Gough’s signature and the paper seal is lacking leaving a small hole where it has been fixed above the signature. 5. 23rd July 1848. The Supreme Government of India commission appointing George Lamb Esquire to be Surgeon General and Second Member of the Medical Board on the Bengal Establishment of the HEICo. Dated 19th July 1848 signed F Millett and J H Littler. The commission is further signed R Wyllie, Lt Col lower left as Deputy Military Secretary and it bears the blind stamped paper seal of the Company at the left side. It is printed on a bilfolium of blue paper watermarked 1845 and has the usual folds. 6. 23rd July 1848. His Excellency The Rt Hon Hugh, Lord Gough, GCB General of HM’s Forces, Commander in Chief of all the Queen’s and Company’s Forces in the East Indies. Appointing George Lamb, Esqre., Surgeon General in the Service of the East India Company to hold the corresponding rank in the Queen’s Army in the East Indies only. Dated Camp Ramnugger, 27th November 1848 and signed Gough and counter signed lower left for the Military Secretary. This commission is printed on a single sheet of vellum with the usual folds. By the signature is a very good example of the wax seal of the Commander in Chief East Indies. The top corners are a little curled but complete and there a few minor smudges and marks. This is a good example of a commission signed in camp rather than at headquarters in Calcutta or Simla. Lord Gough was engaged at this time in the Punjab War during which he commanded in the field in several battles 7. 10th February 1849. His Excellency The HonSir Charles James Napier, GCB General of HM’s Forces, Commander in Chief of all the Queen’s and Company’s Forces in the East Indies. Appointing George Lamb, Esqre., Physician General in the Service of the East India Company to hold the corresponding rank in the Queen’s Army in the East Indies only. Dated Simla 20th May 1850 and signed G Napier beside the wax seal of the Commander in Chief East Indies and lower left for the Military Secretary. It is printed on a sheet of vellum with the usual folds and the top left corner has an additional light corner fold. 8. 10th February 1849. The Supreme Government of India commission appointing George Lamb Esquire to be Physician General and First Member of the Medical Board on the Bengal Establishment of the HEICo. Dated 10th February 1849 signed J H Littler and J Lowis. Major Gen Sir J H Littler GCB was 1st Member of the Supreme Council and John Lowis was the 3rd [the Governor General at the time was the Earl of Dalhousie]. The paper blind stamped seal of the company is afficed at the left and lower left it is signed R Wyllie, Major who was the Officiating Deputy Military Secretary. The commission is printed on a bifolium of pale blue paper watermarked 1824 and has the usual folds.
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