Sir Charles James Napier

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Napier, Sir Charles James (1782–1853). Soldier. Napier was commissioned into the army at the age of 12 thanks to the patronage of his cousin and namesake, Charles James Fox. He served in the Peninsular War (1808–11) and in the American War (1812–14). From 1819 to 1830 he was a military resident in Greece and was offered command of the Greek liberation army, which he declined for reasons of penury. In 1839 he was appointed military commander of the north of England during the chartist revolt. In 1841 he accepted a lucrative Indian staff appointment and, amidst considerable controversy, provoked the conquest of Sindh from which he made £50,000 in loot. He announced his victory with the famous signal ‘Peccavi’ (‘I have sinned’). He left India in 1847 but returned in 1849 as commander-in-chief of the Indian army. However, he clashed with the governor-general, Lord Dalhousie, and resigned in 1851.

David Anthony Washbrook