Wade, Sir Claude Martine
Wade, Sir Claude Martine
Soldier and Diplomat (1794-1861)
Son of Lt-Col Joseph Wade of the Bengal army, was born on 3 April 1794. He joined the Bengal army in 1809 and was promoted lieutenant in 1815. He served in operations against Scindia and Holkar, and the Pindaris (1815-19) and officiated as brigade-major to British troops in Oudh (1820-21). In February 1823, he was appointed assistant at Ludhiana agency, becoming political agent in 1832 which position he held till 1840.
Martine Wade was one of the few British functionaries on the Sutlej who by their tact and amiable disposition had won the esteem and affection of the Sikhs. He remained at Ludhiana for 17 years as assistant to agent (1823-27), political assistant (1827-32), and then as political agent (1832-40). In his relations with the-Sikh Government, Wade balanced the interests of the two States in such a manner as, in due course, he became a personal friend of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who valued his advice and counsel on political matters. In the adjustment of territorial disputes between the two governments, Wade advocated to his own government a policy of judicious settlement in opposition to Captain Murray, the political agent at Ambala, who favoured an outright rejection of Ranjit Singh’s claim to territories in the Sutlej area, including Wadni, Himmatpur, Fiirozpur, the Ahluvalia and Kang possessions, Sialba, Anandpur and Chamkaur.
Wade was chiefly instrumental in arranging the Ropar meeting between Ranjit Singh and Lord William Bentinck in October 1831. By his tact, he persuaded the Maharaja to join the Indus navigation scheme and forgo his claim on Shikarpur and Sindh. He impressed upon Lord Auckland the necessity of retaining the powerful Sikhs as allies, as against the advice of Alexander Burnes who had proposed that Peshawar should be taken from the Sikhs and restored to the Afghans. Wade’s personal influence with Ranjit Singh was one of the factors in the ratification of the tripartite treaty of 1838.
After the death of Ranjit Singh, Wade’s relations with the Sikh court became less harmonious. He offended Kanvar Nan Nihal Singh and Raja Dhian Singh, and the Sikh Government demanded his recall from Ludhiana. On 1 April 1840, Lord Auckland replaced Wade by George Russell Clerk at the North-West Frontier Agency. Wade was appointed resident at Indore. He held this office till his retirement in May 1844. Wade died on 21 October 1861.