The sepoy mutiny at Vellore in 1807 led to his recall.
On the 29th of March, two days before its arrival, a sepoy named Manghal Pandi, from whom the mutineers afterwards came to be spoken of as "Pandies," drunk with bhang and enthusiasm, attempted to provoke a mutiny in the 34th Bengal infantry, and shot the adjutant, but Hearsey's personal courage suppressed the danger.
Lawrence saw that the surest way to prevent the Mutiny from spreading from the sepoy army of Bengal to the recently conquered fighting races of the Punjab was to hurl the Sikh at the Hindu; instead of taking measures for the defence of the Punjab, he acted on the old principle that the best defence is attack, and promptly organized a force for the reduction of Delhi, with the ardent co-operation of born leaders like John Nicholson, Neville Chamberlain and Herbert Edwardes.
The loyalty of the independent Sikh chiefs, headed by Patiala, and the stern measures which had been taken with the sepoy regiments enabled Lawrence to reinforce this little army with every available man and gun from the Punjab, in addition to Sikh and Pathan levies.
The pay and privileges of the sepoy were steadily being diminished, and the increased demands made on the army by the great extension of the company's territory were by no means grateful to the average Bengal sepoy.