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There was an old woman in the village, You talk of magazines of clothes [he writes one Molly Dunne, a very ancient dame to his mother]; why, I have no clothes but said to be about a hundred and thirty those on my back. My pantaloons are green, years of age, and of prodigious memory; and I have only one pair; my jacket twice and to her cottage the boys would often turned; a green waistcoat, useless; one pair She was to them as a professor feather, and a helmet not worth sixpence. I of boots, without soles or heels; a green of military history, and to her stories of have, indeed, too many books, but books and war and fighting they were never tired of clothes all go into two trunks. listening. But there was another teacher whose daily influence cannot be over-estimated. "Their father was their best schoolmaster." He was with them at home and abroad, during the long winter evenings, and out on the mountains and the moors. And from him the boys learnt lessons that were never forgotten. He taught them "to scorn delights and live laborious days," to "be true and just in all their dealings," to despise the emptiness of fashion, to hate oppression, to feel and to sympathize with the pocr. And these lessons, enforced by a noble example, were to bear a rich harvest in after years "by the shores of mighty Eastern rivers, and under the shadows of Himalayan mountains."
At Limerick, where Charles was first stationed as extra aide-de-camp to the commanding officer, he had the misfortune to break his leg. He was out shooting with his brother George, when a snipe, rising from beyond a deep, wide ditch, falls to his gun. He leaps over the ditch, slips, and breaks his leg. The mettle of the lad now shows itself. His leg is badly fractured, indeed the bone is sticking out through the skin; but he will get the snipe. He drags himself along the uneven ground to where the bird is lying, and when George, hurrying up to see if his brother is hurt, beholds the ghastly wound, the disabled sportsman cries out cheerily: "Yes, I've broken my leg, but I've got the snipe."
It was during the stirring times of Napoleon's Continental wars that Charles Napier joined the army, but for some six years he chafed at the inactivity of garrison life at home. But he was not idle. He availed himself of every possible opportunity for acquiring the knowledge of his profession.
I quit the mess [he writes home] at five o'clock, and from that to ten o'clock gives me five hours' more reading. There is a billiardtable; but feeling a growing fondness for it, and fearing to be drawn into play for money, I have not touched a cue lately.
Here is an inventory of his kit, which will startle more modern notions of military uniform:
It was during these dreary years of inactivity that his noble father died. "Sarah," said the dying colonel to his beautiful wife, "take my watch, I have done with time." Charles felt the loss keenly, as well he might, and his after career bore living testimony to the fact that the memory of that father's teaching was stamped indelibly on his mind and character.
When Charles Napier was twenty-seven years of age, he sailed for Lisbon to take part in the Peninsular campaign. The dream of his life was now to be realized, and he was to see active service. Together with his two brothers, he was with Sir John Moore during the disastrous retreat to Corunna, and took part in that heroic battle. The story of that famous fight, and of the death of Sir John Moore, of whom Napoleon had said, "I shall advance against him in person; he is now the only general fit to contend with me," must be read in the pages of his brother's "History." With Charles himself only we are here concerned. "The fall of Moore," as Sir William Butler says, “paralyzed the thinking power of those who succeeded to the command." Charles, who commanded the Fiftieth, was surrounded, and wounded, and taken prisoner. Indeed, he was returned as dead. The story, as told by his brother, is as follows:
When the French renewed the attack on
Elvina he was, with a few men, somewhat in advance of the village, for the troops were walls and narrow lanes. Being hurt, he enbroken into small parties by the vineyard deavored to return, but the enemy coming down, he was stabbed, and thrown to the ground with five wounds; and death appeared inevitable, when a French drummer rescued him from his assailants, and placed him behind a wall. A soldier with whom he had been struggling, irritated to ferocity, returned to kill him, but was prevented by the drummer. The morning after the battle, the Duke of Dalmatia, being apprised of Major Napier's situation, had him conveyed to good quarters, and with a kindness and consideration very his prisoner might not be sent to France, uncommon, wrote to Napoleon desiring that which would have been destructive to his professional prospects. The marshal also ob
tained for the drummer the decoration of the Legion of Honor.
For some two months Napier remained a prisoner with the French, at whose hands he received every possible kindness. On his return to England he was welcomed with tears of joy by his widowed mother, who believed him to be dead. He came back, we are told, more determined than ever, certain that he could command in battle, and only longing for an opportunity, which, however, was to be many years in coming. But not for long was he to remain at home. The year 1810 found him again in the Peninsula, this time under Wellington; and once brothers are together. At the action on more the three the Coa, they are in the thickest of the fight, and William is wounded; at Busaco, where shortly afterwards Wellington gave battle to Massena, a bullet strikes Charles full in the face, "passing from the right of his nose to his left ear, and shattering all before it," and he too is carried to the rear, and laid in the cell of a convent hard by, where he soon hears that his brother George is likewise wounded. midst of his pain, he thinks of the poor In the old mother at home, then grieving over the death of her daughter, and writes to her: "I am wounded, dear mother-you never saw so ugly a thief as I am; but melancholy subjects must be avoided, the wound is not dangerous; " and again : "The scars on my face will be as good as medals better, for they were not gained by simply being a lieutenant-colonel, and hiding behind a wall.”
In the following spring he again joins his regiment, though suffering much from his wounded face. The privations, too, are terrible. "We are living on biscuits full of maggots," he says, "and though not a bad soldier, hang me if I relish maggots! The hard biscuit, too, bothers my wounded jaw when there is no time to soak it."
the Peninsula. The regiment is ordered
his mother] make me turn with disgust to the
The outbreak of hostilities with the prison at Bermuda, and shortly afterwards United States releases him from his he exchanged into his old regiment, then in service in the Pyrenees; but by the time he arrived in England the Continental war was over, and Napoleon was a prisoner at Elba.
and with nothing to do; and so entering Napier now found himself on half-pay the Military College at Farnham, he indulged for a while his passion for reading. his opinions to himself. The iniquitous The condition of the country fills him with indignation, and he cannot keep game-laws, the Catholic disabilities, the oppressive taxation, the rotten boroughs, the monstrous abuse of privilege are all loudly denounced. His manly heart beats in sympathy with the people. "There are two millions of people in England and Ireland," he says, "starving to enable Lord Camden to receive thirty-eight thousand a year, and to expend it on game and other amusements." prising that with such opinions Napier It is not surfailed to obtain promotion.
vein of sarcasm] the man who held that rotten Clearly [says Sir William Butler, in a fine boroughs were not the perfection of representative government, that a Roman Catholic ought to be allowed to make a will and have a horse worth more than five pounds, was fit only for foreign service, or active warfare, and quite unsuited to hold a military appointment
Charles was worried, too, about his prospects. Ever since Corunna, he had had a grievance with the Horse Guards. Though the brothers were mentioned in almost every Gazette as wounded, or as gerous opinions could do no harm, was And so a foreign post, where such danconspicuous for their bravery, yet promo- quickly found for him. He is appointed tion had been denied them. Officers at inspecting field officer of the Ionian Isles, home idling away their time in fashion and afterwards military president in Cephand frivolity had been promoted, but the alonia, which has been described as "an Napiers were passed over. At last, when earthly paradise turned by misgovernment the Duke of York became commander-in-into a hell." There was scope enough chief, Charles was nominated to the command of the 102nd Regiment, just returned from Botany Bay. But to his regret the appointment necessitated his return from
here for energy, and Napier spared not
order throughout the island. "I take no rest myself," he writes, " and give nobody else any; they were all getting too fat." Such energy could not but bear fruit. Indeed, his success was so great as to arouse the envy of the governor-general. That pompous official, noticing that Napier wore moustachios, sent him a notice to shave immediately. "Obeyed to a hair" was Napier's response! For nine years he worked assiduously at his road-making and bridge-building, and administration of justice, using every endeavor to improve the condition of the people, and to make the little corner he lived in somewhat less ignorant, and somewhat less miserable than it was before he entered it. Nor were his efforts in vain. "They still speak," said a Greek lady only last year, "of Napier in Cephalonia as of a god."
In 1830 Charles Napier was back in England, his Ionian service at an end, and out of employment. He was now fifty years of age, and his position looked dark indeed. Official dislike still followed him. His services, his wounds, his splen. did abilities counted for nothing. He was wretchedly poor, and how to make money he knew not. To add to his troubles, his wife died in 1833, and "the great heart of the man seemed to break." He now settled at Caen, in Normandy, and devoted himself to literary work and to the education of his two young daughters. In his book on "Colonization " we find this significant sentence as to his idea of government:
As to government, all discontent springs from unjust treatment. Idiots talk of agitation; there is but one in existence, and that is injustice. The cure for discontent is to find out where the shoe pinches, and ease it. If you hang an agitator and leave the injustice, instead of punishing a villain, you murder a patriot.
The Tories [he says] especially the women, are making a run against all the Radical shops. Can we let a poor devil be ruined by the Tories because he honestly resisted intimthe fury of the old Tory ladies! idations and bribery? Nothing can exceed
The country now seemed on the eve of revolution. The Chartist agitation was at its height, when Charles Napier received a summons to London. Lord John Russell offers him the command of the northern district, which is immediately accepted. No better appointment could possibly have been made, for Napier was a born ruler of men. He at once set to work to take every precaution against the possibility of a general rising; at the same time he invites a leading Chartist chief to witness the practice of his gunners, and endeavors to show him the utter futility of rebellion. But Napier does not like the work. While stoutly opposed to any attempt at revolu tion, he is at heart in sympathy with the people. With the main points of the Charter he thoroughly agrees. He wishes now that he had gone to Australia, when an appointment was offered him some years before. The misery of the people cuts him to the quick. The streets of Manchester, he says, are horrible : —
The poor starving people go about in twenties and forties begging, but without the least insolence; and yet some rich villains and some foolish women choose to say they try to extort charity. It is a lie, an infernal lie! neither more nor less. Nothing can exceed the good behavior of these poor people, except it be their cruel sufferings.
On the anniversary of Corunna we find this entry in his journal: "Oh! that I should have outlived that day to be at war with my own countrymen!"
But more congenial employment was now to be offered to the old warrior. Thirty-two years had passed since the The work on "Colonization" was fol- battle of Corunna, and Napier was now lowed by one on "Military Law," in which sixty years of age. There were troubles he strongly advocates the abolition of flog-in Afghanistan, and our Indian frontier ging in the army, at any rate, in times of was in serious danger. Napier is offered peace. "Our father was always against a command and eagerly accepts it. He it," he says, "and he was right." The whole book breathes the spirit of the intensest sympathy with the common soldier. He could never forget what he himself owed to the French drummer at the battle of Corunna.
The general election of 1837 sees him back in England, and residing at Bath, where he throws all his energy into the cause of the Radical candidate. With reference to this election we find the following extract, which will bear quoting:
arrives in India with just two pounds in his pocket, and assumes the command of the Poonah Division. We cannot follow in detail the negotiation which took place between Lord Ellenborough, the governorgeneral of India, and the ameers of Scinde, nor can we attempt to explain the political situation. It is far too complicated to be dealt with in a few sentences. Suffice it to say that in the splendid victory of Meanee, Charles Napier became the conqueror of Scinde. With eighteen hundred
men, of whom only four hundred were British, he utterly defeated thirty thousand of the enemy. It was a "fight of heroes." Led by the Twenty-second, composed almost entirely of Tipperary men, the little army performed prodigies of valor. And when, after three hours' close fighting, the dark masses of the Beloochees gave way, the Tipperary men greeted the old general with cheers of victory. Those cheers touched his heart. "The Twenty-second," he writes in his journal, "gave me three cheers after the fight; and one during it. Her Majesty has no honor to give that can equal that." In his despatches next morning, for the first time in our military history, the private soldier is personally mentioned for acts of bravery. He fears that the authorities at home will not like it; but like it or not, he will do justice to the man in the ranks." In consequence of the victory of Meanee, Napier is immediately appointed governor of Scinde, with absolute power.
and insult — honor from the great mass of his fellow-countrymen, insult at the hands of the Board of Directors of the East India Company, and from more than one minister of the crown." The directors and those in authority could not forgive the outspoken manliness with which Napier had denounced their incapacity and greed, and now they assail him in every possible manner. But the people of England cannot do enough for the old hero with "the eagle face and bold strong eye." Clubs and corporations delight to do him honor. At Dublin, when he appeared at the Theatre Royal, the whole house rose and gave him such a welcome as deeply touched his heart. "My father and mother," he writes, "seemed to rise before my eyes to witness the feelings of Dublin towards me." But what pleased him most was a letter from a Radical shoemaker at Bath, to welcome him home. "I am more flattered by Bolwell's letter," he says, "than by dinners from all the clubs in London." And now, in the midst He now looks forward to a quiet time of all this welcome and applause, England of civil administration, in which sympathy is startled by news from India. The disand justice will supplant tyranny and law- astrous battle of Chillianwallah has been lessness. "Now," he writes, "I shall fought; and with one voice the nation work at Scinde as in Cephalonia, to do calls on Charles Napier to save our Indian good, to create, to improve, to end ob- Empire. It was a bitter pill for the direcstruction, to raise up order." But the tors, who for years had been assailing the bright vision of the future soon faded into conqueror of Scinde, but they had to the light of common day. Difficulties swallow it. The Duke of Wellington sent everywhere presented themselves. A ter- for Napier, and addressing to him the celrible pestilence swept through the "Un-ebrated words, "If you don't go, I must," happy Valley; "the Bengal troops were on the verge of mutiny, hill-robbers plundered the villages and murdered the inhabitants; the frightful heat laid the old warrior low, while slander and misrepresentation at home embittered his noble heart. But, in the midst of it all, Napier never for a moment gave in; he was al ways at work, as of old in the Ionian Isles, administering justice, relieving the oppressed, putting down tyranny, improving in a score of ways the condition of the country. And all the while he is conducting his daughters' education fifteen hundred miles away. Post by post he sends them quires of foolscap paper with the requisite sums and questions, and can always find time to correct them when returned. At length his relations with those in authority became so strained for Napier had dared to speak the truth, and to champion the cause of the oppressed that in 1848 he returned to England.
For ten months was he to remain at home, and his life during that period has been described as "a mixture of honor
appointed him to the command in India. And so to India Napier went, but only to find the Sikh war over. There was still, however, much for a commander-inchief to do, and the old man of sixty-seven set himself to do it with his accustomed energy. For those who had eyes to see, signs of the coming mutiny already lowered on the horizon of our Indian Empire, and whatever preventive measures were possible were promptly undertaken by the keen-eyed veteran. But in the carrying out of those very measures, which the after-light of history cannot but approve, he again incurred the censure of the Indian government. Napier immediately resigned, and after once more reviewing the soldiers of Meanee, who received their beloved leader with the most frantic enthusiasm, he found himself, after two years' absence, again in England.
When wearied and disappointed with his work in India, and harassed by the malice of his enemies, he had often longed for the time when, freed from the anxieties of duty, he could retire in peace to
being Private Soldiers.' Between these two grades of admiration lies the life of Charles James Napier."
From The Cornhill Magazine. PAGANINIANA.
his home in Hampshire. That time had now come, and as soon as possible he quitted London, and settled down at Oaklands, near the village of Purbrook, on the north side of Portsdown Hill. But the peace he longed for did not come. His health was shattered, and it soon became evident to all around him that the days of the old hero were numbered. His enemies continued to assail him, and even tried to WHEN a man is forced to the expedient rob him of his Scinde prize-money. And of publishing a letter from his mother to now, with the shadows of the valley gath-disprove that he is a son of the devil he ering around, and unable to answer the calumnies of his accusers, he would sometimes, as he lay upon his little camp-bed, turn to his younger brother, the veteran historian of the Peninsular War, and ask him to defend his memory when he was gone. At last, after many weeks of wearied sickness, in the early morning of an August day, with the colors of the Twenty-second Regiment hanging above his head, and with his friends and relatives around him, the soul of Charles Napier fled to the God who gave it. They buried him in the graveyard of the old military chapel at Portsmouth, amid the silent sorrow of sixty thousand people. "When I die, may the poor regret me," he had written in his journal not long before his death. His desire was abundantly fulfilled; not only did they regret him at the moment of his departure, they have not ceased to regret him still. The remembrance of his kindness, his goodness, his justice, his sympathy with the needy and oppressed, is yet green among the poor of the neighborhood.
Assailed as he was in his lifetime by slander and the strife of tongues, it may be well to learn what such a thinker as Carlyle thought of him.
A lynx-eved, fiery man, with the spirit of an old knight in him. More of a hero than any modern I have seen for a long time; a singular veracity one finds in him, not in his words alone, but in his actions, judgments, aims, in all that he thinks, and does, and says, which, indeed, I have observed is the root of all greatness or real worth in human creatures, and properly the first, and also the earliest, attribute of what we call genius among men.
So wrote of Charles Napier the greatest thinker of our age- that is the mountaintop. "If you want to find the other extreme of estimate," says Sir William Butler in concluding his admirable biog raphy, to which this article is greatly indebted," you will go to Trafalgar Square, and on the pedestal of Napier's statue there read: Erected by Public Subscriptions, the most numerous Contributors
must be in dire straits. And in dire straits