Inkermann, an engagement as mo- competent; and if such be the course mentous and memorable as any which which every man pursues, and pruis recorded in ancient or modern his dently pursues, in his own instance, and tory. We must entreat our readers with regard to his own affairs, are we to follow us here step by step, in order to act otherwise when the lives of our that they may thoroughly understand soldiers and the character of the nation our argument and conclusion. It is are at stake? Are we to weigh the plain from what we have already said, inconveniences of a change against and from the dates given above, that the dangers arising from the notorious neither the landing in the Crimea, incompetency of the men in power? the battle of the Alma, nor the in- We care not of what complexion of choate siege of Sebastopol were con- politics their successors may be, só sidered by Ministers as of suffi- that they are true, and loyal, and cient importance to justify the assem- united; but we shall not befool ourbling of Parliament before the usual selves by affecting to put hoops round time. The battle of Inkermann, how- the tub of the Danaides, when we ever, altered their whole intentions. know that its bottom is perforated, And why? Because it demonstrated and that, under no circumstances to all the world the extreme jeopardy whatever, is it capable of holding of our position, and the miserable water. miscalculations of the Ministry as to Now, then, let us enter into partithe nature of the war in which the culars. We have shown that, but for country is engaged.

the receipt of the news of the battle There are times when it is the duty of Inkermann, Parliament would not of every man, and of every organ of have been convened before Christpublic opinion, to speak out their sen- mas; that in fact, there existed no timents plainly and without reserva- intention of convening it earlier, but tion, and utterly to disregard the directly the reverse; and that the comments which, as a matter of call was a sudden thought, or rather course, will be made by their political arose from an unforeseen emergency. opponents. Such is the present occa- What was that emergency? Not, sion; and we see no reason whatever we suppose, the mere fact of the for being fastidious in our remarks, or battle of Inkermann, gallant, glofor abstaining from what Mr. Leveson rious, memorable as it was. Alma Gower deprecated as hostile criticism. had preceded it-s0 had the action Our criticism, if it is to be a true one, of Balaklava. Thanks, under God, must be hostile to the present Minis- to the valour of our brave soldiers, try. We have never reposed much whose constancy and courage, under faith in them; we now repose less fearful odds, transcended even Sparthan ever : and being thoroughly of tan achievement, and to the assistance opinion that they are unfit for the of our brave allies, we suffered no station which they occupy, and that defeat-nay, we drove back the Rustheir continued occupation of it is sians from the heights which they had dangerous for the welfare of Britain, so daringly scaled, and remained we shall not conceal our sentiments. masters of the position. Our loss was The rule which applies to private in- heavy-grievously so; but not greatly dividuals, applies also to the body po heavier than it was at Alma-not litic. If a man discovers that the nearly so heavy as in some of the physician whom he has employed has Peninsular battles. Ministers did not mistaken his case, administered wrong assemble Parliament to tell them the medicines, and is otherwise an em- story of the fight. That had already piric, he dismisses him at once and been done, much better than they for ever. The litigant, who has had could do it, through the medium of one cause bungled by an ignorant the press. What, then, was their attorney, does not give him a chance object? Just this. To do what they of redeeming his character by the op- ought to have done months before, and portunity of further employment. to obtain the sanction of Parliament Life and property are too precious to for putting the nation upon an active be entrusted to the charge of those war footing, many months after wat who have shown themselves to be in- had been formally declared,

[blocks in formation]






- --



We shall not inflict upon our readers that conviction. In the Ministry there any unnecessary retrospect. Let the are incapables, and there are also men conduct of the Aberdeen Ministry, in who were not in earnest. We shall regard to Russia, almost from the day not specify those who appear to us of their formation down to that when entitled to rank in the first category; their Royal Mistress gave the formal but we shall ask if Mr. Gladstone can intimation that war had commenced, be considered as really impressed with pass without comment. Let us also the full responsibility of his position, omit all mention of the interminable when, last Session, he took a vote of diplomatic intercourse with the Ger- the House of Commons for the exman States, and, in the mean time, pense of conveying twenty-five thoube silent as to our dealings with sand men to Malta and back? Did Austria and Prussia Look but to he believe that we were really going this; that, having declared war with to war in grim earnest with the Russia, we proceeded to invade her greatest military power in the world, territory in the Black Sea, and to when he proposed that the expenses attack her strongest fortress with an of each year should be defrayed out army of twenty-seven thousand men. of the ordinary income? To Malta Portugal can bring more bayonets and back! In that one phrase-in into the field - Saxony nearly as that one expression-may be found many; yet that was the amount the true key to the whole dealings of which Lord Aberdeen and his col- the Aberdeen Ministry. They did leagues deemed sufficient for the pur- not believe in the reality of the war, pose, or at all events sufficient as the even after it was declared. They British contingent. It may be said thought that it might be somehow that we could spare no more; and tided over, just as gentlemen who that no doubt is true. But why could have no mind to have recourse to the we spare no more? Simply because arbitration of the pistol, adjust their the Ministry did not take steps in differences by means of an ingenious proper time to augment largely the correspondence; and they were utterly regular force, to embody the whole of amazed by the discovery that Nicholas the militia, and to avail themselves of was of opinion that he had gone too the means which the country, through far to accede, and would not listen, to Parliament, was eager to place at their the advice even of the most friendly disposal. Certainly there was no remonstrants. Is that simply an hydisposition on the part of the nation pothesis or conjecture of ours? By to starve the war, or to criticise no means. Witness the reiterated asthe amount of the expenditure. Never sertions of Lord Aberdeen, that he did was the public purse so freely and not despair of a peaceable adjustment confidingly opened. Why, then, did of the differences, long after the hour Ministers not avail themselves of the for energetic action had arrived. Witopportunity, and give effect to the ness the idleness, during the earlier wishes of the nation? Simply because part of the season, of our fleet in the the Premier was an obstinate old Black Sea, and the sham semi-bomman, trained according to the tradi- bardment-for it was no better-of tions of an antiquated school of diplo- Odessa. The troops, it is true, were macy, and utterly unfit for the conduct despatched to Turkey, about the end of public affairs in a crisis such as of April, but they performed no active this. In the Cabinet there were service there, and encountered no eneandoubtedly able men-or, if we are my except the cholera. On the 22d of wrong in using the plural number, we June the seige of Silistria was raised; may employ the singular, when we and then, and not till then, was the indicate Lord Palmerston. He, at expedition to the Crimea decided on. least, was equal to the emergency, but It may be that the abandonment of he was no longer Secretary for For- the siege of Silistria took Ministers by eign Affairs. The House, or Cabinet, surprise. They may have calculated was divided against itself. The ma- upon another result, or at least upon jority of them believed to the last such protracted operations on Turkthat there would be no serious war; ish ground, as would have rendered a wad hardly took the pains to conceal sudden change of the theatre of war





impossible. Be that as it may, they in September. The whole force of found themselves compelled to do the invading army, both British and something ; and the following is Lord French, amounted to about 50,000. John Russell's account of the result of If we admit, as Ministers now conthe Cabinet's deliberation :

tend, that it was at object of im"In considering the question of the portance

of the portance to proceed without delay expedition to the Crimea, the Govern

to the attack of Sebastopol-if we ment had to consider the alternatives.

allow that the capture of that strongEngland and France had sent an army hold, and the destruction of the Rusinto Turkey. If that army had been sian navy within the harbour, was a taken back to Constantinople for the prize which it was worth while incurwinter, it would have been a great disap- ring extraordinary risks to obtain, and pointment to the people of this country, that the time for the expedition was as well as to the army itself. If the opportune-We need hardly discuss allied army had been ordered to advance the question whether a force of 50,000 across the Danube, and to attack the men was sufficient for the purpose. Russians, they would have had to en- This much is apparent, that we could counter the immense armies of the Czar;

send no more at the time. 27,000 and as there were no great fortresses in

men was our modest quota-the their way, a victory in the field would

utmost we could furnish; but they not have brought the Allies nearer to the place for which the war was undertaken.

were men of whom, alive or dead, There, then, only remained the expedi- Britain pedi: Britain has reason to be proud, for

In tion to the Crimea, in the success of they were a phalanx of heroes. which he, in common with many high fairness to the Ministry, who are now military authorities, both English and virtually on their defense before the French, had felt the utmost confidence. country, we must not forget that it is He believed that there was great risk to no easy matter to furnish transports be run, but that there was also a great for 50,000 men, and therefore we shall object to be obtained ; and that if Sebas- not maintain that the force originally topol, that stronghold of Russian power, sent to the Crimea was too small for were destroyed, its fall would go far to the opposition which was expected give to Turkey that security which was upon landing. But in many respects the object of any peace."

it was deficient. We had hardly any Mark well the words that we have cavalry; our artillery was notoriously quoted in italics; for they contain, weak, and our men, when they were unconsciously perhaps on the part of landed, found themselves without the utterer, a full confession of that tents for shelter. The soldier must shameful and slavish truckling to pub- expect many and grievous hardships lic opinion which has always been the in a campaign, but it is undoubtedly characteristic of the party of which the part of those who direct his movethe noble Lord is the leader. Is it ments to take care that he shall not possible that this can be a true state suffer any privation which ordinary ment? Is it credible that the Cabinet forethought could prevent. Ministers should have decided against the win- admit that they determined in June tering of the army at Constantinople, to attempt the occupation of the for no better reason than that such an Orimea. The expedition did not sail arrangement “ would have been a from Balchick Bay until the 7th of great disappointment to the people of September, consequently there was this country? Is it the function of ample time for preparation. But we an "army to determine its own mo- shall not criticise matters of deficient tions, or to regulate the scheme of a arrangement. We keep our eyes upon campaign? Yet such were the state- the fact that the allied powers sent ments deliberately made to the House 50,000 to the Crimea, for the purpose of Commons by the great constitu- of investing, and if possible reducing, tional authority!"

Sebastopol, and that of these 27,000 Well, then, this movement being were British troops. decided on the army, considerably Now, admitting this force to be reduced by the ravages of pestilence, sufficient for the purpose--admitting was so far reinforced that 27,000 that it was the utmost which could, British troops landed in the Crimea in the first instance, be transported

[ocr errors][merged small]


to the Crimea-admitting that we nation, not to them, and the nation had no great reason to believe that will not suffer it to be wronged. Did it could be suddenly overmatched in they perform that duty - did they numbers or in weight--the question exercise that care ? Nomto their immediately arises, in what way could eternal shame and infamy be it writit be reinforced in order to meet the ten--no! They had no reserve availlosses which war and pestilence occa- able, or within reach. Had the battle sion ? Pestilence was unfortunately of Inkermann gone otherwise than it not a hypothetical nor imaginary evil. did, we should have lost the flower of The cholera bad been raging at our army; and where then would have Varna ; it accompanied our brave fel- been our hopes of German co-operalows to the ships, and many a gallant tion? We implore the country, we soldier, whom the shot of the enemy entreat all honest-hearted and patrioleft untouched at the Alma, died after tic men, whatever be their political the battle in the agonies of this cruel creed, to think over and ponder this. disease. We knew that in the event We have been brought by the impro of an engagement with the Russians, vidence, negligence, and divided counwe must expect great loss of life ; and cils of this precious Coalition Minisit was not expected that Sebastopol try, with the old acquaintance, of could be reached without more than Nicholas at their head, to the very one bloody and desperate engage- verge of ruin. They staked the whole ment. The Russian soldier may be credit, power, and position of Britain liable to the criticisms of civilisa- on a single throw---not necessarily, tion, but no one can deny him the but because they had grossly failed in attributes of hardihood and dogged their duty, and omitted to provide a recourage. Our preparations and de- serve in case fortune should be against signs were not so secret—thanks to us. And by so doing, or rather neglectthe cackling of Lord John Russell, ing to do, they have prolonged the war, and the entire confidence which cer- changed the attitude of our army from tain of his colleagues repose in the a besieging force to that of one pardiscretion of the press that the tially besieged, and lessened the proenemy was unprepared for our com- babilities of the capture of Sebastopol. ing. The Czar was made aware in These are not accusations to be made ample time of the point where he was lightly. It would be shameful, it would menaced, and being, unlike her Ma- be unpatriotic, it would be scandalous jesty's advisers, a man of prompt and to hazard them if the proof were not decided action, he took immediate lying before us. But it would even be a measures to prepare himself for the deeper defalcation, if, with the convicvisit of the Allies.

tions we entertain, we should hesitate It is incredible that any man, or to point out the imminent danger to any body of men, should have ex- which the country has been exposed pected that our troops could fight by the wretched administration of this one or more battles against a foe at Cabinet. least numerically equal, and having W e are not, in the sense of the the advantage of intrenched positions, term as understood by other Euroand then proceed to the reduction of pean countries, a military nation. We one of the strongest fortresses in the make no parade of arms. For many world, without suffering tremendous years our standing army has been loss. In war no decisive advantage barely sufficient to do duty at home can be gained without a lamentable and in the colonies; but the number sacrifice; and we are far from urging of these latter possessions has been of that any such considerations should infinite service in accustoming our have withheld Ministers from making troops to alternations of climate ; and the attempt, and ordering the expe- our system of change of quarters, bedition to the Crimea. But they were fore regiments become domesticated bound to take care that they had a in any one locality, is an admirable reserve ready and within reach to sup- one for the breeding and training of ply the inevitable losses. They were the soldier. Of late years various atbound, in duty to the nation, to do tempts have been made, by a school this for the army belongs to the of politicians now put to silence, and

whose voices we do not again expect the population of rural districts, and to hear for a considerable period, to to augment the industry of the towns. reduce our army even below the effec- Notwithstanding these changes, we tive point; and the individual who are of opinion that there would be no hereafter shall undertake the biogra- want of able-bodied men to enlist as phy of Lord John Russell must neces- recruits, provided there was an adesarily, if he adheres to truth, record quate inducement for them to enter that the indefatigable concocter of re- the service. But how is it possible presentative reforms--more numerous, for us to expect that young men who varied, irreconcilable, and heteroge- are earning in some peaceful occupaneous than the schemes of Jeremy tion sixteen, eighteen, or twenty shilBentham-did at one time yield to the lings per week, will accept her MaManchester howl, and attempt to com- jesty's bounty, and take the field with mence a series of retrenchments simi- the certainty of fearful hardship, and lar to that which, in the end, left poor the prospect of death before them, for King Lear without the service of a the miserable pittance of one shilling single knight. That, however, was per day? In this respect we thospeedily put to rights; and, as we are roughly agree with the observations willing to believe that the noble lord contained in the leading article of the is now considerably ashamed of the Times of 15th December, condemnapart which he then found it conve- tory of the Government proposal to nient or politic to act, we shall not embody a foreign legion, and to precomment further upon this rather pare it for service in this country; equivocal passage in his history. and we beg the attention of our Other nations have their militia, or readers to the following extract:regularly-trained landwehr ; we, trust “If, in spite of the reports as to the ing to our insular position, have ne- number of recruits who volunteer into glected that arm of the service. The the line, the enlistment does, in fact, go social changes which have been the

the on slowly, we have only to say that result of a long period of peace, of in

Government have made a very sad misternal improvement, and of commer

take as to the proper remedy. The great

object is to raise the estimation of the cial prosperity, have not been favour

service, whether it be regular or militia, able to the military spirit. In the by all manner of lawful means. This is an last war the Highlands of Scotland age of free trade, of supply and demand; presented an unrivalled recruiting and free trade there will be in the traffic field, for the population was then of military service. Improve the comgreater than the capital expended modity, and you will be sure to have purin those districts could employ, chasers. What is it that we want? What and the warlike spirit of the people, is that home-produce of which the Duke kept alive by their heroic traditions, of Newcastle apprehends a scarcity, and inclined them to the military profes- therefore wishes to supply its place with sion. That source is no longer avail- a foreign ingredient? He cannot get able. There is no redundant popula

in enough of the British soldier; at least he tion now in the Highlands to swell

ů would seem to fear for the future shortthe ranks of the army. No other

ness of the supply. Now, to introduce

er into the army foreigners, adventurers, portion of the British territories has, outcasts, nameless, unknown people, who within the last forty years, experienced may or may not be exiled for their crimes, 80 remarkable a change. The clans- is the very way to degrade the service, men have been expatriated; and sheep, and make it the refuge of immorality and not men, are now the staple produce rebellion. But it is quite as easy to raise of the country. The change may the appreciation of this service as of any have been inevitable, but it is not the other. .... Raise the wages of the less striking in its results, when the soldier. Raise not only his money wages, services of men with strong arms and but his whole condition--his road to stout hearts are required. In like honour, his chances of promotion, his manner, the Irish exodus has de

de comforts, if necessary his luxuries. There prived Government of a ready and

is no lack of gentlemen wanting comformerly abundant resource; and all the list.

missions. Never were there so many on

The more there are killed, the over the United Kingdom the tenden

Lingdom the tenden- more there are to take their places; while cies of free trade have been to thin the dreadful hardships suffered by officers


« ElőzőTovább »