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The Times 23.02.1863 p 5

REVIEW


KINGLAKE’S INVASION OF THE CRIMEA*

(Continued from The Times of February 9.)

At the end of our last notice we left Lord Raglan and Sir George Brown in council, and heard their decision and the grounds on which it was formed. An army of French, English, and Turks was about to descend upon the Crimea. Whence they came, how they were organized, and in what manner concentrated or constituted, the reader may surmise as he pleases. He certainly will not learn these facts from Mr Kinglake, for his history does not deal with any details of the kind.

The omission of any information, at least with regard to our own army, and the mode in which it was collected, is a grave defect in a work of this kind. The movement of the Guards to Malta, the gradual formation of the various grand corps, the distribution of the fleet, our vast assemblage of transports, — these were surely worthy of notice. But Mr Kinglake is so keen in the pursuit of his enemies, so sharp set against the Emperor and his Generals, that he leaps at once upon them, in the opening of his second volume, and passes the interesting matters we have mentioned without a word.

Mr Kinglake’s prejudices force on us a most disagreeable task. His injustice to our allies can only be exposed by impartial and candid criticism, which, applied to his censures, may be twisted into the imputation that we desire to make comparisons, unfavourable to ourselves, between the military capacity and characteristics of the French and English people. But this is Mr Kinglake’s fault. He will insist on making this a personal; war — a war in which all the events depend on his own view of the personal characters of a few individuals. Of these some are simply infamous, the others are paragons of every virtue. The interest of the work is, indeed, enhanced exceedingly by that method, but its value as a history is seriously depreciated. What the world mostly wants to know of the actors in history is what they did and said. We do not require the author’s opinion of their secret motives and springs of action, except in cases where he has peculiar means of judging, and at the same time is strictly just in his judgments. Far less do we desire to read his conjectures, inferences, or ideal sketches of the vices and virtues of his heroes. The war became imminent, according to Mr Kinglake, because the Emperor of France needed the English alliance, the Czar was an obstinate and mistaken man, and Lord Stratford was animated by a desire to humble his enemy Nicholas; it was forced on because Lord Palmerston had certain notions, Lord Aberdeen certain weaknesses, and other personages were actuated by divers passions or frailties. Now, we think that in everything regarding France Mr Kinglake’s mind is so warped, his opinions and statements cannot be accepted with safety. Indeed, his work abounds in so many fancies, that it may be more properly described as a fiction founded on fact, or as a historical romance, than as a history. Lord Raglan’s blushes are made to redden many times, occasionally on the most fanciful hypothesis. As, for example (in p. 119), Mr Kinglake supposes that “if mortal eyes could have looked on Lord Raglan when he received the contents of the Duke of Newcastle’s despatch, they would have seen him turn crimson, in poising the question whether he ought to resist the pressure of the Queen’s Government because of mere danger.” But the danger surely was not his alone. What Lord Raglan had to think of was the safety or danger of his whole expedition. Again, when tidings of outrages committed by the Zouaves after the landing reached him on the beach, Lord Raglan “turned scarlet with shame and anger. The yoke of the alliance had wrung him.” Once more, when a French Aide-de-Camp came up to the magic knoll on foot with his kepi in his hand, we have a whole page describing the scene (p. 388-9), in which Lord Raglan’s pain at seeing a French officer bareheaded is dilated on, and it is surmised that the generous flush which used to come to his face on such occasions “was masked by the sunshine of the last two days, which had turned him crimson,” so that he could not turn scarlet again. How that young Frenchman got up or down there, or how he got back out of the midst of the Russian position (p. 389), where “the English head-quarters are so strangely placed” — by Mr Kinglake — we must leave him to explain. This taste for individualizing history, though it is very gratifying to the palate of the frivolous, is not very wholesome. His delight is to get Frenchmen, young or old, into difficulties, and to leave them there. Nor would it be quite an unfair inference from passages in the book to say he would be pleased if the reader came to a similar conclusion with respect to Lord Raglan. He says it will never be known whether his lordship believed all the falsehoods and libels, or at least the improved scandal of the angry Faubourg concerning his colleague in a way which implies that he very probably did. If so, that will explain to some extent the mode in which Lord Raglan acted, or rather is said to have acted.

But let us return to Varna, and to the course of events as they are narrated in the work before us, after Lord Raglan had consulted Sir George Brown. The British Government were eager to invade the Crimea, if the British General thought he had the adequate means at his disposal. The French Government, less forward and anxious to undertake that particular expedition, were, nevertheless, ready to give us their fullest support and co-operation in the field, and orders were sent from London and Paris to direct the officers in command of the Allies to concert measures for an invasion, if they thought it could be undertaken with prudence.

To consider these instructions a conference, attended by Lord Raglan, M St Arnaud, Admirals Hamelin, Bruat, Dundas, and Lyons, took place on July 18, at the French head-quarters. The composition of the council pointed to a naval expedition. It sat four hours. In all that time nothing was spoken of but the time and the means for undertaking the expedition, as Lord Raglan made all the members believe they were only met to consider these points alone, and so he evaded the danger of discussing its expediency. The members of the council, with the exception perhaps of Lyons and Bruat, disapproved the project. So did Lord Raglan himself. How, then, were they got to sanction it, as Lord Raglan had full discretion to reject it? Mr Kinglake will tell us. “As almost always happened in conferences where Lord Raglan had the ascendant, the grand question was passed over.” Now, it would be very satisfactory if Mr Kinglake would favour us with the authorities on which he makes such statements. It would be desirable to know, for example, what ground he has for assuming that Lord Raglan exercised such a complete ascendancy on this occasion or on others of which he speaks. Did Lord Raglan say so in his letters? Did St Arnaud confess it? Did any officer there, living or dead, French or English, assert its existence? What is certain, as stated by Mr Kinglake, is, that the French were already so far prepared for landing a force on the enemy’s coast, that they only required 10 days from July 18th to complete the flat boats for landing their guns on the beach, for “they had already begun to make the boats required for the purpose.” And Mr Kinglake is fanatic enough to sneer at the French for the precaution, and says (p. 124), — “It seems hardly any stress of circumstances will induce a French General to bring his infantry into action upon open ground without providing for it the support of artillery.” What general will do so? Why, Mr Kinglake, not say at once that the French don’t like going into action without ball cartridge? Why ridicule M St Arnaud because he foresaw the necessity of landing his force somewhere on the enemy’s shores, and provided for it so well, that in ten days from the first council which decided the Crimean expedition his boats would be all ready? Why not spare a word for the fact that though Lord Raglan had been warned by the Duke of Newcastle in a despatch written on the 10th of April of the probable necessity of landing in the Crimea and attacking Sebastopol, his lordship had made no preparation at all, though the means were within call? Did he despise the support of artillery? This is, however, a fair specimen of the way in which Mr Kinglake’s warfare against the French is conducted. That they were not as eager as our Government to go to the Crimea, is true, but they were preparing for such an expedition long before we ever thought of moving a field gun. Mr Kinglake girds at them because they were dastardly enough to carry artillery along with them. Surely there is no genuine, generous English nature in this? Why, as he is obliged to record, did Lord Raglan afterwards, “struck with the value of the French plan for landing artillery on flat lighters” (p. 139), send Sir Edmund Lyons and Sir George Brown to Constantinople “to do all they could towards supplying the British army with means which would answer the same purpose?” And, again, it must be remarked — for Mr Kinglake will raise these issues — that so far back as the end of April Lord Raglan had been warned of the probable expedition. But then he had a dislike to plans, and did not long to ruffle his mind with projects, and so at the eleventh hour there came the scuffle down to the Bosphorus for boats, — the decision at which Lord Raglan and Sir George Brown had so quaintly arrived — quaintly as far as the reasons stated for it are concerned — being adopted, as we have seen, in the council held at the French head-quarters, which, by the way, was the usual, indeed the invariable, scene of conference. Lord Raglan, in a despatch the day after, informed the Government that the “naval and military authorities” had decided to make a descent on the Crimea. The intelligence was very welcome in England. Her Majesty, writing to the Duke of Newcastle on the receipt of Lord Raglan’s despatch, said “the very important news which he conveyed to her in it of the decision of the Generals and Admirals to attack Sebastopol have filled the Queen with mixed feelings of satisfaction and anxiety.” Her Majesty was as little aware as the Duke that all discretion had been removed from Lord Raglan by the despatch of June 28. Had he dissented St Arnaud would have acquiesced, but as he decided to undertake the invasion his French colleague gave him his support. So says our author. There can be no doubt St Arnaud was struck by the boldness and rashness of the expedition, but he was also impatient for action beyond all things. He said and wrote that “to land in the Crimea and besiege Sebastopol was in itself a whole campaign. It is not a coup de main;, it requires enormous resources and a certainty of success.” It would have been very interesting to read Lord Raglan’s views expressed at length in his own words on these and many other points. The council appointed a mixed commission of French and English officers to reconnoitre the coast above and below Sebastopol and fix upon a place suitable for landing. They returned on July 28, and reported that the mouth of the Katscha was the best spot for the purpose. During their absence a rumour reached the allied camps that the Russians were returning towards the Danube. A council of four French and two English officers was summoned, and met, as before, at the French head-quarters. Our allies pointed out that the security of Turkey was the main object of the war; that the desertion of Austria from our side had freed the Russians from apprehension of attack on their flank, and that if the allies left Bulgaria it was probable Omar Pasha would be overwhelmed. But they did not propose, as Mr Kinglake insinuates, to abandon the enterprise altogether. The best proof that they were not anxious to relinquish the enterprise is found in the fact that they unanimously adopted what is alleged as Lord Raglan’s proposal to make preparations for invading the Crimea with all speed. Lord Raglan now set about to imitate the French, and gave orders for boats to be constructed similar to those already mentioned (p. 130). While preparations for the invasion were going on at Varna and at Constantinople, the French, who held the right of the allied line, made their disastrous excursion into the Dobrudscha to make sure that the Russians were really retreating. The cholera broke out in their columns, spread over Bulgaria, smote both armies heavily, and soon extended its ravages to the fleets. In the Dobrudscha the French lost upwards of 7,000 men — their best soldiers — more than they lost at Alma, Inkerman, and Traktir together. The French and English ships suffered fearfully; the troops which escaped the pestilence were sickly. But the scope of Lord Raglan’s mind meantime enclosed Sebastopol. He firmly adhered to his determination, and carried the apathetic Frenchman along with him (so says Mr Kinglake). M St Arnaud, however, quite ignorant of the ascendancy which Lord Raglan had over him, supposed that it was he who was directing operations. In the diffuse correspondence which, in spite of bodily pain and great infirmity, he carried on with the home authorities and with his family, he discusses, indeed, all sorts of military questions, proposes various expeditions, suggests different points of attack, landings at Anapa, descents upon Circassia, the occupation of Soujak Kalé, and the like; but he keeps the expedition to the Crimea always before him, though he cannot shut his eyes to the risks of the undertaking. At last the languid pulses of the troops were quickened by the announcement that they were to invade the Crimea. Their scattered divisions clustered round Varna. Never in the history of the world was so great an enterprise decided upon under similar circumstances and undertaken with such means, for Lord Raglan, who is described as the motive power, did not think it prudent, and determined to venture on it through some feeling akin to pique and an obstinate obedience to a dictum; and the French were all against it on military grounds. The embarcation really began in the last week of August. As might have been expected, the French possessed less steam transport and resources than we did; so that they were obliged to load their men-of-war with infantry. Instead of six horses for each gun they were obliged to be content with four. They embarked but 100 mounted men; their stock of ammunition was not very abundant; they had not steam power to tow all their transports, many of which were small brigs, schooners, and coasters. On the other hand, the English embarked about 1,000 cavalry and the full complement of horses to their guns. On the 2d of September, the day fixed for the probable sailing of the expedition, St Arnaud went on board the Ville de Paris at Baltjik. On the 5th of September the Marshal, impatient of detention, suffering from illness, and acting, Mr Kinglake says, on a suggestion of Admiral Dundas that his sailing vessels would be better off at sea than waiting at anchor for the rest of the expedition, stood out of the roads and steered from shore with 15 ships of the line, 11 war steamers, 8 Turkish liners and 3 war steamers, crowded with troops. He sent a letter to Lord Raglan to inform him of his departure, and cruised about till the 7th. On that day the English fleet, the transports, and the remainder of the expedition steamed out of Baltjik Bay, and on the 8th came up with the French and Turkish liners and war steamers. Mr Kinglake, in a querulous spirit, tries hard to make a grievance out of St Arnaud’s departure, and says he must have been aware “that by his abrupt separation from the British fleet and army he had offended against the English General.” Is not this straining hard for a casus belli? Mr Kinglake first tells us the British Admiral advised M St Arnaud, who was established on board the Ville de Paris, waiting for the British, to put his sailing ships to sea. Then he snarls at the French Marshal for following the English Admiral’s advice. He states rejoicingly that Lord Raglan did not send after him; he ignores the fact that St Arnaud wrote to his colleague; nay, more, he absolutely misstates what occurred. At page 47 he writes, “But he (M St Arnaud) had put to sea, and had since heard no tidings from shore.” Now, the fact is St Arnaud heard twice from shore after he had put to sea. The last letter, which was from Admiral Dundas late on the night of the 5th, informed him that the English fleet would sail, he hoped, next morning. On the 6th St Arnaud sent the Caton to Baltjik to quicken Lord Raglan’s movements, and the French fleet tacked to wait for the British expedition. In the passages in which Mr Kinglake translates part of Lord Raglan’s “stern reproof” to his peccant colleague there is the very evidence that St Arnaud had maintained his communications with the shore. The Marshal, writing on the evening of the 6th to Lord Raglan, as quoted by Mr Kinglake, mentions the receipt of Admiral Dundas’s letter, and informs Lord Raglan he is returning to meet the fleet and convoy, for fear of stress of weather preventing their junction. This is a small matter, but it is significant and indicative. The faculty for misstatement in such matters makes us distrust Mr Kinglake’s history and doubt his ability to use properly the documents intrusted to him, while his carping and ungenerous mood deprives his censure of just weight and renders his praise suspicious.

It is not in such a temper history should be written , — least of all the history of a war which excited so many enmities and caused so much recrimination and controversy. We might expect to find this kind of colour in a partisan pamphlet, or in an advocate’s pleadings. And, after all, this great book may be nothing more. It will be worth while to wait and see if it be not, in spite of its bulk, a series of party pamphlets, written to restore men and measures and systems condemned by public opinion and experience, or covered by charitable oblivion. Mr Kinglake so far out-Basancourts Basancourt. But we do not accept his work as our national reply to the historian of France in the Crimea. To do so would be to fasten on ourselves, in a very aggravated form, the imputations which have been made against that narrative. The severest judgment — and we apprehend it is deserved — which could be passed on Mr Kinglake is to pronounce him our Basancourt, and to declare that he is to us what that official historiographer was to the French.

Once determined upon, it became of vital consequence that the effort should be made at once. St Arnaud shows what he thought of an attack on Sebastopol. It is a pity Mr Kinglake does not give us the text of Lord Raglan’s private impressions on the same subject. But we have little indeed of his views except through the medium of words not his own. It is scarcely profitable now to inquire what the results would have been if the expedition had started a fortnight earlier, and had not lost so much time at sea. But this is quite certain — that the Vladimir, Susdal, Uglitz, and Kazan Regiments, carrying with them 36 field guns, only arrived in the Crimea on the last day of August, and that the Regiment of Moscow only reached the banks of the Alma a few hours before the battle; so that the enemy gained 20 battalions, or nearly one-half their whole force, by the delay.

When the two fleets had effected their junction, one of the many remarkable circumstances connected with the enterprise occurred. It will be recollected that the English and French officers who reconnoitred the coast selected the mouth of the Katcha for the landing of the allied armies, and that the expedition left Baltjik to proceed to that point. Lord Raglan started from Varna with the mouth of the Katcha as the landing place fixed and determined on as the only locality available for the purpose. While the fleet was at sea it was ascertained, apparently by the French, that the Russians had a considerable force at this very place. It would be unadvisable to attempt a landing under fire, particularly in such a narrow bay and so close to Sebastopol. At the moment Marshal St Arnaud was so ill as to be unable to speak, but it was necessary to hold a council of war to determine some new point for the descent, and a conference was summoned for the purpose. The sea was rough; Lord Raglan, who would have found it difficult to get up the side of the three-decker in which the French General was sailing, sent Colonel Steele on board with Admiral Dundas to hear what our allies had to propose. M St Arnaud, prostrate from pain, could merely point to an unsigned paper on the table. The principal officers of the French artillery and engineers, Martimprey, the Chief of Staff, and General Canrobert, had drawn up, with the concurrence of Sir Hugh Rose, this document, in which it was argued that not only was the Katcha objectionable, but that a landing north of Sebastopol would be surely followed by disastrous results, and urging that Kaffa, on the southern coast, should be selected. Mr Kinglake asserts that the selection of Kaffa would have implied an abandonment of all attempts against Sebastopol for the year. It may be useless to contest the assertion, but we are bound at least to observe that it is not true Kaffa is divided from Sebastopol by many long marches over mountain roads. There is a very excellent main road from Kaffa to Simferopol, by Kara Sou. Nor is it correct, as stated by Colonel Adye, that there is a want of water along the route. On the contrary, it is well supplied at easy distances by numerous streams. However, it is perfectly clear that M St Arnaud did not press the plan proposed by the chief officers of his Staff — not only that, but he desired Colonel Trochu to say that he concurred in whatever decision Lord Raglan arrived at. Surely in that he left scant ground for any Englishman to find fault with a Marshal of France?

Now, Mr Kinglake is disingenuous enough to call this paper a remonstrance, and to charge the French officers with a conspiracy to abandon the enterprise in this “ebullition” of prudence, because, finding that the Katcha, which had been selected for a landing, was not suitable, and there being only one other place known to the Allies, they recommended Kaffa. It will be observed that it became necessary in Lord Raglan’s mind to abandon the Katcha; the objections to it were pointed out by the French, who afterwards, however, still preferred that place to Old Fort on military grounds not at all destitute of force. There were present at the conference on board the Ville de Paris, where this new point was raised, M St Arnaud, who left the decision of the question of a landing-place to Lord Raglan; Admiral Hamelin; Colonel Trochu, who did not approve the objections urged by his colleagues; Admiral Bruat, who also repudiated any participation in their views; and Admiral Willaumex, on the French side. Sir Hugh Rose, as Commissioner to the French army, also attended. These officers, except M St Arnaud, then went with the English Admiral and Military Secretary on board the Caradoc, where the conference was renewed in the presence of Lord Raglan and Admiral Lyons. Lord Raglan could not argue that the objections to the Katcha were ill-founded. He felt them fully. He at once abandoned the project of landing there, and his objections were so strong that he would not waive them, as we shall see, when the French argued that Katcha was at all events better than a point on an open beach some 30 miles distant from Sebastopol. In order to find a new landing-place it was necessary to make another reconnaissance of the coast, and Mr Kinglake praises Lord Raglan for the very natural determination, when he had assumed the task of deciding where a landing was to be effected, “to reconnoitre the coast with his own eyes.” And, having examined the coast, his Lordship fixed on a spot on the beach between Eupatoria and the Alma. It is not easy to speculate on such matters; but one thing is evident — if the Allies had beaten the Russians on the Katcha, the fleet and forts of Sebastopol must have been ours the same evening. Let Lord Raglan, however, have all the credit due to his insisting on Old Fort in opposition to the view of the French. We gained a bloodless landing. We lost two days, however, at least before we met the enemy. St Arnaud yielded the Katcha with reluctance. It certainly could not be from any want of confidence in his troops, or from any fear of the enemy, that he preferred the latter point of disembarcation. Mr Kinglake labours hard to make capital against the alliance by showing how a buoy was misplaced “during the darkness” by the French, which obliged the English to shift their ground to the left. He gives us a sketch map to show what mischief was wrought by it. And what turns out to be the result of an inspection of his map? That if the French designed to bring the enterprise to a stop by means of the misplaced buoy — for Mr Kinglake stoops to insinuate they did — they did us an essential service, because they gave us a much broader strip of beach to land on, with one flank protected all the way by a salt lake, the other by the sea; whereas, had we landed on the place originally marked out, the English army would have been crowded up closely with the French on a point much more confined, and not so safe. Besides, this insidious device had this curious consequence if successful, — it left the French separated from the English in case the enemy came down on them, or it threw them into confusion in the act of landing, if the English did not move away to another place. The French, being on the right, must have been exposed to the enemy’s attack, first, if not alone. And Mr Kinglake says that all this was “a great danger to the alliance!” who could have done it? Was it St Arnaud, or Canrobert? Admiral Dundas did not like the expedition; Trochu and Bruat did, so they are cleared. But in fact the whole story is a sick man’s dream. If Captain Mends, however, who had charge of the whole disembarcation, will say it is true, and that the buoy was misplaced by the French, then we will believe every word hereafter in this book which it may please Mr Kinglake to write of our allies.

We shall not dwell on the incidents connected with the landing. It was only in the nature of things that the French, nearer shore, without cavalry and with fewer horses for artillery than the English, should have been the first to complete their disembarcation, particularly as masses of infantry were transferred at once from the men-of-war to the shore. But it would never do for Mr Kinglake to admit that. So he adroitly makes it appear by a happy phrase, that the French were as long as ourselves in landing. “Knowing we would take a good deal of time on account of our cavalry, they were,” he says, “without a motive for hurrying, and during the whole of the five days which the English took for their disembarcation, alike work was seen going on at the French landing-place.” And it is very probable if they had not marched off, as St Arnaud says he threatened to do, if we were not ready on the 19th, and that we had remained 10 or 20 days longer, boats would have been seen landing articles on the beach, but no men or material for all that time. It was only on the 18th that the last of the English horses and guns was landed; but meantime there had been some bad weather. Sickness followed the troops. The cholera visited our tentless camps by the salt lake. From the landing-place we sent back on board the hospital ships within a few hundreds of as many men as we lost killed and wounded at the Alma, and hundreds who never recovered the effects of these early hardships fell on the route never to rise again, or followed their comrades to Scutari and the grave. These things are lightly touched upon.

As we are standing on the beach to behold the Allies landing at Old Fort, we are surprised, however, to see Mr Kinglake laying down his brush and picking out “Airey,” as he calls him, to deliver a lecture on him. Mr Kinglake thinks the life of a backwoodsman in a log hut is a far better preparation for the duties of a Quartermaster-General than expertness in the prim traditions of any military department. He halts the French and English army that he may tell us how General Airey was lucky enough to have a large property given to him in Canada long ago by “the then almost famous recluse Colonel Talbot,” and went there with “his young wife.” All day he worked energetically in coarse clothing. When his workmen came to see him in the evening “they always found him transformed.” In fact, he made a “vigorous change in his dress” and in his manner, and thus quite subdued them, so that they never forgot he was their master. He is represented as a man with great sway, prone to take a great deal on himself, and almost unscrupulous in his zeal for the public service, — “Officers hesitating in the pain of suspense used to long to hear the tramp of his coming” (sometimes in vain) — “used to long to catch sight of his eager, swooping crest — it was always strained forward and intent — his eager, salient, sharp-edged features, his firm, steady eye, for they knew he was the man who would release them from their doubts” (p. 177-8). Whether General Airey will like the description or not, must depend on his conscience and his modesty. We will not say a word in derogation of the General’s personal attributes or mental qualities. He is a keen, shrewd, energetic man, but as a Quartermaster-General he was not successful — at all events, not lucky. In some future volume Mr Kinglake will, no doubt, explain the reasons why Fortune did not smile on one so powerful in council and swift in action. But our historian is so ignorant of the duties of a Quartermaster-General, or so anxious to praise a friend, that he devotes two pages to the account of “Airey” seizing on transports and supplies, as if such exertions were unusual or extraordinary. He passes over the raid of the French Spahis, their capture of a post of Russians and of provisions, and does much injustice to the Commissariat in his haste to prove General Airey’s zeal. But any one who knows how Mr Filder commenced the moment he landed with requisitions for detachments, and how he worked for arabas and all sorts of quadrupeds, must feel that he ought not to be swallowed up even by the Quartermaster-General. Why were the men landed without tents at first, then employed in carrying them from the beach to their camp, then worn out in carrying them back again? Is it in order to praise General Airey that the sufferings of the men from want of water, and the efforts of the navy to supply them, are ignored? “Airey caused wells to be dug.” Did Mr Kinglake taste the water, or did any one else drink it and escape suffering? There are more serious matters connected with the memories of Old Fort. The fact may as well be admitted, that we had no officer who could estimate the time required for executing any given movement, and it is no discredit to us. The want, however, led to unpleasantness. It gave some ground to the French for saying that we delayed them at Baltjik. It forced St Arnaud to incur another “stern reproof” from Lord Raglan at Old Fort, because he was impatient at being detained after the 17th of September, on which day he had determined to march. With exceeding caution and reserve, but with honesty for which he deserved credit, notwithstanding the cloak of words cast over his purpose, Mr Kinglake declares Lord Raglan was not fit for the work he had undertaken. The leader of the moveable column must be swift and even venturesome, for rashness with him may be rigid prudence (p. 197). But Lord Raglan was mature in years, schooled by his long subordination to Wellington (p. 198), and the Government must have known he was not suited for anything but regular operations, to be engaged in with due prudence (p. 198). And, in truth, when Lord Raglan was selected it was never supposed there would be war, or, at any rate, a rash, venturesome expedition, and, least of all, that he would lead it. His high character, his tact, his cautious courtesy, were intended for diplomatic intercourse rather than hazardous operations in the field. Having expatiated on the wildness of sending a moveable column against Sebastopol, Mr Kinglake should have shown that Lord Raglan, in forcing it on against the “timides avis” of the French, exerted himself to prevent delay, which must necessarily compromise the chances of success. But we delayed, and were obliged to do so at Baltjik and at Old Fort, and it was not till five days after the fleets cast anchor off the beach that the Allies turned their faces towards Sebastopol and the enemy. We leave the armies on their way to a famous field. In the description of the march on that memorable 19th of September all the light and beautiful imagery of Mr Kinglake’s pencil is thrown over the advancing host, and but that every one is reading, has read, or will read the book, we would extract the passage, notwithstanding the length of this notice.

(To be continued.)


* The Invasion of the Crimea: its Origins and an Account of its Progress down to the Death of Lord Raglan. By Alexander William Kinglake. Vol II. W Blackwood and Sons.


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